“Is it a bag of snowballs?”

By this point in the year, all children in Pre-K have had an experience working with clay!  It is one of my favorite materials to work with and I always love introducing it to children.  We began by examining clay in a plastic bag… friends felt it, poked it and attempted to lift it.  There’s always a sense of mystery around it, and we brainstorm what we think is in the bag.

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Belen: It feels like softy.

Amal: I think it’s a ball that’s pretty.

Bennett: It feels cold.  Like snow or ice.

Cory: Is it a bag of yarn that can roll around the school?  It’s heavy, so that doesn’t make sense.  I don’t know what it is!

Naomi: Is it a bag of snowballs?

Victor: It sticky.

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Once friends learned that it was clay, they began to work on their clay sculptures!  We had some different tools available… rollers and hammers for making it flat, clay scissors for cutting, utensils for mark making, etc.  Many children chose to work with friends and created dinosaurs and monsters, while others pretended they were chefs in the kitchen.

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Christian: It’s hard to peel plastic off the clay.  It’s making my hands grey!  Hey, you can use the roller to make it flat like a sandwich.  Who wants a krabby patty?

Alli: That tool looks like that thing you use to flip with when you’re cooking.

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Elijah: I watched Master Chef Ramsey and he tells people to cook a lot and he uses tools that look like that.  I’m gonna pretend I’m on Master Chef Junior and make a duck.  I’m gonna make the duck feet but I have to cut off the nails before you pretend to eat it.

Siah: I made a dinosaur.  He’s a t-rex, but I forgot to make his teeth.  I can just add them now!

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“You have to look really hard. Diggers do that to find the bones.”

Before the Blizzard of 2016, friends were working on a collaborative weaving in the Studio!  All children in Pre-K contributed to our weaving over the course of two weeks.  After a substantial amount of work was done, children began observational resist paintings as they noticed how lines differed, based on the type of yarn that children selected.  Friends began by drawing different types of lines (straight, wavy, zig-zag, curly, etc.) with oil pastels, based on what they observed.  Next, children add liquid watercolors.  Some friends painted on top of their drawing, and were excited to see that the pastels were still visible.  Other children chose to paint between the lines, filling in the background.

As the year progresses, children will begin longer term projects.  When finished, children will be asked to create observational drawings and paintings of their work.

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What does it mean to observe an object?

Mae: You have to look really hard.  Diggers do that to find the bones.

Carlos: You take down what it looks like.

Selwyn: Observe is when you look and know more about what you’re looking at.

Florentina: You draw what you see!

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Ryan: When you paint on it, it looks like fire.  It shines.

Ra’Maya: I can see my drawing, but I don’t know why!

Douglas: I see yellow lines that go up and down.

Zeina: The red lines are wavy and the red brown is a curvy line.

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AOE Blog of the Year 2015!

I wanted to extend a HUGE thank you to everyone who voted in the Art Of Ed 2015 Blog of the Year competition!  My blog came in… *drum roll please*…. 3rd place in the Rising Star category, yahoo!

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Thank you, thank you, thank you– over the past few weeks, I have received so much positive feedback and support, as well as a platform to connect with art teachers around the world!  I was among great company… check out the other fabulous blogs that were nominated this year —–>  Blog of the Year 2015 Results

“I’m using my eagle eyes, but I still don’t know what it is!”

In preparation for looms to be added to the art area on the Pre-K playground, we started practicing with them in the Studio!

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Friends made predictions about what they thought a loom was…

Cathy: A tiger, because it has black stripes.

Mae: Is it a musical instrument that doesn’t make a song?

Miguel: If you pull on one string and it hits another string it might make a sound.  Is it a string xylophone?

Adrian: Is it called scaffolding?

William: A net to catch tigers.

Eli: A spiderweb.

Luke: I remember from last year we used it, is it called a baloom?

Greyson: I’m using my eagle eyes, but I still don’t know what it is!

Nneka: I heard about weaving in Africa!

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And what it could be used for…

Mae: I want to know, can we weave underwear?

Ra’Maya: Can we weave pajamas?

Iris: Could you make it into a coaster?

Miguel: Could I make a little shirt for my little sister?

Destynee: Blankets for the doll baby.

Before friends began weaving on the classroom loom, children used small paper looms to learn the technique.  Friends used skinny strips of paper and wove them over and under the slits in the paper loom, which created a pattern.

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Justin: Over, between, over, between.

Naomi: It’s like a spiders web that’s so colorful.

Autumn: It’s like you go over the hill.

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After practicing on paper looms, friends began weaving on the classroom loom!

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We can’t wait to start weaving on the playground next week!

“You need a bigger Studio, we can’t all fit!”

Wow— what a fabulous Showcase we had yesterday!  Thanks to all the families that stopped in the Studio.  Friends who helped write the invitation sure were right… there were so many people, we almost did need a line!

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In the New Year, we will begin assembling this color study work into an artist book.  I’ve also been thinking about incorporating some of the images into a children’s book (thanks for the idea, dad!)  If anyone has experience writing, publishing or illustrating books and is interested in collaborating, please let me know!  I hope everyone has a wonderful, restful break.

“There are going to be so many people looking at our art work at the Showcase that we need security guards!”

After weeks and weeks of experimentation with color mixing, we started working on our final color study product!  We began by looking at work that shows individual colors side by side an image that uses the colors to make a cohesive piece of work.

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Siena: The colors on the side show what colors are in the painting.

Maia: The colors on the side match.

Next, friends closed their eyes and imagined what it would be like if they only had a few colors in the world to paint with.  Children thought about places they had been that evoked vivid memories, animals and food that they loved, and objects they have seen at school or at home.

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Amy: I want to make pink princess, dark purple princess and green princess.

Nayeli: I’m going to close my eyes and I see the pool.  I want to make pool blue.

Fatima: How do I make the color of a man sitting on the moon?

Next, friends began creating their unique colors in small plastic cups.  When they made a color that was just right, they painted a small rectangle with their paint.  Children named each color as they were working.  Friends were able to choose how many colors they wanted to make and throughout Pre-K, the numbers ranged from 2-6 unique colors per child.

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Waju: This is a perfect color.  Just a little more purple and it’ll be perfect perfect.

Adrian: It’s just the right color that I needed.

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Dai’Jah: I thought about when I went to the park with my mommy and there was a purple slide.  I’m trying to make a purple the same as the slide.

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The following week, friends were excited to revisit their paint and began to brainstorm how they would like to incorporate every color into a painting.

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Elliott: You have to be creative with the painting.  If you don’t have the right color, you have to make it different with your imagination.  It’s beautiful.

Zavier: You help me kind of like you’re my manager.

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Jariel: I’m making a people eating a shark.

Mae: The animals are sitting together on a tree and they’re having some fun.  Then they are going for a walk.

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Zavier: There are going to be so many people looking at our art work at the Showcase that we need security guards.  And tickets for the parents so that they can come.

We can’t wait to share our color study art work at the Pre-K Showcase on December 16!  Please stop by the Pre-K Studio between 11:30-12:30 on the 16th.

“It’s so exhausting to name colors… I need a snack, now!”

Last week, we began art groups by reading Green by Laura Vaccaro Seeger and talking about how there can be many different shades of a color.  In the book, we discovered that there can be glow green, pea green, forrest green and fern green.  Even though they were all technically green, they all appeared very different and reminded us of different things!

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Next, we played a game in which we picked colored cards and tried to name as many objects that reminded us of the selected color.  We made a long list that will be helpful for children to refer to when naming the colors for their final product.

Red: Stop sign red, barn red, tomato red, ketchup red, strawberry red.

Orange: Pumpkin orange, bright orange, Nemo orange, peach orange.

Yellow: Fall leaf yellow, sunny yellow, sunflower yellow, omelette yellow.

Pink: Berry pink, cotton candy pink, bubblegum pink, hair bow pink.

Green: Avocado green, alien green, caterpillar green, grass green.

Blue: Sky blue, smock blue, blue jay blue, Superman blue, blueberry blue.

Purple: Plum purple, eggplant purple, pepper purple, yogurt purple.

After our heads were swimming with images of rich and vibrant colors, friends began mixing colors on their palette with squirt bottles! As children were working, I walked around and helped friends name the colors that they created.  Friends found the squirt bottles hilarious because “they were like ketchup bottles and sometimes made funny noises.”

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Naomi: I’ll call this one chocolate.  And this one is slippery green.

Greyson: This is snail green.

Kai: Let’s mix it and see what happens!

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Claire: This color is like hot pepper red.

Luke: It’s so hard to mix my favorite color but it’s still fun.  It’s just a lot of work.

Jax: Dark like night time.  Whoa… dark like Batman.  Nice!

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William: It’s so exhausting to name colors… I need a snack, now!

Mae: This color is called banana, this color is banana peel and this color is dried banana.

Miguel: You know when you get yogurt from Trader Joe’s and you pour the blueberries into the vanilla yogurt and you swirl it around?  Yeah… this color looks just like that!

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“I’m going to make the perfect color ever!”

As friends are continuing to broaden their knowledge and understanding of color mixing, many have been experimenting with how to mix “perfect, special colors!”  In this video, Florentina tries many different times to mix a color that is “perfect” and still is working on getting her colors mixed just how she would like them.  Unfortunately, the batteries in my camera died before the end, but she was in fact able to mix a “rainbow” color that she was thrilled with!