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.