Showing posts with label Japanese art lessons. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Japanese art lessons. Show all posts

Friday, March 28, 2014

In the Art Room: Where the Party Pandas At?

Hey, Kids! I interrupt this post to let you know I'm at the NAEA convention in San Diego! I'd love to see you and have some dates and times we can meet up. Follow this linky-loo and I'll see you there!

Wuz up, Party Pandas, er, People?

I recently had to take a coupla days off and needed some quick -n- easy sub plans. From past experience, I know not to leave out our current projects for a coupla reasons: 

1. It freaks out the "I'M NOT AN ART TEACHER!" sub who seems to think my plans are written in hieroglyphs (which they usually are because I like pictures). Upon my return, I either get the stink eye from 'em which translates to "what in the world did you put me through?! It was like reading the no-words instructions from Ikea!" or the furrowed eyebrow/twitchy-eye face which means "I tried to explain what a "landscape collage" was but we couldn't figure it out. So we resorted to glue eating and sharpie sniffing. And it was AWESOME!" 

2. Because the kids, fully aware that their sub is NOT AN ART TEACHER! and, therefore, easy prey, pretend that they have no idea what the sub is talking about. From there, they use their kid-manipulation tactics to convince el subbo that it's perfectly normal to color our hands in marker and stamp it on their face. Like a Kid-Manipulatin'-the-Sub Boss.

Knowing this, and knowing I needed some sub plans for all grades in a pinch, I decided to leave some  step-by-step panda drawing instructions for the NOT AN ART TEACHER! sub. And, I'm excited to say, everyone loved it. 
I have no idea. Bob? Who are you and why are my 4th graders obsessed with you and mustaches? I can only imagine you are some curly-mustached hipster. In skinny jeans. Which should be banned form the dudes' clothing department. But I digress.

Why a panda, you ask? (okay, so you didn't ask but Ima gonna tell you anyway). Well, my students are currently learning about Asia and our panda friends reside in China. We're gearing up for a clay project/fundraiser (we want to help those pandas!) and I thought this would be a super fun way to get the kids in the mood. 
In my sub notes, I asked the sub to follow my routine of having the children gather on the floor. From there, I asked the sub to talk through and demonstrate drawing a panda with the children. These directions were big enough for the children to see once at their seats. However, just in case they needed a closer view, I did make photos copies of the same directions and had them ready on the tables.

I'm happy to say that each of my subs drew a panda...and was actually thrilled by their own artistic skills! Several left their drawings out for me to admire and hang on my fridge.
Just a couple of reminders from who the students and I have dubbed "SeƱor Roy G. Biv". The children were given only ONE SHEET of paper (make it work, kids! Tim Gunn's watching!) and a black oil pastel. This can be a bit dangerous as those oil pastels can get everywhere (I had one kindergartener unknowingly rubbed his chin and a buddy said, "you look like a hobo!") but I left out oodles of baby wipes and a warning of the danger of smears.
Since the kids were only given one sheet of paper (anyone else cringe at the sound of a paper being crumbled?! "Why you wanna be a tree killer, kids?!"), you can see this student practiced a couple of different ideas before giving it a-go on the front.

Now, one of the reasons I had a sub is because I'd taken my fourth grade on a field trip! When we returned from our trip, I had, like, 10 minutes before my classes started pouring. Since they had drawn the pandas the previous day, I simply had a coupla kids get watercolor paints on the tables and we were good to paint our pandas!

We chatted about a couple different methods for painting our panda backgrounds. My art teacher BFF's (hiya, Mallory!) has recently been doing this patchy wet-on-wet painting process with her students. You can see this in several of the pandas above. To do this, you paint a very small patch of color on your paper. I explain to the kids that a wash is a color light in value. From there, I show them  the wet-on-wet technique of adding those dots of color and watching the dots grow.

These paintings were completed by my fourth grade students. We've actually been doing a lot of watercolor painting lately so they are kind of experts. Many opted out of the wet-on-wet and did their own thing. Which is awesome. For more details on the kind of watercolor paint I use...and the specifics of how I teach those kids not to grind their brushes into their paper, go here.
And there you have it! I hope you'll give these Party Pandas a go...and if you do, please email me some photos, I'd love to see them!
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Sunday, March 16, 2014

In the Art Room: Let's Make Sushi!

Konichiwa, ya'll! As you might recall, my wee artists are learning about Asia this year with a current focus on Japan (Asia's a big ol' place, not sure we'll be able to focus on much beyond Japan, India and China, sadly. I'd say I need a longer school year but that'd be crazy talk). Last year, when we were travelling Europe in art class, we had tea and biscuits when learning about the United Kingdom. The kids pretty much thought that was the best thing ever. For that reason, I got the notion that we outta learn about the Japanese art of crafting sushi by making some of our own -- both collage...and edible!
 I began this lesson with my 1st grade students by doing our usual: looking at the map, finding Asia, finding Japan, chatting about what makes it an island, counting the four main islands in Japanese (ichi! ni! sahn! shi!), you get the idea. We then chatted about how rice is a staple in many Asian countries. And, with Japan being an island and all, their main source of protein is fish. This go a lotta "eeew!"s from the 1st grade set who declared: I hate fish! Unless it's buttered, battered and fried, a la Chef de Capt. D's, that is. We are in the South, after all. We eat our Moonpies the same way.

But, kids! Many times, their fish isn't cooked. It's raw!

 This got a lotta wide-eyed stares from the peanut gallery. At this point, I busted out the super sweet book Yoko by Rosemary Wells. If you've not read it, it's all about a little Japanese-American cat who takes her sushi to school only to be made fun of by her classmates. In the end, her teacher saves the day, as usual (it's what we do). After reading, the kids and I decided that food that is unusual to us isn't weird, it's just different. And, possibly, delicious.
My inspiration for the collage portion of this project came from the book First Book of Sushi by Amy Wilson Sanger. The images in the book are these amazing collages that look rad and were surprisingly easy for the kids to create.

Another source of inspiration for the kids was my set of sampuru (which means sample in Japanese. Note, this is not my set but an example pulled from the interwebs). I told them about how when I was in Japan, the restaurant windows were filled with sampuru to give potential diners an idea of what to expect inside. Creating sampuru is a fine art in Japan as it's meant to look realistic and enticing. So our collage sampuru had to do the same.

If you wanna make a totes delish sushi collage as well, here's what ya gotta do (in 30 minute art classes):

Day #1: Printmaking! We did some monoprinting on a new class favorite the Gelli-Art plates. They print just like gelatin (go here for my most popular blog post to date [which isn't saying much, ahem]) but without the prep and the bad feeling you get when you find out where gelatin comes from (animal bones, people). The draw back? They are pricey -- these were $10 a pop. I had one for each two kids and they seemed content, albeit chatty, to take turns. These printed papers later became their plate for sushi.

Day #2: Making sushi! After reading our talk and reading about Yoko, we started by making two sushi rolls. In the story, we saw how Yoko's mom made the sushi by laying out the seaweed, pressing the sticky rice on top, adding a surprise and cutting the sushi. We wouldn't be able to experience those steps until for now, we simply traced circle templates and added our surprises inside the circles. Most of us stuck to green for avocado or cucumber, orange for carrots and pink for fish.

Day #3: With our plate and sushi created, we learned about common Japanese condiments while eating sushi. We chatted about how we use ketchup, mustard, salt, pepper here...but in Japan, they use wasabi (some kids had tales of this super hot green stuff), ginger and soy sauce. We created that, the green grassy garnish, some sashimi and chopsticks.

This hat was a pretty big hit with the kids...although they kept looking at my head and saying things like, "ohh, you are making me hungry!" which I thought was odd until I remembered just what was on my head! DIY directions here.
Day #4: On our last day, we put the finishing touches on our sushi collage and added a black border as well as a paper frame. Because we've gotten so much use out of our random painted scrap papers (thanks for the idea, Painted Paper!) I don't throw anything away. It's kinda a problem. But it makes for such fun collage material!
Ohhhh, looks delish!

Day #5: Candy Sushi party! As a wrap up for this lesson, I thought it'd be super fun for the kids to make candy sushi. Of course they were all over that idea! In fact, I mentioned it a little too early in the lesson which lead to the question "when is candy sushi day?!" like, every 5 minutes. I finally set a date and the anticipation was through-the-roof high.

To make it a wee bit more authentic, I greeted the kids at the door in my kimono and asked them to remove their shoes and place them up against the wall. Thankfully my room smelled like a candy factory which cancelled out the stinky feet smell.

When we entered, I doused the kids in hand sanitizer and had them go shopping for a paper plate, a set of chopsticks, a packaged Rice Krispie Treat and a Fruit Roll Up. Once they dropped that off at their seat, we met at a demo table for some quick directions. I reminded them of the tale of Yoko and how her mom prepared the sushi. I had found some packaged seaweed at the grocery and showed that to the kids. I wanted to emphasize that we were only making candy  sushi...that the process would be kinda similar but, well, not. And the taste would be completely different. I didn't want some kid begging to go out for sushi only to be disappointed it didn't taste like a fist full of sugar.
So the process goes a little like this: lay our your "seaweed" (aka Fruit Roll Up). Squish your "sticky rice" (that'd be your sticky Rice Krispie Treat) to make it about the same size as your seaweed. Place it on the seaweed and put some surprises inside. We opted for gummi worms and bears.
Roll it up and slice with your plastic knife.
Now, for my pre-K friends, I didn't have chopsticks so we used the Japanese snack Pocky. These didn't prove to work so well as they broke easily and melted in our hands. Not that the kids minded!

For those wee ones, they used their hands.
For my 1st graders, we had chopsticks and they loved them. However, they had no clue how to use them, even after a demo. Watching them attempt to operate them was kinda like watching a baby giraffe trying to walk on their new found legs -- hilariously awkward. They dropped more sushi than they put in their mouth. Which made me think: maybe I'll invest in some class chopsticks so the kids can practice some fine motor skills with them. They enjoyed using them (so much so that one boy picked up all the food wrappers with them) but definitely needed some practice. Have you all ever done fine motor activities like that in your art room?
By the way, I tried a bite of candy sushi...and all I can say is, I'll eat the real thing any day. SoOoo much sugar! Those kids were seriously vibrating when they left my art room!
But it was super fun and I'd totally do it again. In fact, I've got several 1st grade classes that have yet to have their party so I'm looking forward to more sushi-making-madness soon!

Have ya'll ever done an artsy food activity in your art room? I'm hoping to continue this tradition so I'd love to hear your ideas...icing cookie color wheel, anyone?

Off to get some sushi! Chat soon.
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Friday, March 7, 2014

DIY: Sushi on my Head, Sushi on my Feet, Sushi EVERYWHERE

So, I managed to score Snow Day this week, ya'll! Which, in Tennessee, means a coupla things:

1. It probably won't snow but it might snow so get yourself to the Winn-Dixie, buy all the beer and bananas that'll fit in your buggie* and drive like a crazy fool on the slightly slick roads, ya'll! 

2. Your TN friends will be blowin' up your Facebook with photos of their kids creating the World's Smallest Snowmen (complete with copious amounts of dirt and gravel), making snow angels in 1" snow (dirt -n- gravel angels to match the snowmen) and sledding. Again, in dirt and gravel. Cuz in the South we like to say, "You get whatcha get and you don't pitch a fit." This apparently applies to snow-dirt-gravel.

3.  It will more than likely be a lovely 70 degrees in just a matter of days (because TN weather is moodier than me after sobering up from a Beer/Banana Cocktail {see first footnote to understand my only slightly humorous humor}). So, for that reason, a Tennessee Snow Day is Sew-a-Sundress Day!
Since we are currently learning about Japan in art class, complete with my 1st grade friends creating a sushi collage, I thought it was about time I stitched up a Japanese-themed dress. I actually have a couple Asian-themed dresses in the works but they were placed on the back burner for my Artist of the Month dresses...which got put on the backety-back burner for my Valentines' Day number and my Dress Like a Book Character frock. Whew! Too many burners goin', ya'll! Story of my life.

For this here dress, I used the same vintage Vogue (or "Vague" as I like to call 'em) dress pattern as I did for my Crayon Dress. It's a pattern that honestly has hardly a whisper of directions, just arrows, diagrams and comments like "sew this to that and make sure it fits."
Even with those lame-o directions, this snowed-in seamstress was able to stitch it together (my apologies for the creepy speaking-in-third-person-ness). Speaking of snowed-in, that dusting of white stuff on the ground which kinda looks like I dropped a super small sack of flour? That's what we in Tennessee call SNOW. Yessur, that thar got me a day off from school and a two-hour delay the following day. Don't hate.
In my latest What I Wore post, I shared with ya this Sushi Hat that I wore for Wacky Hat Day. I had seen several images of "sushi hats" online and they looked simple enough to make. Turns out they were so easy-peasy that I even made some Sushi Shoes. Because what's better than Stinky Feet? Stinky Fishy Feet, that's what!
So just how did I make this, you ask (well, more than likely you are probably asking, "WHY did you make this" or maybe "WHY do you think I wanna know, I ain't makin' this!" to which I would respond, if you don't  have a handcrafted sushi hat and matching shoes, you just ain't livin', my friend). 

For this magical feast for the feet, you'll need some stiff sparkly felt (yes there is such a thing. My life is now complete), pompoms, tooth picks and white felt. Oh and a pair of thrift shop shoes you don't mind permanently adhering felt sushi to.
Cut a 2" strip of felt about an 1" tall. Hot glue your pompoms of choice to the end, roll it up and glue it closed.

Cut some white felt about 6" long, 1" tall. If you snip the ends, the white felt looks more like rice once it's rolled up. Wrap that a coupla times around and hot glue into place.
Like so. By the way, in each photo I had to cleverly hide my pitifully peeling thumb. This weather has my fingers cracking and nails peeling. Which means my dreams of becoming a hand/foot model are pretty much ruined. Sigh.

Oh! To finish, wrap the "sushi" in a final layer of black felt for the seaweed and glue into place.
For the sashimi, I did do a wee bit of felting so show the little lines of fat in the salmon. That was then glued to a bit of rolled up white felt and wrapped in a strip of black. I had to add a felt bit for ginger and a green lump for wasbi. Toothpicks worked best for the chopsticks on my shoes. For my hat, I used small skewer sticks.
And now a word from my boss, The Cat...
"Don't you believe for one second that this crazy lady sewed this dress herself! While she was making sushi, which, by the way, she wouldn't even let me sample!, she locked me in her sewing room and demanded I finish the hem of her dress. As you can see by the look of focus on my seriously cute kitten face, I take my job very seriously. Despite my lack of recognition by said crazy lady. Humph!"

Ahem, whatever. Don't you believe a word outta that cat's mouth! She's convinced me on more than one occasion that I've forgotten to feed her and tricked me into doubling her breakfast! She's basically a con-artist in a cute kitten suit. 

And that's all, ya'll! I hope you have a super fab weekend and I'll chat with you again at week's end!

* So I was at the grocery just a day or two before the weather hit and I noticed that there were no bananas like anywhere. And then I saw buggie (yep, that's what we call 'em down here) after buggie filled to the brim with beer and 'nanas. Is there some sort of Banana/Beer Cocktail I'm not aware of? 

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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

In the Art Room: Cherry Blossom Trees by Second Grade

A couple of weeks ago, I shared with you a work-in-progress painted tree project by my second grade students (ya'll can visit here for the full post as it will cover everything I'm about to skip) and I'm excited to say these masterpieces are now complete!
After learning about Japan's cherry blossom trees and their lovely blooms which are cause for celebration, the kids painted blossoms on both their practice paper and their watercolor painting. Because their practice papers were just as lovely as the finished product, I had the children matte and frame both works of art today.
But before I get to that, let's chat about how we went about painting those blossoms. The children were to paint on their practice paintings first until they were comfortable painting on their watercolor painting. For the blossoms, the kids had a light pink, a dark pink and yellow. I showed the kids how to completely dunk their brush into the dark pink, put just the tip of the brush in the light pink and lay the brush flat on their paper and wiggle it to create each flower petal. Loading the brush with that much paint meant that they could paint one whole flower without reloading their brush. Once that paint had dried a pinch, the kids used q-tips to add the yellow paint to the center.
After they were comfortable painting on their practice paper, the kids added blossoms to their watercolor paintings.
The kids loved those practice paintings so much they were constantly asking if they could take them home (because they know I hoard all their work until the end of the year for the art show, they don't even bother to ask if they can take their watercolors home. Poor kids!). I kept thinking maybe I'd come up with something to do with those practice paintings so I asked them to leave them in the art room. And I'm glad I did. They look just as lovely framed as the watercolor paintings, I think! The above is an example of a practice painting...

And this is the artist's final piece. It's interesting how some children really followed their practice paintings to the point that they match their final product and how other kids completely changed their plans along the way. I made sure to tell them that it was just "practice" and that they could create something totally different on their final piece.
But I'm blabbering. Let's chat about how we framed these, ermkay? The kids used a 12" X 18" sheet of white construction paper as their background frame. I cut a ton of large origami paper (purchased through Sax by the brand Roylco) and cut it down to 2" X 12" strips. The kids glued their chosen origami papers to the top and bottom of the white paper.

And then, because I had visions of them haphazardly mounting their watercolor piece all crooked in the middle, I had them use a ruler to measure one inch in for their watercolor paper. And then I gave myself a big ole pat on the back for including math into the lesson...even if it was just for an inch. Once both practice papers and final paintings were framed and on the drying rack our 30 minutes of art were up. I didn't even get to see these lovelies in all their colorful glory until this afternoon when I was taking them off the drying rack.
Oh! Can I please ask your thoughts on something? So, this painting you see here? The one with the super detailed sky? It took this artist about 3 classes to complete (that's right, an hour and a half). Now. I totally relate to my slower working artists as I'm a very slower artist myself. Which is why I struggle so much in workshops. I need time to: 1. Process the directions; 2. Think of an idea that I love; 3. Put my idea together in some sort of way that I'm happy with. In workshops I rarely make it past #1 when I notice that my peers are already well into #2. And I hate that! I get all uptight and anxious and who can create like that?! For that reason, I always let my slower students work at their own pace...almost to a fault. But I want them to feel comfortable creating and never feel that stress that I often do. So, art teachers: what do you do in these situations? Do you hold your students to a set time frame and move on? If I do that then I have these beautiful half finished pieces. Or do you allow those students to continue working...and if you do, what do your early finishers do? Mine have been content with our current options of origami, free draw on dry erase boards or reading a book with me. Just curious what you do in these situations.
I was told that the little black specks were the pollen coming off the flowers.
And viola! Cherry Blossom Tree Paintings by Second Grade complete!
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