12 November 2005

Next Steps

Two weeks ago, I opened the Fiber Center and I have some students from each class who are working on producing a stitchery piece. I began by telling students they could sew a picture and then put a backing piece on and stuff it to make a pillow. I don't think they understood the process as well as I wanted them to. One girl actually put both piece together and THEN tried to sew her picture! Needless to say, she didn't understand why she ended up with two pieces of burlap sewn together with no room left for the stuffing. The next day, I posted a new menu listing the steps for making a stitchery picture and I will re-introduce the concept of making a pillow later. The hallways at school are filled with examples of drawings, paintings and collage works but it will be great to be able to put up some stitchery projects. Soon, I will offer weaving on cardboard looms for the upper grades and tongue depressor looms for the lower grades. Maybe it's time to start showing students how to weave paper looms first so they can get the hang of the over-under process.

This week, I posted a menu on the many ways for making paper three dimensional. Many students were thrilled with the idea of making a sculpture out of paper - I even have a group of 5th grade girls who are working on making a model of New York City. They completed the Empire State Building yesterday and are now trying to figure out how to make a representation of the Statue of Liberty to put in their model. The younger grades seemed happy to work on what they called an amusement park, complete with stretched out spirals of paper for the roller coasters. I let them take their first attempts home -- can't figure out how to house the 3-D artwork yet. I'm thinking of going to Target next week to buy a plastic 5 shelf unit to put along one wall in the art room. Maybe that will solve my problem. It will be interesting to see the direction my sculptors take as the quarter progresses. I want to move on to cardboard sculpture but I don't have enough recycled material yet to make the center work. Guess it's time to make up a wish list to send home! Then I will have to make a menu on the different ways to attach things together -- I have plenty of glue guns but I want to stop at Hobby Lobby and stock up on Tacky Glue as well.

After Thanksgiving, I'm going to place an order for low fire clay. I have a handful of students who have been working with oil clay and I know they would like to try making their ideas in real clay that we can fire, so I'd better get on that ASAP. It seems that the more centers I open, the more smoothly the classrooms are running. Of course, the flip side of that is that I seem to be busier and busier with each class! The school day passes in the blink of an eye and I'm worn out by the end of the day -- but the kids are happy and loving art more and more...