Sunday, December 18, 2016

Clay Hearts

I have been doing this project for years. I remember attending a planning day in my district and everyone brought finished clay projects to share along with directions. I'm pretty sure this lesson came from a magazine article and I apologize up front about not finding the original source.

It's a great beginner lesson, it introduces some key vocabulary words, but I'm beginning to think all the prep involved is just too much!

The first week students practice with Play Doh. Meanwhile, if I'm lucky, I get the older students to trace hearts onto scrap laminate film and a parent to add student names and class codes, color coordinated to match the table they sit at. (Makes it faster to hand out.)

I put down plastic tablecloths and clay boards. When students come in I model for them using the following vocabulary words: wedge, coil, sphere, smooth, thick, thin..........

 They are to use a coil to outline the heart and then spheres and coils to fill in the heart.

 Then they need to smooth it out. Interestingly they are working front to back. In other words, the front is touching the laminate film, so they need to turn it over to see what it looks like.

Then they place it on a wooden board, where I need to continue smoothing it out for them. And some of them, need clay added to the back to make it thicker so it won't break and I scratch their name and class code onto it. (Using the point of a compass.)

When they are dry enough, they get loaded into the kiln and fired. Which takes a full day.

Then students colored them with oil pastels. I attached some raffia and voilĂ .

 Some students wanted an antique finish, I used watered down black tempera for that.

They were then wrapped with a piece of cardboard and donated bubble wrap in bulletin board paper to hopefully get home in one piece.

They really do come out beautiful......
Normally I would do this with kindergarten students, but since I haven't done clay in 2 school years I opted to do it with k-2nd. I felt they needed to catch up. Last year I got hurt before I started clay and the year before we were in the middle school and access to the kiln was difficult. Soooo I think I see more clay in the future since I managed to use my new kiln without blowing up the school!

What's your favorite one day clay lesson?

Thanks for reading!  Hope this week, for those of us working, goes fast!! Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Rewards-Yay or Nay?

 I have had a treasure chest in my art room for years. I have changed out how they earn something from it several times now. This year I started issuing Depp $'s.  (I must credit my daughter with this idea or I'll hear about it!) Anyway they are magical at times. More with the younger students then the older ones. Students can earn them by being the quietest table, the table that cleans up first OR if they have a spectacular answer (one I wasn't expecting) to a question I asked. I will admit it has been a hectic year and I need to give out the Depp $'s more frequently.

Students are instructed to write their name on the back of the dollar and store it either in their student pocket folder or their class box. My plan is to have them pick from the treasure chest quarterly.

Sooooo you might be wondering where all the wonderful goodies come from that end up in the treasure chest, 'cause I know you're thinking you can't afford to do this.

My greatest source for this is conferences. I visit the vendors multiple times, and the little hoarder that I am, I grab up the free samples. (Yes, I actually take an empty suitcase with me.) The way I see it I am building brand recognition among my young artists.  

Another source is the movie theater. What you say? Kids love getting the 3D glasses that I save after going to the movies. Funny story-my daughter donated a bunch of little things for the treasure chest, which included 3D glasses from a movie we took my grandson to. And what do you thing he wanted from the treasure chest?? Yeah, the glasses! My daughter was not amused...........

I get donations to the art room all the time and sometimes that stuff will make it into the treasure chest. I have bagged up crayons and leftover colored pencils at the end of the year to put in the treasure chest. I have also made little sketch books from paper scraps. 

Samples from art fund raisers also make it into the treasure chest. As well as prizes from cereal boxes.

Inexpensive  stuff can be purchased from Oriental Trading. Or one of the many Dollar Stores that have popped up ALL over the place.

Anyway, my grandson helped me to determine what amount of Depp $'s the items should go for. And we put them in the different bins. So technically I will store things in the treasure chest, but they pick from the bins.

Apparently word has gotten out about the Depp $'s. A first grade teacher told me she was giving a lesson on economics, saving your money versus spending it and the students responded with "oh, you mean like Depp $'s?" Art, math AND economics! Oh yeah!!

I know there are many different opinions on having rewards for students. And I'm not gonna lie-it can be a hassle, especially since it takes up time that I would rather see them working. And I know some will argue that learning and being college and career ready is their reward. But I also believe that we all need to do what works for us in our environment. I'm at a Title One school and the kids love the stuff I collect for them.

Do you have a treasure chest? What are your thoughts? Yay or Nay?

Thanks for reading!!!! And if you get the January issue of School Arts Magazine, check out my clip card!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Weaving With Little Ones

The beginning of November always has me thinking of Thanksgiving. And Thanksgiving makes me think about doing weaving projects. (Yeah, I also think about all of my favorite foods .......) Pretty sure back in the day I was weaving paper place mats when I was in elementary school.

Anyway...... I wanted something really simple for my kindergarten and first grade students. This project goes back YEARS! Pretty sure from when I was a scout leader. What I told them was: this was an intro to weaving. Also, a great intro to sewing because of the up and down motion. We used plastic canvas, which was donated to the art room along with plastic lacing donated by my sister. Which I lugged home from New York last time I was there, and I wonder why the TSA always leaves notices in my suitcase???
Anyway......... I was able to cut each sheet into 26 bookmarks. They each measured about 1" by 5". Early finishers in 4th grade grade and I cut the plastic lacing about 7" long.

 I started the lesson by reading the book The Goat in the Rug. I loved asking the students what they thought the book was about after telling them the title. They just assumed a goat is wrapped up in a rug. They also enjoyed the fact that the book was told from the goat's perspective as she explains the steps required to turn her wool into a rug.

Then I demonstrated the process on my Elmo, which is a camera that projects onto my white board, how to weave the plastic lace through the plastic canvas. Not gonna lie, I wasn't sure my kindergarten students were going to be capable of this, so I was pleasantly surprised with the awesome results.
I had students take one piece of lacing at a time to cut down on waste. If they take all the pieces they need at once, they tend to lose them. Also, my students have pocket folders to put unfinished work in, so I didn't worry too much about putting names on the projects. You could have students put them in envelopes with their names or wrap them in paper with their names.

 This first grade class loved just sitting on the floor weaving together.
This project cost nothing to do with my students-which is the greatest thing there is. But if you aren't quite as lucky as me, you can find the plastic canvas at Michael's for .69 cents a sheet and their brand of plastic lacing for about $3 a spool. Overall not a bad deal. Also, consider sending out an email in the event staff or parents have some of this stuff they would like to get rid of.

This project was extremely cart friendly as at one point last week I needed to be on a cart due to a controlled lock down.

Thanks for reading and happy Thanksgiving to all!

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Fall Fun

I love the fall. I love the colors. One of my favorite lessons to do with my little kindergarten students is mixing up the color orange. They think is is so magical that the yellow and red paint turns into orange.  Since time has had a way of slipping from me lately, we didn't actually mix up the color until the week before Halloween, which meant by the time they returned, Halloween would be over and I didn't want to have them design Jack O' Lanterns. So instead we created patterns on our pumpkins.

 For little ones, I think they did a great job!

My older students were already working on patterns and learning how to fill up a space with a repeating pattern. They had a choice of using a pumpkin, leaf or boot shape (cooler weather=boot season?) They used a pencil first, Sharpie over their pencil lines and then water color paint.



 I'm convinced art teachers understand other art teachers. So when I say I had stuff running through my head as to what I could contribute to the fall festival I know you will all understand......

I was thinking collaborative, lion, use supplies I have..... Photo with lion?? What position should the lion be in?? What lion do I use? What kind of time do I have? How will he stand up?

 I decided on using the lion from the shirts the PTO were selling as a fund raiser. I changed out the tail so that there would be less of a chance of it breaking off.
A BIG thank you to PTO dad, Mr. Barnett, who donated the plywood and made the stand for the lion. ALSO another BIG thank you to PTO dad, Mr. Hersh for cutting out the lion!

 I first drew the lion using chalk, to be able to erase mistakes. then drew it in pencil and finally used a marker to show where it needed to be cut out.

 I had a couple of students prime the board for me and another student paint the shirt. I used a tempera paint to prime as I needed to try that paint out in anticipation of a future project I have planned. That was a mistake because it mixed with the wet paint being used to cover it.

I ended up switching to acrylic paint but haven't sealed it yet because I was afraid the colors might run. Will worry about that next week, now that the fall festival is over.

 Having never done this before, I learned a lot. I love how it came out and was happy with it's success at the festival. It is something that I hope will be around for a while.

Below is AP-Mrs. Bonnet and Principal Mr. Barker with our newly minted "World's Famous Lion".
Thanks for reading! 

What type of special events do you do at your school and how do you contribute?