Jim Dine Inspired Hearts

Part of being a student teacher is to slowly take over all of the responsibilities of the cooperating classroom teacher including planning lessons, teaching all of the classes in their schedule, and in this case, the blog!

The first lesson that I taught at Huegel Elementary was inspired by the artwork of American Pop Artist, Jim Dine.

One of the challenges that many art teachers face is not having their own room in which to teach. Instead, they may have their own storage space and will travel from classroom to classroom teaching “art from a cart” or, in the case at Huegel, they may share a room with other academic disciplines and teachers. The main challenge that exists in the shared room at Huegel is that there is no sink in the room. I am extremely fortunate that I am able to experience this type of teaching situation while still student teaching as it allows me the help and guidance of a cooperating teacher, while planning and teaching the lessons in a non-traditional art room. Along with many art teachers who teach off a cart and/or in a shared art room, I was determined to not let that hinder the student’s art experience!

With a few adaptations, such as buckets of water for cleaning and clothesline for drying prints, the students were able to create amazing artworks that incorporated printmaking and mixed media.

As a class, we started off having a discussion about the artwork of Pop Artist Jim Dine, specifically his artwork depicting hearts. We discussed the symbolism, color, pattern, expression, and abstraction in his artwork.

After being inspired by Jim Dine’s “Heartwork”, the students began making their own heart shaped block using styrofoam plates and pencils. Instead of ink, we used black and white tempera paint to make a variety of different heart prints on a variety of colored construction paper. The following week the students cut out their heart prints and included them into their own Jim Dine inspired artwork which included oil pastel and watercolor resist painting.


The results were absolutely stunning!

Perspective with Snowmen

IMG_5283Each of my three classes at Huegel are very different from each other and have very different needs. But, as someone who is only there three hours a week, it is hard to differentiate my lessons to meet all of those needs. This is why I liked this lesson so much, all the same materials but meeting different needs and learning around one subject in many different ways.

Let’s start with what each of these three lessons has in common: snowmen, perspective, oil pastels, sharpie and watercolor with salt.

The first group of snowmen is from a second grade class who is able to listen and learn without much behavior difficulty. This class learned about perspective by learning about the horizon line, foreground and background.


IMG_5286 The second group has some difficulty with paying attention for longer periods of time so short lesson on perspective is what was needed. This group drew snowmen from the perspective of laying on the ground.

IMG_5281 IMG_5288 IMG_5289 IMG_5287 The third group is a third grade group and learned about perspective as well as overlapping and drawing off the page.

IMG_5285 IMG_5284 IMG_5280 IMG_5279IMG_5278

3rd Grade Hmong projects

3rd graders first learned the word batik. We looked at a block of wax and discussed how it is melted down to draw with. The a tjanting needle is dipped in the hot wax to be used as the drawing tool. The artist then draws on fabric, not paper.

When the hot wax has dried, the fabric is dipped into dye. When the fabric is dry, the wax is removed and what is left is a beautiful design.

3rd graders first came up with their own Hmong designs using some of the symbols we see in traditional Hmong batik art. Instead of hot wax, they used crayons and instead of dye they used liquid watercolors (with glitter which drew a huge *gasp* from the collective whole that is the 3rd grade).

After they were finished with their own ‘batik’ work, they drew out a family story inspired by the Hmong story cloths. Below is an example by Youa Lor.

Combining two traditional Hmong art techniques into one created some beautiful artwork!

You can see all of these and more at the Children’s Museum throughout the month of November!

Twilight Night and Gallery Opening Night — 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, November 7
Free admission to the whole museum!

Twilight Art Night offers the opportunity to meet some of the artists whose work is on display, and to learn more about how public art was incorporated into the building.

Enjoy free admission on Twilight Wednesday, the first Wednesday of the month, from 5-8 p.m.


4th gr Wisconsin Birds

4th graders were really inspired by local artist, Joshua Ludke. They were fascinated by all the different types of birds that live in and visit Wisconsin. Each student picked a Wisconsin bird to sketch. We focused on finding geometric shapes in each bird so we could draw our birds a little easier.
Then we focused on texture. We drew short lines for short feathers and  long lines for long feathers. We also learned that when the lines are drawn closer together, the feathers look darker.

Then we focused on using pen and ink to trace over all of our pencil marks. It was really fun using a new material! This was the first pen and ink experience for most of the students.

When students were finished with pen and ink, they had the choice to add color to their bird using chalk pastels, watercolors or both. Drawing with chalk pastels into wet watercolor can give some really neat effects. Check out some of these finished students! There are so many talented birding artists that I had trouble choosing which ones to post. I had to post so many of them! Can you name each bird?

K/1 Birds

Lesson inspired by Deep Space Sparkle.

One of my K/1 class is about a month ahead of my other two K/1 classes.  I’ve been planning extra projects for this one class.  Projects that are a little more simple and have just one or two major art concept to focus on.

With this lesson I focused on pattern and shapes.  We began by talking about a half circle and how two half circles make up one circle.  We put our own half circles made out of tagboard together with a partner’s half circle to see the circle come together.  Then we used this shape to make birds.

After drawing our birds, we discussed what a pattern was.  After we each took a turn drawing a pattern on the chalkboard, we went back to our seats and filled in our birds with pattern (using oil pastels).

And then used watercolor to paint in the birds.  I did not introduce the vocabulary word ‘crayon resist’ but some of my first graders who I had last year remembered the term and brought it to my attention.  They are so smart!

And our finished birds, all cut out!

One student felt like the shapes where stifling his creativity.  Who am I to say no to an artist? This first grader’s bird is beautiful!

Georgia O’Keeffe Part 2: Watercolors

After we drew our O’Keeffe compositions, we were ready to paint.

We learned about three watercolor techniques: Dry Brush, Wet into Wet and Graded Wash.  See if you can’t find these different techniques in our paintings below.

I LOVE the leaf shape in this one!

The way the purple flower is drooping makes this really interesting.

The complimentary colors in this painting really add some spunk to the flowers!

Warm and cool colors as well as the Sharpie lines add some wonderful contrast in this painting.

K/1 Crazy Winter Hat Hair

This lesson is inspired by this Artsonia gallery from Oakridge Upper and Lower Elementary School Muskegon, Michigan (3rd grade).

As the last two hours in the last day before winter break, I wanted to have my K/1’s do a more simple lesson than I would normally do.  I learned the hard way that blowing watercolors across paper is actually too hard for kindergarten students.  I would do this with first and second graders.

Having said that, I taught both K/1 classes differently.  The first class I focused on facial features.  We talked about what we see on our faces (eyes, nose, mouth) and where those things go.  We talked about what shape our facial features are.  We talked about extra things we see on faces that make us unique (glasses, freckles, beauty marks, scars) and then added ears.   The second class I really focused on shapes.  I began the class by reading When a Line Bends a Shape Begins by Rhonda Gowler Greene.  We discussed what shapes are on our faces (circle for face, oval for eyes etc) and drew our faces.  Then we added the watercolor which went about as well in the second class as it did in the first class.  We had some frustrated artists on our hands so we shifted our focus to pattern on our shirts instead of crazy hair.  Can I say that keeping it silly is such a lifesaver?  I taught both classes with staticy, crazy winter hat hair.  They loved it.

At the end the class we played the ‘body shape game.’   Using our bodies, we created shapes on the carpet.  I got this idea from Math Art by MaryAnn F Kohl.  I know a lot of our K/1s really struggle with Math so when I can help them out, I try!