Staying Colorful Blog
Art lessons for Pre-K through 8
The 4th grade cut papers to make these cornucopias in an earlier class. You can see the steps for the lesson in an earlier post. They loved learning about mosaics and really got into this project. They sketched out what fruit, veggies and flowers they had wanted with white pastel. They filled in with papers and glue that was poured on trays and used with a paintbrush for easier distribution. They then used oil pastels to set a background.
These are going to be gorgeous when done but they are still works in progress. We started by looking at contemporary mosaic artists online and the students loved seeing all the different ways mosaics are used...for stairs, columns and, even, pothole covers. They broke into groups and used a class period to cut their mosaic papers. Seeing them collaborate on who would cut which color was the best. We drew a cornucopia on scrap paper as I explained that it was the shape of a goat's horn and that Greek and Roman mythology use the cornucopia as a symbol for bountiful food and that is why we use it at Thanksgiving. The next week they redrew their cornucopia and fruit on black paper and started building their mosaics. Stay tuned.
It started as a project for those that were done early in the 4th grade. I sketched out Starry Night on blue paper and had the early finishers, fill in the spots Van Gogh style with choppy oil pastel strokes. They LOVED doing this. Maybe the size of the paper was fun to work with. Since they had so much fun, I asked them to help me with the 1st grades' Van Gogh sunflowers. They painted the vases and glued on the 1st graders' beautiful watercolor oil pastel sunflowers. We ended up doing 3 Sunflower vase murals because they couldn't stop creating. Love it!
The students really enjoyed designing this one. They each traced or drew their hand four times around the page. After exploring line, they were told to decorate the sleeves of their hands with different formulations of lines. They then put something that represented themselves in each hand. They could create whatever background they wished. Pencils, watercolors and oil pastels were the choices for this project.
October is a busy month. The art classes never seem to be long enough because there is so much material in October - pumpkins, leaves, fall trees, ghosts, haunted houses, the autumn colors. It is month for artists. But, we did our best to create some really fun projects. Take a look.
Kindergarten Silly Pumpkins
These were SO MUCH FUN. Messy. Really messy. But, fun. It took 2 weeks for these pumpkins. The first week, the students were given a white piece of tagboard and told to make a pumpkin shape. We talked about shapes of pumpkins and how they are bumpy and lumpy and can be big or small. They each drew their pumpkin shape with pencil. They then were given a palette with red and yellow paint. They were told to paint their pumpkin. Lots of hand went up asking for orange. It was a great exercise in mixing colors and getting different variations of orange. And, the look in their eyes when they realize red and yellow make orange is worth all the mess. They painted and then used the scraps to make eyes. The white paper stuck to the wet painted papers, so not much glue needed. The next week they were given blue and yellow and told to make stems and leaves. I also gave them black paper scraps and told them to make faces. One student made a bat pumpkin and many followed suit. I loved their ideas and their pumpkins. It is fun seeing what they come up with.
Fourth Grade Skeletons
We looked at Day of the Dead Skeleton designs. I know Day of the Dead is in November but it fits with Halloween so I thought they would like to explore these. We sketched a skeleton head and neck in pencil on scrap. After they explored which designs they would like to use, they penciled their designs on black paper. They painted the bones in with acrylic white or white oil pastel. They then added designs and spider webs with oil pastels. Some decided to do pet skeletons and I thought it was an awesome way to use their creativity. Next time, I might have them do their animal skeletons a bit bigger or just the head of the animal. The younger students loved seeing the 4th graders' designs.
First Grade Pumpkin Trios
These turned out so awesome. I took the kids step by step in drawing 3 hugging pumpkins on white 11 x 14 paper. Once they liked their pumpkins, I encourage them to be ok with little bumps or crooked lines, they traced their pencil with a dark oil pastel. I gave them either a navy or black pastel. They could choose to do faces. We then watercolored the pumpkins on week one. I did not give them instructions on color for the pumpkins because, gosh, their color choices are fabulous. On week 2, they were told to watercolor the background. I loved their color combos and they were so proud of these.
8th Grade Charcoal Jack-o-Lanterns
I love these! We discussed shading and using a light, medium and dark value for their pumpkins. They used their Ipads to find interesting pumpkin faces. They did a great job. I think next time I would love to offer them the option of watercoloring the background. It would be a great contrast with the charcoal. These are still in progress. Eraser smudges and details needed to be added but I couldn't wait to share.
Sunflowers! Sunflowers! Sunflowers! The children were introduced to Vincent Van Gogh. They all seemed to recognize "Starry Night" when shown the painting but weren't quite sure who painted it and one child even asked if I had that painting at home. Just the poster, I answered. Just the poster. But, I thought the sunflowers were a great way to introduce Van Gogh, especially at this time of year.
I showed them a video for children made by the Van Gogh Museum, which you can access on YouTube. They have two versions, one for small children 2-4 and one for middle school.
I brought in sunflowers from home and, of course, forgot to put them in water, so they withered. Just like Van Gogh's sunflowers. I explained that he could not afford the fresh flowers and often purchased the withered sunflowers to paint because they were what he could afford.
The younger children, K-1, were read the book "Katie and the Sunflowers". This is a great art series, introducing many artists.
The first grade did a collaborative mural. They each drew two sunflowers with oil pastel on a piece of tag board. I took them step by step through the drawings. They drew a full flower and a half of flower. They will then watercolor them in and cut out to add to a collaborative mural that will hang in the school hall. They loved being a part of something bigger. I worried they wouldn't like that they couldn't take their art home but they seemed to love that they were doing a piece of this.
The 4th grade did gorgeous sunflowers in chalk pastels. I took them step by step through a sunflower drawing in pencil on scrap paper and then they used oil pastel on black construction paper to draw their good sunflower and filled it in with chalks. They made a mess but it was all for the sake of art. Lol! They loved doing these and I find that not giving them directions about color choices really lets them be creative and explore. Some ended up doing 2 flowers. They loved them so much. Check out their color combos. Great shading exercise. I matted them on white paper and had each sign them with their artist signature. They are still perfecting their cursive writing but I told them not to stress, just sign like an artist the best you can.
The second grade played a game with dice to create their sunflowers. They worked in partners and I gave them about 10 minutes to create a sketch of their vase of sunflowers. The dice rolling can get a little hard on the ears so 10 minutes in good. They took turns rolling. They needed help drawing the vase so I took them step by step as a class through it. Some still need help with this concept but it will come with time. They sketched in oil pastel and will fill in with watercolor to finish. Here is step one of their drawings. I got the game from Teachers Paying Teachers website. It is a wonderful site where teachers get paid for their lesson plans.
Fast finishers: I have some speedy artists so I wanted to make sure that I had things to keep them creating when done their project. I sketched Starry Night onto blue paper in white, with just basic designs, and asked them to fill in Van Gogh style with choppy strokes of the oil pastels the rest of the mural. They also could use collage. I underestimated how much THEY LOVED DOING THIS. The entire class ended up helping and we will hang it in the hall along with the sunflowers.
Follow Roey's colorful art journey: @roeyebertart