Instagram: Makeamark_artroom

Monday, April 25, 2016

Earth Week: Kinder through 5th

Last week, we celebrated "Earth Day" every day in the art room. We used recycled materials to create our artworks. Thanks to some really wonderful staff and parents who provided us with recycled supplies, we had a bounty with which to work. I still have several boxes  CDs left over from the library donations!

Each class, we began by discussing why protecting our planet is important. Students from kindergarten up through 5th grade made points about how a healthy planet is good for all living things. We talked about how we can do small things like recycling to help with waste and pollution. One of our enduring themes was recycling plastics so that they don't end up in landfills, or worse, our oceans.

Ocean pollution is a real threat to our marine ecosystems. Almost all of my art students got the opportunity to recycle plastics in their art making as a way to re-imagine the material. Some classes went a step further in demonstrating art activism in creating a collaborative mural to raise awareness about ocean pollution.

Here are some examples of the work we did!

Kindergarten recycled CDs from the school library to make tropical fish! They used pattern and color to make the scales using sharpie markers and cut shapes for fins. They were incorporated into the art activism mural.

1st graders recycled mixed materials from donations and the art room scrap bins. They used collage techniques to create a recycled robot. One class got to use donated corn starch packing peanuts to make sculptures. Just add a dab of water, and VOILA!, they stick together! Another 1st grade class created Spring blossom trees with recycled paper bags.



I love how she matched the Sharpie hair to the yarn she chose.

The magic of corn starch peanuts in action!

A baseball player at bat!

2nd graders recycled plastic bags and lamination trimmings from the library to assemble jellyfish. We talked about how sea turtles mistake plastic bags for jellyfish and eat them, which makes them sick or even die.
I didn't capture too many  photos of this lesson...womp womp!

3rd graders recycled plastic bottles by cutting them and coloring them with sharpies to produce tropical fish sculptures to go with the art activism mural.

4th graders recycled CDs by producing mandala designs with sharpie markers. They showed radial symmetry in their compositions.

5th graders got an extra week to work on their clay sculptures due to a field trip that happened during clay week. We did make some time at the end of class to discuss Earth Day and how artists can use recycled materials to make powerful works of art.

My intermediate Pathways class assembled recycled robots as well, but used more advanced building techniques.

I think we had a great time making recycled artworks. I hope that my students learned about how they can make a difference in their art making as well taking care of their planet.  Here are some additional resources if my artists want to learn more about how artists use recycled materials to make fine works of art. 

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Clay Week!

Phew! Clay week came and went and boy am I tired! Prepping almost 500 balls of clay for students is hard work. Then there is the teachin' part! Now that the dust has settled, haha, get it? Clay dust? I want to share some of what the students have been making.

I chose "Animals" as the unifying theme for Clay Week. I wanted to add in some science during clay week since Earth Day is coming up around the bend and Spring has sprung in our neck of the woods.

The sweet kinders were introduced to the internet senstation, the Pusheen Cat. They loved it! Along with the kitty they discovered the clay. They learned how we get clay and the basic stages of how clay changes to make a ceramic piece.

We then began by making a basic pinch pot that we squeezed around our thumb. Then, we did some pinching and pulling to model the ears and rolled a small piece of clay to make the coil for the tail. They learned how to attach clay using the score and slip method and etched in the kitty's features using a wooden tool. 

The first grade created slab fish inspired by...wait for art ed guru Cassie Stephens. The students learned the slab and coil technique in sculpting their fish. I showed them the demonstration video I made while we worked so that I could have my hands free to assist in their production. I swear, these videos saved me this week! I didn't have to repeat myself and was available to do the hands on work of teaching. Next year I am making demo videos for all of my clay lessons!


 The second grade created portraits of Indian painted elephants using a more advanced slab and coil technique. I can't wait to see them in color!

The third grade sculpted sea turtles using the pinch pot and coil technique. We busted these cute little guys out in 40 minutes! It was amazing! I had a demo video for them as well. I did have to deviate from the video for the flippers because hand modeling was too tricky for them. We rolled and flattened coils instead and that seemed to be the way to go.

Look at that detail!
The fourth grade sculpted a bird nest and bird. They used coil and modeling techniques to produce their clay works. I created  a demo video for them and it seemed to go great! Originally I had wanted them to make a bird bath instead of a nest but we just didn't have enough time. 45 minutes fly by when working with clay. They could have spent hours! 

Fifth grade gets 2 art classes to sculpt their chameleons. They are using coil and modeling techniques to produce their sculptures.  I seriously can NOT wait to see these reptiles painted!

Clay week is over but now comes firing all the pieces! I will spend the next week babysitting the kiln for a couple hours each day after school. All the work will be worth it when the kids see their clay transformed into a ceramic sculpture. Fingers crossed nothing breaks!

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, April 8, 2016

Straw Loom Weavings by 3rd Grade

The 3rd grade artists went bananas for this method of weaving! They learned how to warp up 4 large drinking straws and weave cuffs, bracelets, bookmarks, and scarves! The method of "drinking" the yarn with a small sip to pull the yarn through the straws made all the kids giggle. Who doesn't love a little silliness in the art process?!

Each artist was instructed to create at least one complete weaving but most made 2 or more! This is a really easy and inexpensive way to weave. It is perfect for long car trips, waiting rooms, or just relaxing at home or outside. Here is how we did it.

Step 1: Students were to wrap tape around the 4 warp strings (yarn) tails to each straw after they "sipped" the string through.

Step 2: Tie an over hand knot with all 4 strings at the bottom below the straw.

Step 3: Cut the first weft and begin weaving the long tail back and forth or over under with the dominate hand while holding the straw loom with the non dominate hand.

Step 4: When the weft is almost done, cut a new weft and repeat the weaving process until the entire straw loom is woven

Step 5: Pull the weaving downward to the bottom know, un-tape the straws, slide them off, and tie another over hand knot at the top of weaving to keep it from unraveling

Step 6: Trim the tails and excess warp string length and enjoy your weaving!

Here are some results!

Thanks for stopping by!