Sunday, July 31, 2011

Le Soleil des Grenouilles est la lune. A frog's sun is the moon.

I love doing this project, the kids are so adept at directed drawing by this point and they really enjoy the subject as well. The 3-D tongues are an added bonus! I know I've borrowed this lesson from somewhere, so appologies for not crediting the right person.
For this project, we start, as I said, with a directed line drawing of a frog. Then we add the moon and the lily pad.
The kids get to paint their frogs and background, then when the paint is dry we add the rolled paper tongues, googly-eyes and some sparkle-y stars.

This year, I decided to make colour stations with the paint, as the colours were restricted. The desks are normally in little groups so on each "pod" I put a colour, (eg: blue) and some paint-brushes. All of the chairs were stacked and the kids had their drawings in hand. The RULE was that the paint-brushes STAY with the paint. While I had a few kids standing around waiting, or not sure where to go, for the most part, everyone got on with it, and I think there was only one accident where someone bumped into another person and their painting landed face down on the floor! I will FOR SURE do this again, as I found that there was less wasted paint and the kids got to move around and interact with more peers, not just those who they sit beside the whole rest of the day. It's also especially nice for the kids who sit beside those who have trouble sharing!

They all have such great personalities!

Two EASY Butterfly Projects

This first one is SO simple! It was a total "duh" moment!
I had seen some butterfly templates in a teacher book that I think were supposed to be made into finger puppets and had photocopied them for my butterfly file. Fast forward to our town's Easter Eggstravaganza and one of the crafts to make was a mobile using different coloured transparencies (pre-cut to be butterfly shaped, hole-punched top and bottom). The kids decorated them with stickers and moms and dads helped assemble them using paper clips, unfolded to be s-shaped. The kids could then add ribbons and beads to embellish their mobile.
Somehow mother's day snuck up on me and I realised that I needed a fast project to do with a challenging class, this was perfect!
At recess I photocopied the templates onto transparencies and then the kids really got into using the coloured sharpies to pretty them up!

The immersion class also wrote on the band part of the template the words: Je t'aime/maman/avec/l'amour/{nom} or Bonne/fete/des/mamans!/de {nom}
Then during an assembly (sh!) I opened up all of the paperclips and afterwards the kids assembled them, following my sample (one on the top, leading to two, each leading to one). Then, like at the craft table, they got to pretty-it-up some more with ribbon and beads.

The second butterfly project is a simple homage to Eric Carle.

Thanks mom for doing my bulletin board!!! I think your talents are being wasted as a professor in Engineering!
The children made their own painted paper using pretty much every colour of paint I had and then using different textured scrapers to move the paint, creating further detail. After the paint dried, the kids used different wing templates to come up with a butterfly they liked. (This was harder than I thought, many kids remembered the trick of cutting two, or four at a time, but then were disappointed when the painted side was down on half of their butterfly!
They were asked to embellish their butterfly by make stripes or spots or some kind of design using more paper, trading with their neighbours to find the perfect colour or pattern that they wanted to add.

Textured Bunny

I've been collecting bits of textured STUFF for a while now, waiting for a project to use it all. When I saw the "how to draw a bunny" post from {someone who I follow} I thought it would be the perfect time!
As you can see below, we used bubble wrap, corrugated cardboard and textured wall-paper for this project; as well as 2 pieces of white cardstock, water-colour (puck) paints, wax crayons and black sharpies.

We did this in two stages. We started by doing a directed drawing of the bunny, as shown here:

Next we took a second piece of paper and we used wax crayon to make the clouds and do rubbings for the grass (corrugated cardboard) and the basket (the wall-paper).

Then we painted the bunny (they could choose from yellow, white, brown or pink - or a combo!), and also painted the sky blue.
The next day when everything was dry, we cut out our bunnies and glued them to the backdrop. Hippity-hop!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Protect our Oceans!

Sigh. I've been anticipating this lesson with mixed emotions. I've been talking to the class about the environmental disaster that has become our oceans and how fish and other wildlife are affected by human behaviour.
Prime example:
"A dead gray whale washed ashore on West Seattle's Arroyo Beach last week. In itself, that is not an inherently unusual occurrence: five to ten gray whales die annually in Puget Sound waters, unable to complete the lengthy migration from the lagoons of Baja California, where they breed, to their summer feeding waters north of Alaska. Indeed, that whale was the fourth discovered in the region in a little over a week.

What was especially interesting about this particular whale, however, was its stomach contents. According to a postmortem examination by Cascadia Research:

The animal had more than 50 gallons of largely undigested stomach contents consisting mostly of algae but also a surprising amount of human debris including more than 20 plastic bags, small towels, surgical gloves, sweat pants, plastic pieces, duct tape, and a golf ball." (full article here)

In browsing some of the eco-friendly lesson plans in the dungeon at the school, I found a cool image of a sort of collage, depicting a fish eating garbage. PERFECT! I thought - high interest, relevant, socially-conscious art, that fits with my theme and will be displayed for Earth Day! And thus I began...

I started by making some oily water with the kids, using my favourite shaving-cream marbling technique on finger-paint paper. This they cut out to make the waves.

Then they painted fish *with open mouths!!

Finally, they glued everything on, and did a great collage of words (I thought representing the rhetoric?! and then bits of "garbage"- I tried to get them to focus on plastics).

Love how this worked, and how we used some recycled material to make it!

La pluie de printemps... April Showers...

I have started a water unit with my class and we are looking at the water cycle, water creatures and water states.
Given that we live in the rainiest place EVER, I decided to brighten our days with some rainbows. Such an easy, classic project, I actually left it for my sub the other day, but the kids loved it, and I loved the different textures.
-I used 2- 9x12 paper, cut into an arc (these you glue back to back)
-the middle of the arc got glued on the end to support the cotton ball cloud
-on the other end, a piece of tinfoil was snipped at the end and the lengths curled around a pencil for the rain.
The rainbow:

This second piece was the activity to go with a little Science lesson on water permeability... what fabrics or materials repel water, which ones soak it in.. I found this cute jacket template (actually there were 2 to choose from) they coloured it front and back, then cut it out, and wrapped it in saran-wrap! easy, fun!

Les Lucioles dans la Lumière de la Lune

Moonlit Fireflies!
We also did the moonlit fireflies lesson, originally presented by Marymaking, then also done by smART Class
It tied in very nicely with our space and moon unit in March.
I was impressed at how dry-brushing poster paint onto black paper worked!
That was how we started, using cool colours (blue, purple and green). Then the kids painted a paper plate (the thin kind with the ribbed edge) with pearlescent paint. They had the choice to make a full moon, or a half (quarter, etc) moon. This was perfect tie in, as we've been tracking the moon's phases, and they knew that the moon was always round, just not always completely showing.
They made fireflies out of bits of cardboard, glued bits of gold pipecleaner for the "tail" and googly eyes!

We used silver paint to dot on stars and finished the piece by highlighting the edge of the moon with yellow pastel and drew treetops with green and brown pastels.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

It's a Jungle out there!

With my English Art class, I am very crunched for time, and the attention span of some of them is quite short. It's been difficult for me to come up with meaningful projects that are do-able! I've found 2 projects in Mes premiers pas d'artiste (Heritage jeunesse), which I think I got through scholastic.
The first one I did was Birds of Paridise.

The kids chose 1 colour to paint their hand, printing it twice for the wings. They continued with the same colour and painted the head, body and tail. While the other kids were waiting for the paint station, they worked on making hibiscus flowers and palm fronds to decorate the display. After it was dry, on day 2(!), kids used pastels to draw patterns and designs on their birds. The BEST part was getting to use real feathers to add texture and interest to their birds. The kids were quite happy with how they turned out.

The second project in the jungle theme were VERY simple giraffes and zebras. I stole these from a birthday party my children were at. Kids from 2-5 were making them, so I figured they were do-able in less-than 20 minutes with 7 and 8 year olds! My fabulous birthday-party-planning-queen friend had a station at the party with everything pre-cut and ready to go. Bless her, she was more than happy that I took all of the leftovers!
For the head shape, she traced her kids' shoes (they are small!), then she found some fabulous fringe to use as the hair. The kids painted the stripes and spots, and glued on googly-eyes.. who can resist googly eyes?!

This week's jungle-themed project involves hippos! Last year I was looking at apple separators (like what they use to layer apples in a box) and thought it looked like rippling water. I did a fun project where the kids coloured hippo templates and cut them so they looked submerged in water, then added water-lilies. Cute, sure, (sorry, no pics!) But this year, I'm combining this idea with the other idea in the aforementioned book, and we are making standing hippos in the "river".
We started with a template of a hippo, very basic, on one half of a piece of cardstock. The children folded the paper, then cut it out to have a standing beast.
Next, we took tissue paper (various colours) and cut them into shapes and glued them with liquid glue onto the hippos.

The hippos were placed on the river and secured with large puddles of glue... this was the trickiest part to figure out, if anyone has suggestions for improvement, please share!

La Nuit Étoilée- Van Gogh


My new cricut! hee hee!

This is another project I did last year, borrowed from Art Projects for Kids. I actually did 3 versions of this one last year, with grades 1, 2 and 4, but this year's batch turned out the best, so far!
I started by giving each child a blue piece and a black half the size of construction paper. They had to use a ruler (tricky!) to draw a cityscape. The hardest part was cutting this out without cutting buildings off.. the goal was to have ONE piece of black to glue!

Before we glued, however, we used blues and yellows to create the stars, moon, and the movement of the sky. We talked about how the planet moves and the moon moves around the Earth. I love the "movement" on this one! This little gal moves a lot in class too!

I love it when I connect Fine Art with Science and French.. a 3-for-1 deal in this lesson!

Un Voyage dans l'Espace

- our new unit in French is about Space! I have been getting excited for this month as I have 3 bang-up projects to do with the kids.
The first one is the titular "Deep Space Sparkle" project from Patty's fabulous blog that I found last year. I can't quite find it now with her new formatting, but basically I meshed her ideas with the inspiration painting: Kandinsky's Several Circles No. 323 (Cercles divers No. 323):

Students started by tracing an odd number of circles in various sizes. They then colour them in with oil pastels.
Paint around them with two coats of black poster paint.
Meanwhile, the students made rocket ships using white glue and bits of boxes that they pieced together. These they painted with either cool or warm colours.
After the black paint was dried, the rockets were glued to the "space" background and I added some *sparkles* - I liked how sometimes the glue trailed a little creating a sort of meteor effect.

This is the second year in a row that I've done these and every one turns out amazing! It was the class's idea to mount them all together so that it looks like a universe, and I really appreciate that idea and the effect it produces!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Quick note: here's an AMAZING site: psykopaint I have had so much fun creating away! You have to check it out yourselves!! Here's the one I spent until midnight last night working on!

Also, I think most Art teachers have found this one.. The Google Art Project but it's always good to put it here, so that I can remind myself of it!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Pink Day.. anti-bullying and .. FLAMINGOs!!!

Tomorrow is Pink Day at our school, and indeed the district. It's when we all where pink shirts with anti-bullying messages to remember a boy who was bullied for wearing a pink-shirt.. Here's MY boy wearing HIS (ok, well, my old) pink shirt..
I thought with all this pink going on, it's the perfect time to implement the lesson I've had in the works for a couple of weeks.
Every gym period, for the past month, I've looked at this big wooden flamingo that's sitting on the top of a bunch of lockers on the stage of the small gym. Random? Yes! It's been the inspiration for this project, that and some lovely beverage napkins!

Yesterday, we did a drawing of our new feathered friend, using chalk on grey construction paper. We looked at this giant wooden beast (I think it used to be used as a planter? - and I'm sorry, I forgot to take a picture of it!) as well as pictures on google images. We then used pastels to colour it in. Most of the class used oil pastels, and some of the more gifted students used chalk-pastels. When students were finished, they worked on the palm tree fronds and tropical flowers that I used around the border. I really liked how this turned out.. it both gave students something relevant to do while they waited for others to finish, and I love how fabulous the display looks with the extra foliage (and foliage I did not have to make!) I'm going to do this again tomorrow with my other class, when we do birds of paradise.. I'm trying to beat the winter blues by imagining a tropical holiday!
I love how each flamingo has a unique personality:

They really ARE fabulous!!!!!

Monday, February 21, 2011

100-Day - Le 100e Jour d'Ecole

In the February Scholastic book order I found TWO FRENCH books around the 100e jour d'ecole theme. I was excited about them and ordered them, and then when they arrived, I was estatic to find that they were both really good! People who teach in the regular program have no idea how hard it can be to get resources like this, especially ones that you find are good and language-level appropriate!! One was a cute story book with tons of potential spin-off activities, and the other was a book for teachers with activity suggestions "Le 100e jour d’école : Célébrons-le de 100 façons! " . One suggestion in the activity guide was to do a self-portrait of when you're 100 years old.
The kids and I had a BALL imagining ourselves. They did a great job following my instructions about proportion, and I even dared to talk about womanly curves! oh my! (well, it is a French immersion class after all!) haha!