Friday, January 5, 2018

Pre-K Fossils - Two Ways

This is a great clay lesson perfect for the younger crowd - these clay fossils and necklaces were made with Pre-K students during one class period. For prep, each student will need two chunks of clay - one about 3-4" in diameter and the other about an inch in diameter. To warm up, we talk about fossils and I share a book called, Fossil by Bill Thomson. To make the charm, I teach the kids how to gently roll the bottom of their shoe on top of a small piece of clay that we place on the floor. When we are done with the shoe fossils, I pass out fossil tool kits - boxes with shells and an assortment of plastic dinos and bugs. First, they use the palm of their hand to press the larger chunk of clay into a pancake and then we have fun pressing the tools into the clay and experimenting to make the larger fossils. 

Tip: Make name tags to stay organized! I use small pieces of paper with the kids names already pre-written. To keep track of everyone's work, I placed the charm on top of the large fossil and sandwich the name tag in between. At the end of the day, I used a toothpick to write names on the underside of both pieces. 

After these were bisque fired, the kids used underglazes to add color to both of their fossils. I painted on clear coat so they would come out nice and shiny after the second firing. 

Practicing fine motor skills and adding beads to each side of the shoe charms! 

Has blogging reached an end?

I'm curious what you think - do blogs still have a place in the world? I know that I tend to focus more of my energy on Instagram these days. I can get immediate feedback and share what's going on in my class through the beauty of pictures. I can stay connected with other art teachers and collect/share a lot of information about lessons and best practices in the classroom instantly.
Let's hear what you think! 

Happy New Year! 

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Totally Squares - Process over Product

Fun masterpieces built from continued tool exploration - my lesson was inspired by the book, Perfect Square by Michael Hall. It's really all about the process with Pre-K and I am starting to really embrace this philosophy - what a feeling of freedom, not just for me but how special and meaningful for the kids! We created these over two class sessions.....

Day #1 - random sizes of colorful paper cut into squares and 3x3 origami paper squares, glue sticks, oil pastels. The kids experimented with ripping, crunching and folding the squares before gluing and moving on to the pastels.....

Day #2 - old book pages cut into squares, glue colored with liquid watercolor and glitter, paint sticks. The kids worked on tearing the book pages and used the colored glue to not only adhere, but to add colorful blotches of color, then they got to work with paint sticks! 

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Pre-K : shape exploration

This year, I am spending a lot of time with the smallest people in the school building - Pre-K. A very long time ago, the thought of teaching art to Pre-K was mind-boggling, but now that I've had the opportunity to work with them, I've learned that they are *magical*. They are so fun and I love them! I work with a Pre-K class every day of the week, so I have many chances to work out kinks and create what I think is best for them - which includes a lot of exploration and play with art tools. I am not an expert, but I do know that Pre-K's benefit so much from playing and experimenting with art tools. It gets kind of trance-like in the art room while they are busy making and playing and it's an incredible thing to observe :) I have been learning a lot from the blog by Meri Cherry and I highly recommend her e-book too, Art Secrets Every Teacher Should Know

Here are some results from our first project of the year - each kid created a large 12x18 multi-media artwork that we added to over the span of three, 40 minute art sessions together. We always start class with a fun book, then I introduce the tools one at a time so that I can really dissect them and how to use/care for them. So. much. fun!!!
Day #1 - pencils, shape stencils, then crayons
Day #2 - pre-cut paper shapes & glue sticks, dot stickers, then markers
Day #3 - watercolor paints! and water soluble oil pastels

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Kindergarten Nevelson Sculptures

This lesson is one of my perennial favorites - found-object assemblages with Louise Nevelson. What a fun time Kindergartners had stacking, arranging and building their sculptures. The lesson does require a bit of prep for the teacher, but it's quite worthwhile. I put together trays of scrap cardboard pieces, woodsie shapes, popsicle sticks, clothespins (large and tiny found at the Dollar Tree), cardboard egg containers and itty bitty pencils that have been collected over time. The cardboard base for each child measured at around 8x11. Give it a try, you won't be disappointed! The final touch was the drippy gold tempera paint.......I think if Louise had walked into our classroom, she would have been proud!