Friday, September 24, 2010

What do I do now?

"Mrs. Erb, I'm done....What do I do now?"

Students often ask, "What do I do now?" when they are finished with a project.  I usually have lots of different activities for students to work on. 

 Puzzles/ Color Cubes/ Mosaica:  If students don't want the option of "Free Draw"( See below), then there are puzzles available.  I have a selection of small jig-saw puzzles and a few new additions to my puzzle collection.  We have Mosaica and Color Cubes which are magnetic puzzles that create designs (I purchased mine through  I also have NASCO's Mystery Masterpiece Puzzlebook. Each reproducible puzzle is presented in jumbled squares that are numbered. Depending on their skill level, students can either reproduce each square in the appropriate place on the blank puzzle grid by drawing freehand or they may cut and paste the pieces.
Free Draw/Drawing Bucket/Drawing Books

selection of drawing books

Depending on the time left in class or what the project was, students often get a chioce of free draw activities.  Students have the choice to draw thier own picture.  If they don't have any ideas of what to draw, there is the drawing bucket.  In the drawing bucket there are several ideas for students to choose from ( the drawing bucket is in the works for Birch Meadow...some of the slips got lost during the summer!).  Just reach in and pull out a random idea.  The kids go wild over it.  There are also several learn to draw books on my bookshelf.  Kids have the option of using these during projects and also during their free choice time.  I have many selections by Doug DuBosque, Ed Emberly, and Lee J. Ames (Books are available in your local bookstore, library or               

the drawing bucket!

Roylco Straws and Connectors/K'Nex:  

Roylco Straws and Connectors

Students also have the choice of using the straws and connectors and K'Nex. These channel the inner architect in your child to build and create buildings, vehicles, and shapes.  These two are the most popular free choice activities.

 Sketchbook Assignments: 
Classes that have sketchbooks ( grades 3, 4 and 5) are given sketchbook assignments.  This is important because it gives the student time to reflect upon the project we worked on.  I usually give sketchbook assignments that have a connection to the art activity we had completed.     


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Grade 4- Drawing and Shading shapes with a cast shadow

4th grader working on drawing shapes with shading and cast shadows
Fourhth graders are continuing their drawing unit. 
Last week we worked on contour line drawings.  This week we are learning how to draw three-dimensional shapes with shading and cast shadows. We used charcoal or pencil as our drawing material and our sketchbooks to practice drawing these shapes.  We drew an arrow next to each shape to show the direction of the light source.  We then drew the cast shadow directly opposite each arrow.  The cast shadows were shaded very dark.  The areas closest to the arrows were the lightest and the shape gets gradually darker away from the arrow.  We tried to shade and blend in so that no markings from our pencil or charcoal were visible.   

Monday, September 20, 2010

Contour line, Self-Portraits, and Patterns

 What do contour line, Self-Portraits, and patterns have in common? 
Its what we're working on in art this week!

Fourth grade students began a drawing lesson.  We learned about contour line.  In drawing, contour line is a line defining an edge or a form.  In other words, it is the outline of something. 

self-portrait practice by Julia F. Gr. 5

Students were given random objects to draw.  They were not allowed to use pencil for this drawing.  Instead we used black sharpie marker. The students were given 5 minutes to complete a drawing.  By the end of class we ended up with 4 or 5 drawings depending on our time used to draw. 

Gr. 1 self-portraits

Fifth graders and first graders are working on self-portraits.  Fifth graders started a practice portrait in their sketchbooks.  First graders began their portraits.  Next week, Fifth graders will start their final project for portraits, and first graders will continue thier portraits and add some color using crayon. 

Beginning stages of pattern forest by Joanna C. Gr. 2
Second graders are learning about patterns in art.  For our project we are creating a pattern forest. Today we began the forrest drawings.  Second graders used previously learned knowledge of how to draw trees for this project.  Last year ( as first graders), we did a project making birch trees using tape and paint.  We observed that branches come off trees in the shape of the letter V or Y.  We used that knowledge this year to create our forest drawings.  Patterns are placed in the trunks and branches of the trees.  So far things are turning out great! 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Learning about Lines

Third graders reviewed the art element of line. 
Our project is creating a line design in a leaf pattern (lesson adapted from Kathy Barbro's Art Projects for Kids 

By: Gabby D. grade 3

By Ben R. grade 3
Third graders traced a leaf template using pencil. Students chose from oak, maple, or beech leaves.  The students and I looked at pictures of leaves and we noticed that leaves have lines on them called veins. They then added the veins in the leaf drawing.  Each vein created a space for a line design.  Third graders added different line designs.  When the students were finished, they outlined the leaf and veins in black sharpie marker.  Third graders were given a choice to contnue using black sharpie or outlining their line designs in colored marker.  The results were stunning! 

Monday, September 13, 2010

Sketchbooks and ice-breakers!

finished 5th grade sketchbook

4th grader putting together their sketchbook

  I've finally met all my classes for the start of the year.  Everything has gone smoothly! This is what we have been working on at Wood End and Birch Meadow.

Grades four and five have created sketchbooks.  We use our sketchbooks for planning out our projects. When students have finished a project, I usually give out a sketchbook assignment for them to work on in their book.  This way, everyone is working on something and not wondering what to do for the rest of the class.  Sometimes students will get the option to "free draw".  Their sketchbook will provide a place for them to draw in.

We used 10 pieces of paper, either 11x17 inches or 12x18 inches works.  we folded them in half to create a book shape, then glued them together.  I then placed 2 staples in the middle of the books for extra reinforcement.  Then each class added a colored binding. the binding was a 3 inch strip of paper folded in half and glued on to the edge of the book.  We added this so that it is easy to find our books in the sketchbook box. 

Grades one through three played a drawing game called "A Unique Drawing Experience".  I got this from  I love that website for small activities like this one.  It is also great for if you're looking for some kind of arts and crafts activity to do at home on a rainy day.  The rules of the game for students are to listen carefully and to draw what they hear.  The teacher reads out directions and the kids draw them. What is great about this is that every kid's drawing comes out totally different.  This teaches them that although we all do the same project in art class, our work comes out different from each other.  We all put our ideas down on paper differently than someone else does and that is OK.

Check back for more postings and pictures!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Welcome Back!

Welcome back to the new school year and welcome to my blog!  This year I plan to use this blog a s a way to communicate what is going on in the art classroom at both Wood End Elementary School and Birch Meadow Elementary School.  I think this will be an easier alternative to Edline.  I hope to post pictures and lessons of the work your children produce this school year! I hope to accomplish this as a weekly blog. Please keep me bookmarked in your favorites and check back often. 

About the art program at WES and BMS:

The Visual Arts program at the elementary level provides students with the foundation to begin their arts learning. At the elementary level students begin to experiment with a variety of art materials, processes, and media. Creative expression and hands-on experience is at the heart of their instruction. Students will have the opportunity to integrate art with other areas of the curriculum helping to facilitate a greater understanding of the important role that art plays in our daily lives. The art curriculum is a sequential comprehensive education that helps in developing healthy minds and spirits of students. The elementary art curriculum focuses on the Massachusetts Arts Curriculum Frameworks. It strives to enable our students to:

· Apply both imagination and rational thinking to the making of art

· Learn and use vocabulary related to methods, materials, and techniques

· Understand the value of reflection and critical judgment in creative work

· Understand how world cultures have been historically influenced and shaped by the arts