Tuesday, September 29, 2009

fall into art

The changing seasons has been the theme for many of our warm-up drawings lately, and it's now abundantly clear that kids love the fall. Their imagery shows apples, and pumpkins, bats, cats, and costumes, but most of all, the glee with which our students await the first raking of the leaves and all the antics that surround the leaf pile.
I thought I might share a sneak preview of some of the art projects inspired by the season. I'm especially proud of my third and fourth grade students who are kicking off a five week exploration of printmaking with a leaf printing project. We've learned that prints are images made by pressure, and that artists that make prints are called print makers. We're also learning that printmaking can be very messy--we're really working hard to be careful with the paint. After we print our leaves using warm colors, we'll sponge paint our background using cool colors. We have gold paint for the veins of the leaves and are printing some additional leaves to cut out and run through the paper crimper to give them an eye catching texture before we paste them on. Below is the finished product waiting for matting. Good work third and fourth graders. Look for these on the walls soon. Happy printing.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Pinwheels for Peace

At Currier Memorial and Readsboro Elementary we celebrated September 21st, The International Day of Peace, by participating in the Pinwheel for Peace Project. Pinwheels for Peace is an art installation project started in 2005 by two art teachers, Ann Ayers and Ellen McMillan as a way for students to express their feelings about what's going on in the world and in their lives. The project was quickly embraced by their students and the school community and by millions of teachers, parents, children and adults who desire peace in their world. The project has spread worldwide and expanded to include 3 million pinwheels planted this year.

At Currier Memorial and Readsboro School students were encouraged to reflect on what peace means in their lives, in their relationships, in their schools, and in their communities. We paused to consider how we each contribute to "keeping the peace" when we practice tolerance, patience, understanding, respect, in school and at home.

Each student decorated and assembled their pinwheel with words, images, and symbols that communicated their feelings about peace. On September 21st and 22nd, students planted their pinwheels in the school lawn as part of a school wide celebration. It was fun and exciting to be part of this global celebration and I am proud of their efforts.

You can learn more about the project by visiting www.pinwheelsforpeace where you'll also find a template for making a pinwheel of your own.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Salt Maps

Hi! Welcome to Barb's (art) thought of the day! I hope you'll check in often to see what's going on in the art room and to exchange ideas. Tonight I'm getting ready for salt maps in fourth grade at Currier Memorial. Making salt maps, or play dough maps, is part of a lesson that integrates art and geography. Tomorrow students will show what they have learned with Ms. Gibeault about the geography of Vermont by building relief maps. We'll be building up mountain ranges and carving out rivers while locating the key features of our state such as: Lake Champlain and the Champlain Valley, the Green Mountains, the Taconics, the Connecticut River and the Connecticut River Valley, and more. But, tonight I'm making play dough. Lots and lots of play dough. While I'm at it I thought I might share my favorite play dough recipe with you.

Barb's Tried and True Play Dough Recipe

4 Cups all purpose flour
2 Cups salt
4 Cups water
8 teaspoons cream of tartar
4 Tablespoons cooking oil
Food Coloring (optional)
Glitter (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a large pot. Mix food coloring in with the water if you are using it. Cook on medium-low heat until the dough forms. Be careful not to burn it. When the dough cools, knead it. Knead in the glitter if you are using it. Place in a sealed bag or container.

Fourth graders will share their salt maps during our school gathering. Above are some some pics of their work in progress. And here we are adding the finishing touches--there's Lake Champlain and Otter Creek!