Saturday, April 25, 2015

Recycled Art Challenge

In honor of Earth Day, my 2nd and 3rd grade students participated in a "Recycled Art Challenge". We started by looking at this self-portrait gif on Tom Deininger's website and talking about why an artist would choose to make art out of trash. Next, we scrolled through some examples I'd collected on my Recycled Art Pinterest board. I had a buffet of materials from which they could choose- cardboard, toilet paper tubes, tissue paper I saved from gifts, bottle caps, and a variety of other items- and after explaining how the supplies were set up and that they'd have two class periods, the students set to work.
 The students worked REALLY hard on this project. I didn't see a single student slacking. There was a lot of collaboration, a lot of advice-giving, problem solving, creativity, and excitement. Several students finished and immediately asked if they could make another recycled project.
 This student wanted to make a park with trash to try to get people to pick up litter and recycle. She even used a glue stick cap as a trashcan and tied up trash inside a teeny tiny little bag.

 I used a hot glue gun to attach some things when students were having a hard time keeping it steady long enough to dry.
I loved this simple dog! The burlap scraps someone donated were very popular. The eyes are made out of watercolor wells.
This student also used watercolor wells to make the eyes and mouth. Instead of gluing them to the flat surface, he cut holes in the cardboard and poked them through.

I think this challenge will be repeated next year at my new school!
I posted this lesson in a bit more detail on the smARTteacher- check it out!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Turtledove Visitor

I pulled in to the driveway after school and spotted this little visitor in my flowers. It sat there for a good half an hour while my husband mowed nearby and the boys and I watched from the front window. I love special moments with nature.

Monday, April 13, 2015

2015 Kansas Jr. Duck Stamp Program

6th grade Wood Duck that received an HM
It was another successful year for my students in the Kansas Jr. Duck Stamp Contest! This is an annual project for my students, and students of the other elementary art teachers in my district. The Federal Jr. Duck Stamp program teaches students about conservation of wetland habitats and waterfowl through making art. It is also a great way to practice observational drawing skills and gives students a chance to compete with their artwork. I always encourage students to enter even if they don't think they'll win because it helps ducks! (Funding for each state's JDS program is based on the number of entries they receive.) I've been a fan of the program ever since I participated for the first time as a freshman in high school and always knew I would teach it to my students. You can see previous posts with more information about the Jr. Duck Stamp program HERE or you can visit If you have any questions about the program, feel free to ask! I got to travel to Utah a few years ago as an ambassador for the program and I had the chance to learn even more about Jr. Duck Stamps and the "adult" Duck Stamps.
Here, a student demonstrates proper use of a reference photo. They changed the positioning of the duck and changed the background to put it in a wetland habitat.
We had several students earn Honorable Mentions in Group I (K-3rd) and Group II (4th-6th) and one 1st grader even received 2nd place. 
The student who painted this duck was upset to the point of tears while working on her project. The watercolors bled and she thought it was ruined, she was a horrible artist, she couldn't do it, etc., etc. I said "No, look how beautiful the colors are when they mix!" and we fixed the eye in the next class. I was pleased when she was recognized for her work after temporarily deeming it a failure.
Except for the wood duck at the top of the post, the previous entries were by primary students. The next set are by the intermediate students.
This 5th grader drew his wood duck too small the first time- see the duck in the back. We enlarged it on the copier and he traced it again in the foreground so it looks like two ducks, improving the composition.
Here are a couple more duck pictures I didn't want to leave out:

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Photo Dump

I've been using the Artsonia app on my iPhone to publish student artwork so I haven't had as many photos to publish from my camera. I pulled some photos from Artsonia to put together a quick post. The first photo is of a collage by a Kindergarten student. The student worked harder on this collage than I've seen him work on anything else this year. I used it as an example for other classes since he cut lots of details instead of cutting out drawings or random shapes.
 Here are a couple more projects from littles. The hearts on the left from a Kindegartener have lots of little details. The collage on the right was by a Pre-K student.
For an extension lesson, my student teacher last 9 weeks had students draw a person or event that was meaningful to them. This drawing was a family New Year's Eve party.
This drawing is from a 3rd graders who likes to make comic bookish drawings of monster and animals.
 2nd graders have still been interested in landscapes.
Now the sunflower... I was so proud of this student who persevered and came up with a creative solution. He had yellow and green paper looms cut and lost interest in the projects. I told him he had to find some way to use the papers. After a bit of frustration, he came up and showed me the flower he'd made by folding and curling the cut paper.