Thursday, March 21, 2013

And the winners are...

In case anyone was curious about the results of our Cake Contest, here are the winners from each school!

Most Delicious/Appetizing:

Best Birthday Cake:

Most Wedding-Worthy:

Coolest Color Combinations:

Most Creative:

The winners received cupcakes from a local cafe/bakery. I got one (duh) and saved it for the next day--an incredible and rare feat for yours truly. A hot cup of coffee and a delicious cupcake was the perfect way to end a busy school day! I highly recommend it.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A few things to share

I hope everyone had a festive Saint Patrick's Day! Being married to a (half) Irishman, I have been wearing green for days and days. Check out the ridiculous card that my husband and the dog (ha) gave me:

That isn't our dog's picture, but it sure does look like him. Also, please note my green nail polish. Love!

One of my fourth graders finished his Asian Banner earlier this week and told me that he created a story using the characters I provided. I think it's so poet
-->ic: "Golden fire burns on surface of star... it's destiny." How great is that!?

Also, does anyone else use this type of block printing ink? (Yours is probably much cleaner, hehe.)

I have been having MAJOR problems with it this year. I had ordered a stockpile last year and since I hadn't gotten through it all, had leftovers for this year. And in the last week, two of my bottles have done this:

Bursting apart at the top seam. Soooo not cool! When the kids or I squeeze the bottle, ink comes out both ends. I'm not a happy woman. Storing the ink longer than a year has never been a problem for me, so I don't think it's to blame on age. Is this a recent defect that others are experiencing or is it just me? Maybe I prayed for patience and this is God's way of testing me into submission. If that's the case, then touché, Sir.

My student teacher begins this Friday. I'm looking forward to having her despite feeling totally unprepared. In fact, I should stop typing and clean up.


Friday, March 15, 2013

Asian Banners

After spending 6 or 7 classes on the Chinese Dragon Puppets, my fourth graders needed a quickie project to hold their attention and get another piece of finished work on the walls. These Asian Banners fit the bill quite nicely!

Here's the skinny on these skinny projects (har har). Kiddos grabbed a long, narrow sheet of paper and folded it accordion-style.

This year, I splurged on Dippity Dye paper.* At one building, we used liquid watercolor (slightly diluted with tap water), which gave us 6 color options; the other building used homemade liquid watercolors made from dried-out markers soaked in water. The homemade colors were far superior!

The accordion, still folded, got double-dipped into a set of analogous colors.

Papers were unfolded and laid out to dry till next time.

On the second day, we watched the following video:

Then, everyone fashioned a hanging thingamajig (quality vocab, check) for their banner. A slip knot wedged between some scrap black paper did the trick, as I didn't have enough wooden dowels, chopsticks, or some facsimile thereof and didn't care to mess with them anyway.

Students chose several Chinese characters to paint onto their banners in a vertical arrangement. (You could use any Asian language, of course; I opted for Chinese, as I have several students of Chinese descent.) I had one of my buildings use true India Ink, while the other used black tempera. While the India ink soaked into the Dippity Dye paper very quickly and therefore wasn't as easy to work with as the paint, I reeeeally prefer the look of the ink.

With black tempera

With India ink

Some of my kiddos opted to paint their names instead of a few random characters--I provided them with a website where they could look up their names to print out and bring along for the second day, if they so desired.

These bright banners will look great hanging around the halls!

* Personally, I have mixed feelings about the Dippity Dye paper. I found that thin, student-grade watercolor paper works just fine for this particular project. That being said, the Dippity Dye paper is nice and does a significantly better job of blending of colors and creating a tie-dye effect. It's extremely thin, though, and therefore easily ripped. I'm curious about the name-brand Dippity Dye--I wonder if it could possibly blend and be any more brilliant than our homemade liquid watercolors.

P.S. I'm still looking for book recommendations to amp up the art room library! Please help!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Book recommendations?

Help! I am in need of your top book recommendations for the elementary art classroom. My principal wants to beef up the art room's book collection and has given me a very generous allowance to purchase books. And she wants me to splurge for hardbacks when possible! Bless her.

So, what are some of your favorites? Help me, people.

(I'll be sharing a new project later today or tomorrow--come back soon, friends!)

Monday, March 11, 2013

Trapeze Artists

Holy daylight saving time, Batman! Anyone else teaching half-awake today?

Maybe this project will wake you up. It was a Pinterest find (from Use Your Coloured Pencils), and hits a lot of goodies--figure drawing, design, and sculpture, to name a few.

We started out talking about the art of trapeze, and looking at photos and video of trapeze artists in action! I showed a portion of this video clip, which is from one of the Cirque du Soleil shows. Despite discussing why fitted clothing and athletic bodies are important parts of trapeze, some of my kiddos couldn't control their giggles when they saw the tight costumes and muscular booties--but you'll have this with 8-year-old boys.

The kiddos' creativity really kicked in when it came to designing their trapeze artists--they were seriously PUMPED about this part! Reminds me of all the fun I had with paper dolls as a child.

Once the designing was done, the coloring began. Like Use Your Colored Pencils, we used oil pastels-- the kids loved the bright, bold finish. We had some smudges, but from a distance, it's just fine. Coloring took us into the second day. Please enjoy the following: Miss Trunchbull's trapeze twin, a man with jaundice, and Kermit the Frog, also known as a typical day in elementary art.

When the front was colored, kiddos cut out their performers and worked to make the backs match.

Then it was time to assemble (which took some students into a third day)! I showed the kids how to make the trapeze by threading pre-cut yarn through a clear straw. Other than that, they were on their own for figuring out how to get these things together. Staplers seemed to be the number one choice for attaching people to bars--ouch!

Our school's alarm system is highly sensitive (so I'm told) and therefore I couldn't dangle these from the hall ceilings, so they're swinging high in the art room instead!

The third graders LOVED these and my other students remain quite envious!

By the way,  I debated having my third graders trace a figure or make their own, and ultimately decided that drawing their own would be too time-consuming and probably quite frustrating for all parties involved. Instead, I made a stencil that they traced. If you have tried this project or plan to in the future, what route did/will you take?

I think this project is a total keeper. I also think that I need a nap.

Update: As some of the kiddos finished early, I challenged them to design a poster that would advertise and entice people to come to their very own trapeze show. Some of the results were fabulous (and hilarious!) and I cannot help but to share!

From one of my favorite children of all time... what a ham.