Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Back to Work with Mayan Masks

Ready to dry!


It was AWESOME to have two weeks off for Spring Break, now it's back to work and back to blogging!  I am so excited to watch the fifth grader's Mayan masks coming together.  My husband and I had taken a tour of Chichen Itza, outside Cancun, last fall and I fell in love with the history and art.  I bought a mask and based a clay project on my purchase.  The kids were so intrigued by the Mayan culture and were really involved in the project.  They researched the meaning of animals in the Mayan culture and also came up with their own interpretation of animal meanings.  Then, they picked two animals they felt best represented their own personalities.  We carved this into clay, fired them and finally started painting them this week.  These are the first several that are finished.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Living Thing Teapots

This may be my all-time favorite 3rd grade project!  The project starts off with plane tickets and a plane ride to Japan, which is just all the stools lined up like the seats on a plane.  The kids even get an in-flight meal of seaweed and Japanese candy!  There may also be some turbulence, but only if the kids are behaving well.  Once we land, we get in our 'bus' in front of the projector to watch a presentation on Japanese culture and beliefs.  It's our own tour!  When the tour is over, the kids get to check into their 'hotels', or their tables, where various Japanese phrases are printed.  They get a few minutes to practice writing before class is over.

The unit consists of Sumi-e painting, printmaking, origami and constructing teapots. 

For the teapot lesson, students learn all about the tea ceremony and the importance of tea and the teapot to Japanese culture.  They are told that they get to make their own teapots, to which they freak out!  Anything with clay and they are HAPPY!  But, their creative challenge to the teapots is to make them to resemble something living, animal or plant.

They get plenty of time to brainstorm, build a clay reference book and practice several hand building techniques before deciding on what to make and which technique fits best with their design.  Here are just a few of the amazing results.  I LOVE that each one looks completely different from the next.  I even saw baseball players, aliens, dragons, unicorns, flowers, and even one of me! 

A Creative Challange

I was lucky enough to be one of the first three respondents to this post on Phyl's page, There's a Dragon in my Art Room.  I can't wait to get my art from her!  As the challenge goes, it is now my turn to offer a piece of original art to the first three people to comment on this post.  Here's how the challenge works:
  • I will create a piece of original artwork for the first three people to leave a comment on this post stating they would like to participate.  
  • If you choose to participate, you must offer this challenge on your own blog or social networking site and pass the creativity forward!  
  • If you are one of the first three to respond, just send me an email with your address and I will mail you your artwork.  My email is found on my profile page. 

I love this opportunity to create and hope I will be able to make some art for you!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Apple Awards

The 2012 Apple Awards!  I was so honored to be picked as the representative for my school, it feels amazing to be nominated.  I didn't win, but that just motivates me to try to be a better teacher so I can live up to those who have won this award.

Me and the Mister

Our table and my box of presents.  The best thing in that box?  The sweet notes from students.

Me with the school secretary and principal

Dancing with the ice scraper that was in my present box.  Scraper disco!


Getting down

Sign Language Clay Initials

This was such a fun and successful project.  First, I taught the kindies the sign language alphabet.  Each kid had a worksheet illustrating every letter.  We did the alphabet together, then they were allowed to practice their name or any other words they wanted on their own.  When they had practiced enough, each kid got a slab of clay, traced their hand on it and cut it out.  Their challenge: move the fingers in the correct position to create their sign language initial.  After these adorable pieces were fired the kids glazed using whatever colors they wanted.  They came out so cute!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Andy Goldsworthy

A peak at our Andy Goldsworthy projects:

I cover him every three years, once when the kids are in primary grades and once when they are in secondary.  The primary kids stay on school grounds and we just use the rocks, gravel and twigs that we can find.  When they're older, we go down to the stream near our school to use the water, plants, rocks and cool landscape.  They beg for this every year, but I don't want them to tire of it. 
We take photos of everything and talk about 'letting go' of our art and leaving it to the environment to destroy.


Which is worse? As I was trying to pour some clogged paint, I squeezed too hard and it splattered ALL OVER a poor and unsuspecting second grader. We’re talking hair, face, clothes, arms - covered! She just sat there in stunned silence. 


When the teacher came to pick them up I announced that she should ask them the ‘S’ word that I taught them (Yes, there were chuckles). Um, I meant SYMMETRY!

I laughed pretty hard at myself today!