Monday, November 17, 2014

One Point Perspective Scarecrows

           Another space lesson for third grade (these were actually done last year and I totally spaced on posting them).  I saw the lesson on Pinterest first, but when I tried to trace it back to its original post I could no longer find the source.  I do wish people would go to the source and pin from there rather just pinning from other pins!  If you know where it came from let me know.
            We used one point perspective to create the pumpkin field, adding large pumpkins in the foreground, medium ones in the middle ground and small ones in the background to enhance the illusion of depth.  These pictures also feature a large scarecrow in the foreground as the focal point and a tiny barn or farm house in the distance.

We drew in pencil first, outlined in permanent marker (I've switched from Sharpie to Bics - much less smell), and used watercolor to paint our images.  

Some examples in various stages of creation.  

Monday, November 10, 2014


Someone donated a ton of lovely old books to our school library.  Owning to space concerns however, the librarian couldn't take them all.  So, she put them up for adoption.  I adopted a book called "Alexander" which I fell in love with as soon as I saw the cover.

Alexander it turns out, is an imaginary friend to a little boy named Chris.  Chris spends a lot of the book telling his father about all the naughty things Alexander did during the day.  It was interesting to me to see which students picked up on the fact that Chris was doing these naughty things and just blaming it on Alexander and which ones didn't.  Chris tries to feel his father out and see what kind of punishment might await a certain imaginary horse but at the end is told that Alexander just had a bad day - that anyone can have a bad day, and that's okay as long as they try to be good the next day.  I had a surprisingly advanced conversation with a few of my classes about taking responsibility for your own actions and not blaming others.  To quote one little boy's observation, "His dad's probably more mad cause he wasn't honest then cause'a what he did."

Pretty smart for a first grader, huh?

Artistically speaking, Alexander is a great book for teaching pattern and line direction.  Which is what I used it for following out in depth conversation about good character!

We painted different patterns on paper using tempera paints after the story.  The following week we used glue sticks and scissors to assemble out own Alexanders out of geometric shapes.  We cut fringe for the mane and tail, although next time we might use yarn.

Here are a few of the finished ones for you.  Some are more horse-like then others.  This was actually a very good project just from a skills evaluation point of view!

Kind of looks more like a rocket ship then a horse.

No neck, but still adorable.

Getting them to actually attach body parts so they were overlapping was surprisingly hard.  Lots of dislocated limbs.

This was also very easy to see who understood pattern and who did not.

One little girl even did some Alexander fan-art when she was finished with her project.  Here she is riding the Alexander she made:

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Day of the Dead

This was a project that would not have happened without the help of my PTA.  They donated money for me to purchase supplies I would not have otherwise had the opportunity to buy.  I purchased paper mache skulls to do a Day of the Dead project - I ordered them from in the summer and they were about 2 bucks a piece.  Now, close to Halloween their price was jacked up to almost 8 bucks a piece!  If you do order your own make sure you buy them off season.

We watched a power point I'd gotten from Teachers Pay Teachers on the history and traditions of the Day of the Dead.  I can no longer find the link for it, so I can't put it up for you.  For some reason it's not listed in my purchases archive.  Sorry about that!

After discussing it and looking at other examples (I found a sugar skull calender that I took apart and laminated to use as posters) the sixth grade base coated their skulls white (it took two coats), and then worked on rough draft designs while they waited for their skulls to dry.

We used colored sharpies to decorate our skulls.  The sixth grade was told to use symmetry and asked to use symbols.  Most followed directions.  Some went very, very, very wrong.  And one young lady impressed me incredibly.

She gave up her recess to come and finish this.

Not a single surface was left undecorated.

She was so careful with her lines.

Seriously, I was so impressed.

It's beautiful from any angle.

I sort of wish I could keep it.

She was so proud of herself when she finished.  She dragged her mom down to see it on Parent Teacher Conference night.

The librarian was kind enough to give me display space.