Friday, May 21, 2010

Spring Fun Fair: Integrating Visiting Artists

As I mentioned in a previous post, we celebrated the Spring Equinox at my school for many years with a procession and sampling of performances by a variety of school groups: the dance team, the belly dance club, a number put together by one of our physical education teachers, and band and choral pieces. This time of year, where we live, happens to be cold and indoorsy- a great time to put something like this together!  I put together the visual aspects: we created large puppets, made cardboard cut-outs and lots of costumes according to a loose theme.  One year I wrote a grant and we had Dic Wheeler, a friend from Connecticut come and teach circus skills to the students.  He taught 4th, 5th and 6th grade students how to spin plates, balance feathers on their noses, and juggle. He worked out routines and we added the other school groups into the circus framework, fully costumed.  This was a K-12 event and as I look back- it was really spectacular.


Another year, we had two guest artists come and create with us, through a grant that my superintendent wrote.  Brenda Hutchinson helped us with a chili cook-off, which she filmed and edited.  Hana Roth Seavey, a former teacher, Barnum and Bailey Circus School graduate, and playwright helped students create their own fairy tales and perform them.  These were mixed in with a skit, a rollerblader, and the traditional dance, choral and band pieces.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Postage Stamp Designs

Graphics students designed these stamps.  Students in upper level art can sometimes choose their this case, most chose gouache, but one chose pastels (the giraffe).   In preparation, I showed them a slide show of all kinds of stamps.  The post mistress also shared some catalogs on stamp collecting with me, USA Philatelic, a really good resource.  Since then, that particular post office closed as a result of budget cuts. Sad.  Buy stamps, send things via US Mail and save the postal service!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Celebrating the Spring Equinox

For many years we have celebrated the Spring Equinox at school in a creative way.  I was lucky to work in a supportive environment that allowed for loosely shaped ideas.  During the first year we built a large tower out of wrapping paper, toilet paper, and paper towel tubes.  Those were collected over a long period of time, sorted according to size, and then put to use.  Sixth grade students, I believe, sketched up their ideas- we chose one plan - and went with it.  All morning long, groups of students arrived and used masking tape to put together groupings of tubes.  By the end of the day the tower was big, rather precarious, but still standing.  When I came in the next day, the tower had collapsed. The newspaper was going to come and cover the story, but the school secretary had told them not to come- that the tower had failed.
This project was, in fact, a success.  The materials were recycled, so the tape was the only expense.  The school worked together to achieve one goal- kindergartners through twelfth graders! It was truly a student designed and built project- it was a departure from what was normally done during the school day-  much fun was had -and no one hurt in the process.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Our Own Cabinet of Curiosities

We used drawings from Seba's Cabinet of Curiosities as models for these fine marker drawings. This reproduction of an 18th century book, showcases one man's collection of  animals, plants and insects from all around the world.

Eighth graders first made  pencil drawings of their animal or insect- leaving out the details (feathers and scales, for the most part).  After practicing a little they were able to do the repetitive line work on the final copy, without pre-drawing it.  The book is listed at a really high price, but there  are other books that could be used just as well.... such as The Clip Art Book, compiled by Gerard Quinn or The Complete Encyclopedia of Illustration.  I purchased these many years ago, and perhaps there are other books could serve just as well.  I have done fine line drawings with this age group from the old ,OLD Sears and Roebuck catalog.  These have to be enlarged on the copy machine.