Thursday, March 29, 2012

Pysanky Eggs

Pysanky Eggs

A pysanka is a Ukranian Easter Egg decorated with wax and dyes. Designs are drawn on with a special tool filled with beeswax and then dipped in dyes of various colors. Second graders heard a story called Rechenka’s Eggs and created their own eggs with pastel and paints.

Rangoli Designs from India


-designs from India-

Rangoli is the art of drawing images and designs on the floor with colored sand, rice, or flour. It is a form of folk art from India and stands as a sign of welcome and thought to bring good luck. The designs are geometric and proportioned. Patterns are made with fingers. They can be any size ranging from the size of a doormat to covering an entire room. Rangoli is designed with the help of dots, which are joined to form a pattern. The pattern is then filled with colors.
In India, this art is temporary. Each design stays only for a day or two, as it is often redone as part of a daily routine. One of the most popular arts among Indian women, rangoli is an age old custom. Designs are passed down through the generations, some of them being hundreds of years old.

Fifth grade students connected Math and Art and created these symmetrical designs inspired by Rangoli images. They were able to use sand to fill their designs.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Second grade students sure had fun making their aliens with marker and pastel. We talked about different shapes for their bodies, different types of ears, multiple eyes, arms, etc. During the next class, students created a space background with metallic paint and pastels. They also each completed a writing activity to accompany their art! They answered questions about their aliens, such as "what is the name of your alien's planet?" and "use attributes to describe that planet!" Their creativity flourished in this lesson!

Van Gogh Sunflowers

I loved this project. It may become one of my new favorites. Once again I was inspired by Patty's awesome website, Deep Space Sparkle. In particular, this lesson was the basis for our project : I made copies of her handout after I bought the PDF version of this lesson. It was a great handout and it was especially helpful to certain special needs children who tried this lesson. The step by step approach on the handout was the reason one child with autism was able to find so much success for this project! I highly recommend purchasing her PDF.

After students learned about Vincent Van Gogh, they drew their vases and flowers. They use tints and shades of yellow to paint the petals. During the next art class, they used colored pastels to decorate their flowers and table cloths. The results were stunning. It was a true success!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Writing in the Art Room

I have been trying very hard to include writing in my curriculum this year. I believe, as art teachers, that we should try to tie in and supplement the regular curriculum whenever possible. One little way I do that is through writing. Writing can be done as a "warm up" or as a "wind down." It can take up a whole lesson or it can fill a few minutes. Writing in art can be done in so many creative ways. Here are just some of the ways I include writing with my lessons.

  • Have students write an Artist Statement to attach to their projects. I ask my students to discuss their inspiration, the process they used to create their art, and any personal stories relating to their art.
  • 30 Second Look is one of my favorite activities, especially in the elementary. If you have an interactive white board, display a work of art for 30 seconds and then have students make a list of as many things they can remember from the art.
  • Display a work of art and have each student write a "hook" to make their reader more excited to learn more about that painting.
  • Create a five senses chart for a work of art. Pretending you are inside the painting, what do you feel? taste? smell? see? hear?
  • Create a writing that details the process followed to create a work of art. Use transition words and pictures.
  • Create a KWL chart before a lesson. For example, before I teach Egyptian Art I ask them what they KNOW, WANT TO KNOW, and then what they've LEARNED after the project is finished.
  • Have reflection journals where students can not only draw sketches, but make notes about what they like about their art, what they would change, etc.
  • Have students write about the art of another student.
  • Younger children can simply describe what they see in a work of art.
I have come to embrace writing in my curriculum rather than dread having to enforce that activity. There are easy ways to do so. I truly believe it's important to show administrators, parents, and fellow teachers that art is a class that is beneficial and supportive in many ways.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Gertrude McFuzz

Gertrude McFuzz

“The feathers popped out! With a zang! With a zing!

They blossomed like flowers that bloom in the spring.

All fit for a queen! What a sight to behold!

They sparkled like diamonds and gumdrops and gold!

Like silk! Like spaghetti! Like satin! Like lace!

They burst out like rockets all over the place!

They waved in the air and they swished in the breeze!

And some were as long as the branches of trees!

And still they kept growing! They popped and they popped

Until, ‘long about sundown when, finally, they stopped.

-Gertrude McFuzz

By Dr. Seuss