Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Week 24 & 25: Eric Carle Butterflies

It feels like its been a while since I posted, and that's because we did a 2-week project that was inspired by Eric Carle, the famous children's book author/illustrator of many beooks including the "The Very Hungry Caterpillar"

Week 1 involved making the paper to collage the next week. Carle used colored tissue paper to paint, but I had the kids work with large sheets of white construction paper.  They were given just the primary colors and told to mix and play with it on the paper and not in their pallete.  They also had toothbrushes for stippling and spatterings and forks for scraping. No rules, except that if they wanted more than one color to collage they needed to be mindful of making areas of distinct color combos and not overmixing to mud.  They achieved some very rich layered looks!

Week 2,  I gave each student their dried paper back and showed them samples of Carle's work again and then some simple digrams of how to make butterflies, bees and dragonflies from mostly just circles.

Some kids made big bold insects and many made flowers, while some made tiny little insects that seems to be swallowed by the page.  Most had little trouble figuring out what to do.

This turned out to be one of the best projects of the year. The color play with paint during the first step was very abstract and sensual, while they had to do some planning for their collage in step two. During the collage faze, they had to work with abstract shapes to make specific objects and also plan color, shape and size.  The end results are amazingly professional looking and really adhere to the spirit of Eric Carle. Good job kids!

Week 23: St. Patrick's Day

Since the the older kids had a field trip I just had the K-2 class. It was St. Patrick's week, which is one of my favorite holidays, and green is my favorite color too;-)

An impromptu idea was to make shamrocks out of hearts, which the kids are pretty good at making.  The great thing is that the fold in the heart is perfect for maing it look 3-D. I had the kids make a bunch of different green hearts as well as some real simple squares of green and brown for a "leprechaun" hat that the shamrocks would be sprouting from. All this got pasted down, with the idea that the three hearts pasted together made a shamrock and only half the heart was glued so that the other part stuck off the paper to give it a lively look.

The kids did a fine job on these and they were dead simple to get organized and make.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Week 22: Arbor Day tree blossoms

Wow, its already 2/3 of the way through the year!  My younger son had to make a 100th day collection of items, and our thoughts are already turning to Summer. But its still the blustery transition between Winter and Spring. One minute it's raining, the next its sunny. The trees are also noticing this change and beginning to burst into bloom.

I was thinking of doing this project later in April during Apple Blossom time, since this area is know for its apple blossoms. But the area around the school is awash in the gloriously delicates pink blossoms of the plum trees.  The first week of March is also Arbor Day in California due the birthday of local plant scientist Luther Burbank on March 7.  So I was able to wrap three lessons in one!

I had contemplated doing the classic blown ink tree trunk and branches, but we have so little time and limited cleanup ability, so I opted for a faster and cleaner black/brown marker trunk. I gave each child light blue paper and had them draw the trunk. For the younger kids, I advised that tracing their arm and hand make good trees.

After that was done, they used crumpled pink tissue paper to make the blossoms. Some used other colors or  green paper for the ground. Many kids also remembered the technique where you wrap the tip of pencil with the tissue and then glue. That works well, but just crumpling the tiny pieces of tissue works just as well.

These turned out real nice and are very Springy!