Thursday, August 29, 2013

Cardboard printmaking... a thing of the past

Today we had such an awesome art lesson that I have come home on a Friday afternoon to blog about it. Yes, it was that awesome. And simple. And easy. Let's not forget effective.

Craft foam prints were made this afternoon, and the over all effect is just stunning. The photos do not do the prints justice.

I purchased a packet of A4 craft foam from the local dollar shop. There were four sheets in the pack, two thick and two thin. I've put the thin pieces aside for another day, and we used the thickest available. This meant that our prints were lovely and clear and the foam did not rip. I cut each sheet into 4 (A6 size?) to make it go a little further.

The students used ball point pens to 'draw' their image onto the foam. It didn't matter if the pen didn't work... we just needed a good, clear indentation in the foam. Today the children had 'free choice' on what (school appropriate) pictures they wanted to draw. They went to town on it.

Next, we used the traditional inking rollers used in printmaking to spread the paint over the foam. I had the paint distributed around the classroom on plastic plates. This worked great- easy clean up and a nice, flat surface for the rollers. I think that you could also use sponges to apply the paint if no rollers are available.

At first I was worried that too much paint would result in a poor print. However, the children quickly proved that wrong. It takes a surprisingly large amount of paint to 'ruin' the print.

Our last step was to lay the foam template paint-side down on our sheet of paper and rub our palms evenly over the back. I had two pioneers ask for clean rollers to create the smoothest rolling possible. The children's excitement as they peeled the foam back was so gorgeous.

As you can see, the results were surprisingly effective for such a quick and easy art activity. I love how the children experimented with the layout of their prints over the paper.

Today's art was created by children 5-10 years old and was achievable for them all. Its a win. The inspiration for foam prints came from this website:

Monday, August 26, 2013

Kitting Out for Knitting

As mentioned in the post before, this term we have an Arts focus.

So I inquired of my students... what area/media would you like to focus on? 21 lovely littlies all put their hands up and said... knitting.

Now I love crochet, do knit some times and am an avid crafter. I must admit I was thrilled that they want to tackle knitting, and immediately began to plan the unit. I plan to integrate content on primary/ secondary colors, brights v.s. pastels, and how our color choices suit our purpose.

I hope that we will get to start off with making some small finger puppets as a learn to knit project. Teaching 21 six and seven year olds to knit is quite daunting, but i'm hoping that we will get to the dizzying heights of yarn-bombing before the term is through. Perhaps a little too ambitious.

I decided that inspiration was key, and so have set about yarn bombing our own classroom with hand-crocheted items.

 Rainbow bunting now hangs along our back wall. The wall is divided into four panels... one for spelling, one for our recent photography focus, one for knitting and the last bit (this is where the panels slide back so we can go next door) is dedicated to Maori. These panels are now festooned with bunting... and I am in love.

 The children love the bunting and our exploration table is now kitted out with baskets of wool, scissors and knitting needles. I love baskets in the classroom... affordable (op-shopped), natural looking and they suit every color scheme. The are also oh so very useful.

So a big thank you to Attic24 for the wonderful bunting pattern ( wish me luck!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Stealing Art

This term we have an arts focus, and I am almost beside myself with excitement. I have such large ambition for our artwork, and so little time... we need to get started!

Last week we were lucky to begin our art unit with a trip to the local art gallery. This was a truly fantastic visit. We we guided around the gallery by the world's most amazing educator (I spent my time rhapsodising over her behaviour management and questioning skills), and then got to make our own artwork.

The gallery provided some lovely heavy-weight watercolour paper. We did a very quick and simple line drawing of a local mountain/ocean scene.

The painting was then completed with a lovely set of watercolours.... you know the kind that are a dry block on the palette and then you add water and it works? They came out just gorgeous. I love the way the watercolours have those swishes of colour through them... even the least artistic of us all had spectacular results! I mounted them on black paper and hung them over the wire strung across my classroom. The black makes the colours pop.

The paintings are A4 sized, so I used A2 sheets of black paper and folded them in half. One painting was stapled on one side, another painting on the other. The whole thing is then slipped over the wire. I find that this is the easiest, quickest and most effective way to mount artwork. Because the large paper is folded over the wire, it tends to stay put in a breeze. If it gets too windy, a quick staple in the bottom to close the paper together usually does the trick.

This artist used a black pastel to outline her picture... amazing isn't it?