Showing posts with label ceiling tile art. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ceiling tile art. Show all posts

Sunday, April 22, 2018

In the Art Room: Fourth Annual Chalked Ceiling Tile Event!

Well, here we's that time of the year, y'all. Time for ALL THE THINGS TO HAPPEN ALL AT ONCE: Clay Week, Art Show Prep and our fourth annual Chalked Ceiling Tile Event!
 That's's been four years now that my second grade kiddos have created legacy ceiling tiles to be permanently displaced in the ceiling of our school. What started out as an "alternative project" has quickly become a school-favorite and an annual event. You see, four years ago, I had a visiting sidewalk chalk artist come to our school with the idea that my students would also chalk outside right along with her. But on the big day, rain was in the forecast so we had to improvise. My admin had been requesting painted ceiling tiles...knowing that, I had my custodian buddy Mr. Scruggs (see here!) get me a tile and I played around with drawing on it. After fiddling with the front of the tile, I realized that the back actually worked better as it wasn't as porous. And that's how our Chalked Ceiling Tile Event was born. You can read all about our first event here and here
So what do you need for an event like this? The following supplies:

* Faber-Castell Chalk I used to swear by a brand called KOSS but I can no longer find it. So we started using Faber-Castell and it turns out I like it better! The colors are so vibrant and the shorter size is perfect for my student's hands.

* Ceiling Tiles We always have a ton on hand as we do this every year. We ALWAYS use the backside of the tile. One tile per kiddo.

* Foam Brushes These ceiling tiles are huge and would be much too difficult for the kids to blend colors with their bare hands. We use foam brushes for blending. I've had the same set of brushes for years now.

* Baby Wipes This is a messy task, not gonna lie. But with me being in charge of four classes of second graders, I'm not about to let them all loose on the bathrooms. So baby wipes it is!

* Bulletin Board Paper Again, this is having rainbow dust everywhere. So we try our hardest to control that by putting paper down on the floor of the multi-purpose room.

* Hairspray I always fix the tiles when we are finished by dousing them in hairspray. It will dull the colors slightly. However, the spray doesn't matter too much...the tiles are in the ceiling and therefore no one will be able to touch them and cause them to smear. 
So, how does it work? Well, I usually create a video to walk the kiddos through the process. This saves my voice in a loud space like this big room. I block out about an hour and a half to two hours of time for the kids to spend on their piece. I pool all of my second grade classes together and, well, we just go for it! It's loud, messy but beautiful and so much fun!
 Usually the classroom teachers will take 30 minute shifts during this time or my specials team will help out. Really tho, it's an easy event. Once all the kids are rolling and understand what to do, it's just fun to watch them roll up their sleeves and create. 
 Every year, we do something a little different. Our first year, we did the butterflies. The following year, we created flowers and last year, we made fish! You can watch the action here:
Here's the video I used to teach last year's tile: 
This year, Ms. Rebecca, our cafeteria manager, has requested healthy foods for the ceiling tiles. We're going to be creating fruits for our'll have to stay tuned to see how they look!
  These tiles will remain on permanent display. I've been asked before how the kids react to this, knowing that they won't get their artwork back. We spend a lot of time chatting about what a legacy is and how important it is to "leave your mark". I've not had a student yet get upset about having their work up in the ceiling.
The only wear I've noticed from the tiles is some slight fading on the first year's butterflies...but I think that is hardly noticeable. Thankfully, Mr. Scruggs loves to hang these tiles. I hung the ones that are up in my art room and I ended up with a ton of chalk in my eyes! 
 He does a beautiful job of spacing these out and getting them up!
 On top of this big event, I also have first graders painting their clay projects and third graders FINALLY finishing their plaster crayons...the art show is quickly approaching so we are in "wrap it up" mode. 
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Tuesday, May 2, 2017

In the Art Room: Chalked Fish Ceiling Tile

Y''s getting down to the wire and I'm all about the last minute at this point in the school year. Between our art show, clay week(s), a ceramic mural undertaking (stay tuned!), our annual 2nd grade ceiling tile project just kinda slipped my mind. Not until a teacher asked did I remember that it was that time of year. After a mishap with a chalk order from China (they sent me HAIR CHALK, y'all!), I reached out to my friends at Faber-Castell and they sent us the most beautiful chalk I have ever seen. Last week, I sorted the chalk, created the following video and today, in just under 2 hours, my 65 second graders created magic!
The video so saved my voice! It's a loud room with lots of echos...I know that I would have struggled to keep my voice going and my patience in check. It was just me, one parent and a handful of super helpful 4th grade girls to assist these four classes of kiddos. The kids did wonderfully! I am so super proud of them...and they were so proud of's a short video of them in action: 
If only we worked that fast! 
In addition to the video, I spent about an hour in the morning with my super helpful specials team laying out large sheets of paper, setting out the chalk trays and the foam brushes. Last night I cut out 65 fish templates (we'll be painting them for our very last art project of the year!) and had them on the kids' tiles. We always work on the opposite side of the ceiling tile as it takes to the chalk so much better. 
32 chalk trays were ready for the kids to use. Check out that chalk, isn't it beautiful? 
Now, with 65 kids, you know they don't all work at the same pace. So I would share a little of the video and then put them to work. When they finished OR when they heard me ring my chime, they knew they were to stop immediately and meet again on the floor to learn the next steps. 
 Kids who finished early were asked to walk around and see if there were any friends who might like some help with their tile. I wouldn't normally have the kids work on each other's pieces but this is an exception. These tiles are BIG! And some kids wanted the help of their friends. Also, I emphasized that this was a collaborative project so help from our friends was great...but only if the artist wanted it. If not, move on to another friend!
This is our third year with this project and it's a big hit each time. This particular group was so excited about it! We do a different theme each year. Our first year, it was butterflies and least year was flowers. I'm so pleased with these bright and cheer fish, perfect to create a school of fish in our ceiling! 
 I get a lot of questions about this project so I thought I'd address them:

* How do you seal these? After the kids are done, these are sprayed heavily with Aqua Net. It does dull the color but not much...and def not noticeable from the ceiling.

* What does the Fire Marshall think? Our Fire Marshall didn't mention them! And, of course, we didn't ask. 
 * Do the kids get these back? No. I emphasize that the tiles are there to stay, it's our legacy, our magical mark we leave behind.

* How do you get all of the tiles? The first year, my custodian was able to order extra for me. Now, we just use the ones he has taken down. Meaning, when he takes down the clean tiles to hang the fish, we'll use those as our "canvas" next year!
 * How did you convince your administration to allow this project? This project came from a request from my principal! She saw artwork on the ceiling of a school and asked if I could do something like that. At that school, the kids had drawn on paper and the work was tacked to the tile. Originally, when our street painter artist came, we were going to do sidewalk drawings...but rain was in the forecast. Thinking that the texture for the tile would be the same as the sidewalk, the night before, I came up with the idea to do the back of the tiles. We do the back because it takes the chalk much better. 
 * Why chalk and not paint? Personally...I find the surface of the tile to be very porous and just absorbs the paint. This seems to take a lot longer...and I don't always love the look. Chalk, however, works great on the back of the tile and I love the look. 
 * What happens when you run out of ceiling tiles?! Pretty sure that won't happen any time soon. Our school is large and our librarian just asked today if I'd do something for the ceiling in there! Short answer: I'll retire, ha!
* Who hangs the tiles? One of our amazing custodians. He LOVES doing it and seeing what the kids create. I tried to hang them's a rain of chalk dust! He's the best for doing it for the kiddos. 

I think that covers all the questions about this question I've gotten in the past. But if you have others, feel free to drop me a line in the comments!
 Love to know if you've done a project like this before...or any legacy type project. They certainly add a punch of happy to our school. 
I'll be sure to share what they look like once they are installed. Until then, I'll be unloading/loading a kiln, matting artwork, scratching my head over a mural and having a nightmare about the art show. You know, the usual. 
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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

In the Art Room: A Chalked Ceiling Event

For months I'd planned on having street painter Lee Jones visit my school, chat with my students and have them participate in their very first street painting event. Juz to give you a lil back history on street painting, aka sidewalk chalk art, it surprisingly goes back to sixteenth century Italy. The Madonnaro were homeless artists who created lavish images of the Madonna, their namesake, in front of cathedrals in hopes of earning spare change from passerby. From this, Madonnari, or street painting events, evolved all over Italy. Twenty years ago, street painting made it’s debut right here in the U.S. and it’s been growing into a movement of performance-meets-fine-arts since.

 In preparation for the happenin', my super amazing bookkeeper (love you, Julie!) helped me track down the best deal on KOSS chalk (great stuff, man. Check it), foam brushes and mountains upon mountains of baby wipes. I'd prepped the kids by introducing them to what they'd be creating (like, der, butterflies) with that intro lesson I shared last week. We were beyond ready to get our street paintin' action on.

And then, the forecast: RAIN. Lots of it. With some thunder and lightening thrown in for good measure. Gee, thanks, Muthah Nature. You's the bestest.

So, like, whuuuut to dooooo?!
Okay, I don't like to brag or anything (hair flip), but every once in a while, I have super good idea. And, by "every once in a while", I mean, this one time. Right here. I decided on the fly that instead of us working outside, we could work inside on a texture that was similar to that of a sidewalk: ceiling tiles. My principal has been asking me all year if I'd have the kids create masterpieces for the ceiling and this seemed like the perfect opportunity. And, I have to tell ya: it worked out great! Added benefit: we now have permanent art on display at our school not temporary street art. So, take that Muthah Nature! I found me a silver lining and I made lemonade from your stinky lemons. 
 Just how did the whole thing go down? Well, lemme first start by telling you the supplies we used:

* KOSS brand chalk. We also had some Prang and Crayola thrown in for good measure.
* Ceiling tiles. Ours are 24" squares. A parent volunteer divided each square with a vertical and horizontal line right thru the middle which allowed the kids to try their hand at the grid method. This is one means by which street painters work. By the way, we used the back of the tiles as the texture was better suited.
* Foam brushes for blending.
* Cheapo hairspray (that Aqua Net we used in junior high? It's still around and good for sumpin) for setting the chalk.

We held the event in our school's multipurpose room. With the help of volunteers, we laid out sheets of bulletin board paper to protect the floors. Each kid had their own board, foam brush and light peach chalk to initially sketch their design. In the photo above you can see my teaching set up. I was teaching 80 second grade kids at once which was a total trip. I staggered my teaching so as not to overwhelm them with instruction. So for the first step, I gave them guided drawing instructions on sketching their butterfly outline. This was a snap for them as they remembered our butterflies from last week. You can see my drawings on the white paper in the photo above. 
Next up: block in your butterfly. I told the kids that every time they heard me ring a bell, they were to stop, drop and come to the floor for the next set of directions. If they hadn't finished sketching, that was okay, they could resume once I was done speaking. The kids had the choice of using all warm or all cool colors for their butterfly. They blended the colors in small circles so as not to lose the vibrancy of their color.
 Second grade, y'all. Like, wow.
Loving every minute of it! Since we were on the floor it did give the same feeling as street painting.
Upon our third on-the-floor chat, we talked about the background. This time they had to use the opposite color family of what the chose earlier. Block it in and blend, kids. 
By the way, we use the chalk horizontally as that covered the most amount of surface.
Lee was working just as hard as the kids right alongside them. That was a wonderful experience for the kids. As they roamed the room gathering their chalk, they would plop down and chat with her or just watch her chalk.
 The background came together so nicely with the butterflies!
At our last chat, we talked about using the black chalk. They sketched in the three parts of the butterflies body as well as outlining and any pattern making they wanted to do. Last thing: sign it. Lee told the children that when they signed their work that was it, no going back. 
Lee's work is made up of 6 ceiling tiles taped together. The next morning my AMAZING custodian set to work hanging the pieces in the ceiling...
I love our school mascot the tiger here!
And the beautiful butterflies fluttering down the hall. There were many a folk walking with their head looking upward down the hall today!
 Now the kids are asking: what ELSE can we make for the ceiling!
For now, we'll just stick with these beauties! 

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