Wooden Box

Three Penguins Gruff by Mrs. Berry

As the weather becomes chilly and the snow is falling my students have worked on their own winter tales with penguins at the theme.  The follow tale that I am going to tell you is true with a few embellishments along the way.  Every good story has them.

Wooden Box

by Christy Berry

Once upon a time, there were two teachers who loved penguins.  Mrs. Forsman’s second grade classroom was on the top floor and filled with warm sunlight from the large wall of windows.  Every day at the same time Mrs. Berry traveled with her cart to her friend’s classroom.  This cart contained the most amazing bottles of creativity, challenges, talent, paint, and glue.  There were also paints, brushes, scissors, and yards of color parchments.  On one particularly chilly winter day the cart held something special.  This special surprise was in a wooden box that would change its size each day.  Mrs. Berry gathered the students close on the carpet and revealed the box.  She explained that right now the box was small but soon it would grow in size.  She placed the box next to her while she showed the students her little black and white friend named Chilly.  She asked the students if they thought penguins were artists.  A great debate ensued.  The chime of the bell stopped the debate and they all said their good-byes as they departed for the afternoon.

The next day came and Mrs. Berry brought her cart with the most amazing trinkets and things; most importantly the wooden box.  Today is was a little bit heavier and fatter.  It was still easy to move and Mrs. Berry placed it next to her as the students gathered around.  A few notice the box and remembered the debate.  Today the students created a live action art picture.  “I’m Foreground!” exclaimed one student.  “I’m Middle-ground,” another student stated.  “I’m Background,” said the last student with enthusiasm.  Afterwards all the students gathered in the foreground and looked at artwork from famous artists.  At the end of class the art teacher packed away her box into the cart.  It was a bit heavier than before.

The following day Mrs. Berry returns and exclaims, “My, my.  You have become bigger.”  She carries the box over to the carpet and the students gather round.  She takes out her large book and all 365 penguins spill out from the pages.  As she reads the penguins and words dance among the children and they spot Chilly.  After all the penguins climb back into the book they say good-bye to Chilly.  Mrs. Berry gives the students instructions on how to create their own picture.  Again, the bell chimes and everything is put back onto the cart.

The students were so busy the next day with cutting different sized penguin bodies and painting that they didn’t notice how the box started to creak and expand.  Mrs. Berry and Mrs. Forsman both noticed and smiled at one another because they knew what was feeding the box’s rapid growth.  Now while Mrs. Berry helped students create their picture, Mrs. Forsman began the student’s writing journey.  She masterfully helped the student develop their own penguin stories.  The words began to flow and stories spun around the students.  Mrs. Forsman used her purple editing pen to help students with words and structure.  By now the box was rocking and getting much heavier.  At the end of class, Mrs. Berry could hardly put it back on the cart.

The next when Mrs. Berry came she brought a different cart and the larger wooden box.  This cart had a plug and side doors.   She unlocked the lock and took out the contents one by one.  Each student received a very silver rectangle box with keys and a screen.  Soon the sound of tapity tap filled the classroom as students filled their box with words and characters.  One by one, Mrs. Berry took each student and recorded their voice into the story.  Student images were also digitally captured and placed within the story.  Mrs. Forsman worked with students to navigate the student’s silver box.  It was a beautiful dance to see between the teachers and students.  The music enticed the wooden box to rock and it grew.  As the music swelled the box fell off the cart and expanded.

Finally, when the project was completed the box stopped growing.  It was the size of large elephant crate.  On the outside a stamp appeared.  Mrs. Berry, Mrs. Forsman, and the whole class stared at what was in their room.  They all read it together, “Inside me you find knowledge, creativity, wisdom, collaboration, fun, and a whole lot of penguins.”  They all laughed.

The End

Mrs. Berry's Prezi: Penguins of Different Sizes

If you would like make your own box grow click on the link to the lesson Penguins of Different Sizes.  You will be directed to my detailed lesson plan on Prezi. If you would like to watch one of the Penguin stories click here. This project was a collaboration project between Mrs. Forsman and me.  I am going to give much credit to Mrs. Forsman for all her help with this project.  She helped the students with their stories and writing.  She also set up computers and was extra helpful with the students’ editing and technology questions.  Without her we would only have the illustrations for the stories.


Mrs. Berry

Georgia O’Keeffe Flowers in Bloom

Georgia O'Keeffe Lesson Plan on Prezi

This just in…. Spring has arrived and we are ready to plant our artistic flowers.

In the spring, I usually have my students create Georgia O’Keeffe style flowers.  Click here to visit the whole lesson plan on my Prezi.  I have taught this lesson to all grade levels from kindergarten to 12thgrade.  This is a very successful lesson plan at any grade level.  I adjust the materials and the method in which I approach each grade level.

Image from Grace Dow Library

Image from Grace Dow Library

For my kindergarten through second grade students I read the story My Name is Georgia by Jeanette Winter.

Image from Amazon.com

We also look at 100 flowers by Georgia O’Keeffe.  When we look at the book I have the students use thumbs up and thumbs down method of communicating what they are thinking.  I do this because the students become so excited that it spills over into over joyful noise.

Since there are a hundred flowers I usually do the following:

  • Have students give student thumbs up if they like the picture or thumbs down if they don’t like it.  A sideways thumb if they have no opinion.   Occasionally ask students why they think their particular way.
  • Have students name the different lines that they see a flower.
  • Have students name the different colors that they see in a flower.
  • Have students give thumbs up if the flower touches all four sides of the page.
  • Have the students give thumbs up if the flower shows emphasis.
  • For my older students we look at the images, but I also explain her use of color and value and emphasis that she made her flowers big.

Afterwards, I demonstrate how to look at flower and the edges.  I usually use oil pastels with my younger students (If I am feeling brave I take out paint for 25 kindergarten students).  I have no para that assists in the classroom so we use wet paper towels to wash our hands over the trash can.  I also explain that today is a no hug day until their hands are clean.  I also have them practice itching their nose with the back of their hand.  The video below is a video on how to paint a flower.

After students create their flower I have them write an artist statement which includes a title, their name, and a paragraph about their flower.  See the example below

Yellow Flower by Christy Berry

Yellow Flower

By Mrs. Berry

While walking through the Dow Gardens I saw this particular flower with the sunlight behind it.  I took a quick photo to paint it later.  I waited a couple of weeks and thought about how big I wanted to paint it.  I finally decided on a 18 x 24 inch painting.  I printed off the photograph and then started to work.  My daughter also painted a mini version while I painted the larger one.  I spent around two hours every night for five nights working in the basement on it.  The photograph and the painting are a little different; however, I wanted my artistic flare.  I finished the painting with my signature and hung it on the wall.

Please enjoy my lesson and may your garden bloom!

-Mrs. Berry

Self-Portraits and Frida Kahlo

When working with students and creating self-portraits I read a couple of different books about Frida Kahlo based on the age of my students.  Every year, I have my art students create self-portraits, each level does something a bit different.  I want my students to be able to draw accurately and know a little bit of history with self-portraits.  The focus artist that I picked to go along with this unit is Frida Kahlo.  I love her work; it’s very distinct and different.  Kahlo’s work can be graphic so the problem is picking books, poems, and images that are grade level appropriate.

These are some of the books that I use with my students.

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Frida by Johan Winter and illustrated by Ana Juan I read this book to first and second grade students because the story gives a little bit of history about Kahlo.  I also like the images because they reflect Kahlo’s work without the graphic nature of her work.  While reading the story I do tell the students that the page with the volcano is how she feels and there really wasn’t a volcano during the bus accident.

I Love My Hair by Natasha Anastasia Tarpley and illustrated by E.B. Lewis This book is new to my lesson this year with my first and second grade students.  I am adding this book because we will be adding textured yarn for hair.

Frida by Camen T. Bernier-Grand This book is a book of poems about Kahlo’s life.  What I love about this book is the use of Frida Kahlo’s paintings. Because Kahlo’s painting and her life are not elementary or even high school student friendly sections of the book do need to be censored for a school setting.  At the end of the book lists a chronology of Frida’s life.  There is also a glossary and sources page. I have read several of poems (student friendly) to my students. My third grade students wanted me to continue to read more of the poems. They were sad when I stopped.  The poems seem to be written as if Frida Kahlo was speaking to the reader.  This book is very intriguing.

If you would like the lesson plan that I use for this unit please click on my Self-Portrait Prezi.  I have also included a link on my side bar of this blog.

“There is nothing more precious than laughter.  It is strength to laugh and lose oneself.” Frida Kahlo

-Mrs. Berry

Once upon a time . . .

My daughter and Myself infront of an Inuksuk

There was an art teacher who wanted to present information about the Inuit people and their art to her second grade art students.  She wanted to make her presentation fun and interesting.  So she tried a couple of different ways to tell a story about the Inuit people.

First she made a power point and found that easy to do.  By attaching her power point to the blog, she found that this took up her blogging space. Inuit power point

Next she tried to upload and share her PowerPoint with SlideShare but found it disappointing because the sound effects and the nifty slide animations did not transfer. 

She also tried to put her power point on YouTube and found that the turning a power point into a movie takes a way from reading the slide slowy. It also snowed five inches in the time it took to download the movie to YouTube.

Finally, she became engrossed by prezi.  She found that she could write out a lesson plan in an artistic way, and add images.  Because when she plans her lessons ideas are not always linear.  She can now plan out ideas on an infinite canvas. She is currently working on this document.  The meat of the document is there.  She is working on adding scoring opportunities and vocabulary words.  Her only critique of the program is that spell checking needs to be done the old fashion way with a dictionary (or using word and copy paste).

.prezi-player { width: 550px; } .prezi-player-links { text-align: center; }http://prezi.com/bin/preziloader.swf

Please check out my Prezi.  This lesson is geared toward second grade students; however, the projects could go as high as high school with modifications.  Also check out my book review of Smiler’s Bones.  I also made a video to go with the book talk.

-Mrs. Berry

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