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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Pinch Pot Monsters

Monster Madness


My fourth graders were so excited to hear that we would finally be working with clay (as any art teacher can tell you, the kids go crazy for clay!  They start asking when they get to use it on the first day of school and after they finally get to, they start to ask when they can use it again!  I love their enthusiasm).  Since I only get to see my fourth graders once a week for an hour at a time, when we work with clay, we need to start and finish the building portion in one class.  This lesson is perfect for that!

I told my students we would be making clay monsters from pinch pots and asked them to recall what a pinch pot was and how they made one.  I let them walk me through the process of making one during my intro.  They were spot on; but I figured they would be, they don't forget anything when it comes to working with clay!  Then I told them how we would make our monsters.

First, I would give everyone a clay ball.  They would pull off pieces of clay from the ball to form whatever they wanted to attach to their monster (eyeballs, horns, teeth, tails, spikes, etc).  They would set these items to the side and roll up the rest of the clay, back into ball form.  They transformed their ball of clay into a pinch pot (stick thumb into middle, pinch upward and outward, depending on shape you want).  The pinch pot became the monster's body and head (for this project, the head and body are pretty synonymous).  They then used the "scratch and attach" method (slip and score) to add their eyeballs, tails, horns, teeth, etc that they had previously constructed.  I encouraged them to test out their scratch and attach abilities by giving their monster a little shake while he was upside down--if whatever you attached stayed on, it was attached well; if it fell off, try again!  

The kids did a great job!  Some of them used the entire hour to create their monster and others finished early.  Since they don't get to use clay very often, I let those who finished early play with a little bit of extra clay under the stipulation that whatever they made with the extra clay, they couldn't keep because it would later be used by other kids at our school.  They were very understanding of this and were just excited that they were able to keep playing with clay.  And as for my kiddos who don't like to get their hands dirty, they opted for free drawing when they finished early.  

I let the monsters dry out over the week before putting them in the kiln.  Once they were fired, I let the kids paint their monsters (again, this took the entire hour for some kids and only 40 minutes for others) and another week later, we added a gloss varnish over the top of them to give them the glazed look.  I love the look and use of actual glaze, but I find that the younger kids work better with paint since glazes don't often look like the color they will turn into once fired--but this lesson could easily be taught either way.   


End Results:


Pinch Pot Clay Monsters
One full class of monsters

Pinch Pot Clay Monsters
Mustachio-ed Monsters
Pinch Pot Clay Monsters
Curly Haired Critter (front view)
Curly Haired Critter (back view)


Pinch Pot Clay Monsters
Another one of my classes monsters

Pinch Pot Clay Monsters
This guy makes me smile

Pinch Pot Clay Monsters
somewhat fishy...

Pinch Pot Clay Monsters
Last class of monsters

Pinch Pot Clay Monsters

Pinch Pot Clay Monsters

Pinch Pot Clay Monsters

Pinch Pot Clay Monsters

Pinch Pot Clay Monsters

Pinch Pot Clay Monsters

Pinch Pot Clay Monsters

Pinch Pot Clay Monsters

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Wire Masks

Fifth Grade Wire Sculpture

Fifth Grade Wire Portrait

After my fifth graders finished with their portrait drawings and focusing on the accuracy, I thought they should get an opportunity to be silly and creative with portraiture...and what better way than to give them a funny and silly medium, wire.  I used Twisteez wire for this lesson and the kids LOVED it!  I couldn't believe how many of them asked me, "Where can I get this stuff?" and "Do they sell this at the store?"  I was originally inspired by this image I saw on Dick Blick's website (it was paired with a lesson but I didn't look into that, I was just inspired by the photo)
http://www.dickblick.com/lesson-plans/twisteez-masks/


I started by showing them a finished example and let them guess how it was made, how wires were attached to each other and why they were attached where they were.  I passed two finished examples around and encouraged them to examine how things were put together and where.  With some extra/practice wire, I let them have an opportunity to demonstrate to their classmates how they thought we should or could make different facial features and how/where they could attach to other wires/features.  In the last portion of my introduction to the lesson I told them that they would each get 7 pieces of wire (they didn't have to use all 7, but I wouldn't give them more).  The wire was going to be different colors and I was giving it to them randomly so that the last kids getting wire weren't "stuck" with the remaining colors that weren't picked.  Once they got their wires, they were to find those marker colors and sketch/plan a face (again, I showed them an example...the one that went with my wire example).  I reminded them to connect their lines together so that we didn't have any "floating" eyes or noses, since everything had be attached by wire in the end.  They could trade colors with others, cut and bend their wires, and if they wished and had extra wire, they could donate it to friends who wanted more for their sculpture.  Lastly, they used their wire and everything we discussed and practiced to try their best to create their face from wire.  The kids had a blast making their masks!  It was so funny to see all of the ideas come to life and how silly their faces were!
Fifth Grade Wire Portrait

Fifth Grade Wire Portrait

Fifth Grade Wire Portrait

Fifth Grade Wire Portrait

Fifth Grade Wire Portrait

Fifth Grade Wire Portrait


Fifth Grade Wire Portrait

My Example of Fifth Grade Wire Portrait

Fourth Grade Robots

Robot Paintings with Value and Color Mixing

Fourth Grade Color Mixing Value Robots

I got this lesson idea from Deep Space Sparkle who was inspired by John Post and a blog entry he had.  I absolutely loved the concept and had been brainstorming how I wanted to use paint and color mixing with my fourth graders.  I followed a similar path as John Post and Deep Space Sparkle, and I had the kids make a list of robot characteristics on the board.  Afterwards, I sent them back to their seats and they each drew their Robot on a 12"x18" sheet of paper (I let them choose from white, grey and blue paper).  I had them paint the outline in black and that was all that we had time for that class period.  

In our next class together, we recapped what we were doing and how we were going to paint them.  I wanted them to use mostly grey and explained "value" so that they understood that we would be adding highlights and shadows to our paintings.  I explained how we would paint, paint mixing and how to mix colors directly on the paper.  During my paint demo, we discussed how to make grey and made some guesses as to what would happen when we added a little blue or red to the grey (the kids guessed correctly!).  I was only giving them white, black, blue and red paint (I encouraged that red and blue mostly be for accents as we wanted to use mostly grey for our highlights and shadows later).  I reminded them that we would draw small details on our robots later, so for now, we just wanted to fill them in.  The kids did a great job!  Some of them had really small details they wanted to include, which was a small struggle, but all in all, they were able to paint their robots with ease.  As they were finishing "filling in" their robots, I had them pause what they were doing and we talked about value.  The kids were able to identify what areas would probably be lightest (or shiny) and which would be darkest with shadows.  They were also quick to point out that we should use white paint to show the shiny parts (highlights) and black paint to show shadows.  And the kids who mixed in blues and reds, were able to figure out that they could add blue or red to their black paint to get a navy blue or maroon shadows.  

In our last class of working on this, we drew small details directly on our robots using permanent marker.  I gave them black and red markers for this task.  This did not take them the entire hour we had together so I 
also started them on another project.  The robots came out hysterically!  I love how many kids wanted to make sure that their robot had a self-destruct button ("just in case") and how many of them doubled as vending machines.  Their creativity never ceases to amaze me.  
Fourth Grade Color Mixing Value Robots

Fourth Grade Color Mixing Value Robots