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<p>Art lessons featuring around the world themes</p>

Hawaiian Dancers Art Project

Hawaiian Dancers Art Project

By on Mar 4, 2016 | 2 comments

What you’ll need: 12″ x 18″ white drawing paper (or watercolor paper if you have it) Black water-proof marker (I use Sharpie brand) Watercolor paints (I use liquid watercolors but pan watercolors are fine) Colored markers Tissue paper Optional: small silk flowers, leaves or decorations Drawing the Dancers The steps for drawing the dancers are varied, depending on how you like to draw. For me starting with a letter “U” about a hands length down from the top of the paper works best. Some kids will draw this letter large and some will draw it small. The resulting figures will be based on whatever size created, so make sure you reinforce the notion that all sizes are just fine. I leave the face for now and go directly to the neck. After the neck, draw shoulders. I emphasize that the male dancers have broad shoulders and the female dancers have small shoulders. Next comes a trick I learned as a fashion illustrator. It brought about a few laughs but basically it gets the job done. Just below the shoulders, add two dots (one below the left shoulder and one below the right). So you can see why the giggles, but these dots are guidelines for the torso.From those two “dots”, draw a line, slanting inwards, to create the waist. For the female the slant is more exaggerated, for the male, not so much. Now that we have shoulders and a torso, its safe to draw arms. I give a few options here, so you might want to do the same. After the arms, draw a skirt or in the case of the male, a sash. Draw the legs and then go back and draw a head piece first then the hair. Facial features are next and then the background. I put up a few Tropical scenes to give the children ideas, but basically they knew what they wanted.     After the drawings are complete, use markers to color in any small areas. It doesn’t make sense to color in large areas with markers, as painting with watercolors is much faster. Hand out pans of watercolor paint. I had a few bottles of glitter watercolor paint and it worked really well with this lesson....

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Paper Cut Molas

Paper Cut Molas

By on Mar 3, 2016 | 7 comments

Molas are cloth panels that form part of a blouse for the Kuna women of Panama. They use a quilting technique called reverse appliqué to create the design formalizers of fabric. Because I used to be (and hope to be again!) a quilter, I know all about reverse applique. It’s a pretty fun to do but darn hard to explain to kids. After a few attempts I decided that it’s just best to say that a Mola is a fabric panel with colorful strips sewn in. Sometimes it’s best to keep it simple. Take a look at this blog, Postcards from Panama. There are some wonderful photographs of Molas. I wish I could see them in person. Aren’t they wonderful?   How to Make a Paper Mola I used the project in the book, Dynamic Art Projects for Children by Denise M. Logan as inspiration and used the wonderful handouts that accompany the project. You can also create your own.  I showed the kids how to start their drawings but drawing the main body or largest shape first. After a few quick demos on the board, the students picked their favorite Mola shape and drew their image onto a piece of 12″ x 18″ white paper using a black marker. I like broad tip Crayola markers for coloring. I set a tray of them on each table group then demonstrated proper marker technique. Take a look at this video that shows how I color drawings. It really helps to trace around a shape and then color slowly; giving ample time for the ink to flow onto the paper. After image is colored, cut it out. Glue colored piece onto black construction paper and glue strips of paper along the borders. Tip: leave a little space between the colored drawing and the strips of paper. Fifth Grade Paper...

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Romare Bearden Collage

Romare Bearden Collage

By on Jan 28, 2013 | 9 comments

Part of my grade 5 art curriculum is to introduce a collage art lesson. The concept of collage seems easy; placing and arranging layers of paper, paint and subjects on a piece of paper, but in truth, it is a hard concept to grasp. For children, the inherit action to place objects around the perimeter of the paper is still strong in fifth grade. Have you noticed this? Composition, therefore, is an essential learning component to this lesson. A bit about Romare Bearden… Romare Bearden was born in North Carolina in 1911 but moved to New York as a baby, participating with his family in the Great Migration of African Americans to the north and west.  Influenced by African and Asian art as well as Diego Rivera, Bearden’s work is primarily focused on the lifestyles of the American South. Best known for his collages, Bearden produced over 2000 pieces of art including drawings, montoypes, murals in public spaces, record albums and even costume design. Please visit The Romare Bearden Foundation for more information and teaching resources. For this lesson, you’ll need a 12″ x 18″ white piece of sulphite paper for the background. I set out tubs of blue and green paint and told the kids to paint whatever background they wanted. I left them alone for a bit until I realized they were all painting the exact same thing. I showed a few more samples of Bearden’s works (I used the 2012 Bearden calendar for visuals) and pointed out that a collage doesn’t need to look like a real landscape. Not many kids were willing to part with their perfect landscapes! Once the background was painted, I took a few moments to explain the layering of a collage: main background layer, background paper details, main subject, and finally finishing details. Children used scraps of paper, pieces of burlap and oil pastels to decorate the background. After the background details were in place, I gave a brief tutorial how to make the farmer with nothing but scissors and glue. I really wanted the kids to experiment with “drawing” with paper and scissors as I feel this technique allows for the most creative and personal creative expression. It’s hard to...

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Ancient Greece Mural Project

Ancient Greece Mural Project

By on Jun 7, 2012 | 14 comments

Capping off the 6th grade promotion festivities was the reveal of the annual 6th grade mural. This year we chose to do Ancient Greece, with many student’s incorporating mythological creatures into their tile creations. We used terra cotta clay to create our tiles. To save time and to take advantage of the sgraffito technique, we painted our underglaze directly onto the greenware. This is sometimes difficult as kids have a tendency to leave many fingerprints. But that’s easily remedied with later touch-ups. Our district supermen, Mike and Frank, did an excellent job of mounting the mural in seriously record time (perhaps a few hours before promotion?) and I video taped their entire process. I will be adding this segment to my Ceramic Tile Mural eBook. Anyone who has purchased this e-book in the past will receive this free update sometime later this summer. I want to congratulate all my sixth grade students for completing this wonderful legacy to our special school.  ...

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Patterned Matryoshka Dolls

Patterned Matryoshka Dolls

By on Dec 12, 2011 | 10 comments

Matryoshka dolls are wooden nesting dolls originating from Russia. They are handcrafted by folk artists and often feature a woman wearing a traditional Russian dress and scarf. Many dolls seen today can carry many themes ranging from political leaders to cartoon characters. For my second grade students, these nesting dolls are the perfect vehicle for a lesson in line and pattern. Supplies 2 sheets of 12″ x 18″ white paper Black waterproof marker colored broad tip markers scissors and glue tempera paints (I used cakes for this lessons) big tip brushes Drawing the Matryoshka I used templates to trace the outside line for the Matryoshka. I found a simple pattern online and used it as a guide. Of course, you needn’t use a template but the focus on this lesson is developing patterns and creating a warm/cool background, so I didn’t mind the creative interference. The fun part of this lesson is teaching the children how to place the graduating sizes of doll templates on top of one another and knowing which template to trace all the way around. Ideally, the smallest template should go in front and the largest in back. It’s a real trick making sure you don’t trace all the way around the largest template. I was pleased that almost every child grasped this concept. Progress!!! Some children used a round container to draw the face while others drew freehand. Either way is fine. I handed out a sheet that gave some ideas for patterns. I demonstrated on the white board how to connect the lines from one side of the doll to the other and to make their lines purposeful instead of scribbling. Once all the patterns are complete, cut out the contour line of the dolls. The background On a separate piece of white paper, paint either warm or cool color stripes. I’ve been focusing many of my beginning lessons on warm and cool colors and have a color wheel on my white board for easy reference. I think it’s tricky for many kids to identify warm vs cool colors, so the more we practice and incorporate into art lessons, the better it is for them. You could abandon this step all together and...

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American Indian Art Lesson Plans

American Indian Art Lesson Plans

By on Jul 4, 2011 | 4 comments

Learning how art impacts every culture and civilization in the world is an important part of any art curriculum. I remember learning about Canada’s native population in second grade. Making igloos from marshmallows and creating my own “Eskimo” paper doll remains my most vivid childhood art experience. The art hasn’t changed much, but the verbiage has. The National Museum of the American Indian was a tremendous help in sorting out commonly asked questions, including how to address our Native American cultures. Check it out. The 23-page booklet features three lesson plans for 2nd -4th grade, although easily adaptable for children of any age. American Indian Art Lessons include: Native American Indian Chief: This directed-line drawing of a profile is so easy. Just a few simple instructions and your students are on their way to creating a colorful warbonnet. Although relatively uncommon in Native American cultures (only a few Plains Indian tribes wore them), creating the warbonnet art is a vehicle for uncovering common myths about our Native American Culture. Tipis of the Great Plains: Learn about the Plains tribe’s dwellings in this 2-option lesson. Children use the Tipi template to cut out their own Tipi and then decorate it with traditional Native American Motifs. Add a painted background for a complete picture or mount onto colorful paper for a condensed lesson. Clothing of the Plains Tribes: Creating a Native American on a colorful background was one of my favorite lessons when I was young and it was equally popular with my third grade students. Taking about three, 45-minute sessions, my students worked hard to make their “doll” as individual as they were. They made their own “hide”, cut their dress from a paper pattern and painted a background scene representing the Great Plains.   Handouts and Templates include: How to Draw an Indian Chief Native American Motifs & Symbols Tipi (TeePee) Template Man Dress Template Woman Dress Template Man Figure Template Woman Figure...

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