Expressive Arts Website

Friday, February 10, 2017

7th and 8th Grade Needle Felted Owls

I learned how to needle felt a year ago and LOVED it! At the time, the curriculum was sort of "locked in" for the year so I set it aside thinking there may be a time when the art form could be worked into the mix. Enter Harry Potter Unit!

So when I decided upon a Harry Potter unit I was determined to work an owl project into the unit line up. That's when I learned about the "Fuller", one of the WORST jobs of the Middle Ages. The Fuller was a person who processed wool which was one of the most important items of trade in Europe during that time. When wool was woven into cloth the fibers were loose and greasy. The Fuller processed the loose and greasy wool by marching up and down over it for 7-8 hours in a vat of, wait for it.... PEE!!! GROSS! SO Perfect for middle School!

The best part is that the marching in pee process locked the fibers together into a tighter weave and lessened the grease. It was a FELTING PROCESS! So there ya go. An AWESOME historical lesson that makes a lasting impression. Once I showed them the Fuller Video, my students got so grossed out that they totally remembered what the job was, what it entailed and how it connected to history.

Please let me introduce to you a modern day version of the felting process: Needle Felted Owls.

Monday, February 6, 2017

7th & 8th Grade Harry Potter Launch

It happened over winter break. I was at the theater with my family watching Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them when I was struck with a vision of art in the style of Harry Potter. Maybe it was the recliner chairs or the over salted popcorn that put me in this state but I could not break my focus away from what the beasts of that movie were doing to my mind. It was spinning!

Up until that point I have been integrating the middle ages into the art room for as long as I can remember trying to connect students with the era they are studying through art forms. The artwork, in my opinion always turns out amazing and has evolved over the years. However, when students reflect on the themes of the unit the historical connection seems to get forgotten, or at least it seemed so. How to make it stick? Harry Potter!!! What? How?

Step 1: Develop the projects. Well, this was kind of easy because some of the middle ages projects HAD themes of Harry Potter (Repousse, Quilling)! After more research and development I came up with so many project ideas that I just HAD to make this a unit for both 7th and 8th Grade! Now how to hook the kids? A Launch!

Step 2: Connect with our AMAZING librarian Elsa Prettol (who happens to be a major Potter Fan) and ask for her help. We met for about an hour and shared ideas for what a launch would look like. More project ideas came from that meeting! It was so much fun to work with Ms. Prettol that I am thinking of launching more units with her support!

Step 3: Get into the Pottermode! I turned the classroom into a Hogwarts Classroom overnight with a seating chart for each house, house point charts and hung a head Mistress sign over my desk. Ms. Prettol had the Owl Post deliver invitations that included acceptance letter to Hogwarts to EVERY (180) 7th and 8th grade student.  On the day of the launch I threw on my Professor Mcgonagall costume and lead the kids to Platform 9 3/4. SO FUN!

Check out the pics of the launch. Once we arrive at platform 9 3/4 students boarded the train to Hogsmeade, walked on a path to Hogwarts, learned the history of each house, and got sorted. SO FUN!

Friday, February 3, 2017

7th Grade Burrow Challenge

For years the Paper Model House project was the first in a lineup of 3 scale-projects. This year I decided to shift things around and teach the 2-d scale projects first to scaffold the final 3-d Paper Model House project. Makes sense, right?
Then I got a wild idea to challenge the students with constructing the Burrow, Ron Weasley's house from Harry Potter! SO FUN! This is what they created!




8th Grade Claymation

The culmination of the Digital Art Unit is Claymation Animation- brutal, I know. AS IF!!! This is one of my favorite projects for many reasons, but I think the main reason is because it has that element of PLAY that seems to trigger the imagination. The kids have FUN! After having done this project for two years now I definitely see room for improvement and feel a need to add more depth to the project but that'll come. As for now, check out some of my favorite scenes and characters!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

7th Grade Scale Micrography Portraits for Black History Month

Ms. Z-S approached me about a week before we were about to start the Chuck Close scale projects- one of my favorite go-to's during the Scale art Unit. She asked if I would like to collaborate with her to add words to the students portraits as opposed to line designs. My answer? Heck Yes! Even better, I had this Micrography project in the archives that I hadn't used in years and with some tweaking it became the perfect project collaboration for Black History Month! I am so proud of all the efforts of the 7th grade class! Even Ms. Z and Ms. P created one!

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

February Charter Chat

Friday, January 20, 2017

7th Grade Tunes Scale Project

Looney Tunes never get old and I guess that's one of the reasons why this one is a repeat project! This year, however, I have heard several anecdotes from the kids about how they are creating more scale projects in their 6th and 7th grade math classes. This makes me VERY happy that students are making the math- art connection in their academic class! It also takes a bit of pressure off me in case I want to modify my art units (which I LOVE doing!).

 I absolutely think math in the art room is VERY important to help bridge the gap for those who struggle. There are so many cool math-art projects to expose the students to that I would love to combine into one unit. Maybe next year I'll have a Hidden Figures Unit that exposes students to a variety of different forms of math through the arts!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

8th Grade Double Exposure Animals

The weather is a bit unpredictable right now in Sacramento. When I reviewed the forecast for the time that we would be working on the Digital Art Unit it was suppose to be clear on a day that we needed to be outside during an 85 minute block. Instead, it was stormy with wind and rain. BUMMER!
It turns out that that week previous I was becoming OBSESSED with double exposure. One of my #PLN friends, Steve Blais, was tweeting these AMAZING animal pictures and I just HAD to learn how to create! After I bugged him a couple times, he sent me the directions and I JUST KNEW it would be the perfect, 1-day indoor lesson for my stir crazy 8th graders. :) Check out these beautiful Double Exposure Animals!