Saturday, June 16, 2012

Have a fantastic summer!

An anonymous offering from the last week of school, carefully placed on my chair where I wouldn't miss it. I can't help but feel thankful for such a fantastic year with my students!

The Cake Project

I love a good pun.

For this Art lesson, the 6th graders and I spend nearly half our first session brainstorming as many varieties of cake as we could. We began with the easy ones: birthday cake, dirt cake, angel-food cake, marble cake, and on down the line. But soon, we were all trying to one-up each other on the creativity spectrum... Cake Michigan, batter up, and eggs & cakon. After "Justin Timbercake" was suggested, we knew we had reached the pinnacle of brainstorming and got to work.

1. Students chose a title for their cake sculpture and sketched their ideas. Using the title, the sketch/sculpture present a literal translation of the words: for example, "Marble Cake" might be decorated with actual marbles.
2. Student construct cardboard armatures. We used small paper plates as a base (the really thick kind), then taped together two 3x5 pieces of cardboard to half a toilet paper roll to make the slice of cake. The top of the cake slice was traced and cut out of tag board.
3. After covering tables and bundling up students in the most heavy-duty smocks I could find, and handing out stern warnings regarding the consequences of pouring plaster down the sink drains, we covered our armatures in several layers of plaster gauze.
4. Tempera paint is applied, and various found objects hot-glued to the work to complete the effect.

Art History connection: view & discuss the cake paintings of Wayne Thiebaud!

Crab Cake
Coffee Cake

Zebra Cake

Pi Pie

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

I wonder if we could do this.

Hmm... this could be a neat concept for using iPads in our classroom.

Check out this post about the indie photo project Jumboltron.

Monday, June 4, 2012

2nd Grade Kandinsky Study

Wassily Kandinsky is one of my favorites! 2nd grade students had a great time discussing and interpreting his abstract work. We created works based on his 1923 painting Composition VIII

Discussing the idea of a focal point, each student began by gluing a colorful circle to his/her composition. We added oil pastel lines, and then smeared chalk pastel over the entire paper. The black lines were stamped with tempera paint using circular containers and the edge of cardboard strips..

3rd Grade Cel Animation

The 3rd graders gave old-fashioned animation techniques a try this spring! A colleague (who has since returned to the animation biz) let us in on the secrets of traditional animation and designed this lesson some years ago. The students view storyboards and short cartoon clips, and we discuss the work it takes to animate even one episode of Spongebob Squarepants.

Read more about the Cel Animation process!

1. Research the animation process with students. View storyboards, sample animation cels, and different characters.
2. Students sketch out an original character on 8.5x11" paper in a HORIZONTAL format (because that is the way a TV screen goes!). I have students give their character a name and write a brief character sketch including personality, "habitat," etc. Students are encouraged to think of characters based upon animals or inanimate objects come to life.
3. Trace your character to a clear transparency sheet with a permanent fine-tip black marker.
4. On the opposite side, use acrylic paint to color in your character (but not the background).
5. Draw and paint a background on a separate piece of paper. The background is done separately in traditional cel animation (so that it only had to be painted once in each scene!). We use the tempera "hockey pucks," similar to watercolors, which are cleaner and easier to handle than acrylic for this step.
6. Use clear tape to attach the dry character to the background.

A sad mouse chef

An olive, who is also a cowboy

Pony (clothes inspired by Waldo?)


Superhero Crayon!

Teddy, the car