Archive for Elementary Lesson Plans

Warm & Cool Pastel Leaves

2nd grade created a unique fall artwork using glue and chalk pastels.  In class we read the book Autumn Leaves, which taught us about many different types of leaves that can be found on trees.  We talked about the types of colors we see in the fall, and why leaves change colors.  After our discussion, we examined a variety of leaves at our tables.  We paid close attention to each part of the leaf; the stem, the veins, and the blade. Then, using chalk we drew a variety of leaves, and traced our lines with glue.  The glue gave our leaves and interesting texture to help our leaves stand out from the artwork. Once the glue was dry, we learned how to used warm and cool colored chalk pastels to fill our fall artwork with color.

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Japanese Sumi-E Landscapes

As first graders learned about Asia in their classrooms, we explored Japanese art in the art room.  We learned the people of Japan really appreciate nature, and it really shows in their art!  To start we learned about the Japanese tea ceremony, and made our own clay tea bowls.  Next, we learned about the ancient form of Japanese painting, Sumi-e brush painting.  We created black and white landscapes using special bamboo sumi-e brush, and black ink.  We experimented with the different brush strokes they used, and learned how the Japanese used only a few brush strokes to represent nature.  To add a finishing touch to our landscapes, we added Japanese characters.

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Greek Pottery Still Lives

In connection with classroom studies of Ancient Greece and Rome, 3rd graders learned about the art of Greek pottery.  We discussed what pottery is, and what it’s made from.  We looked at the ways pottery was decorated in Ancient Greece, and how it was a way to tell important stories of their heroes.  Students also learned about the many shapes  and types of Greek pottery, and how they were used for different purposes.  Looking closely at the parts that make up a pot, students discussed how an artist has to think about these parts when they are designing a piece of pottery.

Students began their still-lives by designing 3-4 pieces of pottery on a folded piece of paper.  Next, they cut their paper out, and opened up their piece to discover they now had a symmetrical piece of pottery.  They added traditional Greek designs and glued them onto a background.  Students talked about overlapping and placing the pottery higher or lower to make them appear closer or further away.  Lastly, students discussed shadows and highlights, and how they help to make art look 3-dimensional.  Using oil pastels, we added the shadows and highlights for a finishing touch.

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Native American Talking Sticks

As 2nd graders learned about Native Americans in the classroom, we explored the art of Native Americans in the Art room.  We learned that a variety of Art was created by the Native Americans such as pottery, beadwork, totem poles, baskets, etc…  However, they created one piece of Art that was more than Art, Talking Sticks.  Talking sticks were used in important gatherings, and only the person holding the talking stick was permitted to speak.  These talking sticks had many unique items decorating the stick.  They used everything from paint, to seashells, to colored beads, to animal fur, to feathers.  Each item was meant to remind the speaker of something important.  Using a variety of materials, students designed their own talking sticks.  We began by painting simple lines, each different line was suppose to represent a part of nature (water, mountians, plants, etc…).   Next, we attached different materials to our sticks, remembering the symbolism behind each item we added.  Lastly, we looked at Native American written symbols, and drew the symbols on our Talking Sticks to add a finishing touch.  Each Talking Stick is truly unique and special to its owner.

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Colonial Glass Bottle Still Life

The 4th graders explored the art of glass making.  We discussed what glass is made from, and how it was originally used thousands of years ago.  We also looked at the Jamestown Glass House and explored how glass was created in used in Colonial Virginia.  Did you know the first factory in the US was the Glass House in Jamestown?

Students observed glass bottles to create their own still life.  We wanted to create the illusion of 3D in our artwork, so we learned to overlap our bottles and place them higher or lower on the page.  Together, these two techniques help to make objects appear closer or further away.  Lastly, we painted in our bottles, this was a little tricky because glass is transparent, so we wanted to be sure to mix the two colors where the glass overlapped.  To add finishing touches, we added a few shadows and highlights to our bottle still lives. I think they did a very convincing job creating a flat artwork that looks 3-D!

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Morrocan Radial Pattern Tile Paintings

5th Graders explored the art of Morroco as we took a closer look at their tile motifs.  Morrocan motifs were elaborate patterns made from geometric shapes.  These designs were often repeated and painted on hundreds of tiles, creating an even larger motif.  5th graders created their own motifs tiles, as we designed a radial pattern.  We looked at radial patterns that exist in nature, and learned that radial patterns are round designs.  By using a graphite transfer method, we transferred our design to create our own radial pattern.  Next, students chose a complementary color scheme, and learned how to mix tints and shades to paint in their designs.  To add a finishing touch, students painted mettallic paint onto their work to accent their designs.  Great work 5th graders!

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Recycled Glass Organic Bowls

Students in my 5th Grade Recycled Art Enrichment club created clay bowls using recycled glass  and clay.  We first discussed the technique of building with slabs.  Before  shaping our bowls, students discussed the word “organic” and how it could related to different shapes and forms in pottery.  We rolled our clay to a thin sheet, and then draped them over a mold, creating our “organic” form bowls.  After the pieces were fired, we glazed the bowl and melted pieces of broken glass inside.  This was a great way to recycle materials that would otherwise be thrown away!

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Australian Aboriginal Artworks

Kindergartners discovered the traditional artwork of Australia as we learned about Aboriginal Art.   Aboriginal means “first” or “original.”  This artwork, often found on cave walls and pieces of tree bark, was created by the original inhabitants of Australia.  Their work depicted what was important to them, mainly animals. The animal was often placed in the center of the work, and patterns made from tiny dots filled the space surrounding it.   We learned these animals were important symbols were used as symbols to tell stories.   After discussing different kinds of Australian animals, students learned how to draw a turtle, and then outlined the turtles with row after row  of painted dots.  To add a finishing touch to our works, Kindergartners learned how to tie a knot, and tied a branch onto their work to hang from.

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Japanese Landscapes Prints

5th graders learned the ancient art of Japanese woodblock prints.  We explored Katsushika Hokusai’s work, 36 View from Mount Fuji.

Hokusai was a famous Japanese printmaker.  A printmaker carves into wood, metal, or linoleum, to create an image called a plate.  The plate is inked, and the image is transferred onto paper.  Printmaking has been around for hundreds of years, and before we had modern day printers, this is how we used to print copies of books and posters.

Hokusai truly valued the beauty of Japan’s landscapes.  After looking closely at Hokusai’s prints, we created our landscapes by carving into a plate. Once our plate was finished, we painted them, and using a brayer, we transferred our image onto a large paper.   In connection with learning about the art of Japanese printing, we learned the art of Japanese Sumi-E painting as we added a decorative edge around our border.

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Kindergarten Set Design

Kindergartners put on their annual performance of The Three Little Pigs.  This year the students made their own set for the musical in Art.  We discussed what a set is, and how they are used in stage performances.  We also discussed that an artist has the job of designing the sets.  After reading the story, The Three Little Pigs, students began working on their own set design sketches for their production.  We then compiled the different sketches into one final design, and transferred it onto two large backdrops.  Painting was the last step to complete our set.  Everyone had a part of the set they were responsible for painting.  So we all worked together, and our set was created for the musical!

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