Thursday, October 20, 2011

Blob monsters and shaving cream?! - 2 "borrowed" projects

I've been borrowing from other bloggers again! Even those of us who have been around for a while can still find new ideas and techniques. It's always more fun to try something new, or at least put a new spin on an old lesson, than it is to just repeat... repeat... repeat!

Kindergarten organic "blob monsters" - I discovered this lesson at We Heart Art.
I didn't deviate much from the lesson posted there. Anyone who knows me knows I'm terrified of kindergartners - I'd rather teach a group of any other age. The K's are, basically, "tadpoles" - still developing. I began my teaching career with 9 years of high school art, so switching gears so dramatically was a real struggle. Still, after 25+ years, I still struggle with teaching kindergarten. So I'm always thrilled to find a lesson that is just perfect for these little guys.

Anyhow, about this lesson: We read the book Jeremy Draws a Monster and made an organic shape with a piece of yarn on our paper. We traced around the yarn with a crayon, and then got imaginative. We first talked about how to make eyes look like eyes, etc, but mostly we just had fun imagining. Some monsters were silly, some mean, and each one was unique.

I liked this lesson so much, when we had a little extra time in first grade today, we did the same exact thing, only we used construction paper crayons on colored paper. The results were again adorable and the kids really were proud of their monsters. Unfortunately I sent the artwork home and forgot to take pictures!

And here are some silhouettes on 9"x12" paper marbled with shaving cream and liquid watercolors. I do a silhouette project with 5th graders every year, usually on a watercolored paper, sometimes sprinkled with salt, but this was the first time I tried it using a marbled sky.

A lot of people have posted about making marbled paper with shaving cream. I'd never tried it, but we had a blast doing it. I did do some things a little differently than other people, though. I had the kids tape off a rectangle on their table the size of their paper, and then set the paper aside. I sprayed the shaving cream directly on the table, not in a tray like most others have done. I had a variety of liquid watercolors available, and after the kids spread out their shaving cream (kind of like frosting a cake) the kids dripped the paint on and used pop sticks to swirl it around. We were trying to make Van Gogh-like swirls, but some kids got carried away and swirled too much. In the end the results were still useable, and most kids got to spread their cream out a second time and do a second print. They picked which one to use for their silhouette and saved the other to use at a later date.

Cleanup was maybe the most fun of all. The kids used squares of cardboard to squeegee the excess shaving cream off the tables, and gathered up mountains of it in their hands. They were enthralled. Then, I passed out sponges and the shaving cream, even with paint in it, worked as a wonderful table cleaner and the room smelled fabulous too! It was so easy to clean up, that I can't imagine using some sort of tray. My tables are easily washable and everyone was happy.

By the way - the little bits of shine and sparkle on some of these pictures are scraps of metallic contact paper I have, or, as in the crown on the Statue of Liberty, metallic paint dabbed on with a Q-tip stick. The contact paper doesn't show true color in the photos - the stuff the kids used was either plain mirror-like silver, or silver with sort of a holographic look that has a pattern of tiny circular designs that look like little CD's (hence the moon and reflection in the lighthouse image).

The black is Sharpie (for tiny details) and India ink. The kids love using it. I find that the concept of silhouettes is a challenge for some kids to understand, which is why I try to incorporate a silhouette lesson with my 5th graders somehow every year. I was surprised this year - no roller coasters, only one city, no castles, only one bridge, no trains, only one howling wolf, no helicopters, etc. I had an image box they could sift through and I couldn't interest anyone in the cupolas and weathervanes I had. This group of kids really struggled with ideas but in the end I think they did pretty well.

15 comments:

  1. The swirly skies are great. I particularly like the design of the lighthouse:)

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  2. Phyl
    When I left your blog I went over to SmART Class and watched a 60 Minutes video on Van Gogh that she had posted. If you didn't see the show on Sunday, you might enjoy it -- I found it fascinating!!
    Here is the address:
    http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7384904n&tag=fdEmbedTooEarly

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  3. Oh Phyl! These just made me so happy! Especially the one with the boats and the whale fluke! Yummy!
    I also loved your comment about kinders-I feel exactly the same way. Tadpoles, undeveloped,squirrelly, i could go on. I think early childhood teachers are either saints or insane! And, I just got through watching the Van Gogh piece that Fine Lines mentioned and it was FABULOUS. I hope you saw it and the virtual Van Gogh tour with Morley Safer cuz it was amazing. Stayed at school tonight til' 7:00 putting up my first large scale exhibit of the year (at school #2) and I'm beat! Post will be up this weekend so check it out-

    :)Pat

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  4. Phyl, the silhouettes look amazing! I've never done the shaving cream paper but have always wanted to try it. Keep up the great work :]

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  5. Thanks, everyone. And thank you for the info about the 60 Minute piece on Van Gogh. I just finished watching it and it's VERY enlightening. I though I knew a lot, having read a compilation of his letters this summer, but this added some extra info.

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  6. So beautiful! I am starting a silhouette project this week with my second graders, and I am intrigued by the shaving cream idea! Question though: after they've laid the paper down on the shaving cream, doesn't it come up with excess cream on it? Do you scrape that off or does it eventually dry up? Thanks for the idea! :)

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  7. Acacia, yes, we squeegeed off the excess shaving cream with squares of cardboard. Sorry I didn't mention that step! I don't know if I'd do this with 2nd graders - unless maybe I had a shaving cream "station" and took one kid at a time to do that step. It's pretty messy and you'd better be pretty confident about it before you do it with a bunch of kids!

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  8. Wow, the shaving cream silhouettes look terrific! Thanks for this post, I'm sure I can make it too now ;) I'll keep your advice in mind: Don't see the mess, see the sunny side: cleaned tables!

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  9. your "blob monsters" look GREAT! aren't they so much fun?! i teach this lesson EVERY.SINGLE.YEAR and they all look different.

    like you, i feel like a puppet when I'm teaching kindergarten. I feel like I am on such a stage---and half the time "faking it" (if you know what i mean?!) "yes, your monster is the BEST i've every seen!!!!" (read: what the heck is THAT?!) but alas i love them and they love art, so i just keep on truckin'---and know that they're just little sponges soaking it all in!

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  10. I love the monsters. They are very imaginative, fun and scary. Beautiful and fun work. You have some talented students.

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  11. I just want to introduce Studio Helper. It help manage your staff and students in a smoother and easier way. It helps manage and track of their performance. Give it a try today! You're free to play around with it as much as you like during your free trial. www.studiohelper.com

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  12. I may have missed it, but what type of paper did you use? I'm a new homeschooling mom & my boys would LOVE this! (1st & 3rd grader) Thanks!

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    1. Sharon, I used either a heavy-duty white drawing paper (90 lb.) or a school-grade watercolor paper. I think it was the watercolor paper. The kids loved the whole process, including the cleanup, because it was so much fun to have handfuls of colorful shaving cream. I hope this goes well for you- have fun!

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  13. Phyl,
    These silhouettes are amazing! How did you teach them about making silhouettes and inspire their ideas? Could you tell more about the imagine box? Thanks!

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    1. Claire - first of all - it was an image box, not an imagine box (though that sounds pretty cool!). Basically the image box was just a box box filled with photos from magazines, calendars, etc. I have tons and tons that I clipped over the years, and they are sorted into animal pics, nature pics, ocean pics, people pics, etc.

      As for the silhouettes, it isn't a really hard concept. We talked about light source and what you see when the light is behind something, and how it had to have an interesting outline shape since you wouldn't see interior details when it was all filled in with black. I showed samples, we brainstormed ideas, and just went from there.

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