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

December 5

GRADE 2 DAVE BEHRENS INSPIRED DETAILED DRAWINGS AT THE CAMBRIDGE PRIMARY SCHOOL ART SHOW

 

As mentioned in previous posts, the Grade 2 children were inspired by the work of Queensland artist Dave Behrens. We looked at his website on the projection screen and even watched a video of him in his workshop.

 

The children were itching to get started after looking at the amazing squiggles, lines and symbols that go together to make Dave Behrens amazing paintings.

 

We started off small with each child decorating a rectangle to add to a whole grade piece of work.

 

They then chose a template to trace from a heart, a circle or a person. Some children found looking at the whole empty shape daunting so they used rulers to break the space up into sections to fill.

 

They were so proud of their work when it was finished and they looked terrific displayed together at the Art Show.

October 3

GRADE 1 SHAPE COLLAGES

 

These lovely geometric shape collages were completed by the Grade 1 children earlier this year.

Grade 1 shape collage 2013 25

I had done this sort of activity  several times in the Art Room over the years and I’m always amazed with what the children come up with.

Grade 1 shape collage 2013 46

I purchased the fantastic double sided cardboard mosaic pieces from Zart Art, which I had used before, including the lovely shimmery squares you can see in the butterfly above, and was thrilled to find they also had packs of patterned triangles which were new.

Grade 1 shape collage 2013 54

I was horrified to find the triangles came in sheets which I had to press out myself (as they were a little too delicate for the children to do if I wanted them to stay triangular!) so I spent one lunchtime breaking up the whole packet of sheets. This was quite a zen/bizarre/ almost therapeutic activity I found which wasn’t as time consuming as I thought it would be. Next time I’ll probably get some older helpers to do it for me so I don’t totally lose my mind! It was much better than cutting up triangles myself like I used to do!!!

Grade 1 shape collage 2013 58 

I absolutely love the woolly sheep above! I found the circles and the blue/white squares with rounded corners in a box in the store room! Who knows where they came from but they must have been offcuts from something that were donated from a parents work place?!?!?! And I just love recycling!!!!

Grade 1 shape collage 2013 81

And this elephant was gorgeous – I just wish I had taken a better photo of it!

Grade 1 shape collage 2013 98

self portrait as a minecraft characterI was told that the person above was a self portrait as a MINECRAFT game character!!!

I put away a lot of these for the Art Show coming up at the end of October. I hope they have survived the storage!

Grade 1 shape collage 2013 89

I hope you enjoy this lovely gallery of shape collages by children who were only in their first few weeks of grade 1 at the time of their creation. Please leave a comment below as all bloggers love to know there is somebody out there! Or you could even become a follower!!! Just click on the follow me button in the sidebar.

Thanks,

Shell

October 2

GRADE 2 BUNTING

At the start of this year the main art room was looking terribly empty and I wanted something I dould get up quickly to brighten up the roomain .

I saw somw bunting, I thought it was on Pinterest but I can’t find the particular image I remember and thought it would work. When I stumble upon that image again, and I will, I will put it here a d acknowledge the inspiration.

I bought a couple of cheap plastic packs of bunting at the $2 shop so the chuldren would know what I was on about.

I then drew up a quick large triangle template and photocopied it. I could have turned this into a lesson about learning how to rule up an accurate triangle but I wanted to be quick, remember????

I then talked about how bunting was visible from both sides so my instructions then were to draw patterns all over one side, the other side was to say boldly, I LOVE ART, and have the child’s nam eand grade on it.

The grade 2 children worked so hard on their intricate patterning that the bunting pieces took two sessions to complete! I then swished slightly watered down food dye over them before throwing them on the rack to dry!

I then stapled them to a stri[p of ribbon and they were great! I hung them all up when they were finished and got all sorts of comments about how festive, cicussy, the Art room looked! I took one grade’s piece and put it in the hallway with anexplanation atached as to what bunting is!!!

I was sure I had better photos that these as it looks like the classroom photos have only about 1/3 of the bunting up but I’m sure you get the idea!

Thanks for looking,

Shelley

September 29

GRADE 1 CLAY EXPERIMENTING WITH TOOLS

This is what happened when I gave the Grade 1 children a tub of wooden clay tools for the first time. Up until this stage they had only been using their hands and fingers as tools. I explained that this was a time to try out and experiment with the tools and see what they could do with them.

It was interesting how some of the children madly textured their work while others incorporated the tools into their finished items. Hey, I didn’t tell them that they couldn’t do that!

Quite a few of the children created a clutch of a few small items rather than make one large piece, and they all knew that none of this work was going to be kept but I would try to photograph their experiments before their session finished.

We certainly had a terrific discussion after everyone had walked aroud and looked at each other’s work.

“How did you do that?”

I wish I had thought of that!”

“I’m going to try to do mine like that next time!”

How did you make that shape?”

“Can we use the clay tools like that?”

“I made my clay flat like a picture but next time I want to make a fat shape that sits up on the table.”

And just in case you were like me who mistakenly assumed this was a nice tree – this is the Tower of Isengard from the Lord of the Rings!!!