April 21

GRADE 4 CLAY CELESTIAL BODIES

When we return to school after Easter my grade 4 students will be almost ready to create their celestial bodies in clay. They will have one more practice session and then in week 2 they will make their final piece.

Clay, as for most things with my students, is never a one off session. You cannot get skill development or clayworks like these without exploring the materials and tools and experimenting with ideas. Yes, it is hard work, yes, it is messy, and yes, it can be loud, especially at pack up time on my awfully thin laminated art room table tops but the students are smiling, eager and learning – what more could you want!

Whenever we are working with clay I frequently remind the students that we only have one rule for clay. I say it and the students all chant it back to me, whether they are in Preps or Grade 6. “YOU MUST BE SENSIBLE WITH THE CLAY! With the Prep students I usually take it a bit further.

“Can you stick it in your ear?’                                    “NO!”

Can you stick it in somebody else’s ear?”              “NO!”

Can you stick it in Mrs Menhennet’s ear?             “NO!”

And on it goes until they are all falling about laughing.

However, the students know this is quite serious as we then discuss the consequence of not being sensible with the clay (and the tools and the slip, etc). And the consequence is that the clay is removed from the student. They then wash their hands and sit on the floor while everyone else is working at the tables. A direct consequence like this makes sense to the students and is much more effective than a detention that would not even be on the same day!

And now back to the process………In the first session I bombard the students with images of artworks incorporating the sun, the moon, planets, stars, etc, etc.

These images include all sorts of artworks – jewellery, clayworks, paintings, drawings, sculptures, metalwork, embroideries, photography, and the list goes on.  You can find lots of images of celestial bodies on my Pinterest board.

And then I let them loose on the clay – and then we pack up and when it is pack up time NOBODY wants to, as they are all so into what they are doing.

In the second session I show them examples from grade 4 students previously. We discuss them and any interesting stuff they have looked at in their independent research and then they get stuck into their own creations/experiments again. I also put slip on the tables and remind them how to use correct joining technique – the four s words –  score, slip, stick, smooth! And they chant them after me!

Depending on the school calendar and the crazy timetable that changes constantly, the students will have one or two more sessions to practice/refine their ideas.  The students choose whether to make a flat 2D or a 3D clay piece. There are usually groans at pack up time at the end of these sessions but I do photograph any experiments the students are keen to keep in mind and then they all pack up their clay.

The students are encouraged to do their own research for inspirational images in their own time as they all have IPads and/or computer access.

By the time the final session comes around the students know that they need to complete their clay piece in one session. Most students manage this as they have been working on an idea for several sessions and get faster at creating and refining their clay piece each week.

I scratch the students initials and grade into the base of their finished piece with a sharp skewer before I put it on a rack to dry. This seems to eliminate any arguments about which piece belongs to whom which I used to have when they all did it themselves, as it is in my neat lettering. It doesn’t take long, gives me a chance for a brief chat with the artist about their work and check that it is joined together properly and perhaps send some students back to the table to fix an issue.

Once the works have been fired the students paint them. I encourage the students to think about the painting process before they start and have a plan in their head for what they want to do. Just a simple statement like this is enough to stop most rushing and slapping paint on willy nilly!

Thanks for looking. Leave a comment!

Shell

April 17

Grade 5 JOURNAL COVERS OLD AND NEW

As mentioned in my previous post I use a scrapbook as an art journal for my students from grades 1-6. Grade 5 journal cover incorporating seven elements of art line shape form texture space value Cambridge Primary School Visual Arts Grade 5 journal cover incorporating seven elements of art line shape form texture space value Cambridge Primary School Visual Arts

Every year the students make a new cover for their art journal.Grade 5 journal cover incorporating seven elements of art line shape form texture space value Cambridge Primary School Visual Arts Grade 5 journal cover incorporating seven elements of art line shape form texture space value Cambridge Primary School Visual Arts

In the past I would hand the Grade 5 students an A4 sheet of paper with a grid of boxes already photocopied on it and ask the students to choose a colour and paint each box to show the colour value.Grade 5 journal cover incorporating seven elements of art line shape form texture space value Cambridge Primary School Visual Arts Grade 5 journal cover incorporating seven elements of art line shape form texture space value Cambridge Primary School Visual Arts

Once the paint was dry (week 2) they then glued this sheet onto their scrapbook cover and gave their book a large title and  ensured their name and grade was easily readable. Grade 5 journal cover incorporating seven elements of art line shape form texture space value Cambridge Primary School Visual Arts Grade 5 journal cover incorporating seven elements of art line shape form texture space value Cambridge Primary School Visual Arts

I love how creatively these students completed their grade 5 art journal covers using scrap paper, pencils and textas.

Grade 5 journal cover incorporating seven elements of art line shape form texture space value Cambridge Primary School Visual Arts Grade 5 journal cover incorporating seven elements of art line shape form texture space value Cambridge Primary School Visual Arts Grade 5 journal cover incorporating seven elements of art line shape form texture space value Cambridge Primary School Visual Arts Grade 5 journal cover incorporating seven elements of art line shape form texture space value Cambridge Primary School Visual Arts Grade 5 journal cover incorporating seven elements of art line shape form texture space value Cambridge Primary School Visual Arts Grade 5 journal cover incorporating seven elements of art line shape form texture space value Cambridge Primary School Visual Arts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grade 5 journal cover incorporating seven elements of art line shape form texture space value Cambridge Primary School Visual Arts  Grade 5 journal cover incorporating seven elements of art line shape form texture space value Cambridge Primary School Visual Arts

This year I have changed the grade 5 journal cover completely after seeing this gem on Pinterest. This elements of art activity is by Michelle from Tiny Art Room, a wonderful art teacher’s blog. You can check out her step by step instructions by clicking on the link above.Art elements by tiny art room used as inspiration for grade 5 journal cover

It was a terrific way for the students to show me their understanding of the elements of art and decorate their journal cover at the same time!Grade 5 journal cover incorporating seven elements of art line shape form texture space value Cambridge Primary School Visual Arts Grade 5 journal cover incorporating seven elements of art line shape form texture space value Cambridge Primary School Visual Arts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grade 5 journal cover incorporating seven elements of art line shape form texture space value Cambridge Primary School Visual ArtsGrade 5 journal cover incorporating seven elements of art line shape form texture space value Cambridge Primary School Visual Arts

Initially I showed the students a scribbly mock up I had done of what a finished cover COULD look like and then I demonstrated the simple ruling up of the different sections. The students DID NOT have to follow my layout though. As long as their cover demonstrated the seven elements of art and had a clearly readable title and their name and grade, they could use whatever layout they came up with.

 

Grade 5 journal cover incorporating seven elements of art line shape form texture space value Cambridge Primary School Visual ArtsGrade 5 journal cover incorporating seven elements of art line shape form texture space value Cambridge Primary School Visual Arts

I then asked one of my magnificent Art Ambassadors to come up with a grade 5 cover for me and Farheen did a fantastic job, in A3 size instead of A4, so it would be easy for the students to see after I clipped it onto the whiteboard. Brilliant! And of course, I forgot to photograph it! 🙁

I’ll update this post with a photo of it when I get back to school as we are on end of Term 1 holidays and won’t go back to school until after Easter. 🙂

I have found that I prefer to use student samples whenever I can. It makes a huuuuuge difference! It doesn’t matter how many times I tell the students that their artwork doesn’t have to look exactly like mine, and I give them plenty of options for choice, about 85% of artworks would look as close to my sample as possible. Always….. doesn’t matter what I say…… always!This is greatly reduced when I show a range of student created samples. This is one of the great benefits of photographing student artworks.

I was also surprised at how many students struggled with ruling up the cover that I demonstrated for them. And I did demonstrate it for them, once altogether and then at every table and then for many individuals that just weren’t getting it. They did not have to use my way of dividing up the A4 piece of paper to fit the elements of art in. They could do it any way they liked but few tried anything else, even though they were struggling to rule it up. They really couldn’t figure out how I ruled up the sections! It was like I was doing some amazing magic trick every time I demonstrated it!!!

wow

These students are in Grade 5 and most of them had NO IDEA how to RULE A STRAIGHT LINE WITH A RULER! They didn’t even have to measure anything, just rule up straight lines diagonally from corner to corner. They actually had no idea how to put pressure on the ruler with the fingers of your hand without the pencil to hold the ruler still! I will use this video next time so I won’t need to be explaining it over and over and over again.

So this says to me that at Grade 5 level they had never done this before! How is that possible? Don’t they have to measure lengths in maths? Or rule up shapes? They certainly did the last time I taught maths and it wasn’t that long ago!

screaming woman

Well, ruler struggles aside, I will definitely be using this cover idea again for grade 5  as the students that persevered and finished their covers did a really fantastic job. These are artworks to be proud of! Thanks for looking and I know the students would love it if you left a comment!

Grade 5 journal cover incorporating seven elements of art line shape form texture space value Cambridge Primary School Visual Arts

Grade 5 journal cover incorporating seven elements of art line shape form texture space value Cambridge Primary School Visual Arts

Grade 5 journal cover incorporating seven elements of art line shape form texture space value Cambridge Primary School Visual Arts

Grade 5 journal cover incorporating seven elements of art line shape form texture space value Cambridge Primary School Visual Arts

Grade 5 journal cover incorporating seven elements of art line shape form texture space value Cambridge Primary School Visual Arts

April 2

GRADE 6 JOURNAL COVERS

For several years now I have been using a scrap book as a Visual Arts Journal for my students from grade 1-6. I know some art teachers prefer a fancier, more expensive, drawing book to use as an art journal but I have found a scrapbook that has almost cartridge quality paper in it for a scrapbook price, so that’s what I use.

I don’t send these Visual Arts journals home at the end of the year unless they are full. I only have my students now for one semester each year and they don’t get enough opportunity to use them and it is just a waste to send them home with only a few pages worked on. The students also like to look over old drafts and artworks and reflect, and giggle, about how much they have improved over time.

So at the start of each school year they work on a journal cover concept that is just for that year level and this makes the 800+ journals I store in the art room easily identifiable so they can be put away in the correct place if they get lost. The journal covers when complete are covered in clear contact (sticky backed plastic) to protect the student’s hard work. As they use the art journals for more than one year they just glue the new year cover on top of the old one.

 

This is the design brief for my grade 6 journal cover.

  • choose an A5 photocopied artwork (this year I had 20 different artworks to choose from)
  • choose an A4 piece of coloured cover paper for the background of your cover
  • each grade 6 journal cover must include your name and grade. This MUST be easy to read as although you are creating an artistic cover it still has to function as a cover!
  • each grade 6 journal cover must include an easy to read title, eg: Art/Art Journal/Art Book
  • the A5 colour photocopied art work must be altered in some way as part of your overall cover design, eg: cut it, tear it, draw on it, collage with it, etc

Why were there 20 artworks to choose from this year? Every year the choice grows as I add the current artist that we are looking at, this year it was MC Escher, and if any student asks for a particular artwork, I also add that to the list of those available. These were the choices for 2019.

Australian Art

  • Ghost Gums, Central Australia                    Albert Namatjira
  • Slumbering Sea, Mentone  1887                           Tom Roberts
  • Shearing the rams   1890                                       Tom Roberts
  • Angel   1988                                                              Deborah Halpern
  • Ship of fools  2011                                                   Deborah Halpern
  • Wings of life 2014                                                   Dave Behrens
  • Self Portrait    2013                                                 Dave Behrens

International Art

  • Broadway Boogie Woogie  1942-43                       Piet Mondrian
  •   The parakeet and the mermaid 1952                 Matisse
  • Mona Lisa                                                                  Leonardo da Vinci
  • The arrival of Spring in Woldgate 2011                David Hockney
  • Child with a dove   1901                                          Pablo Picasso
  • Weeping Woman   1937                                          Pablo Picasso
  • The Scream              1893                                         Edvard Munch
  • Sinbad the Sailor      1928                                        Paul Klee
  • Castle and sun           1928                                        Paul Klee
  • Sky and water 1          1938                                       MC Escher
  • Miradauro                   1958                                        MC Escher
  • The Starry Night        1889                                       Vincent Van Gogh
  • The Church at Auvers           1890                            Vincent Van Gogh

I am always blown away by the ideas the students come up with.

What do you think of these?

The students finish off with a self assessment rubric. They also assess the cover of a peer using the same rubric. If you would like a copy of this rubric please email me and I will send it to you.

Thanks for looking and a comment would be appreciated.

 

Shell Menhennet

March 28

WINGS – WHAT LIFTS YOU?

Wings Cambridge Primary School 2019 I always start off the school year with a collaborative activity across all of my grades  usually focusing on drawing/pattern and this year we made paper feathers.

feathers wings 3 what lifts youFirst we looked at Kelsey Montague‘s gorgeous wings from Nashville in Tennessee, USA.

Kelsey Montague wings Nashville Tennessee

Then we looked at feathers and wings that were created by Cassie Stephens and her talented students, again from Nashville, Tennessee.

wings feathers Cassie Stephens

And after that we looked at the feathers and wings from elementaryartfun.blogspot.com

wings feathers elementary art fun

And if that wasn’t enough to get us inspired, we also found that Kelsey Montague had created a pair of wings in Melbourne, which is our capital city. They are at Melbourne Central, which is a shopping centre right in the heart of Melbourne. They are on level 2 next to Plantation Coffee, if you want to go and look at them.

Somebody said to me that they thought Kelsey Montague had done another set of wings at Flinders Street Station but try as I might I couldn’t find an image for those wings.

One of my Grade 6 Art Ambassadors, Amber, asked her Nanna, who was heading into town on Monday, if she could see if she could find Kelsey Montague’s wings at Flinders Street Station, if she had the time, to prove they were actually there. And they are! 🙂 But she didn’t take a photo. 🙁 I love my Art Ambassadors!

So there are two pairs of Kelsey Montague wings in Melbourne. The next time I am travelling through Flinders Street Station I will make sure I take a photo of those wings to share with all the students.

 

 

So after all that inspiration this is what the students did to create their feather.

  •  chose which sort of paper they would use – plain white, coloured or patterned
  • traced a feather shape from an assortment of cardboard templates
  • added colour to their paper – paint, textas, oil pastels, coloured pencils, watercolour pencils, etc
  • students chose how they would apply their colour to their feather – just a strip of red oil pastel across the middle, sponge cool colours of paint on for an ombre effect, create a rainbow of colour with watercolour pencils over the whole feather, etc
  • students then designed/practised 5 patterns on a small 5 box photocopied strip of paper to get their brains moving from thinking about colour to pattern. Lots of pattern charts/images were available for inspiration
  • added pattern/s onto their feather selecting the material they wished to use after considering how they would get the best contrast so their detailed patterns would really stand out- metallic textas, metallic pencils, black or white fineliners, etc
  • and finally, cut out their feather carefully!

Wings feathers Cambridge Primary School 2019

Wings feathers Cambridge Primary School 2019

Wings feathers Cambridge Primary School 2019

Wings feathers Cambridge Primary School 2019

Wings feathers Cambridge Primary School 2019

Wings feathers Cambridge Primary School 2019

Wings feathers Cambridge Primary School 2019

Wings feathers Cambridge Primary School 2019Wings feathers Cambridge Primary School 2019Wings feathers Cambridge Primary School 2019Wings feathers Cambridge Primary School 2019Wings feathers Cambridge Primary School 2019Wings feathers Cambridge Primary School 2019Wings feathers Cambridge Primary School 2019Wings feathers Cambridge Primary School 2019Wings feathers Cambridge Primary School 2019Wings feathers Cambridge Primary School 2019Wings feathers Cambridge Primary School 2019Wings feathers Cambridge Primary School 2019Wings feathers Cambridge Primary School 2019Wings feathers Cambridge Primary School 2019Wings feathers Cambridge Primary School 2019Wings feathers Cambridge Primary School 2019Wings feathers Cambridge Primary School 2019Wings feathers Cambridge Primary School 2019Wings feathers Cambridge Primary School 2019Wings feathers Cambridge Primary School 2019Wings feathers Cambridge Primary School 2019Wings feathers Cambridge Primary School 2019Wings feathers Cambridge Primary School 2019Yes, this is a lot of choice and that is why the feathers are all so different. Some of the students took 3 sessions to complete their feather!

So here are some more wings photos and even a few individual feathers as well as some of the students posing in front of the wings. Over the next week or so I plan on taking all the students photos at the wings.

 

Wings feathers Cambridge Primary School 2019Wings feathers Cambridge Primary School 2019Wings feathers Cambridge Primary School 2019Wings feathers Cambridge Primary School 2019Wings feathers Cambridge Primary School 2019Wings feathers Cambridge Primary School 2019Wings feathers Cambridge Primary School 2019

And did I mention that the only way I can actually photograph the students at the wings in the main hallway is to open up the hallway window and run outside and stick my head in through the window to take the photo as I can’t stand back far enough to take the photo otherwise.

The students all think this is hilarious!

Thanks for visiting my blog! I would love it, and so would the students, if you would leave a comment.