Mrs. Johnston

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

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!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Lights, Camera, Action!

They can't keep me down...or out for that matter!  I just found out that I am not allowed to return to school for another 4 weeks due to the fact that I have to use a walker.  This depresses me greatly because like all of you I love my job and look forward to teaching my children.  Well I was talking to a friend and realized that technology was going to be my in...literally.  I am going to post video lessons to my students that they can watch at school.  Then I can present the lessons and show them what to do.  I am also going to skype them so I can answer questions they might have!  I am very excited to reconnect with my kids from home! 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A little bump in the road...or more appropriately the hill

Hello everyone! I could literally spend ALL day on here right now.  I have some great projects in the works, some exciting things planned for February, but I have hit a little bump in the hill.  Any of you who know me or know about me would know that while art is my thing...all things athletic take a little more lets just say effort.  I will be off my feet (okay just the left foot) for the next couple of weeks.  While heading out for some fun and recreation in NY at Peek N Peak I had a little fall.  Yes I fell, and I could not get up!  I actually broke both my tibia and fibula in my left leg and as a result of orthopedic surgery am the proud owner of a metal rod in my leg(and a few screws) For the next couple of weeks I will be surfing the web and looking for cool projects and ways to keep myself from going crazy.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Sushi Art

Konichiwa everyone!  Our next stop on the trip around the world took my third grade students to Japan.  We talked about the life and culture of the country as well as the food.  We discussed that different countries eat all different types of food.  Surprisingly a bunch of the class had eaten sushi.  We looked at the different types of sushi and how it is artfully displayed.  The results were very realistic!

We had so much fun with this project!  Here is what you will need to create your own sushi!
Crayola model magic clay in white, red, yellow, and blue.  The students enjoy mixing the primary colors to get the other colors you need.  We also used a past machine to roll the green for the seaweed. The base is made from red foam core board.
Handrolls- (the round ones that look like coins) flatten the white modeling clay and mold into a rectangle.  Put your "fish" or "vegetables" at one end on the shorter side of the rectangle.  Roll the clay into a cylinder shape.  Add green thin clay around the outside for the seaweed.  Using a long blade(teacher job) cut the sushi into individual pieces. I used a tool made for cutting rolls of sculpey clay.  If you gently rock the blade back and forth it cuts without smooshing the sushi.  Nobody like smooshed sushi!
Sushi- Make a small rectangle with a piece of white clay.  Decide what type of fish you would like to put on the top.  The favorite in my class was shrimp and eel.  Create your fish and put on top of the white rice rectangle.  Add a thin "belt of seaweed around the center of the piece of sushi.
Cone-  Have students create a triangle shape with the white modeling clay.  Put vegetables or fish on one side, allowing them to hang out the top.  Roll into a cone shape.  Add the green around the outside and trim with scissors.
Mix light green and roll into small balls to represent the wasabi.  Roll flat pieces of pink and bundle them up to represent the pickeled ginger.
View pictures of sushi in different food presentations.  Have students arrange their sushi in an aesthetically pleasing way.
Add hardened sushi to a 4"x 10" piece of foam core board.  Glue pieces into place to secure them in place. Our final step was to add the chopsticks for an authentic feel.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Symbol Of Peace

In China the panda bear is a symbol of peace.  We learned about the habitat of the panda and its behaviors.  Students learned that pandas are a quiet, solitary animal that spends most of its day either eating bamboo or sleeping.  My students love learning about where animals originally come from.  I am happy that when I ask them now where a panda comes from their response will not be "the zoo".
Our first step for this project was studying the habits and behaviors of the panda.
Step 1:  Students used basic shapes to draw the body and the head of the panda.  Learning this skill has really improved the drawings of the students. 
Step 2:  Students painted the head and body only using white tempera paint.  Students then added a horizon line and bamboo around the panda.  They created their bamboo by touching the brush to the paper leaving the shape of the brush.  We did not drag or actually "paint" with the brush to create the bamboo. 
Step 3:  After allowing the paint to dry for a week students added the black areas of the panda.  We do this to make sure we don't end up with grey areas.
Step 4:  Our final step was to add the Chinese symbol for peace.  I bought these stencils at a craft store and students used a dot sponge to put the paint on the stencil. 

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Gung Hay Fat Choy

Have a prosperous and good year!  Chinese new year is upon us.  The Chinese New Year is a holiday that marks the end of winter and the beginning of spring.  The holiday is rich with cultural traditions that make a great learning experience for students.  We study the customs and traditions of holiday.  the children love hearing about how bad luck is swept out of the home to prepare for the new year.  Scissors and sharp objects are put away so as not to cut off the good fortune of the new year.  The celebration has many interesting facets such as the dancing lions and dragons, firework festivals, and the lantern festival to mark the end of the fourteen day new year celebration.

Chinese New Year Dragon

Legend has it that the dragon lives beneath the ground during the winter.  He emerges at the start of spring to chase a pearl among the clouds.  The dragon running in the clouds causes it to rain, thus producing the crops of spring.  The dragon is a national symbol of good luck in China.

I made these dragons with my first grade students after learning all about the Chinese New Year.  Here is how we did it.
Step one: Give students six 4x6 pieces of construction paper.  I chose red, and gold because they are colors associated with the new year.  Students traced their handprints on all six pieces of paper and cut them out. 
Step two:  Have students assemble the hands to create the body of the dragon.  Glue the hands with fingers facing left. Glue the fingers to the palm of the first hand and repeat.  This makes it appear like the scales of the dragon.
Step three: Draw a head.  I had students draw a large oval on a 4x6 paper near the left side.  They then drew a nose and mouth, then added an ear.  We added on a paper beard and a google eye.
Step 4:  Add the feet.  Students drew a letter L and then drew a small L inside.  They connected the two with a sideways W to make the feet.  
Step 5: Add sequins or a painted texture design to add interest.
Step 6: Glue dragon to cloud. Students traced a template to create the cloud.
Step7: (optional) create a painted paper background to glue the dragon to.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

A Special Acitivity With My Kindergarten Friends

I collaborated with Mrs. Keen's kindergarten class this week to bring a book to life.  After studying hibernation and bears I helped the class with a special activity.  The result was adorable.  We based it on the book Bear Snore's On! Go to Keen's Kinderblog for more information!