This is the third year that I have held a small summer art camp at my home. Many of the lessons that I teach over the summer, I use the next year in the classroom. I love the opportunity to try out lessons for the first time and teach a few things that just aren't practical in a classroom setting.
My art camp runs for just a week with morning sessions from 9:00- 12:00. It's amazing how much we can accomplish in that small period of time! When we pack up portfolios at the end of the week, we have nearly a school year worth of artwork! This summer we made: watermelon painting, pattern painting tapestry, cup weaving, modeling clay sculptures, sketchbooks, new crayon shapes, cyanotypes, and 3D letter sculptures.
Our Night of the Arts mural has become a tradition at my school. Each year, third grade creates the background and kindergarten adds an element to it. This year, kindergarten created butterflies and third grade made a springtime garden.
The mural is 6ft tall and 24 ft long and made up of four pieces of white butcher paper. I draw out the design with pencil beforehand and then third grade works to paint inside the lines. We usually work on two to three pieces at a time and spread it out on the floor and tables. Some classes can even work together on all four pieces, and they love to be able to see all of it. I complete the mural by painting the black lines and then hot gluing the butterflies. This whole process takes about three weeks.
This is the seventh year our amazing music teacher and I have put on the Night of the Arts! This event showcases work from every student from Pre-K to 5th grade. We have crafts for families and a music performance including all of the instrumental and choral groups at our school.
Each year, we expand the idea of a Night of the Arts even more, but the process gets easier and even more fun! The art exhibit in the cafeteria opens at 5:00 and ends just after 7:00. The music performance in the multi purpose space begins at 6:00. The challenge is that this is a one night event that must be all set up and taken down in the one day.
Over the years, I've learned a few things that make life so much easier around art show time. It can get crazy, but I live by these rules:
1. It's never too early to start getting ready for the big art show. I begin in January so that I can slowly make sure all students finish their artwork, prep the artwork, and promote the event.
2. Tape rolls! Whenever you have a few extra minutes, sit down and make some tape rolls. Stick them to a lunch tray and save them for later. This will save you so, so much time the week and day of the show.
3. Ask for help. This one is hard for me, but having the support means so much to me and makes the whole event easier. Parent volunteers cut my laminated artworks, PTO provides the refreshments, students help me move artwork in to the cafeteria the day of, teachers help me set up, and teachers and staff also help teach the crafts during the Night of the Arts. At the end of the night, I have to take the whole show down (except for the mural) because the school needs the space for breakfast the next day. Everyone, even some parents, help bring it all back to my room that night. I could not do this event without the amazing support I have at my school.
It was such a beautiful Night of the Arts! The mural is still hanging for a few more weeks, but then it will all be taken down, too. And I'm already thinking of some new concepts for the next Night of the Arts...
These sweet butterflies were made by my kindergarten students! Each class made butterflies with a different color and they were glued to the mural created by third grade. The artwork was then displayed at our Night of the Arts!
I've always done the same lesson across all of the classes in a grade level, so having the different colors was new to me. Some classes mixed colors for their butterflies, others did not, but all classes created tints when printing the spots.
This was also the first time I have used glitter in my classroom! And I was crazy enough to do it with kindergarten! It was better than I ever could have imagined. They did such a great job and were so responsible. I loved how their work sparkled up on the wall for the art show, so it was worth the mess!
This lesson was definitely required more work on my part, but it was worth it for such a special part of our Night of the Arts. I hot glued all of the painted paper plates together and glued the pipe-cleaners after school. Students could have done this with regular school glue, but I wanted to make sure they were sturdy enough to be displayed on the mural.
Everyone loved these beautiful butterflies! I'm not looking forward to taking them down. I love seeing them everyday!
I have taught a version of this lesson since maybe my second year teaching. It's fun project where students create a full painting and use all of the primary and secondary colors. This is the perfect lesson to review color mixing and painting procedures.
This year, my first and second graders used bingo daubers (thank you Cassie Stephens for the idea!! We love using them!) to draw the fish and the backgrounds. The bingo daubers help my kids to draw BIG and we don't have to draw with pencil first.
On the first day of the lesson, we drew the fish and the backgrounds with the bingo daubers. They made six fish for the six primary and secondary colors. We began with big circles and then I demonstrated a few different ways to approach drawing the fish. On the second and third day, we painted the primary and secondary colors. First grade took two days and second grade took just one. For second grade, I gave them a checklist of the colors they needed to have represented and challenged them to complete the list on their own. On the final day, we made light blue for the water and painted the rest of the background.
I loved all of the details they created, too. Many of my kids are knowledgeable about fishing, so they had a lot to add!
This was a quick two class lesson that I used to reinforce cutting and gluing skills while I worked with small groups to finish the butterfly lesson. I needed to get the butterflies completely finished for the mural, but I wanted to have the other students working on something creative and purposeful. I'll post the butterfly lesson soon!
I gave my kids bins of the beautiful painted paper scraps from the first and second grade paper weaving lesson and had the kids cut (no drawing first) and arrange them on their paper for about twenty minutes. Then, I gave them about ten minutes to glue the pieces, get cleaned up, and meet me on the floor. I did these same procedures for two forty-five minute class periods.
I was so impressed with what they came up with! They all wanted to tell me stories about what was happening in their artwork and how they made their pieces come together into a picture. There were so many beautiful houses, landscapes, animals, and people! This was a great short lesson that I can see myself doing again when a class gets ahead or when I need students to be able to work mostly on their own for a short period of time. It worked well for the second semester when students already knew classroom procedures and had prior practice with scissors and glue.
This is probably my favorite version of this lesson that I have done so far! In the past I used toilet paper rolls to make the hearts and had students stitch the sides of the paper with yarn. Lesson here.
Now, I've made the switch to cookie cutters and I had students use oil pastel to create a variety of line types on their paper. I could also have them sew the sides, but I like keeping this lesson to two class periods and not any longer. The cookie cutters were in a set from Amazon. I use them all of the time for printing with pre-k!
Each group gets one color to print for a few minutes, then I switch the trays and they get the next color. On the second day of the lesson, we created line types on a new red or pink paper with oil pastel. Then, we traced a heart on the back of their black paper, cut it out, and used a glue sponge to glue it.
Wanted to brag on my fourth and fifth grade students!
They created these amazing pumpkins back during the second quarter. I like to do this lesson every other year as my main painting lesson for the upper grades. It takes quite a few weeks and great focus from my students, but they are so proud of their final artworks. It combines all of the painting skills they have been developing in the younger grades into one big lesson.
This year, I displayed over twenty of these colorful pumpkins in the school district building during my school's assigned month.
This was a new lesson for kindergarten this year! I was searching for a lesson for early October where we could review all of the secondary colors. We did the orange and purple and was I satisfied with having just two represented in the work, but realized we could make the eyes green with oil pastel! Perfect!
We created a simple orange painted paper for the background and a smaller painted paper in purple for the spider body. A few of my classes got weeks behind, so we just used purple construction paper for the bodies.
For the webs, we created three diagonal lines from one corner with black oil pastel. Then we made small straight lines, filling in one section at a time. We did this all step by step together and by the end I was much better at teaching it. All of the spider webs turned out wonderful. I love all of their beautiful mark making.
Creating an accordion fold was more challenging than the webs, but again, by the end I was much better at teaching it. Even if all of the legs weren't perfect, they did it and they were proud of their work.
On the last day of the lesson, we made the sweet little faces and glued everything together. I loved all of the creative faces they made! I will definitely encourage more of that next year. The littlest kids always make the greatest faces on their little characters!
I honestly wasn't sure how this lesson would go because of the web (I usually don't do this much guided drawing) and the accordion folding, but my kids did so well! It was a great lesson to review line types, secondary colors, mixing and painting skills, and cutting and gluing skills. This lesson took four 45 minutes classes, which was longer than I expected, but I think it taught so many great skills and the results were worth it.
I am an eighth year art teacher with degrees in Art Education, living and working in northern Florida. Each week, I teach over six hundred students in grades PreK through fifth. Here you will find what we are learning in the art classroom!