I am a 1-8th grade art teacher in Green Bay, WI. I have concocted some of these lessons or stolen them from other talented teachers. Enjoy!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Japanese Temari Cards

I took a graduate class at St. Norbert years ago on Math and Art. Here is one of the projects from that class. I did these with students about 10 years ago, but I think I will do these again. I did them with students in 5th--8th grade. It might look complicated but the pattern of stitches makes this quite easy. First students poke the holes with a push pin onto black tagboard (I have copies of the pattern). Next students use about an arm's length of crochet string and begin making their diagonal stitches one way around the circle. When they have gone all the way around they go back the opposite way to make these "peaks". If students do this correctly the back has all straight stitches. I have directions--only through snail mail... let me know if you want a copy.

Clay Mugs and Vases Middle School

I find students really love making something functional. We will be having hot chocolate really soon when they are all fired! Then we have the "Queen of Coiling". This lovely girl is very into ceramics. LOVE IT!! Her Grandma got this prized vase!

Clay Castles

This project was a continuation of our Medieval unit. I had never done these before. . . not sure I will again. These took a lot of time. We first made our castles in paper so that we would have templates to trace onto our slabs. Then students rolled and rolled slabs. Then we had to get them to be the right moisture content to stand. Hmmm. Students are painting them now and finding it difficult to get into all the little nooks and crannies. I bought spray paint tonight and I am going to take them outside and go for it!! I will post our results later. This is something I always wanted to try. Next time I would give students more structure. Each student was given a bin to put their work in (dollar tree :) ) Their base had to fit inside the base. This project took a lot of clay! Whew! I did clay mugs with the other 2 classes and I am happier with those results. We shall see . . .

Fall Festive Corn By 1st Graders

Students used erasers on pencils to dot paint these colorful corn cobs. Students learned a little about the different types of corn, and then (thanks to Dad) I added the husks for a nice effect. Great Job! Thanks Sarah Cherovsky for the idea.


Students created paper bag mushrooms for a community art project. Students viewed installations created by Doug Rhodehamel. He uses a lot of recycled materials which goes along with "Aldo Leopold" school very nicely :) My 4th and 5th graders had some good discussions about temporary art such as ice and sand sculptures and what might happen to our "Spores" when we put them outside. We all agreed that we will wait for snow to put out our colorful mushrooms. Photos to follow when these are placed in the environment!

Mondrian Fall Trees by First Graders

Students looked at Mondrian's Winter Abstract tree. We drew step-by-step and created our trees using lines and shapes inspired by the image of his tree. Students then traced with black sharpie, oils pastels and tempera cakes to paint. These really scream fall to me!

"A Single Sheet of Paper" Inspired by Peter Callesen

Peter Callesen makes insane works of art using intricately cut and sometimes sculpted paper. His work ranges from small scale works to installations all created with a simple material. He makes paper look amazing. I love his work. Students were introduced to this modern artist--yes he is still alive today--not some dead guy :) We created our own works using paper and some skillful cutting. I gave a strong lecture on exacto knife use!


Middle Schoolers created a modern coat of arms that had to include 2 types of shading, a paragraph explaining their design, symbols that represented them, a shield, and a motto. Students worked large and were able to incorporate found images, along with many copies of heraldic animals and mottos. We practiced drawing a ribbon or scroll to place their motto on. It was fun to see their personalities represented.

Curved Line Designs

Thanks "Art with Mr. E"!!! These are middle school examples. It was nice to start the year with something abstract and a little mindless, yet beautiful. Students looked at OP art examples and really focused on shading with colored pencils. These look complicated, but the directions are really easy. I did them with my 4th and 5th graders, but larger markers, bigger shapes.

It has been awhile. . .

Clay in a Day is my favorite!! These adorable owls were made from terra cotta. The magic happens when students color with oil pastels, then we give them a bath in watered down black tempera paint. Next students carry them (in a paper towel) to me at the sink while we rinse and like magic the color appears. Great lesson to teach the concept of contrast. They all turned out this amazing. Great project where everyone left happy and it was a HOOT! We did these after doing torn paper owls.