Thursday, August 30, 2012

Handmade sketchbooks with my 6th graders

                                              an inside look at the stitching- so well done!!
                                                                 a stack of registers

                                                              a few books finished ;)
                                                       an outside view of the stitching

I am incredibly blessed this year to get a small group of 6th graders for almost an hour 5 days a week. How much we can accomplish and how much individual attention they can get from me is very special!

Our project for this quarter is making 'Zines (that is self published magazines for any of you wondering) and part of self publishing is somehow binding your 'Zine. It is very popular to use good old staples but I wanted to take the opportunity to teach them a few bookbinding techniques.

We made these sketchbooks by using four registers (a register is a stack of papers folded and sewn into the cover side by side) and the saddle stitch. They designed their covers with duct tape or cloth sports tape (that stuff is the BEST!!). I have one duct tape pro in class who even made little duct tape bows (see the photo above)- it was awesome!!

The kids seemed very proud of their work and so am I! I'm really impressed with their craftsmanship and how persistent they were at finishing them. I also love to see their excitement about learning something new. We started playing with my new sticker maker today to make & trade hand drawn stickers for our books. I can't wait to see what else they fill their sketchbooks with!!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Too cute not to share ;)

We spent time in class this week making portfolios to hold some of our art work this year. If the art work fits in the portfolio- I keep it until the end of they year ;). It helps me assess the students to see a body of work as well as assess my teaching. I also use the portfolios to pull from for the student shows.

I tell the kids when they color their portfolios that I want to know all about THEM- what they love, who they love, what they like to do, anything about them. This way I can learn something about them every time I put one of their art pieces away in their portfolio.

This particular one was from a little girl in kindergarten and I absolutely loved it!!! How great is her penmanship and spelling??

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Our "coming together" painting!!

This year our school grew from about 250 kids to almost 500! I really want the children to feel the same, wonderful family environment that we created last year so the first few projects we are doing our based around our coming together. They need to know how special they each are and that all of us are a close community- new or old ;).

Over the summer I drew the front of our school building on a big canvas and I'm lucky enough to have a fabulous 4th grade student who worked over the summer to paint it (thank you so much Jordan!!). She is getting close to being done with the painting- I'm excited to see it finished!!

I cut out little pieces of canvas fabric and in my classes this week the children all drew themselves or something that resembled a love of theirs (one of the boys drew a monkey ;)). I talked to them about how art can "symbolize" an idea and that this collaborative painting would symbolize us becoming a close school family. I am hoping to get permission to hang it in our lobby for the families and visitors to enjoy. I know the kids will be really proud to see their contribution to it.

I am getting such a kick out of pasting the little "people" on the painting- they are SOOOOO cute!!!! It put a smile on my face all afternoon after I worked on it.

I sure love teaching these sweet kids!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Art in Summer Camp, adire cloth

                                              A student applying the glue to white fabric
                                        We tested out the resist technique first with white crayon, paper and watercolor paint

I taught for one week over the summer through the camp at our school. Each week had a different theme and the week I taught was "Art around the World". One of the lessons we made were these "indigo" cloths.

I'm fascinated by the indigo cloth made in Yoruba, Africa called adire eleko which uses cassava paste as a resist. Here are a few examples that I used in my Power Point presentation...
             Adire Cloth |  Produced by the women of south western Nigeria, Adire is the name given to Indigo dyed cloth created using a variety of resist dye techniques.      artist adding wax to the cloth

 I read this book over the summer by Catherine McKinley- the book relates her experience searching for authentic indigo cloth in Africa while on a Fulbright scholarship. I was hooked from the first written word! The history is so interesting!
                                         Indigo- in search of the color that seduced the world

The process of making indigo dye is pretty intense. I researched how to make actual indigo dye and it's not off my to-do list but for now we settled for clear gel Elmers glue and synthetic dye.

I was so compelled to share this technique and  the history of adire cloth because each shape, line or pattern symbolizes a saying, a city, a life happening or event.... the marks they make are communicating, a language not made from letters. Love it!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

My (new) art room!

I was very grateful for my room last year (I did love it!!) but it was pretty small and I had to use the sink in the adjoining science room, which was tough. This year they moved me down to the room that was built to be the art facility for the school (yeee haaaw!). It is SUPER big and has 3 (count them...THREE!) sinks. Since our school is doubling in size (I'll have almost 500 students) the space and art amenities are very welcome. I am also very excited about having a door to the outside. This will open up connecting with our natural world in the art room and allows me to do lots of messy dye projects ;).

I carved out a little space to create a drawing/art library corner. I have an addiction so I'll be bringing many more books I've bought over the summer to stock my little shelves. I installed my Art Elements sorting game on the wall as well as a drawing station. Each little slot contains a drawing prompt or challenge. Because I have an intense Typography unit planned for later in the year, I framed several inspirational examples of beautiful type face. I built a frame for community sewing ;). I'll teach the kids different stitches and hope to have a nice collaborative piece by the end of the year.

For my sink organization I found these cheap ,white, plastic cups at Target. I drilled them into a piece of painted wood and used a stencil to label them. One of our awesome Kindergarten teachers saved these GORGEOUS paintings for me. I absolutely LOVE them! They have writing on them but it is Chinese so I don't know what they say. If I can find someone who can read it to me I will research the painter.

Us teachers go back to school next week.......I'll miss the summer immensely but I'm excited to fill up my new room with lots of kids making art! We will see how long it stays this organized ;).