Mixing Greens

 

Students used tempera paint to create many shades of green.

I received the book Green by Laura Vaccaro Seeger as a gift from a parent. This beautiful book (it won the Caldecott Honor in 2013) is filled with all things green.  It is the perfect tie-in to a color mixing lesson.

Green by Laura Vaccaro Seeger

Green by Laura Vaccaro Seeger, winner of the 2013 Caldecott Honor.

I read Green to my second grade art students.  They loved it – the book is full of die-cut holes and the kids enjoyed peeking through them. Can you see the die-cut holes in this video?

Materials:

  • white sulfite drawing paper (or other paper that will hold up to painting)
  • black crayons
  • paper placemats (we used 12″x18″ construction paper)
  • brushes
  • paper plates
  • tempera paint: blue and/or turquoise, yellow, black and white
  • black construction paper for mounting
  • scissors
  • glue sticks
  • colored construction paper (to create jungle animal collage)
Second graders used blue, turquoise, yellow, black and white tempera to mix shades of green.

Second graders used blue, turquoise, yellow, black and white tempera to mix shades of green.

Mixing greens

After reading the book, we got to work creating our own jungle. Students began by drawing a variety of leaves on their paper. They added veins and stems. They placed their white paper onto the construction paper placemats. Next, they scooped up a small amount of yellow paint onto their paper plates. They added dots of blue paint and mixed to create green, then painted a leaf.

The students experimented – adding white to create tints and black to create shades. Students were excited to create army green and blue-green. Seriously – they called each other over when they created cool new colors. They loved color mixing so much we had to do it a second session.

We did not use water for this project. The goal was to mix a wide variety of greens. If necessary, they brushed excess paint onto their placemats.

Create a jungle collage

After the paints dried, we mounted the paintings on black construction paper. Students cut leaves out of their painted paper plates and used them to decorate the corners or create a border. Then they constructed jungle animals from colored paper and glued them on  top of the paintings.

mixing greens - jungle collage

This was a very successful lesson plan! The students enjoyed color mixing so much we could have done it for weeks.

Enjoy!

p.s. the project would be nice as an Henri Rousseau lesson plan.

Rainbow Footprint Tile Mural

rainbow footprint tile mural

Thinking about a mural project? If you want a mural that is engaging, beautiful and enduring, consider this rainbow footprint tile mural. I used Craig Hinshaw’s Rainbow Footprint Mural lesson from Pottery Making Illustrated July/August 2004.

Whole school mural project made from individual clay tiles, each imprinted with a shoe sole.

Whole school mural project made from individual clay tiles, each imprinted with a shoe sole.

Materials for the tiles:

  • Low fire white clay
  • square viewfinders
  • pin tool or opened paperclip
  • underglaze in colors of the rainbow
  • small brushes
  • clear glaze
  • your shoes!
  • optional – for lettering: magnetic letters (refrigerator magnets), alphabet pasta

Creating the footprint tiles

We followed all the directions in the magazine article. The students were THRILLED to stomp their foot down onto a ball of clay.

Cutting the tile though the viewfinder opening was a bit of the challenge for the younger students. Instead of neat squares, we had a lot of irregular shapes. These tiles had to be remade, but it only took a few extra minutes. I had extra sixth grade volunteers on hand to help cut out the tiles for the kindergarteners.

 Creating Text

We created text two ways: 1) large text was created by pressing magnetic letters into clay, and 2) small text was created by pressing alphabet pasta into clay.  (Don’t worry – the pasta burns out in firing).

For the large letters, we pressed magnetic letters into the clay tiles.

For the large letters, we pressed magnetic letters into the clay tiles.

For the small text, we pressed alphabet pasta into the clay tiles.

For the small text, we pressed alphabet pasta into the clay tiles.

I did this mural with the students of Solana Santa Fe School. We prepared all the tiles and had them professionally installed on an exterior stucco wall.  Eight years later, it is still standing and looking great!

Another school in our district did a twist on the same mural project. Artist (and parent) Christie Beniston create a rainbow footprint mural with the students of Skyline School. Click here to see this mural. Note the rectangular and circular tiles.

If you are planning a whole-school mural, consider this project. The kids LOVED making the tiles. Each tile is uniques, just like our students. They mural is beautiful to look it and fun to touch. After it is installed, kids will look for their shoe prints. It is a permanent reminder of unity in the school community.

Enjoy!

Japanese Fish Kites (Koinobori)

Koinobori fish kites

What are koinobori?

Koinobori are carp (koi) kites that are flown in Japan on Children’s Day (May 5th). The koi fish embodies the qualities that parents want for their children: courage, strength and determination. The holiday was formerly known as Boy’s Day, but now celebrates all children.

I Live in Tokyo by Mari Takabayashi covers the Japanese holidays and life in Japan month-by-month.

We learned about Children’s Day in the book I Live in Tokyo by Mari Takabayashi. The book covers Japanese holidays month-by-month. In Japan, families display koinobori on a flagpole: the top black fish is the father, the red fish is the mother, and the smaller fish are the children.

Koinobori are also flown in large group displays, as in this video. I love when the wind hits and koinobori actually look like they are swimming upstream.

The Art Project:

I saw this fabulous, simple koinobori project on Cassie Stephens blog. Click here for Cassie’s detailed instructions and gorgeous photos.

Materials:

  • Roylco Japanese Carp Windsock kit
  • colored Sharpies
  • oil pastels (especially white)
  • watercolor markers (we used Crayola markers) and/or
  • watercolors
  • Ziploc bags, two per fish, taped together to create a long rectangle
  • tape
  • spray bottle
  • white glue or hot glue
  • clothespins (to clamp the mouth until glue sets)
  • hole punch
  • ribbon or yarn for hanging

Instructions:

Decorate paper kites with colored Sharpies and oil pastel

Kids drew patterns, outlined eyes and scales, and created a border with oil pastels and colored Sharpies. To create white areas, color with white oil pastel to create a resist.

Color selectively with marker and watercolor

 

Next they added a some color with Crayola markers and watercolors. I emphasized they didn’t have to color in the whole fish as the markers and watercolors would diffuse when sprayed with water.

Kids colored paper koinobori with colored Sharpie, watercolor markers, and oil pastels.

Kids colored paper koinobori with colored Sharpie, watercolor markers, and oil pastels.

Spray with water

Then the kids placed their kites on the long Ziploc ‘placemats’ and sprayed them with water. Some carefully tilted the setup so the colors would diffuse in a certain direction. Let dry on mats.

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Koinobori paper fish kite drying on its double-Ziploc ‘placemat’. When sprayed with water, the Sharpie and oil pastel lines stayed crisp, while the watercolor marker diffused.

Glue and hang

After drying, I used hot glue to assemble the kites. I attached the cardboard strips that support the kites open mouth, and clipped each with a clothespin until set. I also used hot glue to close the back and part of the tail. Finally, we added three single hole punches to the cardboard mouth, and strung the kites with ribbon. All the instructions are included in the Roylco kit.

Enjoy!

This project was part of my ‘Let’s Go To Japan’ art + cooking camp. Here are our other art and cooking projects:

Plus tons of kids books about Japan!

Thanks to Dahra and Ilana, our fabulous teenage helpers for all their assistance at camp

Lace Texture Rubbings

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Here’s an easy end-of-year art project that has no clean up yet teaches about texture.

Materials:
Copy paper
Pieces of lace, approx. 14″ long
Peeled crayons – variety of colors

First we talk about physical texture. Students run their fingers along the lace. They described the lace as ‘bumpy’ or ‘rough’. Next we folded the copy paper horizontally (‘hamburger’) and sandwiched the lace inside, parallel to the crease. Students closed their papers and rubbed the covered lace with a peeled crayon.
The kindergarteners and first graders were AMAZED when the lace texture appeared on the paper. We opened the papers, scooted the lace over an inch or so, and repeated the process with a variety of peeled crayons. Within a few minutes, students had a lovely striped lace paper.
Physical vs Visual Texture
We had a quick discussion about physical and visual texture. Students ran their hands over their crayon art. How did the paper feel? Did it feel the same as the lace? The bumpy lace has texture you can feel. This is physical (tactile) texture. The rubbing has texture we can see but not feel. .This illusion of texture is called visual texture.

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I showed students a laminated poster of Durer’s hare. I instructed them to close their eyes and imagine petting the rabbit’s soft fur. They agreed the artists had done a great job painting the hare so that the fur looked real (visual texture). I let them touch the laminated card – it just felt like smooth plastic. The art just had visual, but not physical texture.
We went on to create crayon rubbings of other textured items such as cardboard coffee sleeves and pennies. They loved rubbings – one student said it was the best thing we did all year.

Enjoy!

What’s your best end-of-year art project?

Drawing Weeds

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It’s the last week of art class and the weather is lovely. For their final project, the 5th and 6th graders did observational drawings of the weeds in our school garden.

Materials:
Clipboards
Copy paper
Colored pencils
Weeds

Each student picks one weed from the ground. They should try to keep the root intact. Weeds must be no longer than the paper.

Clip paper to board, then clip top of weed to the left side of the board (left-handed kids should clip weed on the right).

Draw a scale drawing of the weed.
Start with a long stem line. Mark leaf placement with short lines alone the stem line. Then draw the contour of the leaves. Look closely at the leaf veins and draw them. Add flowers and roots. Finally, draw irregularities such as bite marks.

What a fabulous way to end the art year. We practiced our drawing skills and weeded the garden path. Bonus!

Happy summer!

Enjoy!

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