More Bubbles

Possible Classroom Concepts: Science – Bubbles

Social Studies: Friendship

Possible Art Concepts: Jean Siméon Chardin

Art Media – Drawing, Printmaking


Jean Siméon Chardin’s  “Soap Bubbles”

In my last post, I talked about things we can do with friends. Then, this morning I was watching Sunday Morning Magazine and they did an excerpt on bubble blowing. I thought, another thing a child can do with friends, blow bubbles. The excerpt was very enlightening. I was amazed that bubbles are a component of so many things. Did you know there are bubbles in ocean waves and even ice cream? Or that doctors are now  using bubbles to deliver medicine into the body. Check out all the amazing details here.

If you happen to be teaching bubbles for a science lesson, I have three ways you can incorporate visual art into it. You could introduce Chardin’s  “Soap Bubbles”. Find a nice video explaining this painting here. Students could also create bubble art. I love the Smart Class Blog’s bubble drawing lesson which can be found here. You can also print bubbles by adding a bit of tempera paint to your bubble blowing mixture. Check out the steps here.

I also talked a bit about bubbles in this past post.

Saw the bubbles this morning and was inspired. Maybe you will be also. What do you think? I’d love to hear your views. Simply click on the post’s title and scroll down to the comment section. If you like what you’ve seen here, please feel free to toss me a “like” or better still become a follower.

Thanks so much for reading. Hope you’ll stop by again real soon!


Friends and More!

Possible Classroom Concepts: Social Studies – All About Me (Friends)

Language Arts – Writing, Storytelling, Literature, Mathematics – Pattern, Shapes

Possible Art Concepts: Art History – Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Gustave Caillebotte,  Jacob Lawrence, Carmen Lomas Garza, Andy Warhol

Art Media – Painting, Quilting, Art Genres – Portraits, Landscapes, Still Life, Elements of Art – Line, Shape (Organic and Geometric), Color ( Complimentary)


Do you teach Friends as part of an All About Me Social Studies Unit? If you do, I have a few ideas for you. The first comes as a result of a visit to the Renoir and Friends: Luncheon of the Boating Party Exhibition at the Phillips Museum in Washington DC. It focused around Pierre-August Renoir’s painting “Luncheon of the Boating Party” seen above. You may not realize it but the models in this particular painting were all friends of Renoir. The painting is composed of an artist, a seamstress, actresses, a critic, an art dealer and writers. You can find a chart explaining who’s who here. Discuss with your students that the people in this painting are all friends. Ask students what they think is happening in this painting.  This painting takes place at the Maison Fournaise Restaurant in Chatou, a town outside Paris. In the late 1800s, Parisians often road the newly built trains to the suburbs outside Paris for a weekend of rest and relaxation. The friends in Renoir’s painting have just finished sharing a meal. What is different about what the people in the painting wear and what we wear today? The people in this painting are wearing both casual and dressy clothes. Many are wearing hats. What kinds of clothes and hats do we wear today? They are sitting on the restaurant’s balcony overlooking the Seine River. Can you find the still life, portrait and landscape in this painting? Ask students what kinds of activities they share with their friends (playing outdoors with friends, sports activities, birthday parties, bike riding etc.)  Have students illustrate a get together with their friends, including detailed outfits and a setting. Students could even write a short paragraph about their picture.

Another friends art lesson I often taught centered around friendship quilts. Friendship quilts were made by a group of friends or family as a going away present for someone. Each person would make a block, often incorporating a scrap from an old piece of clothing holding some sentimental value. The group would sew all the blocks together into a quilt. They would then present the quilt as a going away present.  Maryland has a tradition of  friendship quilts called Baltimore Album Quilts. You can find an example of one, including a lesson here.


In my teaching days, I would create blocks with my kindergartners when they were studying friends. We would start by tracing our hand, cutting it out and gluing it onto a complimentary colored piece of paper. Complimentary colors are colors across from on another on the color wheel.  We talked about how a hand shape is an organic shape (shapes found in nature, not name shapes like we find in geometry) . We would then look at these works by Andy Warhol: Cow 11 and FlowersThese mixed media paintings are composed of organic shapes with a print on top. So, we printed our hand on top of our collaged hand in a contrasting color. Next, we created a pattern using wallpaper squares.  I then introduced the concept of friendship quilts and we added a broken line around the outside to simulate stitches and of course added our name. Lastly, we glued all the blocks down onto a large mural paper, creating our own classroom friendship quilt. I also introduced friendship quilts to my second graders when they studied pioneers as part of a fibers unit. Students made pioneer children tucked away in their beds similar to the way Miss Lagerstam did with her first graders here. I read them the friendship quilt excerpts from the American Doll book, Happy Birthday Kirsten! A Springtime Story  when we created the quilt portions of the project .

Why not sprinkle a little art or craft history into your next friendship unit? What do you think? I’d love to hear your views.Simply click on the post’s title and scroll down to the comment section. If you like what you’ve seen here, please feel free to toss me a “like” or better still become a follower.

Thanks so much for reading. Hope you’ll stop by again real soon!


An Artist After My Own Heart

Possible Classroom Concepts: Social Studies – African American History (Martin Luther King Jr.), Empathy, Self Esteem, Acceptance, Cultures Around The World (Africa)

Language Arts – Literature, Science – Go Green (Recycling/ Repurposing)

Possible Art Concepts: Art History – Nick Cave, Karen Katz, Todd Parr

 Art Mediums–  Costumes, Sculpture, Recycled Art, Fiber Art, Illustration, Art Careers – Sculptor, illustrator

Nick Cave, who includes fibers, upcycling and dance in his work, is truly an “Artist After My Own Heart”. Being a fiber artist and recycler myself and having three daughters who love to dance, Cave’s work is right up my alley. I have been intrigued by his work for the last couple of years. I first saw examples of his work at the Hirshhorn Museum and a short time later at the Smithsonian American Art Museum.  BUT, I found true love when I recently saw a whole room of Cave’s colorful soundsuits in the NICK CAVE FEAT. exhibit at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts in Nashville, TN.

Working in three disciplines gives Nick Cave’s work an array of ways to integrate into your curriculum.

The soundsuit, full body costumes created from items found in thrift stores, were inspired by the Rodney King slaying years ago. Cave felt African American people, like himself, were not valued, that they were a discarded group of people. The soundsuits are a sort of armour to camouflage the wearer, so people will not “judge a book by it’s cover”.  To date, Cave has created an army of over 500 soundsuits to battle social injustice.  So, if you are teaching a Self Esteem, an Acceptance or Martin Luther King, Jr. (“I have a dream!”) unit in your classroom, Nick Cave would be a GREAT artist to introduce. We are all different in some way. Different doesn’t need to be a negative experience. We all want to be accepted. Some books that accentuate this theme are The Color of Us by Karen Katz and It’s Okay To Be Different by Todd Parr. Videos of these stories can be found here and here. Talk to students about how they feel different. Why does Nick Cave feel different? Find a lesson including Nick Cave’s feelings  here.

Making the soundsuits from thrift store items brings a new life to discarded items. Here is another place to introduce Cave’s work, as a part of a Go Green science unit. Students could create a simple mask shape from discarded cereal boxes in the shape used by Kinderart for this lesson. Then create the features for the mask using recycled items such as cardboard, bottle caps, lids, etc, like Adventures of an Art Teacher did here Toys, dolls, stuffed animals and buttons can be found on Cave’s soundsuits also. Students could also bring in old small toys to incorporate into their masks. If you would like to explore recycling fibers, try out Babble Dabble Do’s Pieces Dolls or KROKOTAK’s Rag Dolls to create miniature soundsuit dolls. The dolls can be made from leftover fabrics from around the house or old t-shirts. Buttons and beads could be added to create sound. Check out a 5 year old’s soundsuit themed birthday party here.

As an extension to the above activity, share  this soundsuit dance video with your students.  Then, while wearing their masks or holding soundsuit dolls, students could  choreograph a dance of their own.

Cave’s work could also be shared as a part of a Cultures Around the World unit.  His whole body soundsuits are reminiscent of costumes and dances from Africa, the Hopi Kachinas,  and Mardi Gras or Carnival.

Other contemporary versions of whole body costumes are Jim Henson’s Big Bird and Snuffleupagus and Julie Taymor’s Lion King animals. And let us not forget Wookie from Star Wars.

So, what do you think? Could you interject some of Nick Caves works in one or more of your classroom units? I’d love to hear how. Simply click on the post’s title and scroll down to the comment section. If you like what you’ve seen here, please feel free to toss me a “like” or better still become a follower.

Thanks so much for reading. Hope you’ll stop by again real soon!