Tuesday, June 14, 2016

3rd Grade Terra Cotta Warriors

I was lucky enough to post a student teacher again this year. It was my fourth time in the last five years and it went extremely well. Based simply when student teachers are placed in my building, I often will have them work with students on a couple of projects that will wind up in the art show. 

Miss Christie Paul, who was from The Ohio State University, worked with my students for a total of seven weeks. She had written this clay lesson previous to working with my students and I told her it was too cool not to use. 

Miss Paul led discussions about the Terra Cotta warriors found in China. Students learned that each one is different and the sculptures represented many different types of people, not just warriors. Each student first drew his or her own warrior before building it out of clay. The clay went together piece by piece over the course of about three classes and was put together using scoring and a few drops of water. Some details were carved in after the sculpture was finished. 

The warriors were bisque fired, then they needed some paint. We used a two step process that works very well for aging sculptures. Students first painted the entire piece with a mix of acrylic paints that gave it the basic warm light brown color. After that layer was dry, students went over the whole sculpture again with a wash of darker brown paint. This was almost immediately wiped off. The cool part of this technique is that the wash will fill into details and cracks which really brings out the smaller, more intricate elements of the sculpture. 

Overall, this lesson turned out very well. I'm very seriously considering using it again next year! 

Monday, June 6, 2016

End of the Year All-Stars

Here's the deal. It's been a long year. At the moment, I'm simply ready for summer. I have quite a few lessons that I was planning on writing posts for, but I'm just not going to get there. What I'll do instead is post some all-star student work from various lessons that I haven't had time to write about. I'll be back to blogging this fall. Enjoy! Happy summer!

This first project is a 5th grade sgraffito mug lesson. Slab mugs topped with black underglaze. Sgraffito done with an underwater motif. Pretty rad. My example is the first image. 

2nd Grade clay dinosaurs. Always a winner. Clay with tempera paint. 

 5th grade Keith Haring paintings inspired by what is important to each student. Neon paint- oh, yeah!

 The next project is the slab castle project by 4th grade. 

Anthropomorphic animals by third grade. This project was clear at the end of the year and it was begging for more time. I'll do it a little differently next year. They still turned out really cool. 

Finally, a fan favorite. 4th grade animal reduction prints. This rock every single year. No exception this year. 

First Grade Clay Penguins

I think Instagram has surpassed Pinterest in usefulness for me. Since Pinterest keeps adding pins of things THEY think will be interesting to me and things that THEY think I'll want to buy, half my feed is essentially junk. Conversely, there are a lot of art teachers who post relevant, real life lessons, ideas, and observations on Instagram daily. I've gotten a good amount of new lesson ideas this year from Instagram and I've had great success with them. If you want frequent updates from my classroom, follow me on Instagram @thomas_elementary_art

One Instagram post by another teacher (@mrsallainart) inspired this new first grade clay lesson. I always base my first grade ceramics project on the pinch pot. This project included a wide, shallow pinch pot as well as a simple penguin. Penguin details (wings & beak) were added by simply smoothing clay together. The penguins were scored to attach to the base. The sculpture portion was pretty fun and not too difficult for my first graders, but the killer part of the lesson was the ice. 

I bisque fired the penguins after they had been sculpted. I then added several blue decorative glass marble type things to the base of each penguin. I got the glass from the dollar store. They're not perfectly round, but I would imagine real marbles or even small pieces of other types of glass would work just fine. I re-fired at cone 05 and achieved this sweet ice effect. The glass melted very nicely. I just recommend that you put plenty of glass in. I wound up adding more glass and re-firing the first set that I tried because they needed more glass to cover the bottom. 

This project was a big hit with the first graders and everyone up through 5th grade was super jealous that they didn't get to make one. I guess that's one way of knowing a lesson was successful.