Sunday, January 29, 2017

Agamographs-Fun Kinetic Art

I made this years ago.

So long ago I don't remember where I got the idea from, I only know it's not something I thought up. I also had no idea that it was most likely inspired by the Israeli artist Yaacov Agam, until I attended a Park West Gallery art auction with my friend last summer and saw these.
Yaacov Agam sells his art through Park West Galleries.

Now back when I made my sample, I didn't really connect artists to the projects I did with students. I referenced optical and kinetic art.  I was new to teaching art and didn't have the resources or support groups that are available today. Many of my lessons came from what I saw when I subbed in art rooms.

Having found the connection to an artist from this long ago project that I did, I was really excited to share this lesson with my students. I choose to do it with my 5th graders and it was a big hit!

To introduce the lesson I showed a very brief Power Point about Yaacov Agam along with photos of his work from the internet. There are also many You Tube videos with him and his art that you can include in this lesson.

 Students were given 9"x12" white drawing paper. They were instructed to fold it in half and create a separate design on each half.
When they were done I did a whole group, directed lesson on assembling the Agamograph.

On the back of their paper, they were directed to measure and mark the top and bottom edge at 1" intervals. Basically they made nine 1" wide columns. 
                                           I    H    G    F    E    D   C   B   A
                                         9     8    7    6     5    4    3     2     1
 Next from right to left on the top of each column they assigned an alphabet letter to it. On the bottom of each column again from right to left they numbered the columns. 

 Now it was time to cut and assemble. Knowing that everyone finishes at a different rate of time I tried to stress that they should cut ONLY one column at a time starting on the right side.
 Cut off a column, cut it in half at the fold line and then glue down on black paper (18"x 6") starting on the left side. They can start with either the alphabet letter or the number. If they start with the alphabet then this is the order in which they would glue down the strips:
A, 1, B, 2, C, 3, D, 4, E, 5, F, 6, G, 7, H, 8, I, 9

 You gotta love it when a take away from a conference is that you have been using glue sticks incorrectly for years.......... So with my new found knowledge I directed students to use the glue stick to completely cover the back of the paper. AND to have scrap paper underneath it to keep the glue from getting all over the table. (Thank you Journal Junkies!)

When gluing down the strips butt them up against each other, you can even leave a little space between the strips-JUST DON'T OVERLAP THEM! When all the strips have been glued down fold them as you would if you were making a fan. This student was one of the first to finish.
I am planning to mount them on 9"x 6" boards and display some at the county fair in February. They came out great, sorry I don't have more photos of the finished ones...... just didn't get to it.

Have any of you done this project with your students?? Anyone gonna try it now that they read this??

Thanks for reading!!


Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Creativity Outside the Art Room

In the busy world of education where I generally hit the floor running and my classes are back to back, I really, REALLY appreciate getting recognition from administration.  And the fact that I am at one school ONLY on Mondays and they remember to give me that recognition really, REALLY makes me feel appreciated. It doesn't take much to make me happy. Small gestures go a really long way with me!

Check out the creativity displayed by admin on the days leading up to winter break.

The only things I didn't find in my mailbox was the hot chocolate and pancakes..... Which I totally understood.

Anyway there are many resources available to get really, REALLY great ideas from. And believe me, I do understand all the demands placed on administration these days........... But just remember, teachers do need to know, that between the parents, students, standards AND testing that there is someone who cares how hard WE are working!

And maybe it's silly but I also loved getting these certificates!!

What does your admin do to make you feel appreciated?

Thanks for reading!!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Clay Maracas

I'm busy working on the standards relating to utilitarian objects or functional art. I always try to emphasize the fun in functional art. With that in mind, the 3rd-5th are making clay maracas. We have already done weaving, you can check out the plastic bookmarks here.

Last year I did benches click here. And the year before that I did clocks, find it here. I have some plans for chairs and birdhouses in the near future.

The very basic directions for the clay maracas are to make two pinch pots, make little clay beads, (must use the word beads and not balls..... gotta love those 4th & 5th grade boys) wrap the beads in paper towels and place inside one of the pinch pots, score and slip edges of both pots and join them together.

When students finished, they were instructed to put them on a piece of paper with their name on it, on the back table. I would then write, with the point of a compass, their name and class code. I would also create the hole in the bottom for the air to escape from as they heat up in the kiln.

So for anyone curious as to what happens when you don't put that hole in it OR you thought you did but it created a dimple instead, it breaks! This was my first explosion and hopefully my last. I was glad to figure out what went wrong. (I did glue it back together and gave the student the choice to do it again or keep that one.)

My amazing students took it one step further and created all sorts of different shapes. They also added details with their new found knowledge of the score and slip trick. Some also learned what happens when you don't score and slip........ But that's what glue is for!

 The above student is in the middle of making an Eiffel Tower.

 We have a cube and a pumpkin.

I really had too many students doing this project for me to have them glaze them and re-fire them. So students first used crayons to color them and watercolor paint to fill in between crayon lines. Basically crayon resist.
 We have the Titanic and Pokemon.
 A fox and a cupcake.
An owl, a mountain and a ball.

There were so many interesting shapes and themes created. I know my students really enjoyed it.

If working with clay is new to you I found many wonderful videos online for making pinch pots and clay maracas-SO just Google away and have some fun!

I would love to know what lessons you have for teaching functional art!

Thanks for reading!!!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Story in a Box

 Happy New Year!!  It's a good thing that I like to do projects with recycled materials. First of all I'm in a Title One school, which means my art budget in usually less then a dollar per student. And I was in high school for the First Earth Day in April, 1970. Which makes recycling near and dear to my heart.

Soooo when my school received new laptops, I received a bunch of empty boxes!!
I had planned to use the boxes last spring to do a "Peeps" contest, however I went out on medical leave. I did write how I did my project, you can read about it here. I had hoped to do it with my 4th graders last year, so it's only fair to let them do it now that they are in 5th grade.

I brought the finished project to school to show my students and they really wanted to get started. 
Because of limited storage, I decided to let only one class  at a time work on them.

In addition to the laptop boxes, my wonderful media team always checks with me before getting rid of any packaging materials that comes with stuff they order for the school. And that's how I ended up with all this great styrofoam for the students to use with their project.

 My daughter does a great job saving the tops from her daughter's food pouches. I also had a parent donate 2 giant bags full of creamer containers for a bobble head project (you can read about that here) and since I don't need those tops-they were up for grabs.

And since we are NOT allowed to use bulletin board paper, I inherited quite a few rolls of the stuff for the students to use. To set up for the lesson, tables had scissors, markers, white glue. I also had hot glue guns available for them at the back counters.

While it is fun to just go to art and make stuff from recycles-I wouldn't be doing my job if I didn't connect it to our standards. My intro to this project included a discussion on careers. When you see a movie or a play who designs the set? I asked them to base this project on their favorite book or story and create the scene for their characters.

My students had a blast!  It was an engaging project that took about 3 class sessions. Now the other 5th grade classes want to know when they can start their Story in a Box!

What projects do you do that uses recycles? I'd love to hear about it! 

Thanks for reading!