Thursday, September 12, 2013

Sixth Grade Does Daruma

Last year, after my Asian Unit was over with sixth grade, I found this lesson from Dick Blick.  It was perfect, and I was so excited, but I had to wait until this school year.  It gave me time to get donations of plastic eggs (just send out an email, you'll be amazed by how many people give you!)

 Then I ordered larger sized metal nuts (like the kind that go on bolts) and began hot gluing. After two classes, I found out it really IS important to stuff the egg with something like paper towel (I used some plastic Easter grass I had leftover).  If you don't, the nut comes loose and their egg won't stand up very well. In this lesson the students make a traditional Japanese weighted toy that symbolizes perseverance and good luck.  Students design a creature or person on their papier mached eggs and leave the eyes blank.  They then make a goal and fill in one pupil.  When they achieve their goal, they fill in the other eye, then keep their toy/creature to remind them of their completed goals.  Just perfect for sixth graders!

First layer of papier mache (newspaper).
I had students write their names on a small piece of tape on the bottom,
you wouldn't BELIEVE how many then papier mache'd right over their names!
Next year, I'm going to change a few things.  First of all, I'll show them some real Daruma, like from here or here. This way, they'll have more background knowledge.  Secondly, I'll have them really think about their goal for a while (I thought I did a good job of that this year until I read some of them. . .) And thirdly, I'll have a few finished examples.  I used to really be on the fence about finished examples, but sometimes they just don't make high-quality work unless they see what's possible.

Weird angled shot of their eggs after
the final layer of  papier mache (with paper towel).
After all our papier mache-ing was done, we drew out our idea with extra-fine-point Sharpie and painted them with tiny brushes and liquid temera.  Here's a few:

Whole class shot--I love the penguins!

Ninja turtle in the works.

Back of the ninja turtle.
Bear with goal.

Aren't they just adorable?

A finished penguin and a penguin in the works.
Sorry for the crappy quality of the photo.

All in all, I'd call this lesson a success, and with a few little tweaks, I'd do it again!

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