A gym is huge. And Thanksgiving can be, um, complicated--both historically and in color palette. So I decided from the get-go that we would theme everything in sticks/pinecones, feathers, and gratitude.
My lovely third graders collected tons and tons of sticks. We used these sticks in our centerpieces, and as rods for hanging flags where students drew thankful hedgehogs and grateful squirrels. We collected pinecones to display drawings of both turkeys and cornucopias. And each student (grades JK - 5) made two giant feathers each, decorated in colored pencil and finished off with watercolor.
In a past life, I was a Christmas Elf. This is not a joke.
I love Christmas more than anything else in the entire world. I think Santa and his spirit of giving is wonderful (although his methods of chimney shooting and sneaking around are a bit questionable). I love that the extended belief in Santa lends itself to active imaginations and excitement that can last sometimes up to three months prior to his visit.
Elf is my most favorite movie. So much so that we maybe watched it at least 6 times alone in that last week of school before our Winter Break. And, to be honest, sometimes I watch it mid-summer . . . Just because.
At Brookwood, another event that falls onto the shoulders of the art teacher is Christmas. Not "the holidays" or "winter-y themed" artwork, but Christmas--in all of it's red and green goodness. Under direction of the art teacher, each student in the Lower School makes a gift for their parents, guardians, or grandparents. Canvases are ordered that fit a specific envelope, and I figure out what needs to go on said canvases while the homeroom teachers have the students decorate the envelopes. Trying to find a balance between my personal beliefs around the holidays and gift-giving, I mustered up all of my "elf" spirit, and created the following works with my kidlets. (Projects by grades 5 and 6 are not pictured.)
My tiniest of students made stockings that "floated" on modern canvases. The students each drew in pencil their own stockings and watercolored them. Classroom assistants traced each of the stockings whilst the students painted their canvases with acrylic paints. And I cut out cardboard pieces to mount the stockings on, before gluing the stockings to the canvases.
I've chosen some of their modern backgrounds (pre-stockings) to show you below. I LOVE THEM! Look how great the colors and compositions are!!
We started off by looking at cardinal images by the illustrator Charley Harper. Then the students split into groups: half of them painted white paper with sticks while the other half painted their canvases navy, and then they switched so that everyone had a turn to paint with sticks. During the next class period, the students cut a simple red circle into half, and then one of the halves into thirds. And using those parts and pieces of the circle, they created a cardinal. And using strips of the white paper that they painted with sticks, they created alpine trees. So the cardinals appeared to be flying through an alpine forest. The students used the wooden end of their paintbrush to create snow, and some of them cut out small wreathes to go around the cardinals' necks. I just love how these turned out! And, on instagram, the Charley Harper Foundation reposted our cardinals on their IG site to show the process of learning. So fun!!
✂️ Our heart swells with pride when we see #CharleyHarper inspired #artprojects like these! Thank you to all the #art teachers and art programs around the country for teaching the young and young at heart more about Charley and his art! Swipe to see some of happy Harper #artwork! Tag us on any #charleyharperart work you might have done too! ••••• 📷 creds: @artwithmrs.e ⬅️ @mrserb31 ⬅️ @msallaineous_art ⬅️ @mrs.jensensartroom ⬅️ @cakecrushonthetown ⬅️ @mrsplouffsartclass ⬅️ @paperscissorscake ⬅️ @ruthchapman.art ⬅️ @colorwheelstn