Do you wanna build a snowman?

I have seen the obligatory snowman project done in such boring cookie cutter ways where every snowman(woman) looks the same? Why? I did these with PK and K. For some crazy reason I decided to have us paint our backgrounds, probably because I didn’t have paper that was big and not white. This was kinda a mistake because the white paint was too watery and I had to figure out a way to make the snowman. So we used ripped paper after the white paint failed, and I love how the ripped paper added texture.

The kids started out pretending to build a snowman on the carpet. We talked about what shapes we’d use to draw a snowman. I had stencils of a big, medium, and small circle for each kid and they arraigned them on their paper in size order and traced. When they painted they stayed in their lines, and then when they ripped and glued paper they stayed in the lines as well.

Accessorizing the snowman continued with collage. We talked about how we could dress the snowman(woman) using different shapes. For the younger kids I had precut shapes, and the older and more capable were able to cut their own shapes.

Some kids added snow eventually, smaller classes used glitter. They made snow dots using glue and I added the glitter.

If I were to do this again I would definitely use ripped paper again and find some colored background paper. I’d use any colors, the more colors the better.

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Mondrian Collages

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So this is kind of a typical art project but I liked it because I didn’t have supplies come in yet so it was a good way to introduces some elements of art before painting. The major themes in this project were primary colors, lines, shapes and abstract art. When they saw examples of Mondrian’s work there is a lot of room for discussion on what they think the paintings look like.

I showed them Broadway Boogie Woogie without telling them the title. I told them to use their imagination and discuss with their partner what they see. Without me telling them they got the sense of a city, and buildings and traffic lights. When I told them the paintings background they were really excited.

We also talked about what shapes and colors they see. I showed them another examples of Mondrian’s work with the typical black lines. We discussed what direction the lines can go, horizontal, vertical, and diagonal. We talked about the primary colors and what makes them special.

The guidelines were simple, students have to have at least 1 vertical, 1 horizontal, and 1 diagonal line. They have to use all 3 primary colors, and use different shapes to cover up most for the empty spaces. I didn’t want to give them too many limitations as I wanted them to be free to come up with their own things. I was observed during this lesson and my AP thought I should have had more rules, but I think they came out great with the guidelines they had? Yes, there is always going to be that kid who wants to do the bare minimum and get it over with quick and easy… but I feel like that is the kid you have a sit down chat with and try to inspire them to do more. Plus once things got going the kids saw what their peers were doing and kept going. Some kids cut their pieces smaller, some kids had their work pop out and make it a 3D project! I feel like you have to let them explore on their own.

I told them they can work to a certain design or see what it looks like after like we did with Broadway Boogie Woogie. We came up with titles based on what they saw I their pictures. Encourage students to use their paper wisely and not be afraid of the scrap bucket. I went through a lot of paper. Collage is also an annoying clean up so make sure you have a broom and dust pan.

I have also done this project on the computer! Great for learning how to make straight lines, use the bucket tool to fill in spaces, and create shapes! I used a program called PIXIE!

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Secondary Colored Sunsets

fullsizerender1I did this project with PK to teach them how to mix primary colors into secondary colors. Each day they’d make a new color. We started on the carpet and I’d find someone wearing the color of the day (green, orange, purple). Make a big deal abut that color! Today we are painting with green (or orange or purple) but oops! I ran out of green paint! What do I do?! Amazingly some PK students will tell you to mix blue and yellow together, if not show them a magic trick! Put yellow all over the page, making sure to use a lot of paint to keep it nice and juicy. Now I will make magic, adding only a little but of blue and spreading it around. The kids will be very excited to see the magic happen. Talk about all the things that are green (orange, purple) and make a list. You can also add texture to the green paper by using scratch brushes or a pencil point and talk about texture. This will give them something to do when they’re done making the color.

Each child receives a new paper that I previously had written their names on the back and taped to either a covered table or whatever you use to keep the table clean because this will get messy. Taping the paper down really helps because then the kids don’t have to touch the paper.

Give them cups of yellow paint and tell them to cover the whole paper yellow. remind them to keep the paint nice and juicy because if it dries you can’t make magic. Walk around the room and as you see the papers turn yellow hand out the blue cups. Remind them to only dip the tip of the brush into the blue so the magic will work. Blue is a strong color so you only need a little.

As the papers turn you can hand out some tools for scratching and they love to do this. By the third color the kids get the process and do it on their own. I recommend big fat brushes for the kids who don’t have the grip yet.

I keep a table set up with the color of the day crayons and paper so that as they finish and clean their hands they can go there and continue to color in the color of the day. This will give you time to get the paintings on the drying rack.

Before you let them leave show two versions of the color. So if you’re doing green show a green that is more yellow and one that is more blue. Ask what the differences are and let them tell you. Ask why they think they are different. They can see how to achieve a darker blue green by adding more blue, or a lighter yellow green by adding less blue and talk about what you’d use these colors for!

Last day, assembling the sunsets. Purple is for the background, orange for the sun, green for the grass. Show them how it is done on the carpet first. I make a half circle on the back of all the oranges for them to cut and follow the line. The rays can be done 2 different ways. Kids can cut them or rip them, depending on their ability with scissors. Show them to add glue to the back of their pieces first, then glue it down on the purple paper. Show them how to cut the grass, by ripping or cutting a strip and ripping or cutting halfway along the strip. Glue it all together and done!

Fall Trees

img_3588We forget how young PreK is and how little they can do. Ripping paper is good for strengthening their hands.

We started out by talking about what’s going on with the trees outside. They should be able to discuss how the trees are changing and how winter is coming.

We look at pictures of trees and discuss what shapes we see. The trunk is a long skinny rectangle, and branches are smaller rectangles or just lines. We use brown to do this. Remind them not to add leaves yet because we’ll be gluing them on later. Once the tree is done talk about the ground line and make that in green for grass.

That can take one period, so next time they can do the leaves. Show them how to rip the paper about the size of the top of their little fingers. Doesn’t really matter as long as the peices aren’t too big or small. Talk about where the leaves would go, some on the branches, falling down or already on the ground in a pile.

Depending on ability some students will need help with the glue. I used glue sticks for this. Show them how to put glue on the paper then stick the leaf on. For some kids you can just cover a whole area with glue n let them go sticking.

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