Saturday, February 23, 2008

Delicious Paintings we didn't really eat the paintings, but they sure made us hungry! These paintings were inspired by American Pop Artist, Wayne of my favorite artists. I showed several of these paintings to our students and talked to them about how he used color and showed light in his work. We also noticed that he sometimes liked to paint with paint so thick that it looked like frosting. The students really enjoyed this lesson, and I think it was because the subject of our paintings was something everyone loves! Room 8 (Memorial) even got to experience the subject in art class. They won the ice cream party for the highest points in art class for the first semester! We celebrated with an ice cream sundae party on Friday. Way to go Room 8!

Play a fun math fractions game based on Thiebaud's painting of cakes! You can also select the Cake Maker from the list of activities at the top of this page and create your own version of "Cakes."

Learn about the artist, Wayne Thiebaud

See more of our Memorial students' delicious desserts on Artsonia!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Frank Stella Relief Sculptures

This is a lesson my Fifth Graders are just finishing up. We studied the art of Frank Stella, specifically his artwork "Jarama II." There is a great online slideshow that takes you through observing and talking about the artwork at When I presented this lesson I used a powerpoint that I created from that slideshow. We then returned to our seats to brainstorm a list of activities...and we broadened it to any physical activity - not just sports. We recorded these on the board. I then chose one and showed them on the board how you would represent that activity with shapes, and lines. I asked the students to think about the equipment, the movements and the colors in their chosen activity and then they spent time sketching their ideas. It was difficult for many of them to think in such abstract terms, but we kind of tried to make it like a guessing game for the viewer. We didn't want to make it obvious what the activity was - so they were not allowed to represent the activity in any realistic way. Once students had developed their ideas, they began cutting their shapes from cardboard. Once all their shapes were cut, they arranged them and I took a picture of it. After that, they began to paint. First covering all their pieces with colors, then adding patterns or designs with paint. Once everything was painted, students assembled and glued their pieces together to finish them. Click below to see our students artwork for this project.

Bertha Robinson's 5th grade
Memorial's 5th grade

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Jasper Johns Mixed Media Paintings - 1st Grade

This is one of my favorite lessons to do with my first graders. I do this one every year. The kids really enjoy it. I think they enjoy it because of the opportunity for creativity it provides. This is a lesson I developed myself after a friend gave me about 200 packages of old unused vinyl letters and numbers (the kind you might use on signs and in graphic design).

letter and number stencils (I use bulletin board letters and stencil sheets)
number and letter stickers
9 x 9 inch square white drawing paper

We begin this project by looking at artwork by Jasper Johns. We talk about the process of creating prints (as most of his work is). We discuss the colors and ways he used the numbers in his artwork. We also discuss the way he overlapped his numbers, and repeated them in specific pieces that we look at on a powerpoint that I have made.
First, I provide each table with an assortment of letters and numbers to trace onto their white paper. I always demonstrate how to trace "the right way", because sometimes first graders haven't learned this yet. We also talk about overlapping and letting the numbers and letters go right off the page, that they don't have to be organized into rows.
The kids really do a nice job with their compositions and when they finish the next step is to outline and color them in with crayons. I encourage them to fill their letters and numbers in with patterns like stripes or zig-zag lines.
After the coloring is finished, the students are provided with several sheets of letter and number stickers. I don't really give them a lot of guidance on this part. It's fun to see how they place them on thier artwork...sometimes we even have kids spelling out names or words and phone numbers!
The last step for this project is to paint with watercolor. The students notice that they can't cover up the crayon...and that certain colors of paint really make the crayon stand out. They always turn out so colorful and make nice abstract works of art that they are all proud of.

We spend three to four class periods on this project.
...more student examples here...

Monday, February 4, 2008

New Student Gallery at ARTSONIA

I have recently been working on uploading artwork to Artsonia, the largest student art museum on the Internet. This is the coolest thing! I have been wanting to publish some of our students' fantastic work in a gallery, and Artsonia is a great service that I am very excited about. Artsonia is the world's largest online art museum with thousands of works of art by students in over 100 countries. I believe this project will help boost the students' pride and self-esteem, technology awareness and multi-cultural understanding. Further, the project enables parents, relatives and friends to view the child's artwork online. I encourage you to participate in Artsonia by registering. As a registered parent you can submit artwork to your child's gallery, invite family and friends to join the artist's fan club and also approve any comments that visitors leave in your child's guestbook. Besides showcasing our students' artwork, Artsonia also offers parents cool gift items imprinted with your child's artwork, much like Art to Remember (our Spring Art Fundraiser). Our school art program will recieve 15% of all the order revenue. So not only do you get great gifts and keepsakes, but your order directly supports our art program. You can view your student's artwork by visiting and searching for our school or by first name. Not all students have artwork published yet, but I'm working on it. When your student's artwork is published, I will send home a note with their screenname and password. You can find out more about Artsonia and all they have to offer by clicking the link.