Friday, September 27, 2013

Straw blown Watercolor Trees

Here is some more strawn blown artwork.  This time we made them into trees.  The first step to the project was to chose a color for the trees.  The students dripped their color close to the bottom of the page and then used the straws to blow and push the paint towards the top of the page. They did this 3-4 times depending on spacing.  Once they finished this step they wiped out the same color for the landscape.  The last step was to add the leaves.  Students choose another color and blotted in the leaves.  This is a pretty easy project that we were able to finish in one 50 minute session.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

On Loving Lucy

One year ago we started a week long journey with our daughter Lucy.  It was an event that would emotionally drain us and test our faith.  We depended on friends, family and even perfect strangers to pray on our behalf.  Our little lady would undergo a 6 hour heart surgery at Dell Children's Hospital. This was the event that would solidify with me not just how much I wanted her in my life, but how much I needed this little girl in my life.  And to be perfectly honest, she would teach me more in her first year of life, than I could imagine.  My husband, who writes in his spare time, has written a series of memoirs of our first year with Lucy.  While he hasn't yet published the surgery, he has covered our experience in the NICU.  His hope is that our experience will find it's way to other families who are just learning of their child's diagnosis.  
 I encourage you visit  On Loving Lucy , and share with anyone who might be going through a similar thing.  I know that when we first were going through this, I was seeking information from anyone and everywhere.  I found most comfort in hearing like stories, knowing that I wasn't alone.  

Lucy has lots of visitors, including Pastor Jenna Heart. 

Some of the Austin Firefighters that my husband work with, also come by to show support.
Blowing kisses to her Mom.

Sweetest smile.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Kachina Dolls

Kachina dolls are an important part of the Zuni and Hopi life. Kachinas (also called Katsina or Katchina) are supernatural and are called on for various reasons, such as good crops, rainfall, fertility, protection and so on.  There are over 400 different Kachinas. Kachina dolls are carved of cottonwood root and given to women and young girls as gifts. Kachina dolls are painted and adorned with leather, fur, turquoise, beads and more. The Kachina dolls we created were drawn out on craft paper and traced with sharpie.  Then, we colored with art sticks and colored pencils.  The next step was to back the image with construction paper, only gluing the edge.  Once the glue was dry we stuffed them with tissue paper so that they would stand.  I do this with my 3rd graders and it usually takes 3, 50 minute sessions to complete.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Native American Buffalo Blanket

This is a buffalo blanket that are typical of the Arapaho and Shoshone tribes. Hides were tanned painted and beaded. For our art version of the blanket, students designed three symbols and they could add a hawk as well.  This was done on colored construction paper, and the design colored with colored pencil and traced with sharpie.  Then, we crumbled craft paper and did a brown crayon rubbing on top. Symbols were glued down in whatever arrangement the students liked.  This project was done with my first graders and took 3, 50 minute classes.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Totem Poles of the Pacific Northwest

I have done the totem poles several different ways.  One is a bit more complicated than the other, because there is more surface area to design.  I save this for years that I have smaller numbers. We start the lesson by reading Raven by Gerald McDermott.  On small pieces of scratch paper, I have them design their totem pole faces.  I put up lots of images typical of the Pacific Northwest Indians.  We talk about the carved images and how some are images of local animals and some depict ancestors and spirit helpers.  It is thought that the totem pole places the most important figures on top, hence the term "low man on the totem pole".  Many years ago it was thought that the poles were objects of worship, this is however not true.  Totem poles are carved to recount legends, clan lineage, or notable events, but mostly for the artistry. In our version, the 3-D totem poles are great for symmetry design, all cut construction paper.  The bottom version, has some construction paper cutting but is done mostly with black sharpie and art sticks or colored pencils.  I do both types of totem poles with 2nd grade, giving them 3, 50 minute art days.  If you are doing the 3-D version with larger classes, you might allow for 4 days.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Native American Shields

The shield is a significant part of life for many plains indians such as the Sioux, Crow and Kiawa tribes.  While some of these shields took various shapes, the circular shield was most popular.  Circular objects played an important part of daily life; floor of the tipis, camp fire circle and even the sun and the moon. There are two different shields used in the tribes, one was a war shield that was usually fairly small in size, only about 20-22".   The other was a medicine shield, thought to provide protection from the spirit world.  The men in the native american community would go on a vision quest to discover what animal would lead them through life.  The vision was brought to the medicine man who would then help interpret and reveal this into a symbol that would be depicted on their shield. The shields with their symbol would teach, lead, and protect the man.  As the young man progressed in the tribe, he would add additional paintings, feathers, beads and even scalps. These shields were created by my kindergarteners, they were asked to create an image in the center as well as a pattern on the outside edge of the shield.  Markers were used to color.  Once this was done they crumbled their shields to give it the texture like the buffalo skins and add a brown crayon rubbing in the open spaces.  Then, we added a cardboard and yarn backing to so that the kids could place it on their arm like a true indian warrior. 

Monday, September 9, 2013

Color Mixing Castles

This is a fun color blending lesson.  We talk about primary and secondary colors, and usually I read the book Mouse Paint.  I do this lesson with 1st and kinder.  I start by dripping red, yellow and blue at the bottom of each of their papers.  Once everyones paint is on the paper I hand each student a piece of cardboard, together we push the paint in unison, which seems to turn out better than if I just let them go for it.  We make our towers and then I show them how to swing the cardboard across to make the top of the turrets on each, or if they like they can use ONE finger to push the paint up to make the crenellation design.  On day two, we add flags, a moat, and doors.  Then, on the third and hopefully last day of the project, they can draw kings, queens, princesses, knights, dragons and anything else they see fit to draw on windows.  These are glued after they draw so that if they mess up they don't have to remove the window. 

Finished student example.

Student example, day one.

One of my early examples, I soon learned that it was best to add doors and windows with construction paper. 

Friday, September 6, 2013

Clay Butterflies

This clay butterfly project is one that I typically do with my 4th graders.  All pieces are cut from a slab. To make sure that the butterflies are symmetrical, I have them cut out one top wing and one bottom.  Then, they lay these pieces on their left over slap, trace and cut out.  The wings are only attached at the bottom and slightly up the side.  While we are attaching the wings, we have fingertips under the wing to give it a more 3-D look.  Although I don't have the hanging wire on these examples, we add the wire in such a way that it looks like the antennae of the butterfly.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Clay Botanical Impressions

This is a project that I typically do with 1st graders.  It is a perfect lesson to discuss texture with the plants. They are just clippings from the school garden, and as a bonus your room will smell nice.  I have done these with both red clay and white.  I don't really have a preference, I think both turn out nicely.  I do not introduce glazes until the 2nd grade, so for kinder and first I use alternative painting methods for clay.  This is just a blending of acrylic paints, sponged on and a pearl medium added to the paints.  On the third picture down, I added paints a little heavier and dripped metallic watercolor into the impressions.  I have the kids roll out their own clay, press their plants, add hanging holes with a straw and sometimes we add the stamps to the edges, depending on the class and time.