Monday, March 30, 2009

Monsters and Aliens

"The Forty Dot Monster"

We started by placing 40 dots on a large (18 x 24") piece of paper.
We then connected all the dots and looked at it for a
few minutes to determine what kind of monster was
hiding in that form. We then added details like eyes,
skin and scale patterns
and a extra limb here
or there
to balance things out. We then traced in black sharpie
and colored in oil pastel. When it was done we
cut it out and mounted it on a large piece of colored
construction paper.

*Editor's Note- The idea for this project was found at here at Teach Kids Art

"Miss Julie"

Now meet the name aliens. I originally saw this project over at Art Projects for Kids. It has become a favorite of my son's. It only takes a few little tweaks to end up with a totally different alien each time. These were done in marker as was the one at Art Projects, but I have found the procedure to much easier to do with crayon.

Start out by folding your paper in half. Sign your name in pencil as large as you can while still getting all the letters of your name. (You can print or use all capitals-hence the tweaks I mentioned- but it is important to connect all the letters.) When you are happy with it color over all the lines very heavily with crayon- a darker color like blue, purple, brown, or black will work best. Then close up the paper on the fold and use a tool(we used a marker with the lid on) to apply very firm pressure over all the crayon lines. It is best to make sure you are working on the back side of where you applied the crayon. This will transfer the lines to the other side to create a mirror image. Darken up the lines and decide what kind of alien is hiding in your name. Decide where the top and bottom are and add all the details!

These would be great activities to do after you see the new Disney /Pixar film Monsters vs. Aliens or as we know will happen soon- ALIEN AND MONSTER BIRTHDAY PARTIES!



*Editor's Note- The idea for this project was found at here at Teach Kids Art

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Art Emergency- Super Art Teacher to the Rescue

A while back, I received this request...

Hello. My name is Andrea and I am the mother of a first grader in AZ.
I am not sure if you have heard of the
"Art Masterpiece" program or not but the school my daughter attends
is implementing it and it is all parent/volunteer
lessons on masterpieces of famous artists and their work. I saw your blog
and LOVE some of your ideas and the kids artwork I
have looked at.

Help! I have been asked to take over for another parent TOMORROW...
.I hope you get this in time! And need to give a lesson (the easy part)
on Fernand Leger.............
the masterpiece they chose I personally think is one of
the POOREST choices of his is:
"Leisure: A Homage to David"
Les Loisirs, c.1948 by Fernand Leger
Les Loisirs, c.1948

Anyway....I am really into being original and don't want to give the kids a boring draw/paint project!


Andrea, AZ

First off, it was so nice hearing from you, if not for your time concern, I would have added you to the contest I am running right now, but since this is an art emergency, I must respond to the call! (Sorry, my kids are into superheroes.)
Anyway, you might notice that I often use one small element of a painting or technique to use as a starting off point. Because of the age group you are dealing with, the simpler the better. I noticed a bicycle in the painting. That may be a great place to start for such young kids and it may help them generate a connection to the piece.

My suggestion for the project is to start with a black line outline of a bicycle. You could draw your own or print the image
I found here
bicycle.gif (GIF Image, 360x440 pixels)

Then have the kids draw shapes over the top of the drawing. Circles, squares and rectangles are good. In the ares created by these lines, have the kids color them in in colors Leger used in the painting. You could control this by picking them out beforehand and only offering those colors. Instruct the kids to color in such a cubist way with more pressure in the middle of the shape and less on the edges of the shapes. Or you could just ask them to make sure no two spaces have the same colors touching on any side.
Granted this procedure is really more about cubism than this particular painting.
Here are two resources to help you see what I mean (literally)
Lesson Plan: Round Robin Construction - Non-Objective Design
Ms. Julie's Place- Art Lessons for Kids: Picasso

The above will provide you with a relatively controlled outcome. If you are willing to let the kids go a bit and they are confident enough you could take a criteria approach. This is an open ended lesson, The kids creations are entirely their own, except for the rules they must follow to get there.

Discuss the elements of the painting. Bring to their attention the bicycle, birds, clouds, fence, and star shapes on the young man's shirt. Help them to notice that there are 6 figures- three male and three female and that one of the girls is very small and/or young. Show them the limited color palette he chose with mostly primary colors, red, blue,and yellow, accented with orange, white, pink and green. Show them how everything has a strong black outline.

Taking these things into consideration, here are the rules:

1. Draw a picture that is happening outside. There should be a blue sky, clouds and birds.

2. Draw a fence somewhere in the picture.

3. Make 6 people. 3 boys and 3 girls. Make one of the girls smaller than the others.

4. Make sure there is at least one bicycle in the picture. It does not have to have a rider, but it could.(The rider must be one or more of the six figures)

5. Make sure one of the people's clothes has a star on them.

6. Color big areas using red, yellow, blue, and small areas pink, green and orange

7. Lastly, outline all the lines with black. (if you are using markers or crayons, have them do this step before coloring, if they are painting do this step last with black oil pastel.)

These are other projects I did based on a criteria approach like this.
..Ms. Julie's Place: Marc Chagall .
Ms. Julie's Place: Gustav Klimt

Ms. Julie's Place: Vermeer

I sure hope this helps and that it reaches you in time!



PS If anyone has tried this out on their own, I would love to see your results!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

If there's a party goin' on, don't bother knockin!

Ultimate Blog Party 2009

So apparently there is this thing called the
Ultimate Blog Party.
It is sort of like a blog carnival...
Only on steroids...
And with prizes!!!

If you are here for the first time, let me introduce myself,
I am Miss Julie- a throwback to my days as a daycare provider and preschool teacher, and though not a southerner myself, my hubbie has those roots so it is a well fitting moniker.

These days I am a homeschool mom who also teaches art classes- to other homeschoolers as well as at a public after school program.

Most of the lessons I use end up here. Most are original, some are "borrowed" from other beloved art teacher blogs. Several are embellished to include unit study ideas too, because I firmly believe that if you want to, art can be used to teach every other subject you can imagine.

If you love art in any way shape or form, then I can't wait to meet you!
I hope that you can be inspired by the posts here, and I look forward to gaining new inspirations from my fellow party goers!!!

To join the party, just click on the banner at the top of this post.

Some of those prizes I'm hoping to win are:

#56- Surprise Box of Art Supplies from KV Creative Designs
#68 Christian Book Distributors Gift Certificate from A High and Noble Calling
INTL 19 Sponsor Spot on Tip Junkie
INTL 21 Blog/Web Ad from Foundation Studio
INTL 69 Advertising at MomKaboodle
USC 15 Gift Certicate to Amazon from Want to Know What I Think


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Thursday Theory Title

Align Center

Here is my first offering for you.

Let me know what you think the title should be.

You will have all week to leave me a comment
as I will be moving this post to the sidebar when I post a new lesson.

I will pick the winner from the best title received all month. The winner will receive a mug with their choice of tangle design.


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream!

"The Scream" by Norwegian artist Edvard Munch
has always been a favorite of mine. I have seen reproductions ranging from extremely vivid colors to black and white graphics. It is a strong piece of emotional art work springing up from the
abstract expressionist movement.
It has inspired countless parody as one can find by simply Googling images for the title. It is at once simple and extremely complex, silent and deafening. I learned for the first time today of it's connection in concept to the eruption of the volcano of Krakatoa, a natural event with global ramifications. In the painting you can hear the explosion in the reverberating waves of color that are at battle with the sounds of the death-like figure's screams. Pretty heavy for kids you might think, but when you see Macaulay Culkin putting on aftershave in Home Alone you are really looking at the same image. Kids scream. People scream. Screaming occurs for multitudes of reasons, from
fear, anger, frustration, excitement, or sheer joy.
It is all the about the emotion, not the specific emotion, and
that is what abstract expressionism really is.
Today I bring you my version of an art project and unit study ideas to help you learn more about this painting, artist, and correlating connections.
(Can you tell how much I love alliteration?)

What you will need:

white cardstock
masking tape
cardboard or other drawing board
black sharpie
oil pastels

1. Start out by having students draw a single figure in the center of the paper. It does not need to be the whole figure. It can be cropped to show only a face and upper torso or a full length figure.
(for a figure tutorial- check out Paul Bunyan or Dancing Divas)
2. Make sure to draw the features of the face with a strong emotion and expression!
3. Outline the shape of the figure and then "echo" these outlines all the way to the edges of the paper. Try to make these outlines as wavy as possible, as if they are vibrating.
4. Use black sharpie to outline all the pencil.
5. Color the inside figure with either all cool(greens, blues, purples, greys) colors or all warm(red, yellow, orange, pink, brown) colors.
6.Color the reverberation lines with the opposite type of colors. If your figure is warm, use cool colors, or vice versa.(tip: work from the inside out to avoid smudging color all over you paper)
7. Lastly re outline all the black lines with black oil pastel.(You could also rub a bit of paper towel over the whole image to smudge the black a bit and add some texture- but be careful- a little goes a long way!)

Here you will see versions done both ways...

To extend this into a unit study...

Science: Study sound waves, geology, or vulcanology

History: Learn more about Krakatoa's eruption and how the weather affected history.

Geography: Learn about Norway

Math: How many sound waves are in you picture? How many miles is it from Krakatoa to Norway?

Language Arts and Music: Write a song or poem about
the things that make you want to

Links and Resources

Edvard Munch at Kinderart

Art Smarts for Kids

National Gallery of Art

Enchanted Learning

Volcano Videos at How Stuff Works

Align Center


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Tall Tales- the unit study

A little overdue, but as promised, here is the rest of the Tall Tales Unit Study. The art lesson was in this post. Today I will cover Geography,History, Science, Math, and Language Arts.

Geography- Learn about all the places Paul and Babe went. Maine, Minnesota, Oregon. Or the places he made according to the legend: the Rocky Mountains, Appalachians and the Mississippi River. (For an add-on to spelling, learn how to spell all these places and learn the Mi-double-s-i-double-s-i-double-p-i spelling trick.)

History- Part of why Paul did what he did as a logger was to make way for the Westward Expansion of the United States. Settlers headed west to become pioneers. Some real life stories to learn about, that center on this topic are Louis and Clark and the Oregon Trail.

Science- As I mentioned, Paul Bunyan was a logger. What a great way to tie in to the study of environmental preservation and the global effects of deforestation.

For math- I challenge you to incorporate the art lesson. Use ratios to make a life size version of your art project in a driveway or park with chalk. Start by making a square grid of you first project with one inch squares. Go outside and measure the same grid but this time use one foot squares. Copy the lines from each box on the small project into the larger one. This is the same method muralists use to make large scale art projects on the sides of buildings.
When you are done answer these questions:
1. How tall was Paul Bunyan on paper?
2. How tall was he outside?
3. How about Babe?

Finally, for language arts, there are lots of tall tales told by many different authors and illustrators. I have some listed below in my recommended books.
After reading a few, write your own tall tale to explain some part of historical or scientific occurrence. Be sure to include larger than life characters in unbelievable circumstances. When you are done, be sure to write your tall tale on very tall paper!

Additional Links to Explore
Paul Bunyan, The Giant Lumberjack Online Story | Ox Craft | Coloring Pages | Preschool Lesson Plan Printable Activities

24718-sample.pdf (application/pdf Object)

CurrClick - Rainbow Horizons Publishing Inc. - Readers Theater III - Tall Tales

Free Johnny Appleseed Apple Lapbook

Johnny Appleseed and Westward Expansion

Stay tuned later this week for:
Art Emergency- Super Art Teacher to the rescue (Two art lessons on Ferdinand Leger)
Shady Little Shamrocks- A St. Patrick's Day Art Lesson
Greek Speaking Scratch- Use Greek Vases to tell stories in pictures and symbols.


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Take a Staff Development Day- with a good cup of coffee!

My oldest goes to a public high school (her choice, not mine) and I teach in an afterschool public school program, so I am somewhat familiar with the goings-on of the school district we live in. Every week the elementary kids get a minimum day and the high schoolers get a late start day.

What is being done with this time you may ask?

Staff Development.

Don't we homeschoolers deserve some staff development too?
I challenge you to take a little time (and a little coffee, or tea, or whatever you like) and check out
The Carnival Of Homeschooling: Ten Top School Supplies Edition over at Life Nurturing Education.

I hope afterward, you will feel developed!!


Sunday, March 8, 2009

Tall Tales- in short.

Well here is at least part of my promised art lesson on Paul Bunyan and Tall Tales.
I plan to have the rest up by tomorrow. For now, here is the drawing lesson...
(click on picture to make it larger)

They are based on the world's largest fiberglass statues found in Northern California.


And I would like to thank the Academy...

I was presented with my first blogger award today!

Oh, I totally wasn't expecting this. I really don't have anything prepared to say... but this must mean you all like me, you must really, really like me...sniff, sniff.

So I humbly accept this award presented to me by the IEMommy Blogger.

“This award acknowledges the values that every blogger shows in his/her effort to transmit cultural, ethical, literary and personal values every day.”

So now the rules state that I must share the love(or like;})with fifteen other WONDERFUL BLOGGERS out there!

I accept the challenge.
duh, duh, duh, duh, dah, duh, duh. (My attempt at the Mission Impossible Theme)

#1 Art Smarts 4 Kids
#2 Deep Space Sparkle
#3 Oodles of Art Projects
#4 That Artist Woman
#5 Art is Messy
#6 Briargrove Elementary Art Page

You may have noticed a theme with those picks... and now for something completely different...

#7 Nothing New
#8 Soli Deo Gloria
#9 No Greater Joy
#10 Cultivating Joy in a House Full of Boys
#11 School For Us
#12 At Home Science
#13 Our Journey Westward
#14 An Organized Mess
#15 Snippety Gibbet

So now the rules say that these WONDERFUL BLOGGERS should accept their awards, post it on their site and award 15 WONDERFUL BLOGGERS of their own letting all their recipients know of the honor bestowed upon them.

Aren't we all so wonderful?

PS There were a few other people I really wanted to award, but they already got this award today from IEMommy.


Saturday, March 7, 2009

And the Winner Is...

Jamie at

Cultivating Joy In a House Full of Boys

and her suggestion of a unit study on knights and castles!

My suggestion is to begin the study with the art lessons then learn about the subjects and finally at the end of the lesson to create the same projects again integrating all the new knowledge gained in the learning explorations!

First the knight drawing lesson...

You can click on this to make the picture bigger.
If the visual step by step is not enough, let me know and I will post a more detailed tutorial.

Additional art projects to go with this study can be found here..

The Usborne Book in my recommendations also has a castle drawing lesson in it.

Second, the artist study...
Raphael- St. George and the Dragon.

Garden of Praise Artist and Painting Study- A bit higher level but it also has a link to color the picture online.

Practice your math facts with these games...
All you need is a chessboard, knights, rooks, kings, queens, di, and flashcards or a regular deck of playing cards.

Directions: Roll di to see who goes first, highest number goes first. Players pick their game pieces- king, queen, knight, or rook and start on corner of the chessboard. The first piece to make it all the way across wins. (Depending on the age and interest of the players you can have the players move straight ahead in a column to the other side or have them move on a winding path through every square on the board- for this option use a roll of the di to determine how many spaces will be won with a correct answer, incorrect answers lose number of squares indicated by di roll.)Have the player pick a card with a math fact, if they answer correctly they can move ahead, incorrect answers lose one square.
Variations of this game are really endless and brainstorming new rules with your players could result in a really fun new game.
Some variations I thought up were:
Knight's War- 2 players
Use regular playing cards or flash cards. Shuffle cards and place in a stack. Both players draw a card. High card or sum gets to move on the board. Another variation would be low card or sum gets to move.
(if any of you out in blogger land have additional suggestions, please feel free to leave them in the comments for this post.)

There are also several books about Sir Cumference in my recommendations. They may or may not be ready for these. I think they are pretty clever and fun though. Use at your own discretion.

Excavation Project- get a small knight figurine- one that won't melt at higher temperatures- put in a muffin tin or cupcake liner. Fill with muffin or cupcake mix and bake as directed. Let "archaeologists" excavate the knight relics with plastic fork tools.

Lots of additional suggestions can be found in the links section at the end of this post.

The middle ages is not well known for it's scientific advancements, but something that was of great interest in those days was alchemy and blacksmithing.
Research and learn exactly what alchemy is. Interest in this subject in China led to the discovery of the formula for gunpowder!
Blacksmiths were of great interest to all the knights because that is how they got their armor and shoes for their horses. See if you can find a blacksmith still working today and take a field trip to a forge.
In the meantime, try creating your own "chain mail" with paper chains. Use grey or black construction paper to make chains that interlock together the way they did on a knight's hauberk.

Language Arts-
Try reading some great knight stories out loud. Kid friendly versions of Robin Hood and King Arthur would be great and inspiring bedtime tales.
Try writing acrostic poems with the words knight or castle.

Or a write story about one of the amazing art creations they have made!

Books you may find helpful. I often check the ISBN numbers and then request them at my library through inter-library loan as opposed to purchasing a ton of resources.

Before I leave what is already a remarkable long post, I want to let Dana at School for Us know that her Tall Tales suggestion was too irresistible to pass up, but too lengthy to include in this post. I will be posting an art lesson and unit study on Paul Bunyan and Tall Tales tomorrow!
Stay tuned also this week for

Art Emergency- Super Art Teacher to the Rescue!