I took a lot of pictures this summer, and thought I'd share some of my new ideas that were a hit!
One of my favorites were the "Art and Max" lizards, inspired by the book by David Wiesner. I found directions for 3-D lizards on Artolazzi and the directions for a good lizard head here: smArt Class
To make the crazy painted paper, students dripped, dribbled and splashed liquid watercolors over watercolor paper with plastic pipettes/droppers. The next day, we cut, folded, and assembled our lizards!
Another fun project were these beautiful painted paper butterflies! We used fluorescent Jazz tempera paint for the butterflies because the colors are so intense and great, but they were tricky to draw detail on because the sharpies kept drying out. Maybe next time we would use watercolor. This part of the lesson was inspired by this video from the site Deep Space Sparkle.
While the painted butterfly paper dried, the students and I looked at the book "Green," by Laura Vaccaro Seeger. The paintings in this book are beautiful and show kids great examples of how expressive one color can be.
After reading, students were challenged to mix as many different kinds of green tempera as they could to make their leafy backgrounds. My class had students ages 6-9, and all of them enjoyed mixing the paint and completing these paintings.
I was looking for a printmaking project that would be accessible to all of my afternoon students (ages 5-10!), when my friend Reena suggested a lesson she had done before. We used a combination of scratch foam printing and collage to create these. Students cut shapes and made abstract collages using colored and foil paper. Then they divided their foam printing plates into sections that were filled with pattern and design, kind of like zen doodles. They had a great time cutting, arranging, and printing these little beauties!
One of my all-time favorite things to do with classes of any age is gelatin printing. Each time, I try to come up with a new way to use this printmaking technique-by making accordion books, using stencils instead of greenery, etc.
This time I was inspired by the work of illustrator and printmaker Mark Hearld. I brought in a copy of "Outside Your Window" by Nicola Davies, to show the students how Hearld cuts out and collages his prints, and adds detail by drawing on top of them. The nature theme of this book also tied in with our use of flowers and leaves as printing material.
Although getting enough gelatin plates prepared the night before in my kitchen at home can be tricky, it is always worth it when I see what the kids come up with. I used 6" square foil pans, and made enough plates that we could have five printing stations around the room with a different color at each spot. I had two extra plates to the side, but didn't end up needing them. Since I had nine students, there were usually two at each station. I set up a table to the side full of vegetation, so kids could pick what they wanted to use.
Students were encouraged to overlap prints, and try different things on the large, lavender colored paper.
After kids had filled their large papers, they moved on to a stack of 6" square assorted colors that I had from an old project. They were encouraged to print as many as they could, overlap, and have fun trying different color combinations. Originally, I was going to have students collage these smaller prints on top of their larger, lavender-based prints, but those came out so pretty that I decided to let them be.
Students took their smaller prints and added highlights and detail with glittery gel pens. They were very calm and meditative as they traced out the shapes in each image. For the younger kids who needed to practice their scissor skills, I drew cutting lines around their prints so they could cut around larger areas.
They glued down their prints in simple arrangements to create colorful, sort of forest-like landscapes.