Showing posts with label circle loom weaving. Show all posts
Showing posts with label circle loom weaving. Show all posts

Sunday, September 30, 2018

What the Art Teacher Wore #207

 Howdy, friends! If you live in the Tennessee area than you know what a wet and wild week we had! I like to thought it was NEVER gonna stop raining. Which means to outdoor recess for the kids...and it was full moon week. Regardless, we were rockin' through our paintings, embroidery, weaving and sewing projects this week and I couldn't be more excited about the progress the kids are making. We also got to meet a new friend to the art room this week: Our Monster from Cotton Monster Jen!
 Last week, I had the chance to see my mom who had picked up for me some fun things for my art room: these floats! I'm using them as "flexible seating" for my third graders as they weave. 
They were in heaven. So that folks who wanted to sit in the floats could have a turn, I set a timer for every five minutes. I also have a small fort, beach chairs and plenty of pillows for them to pick from. We played music and it was a regular weaving party! If you'd like to learn more about circle loom weaving, check out my blog posts with video. 
 Even if I did look like a crazy person walking down the halls with these bad boys. I literally couldn't fit through my door!
 Since my students are involved in fiber arts projects right now, I'm thrilled to introduce them to Jennifer Strunge. This isn't the first time I've shared her work with my kids. You can see our Monster Sewing Project (with video!) here. We are voting on his name next week after brainstorming tons of ideas! Will keep you posted. 
 Another thing my mama got for me? This hilariously inappropriate and yet so appropriate t-shirt. The kids had a big laugh over that one. 
 While my third graders are weaving, my fourth graders are sewing. Some are sewing pizza pillows, donut pillows or, in this case, emojis! I'm hoping to have these complete by this coming week...ready to move on, y'all! Lesson details to come. 
 My first graders are wrapping up their reversible dot paintings. This is a revamp of a lesson I did years ago with my second graders...I love this project! I'll be creating an updated blog post about this and what we did differently super soon. I purchased the cardboard pizza rounds from Gordon Food Services but you can also found them on Amazon. 
 Did y'all know I like rainbows? What was the first clue...?
 And pizza. I'm also a fan of pizza. This HUGE pillow was completed by a fourth grader. You can check out this lesson and video here. 
 Two of my second grade classes are stitching right now...and totally rocking it. They finished them off this week and they were so proud of themselves. Lesson details to come. I love stitching with kids. 
 I think the best part of this week was seeing so many projects finally coming to fruition. It's been WEEKS and I'm so excited for these young artists. 
 I'm also STOKED that I got ALL of the Getting to Know You sculptures up because, whew!, that took a minute. 
 And that's a wrap! I hope y'all had a wonderful week...and here's to one heading right for us!
 Ah! Also happy to finally finish and hang my Paint the Town by Numbers Mr. Rogers. 

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

In the Art Room: Circle Loom Weaving with Second Grade

When it comes to art lessons, I'm not much of a repeat offender. Since I like to change up the cultural theme of my art room every year, my lessons usually follow suit. However, I always have my 2nd grade create a circle loom weaving for a coupla reasons:

* It's excellent for building fine motor skillz and pumpin' up those wee hand muscles. And what kid doesn't want super strong man-hands?

* It's chock full o math connections: measuring, pattern making, long division (okay, maybe not that last one but you get the idea.)

* It reaches those kids that might otherwise slip through the art cracks (dude! what if there were such a thing as "art crack"?! Would that be like the equivalent of huffing a sharpie and drinking the paint water?!) Particularly my boy students. They absolutely thrive on weaving, being the tactile learners that they are. In fact, I overheard one little guy tell a buddy whilst weaving, "this is the best day of my life, I love this!" Daawwww.
All that being said, I've not been in love with how I've taught circle loom weaving in the past. Usually when we wove on a plate, we simply started with a blank Chinet plate, created our weaving and used markers to color the rim of the plate (go here and scroll down to 2nd grade art to see). Last year, in an effort to change things up a bit, we did the whole weaving on a CD thang which was cool and all but I still wasn't in love with the end result.
This year, in an effort to try something totes different but still make sure the kids got in their much needed weaving time, I opted to have them paint their plates before attaching them with woven greatness.
 Wait, you wanna make a Painted Plate Circle Loom Weaving too?! Okay, kids, russell up the following: 

Chinet Plates. Ya'll don't use anything less. These bad boys are as good as a canvas as far as plate-painting-surfaces go.

Tempra Paint. I only use Crayola's Washable Paint. The colors are about as good as it's gonna get in an elementary classroom.

A Loom Template. You'll thank me later, ya'll.

Yarn and Beads.
 Over the course of 2-ish art classes, we painted these plates. On our first day, we chatted about Kandinsky's concentric circle paintings and created our own. The following art class was spent using the World's Smallest Paint Brushes to craft those patterns that you see. By the way, if these look a pinch familiar to you, I shared these plates in a recent post about (attempting) to teach good craftsmanship. 
 Once the plates are painted and patterned, I give the kids a loom template with exactly 19 notches (not nachos) cut into it. The kids are to trace these notches onto the rim of their plate, count to check that they only have 19 lines to cut (because there will be the rando kid that has 55 lines drawn everywheres) and then cut the lines on the rim of the plate. I encourage them not to cut beyond the rim as this will make for a saggy weaving. Which sounds about as ugly as it is.
 Once the kids have their plates (which we now call our looms) cut, they are to grab a small skein of warping string and meet me on the floor. For the correct amount of warping string, I wrap the yarn from my hand to my elbow five times. These small bundles are available in a variety of colors for the kids to choose from. 

Now. Let's talk about teaching the kids to warp their looms. Which can either be like watching a train wreck happen in slow motion or a piece of cake. Lemme show you the cake route cuz, well, everybody loves cake.

First of all, when we are all seated on the floor, with our looms and warp string in front of us, ain't nobody allowed to touch nuthin until I say "go". You even think about touching that loom and yarn and Ima gonna snatch it up. Because, you know wuz about to happen. They'll think they've got it, fiddle around and not catch a bit of direction and the next thing you know, you've got a class of 20 all train-wreckin-it-up. So. Watch me and wait for the "go". 

First step: Put the tail end of the yarn in any notch. There should be a short tail about the length of your finger in the back while the rest of the yarn hangs loose and free in the front. Go. (I tell the kids that their "go" signal to me for the next step is to put their weavings on the floor in front of them. When I see that, I can proceed.)

Next: Bring the length of yarn down dividing the plate in half (see above photo). But, there's a catch. Be sure that there are 8 empty notches on the left side and 9 on the right. That's muy importante, ya'll. Go.

Now: (see left photo) Take the long length of string and have it "go to the right neighbor's house" meaning have your string go in the next notch on the right hand side. Now, this neighbor is super rude and it shouts, "get outta my house!" so the string runs all the way across the plate (see right photo) and makes the World's Smallest X. 

 Next: Rotate the plate so that the length of string is at the bottom (left picture). That story I just told about the string getting kicked out of the neighbor's house? It's a pattern. Which means it's gonna repeat. So, let's do it again! Go to the right neighbors house. Get kicked out. Go across the street and make the World's Smallest X. Rotate the plate.

After watching this routine, the kids walk me through completing my plate warping by repeating this as I go:

Go the neighbor. Get kicked out. Make World's Smallest X. Rotate the Plate.

Which gets shortened to:

Neighbor. Out. X. Rotate.
 You'll know you're finished when your little string has no home to go to. And that will be your weft or weaving string!

The following art class, we start to weave with that wee string.
 The first day of actual weaving is usually the toughest. I tell 'em over and under until I'm blue in the face...and they get it. That is until they pull the string tightly to the middle and it looks like this:
And then they're all "whuh, huh? whuh just happened to my string?" 

At this point, I tell them that they might have to loosen their weaving a bit to see just what they did previously. This will put them back on over-and-under track. When their weft is as long as their hand, they are to double knot tie a new string to the end. It can be a tough first day...but I repeat over and again: Your first day of weaving is the hardest. But you'll get this. And you'll love it. 
And when they do, without sounding like some sappy art teacher, it's pure magic.

During our weaving sessions, some kids sit on the floor with me and we chat and get to know each other. We've taken weavings outside on sunny days and sat under trees. We lay on the floor or relocate to tables where our buddies sit. It makes for such a fun and relaxing environment. 
Since the kids really caught on fast to weaving this year, I thought I'd throw out the option of adding pony beads. Some kids took to it right away, complimenting their designs with a beaded pattern. 

 And others opted out, content to just weave until they reached their limit of a 4" diameter. Once weavings were complete, the last of the weft strings was double knot tied to a warp spoke.

The weaving portion of this project only took us 2-ish 30 minute art classes. Since I limited the diameter to 4" (because I hated the thought of their beautiful paintings being hidden AND because the kids will seriously weave For.Eve.Rrr. if not limited), the project ended up being rather quick. By my weeks-long-art-project standards.
I think I can happily say, I'm thrilled with these circle loom weavings. I will definitely be sticking with this painted plate loom lesson. It's become a new weaving fave. To finish these guys off, the kids will tie a "hanger" of yarn at the top so these can be displayed for our upcoming art show!

By the way, I've shared a couple of weaving posts on this here blog. Some of my faves are the following:

What are your fave weaving projects? I'd love to hear!

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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

In the Art Room: Teaching Good Craftsmanship

Patterned painted plates by one 2nd grade class after 2//30 minute sessions. These will serve as our looms for an upcoming circle weaving lesson.
SooOOooo, I've not really shared with ya'll an art lesson recently. Kinda cuz we're in the middle of, like, a billion (one 4th grader girl actually said to me, "Mrs. Stephens! We CANNOT start ANOTHER project until we finish at least one!" as the rest of the kids proceeded to list all the projects we've started and yet to finish. "But kids! There's just so much we need to cover!" which got me a bunch of arm-crossing and head-shaking). I've also not posted any art happenings in light of my last "In the Art Room" post. After writing about my (very wishy-washy) thoughts on choice-based teaching, I've been questioning many of the teaching practices in my art room. One of them being craftsmanship.

Can you teach good craftsmanship in the art room?

(Me about a month ago):  Like, duh, is this a rhetorical question? 

(Me all I-just-don't-know-anymore-ish): I dunno, am I somehow gonna kill some kids' creativity and be responsible for his therapy bill in about 15 years?! 
After seeing how the amazing art teacher behind Shine Bright Zamorano lists his student goals and expectations on the board, I totally did the same. I absolutely love that dude's blog, ya'll should go check out the incredible work of his students. Oh, and if you happen to see any spelling errors, not my fault. My white board lacks autocorrect. 

As an art teacher, we've all been there. You see a student working on a beautiful masterpiece that'd make Picasso all goosebump-y. So you turn your back for a second (to tend to the kid that's decided that magenta paint is just the right shade for nail polish -- oh, but wait, RED would be so much better, lemme just lick this other color off -- STOP! WHAT. ARE. YOU. DOING?!) only to find that when you return to said Picasso, she's decided, in a last moment of kid genius, to dash off a smeary smiley face right smack dab in the middle.

What do you do?

You gave directions! You chatted all what constitutes a pattern: lines and shapes that repeat! You gave out what you've dubbed The World's Smallest Paintbrushes so the kids could successfully create detailed-ish patterns! You always allow plenty of time to finish in following classes so that if said Smiley-Face-Painter wanted, she could created a whole pattern of smileys the following class! Yes I'm screaming because that Smiley Face is smirky and arrogant and saying to me:

Hey! Picasso wanted to paint a Smiley Face not some stinkin' pattern! Get over it, she's the artist!

Oh, boy. 

Touche, Smiley Face. Touche.
HooOOOooowever. The expectations where clearly stated (patterns, people) and the level of craftsmanship was demonstrated and set (paint slowly, carefully and thoughtfully). Now I know my friends in the 7/8 year old set are different kids with different tastes, levels of patience and ability. And I keep that in mind while they are creating. But my job is also to push them. To show them how to go beyond what they even imagined they could do...isn't it? Or is expecting them to go above and beyond taking them too far away from "well, I know it doesn't have patterns but {brace yourselves, you know you've heard this before} I wanted it to look that way."
Okay. But...

But what?

It wasn't what I expected? It wasn't what I wanted it to look like? 

Should it really be?
I really don't know.
 This internal art teacher debate (I seem to be having a lot of these lately) brought me back to my thoughts on choice-based teaching. I am certain choice-based teachers expect certain levels of craftsmanship even when their students are choosing the materials and subject matter, right? But how often is work that is beneath a students' ability allowed under the statement "that's how I wanted it". 
What I have found, when I hear that statement (which to my art teacher ears sounds like a cop-out) is that my students need a little more of a nudge. I have them walk around the room and check out the awesome work of their friends. I have them tell me what it is they are working toward because I've often found the cop-out was due to a failed attempt. At which point I usually do a little one-on-one demo on my own project to help, hopefully, motivate. Then I try to make myself scarce to see what my little artist friend can make happen on their own.

And, usually, the one who is most surprised by what they create is the artist themselves.
Like the artist behind this plate. After working more patterns into his piece (after some gentle nudging), this little dude was so proud, I saw him quietly take his buddies over to the drying rack to show off his work. When we were standing in line to leave the room, he kept turning around and looking at his plate like he couldn't really believe what he'd painted.

And that's super important to me.

Would he have been as proud without that extra nudge, without an expectation of good craftsmanship? 
My gut feeling is telling me no. But I did have a bean burrito for dinner so I'm not totes trustin' my gut feeling right now.

What are your thoughts on this issue? 

We should teach good craftsmanship, I think we can all agree on that. But to what degree? 

Where do we pause, hold our tongues and allow the artist to exclaim, "that's how I wanted it," even if it doesn't meet expectations? 

I'd love to hear your thoughts. 
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