Thursday, May 26, 2016

Fish Surprise- One day Make-and-Take or Sub Plans

I have a lot of outside fun planned for my last couple days of art class but mother nature has been teasing us with a chance of rain almost every day. This means that I had to come up with a back-up lesson.  Thanks to my amazing online tribe (via Facebook, Blogs, and Twitter) I have a plan... a Fish Surprise.  This clever drawing is magic for all age levels and it's a great make-and-take in one hour.

Ways to challenge your students after trying a fish might be to give them the following challenges or prompts. 
  • Can you make your fish doing something other than eating something else?
  • Can you use this idea of expanding in a different way? A different animal or object?
  • What other mediums could you use for this?
  • Could you make any of this project 3-D or pop up?
  • Could you make a series or book with this idea?

Monday, May 23, 2016

Chalk Knees, Lesson inspired by Shine Brite Zamorano

We beat the rain today, and have lucked out for some of my other sections by being able to get outside to create our art.  A while back I requested some chalk from the families of Hassan Elementary. I was overwhelmed with the response. The families were able to provide plenty of chalk for some great learning through play. 

Once again, I was totally inspired by Don Masse. Art teachers have a style... we can appreciate a lot of art and different projects but when it comes down to what we make in our classrooms.... it typically fits into a 'style'.  That is why I like the contemporary projects from Don's blog Shine Brite Zamorano.   He posted about his activities/projects based on the work of Heather Hansen.  When he posted it to Facebook other artist were brought up such as Tony Orrico.  I used both the video of Hansen's work and the example of the project from Don's blog (Thanks friend). 

Now that my eyes were open to this art form I started seeing it everywhere. Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook had plenty of posts about projects similar to what Masse was doing in his classroom.  An example of where I saw this lesson online is from Miss Lee (check out her Instagram, she is amazing!) 

Had to give it a try in my classroom too. Here are the slight changes that were helpful for me.  I started with the videos on Don's blog.  Then I explained that we would be using the seems in the sidewalk to create lines of symmetry.

I had the kids prepare for the mirroring project by doing a 'follow the leader' activity.  They were asked to do whatever their partner did as if they were in a mirror. 

Then they did  the same thing with 'fake chalk'.  They drew the invisible line on the ground and copied each other.  This allowed me to watch to make sure they 'got' the concept before they were to get started.  It was a little tricky for my 3rd grade to mirror one another.  Finally we were ready for chalk.  I distributed the chalk to them in a color sorted buckets.


The students drew with one color for about 2 minutes and then I had them pack up the colors and pass them to the group next to them.  We had time for several color changes in the hour long class. 

My students LOVED this project.  They were so messy and happy! The art has already been washed away with the rains this afternoon but the process was totally worth it.  Students who have done this project last week reported giving it a try at home and asking parents to participate.  That is when you know you have a winning lesson... when they do it at home.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Sushi- Games, Part 3

So we have finished the sushi plates, and fiber sushi rolls... now it's time to take these items home, but first, LETS PLAY!

The day the students got back their sushi rolls and clay sushi plates was a BIG day for every class.  I passed out all the clay and then the sushi.  I surprised my classes by also giving them some chopsticks.  The classes laughed as they learned how to use the chops sticks and practiced by picking up their rolls.  They played make-believe as they pretended to eat the rolls.

I played three games with them using the chopsticks and rolls.  This was a lot of fun for each class two and in my mind, it was working on some lacking fine motor skills that our students have today.  It also was team building as students had to work together. Take a look at the following video to see how we played the games. 

At the end of the hour (last 15 minutes or so) I asked the students to start working on the pre-plans for our next project. As they did that, I went around and wrapped all the sushi rolls, plate, sauce dish, chops stick rest and chopsticks in for easy transportation in the hallways and home.

It was such a special day and the kids went home feeling like they had a little gift all wrapped up.  This is a repeat lesson for sure.  I loved working on this project with my 3rd grade.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Sushi- Fiber Rolls, Part 2

After making the clay sushi plates, I wanted to show my students what sushi is.  I work in an area where most students are privileged enough to have tried or a least have been exposed to sushi.  However, I never take anything for granted.  I know that there are a hand-full of students that would say 'yes, I know what that is' simply because everyone else seems to know.  I don't mess with food in my classroom for a couple of reasons.  One, Art rooms are dirty. Two, there are two many allergies to keep track of when you teach 800 kids. Three, I couldn't afford the materials for every student to learn how to make sushi rolls. I came up with a wonderful solution to this dilemma... make fiber sushi.

First, I showed my students how I make sushi at home.  I used to make 'peanut butter sushi' for my kids (peanut butter on a flour tortilla wrapped up in a roll).  Now my kids love our California rolls and they eat it with us.

I had to smile, every class gave me a round of applause after showing them how I make sushi. I asked if they wanted to make some sushi??  They were jazzed!  I told them our sushi was going to be made of fibers and explained what that was, then showed the video.

As they were watching, I was setting up the tables.  Each table got a couple of glue bottles and a bucket of fibers. Scissors were chosen by each student (and washed by them at the end of class as well).  Prep work for me?? Well, I did cut the fabric to the right size for the rolls (1 1/2 inches by 5 inches), but the rest was just finding the yarn and fibers from around the room and placing it in a bin for the students to share.


As the video wrapped up playing, I asked each student to write their name on a bag (or a sheet of paper) on the side of the room.  This was where they could place their rolls when they were finished.  I discovered that students were not able to make the final cut on the rolls because of the student grade scissors I have, so I did that portion of the project for them because I had some fabric scissors available to me.

The first day I said line up and write your name on a sheet of paper.  They all bounced up because they were so excited and pushed and shoved to get in line to write their name.  I discovered on day two a better way to have students write their name on the side counter top and get started working.  See the video on my new system.

The kids worked hard!  Most students were able to complete two, but some only 1 and I capped them at 3. The rubber bands were over by where they were to leave the rolls so they simply placed a band on their roll and left it for me to cut.

The rolls were cut over the next couple of hours as different classes came in and started to work on their projects.  It was also a chance to let these rolls dry a bit before placing them in a baggy for the students to get back the following week.

That wasn't the end of the sushi... Come back tomorrow to see the fun activities we did with the plates and fiber sushi rolls. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Sushi- Clay Dishes, Part 1

In our Art Teacher Swap, Mrs. Davies created sushi plates with 3rd and 4th grade.  It was kind of an experiment to see what age group is most appropriate for this lesson.  I think it was successful with both, so if I were to do this again with my students, I would place it in 3rd grade because they study Japan.

With me, the students glazed their work.  I did some experimenting with some of the classes as well.  I allowed some of the classes to add color to their dishes with their glaze. Others, I only allowed them to use clear glaze on their works.  I used a dipping method after I waxed the bottom of the dishes.  This year I used a dry mix to glaze with... I have much learning to do in the area of glazes... I think I'll stick with the pre-mix after this.  Some of the glaze didn't stick at all and other areas turned white instead of clear.  Some of them even dripped.  As you can see I also asked students to mix up the glaze every time because it would settle on the bottom so fast. 

Some of the finished works were stunning...

I loved how some of the students discovered new, creative ways to make their chopstick rests. 

There were even some students who created their own utensils.

No matter if these plates were simple, or very decorated, they were adorable!  My students really enjoyed this activity. 

There are two more posts about where how this clay lesson developed and turned into a fibers lesson as well.  Be sure to come back and check out Fiber Sushi and Sushi Games in the next couple of days.