Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Polar Bear Collage

Kindergarteners used their drawing skills to fill the sky with beautiful snowflakes, and fine motor skills to tear paper into cuddly POLAR BEARS.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Pinch Pots

Another year, another batch of Kindergarten Pinch Pots!!!

Start by making your clay into a nice round ball....

Then hold your clay in one hand and give me a 'thumbs up' with the other...

Then poke your thumb way down into your clay ball (but not all the way through!)...

When you take your thumb out, you'll see you have a bowl...

But that hole is TOO TINY!  I could only fit 2 M-n-Ms in it!  
we need to fix that....

Do you know how to pinch?

Let's Pinch, Pinch, Pinch the sides of our bowl to make that hole much bigger.

We can fit about 100 M-n-Ms in these bowls!

Now to fire, glaze, fire again.... kindergarten parents, if you're reading this, pretend to be surprised when you open your Christmas Present....

Friday, December 7, 2012


The Kindergarten students have been hard at work, painting oil pastel resist snowy scenes, with potato print penguins - they are so CUTE!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Collage Trees!

The first graders printed background sheets with cardboard to make snowflakes, painted green textured papers, made shoe print papers....we were buuuusssssyyyyy.  Then we put them all together into these great tree collages!  They did an amazing job...

The Transitional Kindergarteners even got into the action, using hole-punchers for snow, fiskars shaper punchers for ornaments, and the scraps from the first graders painted papers for big triangle trees!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Open Ended Collage

One of my first grade classes was short (25 minutes instead of 35), AND was missing 6 students.  Rather than rush through the planned painting project and end up with a not-so-great products and a lot of kids with work to make up, we went into 'wing it' mode, and did more 'open ended' art.

No examples, no directions, just gave them the materials and let them go!

This is what we came up with.....

really great collages made from old abandoned artwork.

"It's a Chinese Restaurant! 'Come and get your chicken and green beans!'"

"This is a really mean cat"

"There's a guy waiting for the bus, and there are two lights"

This reminded me of a recent post on Deep Space Sparkle about Open Ended Art.  If you're an art teacher, or interested in art education, read the post AND the comments (it's a pretty good discussion)

I personally LOVE Open-Ended and Choice Based art.  Though I don't have the organization or stamina to run an entirely choice-based art classroom, I think that incorporating days where the kids can just create without examples, modeling, directions.... is EXTREMELY important.  

Hearing teachers, especially art teachers, say that kids NEED direction, or that we can't just expect them to CREATE something makes me a little bit sad.... 

I think that kids need to come up with their own ideas from scratch once in awhile, and that they should absolutely be expected to just CREATE something - 

I love my projects that lean a little bit toward the 'cookie cutter' side once in awhile, but 
I truly LOVE days when I get to experience 100% genuine kid creativity at its finest.
It's all about finding the balance that's right for you and your kids.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Shoe Printing

Kindergarten and First Grade classes printed with stinky ol' SHOES today!  (OK, they weren't actually stinky, but calling them that makes it even more fun!)

Thank you to everyone who donated 'stinky ol' shoes' 

Artsonia Gallery

If you haven't been to Artsonia yet, please take a look!  It is an online gallery of student work from all over the world, and the TJ Artroom is represented there, as well.
Here is a sneak peek at what you will see in the TJ Artsonia Gallery.....

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Collaborative Bike Mural

ONE of the bike murals is (mostly) assembled, and I LOVE it!

Notes for next time.....
A) divvy up the parts of the mural that have no (or very little) shadow, to finish off the rectangle, and make it look more finished.
B) devise a better coding system for the puzzle pieces!  My intention was to have the students put this together themselves, as a collaborative effort.  Major Fail - entirely because of the way that I marked the back of the pieces - it didn't work out quite like I had pictured it (I ended up putting most of it together) - but I think I have fine-tuned my plan, so that next year, we will rock this project start to finish!  

***Collaboration is one of the Universal Constructs in the Iowa Core Curriculum***

Monday, November 5, 2012

Paint Blob Symmetry

Kindergarteners have been talking about symmetry in their classroom - so..... time for paint blobs!!! 

With a little collage thrown in, just to add to the symmetrical goodness!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Introducing.... THE GLUE SPONGE!

This has revolutionized collage in my classes - LOVE IT!! 

I wish I could take the credit for this idea - or even give credit to the genius who came up with it.  I originally read a description of a glue sponge container on a T.A.B Choice Message Board a few years ago, and it seemed like a great idea.

I cut a sponge to fit the container, and just poured glue in.  Students can just tap their shapes on the top of the sponge for a thin, even coat of glue - no more puddles!  I worried about the sponges getting icky, but I still have the ones that I made well over a year ago, and the sponges are still intact AND the glue isn't stinky :)
 The only maintenance these need are a few spritzes of water before they get closed up for the day, and flip the sponge every so often.  Last year I couldn't find the nice thick sponges, so I layered two thinner sponges, and it worked great. 

Love, love, love my glue sponge containers.

****Welcome Pinterest-ers :)  I wanted to add a quick note about shapes getting mangled/crumpled - as long as the sponge is well-saturated, kids shouldn't have to push them down hard on the sponge, so this shouldn't be a problem - when I see crumply shapes being glued down, it's a clue to me to re-teach students to gently tap the shapes onto the sponge (or that I need to flip or re-load my sponges).  Hope this is as big of a life-saver for you as it has been for me!
***** Entering year 3 of my original glue sponges - no mold has set in, or funky smells of any kind! My glue sponges have moved with me to a new school, new set of kids, and new blog - they seem to be adjusting just fine :)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Texture-ful Trees!

First grade students used a ton of texture in these tree collages.  Texture rubbing/watercolor resist background, hand trees using crayon to create an implied bark texture, and the real texture of tissue paper leaves.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Painting our Bike Puzzle

We talked about positive space, negative space, primary colors, secondary colors, and complementary color pairs.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Recent Owl Obsession...

How can I help it? They are so cute!!
The first graders' art homework is to go home and teach someone else how to draw these owls.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Owl Collage

It took me forever to find the original source for the adorable owl I saw on Pinterest, but I finally found her!  Susan Black created these ridiculously cute collages, which are the inspiration for a Kindergarten lesson. 

We looked at Van Gogh's Starry Night, talked about background/foreground, shape, letter formation (our owls are made using the letters U, O, B, D, V, A)... this project is chock-full of learning.