Thursday, November 19, 2015

Painting Factory in Adaptive

Sometimes, we just do factory day.  A day where we all make crayon rubbings using warm or cool colored crayons, then we all paint over them with the opposite color scheme.  We don't write names, we don't worry about "it's mine" or "but that one's not mine".  We just create like an art factory.

Art factory is what my adaptive art groups did for a day or two (we'll use them in collages later).  It's sometimes harder with the adaptive groups to get them to stick to a color scheme, so I stole this idea from a genius para (you know the ones, the shining stars at their jobs):

I just cut a scrap of paper that was laying around the paper cutter
so only 3 paint pots show.  I can move it around for warm colors later.
Scrap paper, scissors--sometimes the easiest things are the greatest, you know?

I'm still undecided on fish/underwater collages with these or robot collages.  Most likely, I'll let the students choose!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Tessellations: Everyone Rotate, Translate and Reflect

It's been a while since I've done tessellations with sixth graders.  I've done my multiplication + Klee lesson many times, but it's been several years since I've spent time on just tessellations.  I use the Tessellations DVD, and I have the posters too.  We watch the whole video (or almost all of it) without working (because otherwise they just copy what he does).  Then we make our tessellation piece using index cards:

And we trace them in our sketchbooks to practice.
This proved vital for later when they "lost" their piece.
Well, go cut one out of your sketchbook--problem solved!
One class (my CWC--class within a class, more SpEd students) did translation tessellations where they just slide:

Tracing with Sharpie.
That group used color sticks (those things by Crayola that are just the colored parts of colored pencils without the wooden part) to color them:

And then they added their henna hands that they'd already made:

Another class did rotation tessellations, which I totally screwed up for them.  I had them make them and practice them in their sketchbooks and trace them on green paper:

The problem came when I tried having them trace them on patterned paper to cut and glue and only after they tried it did I realize it wasn't going to work.  Art Teacher Fail.  So we quickly had to erase and re-trace them with the index lines facing down:

Of the three groups, the reflection group turned out the least best, and it was totally my fault.  Here's some finished-or-nearly-finished reflection tessellations with or without henna hands:

Tessellations are good things, but not figuring out the screw-ups before hand are NOT good.  
The group that did reflection tessellations (the hardest ones because they have to flip the piece their tracing over back and forth) traced them on red paper:

Students could add details with sharpie if they chose.

They then used construction paper crayons to color them (oh my goodness! I love those crayons so very much!!!)

They just finished today, adding their hands:

And then one of my students used the crayons to do this:

--which led to a great discussion about Robert Smithson's Spiral Jetty.

It's been a long, tedious road for my sixth graders, so they're due for a fun clay project next!

Monday, November 16, 2015


We've been working on these for a MONTH.  A MONTH.  That's like, YEARS in an elementary art classroom.  I'd decided to have one class start while the others worked on their Andy Warhol inspired pieces, which worked well until those two classes were done and then I had three classes working on these large letters (which is about 75-80 students).  My room is TINY, so there's a lot of shifting going on to find room for drying.  FINALLY, my first group finished and took them home today.  

We started with plaster in the first group and papier mache with the remaining two classes (I ran out of the plaster).

This is a great "in process" photo where you can see
the letters stuffed with crumpled up newspaper
around the paper drinking cups we taped inside
to give them a uniform thickness.

The papier mache gives them more control
(assuming they're focused and
have some experience with papier mache.)
The plaster group started (and finished) first.  After the plaster was dry, we brainstormed images that are popular for them.  If you want, you can use the Smart Notebook file we brainstormed together, and you can get it here (it's the one that says Pop Culture Initials).  They used pencil to draw their images on their dry plaster initials, then used acrylic paint to add color.  I tried steering them mostly to primary colors . . . but you know how that goes sometimes.  
Today they added detail with permanent marker:

And took them home!!! The room already feels bigger, even with 50-55 in process alphabet letters still here.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Let's Call It a Comeback

Ah, Payons! If you've taught a while, you remember these gems.  Always hard.  Stuck in the black cardboard tubes, then suddenly (without warning) slipping out and you'd find them later in a water cup.  They stained EVERYTHING.  Most art teachers I know got rid of them.  But I am not a person who gets rid of everything (see any previous posts where I speak of my hoarding ways).  So, I have a box full of them in my painting cabinet (they were here when I came 9 years ago).

This morning we were in our collaboration group and another art teacher was sharing how she's using water soluble oil pastels with styrofoam.  She has them "carve" their styrofoam with a dull pencil, then color the styrofoam with water soluble oil pastels, lightly spritz their papers with water and print.  It works wonderfully, there's more blending and color gradation and they can print several times before they recolor.  Only I don't have any water soluble oil pastels.  I have Payons.  So I tried it, and it worked:

I just used scrap styrofoam that I had.
It's just a design, not a word
(although it looks a bit like one here)
While we were all working someone asked "I wonder if these oil pastels would work on Gelli Plates?"  We tried, and it didn't work at all.  But Payons did! They create a beautiful watercolor effect when you dip the Payons in water, draw directly on the Gelli Plate and pull the print:

In case you don't know this about me, I LOVE my Gelli Plates.  I make Gelli art all the time at home (so I'm totally taking a box or two of old Payons home with me tonight!)

Unlike LL Cool J, I'm totally calling this a comeback for Payons! (And their performance may just knock you out!)

See how the yellow Payon stained the Gelli Plate?
It's not a big deal.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Little Quilling Frames

I've posted about quilling with second graders before, but the lesson I'm sharing today is actually the first quilling project I ever did with second graders.

We started out with those cheap-o chipboard frames from a catalog (they come with a larger, rectangular shaped opening, and these are the smaller ones that come attached to the larger ones).  I could've bought the little quilling strips, but I'm cheap, so I just cut them on my paper cutter.  I showed them how to roll paper, and we got to work:

Now, I'll be honest and tell you that there was a bit of whining that we had to work through, but we made it and [most everyone] did a great job.  Here's some more from our first quilling attempts:

Hearts were the hands-down winner as far as favorite things to make.

Admittedly, a terrible shot BUT you can see the size of the cut paper strips.

I surprised my class today by taping a sheet of white Scratch Art paper to the back:

I didn't tell them how Scratch Art paper works, just gave them a wooden stylus and let them figure it out.  

IT GOT VERY LOUD.  My student teacher has some app on his phone and said we made it to 85 decibels (?) which I totally believe, because they were SO EXCITED.

Here's the final work from my group today:

The excitement didn't slow down a bit when I allowed them to take them home with them today (because I never do that, I hoard everything almost everything until after the art show every year). I'm interested to see the reactions of my last two classes tomorrow and Wednesday!
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