Sunday, December 11, 2011

Liebster Blog Award

Kathy Zwahl at a wonderful blog named B art Z Elementary Art was nice enough to bestow upon me the Liebster Blog Award. Thanks Kathy!

Leibster is German and means dearest, beloved, or favorite.  The premise of the Leibster Blog Award is to spotlight up-and-coming blogs with less than 200 followers. I especially love that in being honored you are also being acknowledged by your online peers. The origin of this award is quite a mystery. It seems to have taken on a life of its own.

So, here are the official rules for recipients of the Liebster Award:
1.  Copy and paste the award on your blog.
2.  Thank the giver and link back to them.
3.  Reveal your top 5 picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
4.  Hope that your followers will spread the love to other bloggers.

This honor can be given to a blog of any subject matter, but I decided to pass it on to other art educators. My five Liebster Awards go to:

Maureen is a long-time educator and brand new blogger. Her images are beautiful, thoughtful and fun. Keep at it Maureen, I can't wait to see more.

Ms. Krass has a beautiful blog, well organized, and with lots of art history inspired projects. Lovely! Thanks for all of your online efforts.

Hope's blog also serves as a virtual classroom with a word wall, sketchbook ideas and more. My favorite lessons as of late are the winter collagraphs and abstract trees.

Miriam is  a brilliant teacher abroad who really brings out a painterly quality in her students' works. Her blog is in Italian, but take the time to run it through Google Translate. That's what this virtual world is for! Ciao Miriam! Piacere di conoscerti.

Kati shows a great relationship with her students, and makes her lessons fun. Look for the fashion design lesson, adding clothes to Michelangelo's David and Botticelli's Venus. Great job!

I hope you get a chance to look at some of these wonderful art teacher blogs. They are such an inspiration to me!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Raven Collages

During my full-time stint at elementary school, 4th grade students and I created collages based on the book Raven: A Trickster Tale from the Pacific Northwest by Gerald McDermott. I read the story aloud to the class and we discussed the stylized designs and colors found in the illustrations.
All works started with a blue rectangle on a black border with four red squares in the corners to begin the border design. Students also had a template for the shape of the raven itself. I decided that since the design and space for it to fill was so specific, this would be the best way to go. Although by fourth grade I try not to use too many stencils.
After that all of the cut paper designs were left to their individual choice. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Positive/Negative Space Trees

First graders finished a unit on line this fall and also learned about positive and negative space. On black construction paper we learned to draw a tree with bare branches. These branches needed to reach the edges of the paper to create different areas of negative space. When the children were happy with their drawings, they traced the lines of their trees with white construction paper crayons— I LOVE THESE! Especially when used on black paper.

The trees (positive space) were not to be colored, so they remained solid black. All of the areas between the branches of the trees (negative space) were filled in with many different colors and types of line. The children took their time and did a great job completing these projects. Here are some of their masterpieces.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Book Review: Let's Make Some Great Art

Laurence King Publishers has sent me another great offering for review. Let's Make Some Great Art by Marion Deuchars is an art-themed coloring and activity book filled with drawings, activities and even lessons in art history.  I really enjoy its hand-written text and friendly visual style.
Artists such as Picasso, Mondrian, da Vinci and more are featured with exercises inspired by their works. There are projects in all types of media from collage, to sculpture, to painting and drawing— and all of them are FUN! This would be a great art workbook for home-schoolers, or a resource for art lesson ideas and simple sub plans. I hope you get a chance to check it out!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Paper Chain Monsters

I was inspired by Fem Manuals and their paper chains, and just by chance one of my students asked how to make paper dolls during her free choice time. I took it as a sign and created monster shapes for a Halloween theme.
First graders learned how to create an accordion fold and then chose one of four templates to trace onto their papers. They learned how to not trace the entire image, so parts of it will be the connections of the chain. The cutting was a challenge but all managed with a little perseverance. The they used crayons and/or markers to create their designs. The final touches were the addition of pom poms, yarn, sequins, and googly eyes.


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Great Art Sites for Kids— Build Your Wild Self

Build Your Wild Self is a site sponsored by the New York Zoological Society, which allows children to create a self portrait Using attributes from a variety of wild animals.

First you create an avatar based on your human self, a fun exercise self portraiture. The you choose features from different animals to create your "wild self." As you work, you hear the sounds each animal makes and your final result lets you read about the attributes you've chosen.

This would be a great exercise to combine with a "Where the Wild Things Are" art lesson. It could also be a cross-curricular themed project with wildlife sciences. Here is the wild self I created:

Monday, October 10, 2011

Calaveras Portraits Inspired by José Posada

My fourth graders are learning about the works of José Posada, an artist from Mexico who illustrated political cartoons which poked fun at the members if High Society. He was also influenced by Dia de los Muertos, hence his portraits rendered as calaveras (skulls).

My amazing family of artists helped me to create some sample pieces for my classes. Here are our creations. Students' work to come soon!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Our Finished Mural

Our bottle cap mural is finally complete! Over 1,200 caps make up this rendition of Picasso's The Dreamer. Thanks to all of the children who helped create it. Oh, and we're still collecting.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Bubble Writer Winner!

Thanks to everyone for entering for a chance to win the book  How to be the Best Bubble Writer in the World Ever! by Linda Scott. Ashley, you are the winner! Congratulations.

Please check back soon for more posts, lessons, and perhaps another giveaway...

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Bubble Writer Give-Away

A few posts back I shared a review and artwork made by me and the kids for  How to be the Best Bubble Writer in the World Ever! by Linda Scott. This is a brilliant workbook style book that introduces us to and guides us through the world of the bubble writer. I hope you've had a chance to do some bubble lettering art of your own. If you haven't and need a little guidance, here's your chance. I've received a second copy of this awesome publication and will be giving it away to one of you!

 Please leave a comment on this post with a way to contact you to enter. One entry per person. I will select a winner at random on or about September 5th. Good luck everyone!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

My first Teaching Position

Well it's finally official. As of next week I will be teaching full time! I have just been hired as a leave replacement from September through November. One of the teachers I had subbed for last school year just had a beautiful baby girl and is taking maternity leave. And she has been incredibly helpful and supportive beyond my dreams! She has given me lesson plans, notes on classroom management and given me free reign in decorating the art rooms. I wish everyone could have this kind of experience. Thank you Emily!

So I have helped her unpack art supplies for the year, set up art rooms, started writing lesson plans, and have been reviewing notes, schedules etc. I have two days of new teacher orientation next week, and one professional development day for staff meetings etc. Oh, and then the real work begins. I have more and more respect for what teachers do every day! And my excitement is growing as well.

I wish you all the best for the 2011-12 school year, teachers, parents and children!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Zen Pandas

 I have been working on more lessons using children's books as inspiration. They make great cross-curricular projects, and highlight careers in the arts. I recently saw this one on MaryMaking and had to use it! Thanks Mary.

Students created mixed media works based on the children's book Zen Shorts by John J. Muth. The background combines pastel, ink and tempera techniques. The pandas were drawn in pencil, then sharpie, and color was added with watercolor washes. Each work depicts Stillwater the panda floating with his paper parasol. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Recycled African Masks

I love giving my recycled art classes during the summer. I hoard during the school year in hopes of having enough egg cartons, paper tubes, straws, or whatever I might find interesting to have enough for a group class.

I saw examples of these African inspired masks at Fem Manuals, one of my favorite art sites ever! They always have incredibly creative projects, recycle often, and really capture the adventure that their young artists are constantly having.

Our masks are created using recycled laundry soap containers, bottle caps, acrylic paint, and other materials from the studio. I assisted with construction using a hot glue gun. We discussed the stylized geometric forms and special uses for masks in Africa, as in many cultures of the world. Here are some of our creations.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Bubble Writing Review!

Laurence King Publishing contacted me and asked me to check out some of their upcoming books for use on my blog. The first I received was How to be the Best Bubble Writer in the World Ever! This is a brilliant workbook style book that introduces us to and guides us through the world of the bubble writer!

It is great for kids and adults alike. It can also be quite addicting! Author Linda Scott suggests minimal materials and a fun attitude to begin you on your journey. Oh, and she reminds you that there are no rules when it comes to bubble letters and creativity! The first three types of bubble letters are the foundation, so to speak, and then you can venture on to the more complex.

Use this workbook to create fun doodles, complete pieces of sketchbook art, or even design your own alphabets! Typography and design, pattern, color, composition—all of these themes are inherent in art lessons designed for children, when using this book as a guide. Here are some things we tried in class at the studio, using just pencil, black sharpies, and crayola markers:

Name Assignment: the students and I  went over the 3 basic bubble alphabets (freestyle, block, and shaded block) and created an art piece based on our first names.

Typeface Design: we designed our own bubble alphabets using our favorite animals as inspiration.

Comic Words: and for my manga/comic students, we used Scott's alphabets to illustrate examples of emotional dialogue.

Check out this video of Linda Scott demonstrating her genius! Thanks to Linda for such a wonderful book, and to Debra at Laurence King Publishing for sharing it with me and my students.

How to be the Best Bubble Writer in the World Ever! on Vimeo