Wednesday, March 14, 2012

I must be insane.


It is taking FOREVER for the 5th grade kiddos to finish their Laurel Burch style papier-mache "fantastic felines", but I thought I'd show you a few that are almost done. I should have a bunch more to show you next week. I'm loving Olivia's glamorous kitty on the left above, and the one on the right, proudly built by a sweet Down syndrome child, has personality plus.
And Chelsea's cat has the most gorgeous whiskers, and I think it will be getting a jeweled collar. The dots that are all over its body have sparkly (with glitter-glue) outlines.

And here's a couple of views of Colton's dramatic black, white, and gold cat. He hasn't done the facial features yet.


So why am I insane? Because, with the cats still filling my cabinets and counter-tops, and the 6th grade Darumas all still in the art room, today my 3rd graders starting the armature for THEIR papier-mache project. Can you guess what they will be? (answer below the photo)

No, not robots, not rocket ships. They are going to become garden gnomes! (they don't have arms added on as of yet) and the kids are very excited. Yeah to my custodian who left me a carton filled wit Gatorade bottles.

Meanwhile, things are INSANE in my school this week, as some jobs cuts were made public and nobody is happy.

24 comments:

  1. I didn't realize there was a question about your insanity?!?!

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  2. Isn't Mr.E a hoot? OMG! I have been dying to see the cats and it was worth the wait! They are Gorgeous!!!! Tell me again how long the kids have been working on them?

    :)Pat

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  3. The L.B. cats are finishing out nicely. The color schemes look great and I love how clearly the eyes are done! Earlier in the year I had my 5th graders working on robots with paper mache and I thought we'd never finish up. They were doing it in groups; I thought that would help, but it really didn't.

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  4. Those are AWESOME!! I think it's great that they are taking a long time, it's good for kids to realize patience. Can't WAIT to see those gnomes!

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  5. I LOVE the cats!!!! Loving the patterns and colors. I have been waiting patiently for the gnomes since you dropped that nugget of info!!!! I wish I had more room and that I did not see the classes every 6 days because I would do more papier mache. (It is really hard with 125 of each grade level to do papier mache.) No space that is why I paint so much much more doable with my schedule and situation. Yep, it is going to be ugly tomorrow at our school. Administration is going door to door to tell those of us who are cut. :(

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    1. When I get some time I should do a post about making papier-mache quick and easy. Although my cats are an insane project, there are things that can be done really quickly. For example, last year's ice cream cones were done in no time flat, and I've got lots of other quick easy papier-mache projects too.

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    2. Please do, as I would love to do some papier-mache projects. I am a traveling teacher who sees my kids 1 time a cycle... Can't wait to try some new projects. You are an inspiration!

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    3. I feel your pain! I too, see my 960 K-5 students once every 6 days for 40 minutes... My room looks likes a bomb went off most of the time, something I'm not used to at all! To help with Papier mâché, I use torn grocery sacks instead of newspaper, smaller pieces (not much bigger then cookies, depending on the sculpture) so they have more overlapping going on. We also paint a lot, so I don't always use it to finish the sculptures. Recycled bulletin board paper or even scrap construction paper makes a great finish coat to add color and looks great! Good luck!

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    4. Sealey, thanks for your ideas. I actually do quite a bit of papier-mâché and generally have the process down to a science! The only reason these cats took so crazy-long is due to my desire to have them represent Laurel Burch's 'fantastic felines' which meant a very specific look, and lots of detailed finishing! But I NEVER had to deal with 960 kids, so I imagine shortcuts are essential! My whole school district, K-12' only has about 500 kids total. Thanks for visiting!

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  6. The cats are beautiful!!! I was wondering if your students had finished them or not! You are a brave woman! I can't wait to see the gnomes, I love gnomes! I understand the who's getting laid off insanity...when our gov came in two years ago state funding for public schools was cut so drastically schools all over our state went scrambling in a panic. our district (2 elem&1middle school) lost 27 staff members! we went from 8 - 1st grades to 5! I had 28 - 30 kids in a class! We all approached our mailboxes like something was going to reach out and strangle us - none of us wanted to find the "see me" letter from the principal. The mood in the schools was so ominous it was scary! Never want to go through that again! Thanks to a supportive administration and board they did not slash the visual and performing arts! That was not the case in many other districts.

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  7. Awesome cats!!! What jobs are cut!?!?!?!

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  8. Love the cats! I feel the same way when I've done paper mache. Will it ever end or will I ever get the slime feeling off my hands? and Let's not even talk about the clean up. But, the results are often spectacular, like your cats.
    Sorry about the cuts, March is a nervous time here in Michigan and so so somber in April.

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    1. I think the cleanup is easy. I'd much rather clean up from papier-mache than from printmaking and some mixed media collage stuff. If you don't use art paste (comes in a little box, mixes to make 4 qts) try it out. Non-toxic, non-staining, and easy to clean up.

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  9. Can't really talk about the job cuts, except to say that my school district is so small that any cuts are really personal. I even have four FORMER STUDENTS (two of whom are married to each other) teaching in the school! It's a small world.

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  10. You are NOT insane, but amazing!!! Love these cats! I am pinning it! The garden knomes! Adorable idea! I used to HATE paper mache but it's growing on me... I think I might do the knomes with my art club next year!

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    1. The cats are a real challenge because I threw in the extra details to make them look Laurel Burch and that made them take longer to build. But I've built "fat cats" many times before and they can be quite easy using the plastic bag method. The gnomes (like last year's ice cream cones) are a quick structure and will move much more quickly to completion. Plus they are not space-hogs. The cats have taken over my room.

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  11. The cats are fabulous! And I echo the others in saying I can't wait for the gnomes.

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  12. The cats are amazing and yes, I get myself into projects with my kids and say....."What am I doing??!" But the students are engaged and love it! Please post more on the gnomes, I have water bottles collected and want to create something and think this would be perfect! What a great idea! Thank you, by the way "Love the cities" M.C. Sayles from Pa

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    1. Yes, I will post more on the gnomes, as we do each step. The Gatorade bottles are a perfect shape because they have a nice dent dividing the head from the shoulders. I bought a bag of playground sand ($3.83 for 50 lbs.!) and poured some into each bottle to add weight and make them more stable.

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  13. what did you use for the bottoms of the gnomes phyl? are they plastic eggs?

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    1. Yes, I hot glued halves of eggs on the bottoms. I could only get it to work with the bottom halves of the eggs, so now I need to find a use for all the tops! One gnome got a pair of those cool shaped caps from Crayola glue sticks for its feet. By the way, it did take a LOT of glue to get them to stay good, but they seem to be mostly holding real well.

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  14. Did you ever make a follow up post about the gnomes? I heard a teacher made these and brought them in to share at one of our networking conferences, but that's when I was out on maternity and never got to see a finished example : (... I DID, however, put it in my little memory bank because I knew it was something I wanted to try!

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    1. Oh my goodness Hannah, yes, let me give you links to some posts where you can see the amazing completed gnomes.

      Here's one: http://plbrown.blogspot.com/2012/04/little-this-little-that.html

      And another: http://plbrown.blogspot.com/2012/05/crazy-time-and-more-gnomes.html

      And in the student art show here: http://plbrown.blogspot.com/2012/05/bittersweet.html

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    2. Hannah, I was so proud of these kids. They braided hair, made fishing poles, constructed baskets of veggies and flowers from colored sheet foam, made slings for arrows for archers, and more more more. I hope you like them!

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