Mrs. Johnston

Travel with Mrs. Johnston's art class on a trip around the world with art!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


This year will be full of new and exciting changes for me! I will be switching elementary schools after 15 years. It is a bittersweet time as I am both sad and happy all at the same time. Leggett Elementary and it's students will always have a special place in my heart. I am looking forward to a new adventure with my students at Windemere and their families.  We will go an awesome art adventure as I take this show on the road. I plan to introduce the students at Windemere to art and culture from around the world. Pack your bags and get ready for some fun!!!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Made in the USA

I have not done a very good job of blogging this school year, but I am going to make a sincere effort to do a better job in 2012. I was inspired by Laura at Painted Paper to do a theme for the rest of the year based on American art & artists, as well as sights and landmarks in the good ol' USA. I started right in when we started back last week with the book The Art of Freedom for the upper grades, and I Am America for the younger grades. Everyone seems very excited to learn about art from our own country, especially since we have been doing art around the world the last few years.  I will post pictures soon!!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Ni Hao, Konnichiwa: Exploring the Art of Asia

The following pieces were from my presentation at the Ohio Art Education Conference this past weekend. I presented on the art of Asia with a colleague of mine from my school district.  I mostly shared lessons from China.  I became very interested in the various holidays, cultural traditions, and customs over the course of my three grant on art around the world. This was furthered by the presence of several students from China attending our school while their parents went to University of Akron. 

 First grade students studied tangram. We discussed various geometric shapes and looked at various tangram puzzles.  After doing so students were given tangram shapes cut out of origami paper(for added interest) They had to come up with their own animal using all of the shapes. The above student created a horse. Pieces were glued onto black paper and eyes were added to finish off the project. The classroom teachers are still telling students to put away tangram pieces they have stashed in their desks. An indication to me the project was a hit.

These two projects are from holidays celebrated in China, Dragon Boat Festival and Lantern Festival ( a part of the larger Chinese New Year) We read books from a series of books called celebrating Lantern Festival and Celebrating Dragon Boat Festival. The Dragon Boat project is second grade. It combines several different techniques including watercolor resist for the dragons, painted paper torn into pieces for the waves, and recycled plastic bags for another wave over the boat. The boats were popped out using tabs of cardboard glued behind the boats.  The Lantern project was first grade.  The frame is made from three tongue depressors and three popsicle sticks.  The glowing light is a wet on wet watercolor paper glued behind the frame. Scrap from the watercolor paper is fringed and used for the tassel.

 I was inspired for this project by a post on pinterest about the Blue Willow Tree China pattern. I got the Willow Tree poem and introduced it to students.  They chose two parts of the poem to illustrate on their cheapy paper plates.  We practiced mixing tints and shades of blue for the painting portion. I love how these turned out!

 This is my fifth graders version of the Terra Cotta Army discovered by Chinese farmers in 1974. Over 7,000 life size terra cotta soldiers dressed in full military attire and in military formation had been hiding beneathe the earth for thousands of years. We discussed the history behind these soldiers and created our own using terra cotta sculpey clay. This allowed us to use both additive and subtractive techniques. Collectively they look like one of the formations found in one of the pits in China.

The last three projects you see are Asian Kites, Lucky Crickets, and Sushi. The kites are third grade. We read a book called The Best Winds and looked at various kites from China. We also discussed the various military and religious uses for kites in Asian history.  Students had to use symmetry and the primary colors for this project.  The crickets were created from painted paper. They were created by my kindergartners at the end of last school year. The cricket is a symbol of good luck in China and is traditionally kept in little cages to bring good luck to the household. If you look at my previous post you can see information on our sushi.  These were created by third graders last year.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade

Well I hope everyone is thirsty because I have a whole lot of lemons I need to make the most of.  Last week I found out I was losing my classroom in our one year old building...essentially brand new.  I had to move the majority of my stuff( and I have lots of stuff) into my storage cupboard to make room for an added fifth grade class.  Kiss all that wonderful storage, three sinks, and great big work space goodbye.  I am now in the caf"art"teria and on the cart.  I am trying my best to adjust and make the most of what I have, but i have a sour taste in my mouth from all those lemons!  Guess I just need to adjust and make lemonade!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Looking to the New School Year

This year I am going to try some different things in my classroom.  I am going to do a new behavior plan and approach the year with a new theme.  My plan is to incorporate literature into all of my lessons and use a book as inspiration for each of the lessons.  I have some great books to use, but would always welcome suggestions.  I teach K-5 so I will be able to do all sorts of things. I am also going to do a chart for behavior by class and give classes the opportunity to earn 10 points each class period.  They will compete against the other classes in their grade level to see who gets the most points for the month or 9 weeks.  I am working on some other ideas as well, I will keep you all posted!! Hope everyone has a great start to the school year!  (I still  have 27 days until we start, but who is counting)

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Long Live the King...or Queen

In honor of the Royal Wedding we made royal portraits.  The Kindergarten students are required to make portraits as part of the curriculum.  We discussed all the important aspects of a self portrait..mainly that only you can make your self portrait.  We also discussed all the facial features that were necessary to include.  One student told the class, "if you don't make ears, you won't be able to hear." (like ears always ensure listening) We also discussed what it takes to be a King or Queen, such as honesty, manners, respect, ect... We started by tracing a pattern for the shape of the head. we cut that out and glued onto a colored background.  Students then added all the facial features.  We added hair, the crown, and frame during week two.  If students did not behave they were not allowed to receive their crown.  I told them kids who wanted to act silly would be the court jester.  Needless to say the kids all behaved as royalty and the results were great!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Put me in coach, i'm ready to play...

I am headed back to work on Monday after 10 long weeks off with my broken leg.  I am so excited to go back with all the ideas and projects I have gathered over the time I have been off.  Thanks to all of of the fun blogs I have been keeping my mind sharp and letting the ideas run a-muck in my brain. Now I am ready to go as the song says "put me in coach, i'm ready to play..hey,hey" Be watching for new art work to follow shortly!!  I'm BAAAACK!