As mentioned in my previous post I use a scrapbook as an art journal for my students from grades 1-6.
In the past I would hand the Grade 5 students an A4 sheet of paper with a grid of boxes already photocopied on it and ask the students to choose a colour and paint each box to show the colour value.
Once the paint was dry (week 2) they then glued this sheet onto their scrapbook cover and gave their book a large title and ensured their name and grade was easily readable.
I love how creatively these students completed their grade 5 art journal covers using scrap paper, pencils and textas.
This year I have changed the grade 5 journal cover completely after seeing this gem on Pinterest. This elements of art activity is by Michelle from Tiny Art Room, a wonderful art teacher’s blog. You can check out her step by step instructions by clicking on the link above.
It was a terrific way for the students to show me their understanding of the elements of art and decorate their journal cover at the same time!
Initially I showed the students a scribbly mock up I had done of what a finished cover COULD look like and then I demonstrated the simple ruling up of the different sections. The students DID NOT have to follow my layout though. As long as their cover demonstrated the seven elements of art and had a clearly readable title and their name and grade, they could use whatever layout they came up with.
I then asked one of my magnificent Art Ambassadors to come up with a grade 5 cover for me and Farheen did a fantastic job, in A3 size instead of A4, so it would be easy for the students to see after I clipped it onto the whiteboard. Brilliant! And of course, I forgot to photograph it! 🙁
I’ll update this post with a photo of it when I get back to school as we are on end of Term 1 holidays and won’t go back to school until after Easter. 🙂
I have found that I prefer to use student samples whenever I can. It makes a huuuuuge difference! It doesn’t matter how many times I tell the students that their artwork doesn’t have to look exactly like mine, and I give them plenty of options for choice, about 85% of artworks would look as close to my sample as possible. Always….. doesn’t matter what I say…… always!This is greatly reduced when I show a range of student created samples. This is one of the great benefits of photographing student artworks.
I was also surprised at how many students struggled with ruling up the cover that I demonstrated for them. And I did demonstrate it for them, once altogether and then at every table and then for many individuals that just weren’t getting it. They did not have to use my way of dividing up the A4 piece of paper to fit the elements of art in. They could do it any way they liked but few tried anything else, even though they were struggling to rule it up. They really couldn’t figure out how I ruled up the sections! It was like I was doing some amazing magic trick every time I demonstrated it!!!
These students are in Grade 5 and most of them had NO IDEA how to RULE A STRAIGHT LINE WITH A RULER! They didn’t even have to measure anything, just rule up straight lines diagonally from corner to corner. They actually had no idea how to put pressure on the ruler with the fingers of your hand without the pencil to hold the ruler still! I will use this video next time so I won’t need to be explaining it over and over and over again.
So this says to me that at Grade 5 level they had never done this before! How is that possible? Don’t they have to measure lengths in maths? Or rule up shapes? They certainly did the last time I taught maths and it wasn’t that long ago!
Well, ruler struggles aside, I will definitely be using this cover idea again for grade 5 as the students that persevered and finished their covers did a really fantastic job. These are artworks to be proud of! Thanks for looking and I know the students would love it if you left a comment!
For several years now I have been using a scrap book as a Visual Arts Journal for my students from grade 1-6. I know some art teachers prefer a fancier, more expensive, drawing book to use as an art journal but I have found a scrapbook that has almost cartridge quality paper in it for a scrapbook price, so that’s what I use.
I don’t send these Visual Arts journals home at the end of the year unless they are full. I only have my students now for one semester each year and they don’t get enough opportunity to use them and it is just a waste to send them home with only a few pages worked on. The students also like to look over old drafts and artworks and reflect, and giggle, about how much they have improved over time.
So at the start of each school year they work on a journal cover concept that is just for that year level and this makes the 800+ journals I store in the art room easily identifiable so they can be put away in the correct place if they get lost. The journal covers when complete are covered in clear contact (sticky backed plastic) to protect the student’s hard work. As they use the art journals for more than one year they just glue the new year cover on top of the old one.
This is the design brief for my grade 6 journal cover.
- choose an A5 photocopied artwork (this year I had 20 different artworks to choose from)
- choose an A4 piece of coloured cover paper for the background of your cover
- each grade 6 journal cover must include your name and grade. This MUST be easy to read as although you are creating an artistic cover it still has to function as a cover!
- each grade 6 journal cover must include an easy to read title, eg: Art/Art Journal/Art Book
- the A5 colour photocopied art work must be altered in some way as part of your overall cover design, eg: cut it, tear it, draw on it, collage with it, etc
Why were there 20 artworks to choose from this year? Every year the choice grows as I add the current artist that we are looking at, this year it was MC Escher, and if any student asks for a particular artwork, I also add that to the list of those available. These were the choices for 2019.
- Ghost Gums, Central Australia Albert Namatjira
- Slumbering Sea, Mentone 1887 Tom Roberts
- Shearing the rams 1890 Tom Roberts
- Angel 1988 Deborah Halpern
- Ship of fools 2011 Deborah Halpern
- Wings of life 2014 Dave Behrens
- Self Portrait 2013 Dave Behrens
- Broadway Boogie Woogie 1942-43 Piet Mondrian
- The parakeet and the mermaid 1952 Matisse
- Mona Lisa Leonardo da Vinci
- The arrival of Spring in Woldgate 2011 David Hockney
- Child with a dove 1901 Pablo Picasso
- Weeping Woman 1937 Pablo Picasso
- The Scream 1893 Edvard Munch
- Sinbad the Sailor 1928 Paul Klee
- Castle and sun 1928 Paul Klee
- Sky and water 1 1938 MC Escher
- Miradauro 1958 MC Escher
- The Starry Night 1889 Vincent Van Gogh
- The Church at Auvers 1890 Vincent Van Gogh
I am always blown away by the ideas the students come up with.
What do you think of these?
The students finish off with a self assessment rubric. They also assess the cover of a peer using the same rubric. If you would like a copy of this rubric please email me and I will send it to you.
Thanks for looking and a comment would be appreciated.
First we looked at Kelsey Montague‘s gorgeous wings from Nashville in Tennessee, USA.
Then we looked at feathers and wings that were created by Cassie Stephens and her talented students, again from Nashville, Tennessee.
And after that we looked at the feathers and wings from elementaryartfun.blogspot.com
And if that wasn’t enough to get us inspired, we also found that Kelsey Montague had created a pair of wings in Melbourne, which is our capital city. They are at Melbourne Central, which is a shopping centre right in the heart of Melbourne. They are on level 2 next to Plantation Coffee, if you want to go and look at them.
Somebody said to me that they thought Kelsey Montague had done another set of wings at Flinders Street Station but try as I might I couldn’t find an image for those wings.
One of my Grade 6 Art Ambassadors, Amber, asked her Nanna, who was heading into town on Monday, if she could see if she could find Kelsey Montague’s wings at Flinders Street Station, if she had the time, to prove they were actually there. And they are! 🙂 But she didn’t take a photo. 🙁 I love my Art Ambassadors!
So there are two pairs of Kelsey Montague wings in Melbourne. The next time I am travelling through Flinders Street Station I will make sure I take a photo of those wings to share with all the students.
So after all that inspiration this is what the students did to create their feather.
- chose which sort of paper they would use – plain white, coloured or patterned
- traced a feather shape from an assortment of cardboard templates
- added colour to their paper – paint, textas, oil pastels, coloured pencils, watercolour pencils, etc
- students chose how they would apply their colour to their feather – just a strip of red oil pastel across the middle, sponge cool colours of paint on for an ombre effect, create a rainbow of colour with watercolour pencils over the whole feather, etc
- students then designed/practised 5 patterns on a small 5 box photocopied strip of paper to get their brains moving from thinking about colour to pattern. Lots of pattern charts/images were available for inspiration
- added pattern/s onto their feather selecting the material they wished to use after considering how they would get the best contrast so their detailed patterns would really stand out- metallic textas, metallic pencils, black or white fineliners, etc
- and finally, cut out their feather carefully!
So here are some more wings photos and even a few individual feathers as well as some of the students posing in front of the wings. Over the next week or so I plan on taking all the students photos at the wings.
And did I mention that the only way I can actually photograph the students at the wings in the main hallway is to open up the hallway window and run outside and stick my head in through the window to take the photo as I can’t stand back far enough to take the photo otherwise.
The students all think this is hilarious!
Thanks for visiting my blog! I would love it, and so would the students, if you would leave a comment.
I first saw this idea on There’s a dragon in my art room which is a fantastic art teacher blog created by Phyl . She has now retired from teaching art full time in elementary school but she is still teaching, is incredibly creative, and her blog is still very active and full of great inspirational stuff.
Can you see the funny little ends on my paint pumps?
I have always used paint pumps as I do think they allow you to get the most out of your paint bottles BUT the paint dries up in the end of the pump and disasters occur! How many times have I squirted paint all over myself, even after I have dug around the end of the pump with my finger and dug out as much dried up paint as I can? My students are well aware of this and stand well back whenever I go near the paint pumps so only I get covered in paint. And don’t let me start on my story of my lovely Grade 6 helper who came in to assist me early one morning and I squirted bright red paint sideways out of the pump all over her face, all over her hair and all over the front of her navy blue Cambridge Primary School uniform jumper!!!!!! AAAGGGHHHH!
And I have been told, time and again, that just a blob of blutack on the end of the pumps solves the problem BUT I never remember to do it – and then there was Phyl’s post – and my problem was solved!!!
The funny little bits you can see on the end of the pumps are PENCIL TOPPERS. Those little rubber/eraser thingys that you can get virtually anywhere. I had some on my desk from whenever, they are the rather fancy shaped cupcake and ladybird pencil toppers but the other ones I bought from my local $2 shop in a packet of 24 for, you guessed it, $2!
They have totally solved this problem and all I do is remove the pencil topper, pump the paint with out squirting it all over the place, and put the pencil topper back on the end. My students were fascinated by the change and since I explained what it was all about some have even donated spare pencil toppers to my now growing pile!
And, in case you were wondering, when the paint in the bottle gets low and won’t pump properly I pull out a new bottle in the same colour so I don’t have to wash out the pump, put the pump into the new bottle, put the lid from the new bottle on the old bottle, turn the old bottle upside down and put it into a bucket just in case it leaks. An ordinary bucket holds up to 3 or 4 of these large bottles. When next I need this colour I grab the old bottle from the bucket and use up the paint in it first, which gravity has pulled down onto the lid. Once opened the paint gushes out of the old bottle and depending on how long it has been standing upside down, you truly get just about every drip of paint out of the bottle.
So thank you Phyl! This little trick has stopped the airborne paint blobs from landing all over my clothing as they always manage to magically land where my art smock isn’t covering me. Now I just have to deal with all the 1.924,924,456,753, 402 other reasons I have stuff all over my clothes….. and shoes,,,,,,,,and hair…..and…….
Thanks for visiting The Back Art Room Blog,
I had always wanted to do some sort of outdoor mural and Cambridge Primary School has so many boring blank walls that I had to come up with something.
I decided on a CD tree after seeing these trees at inspirational Coburn PS in Melton, Victoria. Mel and Kate, the incredible art teachers at Coburn PS, invited me over to their school (well, actually, I think I might have invited myself) to have a look at ALL their outdoor murals and they have done plenty of them!
They have mosaic murals,
clay tile murals,
and CD trees!
They are everywhere and add so much to the atmosphere in their play space. So much better than bare walls!
So I decided I would have a go at a CD tree. However, like most things I do, the idea seemed to get bigger and bigger. Which grade level would I do this with? Perhaps the 5s? Or maybe the 4s and the 5s? Well, if I was going to do it with the 4s and the 5s I might as well include the 6s and what about the 3s? So, of course, I am doing it with the whole school!!!!
That’s only 940+ CDs – aaaggghhhhh!!!
So there will definitely be more than one tree. Perhaps it will look a little bit like this? This is a CD tree mural from Reservoir West Primary School created by Max Darby.
And hopefully all the CDs will fit as tree foliage on the one wall! We’ll just have to wait and see.
Gabby and Mel, who teach Prep-2 Visual Arts, tackled their CDs and I tackled grades 3-6.
We used Viponds acrylic paint, which is deliciously bright and glossy, as recommended by Mel and Kate from Coburn Primary School, as it is suitable for outdoor murals and will last on the CDs. I was stunned when I realized that Viponds Paint is actually manufactured in Victoria, in North Coburg to be exact. Not all that far from where I grew up in Brunswick. It always feels good to support Victorian manufacturers! You can get it from Cavalier Art Supplies in Geelong or Zart Art in Box Hill.
It really is gorgeous paint and I discussed why we needed to use it with the students and the huge price difference between it and ordinary school acrylic paint. They were all very careful with it and, in fact, the grade 3-6 students used less paint than I actually thought they would.
I asked the students to paint a background colour on first, which was very quick with a fat brush. I had eight students fit around one painting table and then place their wet CD onto the painting rack which was now covered in newspaper so the CDs wouldn’t fall through the holes. As this was so quick and easy to do it was easily worked around all our other ongoing activities for each grade level.
The following week the students were given back their CD and, as we had done so much pattern work earlier in the year, I asked them to decorate their CD with pattern/s.
I was so impressed with the range of finished CDs and know they will look beautiful when the mural is finally put together. That’s job number 4,095,864,345 on my to do list!
And the Prep – 2 CDs are just as lovely as the 3 – 6 ones, as well as being strikingly different! I will share some of them when I grab some photos of them from Mel and Gabby.
And as for the CDs, I didn’t buy a single one! I just asked the Cambridge Primary School staff and community to clean out their DVD cupboards and their computer desks and send all their DEAD DISKS to me! DEAD being scratched, obsolete, not working, DVDs, CDs, game console disks, start up disks for 5 computers ago, can’t even remember where it came from disks, and we had more than 1000 in no time!
So I hope you have enjoyed looking at all these lovely painted CDs and I’ll be happy to share the next instalment of putting the mural together when it happens. I’m sure the students would appreciate it if you left them a comment.
UPDATE: I have added a few more photos to this post!!!
I saw this idea on USE YOUR COLOURED PENCILS ages ago and thought it would work well with my grade 3 students.
USE YOUR COLOURED PENCILS is a fantastic primary art teacher blog from Western Australia full of brilliant ideas.
We started off by looking at several David Hockney swimming pool paintings, from the 1960s, on the projector screen. I use MY PINTEREST BOARDS to store and then display images on the projector so I don’t have to clog up my laptop with squillions of art images.
The discussion was loud and vigorous with the students pointing out that it was interesting to choose that splash moment to paint rather than the person on the end of the board or in the middle of the dive, etc.
And in each grade the comment was made that the swimmer in this painting looked like he was wearing a nappy!?! Oh the highs and lows of discussions with Grade 3!!! This painting was excellent for talking about the differences between a swimming/floating body and a standing/walking body. I don’t think that was why he painted it but – Thank you, David Hockney!
So as I have been gradually introducing the students to using an art journal this year they had to start by doing a quick drawing, 5 – 10 minutes only, in pencil, in their journal, of themselves as a floating/swimming body. This was then brought to me for a quick personal discussion during which I write or draw a few prompts/praises on their draft. These are directly related to their drawings, at their ability level, and I ask that they try to incorporate the ideas generated from our short, personal discussion into their ‘good copy’. Yes, folks, DIFFERENTIATION is alive and well in this Visual Arts classroom!!!
The first time I did this in their book was hilarious. They were all horrified that I was writing on top of their drawing but they now all have a much more secure idea of what a rough draft is and don’t feel so precious about every rough drawing any more.
Once the students had started their drawing /painting on A3 cartridge paper I quickly called a halt as most were using grey lead pencil and drawing a teeny tiny swimming version of themselves. What happened to filling the space with their body? So the grey lead pencils were put away as soon as their draft was finished and the students moved bravely, straight onto using the oil pastels, to create their swimmer. Ahhh, much better!
Once their swimmer drawing was finished they tackled the challenge of pool water reflection lines using white oil pastel.
The students then painted on the water using dry block poster paint with the paint magically resisting the oil in the pastels!!! Yes, I know, sometimes the old techniques are the best ones for the job!
- Rich, engaging activity
- fantastic discussion
- lots of students came into the art room talking about the David Hockney images they had looked up on Pinterest or Google images after discussing this with their family about what they were doing
- comparing rough drafts with final pieces of work to demonstrate the changes and improvements in their final piece
- all students were very proud of their work, regardless of their ability level
- they make a fantastic display!
- I don’t think there were any!!!
You can see more David Hockney style swimmers inspired, like me, by USE YOUR COLOURED PENCILS here in these links
KIDS ARTISTS from the Netherlands
MRS KNIGHTS SMARTEST ARTISTS from Dolvin Elementary School in Georgia, U.S.A
And more from my Grade 3 students below.
And I’m sure my Grade 3 children would love it if you left them a comment.
I created this display with the hands made by the Grade 1’s to get the year started off with a lovely activity and a lovely display!
The children traced their hands and arms, or asked a classmate to do it for them and then decorated them with patterns using the zoom crayons.
The following week they painted their hand using watercolour cakes(or blocks, whatever you like to call them). The grade 1’s had not used these before so needed to be taught to wash their brush when they were changing colours so the cake of watercolour did not become muddy.
I also insist that they look after the water pots themselves and if the water is too dirty they just go and empty it and refill the water pots themselves without asking me. This always results in a few water spills at the beginning (big deal, it is just water!) so we then discuss why the spill has occurred (rushing, too much water in the container) and what we do when they occur (put newspaper down immediately to help soak up the water and make the spillage more visible for others in the room and then clean it up as quickly as possible) and the spillages soon stop. It is all worth it in the end as I strive to make the children clean up after themselves. I am always stupefied by the number of children at Grade 1 level that have NO IDEA how to turn on a tap! This is all part of the learning process of being responsible artists!
I did not tell them that the crayon would resist the watercolour but waited until someone noticed it before we discussed it. “What’s happening here? Why isn’t the paint covering that crayon pattern?”
When they were dry cutting them out was the next challenge so I demonstrate how you can turn the paper while you are cutting slowly, a revelation for most grade 1’s, so you don’t just chop off all the fingers!
I ummed and aahed about how to display them and then settled on a circle. I layered them on the display board and tried NOT to staple the hands and fingers so they would move in any breeze that wafted past. I was going to put the sign in the top left corner in the middle but then found the bit of gold corrugated cardboard in the scrap box, added some cupcake wrappers for eyes (we used to call them patty pans when I was a kid) and it turned into a beaming sun, so appropriate as the start of the year was so very hot!
Thank you for the inspiration from this picture on Pinterest. I absolutely adore Pinterest!
Last year I looked at Paul Klee with the Grade 4’s.
We discussed the backgrounds of his paintings, particularly Sinbad the sailo,r although we did look at others as well, and decided to try to make our own backgrounds like Paul Klee.
These backgrounds took a lot longer to finish than I thought they would but the children were totally absorbed while creating them. We made our foreground images using flouro paper and gel pens. When they were carefully cut out we raised them up using thick double sided mounting tape so they appeared to float on top of the background. The Grade 4 children were all very proud odf their finished work.