Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Spring/Summer Birch Trees

Here's our last 3rd grade birch tree project.  For this one I didn't give them any directions, other than it had to be a spring/summer landscape with birch trees!  This was like the "test" birch tree project, since we didn't review depth before starting.  I don't have any watercolor pencils, but I decided to let the kids use regular colored pencils if they wanted instead of crayon.  They worked pretty well!  If you haven't already seen them, here are all of our other birch trees from this year:

Fall Birch Trees (Students received full instruction and demonstration.)

Winter Birch Trees  (Students received review of depth.)

I wish some of the students paid more attention!  I had a few really great landscapes that had blank birch trees!

6th Grade Native American Animal Spirit Prints

Here are a few of the 6th grade Native American Animal spirit prints.  Most of these were finished up just in time for the art show.  You can find my power point that I use on the SmARTteacher website.  Due to the shortened amount of time, I printed off the my powerpoint into 4 slide note pages.  I created a simple packet that students had to take quick notes in.  Next up?  The Aboriginal culture from Australia!

5th Grade Analogous Animals

In our last project before our post-assessment, my 5th graders did this quick analogous animals project, of which I've seen variations of it on Pinterest.  Since I was running out of time to cover the rest of the color schemes for color theory, I tried to make this project as quick as possible.  I googled "how to draw..." animals and created a hand out to help students draw their animals.  I didn't want EVERYONE to do the same animal, but I knew it would take a long time and I would lose interest if I did a drawing demonstration for each animal.

I did a quick demonstration on the board using the handout and then I sent the kids to town.  On the first day, we drew the animals and if they were approved, they traced with Sharpie marker.  On the second day, I demonstrated how to paint the animals.  Since we don't have tertiary colored watercolor paint, they had to mix colors on their paper.

On the last day, I decided to have the kids cut out their animals and glue them to black construction paper.  Originally I wasn't going to do this step, but a lot of them had a hard time controlling how much liquid watercolor paint was on their brush, so there were a lot of drips on their papers. To combat that, we cut them out and glued them.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Really...? One more month to go??!!

Okay, so I'm a tad bit jealous at all of you who are finished or just about finished with school!  I know, I go back earlier than us NYers...but I'm still jealous!   We technically have school until June 21st! (And the bogus part is that our grades and such are all due 1 1/2 weeks before the last day so we can have the awards assembly, so all of the students KNOW the last week is basically a waste because their grades don't count...)

I feel like I've barely had any time to do any posting these last couple of weeks.  Last week was my art show  (and I'll have a separate page to follow in the next day or so with photos).  It was put up on Monday and taken down by Thursday.  I was camping for Memorial Day weekend and now this week and into next week I am giving all of my post-assessments for APPR.

I'm also slightly stressing because there are a few retiring teachers who have not turned in their paperwork for retirement, which means that my job is still up in the air!  It's so frustrating (and stressful!) to be told one thing when it comes to your job and then be told, "Well, until paperwork is turned in, you don't have a job next year."!  I don't feel like my blog is the right place to vent, but this stress is one of the reasons I've been absent from blogging!  It really drags down your moral. :(

Anyways, hopefully I'll have a few posts to share this week with you.  My 5th graders finished their analogous animals that I will share, I've got my art show photographs, and I'll share my post-assessments.  Eventually, when I get together with other art teachers and have them graded, I'll try to share the before and afters!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Community Helpers Cityscape

It's taken a while to get these done, but we finally did it!  About a month back, the librarian asked me if I could do a project with 2nd graders that related to community helpers...i.e. police men, emergency workers, firemen, etc.  While we finished up our gyotaku prints, I brainstormed ideas and finally came up with this project!  I searched Pinterest up and down to see if anyone else had done any community helper projects in art class, and found some little ideas that helped me build my big idea.

The first thing that we did was talk about cityscapes versus landscapes.  We had previously done this winter landscapes back at Christmas time (to which I just realized I never did a post about, but found the idea on Pinterest...), so this was a good project to introduce the other 'scape'.

We looked at a power point, did a review game, and then looked at the symbolism and characteristics of important buildings in a community.  On the first day, I had students draw their city.  They had to draw a road at the bottom of the  page and then they had to have at least five important buildings.  We drew in pencil and then outlined in Sharpie marker.

On the second day, we finished the outlining and then put a red hand print on the road.  This later became firemen (idea straight from Pinterest here).  Students also started making emergency vehicle collages.  They were required to have at least 1-2 emergency vehicles on their road.  I showed students some collages that I found on Pinterest to give them a jumping off point.

On the fourth and last day, students finished up their collages and made their firemen!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Getting ready for the art show!

The end of the year has been pretty hectic for me so far...between my pregnancy brain, morning sickness and lack of energy, I'm struggling to get to the end of the year!  I've used more sick days so far since the 6 week point in my pregnancy than I did all of last year!

I know some of you have already had your big art show...I'm using this week to get ready for mine!  I always do the art show on budget vote day in our district, which is May 21st this year.  So, I'm taking a full day sub on Monday to set up for the art show and a 1/2 day sub in the afternoon to run my art club table (boondoggle sale and glass plate sale).

Here's how I get ready for the art show...

First, I pass back all of the artwork I've saved for each class and I have the students sign their names on the FRONT of each artwork.  I always have them do it on the back so that I can put their artwork on Artsonia. When everyone has signed their artwork, we neatly pile it up and I collect it.

Then, on Monday (set-up day), I go through each student's pile and I choose their best work from the pile.  This way, everyone gets at least one artwork in the show.  After I hang everything, if I still have room, I'll go back through and pick the next best, and so on and so forth.
This is my cart after three classes signed all their Friday this week it will probably be over and bottom shelf!

This is a storage cart that I have in my room by the door.  I use it to store 2-D artwork throughout the year for the art show.  It's currently a little messy, but each grade level has a black, canvas zippered bag to store artwork.  Then, if that folder fills up, I use the shelves underneath to store artwork.  Any 3-D artwork gets stored in boxes on top of cupboards until the art show.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Art Club: Glass Plates

For the last few weeks, my art club has been working on lots of glass plates to sell at our art show.  This is going to be our major fundraising event for our field trip.  We will also be selling our boondoggle as well.  The art show is slowly creeping up on us...this year it will be on May 21st, budget vote night.

This particular student wanted to do a version of Starry Night...

The top two plates are my creations...

It's been a slow process getting them all fused and slumped...I can only do one large plate at a time with a few small plates.

One of our experiments are coral bowls.  I found this pin on Pinterest and I decided to experiment with the students.  My finished bowl is on the right, and one of the bowls that has not been fused is on the left.  We didn't quite follow the steps exactly from the pin, but pretty closely.  I have a box of Wasser glass (I think that's the brand) that I tried using with the Amaco glass last year, but with bad results.  The COE for both types of glass was the same, but I think because the brands were different, they didn't fuse very well together.  My test plate had a lot of holes and air bubbles in it.  I decided to try using the Wasser glass for these coral bowls...if it didn't work, it wouldn't feel like as much of a waste as if we used the Amaco glass, which I always have positive results with.

Basically all we did was cut up a 6"x6" piece of glass into strips and then layer them on top of each other.  Some students added some extra color using noodles and stringers.  It's been a slow process firing these, but they're looking pretty cool!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013


Since 1st graders finished up their Monet ponds not too long ago, and they are actually learning about frogs right now, it only seemed apt that I do a frog project with them!  This is one of those projects that I have found to be very successful and I have done it every year since I started teaching (with little tweaks here and there of course).

This project only takes about three days to do.  I don't present a power point about frogs, but we do talk about what they know about frogs from their classroom.  On the first day, we trace all the parts to make the frog head and glue it onto paper.  On the second day, we draw the frog body together, and then students have to draw an appropriate background habitat and details to go with their frog.  Then they trace all of their pencil lines with black Sharpie.  On the third day, they color!

This is a nice, easy project that reviews using multiple horizon lines for depth, good craftsmanship and coloring skills, and having good details in a drawing.



My 3rd graders are finishing up their last birch tree project right now...spring/summer birch trees!  Their next project will also deal with frogs, as that is what they are also learning about in science class.  I'm really excited to do their project with them...I recently saw this pin on Pinterest and it inspired me for the next 3rd grade project.  Instead of doing bugs...I'm going to have them do the life cycle of a frog!  Hopefully I'll have some of those drawings to share next week!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Finished Kindergarten Pattern Cows

So, is anyone else noticing that the kids are starting to go a little crazy?  Warmer weather has finally hit New York and the kids are starting to show it!  My kinders are especially kooky..."Mrs. Impey, what do I do now that I'm finished painting?" "Mrs. Impey, where do I wash out my paint brush at?"  "Mrs. Impey, where do I put my wet painting?"  ARGH!  These simple things we have worked ALL YEAR on have suddenly flown out of their minds at the onset of warm weather!  Plus, state testing is just about finished (aside from the science test at the end of May), so it always seems like everyone's brains shut down!

These are some of our finished pattern cows in Kindergarten.  I do really love the bright colors of the liquid watercolor paint, but I'm not sure what happened with some of the patterns!  Students were told they had to have at least five large spots with a DIFFERENT pattern in each spot...they weren't supposed to have two AB, straight line patterns...but a lot of them seemed to forget!  

They did a really awesome job drawing their cows, however.  Each cow has a different personality!


I've seen a lot of bloggers post about putting liquid watercolors in the little utility cups, like Jen over at Draw the Line At, but I decided to try these 6-well paint holders.  I found a box of about 18 of them stashed away in corner.  In each holder, I put red, orange, yellow, and green.  In my set of liquid watercolors that I bought from Blick, there were 10 colors.  In three of them I put magenta, while in the other three I put the violet.  I also received two different blues, so I split those up as well.  The last two colors I received were brown and black.  In each well, I mixed the paint 1/2 and 1/2.

I was a little worried about the kiddos spilling these holders when they bumped the tables, but they're doing pretty well.  They seem to understand that this paint is actually like water!  It's also easy to rinse them off after we're done because all you need to do is put the caps back on and run them under the sink.

I also bought some new water buckets to try at each table, and the kids really like these as well.  I bought six of these Shiva water basins, one for each table.  They have these nice ridges in the bottom for rinsing paint off the brush, so instead of hearing brushes slap the edges of the water cups I had before, it's quiet and there is less water/paint splatter!  I think I may invest in 6 of these for the high school room for next year as well...