Sunday, November 29, 2009

egypt monday master: weigh the heart

short description for kids about the weighing of the heart ceremony
People in most ancient civilizations were afraid of their gods. This was not true in ancient Egypt. The Egyptians loved their gods. They had little fear and great wonder.

There was one exception, though - the god Ammut. Almost everyone in ancient Egypt was afraid of Ammut! Ammut was the Devourer. The ancient Egyptians believed if you did something bad, your heart would be heavy, and the god Ammut might suddenly appear and eat you up!

The god Ammut had a big part in the weighing of the heart ceremony. When you died, the ancient Egyptians believed you traveled to an afterlife, a heavenly place where you spent eternity. You had to earn your way. There were rules. To enter your afterlife, you had to have a light heart. Light hearts were earned from a lifetime of doing good deeds.

After you died, the ancient Egyptians believed your heart had to be weighed. It had to be lighter than a feather. To find out if your heart qualified for the trip to the afterlife, your spirit had to enter the Hall of Maat.

The god Anubis weighed your heart. The god Thoth recorded the findings. (In ancient Egypt, everything was recorded and written down.)

If your heart was light, you passed the test and entered your afterlife. BUT, if your heart was heavy because your deeds were dreadful, the god Ammut would suddenly appear ... and eat you up!

and the image to go with it

Thursday, November 26, 2009

2 week winter projects?

What do you do with a new batch of Middle school students for the two weeks before winter break. They are already going to be antsy because of break. Some will have NEVER been in art, others will have been with me non-stop for the last 5 trimesters! (Yes a year and half, every day non-stop). I don't really feel like jumping right into our Greece/Roam unit. I need to build up to the next country in art around the world. When in doubt always go back to the elements and principals of art. We will look at the principal of composition with a name project:
Choose one version of composition, radial symmetry, angular design or variation on boxes composition.
radial...although not the best execution ever

angular and better execution, although difference between blue and green could have been stronger.

Imagine this with a letter of your name in each space instead of fall items

Next we will remind ourselves of good line design by doing this quick review exercises

project from here i will let them choose either three geometric shapes or to trace around the GIANT foam snowflakes I have.

Last but not least we will make a winter/holiday themed "stained" glass watercolor painting.
Snow Man
Christmas tree
Christmas lights
Christmas blub

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving all. Sadly I am very sick yet again and am stuck in bed instead of at the family Thanksgiving lunch. I made it three weeks between illnesses this time. That is a week longer than between the prior colds. Still, I fell like I have been sick non-stop this year.

Monday and Tuesday of this week we had conferences. I am part of the area style conferences with the other middle school teachers and I got a good number of people to stop by this year. Last year only four families stopped to talk to me. This year about 15 of 16 stopped by. Maybe by next year I'll be in the 20's or 30's.

During the last week of school we pushed hard to finish up our November projects.
5th grade continues to work on their India unit and are enthusiastic about our general theme of Elephants.

4th and 3rd grade managed to get their tree themed art works done in time for their choir concert and they were well received. It was nice to be acknowledged during the concert as part of the school's art program. Some parents seemed really excited to see their students work. Although some didn't really seem to care. Can't win them all I guess.

2nd and some third grade classes got to make torn paper collage owls with googly eyes and fun foam beaks. They were a big hit.

1st is trudging along with their scarecrow in the field paintings and collage. This project is taking WAY too long and I am just going to glue them together for the kids so we can move on. Three weeks is too long on a 1st grade project.

Kinder got the chance to try sponge painting to paint turkey outlines and ended up making some really cute and unique turkey art. Painting with 75 kids in less than 90 min was really stressful for me and I ended up having to get a few 8th graders to help me out.

The big surprise for me was that the trimester is ending on Thursday of next week! We are using a different state testing schedule this year and so our trimesters have been altered....opps they forgot to tell the electives teachers! I don't really think it makes sense to switch classes for two weeks before winter break and then have two weeks off. I feel like that is going to leave a odd chunk of time.

The really sad part is that we will have to skip several of our Egypt projects so that we can be done by next Thursday. There will be no canopic jars or sarcophagus's this year. I still have kids working on their Egyptian profiles, although others have made it through the reprosue and printmaking part of the "three Egyptian symbols" project. I told the kids that if they get their profiles and "three symbols" done than they can mummify their hands with plaster strips. The 6th graders are most interested in the plaster hands and the 7th and 8th graders were, "whatever". We will cast hands on Wednesday so that on Thursday we will spend the day painting our hands and cartouches and saying good buy.

The third part of the "three symbols" project is to make a paper casting. In 5th grade I did paper casting on plaster that had a design that I made imprinted into it. I'm going crazy tyring to figure out how we got the images into the plasters. I have tried using modeling clay but I not getting great results...obviously there is an easier way but I just can't remember it! I have a few more ideas of how to make the plaster cast and when I get it figured out I will post directions.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Egypt art

Middle school is half way through their Egypt unit. We started by looking at hieroglyphics and writing our names in hieroglyphics. Next we make clay cartouches and carved our names into them with the hieroglyphics we have been practicing. I will put up photos and a set by step of these next week. Then we used the Egypt profile project from Deep Space Sparkle, photos next week. About 75% of the kids got done with that on Thursday so I gave them two practice drawing sheets I made of six Egyptian symbols. After practicing their drawings they choose a symbol to "carve" into aluminim. We practiced reprose (french for "to push") and counter reprose. 3rd period had a lot of luck with this, the 6th grade boys of 5th period freaked out because they rushed and theirs were not perfect. There were some tears and throwing of things. Still....I have done this project five time and usually have high sucess. Next we will do a simple line drawing in scratch foam and will print three copies of yet another symbol. Choose your fave for the finall project. After thanksgiving break we will make a modling clay and plaster cast of a thrid symbol. We will use toilet paper to make paper casting of this thrid symbol. The reprose, print and paper cast will be mounted on foam core to display the three works. I usually make coil pot conipic jars at this point, so that will be next and our last project is of course plaster casting our hands to make Mummy hands and using epsom salt and baking soda to mummfy apples. This should take us pretty close to winter break. For our last project I am going to have students make watercolor "stained" glass paintings (black glue as the lines) of something winter related, Snowman, trees, fancy snowflake, cardinal, whatever. For kids that bring me a $1 I will buy them a frame at the dollar tree to put their art in and give as a christmas gift.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

trees and turkeys

there never is enough time in November, I always fell behind because of veterans day and conferences and thanksgiving break. So far we have only made it into our, "tree" part of tree's, turkeys and owls. Something is going to have to be skipped, and I think it will be our turkey friends...I'm not really one for cliche holiday art. An owl can adorn your wall year round, a Turkey...well it is going to look kind of strange after after thanksgiving. I'll do turkeys with kinder and life skills and everyone else will have to go turkey-less.

This upcoming week:
2nd and 3rd-paint our raindrop trees, cut cut out and mount on black paper.
3rd period-made clay cartouches on Friday...are looking awesome...either Egyptian portraiture project OR symbols of Egypt practice drawings then print, metal relief and plaster mold/paper mold making. Symbols: Eye of Egypt, Ankh, Hawk, scarab.
5th-clay cartouch
Life skills: owl skills 1 will make
shapes: circles, oval, almond, triangles. I'll cut have the bodies pre-cut and some circles for the eyes. The kids need to cut the wings and triangles. The feet will be large triangles.
life skills 2 will make
without the egg cartons, more with the shapes from above. Pre-cut for most of the students. Cut and glue. Can scribble brown on the tummy. I should get some brown feathers to glue on the wings for texture.

4th grade: Trace and cut black tree. Mount oil pastel landscape on black paper, add tree, make label, go put up in auditorium for the choir concert that night. Color triangle inside circle sheet if done early, or dot paint Australia project.
3rd period-continue Monday's work
5th-start same project as 3rd period
3rd grade -masi-paint raindrop tree, mount, put up in rose garden
3rd grade-hunter- chalk pastel, warm/cool landscape go put up in rose garden

6-8th carry on
1st grade- make collage scarecrow to put on field painting. Provide pre-printed heads, have templates on table for shirt/pants/skirt/hats

5th grade-
Daniels- color and paint elephants
O'dell- finishing painting area around elephant. look at clay elephant slides. make pinch pot bowl, make legs (as thick as thumb!) make head, wrap well to work on Friday

6-8th grade: keep it on keep it on
2nd grade- still struggling...I'll cave and do turkeys with them
god I love these if we could do them with circle templates, construction paper and templates and Popsicle sticks. I'm going to try to modify the Turkey with the blue head on the left. If after I make a mock up this seems too hard then I will go for this old school one.

at least it has an aspect of collage

O'dell- put elephant pots together
6-8th....who knows
If i can get some older kids to come help me....five of them, then we will do the old school classic turkey hand print

If I can't get student helpers then we will work on our cutting skills and make this other classic
these would be very good for practicing our cutting...something we have not done a lot of.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

still life set up

three weeks ago I got very very sick. I had either the flu or a horrid cold. Anyway I called for sub for two days...something I NEVER do. I have been out sick a total of 1 1/2 days in the previous two years. Finding a k-8 art sub is next to impossible, let alone someone that can deal with the population of our school.

Anyway I got someone I trust to sub for me and set her up this still life so that each class could draw it during the time I was gone. I have hundreds of versions of the still life. However, three of my middle school students really took it to the next level.

Right now I only have a photo of one of the final works of art. I love this kid. He is a 6th grader who has some ADD and is a major blurt-er but is very good natured. He also happens to be best friends with the student who lives next door and so I've spent a lot of time interacting with them this summer...random side note. Honestly he is not one of my most naturally gifted kids, and really last year he did not show much interest in art.

However, this year I have discovered he will really really focus down on 2-D works, especially if he feels the media is novel. For this work of art I had the him go back and add color with watercolor pencils and paint and chalk pastel when I was back and feeling better. I was really impressed with his end result.
bit fuzzy

embroidery work

I have become a fan of embroidery work. I taught basic embroidery to my sewing club girls to help them stitch in nice straight lines with evenly spaced stitches. Since then I have made a few more artistic embroideries. The first one is based off a pattern I showed in my Owl post. The second one shows how I take a drawing and transfer it into embroidery. In the second one my drawing is inspired by a artist from Scotland that I found and etsy and couldn't seem to locate again. opps.

Now a work in progress:
paper drawing with the hoop

muslin in the hoop on top of the inked image

traced the image onto the muslin with a fine tip sharpie

top of hoop. image inked, reversed and ready to start stitching

more to come later

aboriginal dot animals

Several months ago I wrote about this lesson and about a month ago I did it with my 4-8th graders as part of their unit on Australian art. I now have some photos of 6th-8th grade samples.
I did a demo on making a snake, lizard or turtle shape using model magic. Students used a golf ball size of clay and choose their own animal. We let them dry over the weekend, then gave them a solid coat of acrylic craft paint, let dry overnight and then dot painted them with toothpicks. The results were very nice all around. I did ask students to dot in either a star, cross, horizontal, parallel or concentric circle pattern. This guideline helped produce a better finished project. Students were allowed to use any color of their choosing, however I have noticed this year they are starting to think about complementary and analogous color themes. Score one for me.

not sure why this keeps loading as a sideways image.

one of my advanced students

a "ridge back lizard" according to the 6th grade artist

darn you blogger! The "sister" turtles

done by one of my students with Auspburgers (sp) who really latched onto the Australian aboriginal symbology and did a lot of out of class research. I was very proud of him.

named "speedy" due to his racing stripes on his back.

Model magic made this a high success rate project. I've become a convert to the stuff. When working with the large number of 4th and 5th grade students model magic was a life saver. I no longer have to fire and glaze and fire the work. If a leg falls off you just glue it back on with Elmer's. Have a kid who is behind? Have them make it and paint it in just one sitting. At first I thought it was pricey, but when I figure in the cost of glaze and electricity for firing I think it works out to cost about the same as traditional clay projects. At least for smaller projects that is.