13 November, 2013

art show

Wow! The last few weeks have been crazily busy.  Apart from the lovely few days I had with Maggie, it's been ALL go around here.  We had our first marking period, plus student portfolios; which for the most part they are supposed to do for themselves... except the KG1s.  I had to do nearly 200 portfolio pages which meant taking photos of every child (spending HOURS trying to match all those photos to names) and uploading photos and text for each of them.  WHEW!  And we do it all again 2 more times before the end of the year.

Then we had our art show.  Last year, you may remember, they did a big end of year show which I helped set up, and this year they wanted to do something more craft based and earlier on in the year. Things didn't turn out quite as planned for a number of reasons, but the show went ahead, which meant a lot of time spent on prepping the work for display.  

These are the works of my KG2 class.  I did something totally different to the other KG2 classes, but my kids loved this project and I love the results.
 I gave them the drawing prompt of things that live under the sea (very "topical" and frowned upon in IB, I know) and was surprised by the number of mermaids I got.  They drew first in their sketch books then with oil pastels onto paper.  My lesson with them is split, so rather than being an 80 minute lesson, it's two 40 minute lessons which are right before lunch, so it's actually more like two 30 minute lessons.
 So in their second lesson, they used liquid water colours (blue and green) to create the sea.  I also encouraged them to drip water on top and as an experiment we sprinkled salt on.  I've seen good effects with salt, but for whatever reason, it didn't do much for our pictures.  It still provided the opportunity to talk about how the sea was salty though.

 With my grade 1 class I had to come up with something SUPER quick.  The other classes had made greeting cards, but I teach this one grade 1 class in their classroom, so I often have to modify what the other teacher is teaching.  I decided to do bookmarks on the hop and cut card strips for them.  Then I took in some scrap booking paper from home, some wool (also from home), a hole punch, glue sticks, scissors, some stamps and stamp pads and basically let them at it.
 I did show them a few techniques, but I really didn't want to lead them too much.  This was an absolutely NUTS class.  The kids LOVED it.  ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT.  I was supposed to be taking photos of them working, but they were so into it, and I was helping to tie tassels, that I didn't have the chance.  For an hour, they were so engaged and focused and excited and wow!
 Who knew?!  Bookmarks.  I let them make as many as they wanted...some took more time and care and made less, others were churning them out.  I had one boy (who made 5) tell me that it was "the best lesson EVER!!!"  I know they are just dying to take them home.
 Our grade 4 work we turned into a unit.  They learned about and made a tessellation.  I actually did the introduction class for this across the whole grade as my colleague was away with the secondary camp, and did it as and introduction to M.C. Escher, and tessellations generally through open enquiry.
 Once they'd learned how to make a shape that could be tessellated (we used the translation method) they had to cover their page in with it and from there make it creative.  I really encouraged them to be individual with this project, and I think it shows in their work.
 They could use different media (collage, marker, pencil, oil pastels) and although most of them started with the same sized paper, they could cut it down in a variety of ways when thinking about their finished presentation.
 I really wanted them to be thinking about how to present their work as they went, and we matted them all onto black card.  I got them to hand write their labels and to give their work a title.
 I'm really pleased with the results, and the kids were too.  The titles were so creative - not a single "untitled" or even just "tessellation".  I talked about how this was a gallery and all work in galleries had titles and for the most part they took it really seriously.

 All the work shown here is from my classes.  I put a lot of work into the display and I kept their tessellation templates (although they are not necessarily next to the correct piece) because I thought it was important to highlight the process of their making.

 Oh, and my last lessons with them on the tessellations had about 1/3rd of the class finishing off and the rest finished.  We had a bunch of off cuts from the mats, so I put out some of those, some paper plates and wool, string, sticky tape, and scrap paper and told them they had free range as long as they didn't waste the materials and they could present their piece at the end of the lesson.  Some worked in groups, some individually and seriously it was one of the best lessons ever.  They weren't allowed to ask me for help; they had to problem solve with their peers.  Some of the stuff that came out of that lesson was quite remarkable and for the most part they wanted to take it home.
This piece my students left with me...complete with label, so I put it in the show.

Ok, last grade (you know this is as much a record for me!).  My GAZILLION of KG1s.  Nearly 200 of them, so I knew I couldn't really do a piece each (especially as we have next to no hanging space at school).  I have also started to go into all their classes with my cart to make my life a bit easier, and to give me more time with them.  The transitioning for them to the art room took so long and the lesson is only 40 minutes... by the time I had resettled them we were lucky to have 20 minutes of making art.  I prefer going to them, they are more settled, but it does mean I need to be super organised and any painting projects need to be limited to one table (smocks, table cloths etc). 
 So I did a lesson about mark making.  I had one table set up with stamp pads that I made by putting a net covered sponge into a container with paint (these worked quite well actually), and found objects for stamping.  We had plastic bottle tops, some toys, some shapes cut out of foam, a cellulite roller and more; anything really I could find that might make an interesting mark (I specifically bought the cellulite roller for this project).  While one group of 4-6 made marks on a big sheet of paper (I swapped around the colours and turned the paper to get full coverage), the rest of the class had similar objects and home made play dough.
 With this age group (4-5), play dough is the boss.  I made it for their first lesson (all nice colours) and now it is all mixed up and brown, but they still ask for it all the time.
 They can play fairly independently with it, so it gave me the opportunity to really talk to the painters about what they were doing.  The painting groups got about 5 minutes each, washed their hands (some of them just liked the sensation of the paint all over their hands) and then went off to play with play dough.
 I only had these cupboards to display their work.  I put up some photos of them working, and put out some of the tools they had used.   I also put their names up next to the big sheet (blurred for privacy).
 I think I will somehow cut these up and use them for making "non denominational holiday" cards before we break for Christmas (yes, I am aware).
 This is less about really nice finished pieces and more about the experience they had making them.
Originally we only had permission to keep this all up for 4 days, but we have some accreditation people visiting next week and the powers that be decided it looked so good that they wanted to keep it up for the visit (small victories).


  1. Yippeeee Yippppeeeee. Well done. Again.

  2. wow, thats HUGE... what a show, what a lot of work. Love kids art xxx well done George xx


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