September 8, 2010

Welcome to Kylee, Morgan, and Kevin’s blog!  Over the next few months we will be teaching art lessons to Tamara’s 3rd and 4th grade class at the Fort Collins’ Lab School.  Every Friday one of us will be in charge of the class, giving students exposure to art that they otherwise would not recieve, and at the same time we will be recieving valuable teaching experience.  The purpose of this blog, however, is to document the students’ experience.  After each lesson we will post our thoughts, conversation and dialogue that pertain to the goal of the lesson, and pictures that show the process of creation.

And now to introduce ourselves:

Kevin Foster

Hello, I am an art education major at Colorado State University.  My current favorite art activities are drawing and pottery making.  That is subject to change, however, as I seem to find something new and exciting every semester!

Above: a charcoal self-portrait

Below: A jar that I am working on in pottery studio

Morgan Grady

Hello All! My name is Morgan Grady, I am a senior in the Art Education program at CSU with a concentration in photography. I am looking forward to working with all of the students at the Lab School, and can’t wait to see the students work evolve.

Below: A photo I made using ‘sandwiched negatives’ or two negatives placed together in order to make one image.

Kylee Muhlhauser

Hello everyone, I’m Kylee and I am also an Art Education major at CSU. My concentration is drawing, but I love to do photo and pottery as well. I have always wanted to be a teacher as far back as I can remember. I love working with kids and I love to watch those lightbulbs light up in childrens heads when they learn something new. Art is such a fun and educational process. It was always my favorite subject and maybe some students at the lab school will find that art is their favorite as well. I’m really excited for a great semester and to work with the great group of kids in Tamaras’ class!!

Sunflower study with pastels

This was a sunflower study of 12 images here is one. It is just pastel on paper.

Below is a pitcher that was made in pottery.
A Pitcher in Pottery


December 8, 2010

Our group developed a unit with lessons linked by the theme of “systems” – city systems, underwater ecosystems, and the like.  The unit theme of “systems” was chosen specifically to be in line with Tamara’s unit theme, which is also “systems.”  Choosing the same unit theme helped to make connections for the students – connections between art and other school subjects and connections between art and the real world.  Systems are something students experience everyday and these lessons were designed to show ways that their experiences can be expressed through art.

In our lessons the content standards of Create, Comprehend, Reflect and Transfer were addressed.  Students learned that materials and processes can be used in traditional, unique, and inventive ways during the creation of their projects.

Students used paper mache to create masks

Cities were created with hot glue and found-objects

Students created scratch art

Students expanded their comprehension of the arts when learning about vocabulary and artists.

Morgan teaches about Aboriginal art

Kevin talks about the city as a system

The problem solving and thinking skills learned during the process can be transferred to other subjects as well as everyday life.

Students learning to work as a team

Architectural problem solving

Design skills

Students learned the value of planning

In our final lesson students reflected upon what they had learned through critique and discussion.

The experience has been a great one for all of us.  These particular students were a lively bunch and keeping up with them was difficult at times.  I believe it is safe to say that we learned more from them then they learned from us.  It has been an honor teaching and learning from this group of students.

Underwater Systems Day 2

November 17, 2010

Last Friday the students finished up their underwater scratch art scenes.  Many students found their preliminary sketches to be quite helpful for envisioning their final product:

Many students couldn’t stand the scratchy sound that the toothpicks made on the paper.  Fortunately there were headphones in the room that students could use to dampen the sound.

After they were finished scratching, students made mounts for their images with construction paper.  Here are some finished products:

Finishing the underwater systems project did not take the whole period so students were able to work on unfinished masks and city sculptures.  Here’s a mask that got finished:

Also, many students felt that there city sculptures would be better with some paint:

All in all, it was a very productive day!

Under Water World Day 1

November 3, 2010

So we began the day with some computer problems. Unfortunately Morgan could not project her power point for all the class to see, but luckily she brought her computer so she was able to continue. The students all sat on the red rug and watched the power point from her labtop.


This third project is about aborigional art. They discuss the different subject matter such as different underwater creatures. They also discussed the different symbols and colors that appear in aborigional art. The students will be making an underwater creature of their choice in scratch art paper. Morgan handed out some paper for the students to make some sketches. Then the students began to work on their drawings.

All of the students really enjoyed creating a creature. There wasn’t a single student who didn’t particpate. It was really neat to see the little artists at work. It was amazing to see the different imaginations coming to play in their drawings.

An octopus-like creature

The students had to complete three sketches before they got their scratch- art. Their scratch art paper comes in a rainbow style or just one color. The students get to chose the color they wanted. I was a little surprised that every student didn’t want the multi-colored.

By the time most students recieved their scratch art paper it was time to clean up.The students did great today and we are excited to see what next week will bring!


City Day 2

October 13, 2010

Today we continued working on the City Lesson from last class. A lot got done and some really neat structures were built.  Kevin started off the day by having the students answer questions about last class to recall what they remembered. After that Kevin gave a demonstration on proper ways to glue. ” A dot not a lot” was the theme to follow. Then he explained that there were glue guns that could be used for stubborn items that couldn’t stick with normal glue. The safety hazards were adressed and luckily most of the students have used them before.

After the demonstration the little learners took off. They began by grabbing a couple items from the pile.

Each student was provided with a cardboard base for their cities to connect to. Many of the students used recycled boxes for the start of the building.

Here you can see how cans were incorporated into this students work.

Every student wanted to use different materials it was neat watching the process happen.

“This is fun it is going really good can’t you see” were the words out of this students mouth. He is giving the building electricity.

When I asked the student why his building was so tall.  He responded with an obvious answer: ” Because it is a fifteen story building”

One student did a great job making his sketch become 3D.

Overall the day went really well. It was a very productive class and a lot of students got most of the work done for the final project. Schools and Markets were built and some buildings had power. It was really cool to watch the students become sculpturists.

A few great quotes of the day:

Teacher: “Are you making buildings for your city?”

Student: “ Yeah really weird ones!”


 Teacher: “Make sure you don’t make your building too high so it doesn’t fall over”

Student: “ Everyone’s a critic aren’t they”


Teacher: “Why aren’t you making anything?”

Student 1: “ Um you try making a building at nine years old.”

Student 2: “ Look around we are all making sculptures and we are all nine.”


 I am really excited to see what next week will bring!


September 28, 2010

For our first project students will be making papier mache masks. In this project our students will learn about making sketches as preliminary planning for an art object, then they learn how to make an armature, by blowing up balloons, and making shapes with crumpled up newspaper. Finally the students will be able to use papier mache to make their masks, and paint and design them when they are dry.

The Experience

For the past two weeks the students have been working on a mask project.  The assignment is to make a paper mache mask that expresses three personal interests.   Their first task was to brainstorm.  What will the mask be shaped like?  Will it have a nose, ears, eyebrows, etc? What are the three interests that you want to show on your mask?  These were some of the questions asked to guide students in the thought process.  There were many wonderful ideas!

A “Mystery-Man” mask

A video-game cyclops!

This student is interested in Greek mythology

This student is interested in butterflies

After they had their drawings done the next step was to build an armature.  In this project, balloons were used to achieve a head-shaped armature.  Newspaper and tape were used to build up noses, ears, chins, horns, wings, or any other appendage students wished to include.  Students found that if they blew up their balloons too big they were likely to pop when applying paper mache.  As a result, many students warned their fellow classmates who got a late start, “That looks too big! If, you blow it up too big it’s gonna pop later!”

Taping on an eyebrow perhaps?

Building butterfly wings

Time for the messy part! Students covered their armatures with paper mache.

Placing a strip on the balloon

Wiping off excess

A social activity!

Adding layers

I need more strips!

After the masks dried it was time to paint them.  During painting, the students discussed design choices and color theory amongst themselves. “What colors should I use on my mask?”  “What color would go good with blue?”  “How do I make brown?” “Try mixing all of the colors together.”

A base coat of white

Mixing a new color

Black is always flattering

Never paint a cat… unless it’s a paper mache cat.

And that’s it so far! Many students are close to finishing. When they do finish, I will post some more pictures.

Until then,

Kevin Foster

Outer Space

September 22, 2010

Kylee will be the lead teacher in this lesson

Under Water

September 22, 2010

Morgan will be the lead teacher in this lesson


September 22, 2010

Kevin will be the lead teacher in this lesson.


The new project we started this week is being taught by Kevin. The students are going to be using recycled materials to make city systems. We’ve asked students to bring in recycled materials from home to supplement the supplies for this lesson, and we may have to take a trip ‘dumpster diving’ to find more objects. Tamara says that the students will love this! The idea of this project is to design a city of your dreams with three systems the students find interesting or important. Today was the introduction and sketching day, many students came up with some really exciting ideas!

The first thing Kevin had students do this week was sit on the floor, and have a discussion about “systems.” When asked what they thought would be in a city system many students responded with comments like “School system” “Bus system” “jobs” “mail” and “trash”

Going off of the trash response, Kevin asked the students what people could do to keep trash out of landfills, one student shouted “Re-use it to make ART!”

one student wants to incorporate a baseball into his system

Our found object collection bucket! We'll still need many more items

Three students working on their drawings

This student's city system includes the Lab School!

Many students wanted to put their systems in very unusual environments, including, but not limited to; under water, in outer space, and in the clouds.

One comment form a students was: “I’m making an advanced civilization!”

"There's a tornado in my system!"

Coloring their sketch

Some students finished sketching their systems more quickly than others, their response to this was to color their system, this will give them a better idea of the decoration of their system when the time comes to paint, or add color some way.

We’re very excited with what we have so far, and can’t wait to see this project evolve into a massive city.



This week students were to be finishing up with their found object cities, although I’m sure if they could, they would continue working on these for the rest of the semester. The buildings in the cities got even taller today, with some towering even above my head.

Students were standing on chairs to complete this tower.

Some students were finished enough to start painting their projects today.

One student said while he was working on his painting, “I don’t see why everyone’s is so big, I’m making mine small so I have time to add all of the details.”

Two girls put their projects together.

These girls added waterfalls, raspberry bushes and a rock cliff to their city scape.

A few students at a time were able to work on their masks during this class time

This student is demonstrating how his pencil bridge functions.

This student made some changes to his design today.

When I talked to this students about his evolving city, he said he took off the baseball because he really wanted to play with it later, he added in his gameboy, but said he would only have it there for display purposes only.

Some little creatures for the Mega city, a compilation of four students work.

This students used pencils to support his structure on the outside, he also used the coffee cup and created a coffee house for his city.


It was really exciting to see the students so eager to work in pairs and groups. They were also really good at communicating decisions with each other.