Sunday, August 30, 2015

Beginning the Year with Kindergarten

During the first day of art class, I talk about the art room rules, we go on a tour around the room riding an imaginary train...which they love...and then we have story time. After the story, I give them a piece of paper that I have written their names on for them. They find a table and start a drawing in pencil of whatever they choose. Once they have drawn for a minute, I bring around some crayon trays and say "we are going to try and color all of the white space!". Then if someone says their done, I point out the white space they, of course, didn't color. And if someone truly is "done" I tell them to flip their paper over and color on the back. I can usually stretch this activity into a 15-20 minute endeavor.
After several have finished or gotten bored...we clean everything up and meet back on the carpet. Then we talk about how we carry our drawings back to class and I choose an art star and we line up. If there's still time left, we play quiet-mouse while in line until their teacher shows up. This usually lasts 60 minutes...however, if it's a particularly unruly class we may read another book at the end.
This year our story was "Mix it Up"....really fun and interactive book about mixing colors. The kids loved it. I also read "Beautiful Oops" to them early on in the school year.

Days 2 and 3 in the Art Room:
I do this project every year with Kindergarten. It's our first big art project together and it's a building block for procedures, using oil pastels, using art shirts, painting with watercolors and clean up.
The first 60 minute class is spent talking about line. We read the story "Lines that Wiggle" and talk about each line in the book. Then they get to put on an art shirt. I toss them their shirts to put on while they're sitting on the carpet and they love it. So I write their names for them on a piece of 9x18 white paper. (I write their names for them ALL YEAR LONG...this makes my life a lot easier.)
They find their seat, drop their paper off and we make a circle at the 'demo table'. They watch me draw a straight line with oil pastel, then they "echo". I say "1, 2, 3, echo quietly" after I have drilled them about what type of line they will draw, how many lines? ONE...what kind of line? STRAIGHT...what color? ANY COLOR!"

So we practice this back and forth echo business all class long until we have drawn at least 10 different kinds of lines in 10 different colors. They usually do a great job at filling their page with a variety of lines and colors. Then we clean up...I spray some soapy water on a piece of paper towel (cause baby wipes are too expensive!). So they wipe their hands and tables and put their art shirts away and sit on the carpet when they're done. Usually by this time, we have about 5-10 minutes left of class for me to pick the art star and get them lined up. Procedures, procedures, procedures!

Below you can see the next class is painting the lines we drew with watercolors. I demonstrate how to use the watercolors the RIGHT way....I have little sayings that I use.

When we paint with watercolors, I call the soft bristle brushes "little fishies" ...."Take your fishy brush and give him some water! Fishies need water to survive so never let your fishy get dry." (They love this...and it really sinks into their brain...)

I demonstrate how to rinse the brush when I change color. And most importantly, we never dig in the paint. We "pet the paint like it's a precious little puppy dog head". Never DIG! It makes my skin crawl when they have a goop of watercolor that just destroyed a really expensive paint tray. UGHHHH. So I monitor closely as they are painting. I also go around with a spray bottle of water and keep their paints wet for them. And I say "KEEP your fishy wet!"  about ONE THOUSAND times during this hour.

I encourage them to paint all the white space...and not to mix colors. We don't want muddy paintings. When they're done, they carry their painting with their "crab claws" pinching the sides so they don't drop them on the way to the drying rack. I give them an art wipe and they put the paint tray in the watercolor drawer and they wipe down their tables.
They can get a piece of free draw if they have extra time. This went extremely well this year with most students following directions. The surprising thing is, when they get to paint, they are really good. Usually.

Hallway Display for Kindergarten Line Paintings

We do talk about Kandinsky's "Watercolor No.13" while we are painting. I have it displayed on the computer screen for reference.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Sub Lesson: Tracing Shapes and Drawing Patterns

This is my number one sub lesson that I can leave in the "sub tub" for my emergency lesson or for my "I'm feeling lazy lesson". 

The directions are simple: Pick an object from the bucket and trace it at least 5 times on your paper. 
 (I have some simple plastic shapes: circles, triangles, squares... and I also have a bucket of more complex shapes like cookie cutters, cd's, and other random objects for the older kids.)

Once the student traces their object, they draw different patterns and designs in each shape with a pencil. Once they have filled the shapes, they color with crayons. 

Then, they design the background...or incorporate it into the design early on. 

This usually lasts the whole 60 minute class period, but I always leave some "extra time" activities just in case. 

Name Tags and Idea Books

Every year the 1st - 4th graders create name tags that stand up on their table to designate their artist space. We also use these to house our idea books in what I so cleverly call an "idea book taco". They just open the name tag and place their book inside to keep it all together. But hey when you associate things with food, kids listen. 

Here's some 4th grade designs for their name tags. We do block letters and backgrounds. 

I print and design the idea book cover page and staple it to their books. If you're wondering what those books are...well they are just the best donation I've ever had! A parent worked for a paper company and they had all these books full of paper samples...well basically it's a book of blank white paper and luckily she thought of me before letting them get tossed out!

The kids decorate the name tags and the idea book cover in one 60 minute class period. It's a great way to start the year off with following procedures, using crayons and markers and being creative with our names!