Sunday, May 24, 2015

Flags for Country

It always amazes me that volunteers (including Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts) place each and every one of these little American flags at the 114 acre Los Angeles National Cemetery. They read each of the nearly 87,000 names (including my grandfather, who served in WWI) and offer a salute as they place the flags. The first internment here was May 11, 1889.

Enjoy your week-end --- it's almost summer:))

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Lots of Dots in Kindergarten

Here are some lovely little kindergarten paintings drying. They will soon be tucked away until their big August reveal!!

At the same time as this painting is going on,  I am also starting to box up supplies to get ready for the school's BIG summer cleaning. We have new protocols this year that call for packing up anything not stored in a closed cupboard. It will be nice to have everything really clean, but right now it feels like getting ready to move!!! That is a whole story unto itself!

Meanwhile, in planning for an art display in our Auditorium to kick off the 2015-16 school year, Kindergarteners are painting lots of dots:)) This is so we'll be ready to celebrate International Dot Day (Sept. 15th), based on Peter H. Reynolds' book, The Dot.

I have done lessons like this before with 4th graders (with a little more color wheel art content included). You can check that out HERE. I originally found out about Dot Day from Hope Hunter Knight's blog back in 2012  -- thank you, Hope!!. You can find a link to her dot lesson through the above link. 

This week I started talking a bit with kindergarteners about the book and how Vashti started by just making a mark and then her art grew and grew.

We took a look at some different kinds of lines that markers can make and gave the lines names. Some of the kids' names were:
        " Wavy"
        "Mountain tops"
        "Train-tracks" . . .   You get the idea:)

Using a black permanent Sharpie I demonstrated how to make concentric circles, one a "skinny pathway" and the next a larger space for painting. Students followed along.

Then they either used line patterns from our chart or made up their own lines to fill their "skinny pathways."

I had them come back to the rug to talk about using "Mr. Brush" so that our brushes would last a long time. I share with them that I have one set of watercolor brushes that have been used at our school for over 50 years -- TRUE STORY!!

I showed them how to clean their brushes between changing colors and test to see if they are clean by running the brush along the top of their hand to see if the water is clear.

Then it was back to their table to paint all the large circles between the black and white pathways.

Love the asymmetry of the middle piece!!

The girl on the left spent a lot of time mixing the colors in the lower left part of her work using her finger.

This little guy didn't quite get the idea of leaving alternate areas blank for the paint and filled them all with patterns. He was so intent on what he was doing I didn't have the heart to stop him!!

Of course, you'll have to check back in August to see all our dots displayed. By then all these boxes I am packing now will be unpacked and we'll all be ready for a brand new school year!!

Friday, May 8, 2015

Kindergarteners and Kandinsky

Earlier this year our Kindergarteners made their own renditions of Kandinsky's Squares and Concentric Circles -- you know, the one we all try with kids sooner or later. Well, this week we are taking a look at another Kandinsky work, Circles in a Circle. Here are a few of ours drying in the sun.

And here is a sort of grainy shot of the Kandinsky from the Smartboard. Sorry for the quality of my picture:(
We talked about how many circles we saw, how many lines, size and colors of circles, directions of lines, etc.

Then the fun began. I had prepared part of the large circle with a crayon line for kids to cut to finish it up. I wanted them to practice cutting, but, from experience,  I knew doing the whole drawing and cutting on the fold thing might be too much for the time we had allotted.  They glued their circle on their boards (9" X 12" illustration board - but paper would be fine, too).

I know, this isn't a circle. It was my first sample and it's an oval -- that works, too!!

To decide how many circles to draw inside, we rolled dice at each work table (and drew that many with washable markers - I like Crayola brand markers for this) -- some large, some small, some within other circles - all drawn freehand. I heard LOTS of counting and comparing going on during this part of the lesson!! Using primary colored crayons, kids colored a few circles. Then they drew some straight lines - also with washable marker.

Finally, out came the paint brushes and students gently painted plain water over their marker lines to blur them and get a "painterly" look.

So, what skills did these little ones practice: cutting, gluing (a dot is a lot), drawing (shape, line), color choice and placement (balance, repetition), using a straight edge, use of a paintbrush (we still have a ways to go before we get that all right!!).