Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Experiments in Sculpture-Monsters in 4th Grade

If you've read the past few entries I've posted you'll know that I've been complaining about my kiln being out of commission due to a burnt out touch pad (did I mention my kiln is 3 years old???).  Anyways, to say I'm a little frustrated by this is an understatement, but regardless I'm stuck waiting for my admin to get on with ordering the replacement part.  Feeling bad that half my kids may not get the chance to create in clay this year I decided to turn the clay monster project I had told them about into the paper mache clay monster project.  I had some reservations about this because making paper mache anything can be a laborious and difficult process.   What's been happening as a result of this,  is that I've been trying different approaches to the project with each of my five classes.  Here's what I've been trying so far.

I tried two types of armatures:
- Newspaper and brown paper bag armatures with masking tape, paper towel tubes and cereal boxes.
-Tin foil with a little bit of masking tape. 
NOTE: NEVER use "school smart" brand masking tape. It stinks!

To cover the armatures I tried two different materials:
Plaster gauze and paper mache pulp
NOTE: Don't try paper mache mulch to cover armatures! It stinks!

The final results? 
Tin foil armature with plaster gauze overlay.
The foil allowed the children to create more nuanced shapes and forms within their sculpture.  The paper bag/newspaper combo made for an o.k. armature but it wasn't very sturdy especially the arms and legs.  The plaster wraps worked WAY better than the mache pulp which made the monsters seem more like abominable snowman and filled in many of the subtle curves of the original armature making it bulky, heavy and blob-like.  I had never used the mache pulp before very quickly realized that it is really made much more for filling in molds than for covering armatures.
Here are a few of the tin foil monsters with plaster gauze wrap:

Here are a few of the paper bag/newspaper/mache pulp monsters (you'll be able to see the difference in surface texture alone)

I'll post a few pictures of the paper bags/newspaper/plaster wrap monsters when they are finished. 

Friday, February 28, 2014

Calder Stabiles in 1st Grade

I began this unit what feels like eons ago. Between February break and the 4 snow days and 1 delayed opening we've had this project seems endless.  Although still in-progress, I thought I'd share some examples of what my first graders have been doing.  The unit is breaking down like this:
Day 1- View a Calder stabile, discuss sculpture and balance in art and let the students "explore" the wood pieces to create balance in a sculpture. 
Day 2- View a Calder stabile and discuss, review balance and show the children how to use wood glue and brushes to glue their sculpture onto a 6x9" cardboard base.
Day 3- View a Calder stabile, discuss, and demo how to change colors when painting so as not to mix the primary colors.  Encourage the kids to paint the WHOLE sculpture and to be detectives so as not to forget/skip any unpainted wood spaces.
Day 4-View a Calder painting and compare it to a Calder sculpture. Demo how to draw from observation and give students a 14x16" piece of white paper and a pencil.  Show them how to draw their sculpture TO FILL THE PAPER and when done drawing, trace over with black paint
Day 5- Demo how to hold the brush, switch colors (review it) and have the kids paint their drawings from observing their sculptures.
Day 6- Unifinished/absent students finish up.  Read the book "Sandy's Circus"

So, as you can see from the pictures, we're not up to the painting portion of the unit just yet, as soon as we get there I'll post some more images. 


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

3rd Grade Hexagon Color Wheels

These color wheels are about 17".  I was really worried the kids would have a hard time repeating their designs but they did a pretty great job with it.  Each student got a paper triangle and a matching carbon paper triangle.  I showed them how to take an 18" paper and fold it horizontally and vertically to find the center.  After that I showed them how to start tracing their paper triangle by centering the point on the center crease and rotating.  To create the design they need to draw 3 large simple shapes and 2-3 lines from edge to edge (no floating lines).  They then used the carbon paper to trace the design.  To color the "wheel" we discussed value and they used crayons and watercolor paints filling in their designs with light, medium, and dark values of the colors.  Here are a few finished examples:

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Kinder Cool Penguins

These darling penguins were taught by the other art teacher in our school.  She used step by step guided instruction to teach the kiddies how to draw and cut the shapes that make up the penguins.  To help add personality she gave them scrapbook paper to add embellishments. Lastly, she had the kids used cardboard and caps to print on some snowflakes and designs. Too cute!