Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Halloween Shadows ...

With Halloween approaching fast , this lesson or craft idea has a Halloween theme . Once it is done , you may tape it to a window . When the sun will shine through , it will make a really pretty Halloween decoration !

Grade level: This art lesson or craft can be used by teachers in a classroom or by a parent at home . Kids of any age can do it . For the youngest ones , you may want to keep the designs simple .

Objective : This project is using the same concept than negatives for photographs .

Material : You will need :
                 * orange tissue paper 8" x 11" (or any size you wish)
                 * black tissue paper (or black construction paper)
                 * a white color pencil
                 * glue
                 * tape

Activity : This project is very simple .

1. Every child will need to draw , on the black tissue paper  with a white pencil , a shadow of a Halloween design such as pumpkins (plain or with carved eyes , nose , and mouth ) , bats , crows , haunted houses , owls , etc . Small children may be frustrated when trying to draw on a tissue paper . If it is the case you may want to use a black construction paper instead of a black tissue paper .

2. Now they will need to cut the outline of their Halloween design .

3. The next step will be to take the orange tissue paper . The student will arrange all of his "Halloween shadows" on it . Once he/she likes the way it looks , he/she will glue the "shadows" in place .

4. You can now tape the beautiful Halloween decoration on your classroom/your house windows .

Examples :

Here is an example for younger students where you may want to do something simple , such as pumpkins carved with eyes , nose and mouth .

For older children , you may want to stimulate their imagination a little bit more by asking them to create the shadow of a haunted house and its surroundings ...Well , just something a little bit more complex and challenging .
Here is an example :

Have fun and Happy Halloween !

Monday, July 30, 2012

Georgia O'Keeffe's Flowers

Grade Level : 3rd graders .

Objectives : The children will look at the paintings of Georgia O'Keeffe and attempt drawing a close-up of a flower themselves .

Material :  *real flowers for students to look at
                  * Color construction paper 12' X 12'
                  * white and color chalks

Biography : Georgia O'Keeffe was born on November 15, 1887 . She was the second of seven children and the oldest of five girls . Her mother made sure that her children had the best education possible . She especially wanted her five daughters to have the chance to learn a profession since it was becoming more acceptable for women to go to college and work . 
The O'Keeffe lived in a farm in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin .
From age 5 , she attended Town Hall School ( a nearby schoolhouse ). When she was 11 (along with her two younger sisters) , she took weekly private drawing and painting lessons . Georgia loved these lessons and she progressed very quickly .From then on , her artistic talents were recognized by her teachers and by her parents who encouraged her to go to art college after graduating from high school . 
In 1905 , she studied at the Art Institute of Chicago and learned traditional art . In 1907 she enrolled at the Students Art League in New York. 
Georgia liked New York City . It was busier and more exciting than the peaceful farm where she had grown up . Whenever she was in New York City , she often visited a small gallery that showed the work of new artists . It was owned by a well-known photographer named Alfred Stieglitz .
After finishing school , she traveled to Texas , where she decided to teach art . She found it an exciting place to be and very inspiring . At this time , she would teach art during the school year and take classes in New York during the summer .
Alfred Stieglitz became very interested in her artwork and asked her to come back to New York , where she could paint and he would promote her paintings in his gallery . The two will eventually get married . Georgia moved to New Mexico after her husband death . She died in 1986 (at the age of 96 ) in Santa Fe , New Mexico .
Georgia O'Keeffe is the only woman in the United States to have a museum dedicated solely to her works . This museum is the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum and it is located in Santa Fe  , New Mexico .

Resources : You will show the students several paintings of flowers made by Georgia O'Keeffe . Here are some examples of what you could look at :
(1) "White trumpet flower"
(2) "White flower on Red Earth "
(3) "Blue flower"
(4) "Poppy"
(5) "purple petunia"
and so on . Notice how she doesn't draw the entire flower , but how she draw a part of the flower , a little bit like if she would zoom in on the flower with a camera , showing us a "close-up shot" ? The way she paints those flowers is just amazing as well . They look so soft , so real , so colorful .

Activity : (1) Students will observe the flower they want to draw .
                (2) Using both hands , they should form a "rectangle" and use this "rectangle" to look at the flower , as if it were a camera . It will help them to draw a close-up of the flower .
                (3) Using a white chalk , they will draw the outline of their flower .
                (4) Once they like what they see , they will add color to their flowers and their background , using the color chalks . The flower should fill out most of the paper .



Friday, June 8, 2012

Gardening with children

This time I would like to do something slightly different . I would like to share with you a story from third grade . I had a wonderful teacher named , Mrs. Duss , who was a nature and animal lover . She taught us regular lessons  like math , history or language art . But the most memorable thing she taught us was to respect the world in which we are living . She told us (to my mom's disgust ;-) ) to pick up worms with a stick when they were on the sidewalks (after a rainy day) and put them back to the grass where it was safer for them to be . She also taught us how to grow things . I remember every student in the class had a small tiny square garden . But it was big enough for all of us to plant something . So we all planted something , took care of it and picked up the fruits or vegetables when it was ready . I personally had strawberries and radishes . And they tasted so gooooooooood ! It was such a valuable lesson that it stayed with me ever since . And even though I am far from being a green thumb , I enjoy experimenting planting flowers , or fruits and vegetables . Sometimes it works ...sometimes it doesn't . But the experience is definitively worth it . When my kid was small , even tough we were living in an apartment , I shared this experience with him . We planted flowers and tomatoes in pots on our balcony . The gardening experience was a success . The pride end excitement of a child when he/she realizes how a seed can grow , and how this plant can produce a vegetable he/she can pick up and eat ... is priceless !

This is why I chose gardening for this project . Just have your child plant a seed , water it , see how it grows and enjoy the beauty of it .

Grade level : Kindergarden and higher . Older kids will pay more attention and take a bigger part in taking care of the plants . But the smaller children will still enjoy this process .

Material needed : You will need :
                            * seeds from flowers ( like sunflowers )
                            * seeds from your favorite vegetables ( like tomatoes .You can buy the seeds or actually use the seeds from an actual tomato .)
                            * seeds for herbs (like parsley , dill , basil , cilantro ,etc)
                            * some planters or pots (ceramic or plastic)
                            * soil for vegetables and flowers
                            * a small shovel
                            * gardening gloves (optional)
                            * water
                            * watering can and/or spray bottle
                            * some acrylic paints
                            * paintbrushes
                            * chalks

Project : (1) Ask the child to decorate the pots and /or planters with acrylic paints . They can create their own designs or paint the entire thing black so it will look like a black board . You can also add a name on the planter if you have more than one child .


  (2) If the pot is painted black , you can write on it what you are planning to plant in it with a chalk .

              (3) Ask the child to add some soil in each pots you want to use .
              (4) Ask the child to dig a small whole and place a seed in it . Ask him/her to cover the seed back with some soil .

              (5) Then ask the child to water the soil using a spray bottle . Repeat the watering every day until the plant start growing and produce flowers or vegetables .
              (6) Enjoy your new garden ! You will be amazed ! Beside producing flowers and vegetables it will also attract some wonderful creatures like butterflies ,  pretty ladybugs , birds , curious squirrels...


Tips : If you are not an experience gardener (just like me !) , I may say this . A sunflower NEVER failed to grow , no matter what time of the year or season I planted it . (However I live in Southern California .) And no matter what kind of sunflower I planted , it ALWAYS worked ! And tomatoes were always a success as well . So if you are a beginner , and you are not sure what to plant , I will really advise you to choose sunflowers and tomatoes .
Also if things does not seem to work at first , keep trying ! Some things we tried to grow did not always grow . Some plant just simply never seemed to work for us . Maybe it's the location , maybe we're doing it wrong . Sometimes the squirrels destroyed our plants . Sometimes our dog ....But we never gave up ! We kept trying and we tried to fix the problems. (We stayed away from certain flowers , we put a small fence to prevent the dog for digging or eating our plants , and we sprayed some Cayenne Pepper in hope to try to discourage the squirrels .) So why don't you give it a try ?GOOD LUCK !
I will keep adding pictures as the plants are growing and blooming .

Our garden : This year we planted :

Some flowers :
 (1) Mammoth sunflowers (can grow up to 12 feet tall). We planted them directly in the soil .


We also have some Teddy bear sunflowers growing in our garden . A seed was accidentally mixed in the pack of mammoth sunflowers ...but it's growing :-) 


 (2) Some Oriental Lilies .(Those were bulbs , not seeds .) We planted five of them directly into the ground . Unfortunately the squirrels stole two of them :-(



(3) Some four o'clocks in a pot on the porch .


(4) Some Dahlias in a planter on the porch .


(5) Some pansies in a planter on the porch ....but this did not grow as well . We were never able to grow any the previous years ....but let's see if we can do it this year ....


Some vegetables :

We have a busy life and we planted our vegetables and herbs a little late this year . But still.,we certainly hope to be able to grow something ....

(6) Some Juliet Hybrid tomatoes (grape tomatoes)  in a pot .

(7) Some Cascabella peppers in a pot . Nothing yet .....It is something new for us . It is the very first year that we tried to plant some peppers . It is growing slowly...

(8) Some herbs:

                                                                Parsley :




Basil :


Cilantro :

Did you know that children are more likely to eat their vegetables if they grow their own ? Hmmm...that may be another reason for you and your to try to grow a garden !

Some fruits :
You may also want to try to grow some fruits like strawberries . It is supposed to be quite easy . I haven't tried it yet , but we did plant a mandarin tree in our yard last winter . And it is fun to watch it grow ...

   Hope your are having as much fun with your garden small or big :o)