All of my classes created Mandalas this year for the SPA Competition. We looked at many mandalas from around the world and from different religions. We had great discussions on what the common themes were (circles, radial balance, patterns, color schemes, etc.). I let students use one circle tracer but the rest was their own design. My middle school students also looked at the Zendala book for inspiration. Students used their choice of media and most choose watercolor resist. This was a great theme and I can't wait to find out next year's theme.
Mission Statement: I will develop the higher level thinking skills of all students. I will create an environment for my students that encourages creative thinking, problem solving, and risk-taking. My students will gain knowledge of art and culture throughout history and the modern world. My students will use the elements and principles of art and design to create a portfolio of original works of art. My students will evaluate their work and the work of others.
One lesson we did this year was based on one of my favorite lessons I did as a 3rd grade student (way back in 1982 when classroom teachers had to teach their class "art"). I had an amazing 3rd grade teacher (Mrs. Pat Barry) who later went on to become an amazing art teacher once elementary schools got certified art teachers.
Here are the steps (it works with any kind of subject matter and any grade level):
1. Sketch drawing idea on good paper. Heavy watercolor paper works best and will give the best results.
2. Go over pencil lines in permanent marker or crayon (trying different colors always looks interesting).
3. Color in all or most shapes with crayon. I like Crayola's NEON crayons the best for resist work.
4. Paint entire painting with thick liquid watercolor paint.
5. Let dry.
6. Rinse entire paper with cool water at the sink. This step is why the thick, heavy weight watercolor paper works best. Thin, cheap paper will rip when completely wet.
* this also works with India Ink but I like the color variety of liquid watercolors.
Andy Warhol prints with Kindergarten were a big success. We watched a youtube video on Andy Warhol and looked at many of his prints. We talked about Pop Art and Printmaking and the advantages of making multiple images. I had left over fluorescent paint which was perfect for a "Pop Art" look. Students did 4 black hand prints then chose a color hand print to print on top. Kindergartners love nothing more than getting messy so this was a favorite art lesson for many of them!
We have one less custodian this year so keeping the art room clean and manageable has become a bigger job for me and my students. My room gets swept maybe once every two weeks. I remembered my "magic piece of trash" technique so I've been using it once again and my floors remain (relatively) clean.
Here it is:
(I always do a quick lesson on the procedure before I start for the year)
- During clean-up time, I announce to the class that I have chosen a magic piece of trash on the floor.
- As students clean up, I look around the classroom to see what students are picking up. They are instructed to pick up trash and throw it away--I am always watching to see who finds it.
- At this time, it is important to reinforce to students that if they ask me if they found it or run or shout, etc., I will pick a new magic piece of trash.
- When students line up, I announce the "winner" who is the person who threw away the magic piece of trash and the receive some small reward (sticker, line leader, etc.).
I don't know why this works so well but it does. I also have a "cleanest, quickest, quietest table" award at the end of class that really helps too. In DECATS, they have the "golden plunger" award for cleanest bathrooms. Maybe I'll call my clean up awards the "golden sponges"?