Most posts have video which may require a computer to see.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

3rd & 4th Grade Chipboard Loom Weaving

Students used small chipboard looms to weave small pieces that were turned into a pocket necklace. Students learned how to focus and relax while using good craftsmanship. (See Animoto below)

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Monet-Like Tree Landscapes

First and Second Graders learned about Monet's use of brush strokes and placing colors next to each other in order to create a soft look to their skies and grass. They learned how to make sure their watercolor brushes were having a "good hair day," and how to clean up after painting.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Picasso-like Portraits

Students used an interactive SMART Board activity where they manipulated various facial features in a variety of colors in order to create a Picasso-Style portrait. They created a black crayon outline and colored with watercolor in bright, contrasting colors. (See Animoto below)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Dia de los Muertos Skull Designs

3rd and 4th graders have spent most of the school year so far on things relating to the body. They have learned to capture action using gesture drawing, human proportion using virtual manikins, facial features using mirrors and digital samples. Since we looked at human skulls as they related to facial features, it seemed like a good idea to look at skulls as they relate to the Day of the Dead. Students were encouraged to highly decorate the skulls using mainly organic elements such as swirls, curved shapes, and flowers. (See Animoto below)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Miro-like Designs

As promised, here are the 1st and 2nd grader's take on Joan Miro. After comparing the use of straight and curved black lines between Mondrian and Miro, and the use of geometric versus organic shapes, students did their own version of a Joan Miro-like design using markers and black colored pencils. (See Animoto below)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Mondrian-Style Designs

1st and 2nd graders learned about Piet Mondrian and Joan Miro. Students participated in SMART Board sorting activities which compared Mondrian's use of line, color, and shape with Miro's. Watch for Miro-style designs in a couple of weeks. (See Animoto below)

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Eyes Have It!

3rd and 4th graders are learning about facial features and proportions. We began with eyes since they require the most detail study. Students worked with mirrors as well as other exemplars. Training a child's "eyes" is as important as training their hands and these students are beginning to "see" more than they used to. (See Animoto below)

Working on the "Beasties"

All classes will have a hand in the creation of our Beasties. The younger students got to stuff the plastic bags with softly crushed newspapers and tape the bags shut. Since it's a total waste of time to clean up for a different activity, whenever we do paper mache' it's for the entire morning or afternoon and all classes get involved. This also gives everyone a stake in the project and most students use good craftsmanship while working. It's especially important to instill a sense of craftsmanship in the younger students who are quick to point out when they see something that was not done carefully and they fix it. (See Animoto below)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Jr. High Blended Shading Designs

Junior High students spent some time learning a value scale and had to complete a multi-gray scale done in ebony or 4B pencil before starting a design. Many of the students at this age are not used to keeping their hands out of the way when they are working, and they didn't quite get into the habit of laying down a scrap sheet to protect areas previously worked. We had no windows, nor could students leave the room to go outside, so spraying was not feasible. They did their best and most did grasp the idea of value and blending, though mastery wasn't gained in their initial pieces. (See Animoto below)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

I Like to Move It, Move It Final Drawing

One of the fairly recent animated movies was Madagascar and the lemurs were always dancing to the lively, "I like to Move it, Move it." I used that song to get kids to stand up and wiggle since there really was no room to move. We looked at examples of figure proportion and the artwork of Keith Haring to create stick figures in movement. This was an introduction to gesture drawing and capturing movement in drawing. (See Animoto below)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Intro to Paper Mache'

First graders got a chance to see the Chicago Cows, the Milwaukee Beasties, and the Holy Family Bears in their Prezi introduction to paper mache. We will be doing something akin to the beasties in the first and second grade classes.
Stuffing plastic grocery bags with crushed up newspaper was the first step to creating our beasties. Tactile activities are important and paper mache' is a cheap alternative to clay. (See Animoto below)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

I Like to Move It, Move It!

Students pose for each other in order to practice gesture drawing. Students need to work on human proportion or they will stagnate at a stick figure/lack of movement stage in their drawings. This playful approach allows the natural growth of this skill. (See Animoto below)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

First Graders Figure Drawing

I can't emphasize this enough, but children need concrete instruction in figure drawing or they will eventually struggle and give up drawing people. They need to understand the relationship of body parts and their proper proportion. They won't master this but it will give them a sense of what is correct when they see it. (See Animoto below)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Calligraphy: An Introduction to Beautiful Writing

There is a lot of debate about teaching cursive writing because of the use of computers. I do not want to see writing skills such as cursive and calligraphy be lost just because we use computers. Lettering is an important hand skill and I loved introducing it to students. Oddly, female students skewed towards Italic with its rounded strokes and the males skewed towards Old English with it's boxy strokes. (See slideshow below)
Calligraphy Stack

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Getting to Know You Prezi

Students in the Digital/Studio Art Electives will use Prezi to create a Get to Know Me presentation where they will share their favorite things, goals, etc. This is part of the community building we will be doing. Today was our first day and I shared my 30 Things About Me presentation with them so they could also get to know me as a person. I look forward to really getting to know my students and create an environment where they can learn and explore their own creativity along with technical skills. Ms. Strehlow Prezi  (See Prezi below)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Fourth Grade One Point Perspective Designs

3rd and 4th graders got a taste of 1 point perspective and learned about 90 degree angles, using a 30/60/90 triangle as a checking tool, and to create parallel lines with a grid ruler on graph paper. Some of the 3rd graders found it challenging enough just to hold down a ruler and construct straight lines while a few sailed through the entire concept. This is the kind of thing that just takes some more practice till they "get it." Here are some of the 4th graders and their finished designs. (See Animoto below)

Fiber Arts: Needlework Basics

Some of the 5th and 6th graders chose to work on embroidery samplers and it has been fun to revisit some of the basic stitches with them such as the chain stitch and cross stitch. (See Animoto below)

Painting Techniques Day One and Two

Kindergarten through 4th grade students are learning how to handle different types of brushes and experiment with different painting techniques. We began with the care of watercolor brushes; learning how to clean them and prevent paint contamination. We will do several such explorations before actually trying to paint something. (See Animotos below)

Friday, May 13, 2011

Kindergarten Paper Weaving

Introducing the concept of weaving which used to be a classroom activity since teachers are discouraged from taking time from a focus on testing. I know many primary teachers who used to like to teach weaving geared towards holidays. Holiday crafts are also discouraged. (See Animoto below)

Sunday, May 8, 2011

1st & 2nd Graders Learn About Radial Symmetry

We learned about vertical, horizontal, diagonal, radial symmetry, using pre-glued squares. I had SMART Board activities we did as a group prior to creating the designs. I use a SMART Board presentation as often as possible when introducing a new concept. There are many interactive tools that make it fun for the kids to come to the board. (See Animoto below)

Friday, April 22, 2011

Jr. High Autobiographical Self Portraits

Students in the digital art class created layered self portraits using a photo cutout of themselves on a transparent background. Subsequent layers were a famous work of art and then four layers depicting special interests. Here are the first ones completed.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Jr. High Color Wheel Portraits using Gimp

I love doing this project so all my digital art students do it. It teaches so many digital skills and tools that by the time they are done, they can do many projects using Gimp. If they are lucky enough to have access to Photoshop in the future, they are able to make the transition without any teaching. (See Animoto below)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Still Life

Still life is a standard drawing exercise. I left my best pieces in Wisconsin when I moved to Arizona, so I had to scrounge objects for my current classes. The main problem with still life is having a good place for the setup where everyone can see an interesting angle. (See Animoto below)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Button, Button, Who's Got Toad's Button?

I introduced my kindergartners to Frog and Toad today. I read them The Lost Button and during the story they had to keep track of all the attributes of the button Toad lost. I was impressed with their ability to keep five characteristics straight and their deductive capabilities. By the time we got to the interactive SMART Board vortex activity, they all just knew exactly which button was the correct one by automatically eliminating all other possibilities. After the story and interactive work, I gave each table a tray of buttons and the kids sorted them first by color and then by shape. They had to collaborate on the sorting and they did that very well. You can see the concentration on their faces and also pride in their success. (See Animoto below)

Friday, March 4, 2011

Pencils Ready? Action!!

Research shows that children use the human body as reference for many other things they draw such as buildings, trees, animals, etc. Research also shows that unless children are given concrete (step by step) instruction in figure drawing that they will begin to eliminate figures from their drawings. This is because they are no longer satisfied with the less than realistic figures they drew as young children. They simply do not know how to render more realistic figures and therefore begin to avoid them.To avoid this, primary children in my art classes are given concrete instruction in gesture drawing that captures action simply in 30 second poses and allows students to not worry about being perfect. They also get instruction in human body proportion so they can understand the relation of one part to another. (See Animoto below)

Friday, February 25, 2011

Kindergarten Sewing Cards

Sewing cards are a nice safe way for kids to understand the downward and upward movements needed later when I bring out real needles and thread. I cut out foam shapes and punched holes to make my own bright colored cards. Note to self: don't. I spent so much time punching holes that with very little effort were torn from the foam sheets. That was frustrating. Chip board was too heavy to punch, so this was my only solution at the time. I spent a lot on those big colored buttons but we used them for sorting too. (See Animoto below)

Thursday, February 17, 2011


Students in kindergarten looked at the Virtual Manikin interactive website so they could see just how long their arms are and how we don't always stand completely still. Developmentally, this was just an introduction to the concept and not expected to find its way into their drawings until later. Students were encouraged to include as many details as possible. (See video below)

Starry Nights

Students in Mr. Ortega's 1st and 2nd grade have been learning a little bit about Vincent Van Gogh and today they finished working on their own Starry Night drawings. (See Animoto below)

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Math & Art: It adds up to fun!

Students in Kindergarten used clay to create 2D shapes as part of their math curriculum, and the 1st and 2nd graders used Tux Paint stamps to create 10 sets of 10 in order to celebrate the 100th day of the school year. (See video below)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Kindergarten Lizards

Kindergartners used oil pastels to create lizard designs. Many of the students are in the pre-schematic level and the lizard fits into the tadpole schema fairly well.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Tissue Paper ala Keith Haring

Students in 1st and 2nd grades looked at a few of Keith Haring's stick figures and drew a stick figure in white pencil on black construction paper. They used tissue squares wrapped around the bottom of pencils and glued them to their stick figure drawing. After the initial application of tissue, students chose a second color to outline the figure.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Andy Warhol Revisited - Jr. High Digital Graphics

7th and 8th graders in my Digital Graphics class visited the Andy Warhol Interactive website in order to explore variations in hue and saturation which were our two most recent vocabulary words. After getting a sense of what could be done using Marilyn Monroe as a subject, students learned how to resize and duplicate layers in Gimp and then explore the Hue/Saturation feature to recolorize their school pictures. A few who finished early got to do the same thing for a cartoon character. These students are learning many of the tools and features of Gimp in doing this project. (See Prezi below)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

5th & 6th Gr. 1 Pt. Perspective

Teaching one point perspective is always fun and doing names gives the students a way to do what young teens do anyway, focus on themselves. They learn precision, logic, measuring and craftsmanship along the way and end up with a very nice graphic piece. (See video below)

Let's Make Some Bling; a Gimp Tutorial

Although we couldn't afford Photoshop, I felt that students needed to learn digital graphic skills so I adapted a fun project using the open source program Gimp. I had done this with Ginger Baron's students at Lowell School and ACE students at Prep, so I knew it was a successful activity. By the time it was finished, kids knew a lot about graphic tools. (See video below)

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Digital Art Elective: Web 2.0 - Wordles

Classes switched after our break and a new batch of students just started my first hour Digital Art/Yearbook class. Web 2.0 tools figure into graphic design work so we spent a little time exploring the Wordle link on my Portaportal. Objectives included 1) Listing favorites using WORD; copy & paste text into WORDLE 2) Exploring fonts 3) Exploring the layouts and 4) Using the edit custom palette feature. (See video below)