Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Peacocks Galore!!

I spent an hour this morning looking for a Pinterest post to show you an artist making peacock feathers out of coffee filters, cutting them into plumes and creating a wonderful, proud peacock. That was my inspiration for having kindergarteners using coffee filters for their tails -- however, I couldn't find the post. But thanks to whoever that was -- I hadn't thought of using filters in that way.
All classes started by viewing photos of peacocks on the Smartboard and discussing the colors and details of the feathers, head and body. Then we watched this great YouTube clip of a peacock fanning its tail. I got that from Natalie at smART Class blog (here). She has a cool lesson for doing collage peacocks, too!! The next step was to use liquid watercolors (yellow and blue) to create the tail. Some classes started by painting the blue dots first and painting yellow around them. A couple of classes (where I had less time) painted the whole filter yellow and then dropped in the blue.

The last step for that day was to use the side of a piece of illustration board to "print" gold lines for the quills of the feathers. Kids had used this technique recently for another project, so they knew just what to do.

On another day, students used blue construction paper for bodies and heads. They colored the feathers with light blue and white oil pastels to get the shaded effect and then glued them together. The eyes and top feathers were made with thin Sharpie markers. We even got a little "cutting practice" in by cutting the green grass strip. (If I had had more time I would have had the kids pre-paint the paper for the grass to give it more depth and interest -- NEXT TIME!!)

Did you know that a "flock" of peacocks is also known as an "ostentation?" Isn't that a great name for peacocks showing off their tails?!!!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Memorial Day Lines

Last week Kindergarteners glued a shiny foil star and painted a variety of black lines segmenting their boards. Posted here.
This week, with a focus on how to hold a paint brush and paint to get smooth, flat areas of color, they added blue and red cake tempera to complete their works.
Before starting on their own paintings, children sat in a circle while some of their friends demonstrated how to moisten tempera cakes (they are brand new and the first time these kids had used them) and paint with the brush without smashing all the bristles!! I likened it to petting a cat -- and even had a toy stuffed cat so I could model the motion.
Happy Memorial Day to All!!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

"A Burst of Color"

We started the week off with kindergarteners talking about what the dried salt areas of their paintings looked like. (lesson here) Then they ripped the masking tape off their watercolor/salt paintings (with more "ooohs and ahhs") as the white line stripes were revealed. Finally, they placed their paintings on the carpet area matching up one of their white lines with someone else's.

What fun!!
I was stapling a bunch of them on the hallway display board when a little girl came around the corner from the cafeteria, stopped in her tracks and exclaimed, "OHHH, it's just like a BURST OF COLOR!!"

Isn't this why we teach?!!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Kindergarten Lines

Tomorrow we'll be starting a two-class project that will end around Memorial Day -- thus the red, white and blue color palette.
Students will hear part of the book, Lines that Wiggle, by Candace Whitman to get them thinking about different kinds of lines.

We'll talk about how lines can be used by artists for many purposes. Among those, lines can be used to draw real objects, express feelings, and separate areas on a drawing board. They will be using a pipe cleaner to create each line before painting it on their 9"X12" board.
We will all be starting with a foil star. Kids will apply Mod Podge to their board, then add the star and finally coat the star with another layer of Mod Podge and outline using black tempera. The next step will be to bend their pipe cleaner into a zig zag line, place it on their board to help them determine where to draw and paint that line.
When we have enough lines creating sections on the board, we'll let the paint dry until next week, when kids will add red and blue paint to their work.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Kindergarten Ooos and Ahhs

During every kindergarten class today we heard repeated choruses of "Ooooo" and "Ahhhh" as students dropped primary colored liquid watercolors on wet board and watched it move together creating new colors. We started the lesson with a quick talk about primary colors and a really short video ( a minute and a half) from Sesame Street on Primary Colors. My inspiration for this lesson was a first grade project I saw on Pinterest here that focused on Mondrian. I changed the focus but went for a similar grid pattern.
They were using a board that was divided into 6 areas with masking tape. Each section was a little mini-painting. (Next week we peel off the tape to reveal the white lines of the board.) Kids also had the option of sprinkling salt on their wet paint -- that brought a whole new series of "Oh, Look!!" comments!!

My plan for next week is for the kids to brush off the remaining salt crystals, peel off the tape and arrange the pieces so that the lines meet up and create a cooperative large work. I'll be sure to take pictures to post:)

If I were doing this with older kids I would have them also outline the white lines with a fine black marker, like this:
A large focus of this lesson was use of the brush: how to clean it between colors, how not to smash its hair, how to dry it using a sponge, etc. Even so, these are kindergarteners and that yellow paint didn't stay yellow at all the tables. SO, WORD OF WARNING: if you try this, be sure to have some extra little containers of yellow that you can use to replace the dirty ones!!!!
This table did a great job of cleaning their brushes and keeping their yellow clean!!
After cleaning up, the kids came to the rug for a reading of Mouse Paint to again reinforce mixing primary colors. What a fun day it was!!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Straight Line Prints

Kindergarteners dove into this project with glee!! I pretty much followed the plans I wrote about in my last post here. Since we were using pages from a phone book I brought in an old telephone book and asked the kids if they knew what it was. Try that sometime!! One child in each class knew!! My guess is that phone books are quickly going to be a thing of the past!!!

Anyway, here are some of our results -- I really like the variety in the way kids applied their lines. Some were tentative, some were brave, but they all turned out GREAT!! The one thing I did differently on day #2 was to have the kids apply color with oil pastels instead of crayon to get a bit more vibrant color.

I love the tumbling block feeling of the one one the right!!
The little boy who did the one one the right thought long and hard about the placement of his lines. It was the only one that turned out with such deliberately planned asymmetry. So cool!!
I just love the movement created by all the black line prints. I would do this lesson again in a nanosecond. It reinforced cutting and gluing skills as well as geometry that kids are doing in math. It was all done in one 45 min. period with time to read Mouse Shapes, too, and I am crazy about the abstact results!!