Sunday, January 11, 2015

What the Art Teacher Wore #129, More Weaving and Artsy Book Club!

 Welcome Back, Monday: Oh, don't let the smile fool you. It was so hard returning to school this week! Two weeks of staying up late, catching up on shows, hiking, eating a nightly popcorn snack and sleeping in 'til 10am was just so hard to give up. Thankfully, Monday we didn't have kids which was a nice ease back into art teacherin' land. Keith Haring jacket: DIY here; dotted scarf: Old Navy, maybe?; Betsy Johnson Dress: found at Buffalo Exchange; dotted tights: dunno, Target?; leg warmers and crinoline: Amazon; Frye boots: lucky $39 score at Journey's years ago. I know, sometimes, I hit the lotto. 

Well, howdy, kids! I hope everyone's return to the real world has been a good one. Mine had it's ups and downs to be honest. I'd have this great burst of energy in the morning but by midday, I was just spent. This coming week, my plan is to go to bed a lil earlier and start poppin the vitamin B like it's popcorn. What do y'all do when you hit that sluggish slump?

In other news, have I completely wore you out with all of my weaving posts? I sure do hope not as I've got more coming your way! Stay tuned this week for a simple weaving project for those early finishers and a project for your middle and high school kids. In the meantime, I thought I'd share my weaving prezi with y'all! I created one that showcases weaving from around the world. My students have really enjoyed it, I hope you and yours do as well. 
Just click on this link and it'll take you right to the presentation! I'm working on another presentation of contemporary weavers to share with my students next week. I'll be certain to post it here so you can borrow it as well. 
Now, let's talk Artsy Book Club! In case you didn't know, we'll be reading The Art Spirit by Robert Henri and I'd love for you to join the fun. Here's all I ask:

*  Get your kitten mittens on this book! I found mine used very cheap on Amazon. 
*  Read the first 51 pages! This book doesn't have chapters like your average book. Instead, it's full of commentary from Henri given during talks, articles and fragments of letters. I noticed that page 51 seemed like a good place to press the pause button.
*  Let's chat! I'll be sharing my thoughts (my apologies in advance) as well as posing questions here. Please do chime in, I'd love to hear from you! 

So, are you in? I'd love to hear who is reading this classic with us. It seems like the perfect art teacher read, dontcha think?
 A better glance at that Keith Haring jacket. You know, no one ever touts the benefits of pleather but I'm hear to tell you, a pleather jacket will keep you pretty warm, kids. It ain't gonna breathe at all so you will sweat your socks off but, by golly, you'll be warm!
 Orange You Glad It's Tuesday?: Whilst teaching kindergarten on this particular day, I felt a little tickle on my leg. I looked down to see a sweet girl just barely touching my leg. "It's so orange!", she said when I looked at her. "Too much carrot juice," says me. "OH! I hate carrot juice!" was her reply. "Good thing." I'm so gonna get fired one o' these days. sweater: Urban Outfitters, old; skirt: vintage, thrifted; tights: Target; shoes: Dolls by Nina
 Not Appropriate, Mrs. Stephens! Wednesday: I was informed by a fourth grader on this day that my attire was, "not appropriate, Mrs. Stephens! It's too cold out for tights!" I believe she was right, I nearly froze walking out to my car! blouse and sweater: vintage, thrifted; skirt: super old, JCrew
 Two Hour Delay Thursday: Temps dipped so I enjoyed myself a couple extra hours of sleep. Which was great because I'd enjoyed myself a couple extra hours of stay-up time the night before. I watched the movie Gone Girl while attempting to knit. Have y'all seen that movie? I'd not even read the book so I walked in cold. It was so good! I think I only got about five rows knitted and dropped about 10 stitches in the process! dress: ModCloth, last year; brown fishnets: TJMaxx; yellow tights: Target
Welcome, Visitors! Friday: So I vaguely recall my principal mentioning that the superintendent, a handful of board members, my administrators and a state representative where gonna be in the school on Friday and would pop in the art room. And by "vaguely recall" I mean I totally forgot! I had my lovely first grade friends in the room who had just finished learning about Picasso's Blue and Rose periods and there thusly painting with cool and warm colors. The kids did great but I gotta tell you, I was a nervous wreck teaching in front of all those folk! Whilst wearing this craziness, of course. blouse and shoes: thrifted; sweater: old, For-never21; skirt: DIY, details here; tights: Target; belt: Amazon

Until Tuesday, y'all!

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Thursday, January 8, 2015

In the Art Room: CD and Embroidery Hoop Loom Weaving

I hope this blog post finds you either A. Experiencing a Snow Day; B. Enjoying an electric blanket/hot chocolate combo or C. Somewhere other than the subzero temperature land the rest of us seem to be enduring. As for me, I'm enjoying myself a two-hour school delay with a cat on my lap and a cuppa hot tea. And weaving. Because that's what days like this are perfect for!

In case you didn't know, I've declared January the Wonderful World of Weaving month (or something like that). Here's what I've shared so far:

The Weaving Series: Paper Loom Weaving (perfect for first grade)
The Weaving Series: Straw Weaving (second grade and up)
The Weaving Series: Circle Loom Weaving (second grade and up)

In my last post, I shared with you Circle Loom Weaving which, if you go about it like I do by having the kids spend a couple of classes painting their plate, can be a long project. If you don't have that much time to invest in a project, then this CD weaving is just the thing for you and your kids. It's fast and fun and teaches the same weaving skills learned in circle loom weaving!

Now, I gotta tell you, everything I learned about CD loom weaving came from my friend Julie O'Brien who has the super fab art teacherin' blog Art Matters. In this particular post, she does a great job walking you through the steps of CD weaving. I'll be sharing with you a coupla short clips today but go to her post for detailed photos and printable step-by-steppies. 

CDs: Send out a school-wide email and you'll end up with more than you could ever image.

Yarn: A lil for warping and a lil more for weaving.

That's it! Let's get started:
In this short clip, I'l show you how to warp you loom. I always avoided CD weaving because I thought the warp strings would move around on the circle of the CD. Surprisingly, it doesn't! Well, not much anyway. And if it does, you can easily just slide it back into place. 
And there you go! Please feel free to ask any questions in the comments. I'd also love to hear some alternatives to teaching CD weaving you might have. Or what you've done with the finished result!
Another alternative to circle loom weaving would be weaving on an embroidery hoop! I shared this technique this summer if it looks kinda familiar to y'all. 
I think this project would be great for an art club since it would require each kid to have an embroidery hoop. Again, ask around. I bet you'll have embroidery hoops comin' out yer ears. 

I made a bunch of these guys this summer and currently have them hanging like a mobile in my art room. I'd love the kids to weave a collection of them and hang them in front of my school's large bank of windows. Wouldn't a bunch of these kind of weavings in a variety of sizes look great? Here's the method I use to create these weavings:
Very similar to circle and CD loom weaving, right?
And there you have it! Stay warm, kids. Looks like my two hour delay is just about up, time to get ready for the day. Enjoy yours!

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Tuesday, January 6, 2015

In the Art Room: Circle Loom Weaving

Wuz happening, my wild and wacky weavers?! I hope the return to art teacherin' (if that's your bag) has been a smooth one. Personally, I find it a cruel joke to return to school the week of a full moon but, once again, the powers that be neglected to ask my opinion. When will they ever learn?

So, show of hands, how many of y'all decided to go down Weaving Street this month? If you need a refresher, you can start with this paper weaving lesson then transition to this super fun straw weaving project. I just had my fourth graders start their pouch weaving and they were beside themselves with excitement. Like, they were all, "enough with the History of Weaving prezi, lady, let's weeaaavvveee." I'll be sharing that prezi with y'all later this week (still tweaking it) but you can find the complete steps for pouch weaving starting here
But let's talk Circle Loom Weaving, shall we? This lesson I do with my second grade kids but if you've never taught weaving to your students before, I recommend teaching this to third grade. Again, always start with that basic paper loom weaving as it teaches all the vocabulary and techniques making all weaving projects that follow much easier. 

Chinet Plates: When plate weaving, I always use these. They are the thickest and most durable plates. I like to use the smaller size.

Yarn: Any kind will do. Funky yarn is fun but only use that for the actual weaving portion. For warping, use regular yarn.

A Loom Template: I have two for each of my five tables so the kids can share. Each template has 19 notches on it.

Masking Tape: You'll need this to tape down the initial warp strand. And for closing the mouths of those "I Can't Do It" kids. Oh, I kid! Kinda.
Last year I typed out all the steps which you can find here. I'm hoping that you'll find the video even more helpful. If you still have any questions, please ask in the comments and I'll get back to you.
For those of you that don't like video, here's some pitchers and werds. Place the loom template on the painted plate. Trace and cut the 19 notches. I always encourage the kids to count and be certain they have 19 lines drawn before cutting (as some will end up with 190 which is not what you're going for).
NOT GONNA LIE: Warping is the least fun part. Especially when some of the kids stop listening and get stuck on repeat: I Don't Get It. When that happens, I have everyone put everything down, we stand up, we stretch, we shake it off. Then, I tell 'em that they are going to sit back down, not touch a thing, and listen to me. Again. 

I have also found that peer tutoring is priceless. These kids speak the same language. Have them help each other, they communicate much better with each other I have found!
Once you are beyond the warping hump (um, the whuh?), the weaving portion is much easier. That is WHEN you get beyond that initial confusion I mention in the second clip. However, if you do that little trick that I share with you, I think you'll find that the kids get it and will really take off with weaving. They love to sit on the floor and weave and chat. I let them sit with buddies, sometimes we go outside if the weather permits. It's just such a fun, relaxing project...once you are beyond the warping and initial day of learning to weave. Stick with it, you'll find that you and the kids will love the process! 
Granted, this weaving project does take time. However on Thursday I'm going to share with you a similar weaving project that takes have the amount of time for those of you that are limited. 

Until then, I do hope you found this helpful and will consider giving weaving a go! And I'd love to know, what weaving projects do you just love to do? 

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Sunday, January 4, 2015

In the Art Room: Straw Loom Weaving

Hello, weaving friends! Welcome to the second installment of The Weaving Series during this Wonderful World of Weaving month formerly known as "January". In case you didn't know, I'll be sharing with y'all some of my favorite weaving projects all this month each complete with step-by-step photos and short video clips. So, what's in store today? Drinking Straw Loom Weaving!

Straw Loom Weaving is a great follow up project to Paper Loom Weaving as it builds on all of the previously learned skills. The youngest grade level I've done this sort of weaving with is second grade. However, I believe upper grades would enjoy this fun, easy and totes educational weaving project as well. Let's get started, y'all! 

Large Drinking Straws: I like the big ones without the bend in them. I've scored them at fast food joints and the grocery. I cut the straws in half. Each kid will need four straws.

Scotch Tape: You'll need this to adhere the yarn to the straw. I like this kind of tape better than masking because it can lie flat against the straw and not impede on the weaving process. And don't nobody like their weaving process to be impeded upon.

Yarn: Four strands cut to the desired length of the finished weaving. In this demo, mine was cut to about 9". 

Even More Yarn: For weaving. Let's get started!
You'll begin by warping your loom. This is the fun part, at least according to the kids, a you'll be "drinking" the yarn. If you watch my clip, you'll bet an even better idea on the process. Start by holding the end of the yarn at the bottom the straw. Place your mouth on the opposite end and inhale. The yarn will pop out the other side! Warning: do NOT inhale too much as you'll end up with a yucky mouthful of yarn. 
Yee-ouch, nice nails. Tape down that little yarn tale with some Scotch tape.
And do that four more times.
Tie all the ends together with an overhand knot.
Once you're warped (and, admit it, you've always been warped), you're ready to weave! If you watch this short clip, you'll get the process.
Hold the straws together in your non-dominate hand with a tiny bit of space between 'em. Use your thumb to hold the end of the warp string while your other hand begins the process of over and under.
When you reach the end of the row of straws, go around the end straw and begin the process again.
Lookie there, just like the paper weaving
In this final clip, I'll show you how to finish off the weaving and remove it from the straw loom. Take heed: the kids will often want to slide their weavings completely off their straw loom as they weave. It's important that they do not! Their weaving should slide off the ends of the straws naturally as they are weaving along. Also, they will freak out when their weaving begins to slide off because it will look a little loose. Set their minds as ease and tell 'em that it's perfectly normal. No need to freak out.
So what do you do with a straw loom weaving once it's complete? Well, my kids love to make them into bracelets by simply tying the ends of the warp strings together. They've also made belts, bookmarks and wallhangings. I'm personally dying to get some yellow and blue yarn and create woven Minons. 

What about you? Have you done this kind of weaving with your kids before? If so, what have y'all created! Please keep the convo going in the comments, kids.

ALSO! ARTSY BOOK CLUBBIN' KIDS (that's you, you can join the fun here!) don't forget that we'll be reading The Art Spirit by Robert Henri beginning Monday, January 12th! 

The winner of the Artsy Book Club Giveaway is...Leah! Congrats, buddy! 
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Friday, January 2, 2015

In the Art Room: Paper Loom Weaving

Well, hello there, buddies! I'm here today to share with y'all that I hereby declare January the WONDERFUL WORLD O' WEAVING MONTH! That's right "WWW".  Which is way better than WWF because it doesn't involve sweaty old dudes in spandex. Unless you're into that sort of thing. In which case, you might have found yourself on the wrong blog. Smell ya later.

Whew, now that my mom is gone, lemme splain to ya what the Wonderful World of Weaving Month is gonna look like on this here blog. Each week, I'm going to share with you my fave tried and true weaving lessons complete with video (including this post! Brace yourselves, people. My voice has been likened to nails on a chalkboard.) At the end of this month, I'll be sharing even more weaving goodness at The Art of Education conference on January 31st! Are y'all going? 
If you've not attended, you really outta. In my last post, I mentioned my fave things of 2014 and completely left out one of the very best things: attending and presenting at AOE twice! I do hope to see you there so you can hear me wax poetic about WWW. Unless you wanna hear someone wax poetic about WWF in which case you should call my mom. Right now she's only going by her "Wrestling Name" which is Star Blaster. Don't ask. 

Now, if you've never ever taught or attempted weaving before, have no fear. This here paper loom weaving project will lay the ground work for all other weaving projects. I do a paper loom weaving project with my first grade friends every year. However, if you are introducing weaving to kids that have never given it a go, I strongly recommend you have them do this simple project. They'll learn the vocabulary, the technique and the ability to apply what they've learned to more advanced weaving projects. So, lez get started!
To jazz up my paper weavings a bit, I'll often have the kids create some textured and painted papers. It's a fun and quick way to introduce such painting techniques as stamping (I used the back of a round clothes pin), credit card scraping (just paint a couple drops of paint at the top of the paper and pull the credit card downward), scratching into paint with a texture comb or back of a paint brush and splatter painting (everyone's favorite...except for the art teacher's.)
Once the papers are painting, some are cut by me into weaving strips (called wefts) and one is left untouched to be used for the loom. In the clip below, I'll introduce you to some of my favorite ways to share weaving with students as well as show you how I go about having the kids create a paper loom.
With the introduction to weaving and loom creating, this generally takes about 30 minutes. That's one art class for me. Oh! In this clip, I mention what my art room set up is like. You can read all about that here
If you are a step-by-step photo person, like me, here you go. I have the kids gather with their paper and a pair of scissors. We begin by folding our papers in half from the bottom to the top.
With the folded edge at the bottom and the open at the top, peel back the first layer of paper at the top. Fold it down just a pinch, about the length of your finger tip. No need to fold down both pieces of paper. It should look like the lip of an envelope. 
Next up, unfold that part and run your finger back and forth over the crease. At this point, I have the kids do the same and repeat after me: "This is the STOP! line. When my scissors are a-cutting they will STOP! at this line".
At this point, I tell the kids that I want to cut my paper almost in half. How will I know when to stop cutting so that I don't cut it completely in half? That's right, the STOP! line. Start by cutting at the bottom in the middle and, well, you know where to stop. I then hold this up and tell the kids, "hey, look, we made Sponge Bob's pants!"
Next up, cut the paper into fourths. If you are curious how I go about having 20 plus kids all cut these looms together, watch that clip. It's tres simple, y'all.
 Boom! Now I've made pants for my cat. 
 Each one of those four sections is then cut in half creating eight equal sections. Lika dis. It should closely resemble a hola skirt.
Carefully unfold your paper and, viola! You've got yourself a loom. Let's weave something, shall we?
In this much shorter clip, I'll show you how I go about teachin' that.
Using a giant paper loom really helps. Unless you have a document cam then I suppose that'd work great too. Once I feel the kids have it, we weave together whilst sitting on the floor. 
My first grade kids all know what an A-B pattern is and looks like. So explaining it to them in their terms really helps.
When I'm teaching weaving, I do whole lotta non-exampling. I'll weaving incorrectly, for example, by having the second weft do the same as the first, and show them why this is incorrect (the wefts will simply slide down behind the others). By showing the kids a non-example and explaining to them why it's incorrect, they'll more than likely understand the process even better. 
And end up with a super lovely weaving! Now, I'm not gonna like about a half the kids are gonna knock this outta the park and be finished in a blink. Meanwhile, the other kids are gonna get stuck. So we do a lotta peer tutoring in weaving which looks a lil like this...
So, what can you do with paper weaving when they are finished? Well...
 My first graders have used them for the basis of a crocodile puppet and a Starry Night-inspired collage

As well as these fish collages! My first graders used a small paper weaving as the basis for their self-portraits as royalty.  

And there you have it! I hope you are excited about the Wonderful World of Weaving as much as I am. And keep on coming back to here, y'all, as I've got plenty more weaving projects and videos to share with you in the weeks to come. 

Until then, I'd super duper love to hear what your fave PAPER weaving projects are! Let's inspire each other in the comments below. And if you've got a blog post on weaving that you'd like sot share, pretty please do. Thanks, guys!

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