Orange, Anaranjado, Orange!

This week in Private Picassos’ class “Triangles, Circles, and Squares, Oh My!”  we discovered our last of the secondary colors, and focused on circles once again. After reading A Color Of His Own, by Leo Leoni we discovered what happened when we mixed red and yellow… orange! Then we took a break from painting and made a collage. After our hard work we had a special surprise…

When I had my sibling class up in Hudson Heights the students did a more independent version of the same color mixing lesson that ended in orange butterflies, except that in that class we used scissors to make symmetrical eyes. I did not emphasize the word symmetry with the two and three year olds, but in the sibling class it was our word of the day.

The Very Hungry Artists

It is lessons like this that make any teacher just smile and pat themselves on the back, and then thank their lucky stars. My Hudson Heights class is made up of a group of siblings who all love making art. This week we read The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle. We looked at how he used painted paper to create his beautiful collages on each page. Then we made our own decorative paper by creating rubbings. This was so much fun once we realized that our shoes had fun patterns on the bottom! (Except for mine, I had boring grown-up shoes) Then we cut out designs from our decorative paper and glued them down to make postcards. our postcards were sheets of bristol I had cut into 6×9 inch rectangles.

I also brought some pre-cut shapes made of colorful construction paper, in case anyone wanted to add solid colored shapes to their collage as well. What was so flattering about this Sunday lesson was that no one artist wanted to stop. They were surprised when they realized I had picked up the crayons, and ecstatic that they could keep the remaining decorated paper.

I am a Big Sister… Again!

My new baby brother Leo (pronounced lay-o) was Born February 1st at 10:00pm weighing only 8 pounds 11 ounces. I can’t wait to teach him some art… but for now I’m happy to see him with his eyes open! I have yet to see my little brother Henry, who isn’t very little, in fact he is 6 foot 5 inches tall, hold his new baby bother. I can’t wait! I bet Leo looks so tiny in Henry’s gigantic arms.

Egyptian Prints

We went to Egypt this week in my Art Around the World class at P.S. 154. The class began with a rowdy group of children, a missing parent volunteer and one boy kicking another one. Sometimes you just have days like this. While I did have a parent volunteer last week I should have suspected it was too good to be true. She didn’t show up this week, and I’m sure she had some other motherly obligation so I can’t complain. Her help last week during the French magic garden making was invaluable.

I decided that kicking and crying and fidgeting meant we had to start out with the activity I had plaaned for close. Dancing! I put on some Egyptian belly dancing music and we all danced around, waved our arms back and fourth, then squatted and eventually sat down cris-cross apple sauce ready to hear our story of the day.

After our story we talked about using symbols to replace word, like the Egyptians did with hieroglyphics. My example was to express how I love spring, so I made 3 exclamation marks and a sail boat: I Love Spring! Everyone used corrugated cardboard and bristol to make their own hieroglyphics.

Then using red, white and blue tempera paint and spongy brayers we printed.

And this next picture is so hilarious, because I want to protect the privacy of my students, but the little stars that they are, my artists insisted on a group photo.

Zip Zap Zoom!

This week I taught a free demo class for Private Picassos at Book Culture on the upper west side. We made mini “hot dog” books following a worksheet I printed out for each student. Then using our newly made mini books we made short stories experimenting with the idea of telling a story with no words. The boys in this class insisted on adding words. It was hard for them to image a comic book without words, so I let it slide. The results were fantastic.

A Magic French Garden

We looked at Monet and his Gardens. Then we flipped through Elmers adventure and realized that there are many ways to draw a garden. Ours were gardens full of our favorite things, and anything else we could think of. One boy make a garden that grew fish!

Scratching, Mushing, Adding, Subracting

This is an example of my ceramic students hard at work. Here you can see students working in pairs at the slab rolling station. Using communication and asking each other “are you ready?” before they begin, we learn that some art takes team work and more than two hands.

We used tools to add and subract from our tiles. When students came in each of them had a pre-rolled tile that was theirs to practice with before they began decorating their final tiles.

Irish Fairies, Elves and Goblins

We read a traditional folk tale about a small elf and a lonely boy getting his wish to have a friend. It was one of the short stories in the Golden Books Treasury of Elves and Fairies, by Jane Werner. It was a very old copy that I had found while digging around in my Grandmothers basement. I think it might have been my mothers. I absolutely love collecting childrens books, and to add a few Vintage ones to my collection is absolutely cool.

So after attempting to go to Spain last week and being ransacked by Pirates we attempted to hop on a plane, but due to unexpected turbulance we had to make an emergency landing in Ireland. We landed in a small town out in the Irish country side, filled with fairies, elves and golbins! (I am now on a mission to see how many countries I can put between us and the order of air dry clay I am still waiting for i.e. Spain) So once we read our story it was time to become the magical creature of our choice. I wasn’t surprised that the boys became goblins and every girl wanted to make wings. This week we focused on using a stencil and cutting out our traced shapes along the line. I eventually put our crayons then watercolor, because I had plans for us to use it again the following week.

What was most important was getting our shapes well traced and cutting along the lines we had drawn. There were wings and masks with pointy ears that students could choose from to trace.

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