Paul Bozzo Video Links

Our fifth graders are working on a seriously fun project that looks at how artists work on a theme through multiple works of art, and we are using the style of Paul Bozzo for our inspiration.  There have been several students (and staff!) interested in creating their own works at home, so here are some of the videos that we have viewed in class:

First, the process, from start to finish:

Second, some color combinations that he has used:

Third, the painting process detailed:

Picasso/Matisse Collages

PicMonkey Collage picasso matisse

I’ve been so antsy to share this project on Classroom Collage (and not just because it’s a collage project).  Several years ago, I tried the idea of giving students a multitude of choices in a collage project.  It was OK.  Just OK.  So I took a break from the idea and tried it again this year.  And here’s how it went:

These 4th graders hit it out of the park!!!  Their work was/is amazing!!!

So, the whole time they were working, I was excited.  I was taking pictures and wanting to blog about it.  But each time I thought I would, their art got more exciting.  So I waited til the end.

I’m not going to lie…this project took FOREVER.  Partly because it was split over winter break.  Partly because I was sick and missed 2 cycles of art.  And partly because their work was so awesome and full of great thinking that I didn’t want to rush them.  (Are you getting the idea that I’m totally in love with these projects???!!!)

We started by “viewing” the book, When Pigasso Met Mootise, by Nina Laden.  Students collaborated on Venn diagrams to compare the styles of the 2 artists, based on what they saw in the book and what I shared with them.  We also collaborated on sketchbook work learning about basic color schemes.

Then I outlined the requirements of the project:

  1. Must be a collage.
  2. Must be in the style of Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, or a combination of the two.
  3. Must have a music theme.
  4. Must use a color scheme.
  5. Must show good craftsmanship (important with all things, but especially important to stress when doing collage work!).

That’s a lot of things for a 4th grader to keep in mind.  So we broke it down a little bit more.  We planned in 2 parts.  The background/base collage and the music part that was layered over the base.

For the background/base, students were reminded (repeatedly!) to keep with a color scheme.  And they were reminded (repeatedly!) to use big shapes.  They also had the opportunity to use newspaper, patterned paper, and music scores, much like Picasso did in some of his work:

Pablo Picasso – Pipe, Glass, Bottle of Vieux Marc

After completing the background/base layer of their collage, they planned the “music layer.”  While many students chose simply to stick with a musical instrument, others made last minute changes to include figures dancing.  One student even did a record player (in 3D perspective, I might add!).  Whatever their choice, students were challenged to figure out how to take this musically-related thing or concept and complete it in a collage with simple, flat shapes.  Some caught on right away.  Others needed me to individually explain it to them.  And others, well, they needed to experience it for themselves to figure out why it was a challenge!

Here’s the thing that I’m so proud of these students for…they struggled with it, but they didn’t let it discourage them.  They were determined to see their idea through, whether they had to try 4 times to cut and re-cut their shapes to get them just right.  They learned the value of planning, a skill not just important to artists, but also a vital one in life.

When I, myself, was planning this unit, I really hesitated in doing this particular activity.  I remembered back a few years ago and thought, “Do I really want to do that to myself again?  That was an awful lot of work on my part for projects that turned out alright.”  Here’s the thing with this project.  These 4th graders had a lot of choices from the beginning, whether it was color schemes and colors, or music themes, or artistic inspiration.  From the beginning, they were personally invested.  Because they were personally invested, they were willing to put the thought into getting it done.  They did the hard thinking; I didn’t.  I simply was present in the room for them to bounce ideas off of, provide extra supplies for, or trim projects at the paper cutter.

Not only did these 4th graders learn about Picasso and Matisse, not only did they learn about the power of planning and perseverance, they also gained respect for themselves as artists and self-confidence in their ability to get things done.  Take a look at their artist statements that some of them wrote below.  Way to go 4th grade!  I’m so proud of you all!!!


Snowflake Winners Announced!

The winners to the snowflake door have been announced and I am pleased to share them with you, along with the answers to the artists/styles represented by each snowflake!

Our 5th grade winners were Bella and Lauren.  Our 3rd grade winner was Thomas.  Our 2nd grade winners were Bryce and Morgan.  Our first grade winner was Ghage.  Congratulations, thanks to all students who participated, and great job!

Here are the answers to the snowflakes:

Snowflake #1-Jackson Pollock

Snowflake #1-Jackson Pollock

Snowflake #2-Andy Warhol

Snowflake #2-Andy Warhol

Snowflake #3-Vincent VanGogh

Snowflake #3-Vincent VanGogh

Snowflake #4-Louise Nevelson

Snowflake #4-Louise Nevelson

Snowflake #5-Australian Aboriginal art

Snowflake #5-Australian Aboriginal art

Snowflake #6-Japanese art

Snowflake #6-Japanese art

Snowflake #10-Wassily Kandinsky

Snowflake #10-Wassily Kandinsky

Snowflake #9-Piet Mondrian

Snowflake #9-Piet Mondrian

Snowflake #8-Pablo Picasso

Snowflake #8-Pablo Picasso

Snowflake #7-Mark Rothko

Snowflake #7-Mark Rothko

Manheim Winter Door Decorating Contest

Just before Thanksgiving, a former assistant superintendant shared with me the work of Hannah Rothstein, a San Francisco-based artist, who released a series of art prints for sale that featured Thanksgiving dinner plated as 10 different famous artists would plate them.  For example, here is her interpretation of Vincent VanGogh’s Thanksgiving dinner:Thanksgiving Special: How 10 Famous Artists Would Plate Thanksgiving Dinner Thanksgiving humor

And here is Jackson Pollock’s:

Thanksgiving Special: How 10 Famous Artists Would Plate Thanksgiving Dinner Thanksgiving humor

Pretty fun, right?!?  So when our door decorating contest was launched at Manheim, I wanted to try something a little Hannah Rothstein-ish.  Couple that idea with the beautifully illustrated book Snowmen At Night, and I created a door that is half Rothstein/half Buehner.

Here’s what I came up with:

The idea behind the picture book centers on the premise that if snowmen look different the morning after we make them (because of the snow settling and melting), what is it that they do all night?  So my door speculates on what they would do if they were near the art room.  Naturally, they would make paper snowflakes, right?  And if they were art snowflakes, then what artists would they emulate?  Like Rothstein, I chose 10 artists to feature on my oversized snowflakes, most of which are artists or styles that students would be familiar with or become familiar with in their art time at Manheim.

So, here are those 10 snowflakes (hover your mouse over them or click on them to see the snowflake #):

Think you know any of them?  I bet you can figure out some!  I’m not revealing the answers until next week.  So students, here is your challenge:

Grab a worksheet from outside of my classroom, or print one out from the link at the bottom of this post.  I’ve given you an artist and style “bank,” like a word bank from which you can choose to make your educated guesses.  I’ve got small prizes for the student(s) from each grade that gets the most correct answers.  Turn in your answer sheet in the box outside of the art room.  Good luck!  And have fun!

This contest has ended!  You can see a list of winners here.

Contest worksheet

Mo Willems’ Pigeons and Drawing with Shapes

Artwork by Jonathan

Our first graders spent the first month of school in art learning all about different kinds of lines and shapes.  We spent time using our “art eyes” to spot how a variety of lines and shapes were used in different kinds of drawing exercises taken from Drawing with Children, by Mona Brookes. 

All of that art eye exercise and training paid off when we moved onto reading Mo Willem’s Pigeon books!  If you’ve not had the pleasure of catching any of the Pigeon books (or even any of the Mo Willems books, for that matter), I highly recommend them, especially if you have a young child yourself…many of Pigeon’s antics and “negotiation techniques” will be very familiar!  🙂

After reading a few of Willems’ books, we drew Pigeon using a variety of shapes and lines.  First graders were so surprised that they could draw Pigeon so easily, especially after telling me at the beginning of class that they couldn’t!

We traced our pigeons in Sharpie, filled in the color with our brand new tempera sticks, and completed the art with a border of pigeon footprints.  Finally, they titled their art pieces with a speech bubble, in Mo Willem’s style, of course!

To check out our class gallery, visit our Artsonia page (click on the artwork below to take you to the gallery) to see all of the creative ideas for what Pigeon is NOT allowed to do:

Artwork by Brooklynn

Artwork by Blaine

The ideas for this lesson came from the Mona Brookes’ book credited above and Mrs. Knight’s Smartest Artists.

Back to School Bulletin Boards

Here are the displays from the beginning of the school year.  For more information on each one, click on the photograph.

Virtual Tour of the Manheim Art Room

I don’t think I’ve ever been quite so excited about how my classroom looks at the beginning of the year (except maybe my first year, but that was more just excitement that I actually had a classroom!).  So here’s a part before/after look, part classroom tour…

before after frontOn the top is the before of the front of the room.  The photos on the bottom are the after.  Here are some details with those bottom photos:

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I was super excited about these mini-posters I ordered with my supplies.  They are loaded with arts advocacy quotes.  They also make mini-posters with artists’ quotes, too.



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Our STAR expectations for the school, plus what it means to be a STAR student in art class.  I’ve also got some free-thinking Dr. Seuss quotes at the front of the room, too.



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One board features “8 Ways to Use Color.”  The other features our “I Can…” statements, which are linked directly to the essential questions for each unit.



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More of those arts advocacy quotes, plus our all important elements and principles of design.




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Another Dr. Seuss quote, plus my bulletin board featuring room for student gifts (each of those little drawings that my students gift me!).



Before after back

before after side

In the upper left is the before shot of the side of the classroom.  Along the bottom and right are the after shots:

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These cabinets will be our word walls for each grades’ vocabulary.  I’m also loving the color “tiles” above the cabinets.



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Our behavior BINGO cards.  I got this idea from The Art of Ed.  We haven’t talked about it yet with our classes because we are still settling into routines, but I plan to introduce it at the end of the month.



That’s all from the classroom!  I’ll let you tour the halls in my next blog post.

Starry Night – A Group Effort!


I promised my second grade class that I’d post this on my blog about our group Starry Night project.  One student commented today how cool he thought it was that we had only had one art class so far this year and they already had a project hanging out in the hall.  That is pretty neat, isn’t it!?

DSC00285 DSC00284 DSC00283

There is a bulletin board right outside my classroom door that is “mine.”  However, the art room is at the end of a hall that not many walk through regularly, so it’s not an ideal place for a rotating display.  Last year I had this displayed the entire year, but I knew I wanted something different.  Wanting to give students a chance to “do art” on the first day, we read The Starry Night and did a quick discussion on the texture in the painting.  Each of the first and second grade classes worked together to complete a part of the painting: the sky, the mountain and large tree, the stars and moon, and the village.

It was a simple but fun start to our year in art for first and second graders!  Credit goes here for the idea.

First Day of School!

Whew!  The first day of school was today.  While I didn’t “officially” have to be in the building today because I was not scheduled to teach, I was in for some time to get more preparation in for MY first day, which won’t be until Wednesday, the 27th.  I’m pretty tired this evening, and I didn’t even have any students, except for two classes of very wide-eyed and curious first graders coming to check out the art room.

I’m excited to be blogging again this year and hope to make this blog a place where anyone can come to see what is going on in the art room.  To make it easier to follow, I plan to link up all of these blog posts to our new Manheim Elementary Art Facebook page.  Anytime I post something new on the blog, I will also “share” it on the Facebook page.  So… long as you “like” the page, you’ll hear all of our adventures!

To like our page, go to our Manheim Elementary Art Facebook page, then at the top of the page, in our cover photo that looks like splattered paint, click the “like” button in the lower right corner.  That’s it!  Our posts should appear in your feed!

Welcome, and welcome to a new school year.  I’m looking forward to another great start at Manheim!