Welcome to Super Happy Art Class!

I hope you enjoy looking at the wonderful artwork from Duchesne Academy Lower School. Lower School consists of girls, grades pre-k through fourth. Unfortunately I have not kept record of all the successful projects, but here is a good sampling. Check out the artwork by grade level, but realize that each activity can be used for multi-grades. Click on an image to see a larger view.

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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Flower Collage

Kindergartners need plenty of opportunity to work those "pincers" and this is a perfect project for that. I laid out a ton of scrap paper of a variety of colors and let them go for it! Their instructions were to make a garden with flowers, grass, and if they had time, bugs and sky. They had to tear the pieces into small sizes before gluing. We also went over proper gluing procedures.

Tree Collage

I like to teach kids early about the shape of trees, so that they can get out of the habit of making what I call "cloud-top trees". We look at pictures of real trees and talk about their branches, limbs, twigs and leaves. I gave them a lot of brown strips of paper in different widths. They were able to cut them however they liked. They then used these strips to make the trunk (a thicker strip), the branches (a medium strip) and the limbs and twigs (out of the thinnest strips). 

After they glued their brown strips, they cut out a yellow and red leaves and added them to the branches. They also added some to the ground that had already fallen.

Little Yellow Leaf Collage

Before we began this project, I read the sweet story called "Little Yellow Leaf"  by Carin Berger. It's a story of a leaf that was afraid to fall from the tree. A red leaf was also afraid, so they decided to fall together. The kids loved it and we were able to talk about friendship and fears.

I like to teach the pre-k students about the shape of trees, so that they don't make what I call "cloud-top trees". We looked at pictures of trees and at real trees outside and discussed the trunk, branches and limbs. They then painted the tree part using brown tempera paint. After the painting was dry, they cut out one red and one yellow leaf and glued them to the branches.

Georgia O'Keeffe

Here's another idea for Georgia O'Keeffe flowers. For this project, I used oil pastels and took advantage of the girls having a background in value study (we first did the abstract value study lesson found on this blog). I have a lot of flower pictures from old calendars. I allowed the girls to choose which flower they wanted, or they could print one from home. They first cropped the image by making a paper frame and focusing it on one area of the flower. After drawing the flower on paper with a pencil,they began blending and mixing oil pastels to fill in the color. They turned out beautifully as you can see.

Abstract Value Study

Learning how to blend and change the value of a color can be challenging. Instead of learning these skills on a still life or a drawing of shapes, I opted to use abstract spaces. I had the girls use a pencil first to draw random overlapping lines on a small piece of paper (the paper was 8X10"). I advised the girls not to end up with tiny spaces that could not contain a value study of a color. The objective was to color a gradual value change, from light to dark or from dark to light. The students chose a few colors that they felt made an interesting color scheme. After they drew their lines in pencil, they drew over it in black sharpie. They then filled the spaces with value studies using colored pencil. Once they got the hang of a one-color study, they had the option of trying to blend two different colors together.


After discussing different types of art, I taught the kids about kinetic art. I explained that kinetic art moves, whether by using a motor or machine, the wind, or the hand of a viewer. We looked at some kinetic art including mobiles. Using good old paper bags, the girls made their own kinetic art in the form of a puppet.

I allowed them to make anything they wished, so it could be a made up creature as well as a person or animal they could name. The only criteria was that the folded area (where the mouth typically is on paper bag puppets) has to be a mouth.  I placed out a bunch of colored scrap paper, buttons, googly eyes, and markers.

Clay Hearts

Clay is always a big hit. I used Crayola self-hardening clay in this project. The Crayola brand worked well, but you have to make sure the students add a small amount of water to keep it moist, and they need to make sure all the cracks are smoothed out (this will keep them from cracking more when they dry). It was around Valentines Day, so I allowed this class to make a heart to either keep for themselves or give to someone. We talked about the tradition of Valentine's Day and the heart symbol. I also showed them a picture of a real heart to help them understand that this was a symbol, not the same shape as a real heart. I also showed them the artwork of artist Jim Dine, and we discussed how he used the heart shape in his artwork.

It was easiest for the girls to make a ball first, then start to create the shape. I also gave them a lot of different tools to etch shapes and patterns into the surface. After the hearts were dry, they painted them however they wanted.

Noise Makers

I wanted my class to think about different purposes of art. Some art can actually be used for a purpose other than strictly being visual. We discussed other types of art such as music, dance and theater. Using paper plates, the class made "noise makers" with a painted pattern for decoration. First they painted the back-side of a paper plate. I told them to consider how the plate was going to be folded while they were adding their patterns. After the paint was dry, I folded them in half and stapled the edge to close it up. I left a small opening so that they could add the dried beans and macaroni to create the noise. After they had filled the shaker, I stapled it closed and punched two holes in the bottom. The girls added yarn of their choice as a final decoration.

Template Patterns

Using templates are fun for all ages and are useful when teaching patterning, repetition and other design skills. They are also very beneficial in improving fine motor skills in young children. For this project, I laid out a large amount of templates and allowed the students to choose and share what they wanted. They first used a pencil to trace shapes. I encouraged them to think about symmetry, overlapping and color when they designed their artwork. The students used markers to color the designs in.

Painted Patterns

First graders loved making patterns and shapes with a variety of tools. I put out cut up boxes, bottle caps, clothes pins, and corks and allowed them to dip the objects in paint to create patterns. Each one turned out differently. We discussed many art terms including pattern, repetition, space, texture and color.