I've purchased enough gelli plates now that I can take them to school and 4 students can print at a time. In October, I had a gelli printing station. Each 2nd and 3rd grade student had a chance. I demonstrated a few techniques and then let student choose and combine how they saw fit. The most popular choice was using the positive and negative space of leaves with first generation and ghost prints.
I had many texture combs, stamps and found objects available for students to use to create their first print. The students came around the printing table, asked me to squirt the color of acrylic paint they wanted to use, rolled it with a brayer, and pulled the print. They also printed the ghost of the texture/pattern.
The students who wanted to play with the positive and negative space then chose a second paint color, rolled it out, arranged a leaf or several vein side down, and chose one of their printed papers to print on AGAIN. Next, they removed the leaf and printed the ghost. The paper with the leaf ON the plate will have the negative space in the shape of a leaf, which acted as a mask. The ghost will have the positive space showing the texture of the veins. Gelli plates show a lot of detail and texture so this pretty much always turns out cool. Different print combinations- first/first, ghost/ghost, first/ghost, ghost/first yield different results. The students enjoyed exploring and playing with the possibilities.
You can see the lesson plan on the smARTteacher.
Some students tried different ideas- layering textures or images drawn with cotton swabs.
You can make a homemade gelatin plate for printing, but I've never tried it. I've heard good things about it but buying some plates with Blick gift coupons was a quicker choice for me! I now have gelatin plates in 8x10, 6x6, 5x7, 3x5, and the 8 inch circle. I haven't even had time to try out the circle plate yet, but I'm looking forward to it!