Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Daffodils! (and symmetrical vases)

My second graders finished up their symmetrical vases that I posted the beginnings of by drawing daffodils on watercolored yellow paper, and glueing them to a white background paper.
We did an observational drawing lesson with the daffodils.
I like to make the connection between daffodils head-on and profile views to head-on and profile views of people. We discuss points of view and identify the different shapes we see in the flowers before drawing. They came out really nice!

More Daffodils! :

The kindergarteners also participated in a lesson about points of view with the daffodils.
I built on my daffodil lesson from last year- each kindergartener needed to include at least three profile views and three head-on. They did a really good job, they are really sweet pictures.
The greens are various shades of green crayons, oil pastels for the yellow, white construction crayons for up in the sky and liquid blue watercolor for the sky painting.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Recycling unit: Batik-ed Grocery Bags

This is the middle piece of my most recent recycling unit.
My third graders began their investigation of recycling, re-inventing, and transforming materials with the styrofoam tray printing project.

I then moved on to a PAPER recycling lesson. I always begin a study of paper recycling by brainstorming a list of ways we use paper (newspaper, books, homework, toilet paper, egg cartons, gift wrap, labels, etc.) because it is amazing how many things are made out of paper and the kids form an immediate connection with the material and art process.
(I have a list of books that I use for recycling lessons- of course my pile is at school so I will post them next week when I get back there. )

This is one of my favorite art processes to do with kids.

We use cut down grocery bags as the paper for this lesson.
Step 1: Draw a design with pencil and trace with sharpie.
Step 2: Color the entire thing with oil pastels or construction paper crayons pressing down medium-hard.
(I usually use oil pastels but this time I used construction paper crayons.)

Step 3: Each student dips their paper into a small bucket of water and crumples it up. This is a very textural experience and very cool- the paper begins to feel like fabric when they do this.
Step 4: Flatten out the wet paper on to a double layer of newspaper.

Step 5: Using a big brush or foam brush paint over the entire paper with a dark watery paint. You can use highly concentrated liquid watercolor or a watered down tempera mixture. (Black, blue, purple work great. )
Step 6: Allow to dry right on the newspaper!

I often do this lesson as a recycled journal lesson. We create two of these batik-ed papers, and I have them paint over the back as well. Then we put them together with recycled paper from the copy machines as the blank paper filling.
(The ones above we went a step farther and did weavings as well.)

For this lesson in particular I was hard pressed for time so we did 9 x 12 pieces and I taught them how to draw the recycling symbol.

We followed this lesson up with the puppet project as we recycled clothing and fabric.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Chihuly display is up!

I wanted to share my finished display for the Chihuly lesson I just finished up with my fifth graders and posted the beginnings and middles of the other day.

I'm very proud of it!

There is an incredible wealth of information that can go along with this lesson (especially because glass art and glass blowing are so foreign to my students). I tried my best to give a brief bio of Chihuly, color theory, our artistic process, and the process of glass blowing. 
I knew there would be a lot of GREAT questions posed by observers so I anticipated some of them and included some Q & A cards in the garden of macchias:
Why does Mr. Chihuly wear an eye patch?
Why is the artistic process called "glass blowing"?
Where do people learn how to make artwork using glass?
Does he make all of his glass sculptures by himself?
What are Macchias and where does Mr. Chihuly get his ideas from?
Can I see Mr. Chihuly's artwork anywhere in Massachusetts?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Attempt at Puppet making

To conclude my recycling unit with third grade (which I will post the rest of today) I wanted to do a clothing/fabric recycling project. 
I thought my third graders would get a lot out of three dimensional project and enjoy making puppets. 
It has taken a lot of patience and lugging around of materials but the kids are psyched and have learned a lot. 

Day 1: We began with a tongue depresser and styrofoam ball. 
I have very limited clay & model magic. The styrofoam let me use the least amount of clay and kept the head light. The only tools I gave them were a popsicle stick and a small pikey one side/flat on the other stick. The kids rolled a ball with the model magic then flattened it like a tortilla. They wrapped the flat clay around the head and covered a bit of the neck. They PINCHED to pull out the nose.
Then holding the popsicle stick horizontally they wedged open the mouth by wiggling it up and down a little bit and then pinching the corners of the mouth. 
Each student stuck on two google eyes and then smooshed the clay over a little to create eyelids and keep the eyes stuck. They could also pinch out two ears and push them back a bit. 
No hair was allowed.

Day 2: Each student masking taped a popsicle stick to create arms. Then cut out hands out of manilla colored paper and glue sticked them to the ends of the popsicle sticke.
Each student also received a rectangle piece of white fabric/muslin. They cut it in half and cut out a circle from the middle. Then we put some elmers glue on the tongue depresser and popsicle stick and wrapped some cotton around them for the puppet's "insides". And finally covered the puppet body in the fabric and glued it together.
The conclusion was what my students refer to as the "scary grandpa ghosts" BUT it gave us a good giggle and they truly comprehended the idea of building something from the inside out. 

Day 3: HAIR! 
We talked a lot about hair... how it grows out of the head, how it covers the back and sides of the head (even on boys), different types of hair, how bangs and ponytails work, etc. 
I had a variety of yarns available for the children to use and encouraged them to really experiment with unraveling it, cutting it, etc. 
(In my opinion this is one of the most fun parts of the puppet process!)
To glue: I had then dip the top of the head into the puddle of craft and spread it out with a popsicle stick like frosting a cupcake. It worked very well. 

Day 4 ( possibly 5 + 6....): Clothes! Oh my!
We are still working this out by the way. 
This was a big part of the recycling. 
Some of my students brought in clothes to recycle/transform into clothing. 
I cut up the garments to show them how much fabric there was. 
I pretty much gave the kids a few suggestions for strategies and then let them experiment, plan, and problem solve on their own here. 
We are still working out some kinks. But the kids are SO excited about them. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Chihuly-inspired Sculptures, Split Complements

Thank you Mr. E for all of your Chihuly inspiration and resources!
I love your students' collaborative sculptures, they are amazing- hopefully next year I will not have the crazy short & traveling class schedule and will be able to go further with your inspirations and lessons!

But for now.... my fifth grade classes have been attempting to create sculptures from coffee filters, egg cartons, pipe cleaners, straws, and beads after viewing slideshows of Chihuly's macchias and installations.

First the students delved into color theory and we identified what Split Complementary colors are.
Each student painted three coffee filters with watercolors- painting a primary color circle in the center.
1- Yellow w/ blue-violet, red-violet
2- Red w/ blue-green, yellow-green
3- Blue w/ yellow-orange, red-orange

My first class went right to the sculpture part (and then had to paint the egg carton around it)- but my second group of kids painted the egg cartons with green paint first- much better idea. ;)

To introduce the idea of working 3-dimensionally and the process of creating a sculpture we talked about what a BASE is and why it is important. For this project the egg cartons were our bases. I had a variety of sizes and shapes available for the kids (the sous chef at the restaurant I work at saves the 12x12 egg cartons for me).

I gave each student a push pin (stuck into a scrap of cardboard so it doesn't roll away on their desk) as their tiny-hole-making-tool. They created garden like sculptures with the straws, pipe cleaners, and the painted circles. I only gave them tape to enforce the flowers as a last resort. I also painted a little acrylic medium on the flowers after class to give the blossoms a little more stiffness. The kids really really enjoyed this process.

The creations made it over to the case but I have not had a chance to work on the display. Pictures should be up of it next week but here's a sneak peak. (I apologize these are not the best shots but I should be able to get some good ones up soon.)

I can't access youtube while I'm at school. I was able to show my students this 5 minute video about glassblowing through "5 minute videos" that was great! (It was recent, fun, accurate, and short and the kids totally got a sense of what glassblowing is.)

And to boot--- I realized a Chihuly exhibition opens at the MFA in Boston in April!