Sunday, December 22, 2013

Pipecleaner Snowflakes for All

Here is a 1st grader's completed snowflake made
with beads in rainbow (ROYGBV) order! 
Happy Holidays! Are you wondering what to do with your elementary-aged kids over winter break? If you're looking for a fun, mess-free winter craft try making a beaded pipecleaner snowflake. What started as a Pre-K project turned into a last-class-before-winter-break project for a few different grades. Finished snowflakes look great strung and hung on a tree, in a window, or against a wall.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Open-ended Creativity with Leo Lionni's Pezzettino

Pezzettino is the protagonist in author-illustrator Leo Lionni's tale of self-discovery. In Italian pezzettino means "little piece." This little orange block, Pezzettino, asks all his friends if he belongs to one of them: "I must be a piece of somebody. I must belong to someone else.” After a trip to the Island of Wham Pezzettino falls and breaks into many little pieces [spoiler alert] and realizes he is own self and not a little piece of somebody else! My Kindergarteners loved the colorful illustrations and Pezzettino's bravery. I'm sure your Littles will enjoy Lionni's book too. 

I turned Lionni's story into the basis for a printmaking project. We just completed a great unit on styrofoam printmaking and I wanted to get my students back to the beautiful simplicity of stamping with scrap wood and bright, liquid color. We created Pezzettino-inspired creatures by dipping blocks into paint and pressing onto the paper to create "Pezzettinos" who were slithering, flying, running, and/or swimming.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

A Cozy Game to Play Inside

Looking out the kitchen windows I breath in steam from my mug of Early Grey watching the first big snowfall of the season. As the tall evergreens and roads continue to get covered in fluffy, white snow I am reminded that I haven't bought a shovel yet...whoops!

To ease my mind I played a whimsical game created by Australian artists Pip and Pop commissioned by the Queensland Art Gallery called "We Miss You Magic Land!" I created a fanciful world named "The Land of Color" and used colorful candies and clouds that rained down flower seeds. At the end I took a picture of myself to create a character and shared my world with friends through email.  

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

2 Types of Japanese-Inspired Printmaking

Kindergarteners learned how Japanese fishermen recorded their catch by making prints of their fish. They were enthralled with this video by TED-ed explaining the history and process called gyotaku (fish rubbing/impression) featured in a previous post. I also introduced them to the art of suminagashi (ink floating) in which the special inks float on water and paper is laid gently on the surface to make a swirling, colorful print.

Both printmaking processes are inspired by Japanese printmaking and are very different in look and feel. Gyotaku, similar to block printing, is deliberate and involves pressure and force while suminagashi provides unexpected results and is done with gentle care. We made suminagashi prints and printed our fish on top.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Mental challenge, not praise, builds our children's confidence

Ashley Merryman and Po Bronson challenge us as parents and educators to consider the effects of praise versus providing mental challenges to our children. The head of lower school shared this important video with our school community and I wanted to pass it along as well. I learned something from this message and I hope you do too!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A kid-friendly video on Japanese Art

When is the last time you learned about a different culture in a meaningful way? If it has been a while or, if you're looking for a new way to embrace Japanese culture watch this video called "Gyotaku - The ancient Japanese art of printing fish" from TED-Ed. Stay tuned to see how my kids use 2 Types of Japanese Printmaking.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Paper Quilling Fun for 3 Age Groups

My group of students aged 8-12 started with
tissue paper decoupage for our quilled garden scenes.
This was so beautiful I had to take a picture
right as it was finished--see the wet glue?
What is paper quilling? In short, it is curled paper glued to a background. Traditional paper quilling requires a small wooden quilling tool in which the forked part holds the end of a small strip of quilling paper. As you turn the tool with one hand and hold the other end of the paper taught, the paper winds into a tight circle. You can glue it shut to keep it a tight circle or let it loosen into a loose circle and pinch into different shapes.
Quilling can be seen from various perspectives
 such as in this gorgeous little duck pond.
In my experience, traditional paper quilling works well with students aged 8 and above but, as with most projects and materials in art, paper quilling can be adapted and done with many different age groups.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

There are no mistakes in art!

Barney Saltzberg uses pop ups, tabs, and textures to teach an important lesson : "When you think you have made a mistake think of it as an opportunity to make something beautiful." I read this book to my youngest Pre-Kindergarten students to my oldest 2nd graders and they all enjoy the simple wisdom of this picture book.

Zoomorphic Calligraphy--Art and Culture

Using lovely, sinuous lettering you and your little ones can create animal artwork. Using the Farsi word for the animal, Parastou Forouhar's Persian for Kids introduces zoomorphic calligraphy with ease. Drawing animals using Arabic letters has been done since the 15th century.

Email your friends the finished artwork and a link to an animation of your creation.
 See my Farsi horse animated!

Worth a Read

I've read this book a hundred times and I still haven't tired of it. Written by Andrea Beaty and beautifully illustrated by David Roberts this whimsical book will transport young and old alike.