August 20

BUT WHAT ABOUT CLAY???

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It has come to my attention that lots of Visual Arts programs/classrooms don’t seem to be doing clay anymore!

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I have developed this opinion after discussing it, off the cuff, at school, at network meetings, at our Outer West Visual Art Teachers Network Professional Learning Day, earlier this year, talking to colleagues at last year’s Art Education Victoria Conference, etc, etc, etc.

grade 1 clay 53

grade 1 clay 53

And, as far as I am aware, modelling is still a part of the Visual Arts Curriculum in Victoria.

grade 1 clay 54

grade 1 clay 54

I use clay for most of my modelling sessions. It’s fun. It’s messy! It’s cheap! And my students love it! And I love it!

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grade 1 clay 65

And, let’s face it, the Visual Arts room is the last place in the school where you are not only allowed, but encouraged, to make a mess, while you express yourself!

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So what is happening out there? Are you still doing clay at your school? Have you got a kiln that is no longer being used? Why not? Do you find it too messy? Seriously? Or is all the kiln firing too time consuming? is it an OH&S matter at your school? Why? Do you use alternative materials to clay for modelling or is it just not part of your Visual Arts curriculum any more???? Do you find it a bit scary – a bit out of your comfort zone? Would it be helpful if more networks or other bodies were offering more professional learning in this area?

grade 1 clay face 22

grade 1 clay face 22

Please reply and comment on my observation as I would really like to know what you think.

Shell

PS I have mentioned this to my students and they have been as horrified as I am that there are other students out there who seem to be missing out on such a wonderful material to learn and have fun with in the art room.

grade 1 clay face 27

grade 1 clay face 27

August 16

FIELD OF PAPER POPPIES APRIL 2015

field of paper poppies April 2015 Georgia

April 25th 2015 was the 100th anniversary of ANZAC Day.

paper poppies field April 2015 2

paper poppies field April 2015 2

I am part of the Special Weeks committee, which organizes all sorts of Special Events as part of the school calendar, at Cambridge Primary School, and we thought that as a whole school we had to do something to commemorate the 100th ANZAC day!

paper poppies field April 2015 16

paper poppies field April 2015 16

So we came up with the very simple idea of each student and staff member making a paper poppy and planting it into the ground to create a field of poppies.

paper poppies field April 2015

paper poppies field April 2015

Each grade was supplied with enough wooden skewers for one for each child but after that it was up to the teachers how they put their poppies together. There were no other rules or instructions to follow as we really didn’t want them to look all exactly the same.

paper poppies field April 2015 3

paper poppies field April 2015 3

paper poppies field April 2015 20 They just all had to be planted by lunch time on the Friday before ANZAC day, in a rather bare patch of ground, near the office, at the front of the school.

paper poppies field April 2015 19

paper poppies field April 2015 19

I started the planting process off in the morning and then was running back and forth from the main art room during the day to take photos as the planting progressed. It was lovely to lift my head up from my work in the main art room and catch a glimpse of all the heads down and bottoms up action as the students and staff planted their poppies and then stood around admiring their work and the work of others. There was even quite a reverent, emotional atmosphere around the poppy field.

paper poppies field April 2015 17

paper poppies field April 2015 17

I did find I had to stand guard when I was on yard duty at snack time though as several Prep children thought it would be a great idea to run through and stomp on all the poppies – so much for being reverent, emotional and caught up in the atmosphere, when you are 5! paper poppies field April 2015 13

My battery died on my Ipad, of course, so I didn’t even get to photograph the complete field of poppies.

paper poppies field April 2015 12

paper poppies field April 2015 12

The photographer arrived from the local paper and took a lovely photo which luckily included my Georgie.(Yay! XXX) I think that is the only local newspaper photo Georgia has ever been in for her school so it was nice she got to be in one during her final year at Cambridge PS! As this photographer was there rather early in the day I don’t think he even saw the whole field of poppies.

field of paper poppies April 2015 Georgia

field of paper poppies April 2015 Georgia

A Bright ANZAC tribute at Cambridge Primary School. “The gardens of Cambridge Primary School were a sea of red last Friday as the school marked Anzac Day. The Hoppers Crossing school wanted to mark the 100th anniversary of the landing at Gallipoli with something special, so it created a field of poppies. Assistant principal Nella Cascone said the school’s 935 pupils and 90 staff made the flowers. A planting ceremony was then held last Friday afternoon, giving everyone a chance to pay their respects. Grade 6 pupils Georgia, Ayaan and Shaubing (pictured) were among the children who helped plant the poppies.” – See more at: http://www.starweekly.com.au/news/1836763-poppies-a-bright-anzac-tribute-at-cambridge-primary-school/#sthash.a5wHAjMi.dpuf

paper poppies field April 2015 11

paper poppies field April 2015 11

At the end of the school day there was quite a crowd as plenty of families photographed and admired the poppy field, with all commenting about how it had been a fantastic idea, and some being very moved by it.

paper poppies field April 2015 8

paper poppies field April 2015 8

Susie, my Science teacher colleague, and I, waited until 4.00pm to make our sad, regretful decision. The weather was changing rather drastically, with the wind becoming quite ferocious and a heavy storm predicted for the early evening. We had intended leaving the poppies in the field and collecting them up on Monday morning but the thought of arriving at school to find the poppies shredded by the storm and dumped all over the school yard was just devastating. So regretfully, Susie, Georgie and I, and a few helpers from After School Care, packed up the magnificent field of poppies into boxes before the storm could destroy them.

paper poppies field April 2015 4

paper poppies field April 2015 4

‘They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning

We will remember them.’

paper poppies field April 2015 10

paper poppies field April 2015 10

paper poppies field April 2015 9

paper poppies field April 2015 9

paper poppies field April 2015 6

paper poppies field April 2015 6

Thanks for reading,

Shell

 

August 8

PAINTED CDs

painted CD 6 2015

I had always wanted to do some sort of outdoor mural and Cambridge Primary School has so many boring blank walls that I had to come up with something.

coloured question marks

question marks

I decided on a CD tree after seeing these trees at inspirational Coburn PS in Melton, Victoria.  Mel and Kate, the incredible art teachers at Coburn PS, invited me over to their school (well, actually, I think I might have invited myself) to have a look at ALL their outdoor murals and they have done plenty of them!

painted CD tree at Coburn Primary School

painted CD tree at Coburn Primary School

They have mosaic murals,

mosaic mural Coburn PS 2014

mosaic mural Coburn PS 2014

clay tile murals,

clay tile mural Coburn Primary School 2014

clay tile mural Coburn Primary School 2014

painted bollards

painted bollards Coburn Primary School 2014

painted bollards Coburn Primary School 2014

and CD trees!

Painted CD tree 2 Coburn Primary School 2014

Painted CD tree 2 Coburn Primary School 2014

They are everywhere and add so much to the atmosphere in their play space. So much better than bare walls!

mosaic mural outdoor Coburn Primary School 2014

mosaic mural outdoor Coburn Primary School 2014

So I decided I would have a go at a CD tree. However, like most things I do, the idea seemed to get bigger and bigger. Which grade level would I do this with? Perhaps the 5s? Or maybe the 4s and the 5s? Well, if I was going to do it with the 4s and the 5s I might as well include the 6s and what about the 3s? So, of course, I am doing it with the whole school!!!!

That’s only 940+ CDs – aaaggghhhhh!!!

screaming woman

screaming woman

 

So there will definitely be more than one tree. Perhaps it will look a little bit like this? This is a CD tree mural from Reservoir West Primary School created by Max Darby.

painted CD tree mural Reservoir west Primary School

painted CD tree mural Reservoir west Primary School

And hopefully all the CDs will fit as tree foliage on the one wall! We’ll just have to wait and see.

Gabby and Mel, who teach Prep-2 Visual Arts, tackled their CDs and I tackled grades 3-6.

painted CDs 35 2015

painted CDs 35 2015

We used Viponds acrylic paint, which is deliciously bright and glossy, as recommended by Mel and Kate from Coburn Primary School, as it is suitable for outdoor murals and will last on the CDs. I was stunned when I realized that Viponds Paint is actually manufactured in Victoria, in North Coburg to be exact. Not all that far from where I grew up in Brunswick. It always feels good to support Victorian manufacturers! You can get it from Cavalier Art Supplies in Geelong or Zart Art in Box Hill.

Viponds artist acrylic paint

Viponds artist acrylic paint

It really is gorgeous paint and I discussed why we needed to use it with the students and the huge price difference between it and ordinary school acrylic paint. They were all very careful with it and, in fact, the grade 3-6 students used less paint than I actually thought they would.

painted CD 6 2015

painted CD 6 2015

I asked the students to paint a background colour on first, which was very quick with a fat brush. I had eight students fit around one painting table and then place their wet CD onto the painting rack which was now covered in newspaper so the CDs wouldn’t fall through the holes. As this was so quick and easy to do it was easily worked around all our other ongoing activities for each grade level.

painted CD 42 2015

painted CD 42 2015

The following week the students were given back their CD and, as we had done so much pattern work earlier in the year, I asked them to decorate their CD with pattern/s.

painted CD 56 2015

painted CD 56 2015

I was so impressed with the range of finished CDs and know they will look beautiful when the mural is finally put together. That’s job number 4,095,864,345 on my to do list!

painted CD 46 2015

painted CD 46 2015

And the Prep – 2 CDs are just as lovely as the 3 – 6 ones, as well as being strikingly different! I will share some of them when I grab some photos of them from Mel and Gabby.

painted CD 11 2015

painted CD 11 2015

And as for the CDs, I didn’t buy a single one! I just asked the Cambridge Primary School staff and community to clean out their DVD cupboards and their computer desks and send all their DEAD DISKS to me! DEAD being scratched, obsolete, not working, DVDs, CDs, game console disks, start up disks for 5 computers ago, can’t even remember where it came from disks, and we had more than 1000 in no time!

painted CD 1 2015

painted CD 1 2015

So I hope you have enjoyed looking at all these lovely painted CDs and I’ll be happy to share the next instalment of putting the mural together when it happens. I’m sure the students would appreciate it if you left them a comment.

painted CD 70 2015

Shell

 

 

July 5

Grade 6 Optical Illusion drawing

I was looking for a drawing activity for my grade 6 at the start of the year and found this on my pinterest board op art that I had pinned ages ago.

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Thank you to We Heart Art who had a brilliant step by step procedure on their blog. It was a fantastic activity as it required few materials and soon had the students totally absorbed in their work.

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I must admit to being horrified at the grade 6 students poor ruler skills so was glad to provide them with this much needed practice!

opart 002

After looking at this set of samples all agreed that they would like to put themselves in the illusion, so when they were tired of ruling and colouring neatly they used their ipads to take photos of each other falling into 3e6ab44ae72303d30cf33c62c09b25e3what we all thought looked like a mysterious portal to somewhere else.

The photos were then to be emailed to me so I could have them printed off for their next art session. It was supposed to be so simple but the amount of students that did not have their email set up and running on their ipad was ridiculous. I also pointed out to the students that as they have their ipads all the time they could take their photo and send it to me any time rather than waste their art session doing this bit. A few students did this and emailed me their photos from home but most forgot about it until their next Visual Arts session.

I am certainly not the type of Visual Arts teacher that spoon feeds her students so they were responsible for getting their photo to me for printing. It became plainly obvious fairly quickly that there were lots of students who had forgotten all about getting their email settings sorted out and/or taking their photos in their own time. I absolutely refuse to fuss over students who don’t fulfill a simple requirement in a timely manner. Learning to use your one hour of art time well is part of being a responsible student but not having had this  particular cohort of students for a long time ( I have taught Prep – 3 the last few years) it was clear I was going to have to spend a lot of time pushing them to become more responsible for their own learning.

They did get there in the end and all were proud of their finished pieces which made an amusing display in the main hallway!

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Grade 6 optical illusion drawing

Grade 6 optical illusion drawing look out 2015 20

Grade 6 optical illusion drawing look out 2015 18

Grade 6 optical illusion drawing look out 2015 18

Grade 6 optical illusion drawing look out 2015 8

Grade 6 optical illusion drawing look out 2015 8

Grade 6 optical illusion drawing look out 2015 10

Grade 6 optical illusion drawing look out 2015 10

Grade 6 optical illusion drawing look out 2015 16

Grade 6 optical illusion drawing look out 2015 16

Grade 6 optical illusion 2015 L

Grade 6 optical illusion 2015 Look out Georgia

Grade 6 optical illusion drawing look out 2015 17

Grade 6 optical illusion drawing look out 2015 17

Grade 6 optical illusion drawing look out 2015 19

Grade 6 optical illusion drawing look out 2015 19

Positives:

  • Fantastic activity for the start of the year
  • needs little in the way of materials
  • many interesting discussions about colour, shading, line etc
  • students very supportive and encouraging of each others ideas
  • hilarious acting in the photos
  • practicing ruling lines
  • practicing cutting tricky shapes
  • practicing terrible colouring skills!

Negatives:

  • Some students were incredibly sssllllooooowwwwww to get this finished!
  • internet, email, etc never work when you want them to
  • many beautifully drawn backgrounds without photos to finish them off due to students not taking responsibility to get this bit done

Thanks for looking and I’m sure the grade 6 students would love it if you left them a comment!

Shell