Saturday, January 29, 2011

A Hint for Cleaning Oil Pastels

I love the look of oil pastels, but haven't done much with them this year because our oil pastels are in such bad shape.  My budgets are tiny and I order a few new sets each year, but there are never enough to go around.  As time goes by the new ones find there way into the big box with the old ones and before long, the new ones look just as bad as the old ones. Nothing to me is as frustrating as watching a kid encounter that unexpected muddy streak in the peach or the pink. It's so demoralizing.  

Last night I discovered that olive oil works pretty well to restore old craypas by melting away the grime.  To start I set out a splash of olive oil in a little bowl or cup.  Each craypas got their tip dunked into the oil and then wiped off on a paper towel.  I tackled all the warm colors first, then went for the cool colors.  Not as easy as the chalk and rice trick, but effective. 
Next step, teach the kids how to do this task.
Okay so, I have my pastels sorted by color into a muffin tin right now, but am looking for a better system.  The original boxes are long gone.  So tell me.  How do you store your oil pastels?  

Monday, January 3, 2011

The Penguins Are Coming!

It's been fun watching third and fourth graders dive right into this penguin work.  The students began with by completing a rough draft to get their ideas down on paper.  I was interested to see what they already knew.   We took a break to watch some lively penguin videos, looked at some photos of penguins, and did some guided drawings as well.  Then, kids took their ideas to a large (18X24) piece of paper.  They drew the outline with a light colored chalk then painted in the details.  Beaks and feet were colored with chalk pastels.  We planned to cut these guys out and place them on a snowy landscape.  But now I'm thinking they might look cute as a free-standing flock that could roam around the school.  Yes, I think that could be interesting.  I'll let you know what we decide.