Friday, January 8, 2016

Good Luck Maneki Neko!

We've all seen him... the cute little cat waving from the front desk of a store, restaurant or place of business. Meet, MANEKI NEKO!

The legend of Japan's Maneki Neko is about a stray cat a shop owner fed and care for, and in return, he waves in customers to his shop.

 My second and third graders drew precious waving cats using markers then framed them with Japanese or metallic paper "mosaics."

Too cute for words.


Although I wish I came up with every lesson plan I've ever taught, the truth is there are waaayyy too many fabulous art teachers who've made fabulous art lessons before me! This lesson was inspired by Cassie Stephens, from Nashville.... a true art teacher, extraordinaire!

Using the book, First Book of Sushi, by Amy Wilson Sanger, my students took a look at different types of Sushi, and different ingredients used.
Then the fun happened....

K-1 made fabulous flat bento boxes, while the upper grades made a origami  bento box and added more 3-dimensional elements, which looked super in our Blossomwood Art Gallery!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

America the Beautiful!

In November, I felt the need to celebrate our own country!

Inspired by a trip to New York City with my favorite boy in the world, We created some fabulous Lady Liberties....

We began with a pencil drawing AND portrait practice and followed up crayons and watercolor resist to create a beautiful patina (see what I did there? new vocabulary.... chemistry... ) for our Statues. The kids especially loved watching the video on about the Staute of Liberty and learning the history.

 Way to go, kiddos! AND psst.... an art teacher's tip: USE BLICK LIQUID WATERCOLORS! They are fantastic, budget friendly and have beautiful pigments. You'll thank me later!

Silly Skeletons!

As my schools change from year to year, so do the demographics.  I LOVE getting to know children from different cultures and embracing their festivals and celebrations!
Dia de los Muertos in a popular celebration from Mexico, celebrating the loves of loved ones who've passed away.

Inspired by Mexican folk art and ofrendas (offerings to the dead), my students made wonderful skeletons...learning about anatomy of the human body, while being challenged (or angrily struggling) with ONLY tearing the paper for bones, not cutting it.

After the basic structure was completed, we added details to the skeletons to create a personality.

Not too be left out, my kinders and first graders did a marvelous job with a slightly simpler version:

and the finale, Sugar Skulls using metallic crayons on black paper!

Stunning Skeletons!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Precious Ganesh

So one of the most beloved stories in Indian culture is of Ganesha, the little boy with four arms and an elephants head. If you're like my son, you've seen him as a statue or his picture above the door walking out of your favorite restaurant.

Ganesh is the "overcomer of obstacles" the one you count on as a helper. He carries an axe, (for chopping away problems), food (as a offering or snack), a lotus flower (symbolizing new beginninsg and rebirth) and hold his fourth hand up in blessing. He also rides around on a mouse... so look for his little friend in artwork of Ganesha!

My 4th and 5th graders are making awesome puppets in the form of Ganesha. Starting with posterboard, we trace 8 seperate pieces of Ganesha's body....then decorate the pieces and trace over with sharpie marker.

Using crayons, we color in the designs and cut out each piece.

Even wonder what you can use old-school brass fasteners for? Here ya go.... We punch holes and join the arms and legs to the body with the brads, and complete our puppet with a popsicle stick handle.

Voila! A dancing Ganesha.

India's Diwali Rangoli

Okay, I know, That's a mouthful! As if Indian culture isn't beautiful enough with the gorgeous color and design, they also have a festival that is the "Festival of Lights." A festival devoted to "pushing the darkness out of our lives and embracing the light..." Well, that's something I can buy into.

During Diwali, designs called Rangoli are drawn on the floor of homes. This radially symmetrical design can be made with sawdust, flower petals or chalk and usually has oil lamps surrounding it.

To begin our rangoli, we fold our paper into quadrants (ding, ding, math word!) and draw a circle in the center where the lines intersect (ding ding, math word!). We then add different shapes that are radially symmetrical (ding, ding... again?)

After our drawing is complete we use a black sharpie to outline. I started using chalk and quickly realized it would smear too easily.....

Construction paper crayons or fluorescent chalk finishes the Rangoli.

Just because we enjoyed the printmaking in K and 1 so much, we stamped a background paper, and cut out our Rangoli and mounted it on the stamped paper.


Friday, August 21, 2015

Welcome Back...again!

After a brief (cough cough) hiatus, Tiny Talent is up and running again! This year I find myself at 3 schools, teaching around 1,300 kids. Do the math on that one... ha! So forgive me if my posts are slacking in details and frequency.... I'm doing my best, y'all!

We are revisiting cultures, celebrations and festivals around the world this year. I selfishly love teaching these lessons... because they really fascinate me! Kinders and first grade started the year out with India's Parade of Painted Elephants!

Here's a great article about the Parade from National Geographic:

Step One was viewing images on the activboard of elephants decorated for the Parade and drawing our own! We use a template for the outline to ensure our elephant is BIG....

Depending on the school and the availability of supplies, we used gray construction paper or white paper... and the faded out really gross lavender or light blue construction paper works great too!

After drawing and tracing with sharpies, we used construction paper crayons to color in the elephants.

At lastly, we used a super cool printmaking method, (using cardboard wrapped in yarn) to stamp patterns on a brightly colored sheet of construction paper.

After the paint dried, we cut out the elephants and glue them down to the fabulous background.

I'm in LOVE.