Friday, December 30, 2005

The Creative Process Menu

Before the winter break, we spent a couple of weeks discussing the steps used by an artist in his or her creative process. I like the words used by one of the other TAB-Choice teachers in hers, so I borrowed it. First we Explore (all of the stations and the materials available), then we Plan (what we want to make and what materials we will use), then we Create (the actual making of the art), then we Refine (look at our art to see if it needs anything else or if we need to make any changes), then we Reflect (this is when we write our artist statements). One of my goals this year has been to have the students reflect on what they have created and document it in an artist statement for every piece of art that they make. I think that this will help them to remember the steps in their creative process and then build on what they have learned in this piece on each new piece of their art. This is what I hope every student can take away from art: to know that they are creative thinkers who can solve, decide, create, and learn on their own. I think that this will also help them to realize the importance of their art work. In their artist statements, I ask them to document the steps that they took or tell the viewer what they were thinking about as they made their art work. If their art work is three-dimensional, I also ask them to draw a picture of it to have a record in their portfolios. Three-dimensional art must be taken home when it is completed because of our limits on storage in the art room.

Tyler's airplane is an example of a finished product that shows careful planning, refining, and reflecting.

Blake's City

Blake worked for several class periods on his city, carefully cutting out the windows to go on his buildings.

Autumn's House

Autumn's house has furniture inside, a gate that locks, and a door with hinges and a working doorknob that latches.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Cody's Time Machine

Cody worked on this for several class periods. It changed in classification as he added more parts to it.

Printmaking Station

Our sixth station is the printmaking station. Students in third, fourth, and fifth grade have been making monoprints. We use 11 x 14 acrylic sheets as our printing plates. Printmaking ink is rolled onto the plate using brayers, then, using a variety of objects, students create their designs. Paper is carefully placed on the plate, the back of the paper is rubbed gently with the palm of the hand, and the finished print is lifted. This has been a very popular, and messy (!) station.


Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Junior architects

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Building with wood

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Connecting Straws

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Building station

We have a new mini-station. It is a building station-in-a-crate that is equipped with a set of legos, plastic shapes that connect, connecting flexible straws, a junior architect magnetic set, magnetix (magnetic rods and balls), zoobs (plastic pieces that connect and can be movable), rivitons (a set made in the '70's that connects with rubber rivets and can be used to make vehicles), and rig-a-jig (another set from the 70's that has plastic pieces which connect with hard plastic straws). We also have a large box of pieces of wood. When the students use all of these sets, they are using the same skills of building with form that artists use to design sculptures and architects use to design buildings. The students are developing the knowledge of form, function, materials, tools, and structure. They are developing skills such as problem-solving, investigating, choosing, designing, and testing. They work with the concepts of balance, stability, cause and effect, comparison, and scale. They improve their attitudes of cooperation, concentration, and motivation. This is a popular new station.

Weaving station

We have a new weaving station for the upper grades. Fourth and fifth grade students can work on rectangular or circular weavings. Third grade students can weave pot-holders on plastic looms, or do circular weavings on plastic cups. They have many choices of color and texture in yarn. We also have a very large frame loom that anyone in these classes or grade levels can weave on. We hope to have a large tapestry weaving to hang on the wall in a few months.

D's sports car

D worked on this sport car for several class periods. After he finished his drawing of the car, he was encouraged to add color and an appropriate background. This wonderful drawing was the result.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Computer station

We now have three Macintosh computers set-up for the students to use. A drawing program called KidPix Deluxe is on all three of them. They are connected to the internet, so they will soon have interactive art websites for children on them.

Collaborative City Mural

Three students worked together to create this action-packed mural of a city. Can't you just see their brains buzzing with ideas? The two photos attach to form the whole mural.

Jungle mural

Two students collaborated on this oil pastel jungle mural
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Morgan's non-objective

Morgan worked three class periods on her non-objective composition done with markers.

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Stick puppet

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Stamping station

A mini-station was set up for 1st, 2nd, and multiage students. Here they find stamps made by the teacher from artgum erasers and from printmaking rubber slabs. Stamps purchased on the internet have been added, but so far the students prefer the teacher-made ones. The students add color with markers, so one stamp can have multiple colors. Students have been creating frames with pattern, and pictures using the shapes.

Cardboard Construction

The cardboard construction station has been opened for 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students. They were shown a slide show of two contemporary artists who work with cardboard: Andre Villers and Eric Strawcynski. The students were given only cardboard tubes and pieces of cardboard and glue to work with. Scoring carboard was demonstrated so that they could get a good corner. The students who chose this station immediately started building three-dimensional forms, which was amazing, since the two artists that had been introduced worked primarily with flat pieces, making large figures and masks.

The next time that the students came to art many more interesting forms and fasteners had been added: brads, wire, hole punches, tacky glue, glue gun to be used by the teacher if a student had tried everything else, small boxes, many small plastic containers, film canisters, prescription bottles, plastic lids, and some sheets of mylar. One student, Cody, created an octagonal shower with a very realistic water heater attached! He and some other students are creating a large house together. Another boy in two class periods created a two story house complete with stairs! These students are amazing! I thought that I would have mostly boys interested in this station, but in one class, all girls were working there. A lot of boys are busy currently doing very detailed drawings of dragons, or cars, or working collaboratively on a mural with a complete story line.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

One-piece sculpture

Using all of one-piece of tagboard and creating a form by cutting, bending, and connecting with slits was demonstrated. Posted by Picasa

Paper Sculpture

Students have learned many ways of making paper forms

Sunday, October 02, 2005

The Fourth Station - Paper Sculpture

The fourth station was opened this week for 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students. Methods for using paper or card stock to create three-dimensional forms were demonstrated, as well as displayed on a poster. This station is supplied with staplers, tape dispensers, masking tape, a long-reach stapler, scissors, glue, corrugated cardboard for bases, colorful card stock, and multiple pieces of tag board. We had a discussion of using the forms to create something recognizable, as well as making non-objective sculptures.

When some of our new supplies arrived, stick puppets were added as an option for multiage, 1st, and 2nd.

Still Life set-ups

Students use objects from our still life table as inspiration for drawings and paintings.

Cody's Bridge

Cody visited the Royal Gorge in Colorado during the summer. He has made a series of drawings and paintings on this theme. Artists get their ideas from their experiences.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

The Third Station - Painting

I opened the painting station this week for the third, fourth, and fifth grade students. This station has two tables, because I knew that a lot of students would want to paint. I put the ends of the tables right next to the two sinks on our free-standing island. I am going to locate any wet projects that we do close to these two sinks and the other sink that is on the wall behind them. So far the only paints that I have placed at this station are watercolors and tempera blocks, as well as four sizes of brushes. Most students seem to be choosing the tempera blocks. On the first day for each class, there was a lot of experimenting with brushes and the kinds of strokes that they would make. They seem to really like the 1-inch flat brushes that they can make broad strokes with.

On the second day for each class, I had made and displayed signs giving the students a choice of a still life, a portrait, a landscape, or a non-objective. I had prints of master artist's works to view, as well as one of my own non-objective paintings so that the students would understand that concept.

In the last two weeks all students have been working on artist statements. They must give a title to their work and an explanation about it. The explanation can tell what they were thinking as they worked and what inspired them, or the techniques that they used. The younger students are having a little more trouble understanding what is expected. I prompt them with leading questions, then write their sentences when they say them if they are in first grade.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Madison and the ukelele

Madison concentrates on drawing the baritone ukelele with white charcoal pencil on black paper.

4th and 5th Grade Collages

Students viewed a teacher-created Powerpoint slide show of Henri Matisse's collages. Students were excited about using the variety of papers and shapes that they found at the collage station.

Second grade masks

After a demonstration, students made their own expressive masks.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Opening the second station

After all students had had two class periods in which to use the drawing materials, I opened the collage station. This station has glue, scissors, scissors that cut decorative lines, construction paper, tissue paper, specialty papers (wallpaper, gift wrap, and bubble wrap), and shapes to trace. My husband is a packaging designer, and brings me all kinds of interesting shapes that are left over from cutting display boxes from the company where he works. The students love to trace these. I started out putting magazines at this station also, but the students didn't understand that rather than cutting out a picture of an object, they should cut out another shape, such as a diamond or a freeform shape, from within that picture. I'm going to hold onto magazines until I can do a demonstration of how I want them to use them. I am starting the younger students, 1st and 2nd graders, with construction paper and tissue paper only until they more fully understand collage.

I have been stressing hands, head, and heart with the younger students. I found this concept on the TAB-Choice website and the "art_education website." This concept is helping tremendously with getting the younger students to put that extra effort into their art work that I would like to see. St. Francis of Assissi said, "One who works with his hands is a Laborer. One who works with his hands and head is a Craftsman. One who works with his hands, his head, and his heart is an Artist." John Crowe uses this as a rubric for assessment in the TAB-ChoiceKnowledgeLoom website.

I have added puppets and masks to the collage station for the younger students. We are making masks from paper plates, and puppets from small paper bags. Since this is the collage station, every detail must be made with cut paper.

I also added to the drawing station. I added white charcoal pencils and showed them how they would look on dark colors of paper.

Monday, September 19, 2005


Students use our toy dinosaurs to practice drawing skills and add imaginary environments.


I put dragons illustrated by the Australian contemporary artist Graeme Base in the box of images for drawing. This has inspired some student artists to draw from his pictures, like Chaunsi, and some to create their own original images.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Shelby's Butterfly

Shelby decided that the fluorescent crayons were perfect for a butterfly with pretty patterned wings.

Me and My Mom

As you can see, Lily really loves spending time with her mom.