Thursday, 28 July 2016

SNOW themed lesson

For the first week of Term 3 it was so so COLD!  It may not snow in Melbourne yet it certainly felt like snow weather....

To tie in with this extreme coldness I based all my lessons around SNOW... We even ate snow flake shaped cookies for afternoon tea.

Below are the art activities we did.  I found the recipes for homemade Fake Snow, Snow Paint, Snow Dough and Snow Slime on the Growing a Jeweled Rose website - a great website to check out if you have young children.

Fake Snow
I used this with the preschool classes, yet my own children (aged 9&10 loved playing with the left overs, they made a snow world with Lego).  I got the children to mix the baking soda and shaving cream themselves (great sensory experience).  We then put some snow balls into silver trays and they added vinegar to make their snowballs fizz.....

Snow Slime
All my classes loved this.  I made three batches of it for the 7 classes.  I stored it in little sauce containers and added a bit of glitter on top of each one.  These I stored in the fridge so it was nice and cold when they started playing with it.  The after school classes made their own snowman parts out of Plasticine.  The preschoolers were given some carrots already made and buttons and beads to add to theirs.  We also made "melting snowflakes" by cutting out snowflake shapes with cookie cutters and watched them melt on the table.

Snow Dough
The preschoolers used this to make snow men, using materials on the table.  This was also kept in the fridge to stay cold.

Snow Paint
Love this puffy paint - it stays puffy even after its dried.  I will be using this again in other projects for sure!  The preschool class used this to paint a snowman and then added beads and buttons to him.

Snowmen at Night Drawings
The after school classes did Snowmen at Night drawings using chalk pastels on black paper.  I used the directions on The Teacher Life blog.  These turned out great.  I'm so impressed that nearly all the children got the concept of the shading and shadow, even the ones in Prep.

Paper Snowflakes 
Early finishers made paper snowflakes out of doilies.  It always so much fun cutting these and then opening them up to see what pattern you made.

Enjoy the snow if you go, otherwise keep warm!


Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Clay Sgraffito Cats & Dogs

This blog post is well and truly over due, yet here it is finally (and these adorable kitty's and pups went home....finally..... last week).

Our final Cats themed project for Term 1 was these Clay Sgraffito Cats and Dogs (yes some children were well and truly over cats so I let them produce a dog instead)....

Sgraffito (in Italian "to scratch") is a decorating pottery technique produced by applying layers of colour or colour's (under glazes or coloured slips) to leather hard pottery and then scratching off parts of the layer(s) to create contrasting images, patterns and texture and reveal the clay colour underneath.  I use this technique in my own artwork and it is often admired by the children and parents so I thought it was worth a go in class.

To ensure success I did help the children along with this project.  I don't normally do this as I believe their work should be their own, however I realised in my first lesson that this project was not going to work (as I wanted) if I didn't step in and help.  As you can see each piece has turned out very differently and has its own unique style so I believe they are the children's creations yet I did facilitate some of the process to ensure success.  This does take time through so I wouldn't recommend this project for very large groups or if you are short on time.  I actually happily put on an audio book in the studio and enjoyed doing this work.

First I produced the basic cat bodies using a piece of clay that I molded into a cylinder and pushed a wooden rod into it to hollow it out. These I prepared ahead of the lesson. I then passed these out to the children as a starting point.

It was great doing the ceramics straight after the paper mache as the children applied the knowledge of how to build a cat (ie adding ears and tails etc) to this project.  They were given some extra clay and shown how to make ears and tails and attach them.  They were allowed to squash gently around the neck area if they wanted a more defined neck. Once their cat or dog was complete and named they put it on the drying shelf and selected an underglaze colour.

Before the next lesson I let the clay dry to leather hard and applied the underglaze in the child's chosen colour.

Before we started I then explained the process of sgraffito and got them to design what they were going to scratch into their dog or cat on a piece of paper.  When they were ready they started scratching away some of the glaze with small scratch tools (I just used the plastic scratch tools that come with scratch art kits).  We used old paintbrushes for wiping away the crumbs.

Once the sgraffito was complete the cats and dogs were left to dry and bisque fired.

I then coated them with a layer of Zart's Clear Gloss.  I decided to do this rather than clear glaze and another trip to the kiln since there had been a few small breakages and I didn't want to risk putting them all in the car again.  If only I had my own kiln...wish...wish....

Check them out!