Sunday, August 6, 2017

In the Art Room: Best Back to School Projects, Part 1

Oh boy. We're back! In my district, we returned to school last (officially) last Thursday and it's been nonstop action since: professional development, back to school night, room prep, you name it. The one thing, THE MOST IMPORTANT THING, that I'm currently consumed with is our first art project of the school year. I love to hit the ground running to build excitement and fun in the art room with a big, fat, hairy paint-y, sticky and colorful project. While I wrack my brain over this year's projects, I thought I'd do a lil series on this here blog titled Best Back to School Projects. These aren't the Best Ever, mind you, these are just the best that can be found here. So take that with a grain o' salt.

That being said, I LOVE to start my school year reading The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds. It's got such a great message...one that speaks to children of all ages. In this post, I'm going to share my very favorite Dot Day projects that I've done over the years with my kindergarten through fourth grade kiddos. I'm including links to blog posts with lesson details and videos. I really started to use videos in my art room last year...so that's why not every project has a vid. By the way, feel free to subscribe here to view newly loaded videos. 

So, without further jibber-jabber, let's get started!
One year, my first grade students created this dot-inspired mural...with a heavy influence by the folk artist Heather Galler. They not only painted the plates but created the painted papers used as the flower petals and the papers used in the background landscape. This one is definitely one of my faves. You can find the lesson details here and here
This fun and quick project can be found in more detail here. This was one of those quickie projects where everyone in the school created the same thing: a marker design on a coffee filter. Once each design was complete, the filters were sprayed with water and allowed to dry on plastic. Each was hung by paperclips. This was a show stopper at our Open House...and so stinkin' easy!
My second graders created these reversible dot paintings one year on pizza rounds I purchased via Amazon. This was a fun project and another were I could display the work mobile style. You can find out more info here
Can you tell I have a thing for hanging things in front of our window? Before you ask: yes, the kids DO touch them and we have had a few fall down. The teachers and I stay on top of reminding them that most art is for looking and not touching but, you know. They are curious kiddos!
Last year, second grade created these fun textured dots! I love this project as it really teaches children so much about texture. I've done various takes on this project. More details here
You are more than welcome to use my videos in your art teacherin' world!

A couple years ago, my third graders created these dotted relief sculptures with Styrofoam plates and aluminum foil. I love shiny and reflective surfaces for the kid's creations. And they do to. The Sharpies used really take on a new life. 
Last year my third grade created these amazing dots! This project was a huge hit with the kids. It also sparked a lot of conversation in the halls that started with, "How did they make this?!" Third grade project can be found here
Using pre-cut tissue paper found at The Dollar Tree REALLY saved on prep time!
I've been a big fan of string art since 5th grade when my teacher introduced me to it. I still have my string art example that I share with the kids. This project is a FAVORITE of theirs, it's so much fun. You can find lesson details here
Having a video really helps with a project like this!
Radial printing project with fourth grade can be found here. Again, we used pizza rounds for this project and it was a great way to kick off the school year. The kids really enjoyed working with the foam stickers to create their designs. 
I did question my sanity doing printmaking with 35 fourth graders during the first month of school but they really loved it. 
Printmaking is always action-packed tho, am I right? 
Once printmaking was complete, we covered the boards in aluminum foil (again, see a pattern here?).
This was a fun way to allow those early finishers to continue creating while my other students were still printing. Full lesson here. 
 I don't usually repeat projects but when I do, it's projects I've done with kindergarten that I know are successful. One project I ALWAYS do on that very first day in kindergarten is have them create line sculptures. 
I begin by introducing them to line with his poem.
And then we dive in. This is one of my favorite days of the school year! I promise you, the kinder kiddies will love this project. You can check out more dot stuff here but you might enjoy this unit I created about LINE for kindergarten
I promise you, y'all will have the best time with this project! 
I'd love to hear your fave Dot Day projects. International Dot Day is on September 15-ish and you can read all about it here. Last year, to celebrate, some of my classes made Shrinkie Dink Dots! More details here
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5 comments:

  1. Amazing! I really enjoy it

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  2. I just came across your blog today, and I'm loving it! Have you heard of Emily Arrow? She sings The Dot Song, as well as many others that connect to literature. She even has a Dot Song video on YouTube. My kids love her, and I thought it might fit in with the work you do. Looking forward to checking out the rest of your blog!

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