Monday, December 21, 2009

A Little Early Christmas Present

No she is not here yet, but we were treated to a great surprise today. Because of some minor quirks with my pregnancy, we had to do another sonogram. Nothing major and all is well but
this time we got a 4D pic of her face.
Isn't she gorgeous? God truly does amazing work!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Nutcracker Noel's Dancing Partner

I took this originally from an Usborne art book called "What shall I draw today?"

First I gave the students a triangle and circle template to control the outcome on the size of the figure.(You can click on the pictures to enlarge them.)

When the drawing is complete, have the children outline the lines with black sharpie marker and then color in with markers and chalk pastels. With older students you can emphasize light sources and how to add shadows and highlights.
The sample at the top was done with chalk pastel pencils and marker on pink paper, but you could also do a simple variation with a glue and pastel technique on black paper. All the above steps would be the same except instead of outlining with black sharpie marker, have the kids go over their lines with glue. Wait for it to dry- a day or so and then color in with chalk pastel.

These dancers also bring to mind those favorite subjects of Degas.

For more information on Edgar Degas, check out these great links and resources...

ArtSmarts for Kids
National Gallery of Art

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Nutcracker Unit Study Ideas

These samples above were done by students in third through fifth grade

Soapbox time again.
The Nutcracker offers an amazing array of subjects to explore in a unit study.
Just a few...

Language Arts

The Nutcracker and the King of Mice

Fine Arts/Music/ Theater/ PE

Pas De Deux

Social Studies

Christmas celebrations around the world
Germany, Russia, France
(Clara is German. The original story comes from Russia. Alexandre Dumas revamped the story to the one we are familiar with in the ballet.)
The history of Christmas symbols(IE;the tree)


Different types of snow
rats and mice- how are they different, how are the same?


Telling time
Calendar(when is Christmas?)
Counting- characters, mice, rats, soldiers, fairies, dances, songs, etc.

Here are some other useful links as well...
Powerpoint Nutcracker Themes

The Nutcracker Story
Holiday Traditions- The Nutcracker Story Lapbook

Free Nutcracker Unit Study
Nutcracker Art Lesson

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Nutcracker Noel


What you will need:
black sharpie marker
metallic marker
Christmas wrapping paper.

1. Start by folding your paper in half lengthwise. Then fold it into thirds, like you would fold a letter. You should end up with six boxes.

2. Draw (in pencil) a rainbow in the middle of the top two boxes. Leave room at the top of the page for the decoration on top of the hat. The ends of the rainbow should stop at the fold of the first third of the paper.

3. Draw a horizontal line to close up the rainbow shape. The two more horizontal line in the rainbow. One close to the bottom creating a thin shape and the second farther away creating a wider shape. In the top part of the hat, draw a decoration.It could be a poinsettia like mine, a snowflake, a Christmas tree, star, or whatever you want.

4. Draw a rectangle on the bottom of the hat just inside the second third of the paper.
Add a small circle in the middle of the box for the nose. On either side of the nose add a half circle and then draw a circle inside of those.

5. For the mustache, draw a sideways "s" just under the nose on each side. Close these shapes up with a happy face curve.

6. Draw a smaller rectangle under the nose that is halfway inside the face and halfway outside the face. Draw vertical lines to make the teeth.

7. Draw a long "V' shape from the teeth to make the beard.

8. From the corners of the face draw lines that slant in toward the center of the paper and then draw horizontal line to close up this shape.

9. On the bottom of this shape draw a large "W" to make the jacket bottom.

10. For the arms make a waterfall curve coming out from the left side of the head where the hat and the face meet. The waterfall should end just before the fold that separates the second and the final third of the paper. At the end of the waterfall, draw an oval, then draw a slanted line back up to meet the bottom of the face. Repeat on the right side.

11. Draw a horizontal line on each side of the arms at the bottom of the face. This will become the hair.

12. Draw in the jacket and buttons. Draw a rectangle behind the beard for the shirt.
The button can be made with a series of backwards "5" on the left and regular fives on the right.

13. Add texture to the hair and beard with wavy lines and add edging to bottom of the jacket.Outline pencil lines with black sharpie marker. Then color with whatever medium you like most. We used maker, crayon and a bit of metallic marker in class today. If you have room on your paper you can add in the legs of the nutcracker.
Add in background of your choice or cut him out and glue him to brightly colored wrapping paper.

Stay tuned later for a unit study based on this art project and for student samples.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Snowflakes in the desert

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I think I have finally come close to mastering the elementary school art of making a paper snowflake! I have struggled with how to make the flakes look like the lacy ones we see in Christmas decorations or ornaments. The key to it is to start with a circle. Use a cup or bowl or what ever's handy as a stencil. Kudos to you if you keep a compass around the house for making perfect circles. After you get your circle cut out, fold it in half. Then fold it into thirds. You should end up with a shape that looks like a slice of pizza. At this point cut the curved edge to make it straight. If you were to unfold the paper at this point you would have a perfect six sided hexagon,
but don't do that yet. At this point, start cutting out little shapes form each side or even in the middle. You probably remember this from grade school. Be careful to leave places on the fold that aren't cut so that the flakes hold together when you open it. Voila, you should have a nice lacy little snowflake. I will post some pictures here later of a few of my attempts. I have also decorated the house and classroom for Christmas, so I'll share photos of those as well.
I don't have much experience with real snowflakes having lived in Southern California all my life, but they are fascinating. They start their crystalline existence as a flat hexagon. As they fall to the Earth, they come in contact with obstacles. With every obstacle, their design is being formed. The more obstacles they encounter in their path, the more intricate, delicate and beautiful their design becomes, and of course each one is totally unique. Do you suppose that God designed this process to remind us of how He is designing us? With every new struggle our characters are shaped. The more we struggle, the more they are shaped. Let's remember that this year as we encounter characters, some who are family or friends. Let's also remember that as new obstacles and trials come in our path, that each one will leave it's own unique mark and help turn us into the masterpiece God envisioned us to be.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Giving Thanks for our National Heritage

Did you know that one of the major turning points of the Revolutionary War was when General George Washington and his men launched a surprise Christmas Day attack on British and Hessian troops who were
worn out from all their holiday celebrations?
There is a famous painting that commemorates this historical event- Washington Crossing the Delaware by Emanuel Leutze.You can learn more about the artist and the painting at
Artist of the Week.
Here is the project. If you don't feel like doing the project, just feel free to print out the black line as a coloring page.

You can click on any of these to make them larger. Below are PDF files. The first is step by step directions and the second is a completed black line drawing that you may feel free to use as a coloring page.
How to draw George Washington

Coloring Page

Here are some more examples from my students. I think they all did an amazing job!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Snowman Landscapes

The following lesson is a compilation lesson of two or three lessons I found at Art Projects for Kids. It is a good way to explore several key art concepts including: foreground, middle ground, and background, objects that are farther away appearing smaller and darker, shadow, tinting and shading, color value, and drawing offset poses.

You will need:
paper(white or colored)
black sharpie marker
crayons or chalk pastels.

When adding color to the picture, have the kids keep in mind:

1. Shadows on snow tend to look blue
2. Objects appear darker or more faded the farther away they are.
3. Decide if the light source is coming from the right or left and add shading to the opposite side. Round the shading on the snowman.
4. Use more than one color green for the trees and make the trees farther away a darker green with less detail in the leaves.

This is a fun project to do on darker colored paper so that you can add the white, but it is fun to start with white paper too. Try it both ways and compare the differences! If kids are using darker colored paper the they should color heavier with white crayon or pastel for the snow closest to them and for the snowman. Using a lighter values of white in the middle and background will give the picture more depth.
The sample at the top of this post was done on white paper and colored with crayon. The following example was done on blue construction paper and colored with chalk pastel.