Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Cereal Box Monsters---1st grade!

Look what kind of crazy creature you can make with a cereal box!  I had all the students bring in a cereal box from home.  I then primed all of them....yes 100 of them.  And cut them in the back and folded them in half.  The kids then all chose paint to create their monster.  We let them dry and then went crazy gluing on bottle caps, pom poms, pipe cleaners, wooden sticks and more. 

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Giraffes CAN dance!

My third graders just finished their first project for the 2011-12 school year.  After reading the book Giraffes Can't Dance, the students explored ways to draw these massive animals.  After a few sketches of drawing BIG and making sure the necks were long enough and legs strong enough they all had to find a fresh dance move for Gerald to break.  We used Sharpies and markers and on the background construction paper crayons.  Each Giraffe was cute, funny, and perhaps could be inspiration for "So You Think You Can Dance.".

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Welcome Back

It was a great summer.  Time off is refreshing and I got to visit New Mexico and learn even more than I knew about Georgia O'Keefe.  My home computer was on a long hiatus so this is my first post in quite a long time.  The school year is off to a great start and I will start posting projects and pictures as soon as these masterpieces get finished!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Art in Peru


As an artist an art teacher I find it important to travel in the United States as well as the rest of the World.  Curtis and I make an effort to visit a place in the US and out of the US every year.  This year for spring break we had the amazing opportunity to go to Peru.  We went with the idea that Machu Picchu would me amazing but it was so much more than that.  Truly a unique, beautiful, and magical place an the ART was amazing.  Everywhere you turned was out of this world textiles, crafts, and fine works of art.  What and inpiration I will incorporate in my teaching, own artwork and day to day life.  Look at some of the pictures, and go to PERU!!


This year's Right To Read Week theme was The Wild West.  I incorportated this theme into my lesson plans as well as my wardrobe and music playlist for the week.  For this project I taught the kids about the purpose of WANTED posters in the west, then I taught them face proportion.  Every student was required to put a cowboy hat on their head and I taught the girls how to draw braids and the boys LOVED drawing mustaches, sideburns and stubble.  I then explained to them that they had to make their WANTED poster into something funny/legal/appropriate.  We got some very cute one ones.  Check them out!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Georgia On My Mind

         Portrait of Georgia O'Keefe                                                                   

In Fourth Grade we just finished a project on the famous American Female artist Georgia O'Keefe.  We connected this lesson to science as we discussed the flower works of O'Keefe and the different parts of flowers.  The we read a short bio on her, talked about her move from NYC to New Mexico and how perspective can change something.  I gave the students each a large piece of paper about 2 feet by 2 feet.  They were challenged to draw LARGE as Georgia did.  I kept telling them to SUPER SIZE it.  This was much harder for them than you would imagine.  We then colored them in with crayon, painted over in water color and sprinkled a little salt on the water color a different effect.  They kids liked these so much they took them home for mother's day.  I gave each student the option to bring something else in "natural".  I had a few kids bring in fruit and one artist bring in a peacock feather.
                                                                                                        Sunflower by Erica

                                                          peacock feather by Bailey

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Blue Dog

Curtis and I went to New Orleans in December of 2002.  Blue Dog was a celebrity all over town.  George Rodrigue's Gallery is right in the French Quarter and you cannot go to this city without seeing his famous canine.  Since then, I have collected Blue Dog stuff, had a painting of him in my classroom on the wall and love to see what kids think about Blue Dog Paintings.  Recently I had my fifth graders choose between the Mona Lisa, American Gothic, Scream or Blue Dog, to study, and change.  Here are some fantastic examples!  I also just submitted them to Rodrigue's student gallery so keep your fingers crossed we get published!  Check it out:
These are by: Laney, Hannah, Emma, and McKenzie

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Van Gogh Sunflowers


My 1st grade students just completed this Van Gogh inspired masterpiece.  We watched a short video on the life an work of Vincent and they love the extra info about the "ear cutting" incident.  We then talk about sunflowers, look at the painting and paint our own.  On the last day of the project we cut burlap out for the middles and spend the day eating seeds and gluing them on the picture for some added flare. They all turn out beautiful. 

Thursday, March 31, 2011

An Ode to Liz----Lady Bugs in the Grass

My first year teaching at Milford Main Middle School I was blessed to share a room with an elementary art teacher who taught in the district.  Liz Copfer (Beck) was my mentor for that year and became my friend.  What a gift to have an experienced art teacher to share ideas with during that hard first year. 

Before I started teaching I had had Liz's mother Margaret (who is the guru of all art teachers in the Cincinnati area), as my art education professor at Xavier in college.  Margaret made me more excited about my profession than I had ever been.  Liz had learned from the best.  Well, I had the opportunity reap the knowledge of both Copfer ladies. 

After my first year at the middle school I was to then go to Pattison to teach elementary school.  Liz copied every one of her lesson plans for me, invited me to a day in her classroom, and made a picture album of every project she did and gave it to me.  This was an amazing thing to receive.  She also gave me countless tips on teaching, words to use, and classroom management ideas.  Some of my best lesson plans I owe to Liz.  I look around my classroom, hear myself say "the fold is our friend", or refer to a scissors as an "alligator" and think of Liz all of the time.  Thank you Liz, you were such a gift to me, as I was your student too! 

Here is the lesson I start every year out with given to me by Liz.  It teaches the first graders how to cut, glue, and follow directions. 
Lady Bugs in the Grass

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

There was an old lady who swallowed a fly.

1st Grade:

There was an old lady who swallowed a fly.
I don't know why she swallowed the fly,
I guess she'll die.
There was an old lady who swallowed a spider,
that wiggled and wiggled and tickled inside her.
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly.
I don't know why she swallowed the fly.
I guess she'll die.
There was an old lady who swallowed a bird.
How absurd to swallow a bird.
She swallowed the bird to catch the spider,
that wiggled and wiggled and tickled inside her.
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly.
I don't know why she swallowed the fly.
I guess she'll die.
There was an old lady who swallowed a cat.
Imagine that, she swallowed a cat.
She swallowed the cat to catch the bird.
She swallowed the bird to catch the spider,
that wiggled and wiggled and tickled inside her.
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly.
I don't know why she swallowed the fly.
I guess she'll die.
There was an old lady who swallowed a dog.
My what a hog, to swallow a dog.
She swallowed the dog to catch the cat.
She swallowed the cat, to catch the bird,
She swallowed the bird to catch the spider,
that wiggled and wiggled and tickled inside her.
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly.
I don't know why she swallowed the fly.
I guess she'll die.
There was an old lady who swallowed a cow.
I don't know how she swallowed a cow.
She swallowed the cow to catch the dog.
She swallowed the dog, to catch the cat.
She swallowed the cat to catch the bird.
She swallowed the bird to catch the spider,
that wiggled and wiggled and tickled inside her.
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly.
I don't know why she swallowed the fly
I guess she'll die.
I know an old lady who swallowed a horse...

She's dead of course!

Andy Warhol "POP ART"

I guess I teach the most about the artists I love, because Andy too is one of my favorites.  The forerunner of POP ART and his iconic Marilyn and Campbell's soup can prints cannot be beat.  Andy was an individual and that's why I admire him most.  He was unique, creative, and fun.  I take Warhol's work and explain to the students what POP means.  Why we call it POP music and POP art too.  Instead of drawing soup cans, we draw POP Cans  Each student is allowed to bring a can of pop for the class and "drink and draw".  They draw one can and I then copy it four times for them on the copy machine, "a modern day way to print make."  They they color in one can in the traditional can colors and in the spirit of Warhol change the colors of the other three.  We then cut up the pop can and they staple on the pieces along with pop taps for a great frame.  Here are some great pics!  Also below the pics is a link if you would like to know more about Andy Warhol. 

Monday, March 21, 2011

Kandinsky Kandinsky Kandinsky

I love Wassily Kandinsky.  The father of "non-objective" artwork has always appealed to my love of color.  Throughout all my years of teaching he is one of the few artists that I have taught every year.  This Russian painter was one of the first artist who painted purely abstact works.  He says his work was devoted to "inner-beauty, fervor of spirit, and deep spirtual desire".  He wanted his work to produce the same emotional connections that people feel to musical compositions.  Here are two of his famous works.  The first, a great representation of abstract work that my third grade students looked at and we talked about how it made us feel and what we thought of.  I then put on different songs that I felt evoked emotion  I love music by Eddie Vedder when trying doing this.  I may also put something on like "Shout", to have them make marks freely and quickly. 
The second famous painting of Kandinsky's are his Circles.  (I borrowed this lesson plan from Kacey Watkins Nobis), I talk to second grade students about how Mr. Kandinsky liked shapes and how colors looked together.  I then have them create their own concentric circles on an 8x8 piece of paper putting out markers, oil pastels, crayons, and highlighters, having them experiment with different materials.  I next laminate each circle and display together.
 2nd Grade Kandinsky Circles
 3rd Grade Abstract Expressionism

Let's Face It......



This is a great project I did with 6th grade.  I printed out about 100 famous people from the past or present.  The list included some people such as Gandi, Justin Bieber, Hannah Montana, Derek Jeter, Lebron James, Julius Ceasar, and Winston Churchill.  I put them in a pile of male and female.  I made the students close their eyes and pic.  They could then switch with someone if they really wanted.  I did this to prevent a mad rush for Justin Bieber or Selena Gomez.  Next the students cut the picture in half and glued one side on a piece of paper.  The kept the other side to look at and draw.  I taught them face proportion, value and how to shade.  I then took them to the computer lab and they had to write a three paragraph essay on who the person was and why they were famous.  The results were fantastic, and hey,  they even learned something about Johnny Cash, Gorbechev, and the Dalai Lama. 

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Here Comes the Sun

Clay is not my strongest area.  I think it's an amazing substance but haven't had the time to spend getting to know it that well.  My own work is usually 2D like painting and fabric work.  I try my hardest to find great lessons for students because clay IS their favorite.  It's hard for me to get quality work because the "drying out" element. It's also hard because of putting names or initals on the bottom, and they are often hard to read.  So the loading of the kiln, mixing of classes, glazing and another firing is quite hard for me.  I am not sure who told me but water color works great on fired clay.  So, after you do a project and fire it once, hand it back to the kids and have them water color the bisque pieces.  I then spray them in a clear gloss.  They look fantastic.  I usually do this with a project I know they won't eat off or try to put water in.  Here are some "Aztec" inspired Suns.

Munch's SCREAM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Edvard Munch was an expressionist painter and printmaker from Oslo Norway. He was regarded as the pioneer of the amazing Expressionist movement. His art work from the late 1800′s is the most well known, but his later work is gradually attracting more attention and is a worldwide inspiration.  This famous painting has been the inspiration for The Scream mask you often see during Halloween.  I usually do this project during Halloween because it gets the students thinking about things that make them "scream", like spiders, homework, and clowns! I give them a white piece of paper and either oil pastels or crayons.  Tell them about expressionism lines and have them go left to right with straight and curvy lines.  Next the students water color over the lines for a "resist" effect.  The next class we draw a SCREAM face on black construction paper with oil pastels.  So they all don't look the same I have them add their own hair.  The students then cut this out and glue on the background.  Here is Munch's masterpiece along with some 4th grade work as well.

Art Around The World

My friends Mike and Alison met in Vietnam and fell in love.....with each other and this beautiful country.  In 2007 they created a non-for-profit to help kids who suffered from the long lasting effects of Agent Orange sprayed all over the country during the Ameican/Vietnam War.  I decided I needed to go.  Curtis was in his last year of law school and would be taking The Bar in the upcoming summer and couldn't go.  I needed to find someone who had their summers off, liked art, and wanted to travel to Asia.  There weren't a lot of options in Ohio but I had to go.  I met this person who went to high school with Curtis this weekend whom he told me was an art teacher.  I called her out of the blue and asked her to go.  Tracy immediately said yes, and after a few phone calls decided she coudn't because a friend was coming home from Iraq.  So, I called up another random person I met one night who was an art teacher, Kacey Nobis.  Both of these "random" girls had a few close degrees of separation in my life, and I didn't think this was a coincidence.  Kacey Nobis now Watkins and I had agreed to go to Vietnam together to do charity artwork with kids and didn't know each other, except we find out our moms were friends in college??!  We had a crash course on each other and decided it would work.  I had resigned from my job at Pattison heading to NYC and mentioned to my principal that I knew this girl (Tracy) who may be interested in the job and I think she would be a great fit.  Well, Tracy got the job, and Kacey and I went to Asia together and 5 years later these two "random" art teachers are my two best friends. 

Vietnam was a wonderful experience and I too fell in love with this country.  Kacey and I brought the work back to the USA and Mike, Alison, and I put on a charity event in NYC that was a huge hit.  My mother even befriended the United Nations Representatives from Vietnam and was invited for a private tour of the UN.  Here are a few pics, and a link to Mike and Alison's charity in case you are interested. 
 Me in Vietnam.
 Kacey in Vietnam. 
Us with group. 
 The United Nations Representatives loved my mom and aunt. 
 pictures of the art we did in Vietnam that we made into magnets. 
Tracy and I in her art room that used to be mine!