Sunday, February 3, 2013

Medieval Architecture

 So the new music teacher at my school, Mrs. G,  is ridiculously good and does great work. This Spring she will be doing a concert with 1st & 3rd grade. A common theme in both plays is fairy tales. I've gotten a jump start on making some artwork that will serve as a backdrop for the stage where the students perform their songs. The first project introduced 2nd graders to one of my favorite subjects: architecture. Castles were private homes built in the Middle Ages which started around 1000 A.D. They were different from regular homes of the time because they were made of stone instead of wood or plaster and they were fortified.

We focused on the different parts of a castle including crenelations, parapets, the keep, moats, and dungeons. While castles continued to be built well into the 1700's improved cannon fire made them more prone to attacks. Contrary to popular belief, castles were actually uncomfortable and undesirable places to live! In the 1800's castles started being built for the purpose of aesthetic beauty instead of military use.

I got the inspiration for this project from this post on Deep Space Sparkle. We used small rectangle sponges to make brick prints. I asked students to make sure they staggered their prints like a real mason does to make their walls strong. I wanted each castle to have a background so we used chalk pastels blended with a paper towel to whip up a simple sky.

 Students added details like windows, doors, knights, and trees using left over paste paper from a previous project and metallic paper. I absolutely love the results!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Unbeweavable Weavings

January has been a very productive month in the art room for 6th grade. We have been mastering the art of weaving by working on these woven pouches for four weeks! Inspired by this delightful and thorough weaving tutorial I found on Cassie Stephens' Blog this summer, I introduced this project to my 6th graders the first week back from school after holiday break. It didn't take the students very long to start referring to the pouches as handmade iPhone covers. Geniuses, I tell you, geniuses!

The project objectives were simple. By the end of this project I wanted students to be able to:

1) Identify the meaning of loom, warp, and weft.

2) Understand and use the “under, over” technique of weaving.

3) Create a functional weaving using materials, colors, and patterns that describe them as a person. 

For this project I cut my cardboard looms to 3.5" x 10." I told the students to weave the body of their pouch to a length somewhere between 4-7" and the flap anywhere between 2-3." In order to accomplish these lengths I did allow students the option to take their looms home to weave. Every single one of my students took me up on this offer which was mega thrilling! I gave each students a paperclip to weave with since I couldn't send them home with a weaving needle. This project was enjoyed by boys and girls alike. Our work sessions were almost silent because the students got so into it.

Additionally, the students all will walk away having learned how to thread a needle, stitch, and end a stitch which is a skill almost none of them had experience with before encountering this project.