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.



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.

Toothpaste Batik

Toothpaste Batik

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.


My example

My example strung with finger knitted string and a found stick

Another example of mine

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