Wednesday, May 22, 2013


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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Cake Designing *Thiebaud Style*

My third graders loved designing cakes, learning about form, experimenting with blending oil pastel colors, and being inspired by the work of Wayne Thiebaud!

This is my second year teaching and though I haven't repeated many lessons, this is one that I decided to do again this year with third grade.  The students loved learning about the life and work of Wayne Thiebaud.  We watched a few YouTube clips about his work before starting our projects.  I started by having students make sketches of cakes in the sketchbooks and learning about how to make something appear to be 3D on a flat 2D surface.  The simple cylinders were easily turned into cakes with the addition of patterns and designs.  I also taught them how to layer the cakes and how to cut a slice out of the cake. 

When the classes starting coming back the next week, I was pleased to see many had finished their sketches by adding colors and designs.  Also, many had made several other cake designs in their sketchbooks.  I loved that they were so excited about cake design.  Over the course of about 3 weeks, students created their cakes, colored and added details with oil pastels, and then cut foil plates and assembled them on a construction paper background.  Then, we added a horizon line and used oil pastel to color the background.  I loved the finished products!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


Zentangles...extraordinary doodling!
I taught fifth graders about Zentangles in art class.  I introduced the idea of Zentangle the first week at the end of class.  The next week was an odd week for Specials rotations.  Every six weeks we have something called "C2" week.  Each grade level spends a whole day with Specials (Art, Music, PE) and the grade level teachers have one full day of planning.  The down side for classroom teachers is that on the days that is not your C2 day, you don't get a conference time.  Anyway, last week was C2 week, so I had the entire fifth grade class (about 100 students) in the cafeteria for the first 90 minutes of the day working on their Zentangle project. 
I set up a Pinterest account just for fifth grade use and added a board, "Zentangles".  Then, I told the kids if they got permission from parents they could bring their phones or iPads to class for C2.  I also managed to borrow 4 iPads from teachers in the school and I had 2 iPads that are for Art room use.  I copied examples and had hard copy handouts, too.  During that 90 minutes, students spread out all over the cafeteria and worked on their projects.  Some used iPads, some used hard copy ideas, and some just thought of their own zentagles.  It was their choice how they wanted to use Zentangles.  Some used logos as a jumping off point, some traced their hand, some chose to free draw something.  Then, they chose to either zentangle in the positive space or the negative space. 
This week, they are finishing up their work and choosing to either leave it black and white (traditional Zentangle) or add color with watercolor or acrylic.  So far, they are looking great!

1st grade Pinch Pots

My kiln was out of order most of the year, but now that it is up and firing, I decided to squeeze in one lesson on clay with first grade!  I decided to teach 1st grade about pinch pots since they didn't work with clay as kindergartners.  I showed them a great poster that I pinned on pinterest that shows the steps of making a pinch pot.  Then, I demonstrated the technique of making a pinch pot.  Finally, I sent them to their tables and passed out balls of class.  We went step by step together.  Once the pots were formed, I went around and wrote their initials on the bottom of the pots.  Then, I passed out old marker caps and clay tools and let them make designs on the outside and inside of their pots.
This is the picture I found on Pinterest.  I am not sure who originally made it, but if it is you, THANK YOU!!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Kindergarten Lions

I see kindergarten classes for 25 minutes twice a week.  Sometimes it seems like an eternity and other days we run out of time and I feel rushed.  This lesson was a perfect 25 minute, one day lesson.  The kindergarten classes were preparig for their trip to the zoo and this was a great way to focus on an animal that they might see.  We talked about how faces have symmetry whether it was a lion or a human.  I started by giving each student  9X12 inch brown construction paper. I passed out oil pastels on trays.  These oil pastels are my "second hand" ones.  The new ones I use with older grades. 

I started by having them draw two eyes in the center of the paper (portrait).  I used my document camera and had them follow along.  We added a triangle nose with two lines going up from the corners.  Then, we added the little line coming down from the center of the triangle with the smile extending from it.  The students could use any colors they wanted to add the mane!  It was fun, exciting, and very freeing. 
Vocabulary used: texture, symmetry, portrait
Here are some pictures of our results!