Monday, November 19, 2018

Middle School Ceramic Gargoyles

My 8th graders weren't yet ready for too many choices  when it was time to do clay. I wanted to choose a topic that would get them interested and cover a bunch of different sculpting techniques. I remembered that my high school students had made gargoyles at League Art in the past and that other students were always intrigued with the results so I chose that topic.
We looked at a bunch of images and discussed the history of gargoyles and grotesques both practical and symbolic before brainstorming a list of features we saw in the images. The students used the list to help them come up with ideas as they sketched out a gargoyle they wanted to make.
The next day I demonstrated combining pinch pots to make hollow forms, attachment techniques, and several sculpting methods. The students set off to work on their sculptures.
When they were ready for glazing, I showed how you can dab on black glaze then wipe it off with a sponge to create a stone effect. All the students chose to glaze their gargoyles with this technique and they turned out great! A few didn't wipe off quite enough so they just have some black shiny spots instead of a matte finish. The 8th graders impressed the high school students who kept asking about the projects and who had made them. The students have steadily shown more work ethic and responsibility since we moved to 3D projects so they have shown me they are ready for a theme which is how we'll finish off the semester.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

8th Grade Koru

In June 2017 I attended the NAEA western Region Leadership Conference and one of our breakout sessions was a lesson on koru- spiral designs representing new life, growth, and peace to the Maori people of New Zealand. 
I taught a similar the lesson to 8th graders last year and ended up changing a few things and leaving it for the beginning of this school year when I was in maternity leave. 
There was a slides presentation to introduce the culture and concept to the students...

Then they start to design. This year I asked the students to trace their designs with glue on black paper and add color with construction paper crayons. They turned out pretty cool, especially after the students chose a color of construction paper to mount the work on for display.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Get started with Donors Choose ASAP to Earn a $50 Donation!

I'm sure you've heard of Donors Choose by now- the online platform that lets teachers post projects with supply requests for their classrooms and lets people who want to help your students donate money to the project- but maybe you've never tried it. This is a great time to start!

If you use my link to get started, you'll also help support my classroom!

 I've had 10 projects funded in the last 4 years including books, furniture, technology, and art supplies and it has been awesome to be able to supplement what I can provide with my budget.

Back to School with Kwik Stix!

I was provided with a brand new set of Metallic Kwik Stix to do a back to school post! This year will be a different back to school experience for me as I'm using my built up sick leave to stay home a couple extra weeks with my new baby. I've been trying to figure out some easy but fun lessons to leave for my substitute to start off the year and the Kwik Stix gave me some inspiration. 

If you aren't familiar with Kwik Stix, they are a solid tempera paint stick that comes in a form that reminds me of a glue stick. They are vibrant and bold, dry in about a minute, and are low mess. 

I don't know about your students but mine LOVE anything metallic. These aren't over the top, they just have a nice sheen. The "metalix" pack has been expanded to include more colors now, so that's a real bonus! My elementary school has a camp/adventure theme this year so 5th graders will start off with a themed project. They will use Kwik Stix to make a sky and then create an outdoorsy scene silhouette on black construction paper. I know they will enjoy the project and we'll move back to more choice-based lessons when I return. I also used the Kwik Stix to make a sign for "Camp Learn-a-Lot" which I'll put up in my empty display case to start the year. Kwik Stix are my favorite poster-making supply when I don't have time to paint one.

Kwik Stix are available on Amazon, online at Target, online and in store at Michaels, and in store at Walgreens.

The makers of Kwik Stix also produce pencil grips which are great for teaching kids how to grip pencils or for those who need some an adaptation to help them out. I will keep my set on hand in case I see a struggling student. The pencil grips are available on Amazon