Friday, March 12, 2010

My Signature Project

Of all the projects that I have done over the past thirty years this has become the one that I will most remember and be most remembered for. The "Patterned Cats" that my students have created have won many awards over the years and always cause a great deal of excitement when displayed in the halls of our school. This project is a review of concepts learned throughout the year in second grade. The contrast of the black and white cats on the brightly colored backgrounds is stunning.

Friday, February 26, 2010


My journey into the world of web 2.0 tools has been productive in so many ways and one of the best has been finding ideas and inspiration from others using the same tools. Recently I tried two new projects that I found through fellow bloggers.

First was a third grade project using the artist Laurel Burch as inspiration, found on Jodi's blog, One Crayola Short. The kids were truly inspired by the art and life of Laurel Burch. I found a video interview with Laurel on youtube that I showed to the kids. We then discussed the video and looked further at her work with cats. Following some of Jodi's guidelines and a few of my own the kids were soon creating Fabulous Felines of their own.

The second came from the blog, Art is Messy and was a lesson on cave paintings that I did with my first graders. We began by touring the caves of Lascaux and then we talked about the art that was in the caves and about the artists who created it. We did some practice drawings of animals and then used those ideas to paint onto sand paper our own version of cave paintings. I found a short, out of the way hall in our school, put paper over the lights and we created our own cave to display the paintings in. We then went to explore the caves flashlights in hand. It was quite an adventure.

Friday, February 19, 2010

4th grade owls

Learning the basics of working with clay to create sculptural forms my fourth graders created their interpretation of an owl. We began by doing several drawings of owls and then working with clay turned them into three-dimentional versions of the drawings.

Shoe Stomp Medallion

My students really enjoy this project and it is very easy for them to do a nice job. Before beginning the project I tell the kids to go home and look in their rooms for the most interesting shoe bottoms they have and then make sure to wear them to school the next time they have art. When they arrive the next class they are each given a small piece of clay which they form in to a ball, strategically position it on the bottom of their shoe and then gently step on it to create the pattern for their medallion.
After the clay has been fired students paint it and string it with beads and feathers to create their final piece.

Monday, February 1, 2010


These three pieces will be representing our school district at our Regional Art Show and then hopefully on to State.

Friday, January 8, 2010


I hope that you all had a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful start to the New Year! Once again time has flown by and it has been far to long since I last posted. Oh well....perhaps an opportunity for a New Year's resolution! :) Going back in time a bit this is probably the best loved Christmas project in my repertoire. It is a favorite of parents and students alike. The key concepts are that of focal point, repetition and variety. Skills learned are working with stencils, use of pastels, color blending and collage techniques. Students begin by creating a stencil in the shape of an evergreen tree. Then use their stencil and pastels in different shades of green to create a forest of trees. I encourage the kids to trade stencils with classmates so that all of their trees are not exactly the same shape or size. Overlapping is also encouraged. Both of these things help make the forests look more realistic. When enough trees have been stenciled a horizon line is added and the sky is colored with pastel to reflect a certain mood or time of day. Color blending is discussed at this point. When students are finished with the pastels they use the inside shape from the stencil and a variety of collage materials to create a decorated tree which is then added to the forest. The end results are quite beautiful.