Kindergarten Firebirds

2016-09-22-11-02-51Kindergarten students have been hearing firebird stories in art class!  The firebird is a magical bird that features in several Russian stories, including a ballet by Stravinsky.  We worked on using simple shapes to draw a firebird and color it with markers.  We then practiced our gluing skills by gluing the firebirds onto a frame and then collaging golden metallic paper onto our work.  Students used the gold to create golden apples (they make the firebird’s voice sound beautiful!), golden swords, golden eggs, and even fire surrounding the firebird.  One of the things we focus on in kindergarten is skill with materials — taking care of our art materials so they stay nice, using the right amounts, and keeping our artwork as neat as possible so that our viewers can focus on our creativity.  Some of the things we are working on include:

  • Capping markers when finished
  • Carrying scissors safely
  • Capping glue sticks when finished
  • Twisting out an appropriate amount of glue
  • Always applying glue to the back of the small thing, not the front of the big thing (my art room glue rule!)

Dhurrie Rug Collages

2nd grade collage in progress

2nd grade collage in progress

2nd graders just finished their dhurrie rug collages.  A dhurrie rug is a type of flat-woven rug from India.  They come in all different colors, sizes, and patterns.

The idea for this project came from another art teacher blog called Painted Paper.  I wanted to work on collaging skills with 2nd grade, but since they have been doing a lot of representational art recently, I thought it would be nice to focus on design and pattern as well.

2nd Grade Dhurrie Rug Collages

2nd Grade Dhurrie Rug Collages

First, students chose a color for their rugs.  Then we used regular scissors and “fancy” scalloped scissors to cut strips of paper to represent the rug’s weave.  Students created pattern either with color or shape (or both!).  Some preferred to keep their rug simple, and others were very elaborate.  To finish them, we punched holes along the edges and knotted yarn to create tassels.  Several students surprised me by asking if they could braid their tassels.  It created a beautiful effect, but if you come home to find the edges of your rugs braided, I plead ignorance!

Busy Spiders

Lily's spider collage

Lily’s spider collage

Kindergarten students in Mrs. Gay’s class read The Very Busy Spider, by Eric Carle.  Afterward, we painted spiderwebs for our spiders to use.  Students used white colored pencil to sketch their web.  They noticed that even though webs look very complicated, there are some familiar things in there — an X, a plus sign, and a lot of circles!  After sketching the web, students used white tempera to carefully paint over their lines.  One painting skill kindergarteners worked on was using controlled brush strokes so the web didn’t turn into a blob.

Once the paint was dry, students started to collage their spiders.  We looked at the shapes used to create a spider — mostly different sized circles and rectangles.  Students worked on cutting and counting out the correct number of legs.  Cutting a circle can be a challenging skill for kindergarteners, but I think they rose to the occasion!


EJ's spider collage

EJ’s spider collage

Kindergarteners with a little extra time made details such as eyes, feet, fangs, spider family members, and juicy flies for their spiders to eat.

Completed Daffodils

Connor's 3D Daffodil

Connor’s 3D Daffodil

Mrs. Bruett’s 3rd graders finished constructing their 3D daffodils during their Integrated Arts time!  Students used tabs and folds to make the stigma and stamen “pop out” of the flowers.  Students also cut stems and leaves out of their painted paper.

Once the flower was assembled, 3rd graders chose a color for their background paper and glued it on.  Finally, students had the option to use colored pencil, collage, or oil pastel to add texture on the petals and leaves, or to add environmental details like stars or grass.

Charlie's 3D Daffodil

Charlie’s 3D Daffodil

This artwork took several classes to complete, and it involved many small, detailed steps.  Students showed great teamwork as they helped each other remember how to complete each part.  Everyone used their best effort and it shows in these amazing 3D daffodils!

3D Daffodils

3rd Grade 3D Daffodils

3rd Grade 3D Daffodils

3rd grade students have been studying flowers during science in their classroom.  Mrs. Bruett’s class is using Integrated Arts time to work on creating 3D models of daffodils.  For the first class, students painted a paper plate to form the petals, a strip of paper that would become the corona, and a strip of paper that would become the stem and leaves.  We discussed how daffodils come in a variety of colors, and some have matching corona and petals, and some do not.  For the next class, we cut and glued the corona into a ring shape.  We used “fancy” scissors to cut the top of the corona into a ruffle.  We cut tabs onto the bottom to create a flat surface for gluing.  We then worked on dividing the plate into six segments to form the petals, and glued the corona into the center.  Most students stopped here, but a few had time to create the pistil, stigma, and stamen.  Next week we will cut out stems and leaves and finish assembling the flowers.

How to Make a Paper Spring

Completed paper spring

Completed paper spring

Kindergarteners at Gerry learned how to make paper springs.  I enjoy teaching this because it gives students an opportunity to practice several skills: applying an appropriate amount of glue, folding carefully and neatly, working with a pattern (very useful for weaving later), and my favorite, using imagination!  I thought it would be useful to make a “how to” so families can make springs at home if they’d like!  To start, you will need:

  • Two long, skinny strips of paper
  • Glue bottle or glue stick
  • Scissors (optional)

1. Put a small dot of glue at the end of one of the strips of paper.  Not a big blob — if it oozes out and gets the paper sticky, the spring might not work.

2. Attach the two strips to make an “L” shape.

Glue the two papers into an "L"

“L” shape

3. Fold the top of the “L” down.

Fold the top of the "L" down


4. Fold the side of the “L” across.

Fold the side of the "L" across


The folds create a pattern: down, across, up, across, down, across, up, across… sometimes it is easier for students to think of the pattern in terms of color, so you could say: fold red, fold blue, red, blue, red, blue…

Keep folding...

Keep folding…

There are a few things to keep in mind as you fold.  First, this is much easier if you keep the spring flat on a table instead of trying to fold it up in the air.  Another thing to remember is to fold neatly.  If the folds are crooked, the spring might not work as well, so try to fold the paper as far over as it can go, and keep it straight.  Keep folding until you run out of paper!

5. Put another small dot of glue under the last fold and pinch the spring shut.  Count to 10 and then carefully let it “un-spring.”  Voici !

Put a dot of glue under the flap

Put a dot of glue under the flap

The last fold on the spring might be a little too long; if it is, use scissors to carefully trim it.

Pop-Up Monster Eye

Pop-Up Monster Eye

Use your imagination to come up with a use for the spring.  Kindergarteners used them to make pop-up parts for their monster collages. Some glued on collage pieces, like a monster eye.  Others turned the spring itself into a part, like a monster nose that looked like an elephant trunk.  Multiple springs can also be glued together to make bracelets or necklaces.

Little Monsters!

Kindergarten Symmetrical Monster Collage

Kindergarten Symmetrical Monster Collage

Kindergarteners are reading William Steig’s book Rotten Island in art class.  William Steig wrote and illustrated many excellent children’s books, including Doctor De Soto, Amos and Boris, and Shrek.  Rotten Island is a book about rotten monsters and their rotten lives! The monsters on the island can swim, crawl, fly, slither, and even wheel around. Kindergarteners design their own monsters that all have a special property: they’re symmetrical!  First, students fold a piece of paper in half, then cut a wiggly line along the folded edge. When the paper is opened, sometimes it looks like it could be a monster body, and sometimes it doesn’t.  If it doesn’t look like a monster yet, students can fold it back up again and try cutting out more shapes.  When the body is finished, students think about monstrous details like horns, claws, scales, teeth, and eyes, and collage them on.  Some kindergarteners decided they wanted their monsters to be nice, and some wanted monsters that were scary and fierce. There was also a king monster, a monster with hair, a Valentine monster, and a set of monster triplets!