Sunday, April 26, 2015

Spring Fingerprint Snapdragons

Tints and Shades
Last week our 1st graders created half of their mixed media still life paintings. You can see how they made their vases, table tops and backgrounds here. This week, after discussing how you can see where the sunlight hits part of the blossoms, we broke out the liquid tempera and children got busy with their index fingers.
  I shared Lois Ehlert's, Feathers for Lunch, and we searched for examples of where she used tints in her flowers.
You may notice that I put the white on a separate, disposable plate, as some tables got their paint pretty messed up by the end of the hour.
 I demonstrated how to use JUST ONE FINGER to make the snapdragon blossoms. Children had 5 "color wheel" colors plus white. They dipped into the color first and then into the white before printing. We call this "double dip painting". They started printing at the bottom of each stem and went to its left, then right, left, right, etc. until reaching the top where the blossoms taper off. They went back and added prints or more white (for highlights) as needed. I had newspaper spread under their work, so before switching colors, kids just wiped their finger on it so that their finger was ready to dip into a new color. (This really worked. The paint colors stayed perfectly "clean" all week long!!)
 Probably the hardest part for some was making sure that their stem extended down "into the vase", that is, to the bottom part of the oval depicting the vase's inside. Otherwise the flowers look like they are floating in air. We talked about this in each class.
 These spring blossoms definitely brighten up an otherwise rather bland hallway!!!!! I think we'll keep them there for awhile!!:))

Friday, April 17, 2015

Spring Still Life - 1st Grade

This is the first week of a two-week project to welcome Spring. There are many great still life paintings out there on the web for children to examine and talk about -- take your pick and show them your favorite artists to kick things off. I had a real vase positioned on a piece of fabric for kids to compare with a painting of a flower vase. I asked, "What did the artist do to make the vase look realistic?"

 Hands shot up and kids saw everything I was hoping they would see!! Comments were: "The artist made a "circle" at the top of the vase (not everyone remembered the word "oval" so I wrote that word on the board), "The vase has a light side where the sunlight is hitting it", "There's dark shading on the shadow side", "The bottom of the vase is curved like the oval", and my favorite, "The table looks like it goes behind the vase so it looks like you can just walk up and pick up the vase with your hand."  Are these children observant or what!!!??!!

Then, using oil pastels, I did a directed lesson to get them started with the vase. (Start with drawing an oval in the center of the board. Add sides and bottom and color in everything BUT the oval. Make a vertical black strip on one side, and a matching white strip on the other side. Blend all layers together with curved, horizontal strokes, using the original color of pastel. (You can find a similar lesson with details and photos HERE.)The hardest part for little ones is to get that horizontal direction of their pastels as they blend the black, color and white together smoothly. I do a lot of walking around and assisting during that portion of the lesson. 

Next, they added a simple plaid, fabric table cloth using whatever colors they liked. ( I modeled how to do this, too.)

A few stems were added to get ready for the flowers that they will add with paint next week.
 The last step was to add 2 colors of chalk/pastels and smear it with their fingers for the subtle background.

Stay tuned for vases full of snapdragons next week:))

Friday, April 10, 2015

Spring Break Winding Down

We are just wrapping up the end of a two week spring break out here in California. I started this week with a short stack of mysteries to read.
 The weather has waffled between perfect, gorgeous tour-bus like sunshine and gloomy showers. Yes, we really have these Starline tour buses in our neighborhood now!! What is that?? Thought they were only in Hollywood and Beverly Hills!!
This shower caused a delay of game for the second day of baseball season.
 But, that rainy interlude was perfect for kicking back in front of the fire and finishing off those books I had planned to read.

I finished Night, Night, Sleep Tight by Hallie Ephron last night. Set in the 1980s and 1960s in the Beverly Hills/Hollywood area, this is a suspenseful thriller that kept me guessing right up to the final pages. The kernel of the story was a real-life "Hollywood" crime story that took place in the late 50s, which I well remember. The book is packed with references to local haunts (many of which are still here) and that took me right back high-school days and memories I had long forgotten. What a treat!!
Finishing up Night, Night, Sleep Tight.
So, it's back to teaching on Monday, and as I close this last book my thoughts are turning towards lesson planning. See you next week with a fun new project:))