Friday, January 22, 2010

Haiti House Update

A great big thank you goes out to the community members who supported the Haiti House Project and made it such a resounding success.  We have officially moved on from making pins and are in the final phases of collecting donations.  If you don't have your pin yet, there are still a few out there, but you'll have to scramble to get one.
Donations from the last of the pins are still trickling in and already we have surpassed our goal.  At the end of the day, we will have raised more than $600 through this project, which will go far toward feeding hungry children in Haiti.
Thank you students for your efforts in creating the pins.  They were the incentive for many to donate and created quite the buzz.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Haiti Houses

Students at Currier Memorial and Readsboro Elementary School will be coming home with "Haiti House" pins this week .  The colorful pins were generously and painstakingly created by our primary and middle school art students in response to the recent earthquake in Haiti.  Our students have donated their artwork to be turned into pins to heighten awareness of the situation in Haiti right now where food, clothing, shelter, and medical care is in urgent need.  The pins are in the shape of miniature Haitian houses.  They have a glossy enamel finish and a pin back.  We are offering them as an incentive to donate to the relief effort in Haiti.  Community members will receive a pin with each $5 donation, but of course you may donate more.  All funds raised through the "Haiti House Project" will be donated to support the needs of families and children in Haiti.  Our goal is to raise $400 this year. 
Please, give generously to this important cause.  Support families in Haiti and wear your student art pin proudly.

For more info, or if you would like to run a Haiti House fund raiser, check out this link.  Today I finished attaching pins to cards to get them ready to send home with students who would like to sell.  I tried a few different arrangements, but this is what works for us.  Four pins on a half sheet of tag board with info on where the donations are going (we chose Yele Haiti and the American Red Cross) I also included the name of our school.  I printed out the info on copy paper and cut and pasted onto the tag board. Into a large size zip lock back will go the card, and an envelope for money.  I think this will be manageable for buyers and sellers alike.  I attached the pins by punching holes with a pencil on a soft surface (in this case my living room rug).
This is what I learned by running the lesson:  if you don't want to haul your Haitian art collection into school, (I didn't) run an image search for Haitian art and choose a few examples that show colorful houses and tap-taps (buses).  The artwork really helped the kids get the Haitian vibe going in their artwork.  We spend some time noticing the use of color and pattern in Haitian art, and of course, noticing the little houses.

Have ready  finished sample pins for students to see--they are really motivated by the shiny finish.  I cut blanks for my students out of some donated mat board that I had on hand.  I showed my students how to use their scissors to trim the square blanks into a slight trapezoid shape.  We thought the slightly out of square shape gave the houses a more rustic look.
Permanent markers are clearly best for this project.  I found Sharpies on sale.  $9.99 for a set that included 8 fine point and 8 extra-fine point mini-markers.  I bought two sets and augmented the colors with a couple nice sets of Marvey Markers (because the colors are so nice and I had them on hand).  Definitely use permanent markers for fine lines and details, or the lines will run in later steps.  Seal your houses with Elemer's glue, but don't over brush if using water based markers.  Start with the lightest colors first. Make sure to color all edges (looks best in the end).  Don't forget the edges of doors and windows, too.  The project works best for grades three and up.  My youngest students are using larger sized blanks and making refrigerator magnets.

I couldn't find Enviro Tex around here and used a product called Triple Thick instead and it worked really well--I completed this step for the kids because we don't have a well-ventilated area at our school.
We've haven't even started selling yet and already people are buying pins.  If your looking for a fund raising project do try this!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Art Blooms

It's been a while since Pinwheels for Peace and I figured it's time for another big school-wide art collaboration.  "Art Blooms at Currier" is our theme, and we think it looks spectacular.  Each student, K-6 completed at least one bloom for the wild (and I do mean WILD) flower garden, but some many more than that.  The photo doesn't do the display justice.  The colors are a delight for the eyes.  As of today, the flowers climb up the wall, cross the room above the bulletin board and are creeping toward the library.  And the best part is...we still have dozens and dozens left to put up.To complete this project we spent one class discussing axil and radial symmetry.  Then we brainstormed things we have encountered that have 2-D or 3-D radial designs.  Using paper and pencil I showed students how to make a hand-drawn radial design.  We worked on an 8"x 8" piece of square copy paper .  First students located the center of their paper and drew a small circle.  We added rings around the circle--6 to 8 are about right.  Not too many, not to few.  We made some rings close together and some further apart.  In each ring we added a simple pattern. (Maybe a zig zag, a  looping or wavy line, I showed various examples).  We noticed that we could go back into the simple pattern and add more elements and watched the design move from simple to complex as it grew out from the center.  Once they got the hang of it, students used the rest of this class to finish their designs and add color with markers or crayons.
Next we made radial designs using paints and brushes on the papers we decorated during our Eric Carle Festival.  Students began their designs with oil pastels by drawing a set of circles or rings as guide lines.  They used pastels to begin planning their design and switched over to paint when they were ready.  Students were instructed to leave some areas of their design unpainted so that the wild colors of the decorated papers would show through.  For some this was more difficult than others.  After the paint dried students went back to oil pastels to outline or add additional elements to the design.  Then they cut them out. 

We arranged our flowers and taped them to a sheet of paper.  To give the floweres a bit of dimension we added a wire spring made by twisting a piece of florest wire around a pencil.  The spring was taped to the back of some of the flowers and then to the background paper.  To our great surprise the spring gave the flowers an unexpected movement.  They oscilate back and forth when a breeze hits them (like the flywheel in  a watch). our secretary said when she saw it "how cute is THAT."

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Happy New Year

It's back to school tomorrow (if the weather allows).  Hard to believe it's still snowing.  Thought I'd treat you to a fun link:  It's the Library of Congress Photostream on Flickr.  Enjoy!