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Tree of Life and Talking Sticks

I forgot to share these pictures of our display when I wrote the blog post about Talking Sticks.  My co-worker Jayne taught the lesson behind these talking sticks which were Tree of Life acrylic paintings on canvas boards.  They were done by middle school kids.  Aren’t they gorgeous?

Talking Sticks

The talking stick is used in many Native American traditions. Whoever holds the stick has the right to talk.  The talking stick is used to make sure that each person in a group has a chance to express his or her own thoughts. Everyone else has to show respect and remain silent. When the speaker is finished talking, he or she passes the stick. My 2nd graders created beautiful sticks with wire, chenille stems, beads, feathers and paint to be used as … Read more…

3-D Bedroom Constructions and Perspective

Student-directed vs. teacher-directed and choice vs. “cookie cutter projects”  (I hate that phrase, it’s so annoying) are big discussions with art teachers online lately.  This is an example of how teacher-directed projects (perspective and interior models) can include lot of student choice and opportunities for creativity. When I went to the Art Institute of Chicago this Spring, I was lucky to be able to see the traveling van Gogh bedroom paintings exhibit.  My friend Dawn told me that she used … Read more…

Patterned Tape and Wood Scrap Sculptures

Patterned Tape and Wood Block Sculptures (9)

What can you make with patterned tape and wood scraps? This is an open-ended project that is sure to delight your kids.  For some reason, colorful patterned tape is very appealing to kids (and many adults.)   Materials used: Mat Boards (donated from a frame shop) Scrap wood (donated and picked up from an art supply swap) Colored and patterned Tape The students selected pieces of wood and then wrapped the blocks in colorful tape.  These pieces were taped or … Read more…

Doodled Drawings, Collages and Sculptures

Doodled Drawings (3)

It’s summer time!  This wrapped up my 10th year of teaching at my current school and 13 1/2 years teaching total.   The good news is that since I was so busy this year, I have a huge backlog of art projects to share with you.  I will probably write them all up this summer and then save some of them for the busy times next school year. Doodle patterns are always good for focus and concentration. This project is also … Read more…

Clay Projects for Kids

Clay Bobbleheads

Hello!  Today I am going to catch up on some of the clay projects my students have been working on.  The last few weeks we have been busy learning clay techniques, building and glazing.  We weren’t able to use regular clay for the past year since the kiln was out of commission, so my students were itching to work with clay! The 5th/6th grade classes made Clay Castles. We connected a clay unit to their study of the Middle Ages.  … Read more…

Paper Line Sculptures with Kindergarten

I usually start the year with kindergartners learning about and using lines.  In previous years we have made line paintings and line sculptures with wire and pipecleaners.  Another fun project we made was line windsocks by rolling up line paintings and adding tissue paper streamers. We’ve done line drawings (check out what my old blog used to look like before I moved it over to this website.) This year I was reminded by Cassie Stephens of a project I used … Read more…

Medieval Day at School

Medieval Knight Sculptures

Near the end of the school year our 5th/6th grade students put on a Medieval Day for the entire school.  They researched and planned activities including dancing, food sampling, jousting, catapulting, exhibits and displays and of course, ART! My 5th/6th grade classes made paper mache knight sculptures starting with a newspaper armature.  They added Medieval clothes and weapons to accessorize.  Some of the materials we used were cardboard, wood, cloth, leather, raffia, doll hair, yarn and felt. One of my … Read more…

Lego Brickworld Convention 2015

Lego thumbnail

Are you a fan of Legos?  Did you know there is a new documentary film coming out July 31 called Beyond the Brick: A Lego Brickumentary?  You can see the official trailer here.  Have you heard of the Lego Brickworld Convention? In June, I went to the Lego Brickworld Convention in Schaumburg, IL.  My husband went for the entire 4 day convention as an exhibitor with his Lego User Group.  I attended with my kids for the afternoon on the … Read more…

Rubber Ducky Public Sculptures in St. Joseph, Michigan

11_farmer_freddie_duck

A couple of weeks ago we took a summer trip to my brother’s cabin in Michigan.  We spent some time in the lovely city of St. Joseph, Michigan.  It is right on Lake Michigan and we enjoyed playing in the sand, walking on the piers, eating ice cream, playing on the beach playground, splashing on the splash pad and tinkering around in the two children’s museums.   As an art teacher, I was delighted to see large public art sculptures of … Read more…

Paper Hats with 2nd Graders

Making Paper Hats with 2nd graders

This is just a quick post to share with you a simple and fun project for the end of the year.. paper hats!  The kids started with a long strip of construction paper, drew designs on their hats with construction paper crayons, punched out shapes and added fun paper extensions from the scrap box.  The strip was placed around their head and stapled by me. We got more use out of our paper sculpture techniques poster (below).  Easy.  Fun.  Practice … Read more…

Making Talking Sticks with Kids

Making talking sticks by painting and decorating branches.

Earlier this year, one of the second grade teachers approached me about an idea for an art/social studies collaboration.  She had read a story to the children about a tribe which used talking sticks. She thought the students would be interested in making their own special talking sticks.  This could be a great project to accompany character education on taking turns and listening. Talking sticks have been used in native tribes of the Northwest Coast (North America) and in Western … Read more…

Making an Assemblage & Learning about Louise Nevelson

Learning about Louise Nevelson and making an assemblage with children

  I have seen variations of this project many times but have never tried it with my students.  I am pleased with how our assemblages turned out!  This was a great opportunity to clean out the junk in the classroom and teach about using found objects. My Primaries (or first grade) learned a little about American sculptor Louise Nevelson.  There is a short clip on YouTube that explains about her artwork. I put a call out to families to donate … Read more…

Paper Masks and Paper Sculpture Techniques

Paper Sculpture Techniques Poster

These lovely paper masks were made by my second graders.  The students learned different paper manipulation techniques including controlled tearing, punching paper with Fiskars squeeze punchers, cutting with paper edgers , crimping paper with a paper crimper, making forms, cutting spirals, folding zigzags and more. I created a poster with paper manipulation techniques using ideas that I had seen on other sculpture posters, like this one.   I should have made a poster like this years ago.  I have referred students … Read more…

Learning about Lines

Lines are an excellent starting point for lessons with Kindergarteners.  To begin this line unit, we read the book Lines That Wiggle.   The students used colored tape to make straight lines across their paper.  We talked about horizontal, vertical, diagonal and ziz-zag lines. During the next class period, the students used tempera cakes to paint a variety of lines:  wavy, loopy, dotted, dashed, squiggly, spiral, jagged and more.  Aren’t these lovely and expressive? After the painting project, we moved … Read more…

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