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!!!

Fauvism Animal Heads

I was pleasantly surprised.   I thought of this assignment all on my own.  I love (as well as the students seem to enjoy) florescent colored paints.  Perfect for Fauvism: : a movement in painting typified by the work of Matisse and characterized by vivid colors, free treatment of form, and a resulting vibrant and decorative effect (thanks webster online dictionary).  Basically I told the students drawing a picture with totally expressive- non-realistic colors to paint.  Based mainly on emotions and feelings rather than showing the true color of the object.  
So, the students were given some pictures of animal heads that they could choose from to draw.  After drawing, they painted using florescent colors of tempera.  After the paint dried, they were given black oil pastel to outline as well as oil pastels to add some dimension to the animal so the color didn't look so "flat".  Here are some examples of their work:

Symmetrical/Positive/Negative Shapes

 I love how this project turns out.  It's a typical Positive/Negative Shape assignment.  The more complicated the design the more difficult it is....
Directions:  Take 1/2 sheet of 12x18" paper (It will be 6x18").  Draw shapes that do not touch.  Encourage students to use the space.  Many times the shapes do not utilize the whole sheet of paper and their project becomes too "easy" and too boring to look at.  I also have the students put an "x" on the negative shapes that will be cut and glued to the other side.... so that it's a little easier to know which part moves over to the other side of the full 12x18" sheet.  I demonstrate this on the elmo, on the board because there can be some "craftsmanship issues" if the gluing isn't done well.  The examples here have done an excellent job.  I do show some "non-examples" of student work that just is sloppy.  I think that helps them to understand what I'm expecting them to do.

Repeating Figures

Ugh...  Forgive me, there was a blog where I got this idea from.... but I cannot recall where.  I love the way this turned out.  Nice way to introduce rhythm, movement and figures.
I had students that finished their project early to look through some of the many magazines I have in my room of full body figures.  When I introduced the project they had an idea of what I had in mind.  The students went through the pile of "figures" from magazines.  When they found one they liked, the student cut away all the background from the figure.  EMPHASIS:  Careful when cutting.  The success of your project depends on how careful and neat you cut.  Trace figure onto 3 sheets of paper, cut.  Glue to black construction paper and add different shapes and designs to the background.
Nice, eh?

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Stain Glass Windows!

This was a fun, short project that students made with scratch art paper.  The students first got a sheet of manilla drawing paper.  They created their "stain glass window" design full of shapes onto the drawing paper.  The students showed me their drawings, cut out the shapes and traced the design onto the scratch art paper.  After scratching away all of the black from the shape, this was their overall result of the project.  I love looking at all of the shapes the students came up with.  The students had a nice variety of symmetrical designs.

3-D Masks

 6th graders make these awesome Construction Paper Masks!  We start out with a flat piece of construction paper and the students use all kinds of creativity making facial decor, hair pieces and designs for their project.  This project idea comes from an art teacher Peggy Flores.  She creates lessons for students.  I found this project and just fell in love with the way the students create their pieces!  It's a favorite!