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:
After artwork goes home, I usually see my classes between one and three times before the last day of school. This gives us some time for lessons using modeling clay!
First, we look at examples of local art, and through a game, we distinguish between sculptures and two-dimensional artworks. Even though I teach in a small town, there is plenty of public art in cities within an hour away that students recognize, and they love talking about works that they have seen in person. Then, we get to building sculptures of our own!
I give the classes challenges and set my timer. They absolutely love this! As soon as the timer goes off, they stop working, put their hands together, and get ready for the next challenge. The challenges vary depending on grade level and include:
This was my favorite Night of the Arts yet! We had so many families attend the music program, create art with their children, and view the work their children have made this year.
Our Night of the Arts consists of a PreK/VPK through fifth grade art exhibit from 5:30-7:30 in the cafeteria and a music program outside the cafeteria beginning at 6:30.
The event has changed so much over the years, and each year I believe the show has improved. I've learned to work smarter, so it doesn't have to be as stressful as it was during my first year teaching.
Asking for help from volunteers and teachers has saved me so much time. I set up the whole show the day of the event, and I have temporary duty after lunch to begin setting up. The other teachers come to help around 3:00 and it was like magic how it all came together so quickly. I do hang the mural the afternoon before because it is the most time consuming element. It takes me about forty minutes to get all of the pieces to the cafeteria and taped in place.
We begin the pieces that will be displayed in the Night of the Arts in January and February. This gives me plenty of time for the lengthy projects, like ceramics and the mural. This year, I was completely done mounting and labeling artwork about two weeks before the show. Then, I could focus on the little things like refreshments and cutting paper to size for the tables.
I am so proud of what this event has become. It is wonderful to work in an environment where the arts are supported so greatly and we can have events like this. Now to start dreaming of ideas for next year!
I think this will now be my go-to scissor skills lesson for kindergarten! I love that we used a variety of techniques and that the kids were so proud of their work. I wouldn't recommend doing this lesson early in the year because scissor skills like this can be overwhelming for them, but it really works well mid to late year.
I had done bubble printing before, but hadn't extended it beyond printing multiple colors on one paper. This year I wanted to do more. We printed blue and light blue on white paper and the printed red on orange. The cutting and finishing touches took longer than I had anticipated. We did the sand and grasses on one day (practicing drawing wavy lines). On another day, we cut and glued the fish and used oil pastels for the details. My kindergartners LOVE oil pastels. They think of them as really special soft crayons. It's adorable when they get so excited about art materials.
This is my second year of doing ceramics and it has been so much smoother this time around! I gave fourth and fifth grade students more time (three days for the coil pots and two for glazing) and changed the procedures for glazing.
We began the coil pots together, creating a slab and cutting out a medium circle by tracing a plastic lid. Then, we made the first two coils and I made sure they attached them well. After that, the design was their own. I wanted them to make something personal that they loved, and I was so impressed their their work. The animal bowls turned out beautifully, so I think I may have students make animal coil pots in the future.
For glazing, I had a counter set up with nine trays, each with labeled cups of a different color, brushes for each color, and the bottle of glaze. I also had a laminated picture from the Blick catalog taped to the counter to show how they glazes would look after firing. Students could get one color at a time with a brush from the tray (no rinsing brushes), do their three coats, and return the cup and brush. This worked SO WELL and we used less glaze than last year when I had the glazes on the students' tables. We had no issues with spilling or dropping cups of glazes. I love having opportunities for students to be independent, so I will definitely be doing this again next year.
Sweet bird nests from third grade! I don't have the space to do clay lessons with more than three grade levels, so third grade is the first time students at my school use clay. This lesson is simple and teaches basic skills, so it is perfect for a first clay lesson. It would be great for even younger students. Creating the nest and eggs takes one day and glazing takes just one more.
Since these pieces are being displayed in the Night of the Arts, I had students make little 5x5 inch tiles with cardboard. This gives their work some color and is a place for their name. We glued a white piece of paper to the cardboard, painted the background colors in "windows" we drew, and added pattern with black paint. They did a fantastic job! I just put a tiny drop of hot glue under the nest and the artwork is ready!
First and second grade students made these beautiful hearts! Together, we made a chart of warm and cool colors and used the chart to help sort the tissue paper squares. It took one 45 to do this and fill a 9x9 inch paper with the tissue paper. They LOVED this part of the project! I was surprised by how much each class enjoyed working with the tissue paper.
On the second and third days of the lesson, students made the painted papers and created new ways to use tools (scrub brush, medicine cups, Popsicle stick, bubble wrap, etc.) to make texture. Second grade continued to focus on warm and cool colors. I had first grade students pick a secondary color for their painted paper.
To finish, we traced a heart on the back of the tissue paper piece and glued it to the painted paper. Then, we practiced our good painting techniques and added the black border around the hearts. My first graders were so great with this step!
Now to get the first grade hearts ready for the Night of the Arts in a month!
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!