Found Object Sculptures 

Create a Found Object Sculpture using small objects, a box lid, hot glue and spray paint.

Inspired by Louise Nevelson, second graders created a found object sculpture by working with their classmates. They could bring in an object or choose an object; then they chose where they wanted to glue it and voted on what color the artwork should be painted.

PowerPoint: Found Object Sculpture

Parent Letter: Found Object Letter (Edit it with your school’s info)

Art Display Sign: Found Object Sign

Supplies:

  • Small objects
  • Cardboard box lids
  • Hot glue
  • Donated spray paint

 

Create a Found Object Sculpture using small objects, a box lid, hot glue and spray paint.

At every Showcase, I display a piece of collaborative artwork that the classes worked on together. Sometimes, it comes together as one large mural-type display. Sometimes, four students will work together to create poster-sized art. Because the second grade Showcase was scheduled for January, I planned a project that they could complete in one art rotation.

Image result for louise nevelson sky cathedral
Sky Cathedral, Louise Nevelson, 1958

I started by sending letters home with my students, after we talked about Louise Nevelson and found object art. I emphasized that they would not be getting their objects back and that the object needed to be small enough that it could fit in your pocket. I had bags for each second grade homeroom so that kids could give their object to me early. By pure luck, I happened to have recess duty that week, so I also collected their objects in the morning.

Create a Found Object Sculpture using small objects, a box lid, hot glue and spray paint.

I emailed the faculty and staff at our school, asking for donations of partially used spray paint. We ended up with so many contributions! I also scavenged in my classroom and found a bunch of random objects that students could choose from if they forgot to bring an object. I asked the office to save a few cardboard lids from our paper boxes. It was pretty cool to be creating a project using all donated and free supplies!

Create a Found Object Sculpture using small objects, a box lid, hot glue and spray paint.

On the day of the project, we started by talking about found object art and voting on what color the class wanted their sculpture to be spray painted. They chose between two different colors.  I have three 2nd grade classes each day, so I recorded each class’ vote and explained that the color with 2 or more votes would win.

Create a Found Object Sculpture using small objects, a box lid, hot glue and spray paint.

During class, I had a drawing project that they were working on at their tables. I called up one group at a time and had them show me where they wanted their object glued. After I put the hot glue on the right spot, they could choose to place their object themselves.

 

Create a Found Object Sculpture using small objects, a box lid, hot glue and spray paint.

At the end of each day, I spray painted the artwork the color that the classes had chosen. For our Showcase, I used a staple gun to secure them to the wall. (Another reason to encourage kids to bring small objects! There were a couple of sculptures I was afraid were going to be too heavy.)

Create a Found Object Sculpture using small objects, a box lid, hot glue and spray paint.

It was so much fun to see the second graders talking about the sculptures with their families at the Showcase. There were big groups of people who stood and observed the art for a long time! The students were so excited to search and find the object they had added.

 

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Installation Art

Create installation art using everyday materials and change the way people see a space.

Elementary art students worked together to create installation art using everyday materials and displayed them on campus.

PowerPoint: Installation Art

Art Display Sign: Installation Art Sign

Safety Pledge: Hot Glue Pledge

Supplies: Whatever extra stuff you have crowding your cabinets!

Create installation art using everyday materials and change the way people see a space.

For our art program, I needed to do two things: 1) Fill in the weird schedule gap caused by our Field Days. 2) Use up the boxes of donated supplies that I wasn’t going to be able to move to our new school. Installation art was the perfect solution!

I started by grouping our supplies into sets that would work well together. I had pipe cleaners, foam shapes, cardboard tubes, art straws, wooden blocks, popsicle sticks and bamboo skewers. The foam shapes worked well with the pipe cleaners and skewers. For the other materials, I gave each table an adhesive, like masking tape or hot glue.

Create installation art using everyday materials and change the way people see a space.

About a week before we started, I set up a hot glue station at the back of the room. Kiddos who finished their art project early helped glue the popsicle sticks into triangles and squares. Having those pieces ready to go really streamlined the building process.

Create installation art using everyday materials and change the way people see a space.

I made a very big deal about the hot glue safety rules! Each students had to sign the Safety Pledge and wear gloves to protect their hands from accidents. (I was thrilled to find kid-sized gardening gloves at the Target Dollar Spot!)

Create installation art using everyday materials and change the way people see a space.

On the first day, each table brainstormed about how they were going to use the materials and where they would want the sculpture displayed. At the end of each class, they wrote a note for the kids who would be at their table next.

Create installation art using everyday materials and change the way people see a space.

I changed the set-up of the tables as each of the sculptures got to a new step or were completed. By the end of the week, the cardboard tube sculpture took up 3 different tables: one for taping, one for painting the outside and one for painting the inside.

We installed the sculptures in waves; as soon as one was finished, I would assign a table to take the pieces outside and secure it in the ground. Bamboo skewers and tape helped to hold up some of the more flexible artwork. The students taped laminated signs about installation art to the sides of some old magazine holders. Bamboo skewers were able to keep the sign boxes in place.

The installation art made quite a splash! The students were so excited to see the finished projects they had helped with. Teachers and parents also commented on how much they enjoyed the artwork. It was a fun way to introduce an new art concept to our school’s community.

Writing Responses to Showcase Artwork 

Fourth graders visited the Showcase and wrote about a piece of artwork created by a second grader.

Fourth graders visited the second grade Showcase. They chose a piece of artwork that was interesting to them and wrote a response.

PowerPoint: Showcase Response

Writing Handout: 2nd Writing Response3rd Writing Response4th Writing Response

Fourth graders visited the Showcase and wrote about a piece of artwork created by a second grader.

It is such a huge undertaking to hang up 300+ pieces of artwork. This year I decided to use our Showcase as a learning experience across grade levels. I created handouts that my 4th graders could use to reflect on the artwork they saw at the 2nd grade Showcase. My plan is to have each grade level write about the artwork they see at another grade’s Showcase.

Fourth graders visited the Showcase and wrote about a piece of artwork created by a second grader.

I started the class by going over the questions with my students. I emphasized that what they wrote was their opinion – there weren’t any right or wrong answers.

Fourth graders visited the Showcase and wrote about a piece of artwork created by a second grader.

Before making my PowerPoint, I talked with a group of 4th grade teachers to find out what would be helpful for me to reinforce in our art writing assignment. They told me they are working on having the kids write in complete sentences, with a capital letter at the beginning and a period at the end.

Fourth graders visited the Showcase and wrote about a piece of artwork created by a second grader.

After reviewing those three criteria with my classes, I told them that we were having a writing contest. I would be picking a few excellent responses to hang in the hallway alongside the art they had written about. Their writing had to meet the three criteria in order to qualify for the contest.

Fourth graders visited the Showcase and wrote about a piece of artwork created by a second grader.

It was amazing what a huge motivator the contest was! I had them list out the three criteria they had to meet and offered to check their writing at the end to see if it it would qualify. I have never had so many students eager to get their answers written correctly!

Fourth graders visited the Showcase and wrote about a piece of artwork created by a second grader.

Before we walked over to the Showcase, we had a quick Circle Time about art show etiquette. I was so proud that they were respectful of the artwork and were calm and focused while they wrote. As they finished writing, they sat down along a wall and got to free draw on the back of their paper.

Fourth graders visited the Showcase and wrote about a piece of artwork created by a second grader.

I tried to keep everyone in one section of the hallway, for crowd control. But I did make exceptions for students who had a younger sibling whose artwork was displayed on the other side. It was such a great motivator for them to be able to write about art done by someone they know!

Fourth graders visited the Showcase and wrote about a piece of artwork created by a second grader.

It was so much fun reading through their responses! I chose about 15-20 to display in the hallway next to the artwork that the student had chosen to write about. It warmed my heart to see students stopping and reading the responses. It was such a great way to connect art and writing while also making connections between our students!

Earn Art Centers using a Color Wheel

I use Color Wheel Charts to reward each class for following my expectations for their behavior. When they fill their Color Wheel, they earn a Centers Day!

Supplies:

Use Color Wheel Charts to help your art classes earn a Centers Day.

When I taught middle school, I used a system where students earned minutes towards their “Free Art Friday.” It was the perfect way to give them an incentive to get through transitions quickly and clean up quickly. I wanted to modify that same idea so that it would work with the rotation schedule I have at the Elementary School.

Use Color Wheel Charts to help your art classes earn a Centers Day.

Use Color Wheel Charts to help your art classes earn a Centers Day.I started by brainstorming what behaviors were the most important to keeping our Art Room running smoothly. In order to earn their color: they have to follow my expectations about volume, clean up quickly and line up quietly.

I use our stoplight ART letters as a visual reminder of  the volume level. If it is on green, it means our volume is right on target. I warn a class when they are getting too loud and let them know that if it doesn’t get quieter, I will have to take down the green “A”. They can earn the “A” back by changing their volume. My students really respond to the simple visual reminder of the “A” being taken down.

I have a set of alarms on my computer that let each class know when it’s time to clean up and when it’s time for us to leave. After the first timer goes off, I give directions about what we need to do to clean. Depending on the project we are working on, they have 5-10 minutes to clean their table and go stand on their number for our Circle Up. During Circle Up, the Artist of the Day chooses people who are standing quietly to answer a creative thinking question.

Use Color Wheel Charts to help your art classes earn a Centers Day.

When our second alarm goes off, it means it is time for us to leave. Before they leave, I ask them to give me a thumbs up or a thumbs down as we talk through each of the three expectations they had to meet to earn their color. If they met them all, I pull out a color and put it onto their Color Wheel. If they missed one of the expectations, we review what they need to do to earn their color next time.

Use Color Wheel Charts to help your art classes earn a Centers Day.

After the first couple of rotations, I realized it was hard for me to keep track of how each individual class was doing. I decided to add the component of Extra Special Centers so that the classes that consistently earned their color would get an extra reward. I created a chart that has three circles for each class and stapled it to the envelope that holds their colors. Every time they earn a color, I cross one of the circles off. If they earn a color three times in a row, when we have centers they get a couple of Extra Special Centers like paint, Playdoh or Legos.

Use Color Wheel Charts to help your art classes earn a Centers Day.

There were a handful of fourth grade classes that were having a difficult time earning a color. In those groups, most of the kids were on task and meeting the expectations. But there was a small group of kiddos who were struggling. I didn’t like the idea of everyone missing out on centers because of the choices a few kids were making. So I created a special “Individual Centers” seating chart. I explained that each kid would being earning their color individually. It is a lot of extra work! But I saw a big difference in the overall class’s behavior once they were each held accountable as individuals.

 

 

Not Your Average Coloring Center

Elementary art students can choose to go to a coloring page center where they re-invent artwork by an artist they just learned about.

PowerPoint: Table Artists 2015 & Table Artists 2016

Supply Box Labels: Table Name ImagesTable Names

Coloring Pages: Kusama ColoringLange Coloring

This is the second year I’ve named each of my tables after famous artists. I decided to add a new element to our discussions about these artists on Centers Day. I created a Coloring Page center, where students can re-create a painting by the artist we just talked about.

I will admit, I never thought I would incorporate photo-copied coloring pages into my art classroom. (I love having students create their own coloring pages!) I was looking for a way for kids to spend more time thinking about our table artists, and this turned out to be a great way to make that connection.

At the beginning of our Centers Day, I give the kids a little background information about one of the artists our tables are named after. Then I have them talk with each other about one or two pieces of their artwork. Focusing the mini art history lessons on our table artists has definitely increased their connection to the artwork. They get so excited to hear about the artist their table is named after!

This year I wanted them to have the opportunity to work on something they could take home with them. Only seeing them once a week makes it hard for them to retain the vocabulary words that we cover. Remembering an artist’s name is even trickier!

I was able to find a lot of pre-made coloring pages online. I created one for Dorothea Lange by putting her self-portrait in PowerPoint and changing the contrast. I also found a great website called Luna Pic that will take an image and turn it into a coloring page. The page I created using one of Yayoi Kusama’s paintings turned out great!

I have really enjoyed watching the way that they bring their own creativity to another artist’s work. I also love seeing coloring pages on display in other teachers’ classroom after a student gives it as a gift!

Creative Thinking at the End of Art Class

Create a smooth end-of-class transition by asking students creative questions once they are lined up.

Downloadable Question List: Circle Up Questions

Downloadable Blank Template: Circle Up Template

End art class with Circle Up! questions that get kids thinking creatively.

 

It is a balancing act, figuring how much time to give kids to clean-up at the end of art class! Too little time, and you’re left with a messy room and frustrated students. Too much time and you are standing around with an extra 5 minutes on your hand and a group of kiddos who might start misbehaving out of boredom. I was antsy to come up with a routine that would productively fill those last 2-3 minutes of class when we are lined up and waiting for our alarm that signals the end of art class.

I decided to create an end-of-class ritual that would get my students thinking creatively instead of requiring them to regurgitate facts.

I have done the usual “ask questions about the vocabulary or art history that we learned about this week…” Even when I tied it to incentives, my students quickly got bored and the routine felt monotonous. I decided to create an end-of-class ritual that would get my kids thinking creatively instead of requiring them to regurgitate facts.

During our in-service at the beginning of last year, the counselors presented the idea of circle time. For the homeroom classes, this is a way to have heart-to-heart talks and deal with behavior issues. I thought I might be able to change it a bit and use it as a way to wrap up art class.

I create a “line” that wrapped around my room in a circle. Each yellow arrow has a seat number written on it in Sharpie, so kids easily know where they need to line up. (I cover the arrows with packing tape so the Sharpie doesn’t wear off right away. They look pretty rough by the end of the year, but it does the trick!)

End art class with Circle Up! questions that get kids thinking creatively.

I created a list of questions that would spark my students’ imagination, help them get to know each other better as artists or just plain make them laugh! Last year I printed up a list of questions for each day of the week and posted it on my bulletin board. This year I printed blank pages that I can fill in at the beginning of our 6 day rotation. (I’m slowly learning to simplify!) As the year progresses, I think I’ll ask the kids to come up with their own questions and add them into the mix!

I created a list of questions that would spark my students’ imagination, help them get to know each other better as artists or just plain make them laugh!

Each day, our Artist of the Day pulls a number out of the cup. The kid standing on that number gets to hold the paintbrush (only the person with the brush gets to talk!) and answer the question. We repeat this process until it’s time to leave. Usually 2-5 kids get a turn to share; and I tell the ones that are super disappointed that they didn’t get to talk that they can tell me their answer as they walk out the door.

End art class with Circle Up! questions that get kids thinking creatively.

It has really changed the atmosphere of my classroom during those last few minutes. It has become such a special time that when a class runs out of time because they were slow cleaning up, I have students telling me how sad they are that we don’t get to do Circle Up that day!

 

 

 

 

 

Organize your Art Schedule with Color!

Classroom Video Tour: Organize with Color!

Seating Chart Template: Seating Charts

I was lucky to find out what my schedule for this year would be about a month before summer started. That gave me time to wrap my head around changing from a quarterly system where I saw third and fourth graders every day for nine weeks, to a schedule where I would see the whole student population once every 6 days. I jumped into high gear and started making sketchbooks like crazy. Students who had finished a project early were eager to join our assembly line of counting, folding and stapling paper.

Use color coordination to organize complicated elementary art class schedules.

When I locked up my room for the summer I had stacks of over 900 sketchbooks sitting in my closet. But I hadn’t quite decided how I was going to organize them. I knew I wanted to put them in plastic bins on the shelf. When I got back to school in August, I decided to work out a color coordinated system, so that every rotation day was the same color.

After putting labels on all 38 sketchbook bins, I stepped back and realized I had created a giant schedule wall that I could follow throughout the week.

Use color coordination to organize complicated elementary art class schedules.

After putting labels on all 38 sketchbook bins, I stepped back and realized I had created a giant schedule wall that I could follow throughout the week. (To make things extra complicated, my last three classes of the day are 2nd graders who are on a Monday-Friday rotation. Their bins got different colors.) In the morning I can glance at the sketchbook shelf and see which classes are coming to art.

Use color coordination to organize complicated elementary art class schedules.

The thought that stressed me out the most was keeping track of all of that “artwork in progress” from week to week! In the past, I’ve used my set of plastic drawers so that each class time has their own drawer to store their artwork in. I only have 9 drawers in all, and my room size and wallet couldn’t handle buying 29 more!

I decided to dedicate each drawer to a class time and store all six classes who come at that time in the same drawer.

I decided to dedicate each drawer to a class time and store all six classes who come at that time in the same drawer. I used the same color labels again on the outside of the drawer, so I can easily see where each class’s artwork goes.

Use color coordination to organize complicated elementary art class schedules.

Inside the drawer I have a big purple folder for each class. They were easy to make – 18″ x 24″ construction paper folded and stapled. I labeled each of those big purple folders with… you guessed it! The same colors that were on the sketchbook bins. Each big purple folder has six file folders labeled with the table names for my classroom. My students use the file folders to turn in their art at the end of class.

Inside the drawer I have a big purple folder for each class… Each big purple folder has six file folders labeled with the table names for my classroom. My students use the file folders to turn in their art at the end of class.

It was so much fun to change up the table names for the new year! I love picking new artists to highlight on each table’s supply box. It was time consuming to write artist names on the front and back of 228 folders, but they will also double as signs for the drying rack. And they make passing back artwork crazy quick and easy.

Use color coordination to organize complicated elementary art class schedules.

 

Another huge concern I had was finding a way to store all of the finished artwork for our Showcases at the end of the year. I spent a lot of time clearing off 7 of the big shelves at the back of my room. I labeled each shelf with the times for each class period and made larger folders out of thick poster board to create portfolios where I can store each class’ finished projects. We’ll see if they end up being big enough for a year’s worth of artwork.

Use color coordination to organize complicated elementary art class schedules.

For each class period, I labeled the folders using those same colors from the sketchbook bins. I’m only a couple weeks into the year, but so far I’m amazed by how much this color system has kept me from losing my mind! I feel like I finally have a handle on which classes are coming to my room at what times. And I’m not scared that I’m going to lose artwork. (Which is every art teacher’s greatest fear, I think.)

Use color coordination to organize complicated elementary art class schedules.

My other big undertaking was color coordinating my seating charts. I printed each rotation day on the same color paper I used for all of the labels. I have been using Post-it Notes, cut down to small rectangles, as a way of being able to easily move kids. This year, I was inspired by the Art of Ed’s Summer online conference to start dabbling in video demonstrations. I bought a selfie stick and filmed my usual first day of art “tour of the classroom.”

While the kids watched the video tour of the art room (which they were glued to!), I filled out seating charts for that class.

Oh man, what a life saver! While the kids watched the video tour of the art room (which they were glued to!), I filled out the seating chart for that class. It only took 5 minutes each class period, but that would’ve been 3 hours of planning period time! And it was so nice to know that every single class heard all of the same information. (After repeating myself that many times, I always forget important parts.

Use color coordination to organize complicated elementary art class schedules.
I may still be in the honeymoon phase, but I have high hopes for this organization system! I’m sure over the course of the year, I’ll be changing it here and there. But for now it makes me feel like I’ve got this crazy rotation schedule under control!

Seating Chart Template: Seating Charts