Thursday, April 25, 2019

Scotland: Personal Coat of Arms

After Ghana, 2nd graders traveled to Scotland as part of our Arts Around the World unit. We learned that Scotland is part of the United Kingdom, sharing a border with England, and the capital city is Edinburgh. We also learned that there are different regions: the Highlands, which are mountainous areas, and the Lowlands, which have forests and farmland. 
We also learned about the tradition of a coat of arms. A coat of arms is a unique design, originally painted on a shield, used as a symbol of identity. Coats of arms were originally used for military purposes with a design on an actual coat, worn over a suit of armor, and on the knight’s shield and helmet. Now a coat of arms can represent family heritage, organizations, and professions or jobs. 
We looked at and discussed examples of different coats of arms from Scotland, including the Royal Arms of Scotland and coats of arms representing different Scottish cities such as Glasgow and Aberdeen. Then we thought about what we might include on our own coat of arms. We considered what kinds of symbols might best represent us, and what kinds of information we would want to include, such as: personal interests and hobbies, cultural backgrounds, and favorite animals or food. 
After making an initial sketch of a personal coat of arms using pencil, students created their coats of arms on thicker paper and outlined with Sharpie marker. 
We then painted them with watercolor paint and used metallic Sharpie markers to accent our work.
Students then cut and glued their coat of arms design onto construction paper, choosing a color that would complement their work. Below are examples of our finished coat of arms designs:
Amelia, 2nd Grade (McCarthy)
Amit, 2nd Grade (O'Connor)
Angelina, 2nd Grade 
Archie, 2nd Grade (Hinds Thiemann)
Audrey L., 2nd Grade (Hinds Thiemann)
Ava, 2nd Grade (Hinds Thiemann)
Dakotah, 2nd Grade (O'Connor)
Eli, 2nd Grade (Stone)
Gabi, 2nd Grade (O'Connor)
Jack, 2nd Grade (Hinds Thiemann)
Kaylin, 2nd Grade (Hinds Thiemann)
Kenji, 2nd Grade (McCarthy)
Luke, 2nd Grade (Pearse)
Matthew, 2nd Grade (O'Connor)
Maya, 2nd Grade (O'Connor)
Meri, 2nd Grade (McCarthy)
Mia, 2nd Grade (Pearse)
Mie, 2nd Grade (O'Connor)
Naysa, 2nd Grade (McCarthy)
Nirvaan, 2nd Grade (McCarthy)

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Plaster Masks

Recently 5th grade artists created plaster masks, which took us several weeks. The process involved designing their mask, creating the mask form out of plaster strips, painting their mask and writing an artist statement to accompany their mask on display. 
Left to right: Pixabay, “mask” CC by cisc1970 via Flickr, Pixabay
We began by discussing masks, why we wear masks, and learning about masks around the world. Students connected masks to Halloween, as well as masquerade parties and even sports. We talked about how masks can help you hide your identity, or assume a different one. They can also help protect your face, or just be worn for fun. We learned that masks have a long history and have been created, used, and worn by cultures all over the world. They are also made from a variety of different materials. 
For example, in ancient Egypt, masks were used to dress the faces of the dead. Royal death masks were made of gold and bronze and meant to look like the person. In Japan, samurai masks were designed to instill fear in opponents, as well as protect the wearer. They were often made of iron and leather. In Italy, during the Carnival Festival in Venice, elaborate masks are worn to provide mystery. And in West Africa, masks are used in religious ceremonies to communicate with spirits and ancestors. Many are made with wood, ivory or clay. 
After learning about masks, students sketched out design ideas for their own plaster mask. Many students were inspired by popular culture, super heroes, symbols, and sports. We also cut plaster strips to prepare for mask making. 
Mask making was done in two sessions, with half the class making their mask one week, and half the class making their mask the following week. Students also worked in pairs to help a partner complete their mask within our 40 minute art class. To make their plaster mask, students began with a plastic mask form that was covered with Vaseline, so that their finished mask would slip off easily when dry. Students dipped pieces of dry plaster in water, then placed them on their plastic mask form and smoothed them with wet fingers to make the plaster come out and cover the holes. 
Students made sure to overlap their strips and could choose whether to leave the eye holes open or closed, as well as the mouth. This depended on their design. Students also made sure to smooth the plaster pieces together to make the top layer the smoothest surface on which to paint. After three layers of plaster, the masks were left to dry. 
After our plaster mask making sessions, students got their dry mask back and were ready to paint! We used acrylic paint (instead of tempera paint, which we usually use) so that they paint would stay on and not flake off the mask later. Students noticed that the acrylic paint dried quickly. 
Students spent two to three classes painting their masks, considering how to paint their design in layers so that they could add details on top. Depending on the design, some students had to paint their mask all one color, or two colors, before adding details on top. Other students began with the white base of the mask and painted details directly on top. 
On our last mask making class, student added extra details using a variety of different materials. Some students added ears to their animal mask, or feathers to a masquerade inspired mask. The following class we worked on artist statements for our masks. An artist statement is a written explanation of an artist's work. You can tell the viewer about the motivation and inspiration behind your design, how you made your work, and any additional information you want the viewer to know. Students typed up their artist statements so they could be accompany their mask on display. Below are some examples of our plaster masks on display!
Mrs. Bellis's Class
Ms. Domermuth & Ms. Fantasia's Class
Mrs. Psychoghios's Class
Mr. Twomey's Class

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Self Portrait Assemblages in Motion

Recently, Kindergarten artists created self portrait assemblages! We learned that a self portrait is when a you create an artwork, like a drawing or painting, of yourself. Only you can create your own self portrait. We also thought about what our bodies look like when we are doing our favorite physical activities. We shared ideas by having students act out different activities to see what their bodies look like when they are running, jumping, dancing, swimming, practicing ballet, doing karate, playing hockey and more. 
Next, students used cut cardboard shapes and glued them together to create their bodies, arranging their arms and legs to show what their bodies look like when they are doing their favorite activities. 
During the following class, we added clothing to our self portrait assemblages. There were many different materials to choose from at the materials table, including paper, fabric, metallic paper, felt, foam and buttons. 
Students chose different materials to add to their self portrait to give their clothing different colors, patterns and textures. Many students thought about what kind of clothing they wear during their favorite activity, to help select materials. Some students wear a uniform or special outfit for their activity, such as karate or gymnastics. 
During our last class, we discussed the different parts of our face and students added their facial features, as well as their hair. Students chose different colors of paper for their skin tone, since we all have different skin colors. Students could add their facial features using paper or draw them with pencil and Sharpie markers. Students added yarn for hair, choosing colors that were closest to their hair color. 
After everyone was done, we shared our self portrait assemblages with the class. We noticed that there were such a wide variety of activities represented! We also worked on being respectful of each other's work. Here are some examples of our self portrait assemblages:
Andrew, Kindergarten (Bolton)
Aria, Kindergarten (Beatty)
Casey, Kindergarten (Tan)
Everett, Kindergarten (Segreve)
Hadley, Kindergarten (Segreve)
James, Kindergarten (Segreve)

Lily, Kindergarten (Mattson)
Lilyana, Kindergarten (Mattson)
Louis, Kindergarten (Bolton)
Talia, Kindergarten (Beatty)
Thanish, Kindergarten (Tan)
Alessandra, Kindergarten (Tan)
"Jumping Jacks"
Lola, Kindergarten (Segreve)