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Friday, November 30, 2012

Frogs in a Pond (with Monet) 1st Grade

I love lessons where I can tie in different areas of study, art history and art techniques!  This is a project I developed that incorporates study of frogs, Monet and watercolor painting.

To start this project, we learn about the artist Claude Monet and his paintings of ponds and lilypads.  We read a book about Monet:
(This series is awesome for read-alouds in class.  I love the picture books about art, but I want the pictures in the book to be actual pictures made by that artist.  I don't like picture books that have art created by a different illustrator.  For example, if the book is about Van Gogh and none of the pictures in the book were painted by Van Gogh, the story book can be confusing to kids.  Does that make sense?  There are a lot of picture books out there about artists, but the artwork was done by someone else.  This series of books combines cartoons and ACTUAL artworks by the artist, which I feel is so important.  And this series breaks things down in easy-to-understand concepts for the kids.  I always tell the kids ahead of time that the cartoons about the artist were not drawn by the artist, but by someone else.. otherwise one of the kids will raise their hands and ask, "So did Monet draw these cartoons?")  Anyways......  After we read this book, we also watched the movie "Linnea in Monet's Garden".  As we watch the movie, I again make sure to point out the actual pictures Monet painted. 

After we learn a little about the background of Monet's artwork, we paint a watercolor picture of a pond.  I show them how to use the wet-on-wet watercolor technique.  Paint the paper with water first, then add wet colors of paint.  We talk about cool colors and the colors they might see in a pond.

Then, we cut out lilypads from green construction paper and added little fluffs of tissue paper for flowers.

The first graders read a series of books called Frog and Toad in their language arts classroom.  At the same time they study frogs (and other amphibians) in Science class.  In art class, we look at pictures of frogs and observe the details and draw them as realistically as possible. They do some practice sketches first and then I teach them on the whiteboard some steps to draw a frog if they are struggling.  They outline these frogs with green marker and color in with crayons.  Then, they are cut out and glued to the pond.  Some of them glue down the legs and bend them so the frogs pop off the page, and some of the kids glue them down flat. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

African Cloth Painting-- 3rd Grade

The Intermediates (grade 3) are studying Africa in their Social Studies class.  We learned about the African Korhogo Clothes.  See this link for more details.

This project focused on how symbols are used in African art.  The students designed their own painted Korhogo cloth on muslin.  They decorated the border with symbols and drew their main figure with Sharpie.  Then, they added paint with watercolor.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Name Pattern Designs

This is a great project that ties together math, art, and social studies.  We looked at the repeating patterns and shapes in Islamic tile designs (they are studying Islam in social studies) for inspiration.

The tutorial for this project is in a blogpost I made earlier.  The only difference is that this year we used light tables to trace the image through the triangles.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Artsy Christmas Presents for Kids

Are you wondering what to get a child in your family for the holidays?  As an art teacher, I see what the kids really like and what they gravitate towards to when they are given free time in art.

These are some popular items for kids that I have personally used and recommend.  Most of these can be found at your local Target or Michaels (or other craft/art store).  Don't forget to print off a coupon online if you are buying from Michael's or Hobby Lobby.  Also, if you'd rather shop from your home in your pajamas, I have linked to Amazon.

Please also use with adult supervision until you are sure your child can handle the materials on their own.

If you are an art teacher, you may already know about a lot of these products.  I'm always excited to find new fun art materials, so share some good ones in the comments.

Preschool Art Supplies

For the child who doesn't have many art supplies yet, these are some to start their collection...

Safety Scissors.. kids love to cut paper.  My three old is so proud of herself when she cuts little pieces of paper.

Watercolor Pencils..  My preschooler loves drawing with watercolor pencils.  Actually most of the kids I teach do too!  There's something magical about drawing with the pencils, adding water and watching the colors spread.  Crayolas work just fine, but I let my daughter use my fancy Inktense colored pencils (because that's what I have at home).  They last a long time!

Sketchbook  Every kid loves to have their own special book to draw in.  These mixed media sketchbooks by Canson work nicely for light applications of water soluble materials.  I have used mine for watercolor pencils, paints, stamping.. just make sure not to drench the pages. 

Crayons  A no-brainer!  Crayons are great for all ages.

                                 Glue sticks

Stickers  I like to use foam letter and number stickers, shape stickers, character stickers, colored tape.. anything that sticks is fun for little kids.

Crayons and markers that write on black paper There are several types of crayons and markers that will write on black paper.  These are very fun to use as well.

Play Doh  I hate the smell of Play doh, but it is the best to use for preschoolers (in my opinion).

Paints  We use the Crayola fingerpaints and a basic watercolor set at home.

School Age Art Gifts

Gel Pens  There are some that definitely work better than others!  I love the neon gel pens from Sakura. Don't waste your money on the cheaper ones.


Fine Line Pens  Kids LOVE these fine line felt tip pens.  They write really smoothly and have a lot of different colors.

Drawing Book  This book about how to draw Manga is one of the most-used drawing books in my classroom collection.

Wild Notes  This pen will color change on the paper.  I bought some of the index cards as a gift.

Color Switching Markers  These color switching markers are so much fun.  Draw with one end, then use the other end to draw on top.

Water Soluble Oil Pastels  Creamy and smooth, these can be used as regular oil pastels or you can add water with a paintbrush to blend it. 

Decorative and Colored Tape  You can cut or tear patterned or solid color tape to make designs and decorations.  Target has their own line of bold patterned tape which is very reasonably priced.  You can find lots of tape at Michael's as well.

Twistable Crayons  The colors show up nicely and twisting the crayon is a novelty.  Just don't twist too far or it might break off.

Stampers Rubber stamps of all kinds are fun for kids.  A stamp kit might be the most cost effective way to start out rather than just buying individual stamps.

Activity Books Klutz books are great for introducing all sorts of artsy crafty things.  For example: beading, origami, friendship bracelets, etc..

Beads and other jewelry making supplies

Sculpture stuff:  Wire, chenille stems, modeling clay, buttons, beads, charms, styrofoam, etc.

Origami Papers and books!

Watercolor Sets For a child who is a beginner, get a basic crayola set.  For a kid who is really into painting and wants to take it further, I highly recommend the Sakura Koi travel set.  The waterbrush is nice to use.  These are the watercolor paints I use most often when painting.

Scratch Art Paper Using a wooden stick scratch the surface to reveal the colors underneath.  

Shrinky Dink Paper These sheets can be drawn on and then placed in the oven.  They shrink into little hard plastic pieces.  If you punch a hole in them before you bake you can make them into pendants. 


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