Sunday, January 14, 2018

Bird Sculptures

I have been trying hard to create a beautiful lesson that you can present to your students. After practicing this sculpture with several students in multiple sessions, I'm proud to say I have a lesson ready to share with you.  I have been posting these amazing bird sculptures on Instagram (@MiniMatisse) the last month or so and people want to know... HOW??!! Here it is my friends

Before you decide this is the lesson for you, make sure that you have these materials and tools.  You could also plan on an alternative such as tinfoil instead of paper and masking tape for the armature or a different type of air dry clay instead of CelluClay. I just want you to be sure you are ready to take on this amazing lesson plan before purchase.

Another caution I have for you before taking on this lesson is making sure that you have the time.  This lesson takes no less than 2 weeks to complete (some of those days are drying time for the clay). Just make sure that you can budget enough time... Quality needs time!! 

If you are sure this is the lesson for you, 

If you are not sure, continue reading to see what is all included in this lesson.

All of the steps of this lesson are supported with visual images and most sections have a video support as well.

So here is the break down of the lesson plan.  I have tried to cover some major standards in our National Visual Artist Standards. I, of course, have the standard CREATE. Students are making a bird. REFLECT and CONNECT is found throughout the lesson. Students reflect during their preplanning, when they are giving feedback (activity included), and in an optional digital portfolio.  Students PRESENT by displaying the work or sharing the digital portfolio with parents or on social media. 

This lesson is beefy, no dought! It covers our standards, CHALLENGES our students, and gives an opportunity for voice and choice.  Check out some of the amazing works that my students created this last quarter! 

If you would like to learn how to obtain this lesson, please visit my Teacher Pay Teachers store.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Paper Dinosaur Sculptures

I'm so VERY excited to present my very first guest blogger on MiniMatisse.  I met Mark Rode a couple months back at a training and we share our social media information with each other. I have been so impressed with Mark's Instagram that I asked if he would write a blog post about this amazing project. 

Mark is an Elementary Art Teacher at Oxbow Creek Elementary in Champlin Minnesota. He explains that his inspiration came from another teacher in West Australia, Ann Farrell. I'm a fan of her work as well! Please be sure to check out her blog, Use Your Coloured Pencils. Mark maintains an amazing Instagram account, @oxbow_creek_elementary_art. He is also active on Twitter, follow him @oxbowart. Here is what Mark had to say about this captivating project.

I taught this project to my first graders to kick off their unit on form.  It took two 60 minute classes, but next year I may stretch it to three, as it was difficult for some to finish on time.  There are so many great books on dinosaurs too, and having time on the third day for reflection would be ideal.  Nevertheless, I felt like this project was a great way to begin working in three dimensions, as it let students figure out how to make something stand up and occupy real space with familiar materials and subject matter (who doesn’t like dinosaurs?).  After teaching this lesson, I had multiple students bring in other versions to share that they had made at home, as well as some other paper sculptures, which I felt was a good sign.

When I was a kid, I was obsessed with dinosaurs.  I even wanted to be a paleontologist when I grew up! There is still a big part of me that gets excited about them, so it was really fun to share this excitement with the kids.  Of course, in every first-grade class, there are always a few dinosaur experts who love to share their unique knowledge on this subject as well, so I introduced the project by displaying pictures of a variety of dinosaurs and facilitated a lively discussion.  We talked about different characteristics that we noticed, as well as compared and contrasted the different types.

I then told them that they would be making a dinosaur sculpture, and demonstrated how to begin.  I told them that they were going to get two pieces of tagboard, one wide and one narrower.  They would also get a sharpie marker and a stencil for the body shape and legs (these were made from brown tag.  I usually don’t use stencils, but I made an exception with this step, as the success of the final work was heavily contingent on getting these shapes right…).

I told the students to trace the body shape on the large sheet of tagboard, right in the middle.  After that, they added the other features (neck, head, tail, horns, designs, texture, etc.).  I then told them to trace the leg stencil on the smaller sheet.  Depending on the type of dinosaur, they would either do this once or twice (an Allosaurus walks on two legs vs. a Brachiosaurus that walks on four).  After adding details, I told them they had to cut out the dinosaur and the legs.  They then had to flip the body over and add details on the other side (it is important that they cut out first before flipping).

Finally, they added color on all sides with a marker. I told them that scientists don’t know for certain what color the dinosaurs were, so it was really up to them to color their dinosaur how they thought it would have looked.  This, I believe, gave them more creative agency, and I think, in the end, they looked more interesting because of it.

On day two, we reviewed the steps.  I then said that I would give them a piece of matboard for the base and that they had to draw the setting for their dinosaur (bird’s eye view).  They also had to make a few slits (one on the top of each leg and one or two on the bottom of the dinosaur).  I then showed how to make it stand by carefully connecting the slits together.  In order for it to be sturdy, it does require some wiggling and finessing.  When they got to this point, I told them that it was really important for them to try to get it to stand up.  This was challenging for many, but it was good for them to work through it and problem solve.  I also stressed the importance of helping each other out.  Once they got the legs on, I added hot glue to the bottom of the feet and glued the dino to the base.  Most students were able to get it to stand, but there were a few that needed some assistance from me.  At the end of the class, we all had our dinosaurs on one table and it was such a pleasure to see them all together!

This project was predominantly product based, but also gave a lot of room for creative decision-making.  The goal was to have the dinosaur three-dimensional.  The main concept was form, although we also talked a lot about shapes, lines, and textures.

Here are some of the project samples that Mark was so generous to share with us. For more images of this project and so many other amazing projects, please be sure to follow Mark on Instagram @Oxbow_creek_elementary_art

Monday, January 8, 2018

Playdough Request

First Grade Parents:

I'm excited to teach secondary colors using playdough in an upcoming unit!! I would so appreciate you signing up for a color and making a batch of playdough to donate to our students. If you want to see the project that we will be working on, please click on this previous post. The playdough recipe is here as well as the sign-up sheet down below, OR emai me at I have extended the timeline to Friday, Jan 19th to give our families a little more time to commit. Thanks for being a part of your kids fun experience by donating a batch of playdough.


Saturday, January 6, 2018

Share the Process using Time-lapse

Using patterns in Art Class is critical to my curriculum. Kindergarten student start learning patterns in Math class early in the year school, so by the New Year, it's a good time to bring it into the art class and do a little review for students who might need to work on the ideas of patterns in a very visual way. Since this concept is new in the Art Studio, I like to give my class a chance to create patterns in the security of a group for the first lesson. I developed a Collaborative Patterns lesson last year. See the previous post for pictures and an explanation video that is student friendly.

Last year, I shared the lesson with pictures on Seesaw and the parents were very receptive.  I wanted to show them the process this year. Show them all the excitement and teamwork that goes into this project.  I created stations by taping down a sheet of large format paper and set some blocks or bottle caps beside it. I chose to set up iPads over each of the stations. Once the kids were in place I simply started the time-lapse on the iPad. 

One of my favorite parts of using the iPads is the ability to show the videos in class using AirPlay. It's a bit glitchy for me sometimes, but when it works... it's amazing! In the video, you can see that the students watch themselves all at the same time. I do this kind of review for stop-motion projects as well. 


When finished, I used AirDrop to send all the videos to my one iPad and I placed the clips together in iMovie.  With a little editing (adding music, speeding up the time-lapse) I then shared it to Seesaw. A quick caption in Seesaw explained to parents the concepts covered for the day. In this case, patterns and working collaboratively. 

This process of recording in time-lapse can be used for all learners.  With older students, you can have them recording their process on their own, and sharing it on social media. I use it for my lessons too.  I often record the process in time-lapse so the kids can see all the actions but in a short amount of time.  If you are unsure of how to use time-lapse, check out this blog post by Matt Klein, How-to Geek.

Image found on HTG by Matt Klein

I know some of you are wondering where do I get those awesome iPad sands.  I know I would be.  Get decided to purchase them through curriculum review and I use them on a very regular basis.  Here is a post explaining where to get these great iPad Stands (click here).

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Triangle Bag Tutorial

Over break, I chose to create! Well, let me rephrase that... Over break, I was encouraged to either use some of my craft supplies or get rid of some of it by my husband. I choose to do both :) I have an excessive amount of fabrics in my closet and yes... I want to use it (so I can buy more).  In addition to fabric, I have zippers galore that were donated to 'the art teacher' once upon a time. That is where this little bag came in.  My plan was to make a few bags to have in my classroom for my colored pencils.  I have one bag per table. It's a perfect fit for pencils and a handheld sharpener. 

As most of my sewing projects go... I don't have a clear pattern.  I'm sharing these steps with you as a loose way to make a bag 'kind of' like the ones I made. I'm not a professional pattern writer but I will do my best to share how I made this bag.

  • 11" X 17" Outside Fabric
  • 11" X 17" Inside Fabric
  • 2 4" X 8" Contrasting Fabrics
  • 20" zipper

I created a 'pattern' by taking a 5 1/2" by 17" rectangle of paper and curving off the top half as shown above. The tall side is then placed on the fold of the two large fabrics to create a curve like in the mushroom fabric above. 

Then I took one of the small contrasting fabrics (4" x 8") and ironed it into fourths as shown above. I folded the raw edges into itself to reach the center.  I then stitch a line on either side to create a long tube. Push the top of the zipper into the 'tube' and sew it in. 

Fold the fabric to the back to create a loop and sew it one more time onto the zipper as shown below.  

Center the newly sewn looped fabric at the top of the curve on the inside fabric. With the zipper up and open, use LOTS of pins to attach it to the fabric on both sides. If the zipper is tough, you can cut little notches cut into it to allow for a better curve on the fabric.  

Do this to both sides... Did I mention to use a lot of pins?

Place the outside fabric face down onto the inside fabric.  Why don't we just add a few more pins to make sure it's nice and secure?

Sew around the edges to sew the inside fabric, zipper, and outside fabric together. Here is my tip... I started from the top of the fabric and worked my way down on either side. There was a space where the zipper head is. Don't worry, we'll get that later. 

Now pull the project right side out. You will have to sneak the handle loop and zipper through the hole left at the top as well. Now iron the project flat on both sides. 

These two images show how I simply folded the edges down at the top of the zipper. I pinned it in place and then did another row of stitches on the front as shown in the image below. This secures the zipper again and it closes the hole at the top by the zipper. 

Now close the zipper shut.  It's starting to look like a bag now!! 

Center the zipper as shown below. Pin the bag to itself to create a flatness to the bag bottom. You will need to trip the bottom of the bag. If you feel more secure, you can draw a straight line on the fabric and sew on the line, then cut. the drawn line will be covered up with the next step. 

I repeated the same folding method as I did with the handle for the top. I divided the fabric in quarters with a fold and short press under the iron. Then I sewed the edges as shown. 

I folded the raw edges in and sandwiched the end of the bag into the folded material. Pin that sucker down and sew around the whole rectangle. (as shown in pink) 

And there you have it! A finished bag! I will be working on more bags to use up some more zippers.  I love this style of bag and will be playing with the sizes to use up the different lengths of zippers. 

Because I know that most of the viewers of this post will be Art Teachers... I wanted to share the lovely fabric that I know will get comments on. This fabric was sent to me by a friend and let me tell you, there is really nothing that could be more uplifting and lovely for a person who sews than a fat quarter showing up in the mail unexpected. I looked it up for you and you can find the fabric here. I was using up fabric for this project but let me tell you... I used the 'good stuff'.  If there is something that I embraced several years ago it's that... don't save that very special stuff... use it and love what you make! I love these bags (and the fabric I used for them).