Friday, November 2, 2012

4th grade MOLA's

This project idea comes from the book Dynamic Art Projects for Children by Denise M. Logan.  It was a book I bought a few years ago that has some pretty great ideas.  Art Elements, different media, and exposing students to different cultures is what this book is all about.  Here was how our "Mola's from Panama" turned out!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Aboriginal Artwork!

 4th graders did an Aboriginal piece of artwork (artwork from Australia).  We looked at how the early artists of Australia painted.  One of the most common characteristics were the use of "shimmering" dots.  The students painted using a q-tip in bright flourescent colors. 
 We added a boarder for the background/frame.
Students had to think about using unity (of the dots) and variety of colors to make the hand stand out.  They had to use contrast of colors and paint neatly to find their hands.  Here is a link that I went to when I found the idea:  artiswhatiteach.  Thanks for looking!!

Radial Weavings

 Awesome weavings right?  Students in 5th grade made these weavings from recycling old coat hangers  -donated by some awesome teachers of our school!  I found this idea from the blogspot of Mrs. Picasso's artroom.  She had fantastic step by step directions on how to complete this project!  They were a little time consuming, but beautiful pieces of work!  Nice job 5th grade!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

The spider and the fly

 Students in 2nd grade made these 3-D aluminum foil spiders!  We read "The Spider and the Fly" (sorry I already returned the book to the library- so I don't even have the author).  But they made all the parts and I assembled the pieces into spiders with the hot glue gun.  
Here are the steps to make the project:
1)  Fold the black paper into 1/8.  Draw over the spider web lines with elmer's glue.  Let dry.
2)  I had cut the aluminum foil in half for the students.  When they got the aluminum foil, they needed 2 sheets.  One sheet was used to make the body of the spider, the second sheet of aluminum foil was used to cut into 4 pieces for the legs of the spider.
They brought the spider over to me to hot glue.
3)  Students used chalk pastels to color the web.  I had them use a throw away towel to blend the chalks to the black paper.  Then the students brought the project to me to glue the spiders onto the paper.


 Clowns are perfect for a lot of art elements.  Line, shapes, color!  Awesome!  Students were supplied with a white oval.  We began with 3 simple circles for the eyes and nose.  We drew a hotdog shape for the mouth, and colored with oil pastel. 
When the face was complete the students glued the oval onto a large piece of construction paper (right in the center of the page)... and I asked, "what's the clown missing?"  Clothes, hair, hat.... and then the students draw crazy clothes with crazy hair and a crazy hat.  What a great way to let creativity flow while utilizing art elements.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

 CUTE, cute, cute....  Kindergarten students did an awesome job of making these hungry caterpillars!
What a great way to learn about watercolor resist, a literacy connection, collage, and motor skills (cutting circles can be tough!)  :)
 Begin by reading Eric Carle's "The Very Hungry Caterpillar.  I explain that this book is written by the artist.
1) I give the students a sheet of paper that already has 6 circles on it.  The students use crayon (thick) to draw simple lines.  Do not color the circles in.  Then we use watercolor to paint the paper.  Wow, Can you see both the crayon and paint? 
Let Dry.
2)  Cut out the circles to assemble your hungry caterpillar.  (I supply students with eyes, nose and antenna)...  They collage it all together.  What a FUN project!


 6th graders get to make their own STAR SHIRTS.  STAR at our school stands for: 
Shows respect
Treats others with kindness
Acts Responsibly
Reaches for our best together
On STAR days kids get together in STAR groups to talk about being good citizens and making good choices.  We get together about once a month for these activities....
 Kindergarten through 5th grade already have "STAR SHIRTS" that were designed by me...  :)  and they are supposed to wear them for every STAR day...  Well, 6th grade is special because they get to tie-dye and make their own STAR shirts.  NICE!  I love the way they turned out! 
CAUTION:  word to the wise:  Make a note to take home to the parents before hand about wearing old clothes the day they do tie-dye...  If it gets on their clothing...  it's dye- it will be there forever. 


 2nd graders made these cool dinosaur pictures!  We first started off by reading the book:  Saturday Night at the Dinosaur Stomp by Carol Diggery Shields.  It's a fun rhyming book.  We began this project by using Spectra tissue paper (it bleeds). 
1)  We started by taking small tissue paper pieces and placing them on the white paper. 
Take a clean paint brush to make the tissue stick to the white paper...  Add PLENTY of water.
Let dry.
2)  Next class period:  the tissue that was once wet is now dry and has "stained" your paper.  Take away any of the extra tissue paper and throw it away.  Look at your beautiful paper!
3)  I do occasionally like to use "how to draw" books.  I like them because it will break down a difficult object to draw down into managable "shapes" for the kids to see and draw. 
So, I had some of the pictures of dinosaurs on paper so the kids could feel success at drawing dinosaurs.
 4)  After outlining in black sharpie, students colored in their dinosaurs with oil pastels. 

5th Grade Mandalas

WOW!  What a great way to recycle.  Mandala's is a project I found on someone's blogsite, but I cannot trace who's it was.  They also posted fabulous directions on how to make the project.  Bear with me...  I'll do the best I can. 
On day 1 the students took one of the cd's that were donated to the art room.
1) Draw 2 circles on the page (I have patterned circles that I use all the time for multiple projects.  We used my large and medium sized circles).  Glue (hot glue) or use masking tape to attach cd to paper.  We used a ruler to draw a line across the center of the cd. 
2) We used a protractor to make marks at 30, 60, 90, 120, and 150.
3)  Flip the project around and do the same to the other side of the cd.
4)  Draw connecting lines through the cd to make "wedges" onto your cd.  Now, focus only on ONE wedge.  Draw simple lines or shapes in that wedge.  KEEP IT SIMPLE.  Repeat the same design into each of your wedges. 
5)  Color with permanent colored markers.

For the white part of the paper:
1)  Use your ruler to extend the lines from the cd onto the white paper. 
2)  Again, look at one wedge.  The two circles in pencil will help you draw lines and shapes that are approximately the same sizes and shapes.  Keep it simple and draw lines and shapes in one wedge.
3)  Repeat the design in your wedge again and again all the way around the paper.
4)  Color with crayola markers.

LOVE the way these turned out.  They are not "perfect"....  in the way that each wedge is EXACT, but who cares- boo boo's are beautiful in the artroom!  I was amazed at how these turned out. 
Great way to incorporate symmetry, repetition, pattern, balance....  and math!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Tape Textures

Tape Textures is my first project of the year with Kindergarten students.  It's an awesome project because it doesn't take long and it's successful while you are trying to get to know students names, where they are sitting, and of course- materials are relatively easy.

First:  I already tear strips of masking tape all along a table, a shelf, or the drying rack so materials are readily available when the students come into the room.  Tear a lot of tape!

Second:  When students come to your room and sit down I pre-write their names on all of their papers.  It's awesome because some of them don't know how to write their names, and if they do know how to write their names it's not legible.

Anyhoo- have the kids take a piece of tape and stick it to their paper.  Then, have them go get about 3 more pieces of tape each trip taking one piece of tape at a time (so all the tape doesn't get stuck to each other).  The kids can make any shape, design, or whatever letter they want.

Third:  When the tape is on their paper.  Have them turn it over so you cannot see any of the masking tape.  Here's where the magic comes in!!!  (yes, I do pretend I'm a magician at this point rubbing my hands together and making it as dramatic as I can)....  Now that we cannot SEE any of your tape...  Let's make it re-appear!  Use crayons that have their wrappers taken off.  Have students use the crayons "Laying down"  (I tell students our crayons are very very tired today.  Instead of standing up to color, these crayons are so sleepy, they want to lay down on the paper).

ABOVE:  The students are rubbing the paper to "find" all of their tape from the other side.  Encourage them to color the whole page and use more than one color.   That's how the work becomes so beautiful!

Fourth:  Kids create a tape texture.  The bump from the tape is just enough so that you can see a "texture" of the pattern that the kids created!!

Seating Charts for the first day

Ok... the first week has been so great.  I love seeing all the faces of the kids.  Anyhoo....  this post is about seating arrangements in my room.
First of all- I hate assigning every kid to a spot in my room.  With over 400 kids in school it is a daunting task that I dislike very much.  So, a few years ago a student helped me come up with this awesome idea that works awesome without taking a ton of my time.  Win Win.

These laminated cards have a number on one side (telling them which table to sit at) and the back of the card has a shape of either a star, circle, or triangle.  The shape tells them which seat is theirs at their table.
(ABOVE)  This is the card I hand the students right when I greet them and they walk into my room.
If there is a problem with where students are placed:  by all means- move them.  But I love this seating system because students know it's random and I'm not "picking" on anyone by placing them at a certain spot... or by someone they don't like.  Any grumbling:  I just say- just wait until next seating arrangement and you'll have a new spot!
(ABOVE):  This is the sign that is taped to the ceiling in my room so the student can figure out where they are supposed to sit.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


Online I've been learning about this artform called "zentangles"  I've even seen books about how to design and make them.  You Tube has some short videos that show a few designs and typical patterns to create your zentangle.  The cool thing about zentangles is that you kinda do feel a "zen" moment while creating these patterns and designs.  It's fun.
I do encourage students to have an equal amount of black/white combination.
Some students really get into this project.  Others don't really....  Maybe you'll find that you enjoy making this....  It reminds me of doodling on the side of the newspaper or notebook.  So, if that's your thing and you've always made these- ooohh...  You've already created your own zentangle!


Students have a choice of using recycled cd's or aluminum (heavy gauge- that you can buy through your art supply catalog).  I wanted them to use a variety of art elements:  line, shape, color, patterns, textures, repetition, unity or movement...  Anyhoo- this assignment seems to encompass a lot of ideas just by default.  I have the students sketch out their idea onto paper, and once the plan is pleasing to them, they can use that same idea onto their cd or their aluminum using permanent markers (I wish I posted an aluminum project...  yet to come....).  Then for the matt of their aluminum or cd students use oil pastels to continue the ideas from the center towards the outside.  I just love it.  This is and will continue to be one of my most favorite projects.  Love It!!

Radial Weaving

This idea came from the magazine:  Family Fun.  I saw this article and thought it was cool how they used the weaving for sunflowers.  I do this project towards the beginning of the year.  Sunflowers are so beautiful.  This project is also great about using up some "natural" colored yarns that we don't use a lot in the art room.
The students start with an odd number of "chucks" (that's what I call the nicks in the plate).  They tape the yarn to the back side of the plate warp it around the plate in a circular fashion.  Then they start their weaving just like you would with any type of weaving...  Over, under, over, under.  The yarn just continues around the circle over and over.
Just beautiful.

One Point optical illusion

This assignment was a pre cursor to our one point perspective assignment.  This is a short lesson to explain what a vanishing point is AND have smaller objects closer to the vp, and larger objects further away from the vp.  Simple and easy to do.

Plaster Hand Casting

 Ooo..  This gets all over!  Awesome.  I found this project on Artsonia.  I wanted the students to communicate something with their hand.  It could be about their interests, hobbies, or a message that they would like viewers to respond to. 
I think some just had some fun with the "process"

Symmetrical Masks

 WOW!  These Symmetrical Masks are always one of my favorite projects to do with students.  They do an amazing job coming up with unique patterns and designs.  This idea came from a very old Arts and Activities magazine. 
Here's what we did.  I have examples of different handouts of masks from around the world and different cultures.  We look at it for ideas- but I encourage students to use their own ideas as well.  First they fold a sheet of 12x18" paper in half.  Draw 1/2 of the mask on the fold line (check their work because they may draw 1/2 of it on the wrong side).  Encourage them to add their own designs for facial features and head dresses.
After they draw the image outline with a black crayon and transfer with a craft stick.  When they color with crayon I ask that they limit their color choices to 4, 5, or 6 crayon colors to create "UNITY" throughout their piece.  Also- color thick/hard with your crayon.  When the students are done coloring we "age" the mask by painting on a thinned down black tempera paint.  The crayon should resist the majority of the paint but also you may have to dab at the paint with a towel to take off any extra paints. 
Students then cut around their mask shape and add some decorative elements to their piece with yarn, raffia, oil pastel, and patterned papers.  LOVE IT!!!

Picasso Guitars

I began this lesson by introducing students to the artist Pablo Picasso.  I read the book "Getting to Know the Worlds Great Artists" by Mike Venezia.  
After getting an introduction to the artwork and life of Picasso, we looked at the many paintings collages, and artwork the Picasso made with the subject matter of GUITARS!!!
Students were given directions on a sheet of paper to complete which option they wanted to do. Here are some of their pieces of work:
 I'm so happy with this project!!!  It was probably one of my most favorite projects of the school year because there was an equal amount of students that chose each project.  Choice number 1 (above) was a "Contemporary Guitar"  Students made a weaving on black and white paper.  Then on another sheet of paper students made a modern style (Contemporary) guitar.
 Choice #2 Students could make a "Monochromatic Guitar" (meaning all one color + white and black).  The variety of materials gave them different shades and tints to make their project interesting to look at.  Colored pencils, oil pastels, crayon, marker, watercolors could be used.
Choice #3:  Students could make a collage.  An array of materials assembled in interesting ways make up a collage.  It can include toilet paper rolls, scrapbook papers, yarn, buttons, glitter....  These are just some of the materials that made up the collages.

One Point perspective

 This is one of the last projects that 5th grade students make before summer comes.  I found this lesson from the website:  Deep Space Sparkle.  There are lots of really great projects that is very organized.  I liked this project a lot because it turns out successful for students.  I gave students a handout that told them step by step how to complete this project.  The Elmo in my room also was helpful to show them how to draw their buildings and other objects so that they will overlap.  After drawing, students outlined in black and used watercolors.
I cannot believe I didn't take a picture of a completed painting.... Hmm...  Well...  New photos to add later then.  :)

Scratch Art!

I LOVE this project!!  I found the idea for this project on  I was trying to find something to do with the art movement/style called Art Nouveau....  or the artist Gustav Klimt.  This was a very decorative style of art making - it can include media such as ceramics, architecture, painting, stain-glass, sculpture (and the list goes on).  The students saw some images of art nouveau and could see the decorative, curvilinear lines that it included.
After looking at some examples of art nouveau and Gustav Klimt- the students chose a picture from a magazine of the human figure.  They traced the overall figure that they cut out, glued on the body parts of the figure (skin tone and hair) and then became the designer of the clothing and background with their own creative -and very decorative patterns.  Wow.  Lots of fun!!!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Is your name on the back??

So, with kindergarten and 1st grade students.... there are many times they do....  forget to put their name on their paper.  Heck....  I guess I should broaden the array to all students forget to put their names on the backs of their papers....  So, I've got a little tune to remind them....  It goes to the tune of The Farmer and the Dell.....

Is your name on the back,
Is your name on the back,
Let's take a minute make sure your name is on the back.

I repeat this song 2x....  Yeah, the kids even sing along with me.  Love it.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Make Clean up FUN!

I love it...  Clean up time in my room rocks.  I used to be a camp counselor and so I adopted some of their ideas of singing to EVERYTHING... I usually choose a student to pick out which clean up song they would like to do... Let's see....
Clean up song to the tune of:  WE WILL ROCK YOU
(Hit your hands on your legs 2x with a clap in the air- instead of stopping your feet)
Time to, Time to Team up   On clean up (2x)
The art room is a mess right now,
If everybody does their share,
Put our stuff away,
Make it look great,
That is why I sing this song,
Time to, Time to Team up   On clean up (2x)

Clean up song to the tune of:  FLINSTONES
Time to, time to clean up
Let's start our clean up now,
Time to, Time to clean up,
Lets start our clean up now.....
Put our, Materials away,
Make the room nice and neat,
Time to, Time to clean up,
Let's start our clean up,
Let's start our clean up,
Let's start our clean up now.....

Clean up song to the ARMY tune  (this is a call and repeat song)
I don't know but I've been told, (students repeat)
Let's make our clean up goal, (students repeat)
Put our stuff away, (students repeat)
Make Mrs. Foxen's day, (students repeat)
Sound off,  (students) 1, 2
Sound off, (students) 3, 4
Together:  1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2.....

Clean up song to RAP beat....
I said, a pick a pick, I'm pickin' up the art room,
Ya I pick, pick, pick,
I jump start my clean-up,
I'm a clean machine,
I'll just start to clean up,
L-M Falcons are hard to beat,
I'm cleanin' off tables,
Pickin' up the floor,
Pushin' in chairs, doin' all I'm told,
I'm here to be, The BEST ME I CAN BE,
Ah, Yeah.....

Chuck Close Self Portraits- analogous colors

LOVE IT!!!!  I found this idea from the site:  She is an amazing teacher.  I then took photos of all the students in 6th grade, went to another site to change the photo's into drawings.  The kids took their portrait, outlined it with a thin sharpie marker and traced it to a half sheet of paper.  We then drew a grid overtop of our portrait with a ruler.  The students drew different designs inside each grid.  Then we used analogous colors (colors very similar- next to each other on the color wheel) to color our portraits.
I really enjoyed this project!!!