Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Baz Luhrmann - Everybody's Free To Wear Sunscreen

I had forgotten about this video/ song by Baz Luhrmann till today.  Still true.  If  you have a few minutes, its worth watching.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Teaching JH Students Pen Knife Safety

We are starting a paper cutting project, and at this level, students have enough dexterity and responsibility to handle pen knives.  With great power comes great responsibility.  Here is how I deal with this dangerous tool in my classroom.

    First, I scare them a bit.  I tell them the only time I ever had a student go to the hospital because of something going wrong in my classroom was when a student violated the only real rule with using a pen knife:


You entered with 10 fingers and want to leave with all them?  Don't violate this rule.

Don't let this happen to you...
So how do you use it safely?   Here are my directions:

1.  Don't cut towards yourself.
2.  Always have protective cap on when traveling around the room.
3. When we are cleaning up, I have to see all 30 back in their storage rack or no one leaves.
4. Always use  a cutting board underneath.
My handmade storage rack.

Knives with caps

After we go over this, I do a demo which includes the cutting challenges I think they need to pass in order to successfully complete their designs.  I also show them how to maintain the knife, in case  the blade falls out.

Disassembled knife
The Cutting Challenge is basically all the different issues the students will have to face to get a successful paper cut design.

1. Cutting a straight line.
2. Cutting a curvy/wavy line.
3. Cutting out a free form shape.
4. Cutting out a shape near another shape, but with a sliver of paper dividing them.
5. Cutting out a shape within a shape, using "paper  bridges" to hold the shape in place.

the Cutting Challenge on a scrap of paper.
Once the students have safely finished the Cutting Challence, I feel they are ready to work with the pen knives!

I also am proud to say after 10 years of teaching art, I finally upgraded my knife from beyond the el cheapo student grade to a fancy ergonomic version.  It includes blade storage and anti roll bump!  Woo Hoo!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Blacklight Coral Reef Lesson

Just as Newsweek publishes a story on the disappearing reef, my students endeavor to paint in the blacklight, focusing on coral reefs.the project starts with coloring pages of coral reefs as reference, so students can see the shapes of coral, tropical fish, etc.  Here are a few of the pages they used.

Next, students used fluorescent tempera paints to fill in the animals, coral and sand.  Regular black and blue tempera was used as outlining and water.  

Regular Light


Regular Light

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Four Freedoms Posters

The Four Freedoms Poster Project is based on the artwork of Norman Rockwell.  The artwork of Norman Rockwell is based on the 1941 State of the Union Speech by FDR.
Commonly known as the Four Freedoms Speech, Roosevelt outlined four essential human freedoms in the speech.

"In the future days, which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms.
The first is freedom of speech and expression—everywhere in the world.
The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way—everywhere in the world.
The third is freedom from want—which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation Ca healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants—everywhere in the world.
The fourth is freedom from fear—which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor—anywhere in the world.
That is no vision of a distant millennium. It is a definite basis for a kind of world attainable in our own time and generation. That kind of world is the very antithesis of the so-called new order of tyranny which the dictators seek to create with the crash of a bomb."—Franklin D. Roosevelt, excerpted from the State of the Union Address to the Congress, January 6, 1941

Students start by studying this speech and the following oil paintings by Rockwell that ended on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post, and then as a poster series for the War dept.

The assignment is for students to design, draw, then paint a poster that illustrates one of these four freedoms.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Zombie Mug!

Last year our coffee mugs were "Ugly Face Jugs".  This inspired one of our custodians to commission a "zombie" mug.  He really loves zombies.  Here is what he got.  Its based on one he saw on the internet.
Too bad it was finished 2 days after the season finale of Walking Dead...

Friday, March 28, 2014

Whistle Animals

 Started on our clay whistles a while back, and now we are on glazing.  I will add photos of finished projects next week.  
Every year, the ceramics project is one of the more science driven projects.  We have evaporation, cooling, vitrification, heat, transformation, such an amazing array of components coming together to make beautiful art.