Wednesday, December 9, 2015

How to Make Light Saber Rubbings

As the anticipation grows for the new Star Wars movie, The Force Awakens, this is a perfect time to do these light saber rubbings.  Here are the steps for doing the rubbings with your kids or students.
Rubbings are a great way to introduce texture, and how we perceive how an object feels. It is also a great way to get your students to use descriptive words.  Here are the steps:
                                                                You will want large paper, I used 18" by 24" black construction paper.

I cut the paper into 6" by 24" inch strips.
The light sabers will need to be done ahead of time. I cut the light sabers from heavy grey paper, and traced the details with glue. I made a set of these for each of my table groups (each table has between 3-5 students). 
We rubbed the first light saber with red art sticks, or prismacolor sticks, you want color that will show up on the dark paper.
Then, rub your blue light saber.
The next step is to add white to the light saber, just the "blade" part of the saber. This will make it look like it is glowing. (I also added a small amount of yellow)
Once this is done, the next person can start the process. And the person finishing the rubbing can add details to the handle.

Now, this doesn't need to be the last step, but students can add a border of color. This is a great thing for kids to do while they are waiting their turn to do the rubbings or when they are finished with the rubbing! Have fun with this, your kids will.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Teacher Time

Ok, so this isn't quite painting with a twist, I think it is even better.  
We used the lesson plan from a project that I do with my Fourth graders.  The administrators on our campus thought it would be a fun way to celebrate officially becoming a Lighthouse School, one of only 159 schools worldwide.

Elm Grove staff has been working the past three years on acquiring this title, which is a program based on Stephen Covey's 7 Habits, The Leader in Me.  
I joined the staff on year two of this endeavor. I love how involved parents, students, staff and even the community has been through this process. I personally use it regularly at home with my own kids.  
Anyway, this year before school started, we directed the teachers in painting their own lighthouses.  None of them look the same, each are unique.  And it was really wonderful to see the challenges that the teachers had to work through.
We saw problem solving at its best and they walked away with a great lighthouse painting and a deeper appreciation for what we do in the art room.
These were done in a morning session and some came back to finish in the afternoon.  Still, a few needed touch ups or a little extra help achieving what they wanted on their canvases after school started. 
We did, however,  have a couple of cheaters who weren't happy and talked friends or neighbors into redoing theirs (they think they are sneaky, but I know who you are!!).
I've heard mixed emotions about leading these for campus events, some art teachers hate it, some love it.   I personally didn't mind.  It was fun, it promoted the art program, and most teachers were very proud of their paintings-I think that would fit as Habit #4, Think win win, y'all know I had to throw that in there.
Each teacher came up with a vision for their lighthouse and had to come up with a plan.  And as art teachers know all to well, sometimes that plan works and sometimes it doesn't.  There was lots of discussion on how to achieve different effects and experimenting with mixing the paint.  
When these were finished, they were all proudly displayed outside each teachers' classroom.  

Monday, November 23, 2015

Stop... ipad Time!

So, right before school started, a little rumor was floating around at an art training that each of the art and music teachers at the districts 13 elementary schools would be getting a class set of 25 ipads.  Yeah, right!  So, we are hearing about these now, so MAYBE by the start of the 2016 school year we will see these ipads.  The very next week, I walk in to work in my classroom and this COW was in my room... with 25 ipads.  I'm really excited, and I have done a few things with my kids, downloaded a few apps and so forth.  But, I want to know from others, how do you use your ipads in your art room?  What are some apps suggestions?  Seems like many ideas for art apps that I've pinned are no longer available.  Thanks in advance for any educational advice you have for me here!!

Monday, November 16, 2015

You Scream, I Scream...

This is a project that I am working on with Kindergarten.  I first started with the background, where I asked them to fill with color.  For some kids, this is a big job, they think they will never get this completed.  At most this took one class period and 10-15 minutes of another class.  After they were done coloring with marker, I sprayed the paper with water to make it look a bit more like watercolor.

The next step of the project was to work on the paper for the cone.  We talked about the patterns they see on the cones and diagonal lines that create these patterns.  This was done with brown marker and then they used a small amount of water with a brush to spread the color.
On the next art day, kids were asked to cut out the triangle I had pre drawn on the back of the cone paper.  We talked about hand eye coordination and that I was looking to see who could cut right on the line.  This gets them to slow down a bit, and their cutting is much better.
When assembling the ice cream, we talked about overlapping, to create the right layering effect.  They were then free to add sprinkles with art sticks and a cherry if they wanted.
This ended up being a three day project.  I tore the paper for the ice cream and also cut out the cherry for them.  You may want to add another half class to the timeline if you want them to do those steps themselves.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Mixed Media Weaving

This mixed media weaving was a great way to use odds and ends. Scraps of yarn, old pieces of embossing metal, cut up strips of painted paper from projects past, and scrap pieces from basket weaving. We also have tons of donated fabric I wished I had thought of to use.

Even the pretty blue and gold paper was donated.  Since I had mostly younger students, I cut the paper into strips for them. 

I didn't cut all the way to the top. I've done paper weaving both ways and it is so much easier to weave when the top is kept together.

We used a strip of painters tape to anchor the weaving to the table, which is also another life saver, and will keep your students from being frustrated. 

The only problem with this project was gluing to the black background paper. The basket weaving strips wanted to curl.  So I buddied up kids that used these strips and they helped hold down while they were weaving.  

I had them add a bit more glue than normal, and then we placed tubs of markers on top for 20-30 minutes to make sure the art attached to the black background.  It also flattened out the basket weaving strips so they laid flat.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Holiday Art Work...Yes or No?

These are art pieces from my previous school that I just ran across.  I spotted these on another blog 4-5 years ago and wanted to do them with my kids at school.

Holiday art can be a bit tricky though and I didn't want any kids to feel left out if everyone was doing them. No one wants to be the one kid singled out, ever!

So after some contemplation I decided that after my several weeks of working on another art project, I would offer several centers for them to choose from. (Of course, only after the art lesson was completed  and all parts of the lesson was done as expected)  There are always the kids that rush and completely destroy their artwork so they can go to centers...ummm I don't think so.  

Anytime centers are allowed, I always make very clear that if they are skipping steps or rushing/scribbling to get done and get to centers, they will be very disappointed when they have to start the lesson completely over.

I also let them know that centers are a privelge that is rewarded by their hardwork. If hard work isn't being demonstrated, then it will be a long time before centers are offered again.

Both of these projects, plus another non holiday art piece, in addition to free drawing and manipulative stations were offered.  The centers were a success and no one stood out because of their religion or personal beliefs.  How do you handle holiday art?  

Friday, October 2, 2015

Wedding Bliss

I feel like I can breathe once again. We hosted a backyard wedding this September for my sweet sister-in-law. We were so honored to do so! No pressure, said no one ever hosting a wedding! I was reminded once again why weddings cost big bucks. 
But, our family did get some wonderful bonding time with all our DIY wedding projects.

Only a few tears were shed!

Our backyard is in great shape now, ready to host some smaller scale get togethers.

While for six weeks or so the inside of my house was neglected, I think I'm almost caught up. 

Now maybe I can start getting back into the groove of blogging once again! 

Thursday, September 24, 2015


This summer for art camp, I chose to do a city scape.  The kids all enjoyed putting together their skylines and dreaming up their buildings.  
To give these cityscapes a bit of dimension, we painted the water and sky with acrylic first on the canvas.  Then,  the kids went to work on a piece of watercolor paper to create the city.  After they were sharpied and then watercolored, they cut them out.  The kids then attached their city with glue.  
Once their city was in place, they added a blue moon, which we painted with acrylic on a seperate piece of paper, cut out and glued where it seemed to fit best into the city.  And of course, we added the reflection, which is done with oil pastels.

I love this leaning tower above, interesting angles!

This cityscape looks like something from the future!  He was one of my youngest campers, what a talented young man.  One day at camp, he told me that he comes straight home from school everyday and does artwork until it is time for dinner.  And then he goes to bed and dreams of making more art.  I've got a long time to wait, but I can't wait to see what he does as a career.