Tuesday, November 23, 2004
Today Kayla stood at the chalkboard. She was dancing around and making
swooping lines all over the board. She would then erase the lines and start
again. Finally she announced that she had finished her drawing. This is what
After she left the chalkboard Kayla used the shapes she had drawn to create a
folded painting. She later told me that she was initially unaware of the
connection of her painting and the drawing.
Thursday, November 11, 2004
When the third grade got to use the Beautiful Stuff collections the students
were quick to incorporate the tiny objects into their puppet making. Here are
two lady puppets with their bead "vegetables".
Cathy Topal's Beautiful Stuff curriculum continues to be a marvelous addition to our art program (BEAUTIFUL STUFF, Davis Publications, 1999) Third graders are using the collections now and are helping to sort leftover objects. Some children really love to sort! They are using the objects on collage, puppets, sculptures and even in their altered books. In our choice classroom students seem to take to new materials easily and incorporate them into work that they already like to do.
The puppet center opened up for the first graders. This center, designed by Bonnie Muir several years ago, contains five puppet body choices and lots of "spice" to decorate them. Because of the Beautiful Stuff Collection, the first graders had lots of wonderful stuff for their puppet embellishments.
Wednesday, November 10, 2004
Silkscreen printing needs a lot of plain old management, and traffic direction, to have it as one of
our choices. Here is how I have done this for a long while with third grade students:
I use the silkscreens in a way which lets lots of students have a chance to use them; however I usually have fewer than 16 try it the first week due to other center choices.
I have one table set up with 6 screens, three on each side of the table. Next to each screen is a container of fingerpaint with a wooden ruler stuck in it (to get the paint) I start with red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple. One squeegie on each screen.
Second table is set up with piles of 12x18 paper, light colored construction as well as white. Also on the table a cup of pencils.
Third table has some ugly color of leftover construction paper. Does not matter what color. Also scissors.
Smocks and/or aprons available.
1. choose four pieces of paper from second table, write name and room number in pencil lower front corner.
2. procede to third table and cut 3-5 med sized shapes from const paper. do not expect any "intelligent" cutting right away. students can't plan this till they have tried it a few times.
3. put on smock/apron and push up sleeves.
4. Check with teacher to make certain all these steps have been followed
5. go to screen table, pick first color.
6. Move screen, place four papers on table, arrange const paper shapes on paper, top with screen.
7. plop some fingerpaint on screen and squeegie over all.
8. lift screen: const paper stencils will now be attached to screen and first paper will be printed.
9. remove top paper, replace screen and repeat squeegie-ing
10. each child makes four copies of the same color. Colors will vary, due to the colors of the paper chosen (sometimes one of each color)
11. If a lot of children wish to print and there is a back up, the student who is waiting for the green fingerpaint screen stands behind the printer and assists, lifting the screen, carrying the wet print to the drying area.
12. As soon as the four copies are complete, the printing student peels the stencils off the screen and throws them away. Next student uses screen.
13. Student washes hands
Our classes are only 40 minutes. Usually the first day students only print one color.
each set of four prints is put in a pile on the table. Other tables set up as previous week. All students must print a second color. (teacher demos) Students follow previous steps, except for choosing and signing their papers. With their four prints on the table students arrange new stencils to create some overlap when the second color is printed. New shapes are created, new colors are made. Registration is not a problem for me: these are abstract shapes for the most part; if the registration is slightly off some very great looking edges are created.
It is at this point that students seem to start understanding the process and the manipulation of positive and negative space. Some of them move to a third color, but without stacking the damp prints of course.
Week three they evaluate their four prints; some add more colors, some paint or draw into them, some cut them up and collage them.
These are very loose and colorful art works. There is nothing rigid or planned about them. Children who continue with silkscreen printing gain a lot of control over what happens on their paper but that control is NOT the first step. You may see examples of grade three screen prints in our online art show:
Sunday, November 07, 2004
Collaborative art work happens organically in the choice-based art room.
Many students plan their collaborative work before they come to art class. These
students are celebrating local sports teams at the chalkboard.
These are very tiny vehicles that some students are making using black
buttons. One child teaches another.
This is a photo of my stand-up "desk", from my former principal's discarded
kitchen cabinets. A student is using the low temperature glue gun to solve a
challenging sculpture problem.