For the past few years, creating mosaics with paper has been the final project for my upper grades. It gives them a chance to work on something together and still learn and create after they have taken all of their own art home. It's also great to do during testing because I get some classes more than others, so a project with more steps and benchmarks is difficult. Classes can work on the mosaics once or three times and it still works out.
I show examples of murals in Florida and then demo how we are going to make them out of paper (LEAVE SPACES between pieces and pretend it's a puzzle). Then I pull out the scissors, glue sponges, and my scrap paper boxes organized by color and we get to creating!
When the mosaics and complete, I cut them out and laminate them. They will be hung in the classroom next year! I love having student work already in the classroom on the first day of school. It's their space to learn and create and I want it to look and feel like that.
This year, I showed artwork by Elizabeth Pawle when teaching embroidery to my first graders. They adored her and her use of bright colors and interesting shapes and stitches. I would even catch them talking about her when they were working. "Who is Elizabeth?" I asked. "You know, Elizabeth Pawle!" They asked me to send her pictures of their work, so I had to, and I received the greatest response. My little ones were overjoyed!
Please go see her gorgeous work on her website!
Our mural is always my favorite part of the Night of the Arts! I love that it makes a big impact and that so many students take part in it.
Third graders worked together to create the background. I drew the design in pencil and they filled it in. I pulled small groups to work on parts of the mural, and when they were done with their area, they would go work on a mural worksheet I created. By the end, some classes were able to all be working on the mural together. Those are the best moments! But I also had one class that was not able to participate because of behavior and they worked on an alternative individual painting.
Kindergarten created their cute little tigers a few weeks earlier. I hot glued them to the mural when they were finished. I learned in previous years that tape just doesn't cut it! When the show is over, all of the tigers were still attached, so I pulled them off and the background was thrown away.
This year, students also created giant leaf paintings and individual leaves to use as decoration for the Night of the Arts. The large paintings were used to cover tables and to hang with artworks. The smaller leaves filled in tables and were used on the cards with the teachers' names. Third, fourth, and fifth made the large paintings by painting only leaf shapes (Rule #1), using only three colors and class (Rule #2), and working responsibly (Rule #3). They were able to walk around and change colors when they choose.
I had a few second grade classes make 12x18 painted papers with green and third grade added the lines with premixed colors to the individual leaves. These were then laminated and used in the show. Students did not get to keep them since multiple students worked on each leaf. I saved them and may use them as classroom decorations in the future.
It's my favorite night of the school year! The music teacher and I have been hosting the Night of the Arts since my first year teaching. I love having a night where kids can show their family their artwork and create art and music. Each year the event has become bigger and better!
Each student from pre-k through fifth grade has an artwork displayed in the exhibit. I like to have students create 3D works or smaller works that can easily be attached to science boards because it makes the set up time much faster. We have over 600 artworks to display in less than three hours! I am thankful to have great support at my school and so many teachers offered to help me set up.
I do most of the work before the show on my own during every free moment I have starting all the way back in February. Sometimes that means making tape rolls for two or three minutes and sticking them to a tray to save for later. Other times it's labeling a few pieces of art and getting them in class boxes to be carried to the cafeteria. I am thankful that my principal allows me to not have classes after lunch on the day of the show. This allows me to focus on any last minute details and start displaying the work. The mural created by third grade and kindergarten is hung the afternoon before the show because it takes so long to get up.
This year, PTO provided us with the best homemade brownies and refreshments! They are so wonderful to prepare that aspect of the event and get it all set up.
It takes months for this all to come together, but it is always worth it! I love seeing how proud my students are of their work and how art brings everyone together.
The week after the show, all artwork is taken home and it really starts to feel like the end of the year. I do leave up the mural, though. I wait until the last minute to take it down and get those sweet little tigers back to their kindergartners.
Now to think of ideas for next year...
Pre-K/ VPK: Painted butterflies
Kindergarten: Texture tigers
First grade: Apple weaving
Second grade: Heart sewing
Third grade: Circular loom weaving and background for the mural
Fourth grade: Ceramic flowers
Fifth grade: Ceramic animal coil pots
I was looking for a painting lesson that would allow second grade to begin to mix colors and explore on their own. In first grade, we usually go step by step together with painting lessons, so this was a chance for students to complete a painting assignment on their own.
I made the classes a checklist of four things I needed to see on their paper (the secondary colors and a tint), but the rest of the colors were theirs to create. I loved the excitement during the class and the exclamations of "red-violet" and "blue-green!" This is a fun way to really start talking about tertiary colors. At the end of class, one boy even thanked me for letting them make any colors they wanted. Learning is best when it feels like play!
The rest of the lesson was more controlled, and the background papers were painted with analogous colors. The real reason for this is so they wouldn't mix and make brown and it's faster! They ended up painting one primary color and just one secondary color for the stripes. The lesson took about four 45 minute classes to complete.
This project was so successful, I am doing it with third grade, as well. They could always use the extra color mixing practice and still need some fairly controlled lessons.
These second grade gumball machines will make an appearance in the halls of the county offices in a month!
This is the second year that third grade has made these beautiful painted paper leaves inspired by the secondary colors! I love displaying the leaves at the county fair and at our school's fall festival.
This lesson was inspired by a beautiful lesson from www.paintedpaperart.com/2013/09/fall-leaves-at-lake-george/Painted Paper Art. My version takes about three to four class periods. it takes one class to paint the entire paper a secondary color and another to add the texture. I like having two painting days so that students who miss one class can still complete a leaf. I have students mix directly on the paper and give them only the primary colors, black, and white. On the day we add texture, I do have them work with other students who used the same secondary color and give them a little of that color straight out of the bottle, as well. The other two days of the lesson are used to draw the leaf, cut out the leaf, and paint the black lines. Usually just a few have to finish on the last day.
This year, I did better with making sure students created a shape that would work well after being cut out (not too skinny in the middle). I demo drawing two leaf shapes to help students get started. We look at a few handouts about leaves draw the leaves on the back of the colored paper. The first step is to draw the center vein from the top to bottom of the paper. Once our laminator is fixed, I will laminate the leaves to make them even stronger.
Kindergarten has been working to complete their first project! One the first day of school, we learn the primary colors and color a simple worksheet that allows me to gauge fine motor skills ability levels and ability to follow directions. During the next class, we began these adorable primary color parrots. I was looking to do a different primary color painting lesson this year and our school theme is pirates, so parrots were perfect! I found the basic idea on Pinterest and adapted it to teach additional art skills and make them even cuter!
On the second day of the lesson, we painted the red and blue pieces, focusing on "grabbing" paint, painting technique, primary colors, and clean up procedures. On the final day of the lesson, we drew the eyes, wings, and beak together using black and white oil pastels. The kids LOVE how well these show up on the painted surfaces and how their little parrots come alive once they have faces. I had already stapled the two paper plate halves together. Students selected one strip of paper in each primary color and practiced using glue sponges to attach the pieces as the tail. I displayed some of them for Open House and hung others in the window in the classroom.
This is my sixth year teaching and my sixth year in this wonderful little room! I believe that art rooms should be bright, functional, and inspiring places to create and learn!
I love all of the open shelving in the classroom. It allows me to be creative when arranging the spaces and supplies and helps to create a colorful studio atmosphere. I have the tiniest closet, so I have to really make use the shelving. Having easy access to all of the supplies is also incredibly helpful when teaching. If I need to change part of a lesson in the middle of class or if a student has a great idea they want to try out, it is simple and quick to grab materials.
New to the classroom this year:
We do have a few new things in the classroom this year. It's fun to change things up, especially since I have the same kids every year. It gives them something new and exciting.
Two additional step stools. I don't know why I didn't think of this earlier! Of course more than one student can be at a sink at a time! This should make things a little faster during our messiest cleanups...
Palette classroom management system. I wanted to do something different with classroom management and rewards for classes this year. I found so many art related ideas on Pinterest and other websites, but I loved the palettes. Each class gets their own palette and they will earn their paint colors over the weeks. If a class earns ten or more Roars in one class period (we're tigers and the art room points have been Roars in the past), then they will earn a color. Classes earn Roars by doing things like having a great clean up, sharing well, answering questions correctly, and raising hands. On Friday afternoons, I will add the color paint splotches to the classes who earned them. I think this will help those classes that never earned the grade level art award in previous years. I used to give the top Roar earning class in each grade level and giant wooden paintbrush to hang outside their room for a month. I think with this new method, all classes will be capable of earning a reward. I'm thinking the rewards can be choosing their own seats for a day, doing art outside, using modeling clay for the last fifteen minutes of class, or having a snack, etc.
Colorful trays for turning in dry artworks. In the past, I have used their class folders as a place to put artwork, but we were having a hard time with that last year. Hopefully these brightly colored trays from Target will help students find their place to turn in work. There is a different color for each grade level and I labeled the inside and outside with the grade level.
Clean up visuals: I clean up six times a day every day, and discussing clean up procedures that often is exhausting. I try to ask students questions about clean up instead of simply telling them what to do, but I want them to be even more independent. I found art clean up visuals on Teachers Pay Teachers and they are incredible! I laminated them and will post them on the white board with each lesson I am teaching. Along with asking questions, these visuals will greatly help with our clean up procedures.
New mosaics! My upper grades kids made these construction paper mosaics last year. I can't wait for them to see the giant paintbrush and paint splatters up on the wall! It has become a little tradition for students to help make decorations for the next year. I love that I can already have some of their artwork hanging in the room on day one of the school year.
This summer, I taught a week of art classes from home. A few girls (entering first grade through third grade) from my school attended and we made so much in just four days! Art camp ran from 9:00-3:00 Monday- Thursday.
Summer 2017 Lessons:
The most important thing I learned this summer was the routine! It was nice to get that down and figure out how much we can actually create in a day.
I will definitely continue to host art camps from home in the summers. It was so much fun to work with a small group and create things that we can't quite do in school because of budget, space, or larger classes. I also loved testing out a few lessons that I can take back to the classroom.
A few things that I learned this summer:
I am a seventh 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!