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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Clay Masks

When It's Okay To Make Faces At Your Teacher

Sixth Grade Clay Mask Art Lesson- Class Photo
6th Grade Clay Masks
My sixth graders created clay masks that were to show some sort of expression.  While some were more expressive than others, they definitely all had some personality!

I introduced this lesson like I do many of my lessons...with a PowerPoint presentation of what we were going to do and why with examples of artwork to what we would make.  The kids were immediately pumped for this one.  After the introduction we started by making sketches of what we wanted our mask to look like.  I reminded them that they should be demonstrating some sort of facial expression but they didn't have to look realistic or even human.  I loved the variety of their ideas, they were all very original.  
Sixth Grade Clay Mask Art Lesson- Class Photo
6th Grade Clay Masks
In the next class period I discussed and demonstrated how we would make slabs of clay and "pillows" of newspaper for them.  I encouraged them to make a clay slab and cut it into the appropriate face shape based on their sketch.  Then they should wad up newspaper into a smaller version of the same face shape (some masking tape could be used to maintain the shape if needed).  They would then drape their clay slab over the newspaper pillow so that the mask would take on more three dimensional qualities. The newspaper pillow was kind of tough for some of the kids, they had a difficult time sizing them appropriately to their slab.  But once this task was done, everything else was a breeze.
Sixth Grade Clay Mask Art Lesson- Class Photo
6th Grade Clay Masks (with a few covered faces for privacy)
In our third class period with this lesson, I reminded the students how to slip and score (or "scratch and attach" as I call it with my younger grades) any attachments they may need in order to give their masks the desired facial features.  We talked about how to avoid trapping air in any hollow forms (I focused on noses as an example) and how to kind of play with the clay to work out air bubbles before modeling any attachments we would make.  We also discussed and I demonstrated the use of clay tools for a subtractive clay method to get details or various facial features.   The kids were encouraged to stick to their sketch as much as possible, though I did allow for some variations based on difficulty and new ideas.  I gave the students one more class period to clean up their masks and finish any attachments or details they may have desired.  After they were done building the mask, I had them create two holes (one in each side of the head) using a kabob stick so that I could run wire through the back of the mask when they were finished.  The wire would let the kids hang their mask up when they took it home.

After the masks dried out (I gave them a little over a week to dry before putting them in the kiln) I fired them and we were able to accentuate their personalities with some color.  We used two more class periods to paint our masks with acrylic paint and another class period to add a gloss/varnish over the top if desired.  During my planning time, I strung wire across the back and through the holes the kids had made while it was wet so they could be hung.  I love how they all turned out and how excited they all were to take them home and show them off!  I just wish I had taken more photos throughout the process (too much clay on my hands) and had remembered to take more pictures at the end to show them off on my blog.  Unfortunately, I thought of it, right before they took them home, so I only snapped a few quick pics...shown below.


Sixth Grade Clay Mask Art Lesson
When asked if her masks was a zombie, she said "No, she's just been eating strawberries.  That's why her teeth are red." Ha!  Love it!

Sixth Grade Clay Mask Art Lesson
A Variety of Masks - Some Opted Not to Add Gloss/Varnish

Sixth Grade Clay Slab Mask Art Lesson
Ever seen a 3-eyed Ccat?  How about one with a mustache...ABOVE the nose?

Sixth Grade Clay Slab Mask Art Lesson
Elephant Mask

Sixth Grade Clay Slab Mask Art Lesson
Goofy Guy...just like his maker
Sixth Grade Clay Slab Mask Art Lesson
Crazy Devil

Found Object Printmaking

Fourth Grade Found Object Printmaking Showing Space Distance
Showing Distance Using Size, Location and Amount of Detail
Last week, my fourth graders made monoprint flowers-lesson plan found here.  This week, we took printmaking to another level (a messier, crazier, and very fun level).  I introduced them to printmaking with found objects.  I knew that they would want to dive right in and start going crazy with the paint (I used tempera), so I asked that they make me two prints, one was a free choice/experimental print and the other demonstrated an understanding of space.
Before I even told them that we were going to be printmaking again, we discussed space as a class.  We focused on how you can show space/distance using placement, size and color and discussed the exceptions. Then I told them about our prints we would make and how we would make them and did a short demo. That's when they got messy!  And they had a blast the entire time.

Found Object Printmaking
The Objects...Post-Printmaking

I had five trays of objects sitting out (aftermath pictured above).  Each tray was labeled with the two colors that those objects could be used in-black and white paints had their own trays-I did this to avoid all of the paints from mixing into a brown.  We discussed why these objects could only be used in these colors and how a little bit of paint goes a long way (less is more).  Then we got down to business!  The kids used the objects to create one scene that showed distance in some way, shape or form and they also created a free choice print, where they could experiment in anyway they wanted.  Some of them made pictures of things with their free choice and others just played with it.  A few kids struggled with the concept of printing/stamping with the objects instead of painting with them, but most of them got the hang of it pretty quickly or where at least able to correct themselves when I pointed it out.  
Fourth Grade Found Object Printmaking
Free Choice - Bacon (this girl LOVES bacon)

Fourth Grade Found Object Printmaking Showing Space Distance
Flowers Showing Distance

Fourth Grade Found Object Printmaking Showing Space Distance
Another Flower Print Showing Space

Fourth Grade Found Object Printmaking
Free Choice Print- Apple Tree


Fourth Grade Found Object Printmaking
Free Choice-Experimental
Free Choice Flowers

Fourth Grade Found Object Printmaking Showing Space Distance
A House In the Woods



Friday, March 7, 2014

Monoprint Flowers

Fourth Grade Monoprint Flower Vases

I introduced my fourth graders to monoprinting and it was a huge success.  We had done some printmaking back in November for the Day of the Dead (lesson here) but this was our first time with monoprinting.  I asked my students to guess what they thought a monoprint was.  Based on my finished example I had hanging up, most of them guessed things about symmetry.  But eventually, one of my students said "mano a mano" which with a few prompting questions, led them to realize that it meant "one." And since we were making monoprints, it must mean that we could only make one print...right?  Then came my explanation.  I told them that a monoprint is something that cannot be reproduced exactly the same, ever again.  

We were going to be working on these while we glossed our clay monsters.  And since glossing didn't take very long, we needed something else to do.  So I demonstrated all of the steps and set them on their way while I manned the clay glossing table.

I told them we would make our vases first (using a fold and cut for symmetry method) which I demonstrated.  They would glue it to their background paper and then go into printmaking.  I had a stack of small papers (approx 3"x3" in size) at each table along with four colors of paint-red, blue, white and green.  The students would save the green paint for flower stems and leaves, but the red, blue and white paints could be used for flowers and stamen (if wanted).  I showed them how they could put a few blobs of each color of paint on on the paper, fold the paper in half to squish the paint around, open it up and press and rub that onto our paper where we wanted flowers.  I showed them how they could layer flowers if one didn't print well and that none of them would look the same.  They used a new piece of scrap paper for each flower (and they could keep the papers if they wanted to).  After they had at least four flowers, I asked them to add stems, leaves and if they wanted to, stamen to their flowers.  They could also decorate their vase if they had time.  They had a blast making them and they came out so beautifully!  It was the perfect lesson to keep them occupied while I helped gloss monsters just a few kids at a time. Now, if only we had Spring weather to go with our decorative hallways! 
 Fourth Grade Monoprint Flower Vase Printmaking

Fourth Grade Monoprint Flower Vase Printmaking Art Lesson

Fourth Grade Monoprint Flower Vase Printmaking Art Lesson

Fourth Grade Monoprint Flower Vase Printmaking Art Lesson

Fourth Grade Monoprint Flower Vase Printmaking Art Lesson

Pinch Pot Characters

Clay Characters!

For my fifth grade clay project, I taught a similar lesson to my pinch pot monsters with my fourth graders (lesson details found here), but I left it more open ended to their creativity.  I still reminded them of how to make a pinch pot and how to use "scratch and attach" when they were adding details to their character, but I let them choose what they wanted to make and how they wanted to create it...as long as it stemmed from a pinch pot.  They turned out AMAZING!  Unfortunately, I forgot to take photos (except a  few of them all waiting to be taken home by their owners on a metal cart) so I can't brag as much as I'd like.  But they did a great job, and I think the kiddos really appreciated that they could create their own thing and it didn't have to be one object/animal or another.    Sorry there aren't more photos and that these ones are a little on the blurry side...I still think it gives a good idea of the variety I had in my room.  And they still make me smile!

5th Grade Clay Pinch Pot Characters

5th Grade Clay Pinch Pot Characters

5th Grade Clay Pinch Pot Characters

Pop Ups

I have very talented students who participate in many activities, one of which is band.  There was a band field trip which left me with very small 5th grade classes one day and so I introduced the remaining students to one of my favorite things ever...pop up cards!  Who wants a plain old greeting card when you can have a handmade one that pops out at you!

Anyway, the students didn't have to just make cards, they could make whatever they wanted.  I showed them a few simple techniques to get various types of pop ups and let their imaginations (and hands) go wild!  These are a few of the finished ones they made

5th Grade Pop Up Cards
This one portrays the inside of a boutique with a shopper

5th Grade Pop Up Cards
Crazy Bird!


5th Grade Pop Up Cards
Party Animals

5th Grade Pop Up Cards
Frog

5th Grade Pop Up Cards
City Scene