Saturday Art Workshops — 10.13.18

Colleen’s screen printing Logos with Stencils

A logo stencil printed on a bag

A logo stencil printed on a bag

This week I observed and helped out in Colleen’s lesson on screen printing logos for invented organizations using stencils on paper. It was great to see she had materials on hand for them to make bandannas, t-shirts or a canvas bag if they wanted those. She started off by asking them about their creative activities this week during the opening ceremony that we have been doing. This got them engaged and was a nice transition into thinking about designing a logo while she showed her example stencil. She showed them the PowerPoint of various logos and asked them to interpret those. After that, she provided an informal assessment of their prior knowledge by quizzing them on semi-blank logos with parts missing, asking them to pare down to the essentials when they make their drawings for their logos. She requested that they make three sketches to start. One student groaned a bit but it was good for that kid to slow down a bit and think through her ideas more.

A logo stencil ready to print

A logo stencil ready to print

A logo about acting

A logo about acting

Putting ink on the screens

Putting ink on the screens

Applying the squeegee

Applying the squeegee

A kid's bandanna

A kid’s bandanna

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After the sketches were approved and suggestions made, Colleen showed them how to screen print with her stencil in a demonstration. I thought the pacing of this lesson was successful for her in terms of how she introduced the idea and the parts of the activity. She also explained to them how to be safe while using an exact-o blade, which for 4th grade, can be tricky. They seemed to understand how the color would only be applied to the spaces that they cut out, so they had an idea already about negative and positive space and worked it out while they were making it. The collaborative aspect of requiring a partner to assist in holding the screen while another prints is a nice way to build community. One student had an issue with matching the squeegee size with the screen and so she had a limitation in material, but she solved the problem by just turning the squeegee so it fit better, which is part of the process of making art; the mistakes can either be helpful or a hindrance.

Overall this lesson was a success because the students were engaged, developed their ideas more fully through brainstorming and made productive results. The students have a good rapport with Colleen and each other as well.

Saturday Art Workshops — 10.6.18

designing Reverse Time Capsules

This week in the Saturday Art Workshop, I taught Reverse Time Capsules which were containers from the future that people had time traveled to the present to leave behind for contemporary folks to find. I gave them the handout and explained that I wanted them to make three pieces to go inside the capsule, such as an artwork from the future, a solution to an ecological problem, a science or medical invention, a new type of building, or the X factor, which was something of their choice. The kids seemed to pick up on this idea faster than I thought they would.

In process

In process

I started off asking them what they knew about time capsules and one said that they just opened one at her school from 100 years ago which was really neat. Then I showed them some of my examples and they got so excited that they just got up and started grabbing cardboard and model magic. I quickly showed them the art materials and wrangled them back into the PowerPoint, which was short. I felt like I had the reins to a wild horse. I realized afterwards that I shouldn’t have shown them my examples right away; I should have waited until after the images because I tried to get them to brainstorm but they just didn’t want to after they had seen the materials and had too much model magic in hand. One thing I could have done is given each a small piece of clay and a piece of paper as we were talking and then they could have brainstormed in 2-D and 3-D. One question I have is what do you do when kids really don’t want to brainstorm or do part of an activity? Do you leave it by the side of the road and just go with what they are interested in?

Final touches in the mini museum

Final touches on the mini museum

Making the time capsule container

Making the time capsule container

The pacing also seemed different this time, although we had other kids because the regular ones were absent. The girl who usually finishes early spent so much time on her box that she only made one future animal and its clothing, but it looked good. Another boy ended early so I had him work on making his mini museum with titles, which is what they all did at the end. It gave them a chance to talk about their art so their peers could comment. Overall I think the timing went pretty well for a 90-minute activity and each one had a completely different capsule shape and ideas. One kid made a car that made tornadoes and a future animal that was similar to a worm that lived in the jungle; another made a bucket that saves water and a place for storing energy.

Another question I have is how do you get kids to explore their ideas more before just steamrolling ahead with what they have planned? It seemed like most of them knew exactly what they wanted to do before they considered too many options. It’s positive in the sense that they are strong-willed but how do you get them to brainstorm and play more before making decisions?

Tornado car

Tornado car

A future animal with clothes

A future animal with clothes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The mini museum

The mini museum

Teacher examples:

Pyramid time capsule

Pyramid time capsule

Underwater city, cure for cancer and tree seeds

Underwater city, cure for cancer and tree seeds

Saturday Art Workshops — 9.29.18

Explorations in the 4th Dimension: Animations With Colleen

This week was Colleen’s turn to teach and she had a great lesson called, “Explorations in the 4th Dimension” which meant she did animations on iPads with the kids. We started off the opening ceremony with the weekly prompt of “what did you do that was creative this week?” and the students chatted with us about how they auditioned for a play, finished a book and did some baking, thus establishing a routine for each time, which helps set expectations and gets them involved right away.

Demonstration

Demonstration

After showing them some animation videos such as by PES, she demonstrated the simple features of the Stop Motion app. and the kids dove right in making an animation with their shoes, adding characters as an extra option. I felt like this activity was successful because the students seemed very engaged in making their movies and two kids collaborated together, which was very energizing for them. I think in a larger classroom (we have three kids in our Saturday art section), it would be good if kids could have the choice to collaborate or not, organically, which is what Colleen did that worked well.

I think if I were doing this lesson, I would have them come up with characters and a story beforehand so they knew how it fits together with a story arc. Also, I would have different 3-D materials that they can use to decorate their shoes into characters. These kids used duct tape on their shoes, which seemed to work well, and they could have used fabric and sticks, yarn or cardboard as well.

A student's work in progress

A student’s work in progress

Pacing seems to be something to keep considering because one student finished before the others so she made a rabbit character and did an animation of that hopping along. Making extra characters or a second film is a great way to keep kids engaged.

Two kids collaborate

Two kids collaborate

Play was an important element of this activity, and was especially apparent between the two girls working together. They bounced ideas off of each other like atoms. It was interesting to see make-believe at work between kids, which is an essential part of using imagination at for 4th & 5th graders. Overall, the kids were very excited to be making their open ended films and improvising as they went along, so that is why I think this was a successful lesson.

 

Saturday Art Workshops — 9.22.18

Batik Pennants & Banners with Toothpaste Lotion!

Batik with Toothpaste Lotion

Applying the fabric with toothpaste lotion

For the first Saturday Art Workshop that Colleen and I were co-teaching, we introduced a toothpaste-lotion batik lesson revolving around creating personal symbols of identity on a banner or pennant. Overall, I think our lesson went very well and the kids started working on the first part of drawing and using the lotion mixture on fabric after showing them the presentation on batik and a few artists working in traditional and contemporary styles. We could have been better with the routines of the class, since we came up with an opening and closing ceremony, like the Olympics, which we hope to carry out next time but the minutes passed too quickly.

A student's preliminary drawing to go under the fabric

A student’s preliminary drawing to go under the fabric

We spent the first ten minutes getting to know the kids and asking them questions about their interests and hobbies, not only as part of the relationship building aspect of classroom management, as suggested in Michael Linsin’s Classroom Management for Art, Music, and PE Teachers, but so they can feel welcomed by each other and find some common ground for their community. Since we talked to them so much and they were chatty, it was a stream of consciousness conversation and so we kept them on track with the activities by making suggestions and asking questions about the next step, as a kind of formative assessment.

Since we had a small class size, it was easy to have them go at their own pace. One was faster than the others and moved on to our extra activities. I think in a large class, it’s important to explain all of the options at the beginning of class so people know what they can move on to if they finish early and for enrichment. It seems like it would be hard for the teacher to tell each person what to do next if they were busy helping others.

After the lotion mixture is applied

After the lotion mixture is applied, it takes a few days to dry well

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One important moment for me was when one of the girls was shaking up her batik lotion and doing a dance, which gave me the idea that we could have played music during that time to liven things up, especially on a groggy Saturday morning. It made me realize that the kids can give you clues about how to improve the lesson or ways to branch out with it, by bringing their own style to what was unfolding.

My example

My example strung with finger knitted string and a found stick

The other aspect that I think we need to work on a bit is clean up time. Having a workshop outside of a school context makes it a touch harder to get them to clean up. They also get so excited that they don’t want to stop. Next time we can remind them to clean up 10 then 5 minutes before they need to so they’re expecting it.

Another example of mine

Another example of mine on paper (with salt to the left and white crayon to the right)