Wow it has been a long and grueling last three weeks. Perhaps the hardest three weeks I have had aside from my very first month of teaching, I'll say even harder because back then I just didn't know what I was doing. Now I do know what I'm doing and they are still reducing me to tears, migraines and being physically ill by the end of the day. We have made some progress on our theme of the month of "think warm" though.
5th grade: The weaving unit that will NEVER end. We looked at a PowerPoint and then video's from U-tube to learn all about weaving. We practiced weaving with paper. We tried weaving paper baskets which was way to hard and flopped so instead we wove friendship bracelets (BIG hit) and did circular weaving on plates. One class is STILL trying to get their plate weaving done. I have told them we are not having choice day till we get through this stupid weaving issue. The other 5th grade (the one I see twice a week) made the peace dove paintings this week and they turned out really well and the kids were surprisingly into them, they loved using the "big kids" watercolor sets and choosing their peace quotes. Class one will finish their circle weaving. Class two will talk about quilting and on day one (and possibly day two) make a Faith Ringgold memory quilt bock and learn about the use of quilts in the underground railway and how Ringgold uses them now to tell the story of African Americans. If done in time we will read Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt and look at this great website that has a glossary of what different types of quilt squares might have meant. I also like how they have make their sample pictures for some of the quilts. It looks like they have used crayon wax resit to make each part look like fabric. I think I'll print up four designs (see below) and have the kids use the wax resit method to make one block to go with our memory blocks.
4th grade: choice day confusion put us a week behind but both groups are also almost done with their weaving units. both have now done paper weaving, one with warm and cool color paper that they made and one with regular paper. Group 2 is doing small paper plate weaving that we should get done this week. Thank god. Other group will make a Faith Ringgold memory quilt block.
3rd grade: has been a battle royal with two out of three groups, which is odd, usually 3rd grade is the happiest of grades, but this group was not very happy as a whole last year and seem to continue to have issues with each other. Anyway we got through our paper weaving and we did some found object weaving on cardboard looms. We also talked about hibernating bears and learned how to draw a brown bear and a polar bear and made a Arctic watercolor back ground for our polar bears. One group should have had choice day this week but started arguing with each other, pouting and acting like pre-scholars within the first 10 min of class and had choice day removed till next week when we will try again. We will end with our 'quilt' unit by reading Tar Beach written by and featuring the work of Faith Ringgold (good tie in to celebrating African American artists with MLK day and Black History month coming up) We will draw, paint or collage a memory we have and then put a paper quilt boarder around the edge. I will pre cut squares of scrapbook paper for that part because of what we learned about our scissors and fabric with second grade...see bellow.
2nd: We did paper weaving. We learned about hibernating brown bears thanks to OLD BEAR, we learned to draw and paint a brown bear. We painted a background for our bear. We read Grandmother Winter and talked about quilts and started cutting and pasting fabric to make crazy quilts. We learned that our scissors are crap and only a 1/4 of them cut fabric and my paper cutter is too dull to cut fabric and well, it's going to take two classes to finish cutting the fabric. I'm not giving up though. We will cut, glue and then use markers to make the 'stitching' on every one's patch for our large class quilt. If I get time I will try to pre-cut some fabric for them. Quilting will take us till the end of the month.
1st grade: Let's see we did a collage scarf with pattern to go with A Snowy Day and a painting with Old Bear, this week we read Grandmother winter and started a quilt "puzzle" as the kids are calling them where they have to cut, find the matching color word and shape and glue the quilt square together. It will take us another week to get these done with maybe a little free draw time at the end. That will get us till the end of the month.
kinder: We started the month with some grandmother winter and quilt puzzle squares that turned out really well but where very time intensive on my part. Then we practiced our primary colors with kinder Kandinsky paintings last week. This week we looked at different types of lines and used watercolor paint to make a line collection painting. I realized we had not worked with watercolors at ALL this year. Yikes. Not sure what we will do this week. I want to work on shape again so I think we will use shapes to build cars and trucks and other things that move. Fantasy vehicles so to speak. I will have templates of different shapes for them to trace around and then color in. A variation (made easier for our limited time) of this lesson from Deep Space Sparkle. On the other hand I'm not sure how into trucks and cars some of the girls will be. Sorry if that sounds sexist...maybe I should go with something more gender neutral like this bird but made with shapes that we can trace from a template. They just don't have the small moter control yet to draw on their own...I tried it with the 2nd grade earlier this year and they barely could draw the birds.
as for the 6-8th graders they finished up their painted landscapes, and their Greek pottery. They are now working on their their paper mosaics and I'm working on squeezing some money out of the school for a real mosaic for the library. The Romans were interested in portraiture and making faces look unique. We are going to learn to draw faces using the grid method.
I first did this with a group of 5th grade students four years ago and they loved it and they turned out well. For that project we used images of people playing sports.
Then three years ago I did it with a group of 7th graders using photos of themselves. They HATED the project. This year I will not force the kids to draw themselves. I will let them choose from a random selection of interesting faces. Sometimes its just having to look at a photo of themselves and feel like it is not turning out to look JUST like them that creates the roadblock. I have learned since my last attempt to print one or two inch grids onto overhead transparencies and then lay that on top of the picture, that helps the kids get a correct gird and not get stressed about drawing their own. Second I have learned to only let them do a 1:1 ratio or a 1:2 ratio. Any larger than that and we have issues with distortion and propitiation.
The mosaic and grid drawing should take us to the end of January, meaning two weeks of Greece, two weeks on Roam and then we will start our two weeks on China that will cumeulate end about the same day as the start of the Chinease New Year!