Thursday, June 19, 2014

Last Day!

Today is our last day of the school year!  Well, it is for the kids anyway.  We teachers still have a workshop tomorrow from 8am till noon and then we're free too! 

I do plan on updating the blog during the summer and catching up on all the lessons I didn't have time to post during the school year. 

Most of my summer is going to be spent by my in-law's pool.  How are you enjoying your well deserved time off?

Thursday, May 29, 2014

A Nice Surprise for Teacher Appreciation Week

Yes, I know.  Teacher Appreciation Week was almost a month ago and I'm just getting around to posting this now. 

At one of my schools, the PTA took it upon themselves to decorate the door of every classroom with something unique to that particular teacher.  This is what I got:

I simply love it!  I've left the decorations up.  It seriously makes me smile every time I come into my room. :)

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Warm and Cool Color Collages

This project was meant as a review for the warm and cool color families that first grade had been working on.  It also combined geometric and organic shapes with collage to make these adorable underwater pictures. 

We read the book, "Tickly Octopus" by Ruth Galloway.  It was a cute story involving some nice character development about finding out all the things you can be good at. 

After the book, we got down to the nitty-gritty of octopus making.  We used a circle for the main part of the head/body and then wiggly lines that we doubled for the eight tentacles.  It was so cute to hear a whole class counting to make sure they'd done eight arms!

I reviewed the various characters in the book with the class and modeled how to create them. 
After that the details were up to them.  This took two class sessions of 40 minutes each for them to complete.

In the book, the octopus was chased by an eel.  That is a large blue eel with very unfortunate placement.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Grumpy Cat - Neutral Colors for First Grade

This has nothing to do with the famous Grumpy Cat from the internet and everything to do with this charming little book:

It's a lovely little story about how one grumpy old cat learns to care for a young kitten.  The kids thought is was adorable and from an artistic point of view - this was great for teaching neutral colors! 
I pulled out crayons in black, white, brown, and grey as well as supplying paper in grey and brown (we did venture off the neutral scheme just for the background to create some contrast).

I modeled two poses, drawn from the book.  One from the beginning of the story where Grumpy Cat was trying to get away from his little shadow and one from the end of the story where the two were now friends and cuddled up together.  The students were allowed to chose which one they preferred.

We drew our cats, cut and glued them to the background.  With the story include this project took one and a half classes (my sessions are 40 minutes each). So I had how to books on cats and some Cat Fancy Magazines on hand for afterwords as extension activities for those who finished early.

They just came out so cute!  I love the facial expressions on some of them - especially the ones on Grumpy!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Paul Klee Goldfish

Paul Klee is one of our required artists for Kindergarten.  Since every school in my district has a copy of his painting "The Goldfish" we all use it for the basis of a project.

The print which is owned by all our town's schools.

My usual project with this print is to use black finger paint and Scratch Art's wonderfully bright rainbow finger paint paper.

I love this stuff.  The kids love it.  It does come in a weird size though.  I cut it in half to get something more workable for small hands.
I typically buy whatever is on sale, so this isn't a brand endorsement.  I also use craft sticks to help scoop and drop the paint onto the students' papers.

  Every now and again I also get a kinderartist who is scared of touching the paint or has some kind of sensory issues so I do also keep sponge brushes around just in case.

We start by talking about the different shapes Klee used to make the fish and what types of lines they can see in the picture.  Then we get started making our own fish.  When they finish I typically have them move the whole place mat rather then try and pick up a wet floppy picture and get it onto the drying rack.  They dry on my floor.  It's much easier this way for the little hands!

Teacher Example!

Some get so into the sensory experience the fish never gets made - just finger swirls all over!

This just wound up a set of hand prints!

Now, flash forward to the next day when you find out that it's Picture Day, and everyone is in their dressed up best.  Rather then have a moment of panic - you modify!  Same Klee print, same shape and line discussion - VASTLY different materials! 

For these Paul Klee fish drawn on Picture Day I pulled out the black construction paper and the construction paper crayons (I simply LOVE the construction paper crayons).  I actually like the way these came out better just for the extra details the kids were able to put in.

Teacher Example!