Thursday, May 17, 2012

Let's Play Checkers!

But First - Let's Make a Checker Set!

This is one of those projects I've had in the back of my mind just waiting to fit it in a good place. I had a fun...but super social...5th grade class at one of my buildings that I knew would enjoy the challenge and fun of making a checker set. So we spent the majority of 4th quarter working on it.

  • Students spent some time brainstorming and planning what their pieces would look like. They sketched out the designs and discussed color choices. 
  • Two class periods were spent creating the clay pieces. I gave each student a paper with a 1 1/2 inch square drawn on it so they knew what size to make the pieces.
  • While the clay pieces were drying and being bisque fired, students went to work on marking out and painting their boards. I cut white tagboard to 12 inch square. We had a lesson on how to use the ruler to mark off 1 1/2 inch sections and join the lines. I was pleased that this class picked up on this pretty well for not having past experience with it. The classroom teacher and principal happened stopped in at the end of one class and remarked about how great the boards looked. My principal assumed that I had given each student a pre-marked template for the board. With the students in line at the door I proudly announced "No - they did these all by themselves!"
  • Two more classes were spent glazing the clay pieces and finishing up on painting the boards. When the boards were dry, I laminated them so they would be more durable
  • The came Play Day! The last art class of the year was spent playing. Students took turns using their boards and pieces and fun was had by all! It was the perfect way to send off these students(that I had taught since Kindergarten) to the Jr. High. 

Sunday, May 6, 2012

An Oldie But Goodie - Kindergarten Symmetrical Drip Butterflies

I've done this project with Kindergarten students and a similar one with 1st graders ever since I can remember. But it's one of those oldies but goodies! I'm sure many of you have done something similar.

This is usually a close to end of year project. The students get excited when I tell them we are going to make a butterfly with paint, but we are not going to use brushes and our fingers will not touch the paint! We review the primary colors and I demonstrate how they will fold the paper - "short side to short side". We open the paper up and I squirt some of the primary colors in lines an drips on one side in the shape of a V.

I refold the paper and show the students how to gently rub in circles on the folded paper. They will feel the paint be squished around. I used to use say "wax on - wax off" with the students...but only the occasional aide in the classroom knows what I mean these days!

After rubbing the paper the student is excited when I tell them to open it up and see what you got. The Oooo's and Ahh's that always follow bring smiles.

While I do this with a couple of students at a time at a table, the students work on making a butterfly body on black paper using construction paper crayons.
Here's my example - 

The next class we will cut out the dried paint wings and glue the body onto it.

I do a similar project with my 1st graders. We do the same process only with one color + black on bottom and white on the top to help teach value tints and shades.  Instead of a butterfly they make a longer body to create a dragonfly.