Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Webbie Award and MERRY CHRISTMAS!

I was so excited to find out that we won the Webbie Award for Excellence in Classroom Website Design for the month of November!  This is awarded by our Technology facilitator for our district, Mrs. Julie LaChance.  Thanks Julie! :)

Thanks again to parents for sharing your children with me.  As for the tragic events this past week there are no words to express the sorrow and disbelief with what has happened in CT... I cannot even begin to imagine what they must be going through... My thoughts and prayers are with the friends and families of those victims this Christmas season.

I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a safe and happy New Year.  I hope to update as soon as we return in January.  Lots of snow projects coming your way!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Salt Dough Ornaments

One of my favorite things I had as a child was a subscription to a craft magazine.  Yes, I admit, I was, (and guess I still am) a dork! :) I've been crafty all my life!  I would check the mailbox daily for that magazine, even though it only came once a month.  I just couldn't wait to try everything in it!  Imagine my delight and fascination with the fact that we share this world with Pinterest and "blog-land!"  Talk about a dream come true!  

In this magazine I found the recipe for salt dough ornaments. I made a whole bunch and painted them up for my entire extended family. Aunts, Grandparents, the whole lot!  My mom still has hers on her Christmas tree, looking as bright and beautiful as the day I made them!  (Probably more than 20 years ago. That makes me sound so old...although this is my first year as someone who's NOT a twenty-something anymore... and yes, I'm slightly bothered by that!)

I had a few classes that were finished up with their Christmas artwork so we threw together some salt dough and made ornaments this week. I was most impressed with the durability of this recipe.  I had forgotten how sturdy they are.

The hardest part for them to remember was to keep their designs SIMPLE.  If they couldn't think of anything to make, I just asked them to make a round disc or a square, and they could decorate later.  The most basic shapes turned out looking great. 

Another challenging part was fitting them all on the pan... don't forgot to put holes for hanging.  I used a scratch-art stick but a toothpick works great too.

 An hour or so at 325 degrees and they were done and ready for decorating!  (After cooling of course.)

Again, we went with simple.  We all know that sometimes less is more....

Add a pretty ribbon and these are ready for the tree, even the unpainted ones!  

Need the recipe?  Here ya go! 

Salt Dough Recipe 

(1 recipe was usually enough for a class of 18 to 22 kids)

4 cups plain flour
1 cup salt
1 1/2 cups water

Stir together the flour and salt, adding water gradually until it reaches desired consistency.  Once you start mixing it gets stiff very quickly and you'll need to use your hands to finish kneading the dough.  I found that I had to add a little more water than the original recipe called for.  You can always add more, but add too much too quick and it's a MESS!  

Create your masterpiece and bake at 325 degrees for approximately 1 hour.  I started checking after 30 minutes since some students had smaller pieces.

Salt Dough (Half Recipe)

2 cups plain flour
1/2 cup salt
3/4 cup water

Hope you enjoy making your own salt dough ornaments!  

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Shiny and Bright

As fifth grade finishes up their whimsical trees, we began a second project in our discussion of abstract art that goes along with our trees.  We discussed line, shape, and shading to create these beautiful shiny ornaments.

 First they traced an assortment of circles, overlapping them and stacking them from the bottom up.  We added hooks and a highlight to each one...

 Then we discussed hatching and crosshatching as a method of shading with pen and ink, or permanent marker in our case...

Once they've finished tracing all the lines in permanent marker, they will use watercolor to bring them to life!  Choosing two analogous colors, they will paint the darker color on the side that's furthest away from the highlight.

This student stacked hers from the center going out, which creates a different view for the stack of ornaments.  Either way you stack them, these are just beautiful!

Monday, December 3, 2012

You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen?

Kindergarten has been busy working on their reindeer paintings this week and I have a few classes finishing up!  We drew them together and discussed horizon line, background, and even a little lesson on foreshortening with the reindeer body!  

5th grade's Whimsical trees

I saw a similar design on a Christmas card this year, so I decided to turn it into an art project for my 5th graders.  We discussed line and sketching, and how to make our lines flowing and carefree, but not sloppy.  The trees were to look abstract and whimsical, not too perfect or straight.  I absolutely love the way these turned out!

First we drew the trees in pencil and traced in permanent marker... the more crooked the better!

Then we began painting with watercolor, choosing analogous colors for the trees, and contrasting colors for the designs or decorations.

I think they did an awesome job, worthy of any Christmas card! 

Elf legs!

Remember those witchy legs we started back in October?  Here's the link in case you forgot:
Well... some of my classes ran out of time!  Since we had already started I hated to toss them, so... we changed them into elf legs for a Christmas project!  I let them decorate the skirt or pants however they chose, but everything had to be cut paper collage.  Here are a few examples!