Thursday, March 28, 2013

Flowers in Vase

Nice "spring-y" project that we ended up all doing.  First it started as a Art3 project that just the 3rd and 4th grader was doing.  3rd grader was learning about art of porcelain pottery.  Then I found that the Art1 had a still life that was a vase also.  So, voila!  We'll all do it.  :-)
2nd graders
(I love those contrasting colors on the right!)
1st grader's and preschooler's
(FYI: The flowers were difficult for the 1st grader and preschooler.  :-))
4th and 3rd graders
(I want a vase like that purple one!  :-))
Actually, a very simple project that really doesn't take a lot of time.  When I did this with the Preschool-2nd graders we finished it in 2 days.  1st day we folded a 9x12 piece of white construction paper in half and trace a half of vase and cut out.  Then added crayon design and water color.  We also took the time to add a tablecloth and wallpaper to the background paper.  The next day I worked with them to make tissue paper flowers and I hot glued the vases and their flowers. 
Directions to the tissue paper/button flowers can be found at

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Vincent van Gogh

Our group lesson this week has been inspired by Art1: Vincent van Gogh.
What was really cool was that the 1st grader and I had gone through the first portion of the lesson and the next day we went to the Midland Center for the Arts: Grossology Exhibit.  We spent some time in the other parts of the museum, outside of the exhibit and lo and behold...we found the same piece of art work as above-his self-portrait (but with a pipe).  Then we stuck around for awhile and realized that there was a bit of technology involved and it would change from one self-portrait to another, leaving the face and pipe.  So they saw...
Well, versions of these.  :-)  They were definitely recognizable but they all used the face of the one on the top left, with the pipe.  And every once in awhile the pipe would "puff".  Then on the other wall was one on the left and leafcutter ants took pieces off the "framed art" (using again that top left self-portrait) and moved it to seperate frame and put it all back together with the added touch of a butterfly putting the last piece on.  :-)  Very cool use of technology and famous artwork!
So, our lesson...Starry Night
Definitely a well-known piece of artwork!
We had fun with this.  We added a little "extra" to K12's 1st grade lesson because I wanted them to explore with thick paint and texture.  :-)  But we didn't get into as much if I had just older students.  I can see grades 4+ really get into this!  We took three mornings to do this to allow the paint to dry in between.  Day one we browsed through Vincent van Gogh's artwork and then spent some time with the Starry Night one.  Actually, what I do is find eart work and save them to a file on the laptop and then we watch a slideshow.  :-)  We worked on to bottom portion of the landscape.  I provided dark colored paints and for whatever reason they all chose green for bottom of landscape and blues/purples for mountains/hills.  :-)  Day 2, I provided colors to make shades of blue for the sky and white for them to swirl.  Day 3, they added yellow in the sky and any other details they wanted. 
Grade 4
Grade 2
(with help---he really enjoyed this!)
Grade 2
Grade 3
And last but not least...our 1st grader's:
They did a job well done!
The Vincent Van Gogh pictures were from Wikipedia.
This is a pretty cool variation...
Bottle caps!  I found this at

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Mosaics-Byzatine Empire

Another shout to K12's history/art curriculum.  By the way, MVCA is taking applications for 2013-2014 school year.  :-)  Here's the link.  This is for Michigan's online public school using the K12 curriculum.  Many states have this online schooling option available.  You can check your state at
The 2nd graders have spent quite a bit of time learning about the Roman Empire in history.  They learned that Rome started about 2700 years ago with a small group of villages.  Then it grew into  a huge empire. Then they learned about what caused the empire to split into the Eastern and Western Empires and they learned that the new more modern term "Byzantine Empire" represented the Eastern Roman Empire.   Also, that the Emperor Justinian who caused the Eastern Empire to grow was a Christian, which brought us to some of the art work within the churches.  :-)
Of course, there were many more details throughout those lessons.  But what's really neat with the K12 curriculum is that often art and history are connected somehow.  Not all the time, but often. And I love how they go back and make connections to past lessons because that's how children really learn...repetition! So in Art they are revisiting Ancient Rome.  They are being reminded of all the beautiful architectural work, temples that were built to worship their gods/goddesses and all the amazing artwork and marble sculptures.  They were reminded about the city of Pompeii which was buried over the course of 2-3 days when Mt. Vesuvius erupted.  And they were shown a picture of a Roman bedroom that was preserved.  The lesson title was called "No Window? No Problem!"  :-D 
The walls were frescoes (paintings directly on the plaster of the walls) and the floor was a marble mosaic.  (I couldn't find the same picture as in the lesson.  :-( They showed more of the floor.)  The walls were painted with windows and scenes outside windows and from what I gather from the lesson, there wasn't an actual window in this room.  All of them were painted! So the 2nd grade lesson was to paint a window and a scene outdoors. 
They started with making a window sill and frame. The one on the left is very typical for that child, very detailed and the one on the right ... yep, that's typical too! He did a fictional scene. Seems to think that drawing realistic scenes are harder. :-D So he made a CandyLand scene out the window. Ha!
In a 3rd grade lesson, back in November, the children painted on plaster squares my husband made for them.  That lesson was touching on frescoes also.  Not exactly the same as painting on wet plaster but fun anyway!  
Anyway, they moved onto some of the mosaics after talking about the floor of that room was a marble mosaic!  That marble mosaic floor was 2000 years old.  So we had a good conversation on whether carpet would last 2000 years.  :-D
The mosaic below was one of the pictures also shared with the students.  Remember that Emperor Justinian was Christian, he had many of the bible stories created in mosaics on the walls of churches. They did a good job and helping the children understand just how much marble would be needed and how much work it would be do create a mosaic like these.
Emperor Justinian and his Attendants
So after discussing mosaics for awhile all the students created a paper mosaic.  They turned out well!
Yes, time consuming, but definitely neat outcomes.  I see now in the picture that he should have used hot glue to glue his seaweed down.  Seems that liquid glue didn't hold it down.  We'll have to fix that.  And no, that isn't part of a typical mosaic but I try to allow the children to follow their creative whims.  So if the project turns out a little different than I expected, 'tis okay.  :-)
1st grader really wasn't "into" this project as you can tell.  :-)  That's his sun.  2nd grader's umbrella, notice the little tiny piece of handle coming back up at the bottom of the page.  Interesting!  And he added darker blue for rain.
2nd grader's carrots.
Preschooler's sun on the left and 3rd grader's heart on the right.