Emotional Pumpkins

pumpkins

Since we teach English Through Art, it’s not always easy to create a good balance between teaching English, allowing enough room for the kids to be creative and experiencing different artistic techniques.  This project was a good one clear idea: creating pumpkins that showed various emotions-not too complicated on the English, the kids could get creative by drawing the emotions they chose and the shape of a pumpkin is pretty generic so they could experience watercolors without struggling too much with how to draw.

To learn the emotions we did several games before actually rolling up our sleeves and getting to work each session. We used the cards below we played memory, charades and pictionary.  Click on the link for our pumpkin emotions crossword puzzle.

flip flop cards 2We also had contests trying to create different emotions using our pumpkin game, the first few times we asked them to do which emotions to do and after a while they had fun experimenting and have each other guess what they were doing.  Before beginning to paint, the kids used the game to create emotions and then sketch them – taking careful notice at how the eyes, mouth and eyebrows had to be placed in order to convey the emotion they wanted to do.

IMG_2190When we finally dove in, we first divided a large paper into 4 sections and the kids used a black crayon to draw their Emotional Pumpkins.  They were instructed to draw 1 pumpkin and 1 emotion per section and to do the pumpkin as large as they could, but they had to stay inside the confines of the space and they had to try and use their sketches.  Using water colors the kids had to shade from dark to light inside each segment of each pumpkin to give the pumpkins more dimension.  This was a real challenge – trying to control a very spontaneous medium.  There was one more challenge to this project – the kids were only given primary colors to paint with, so all of the other colors had to be mixed.  (This was not the first project mixing water colors, otherwise I think I would cut this step out so as not to get too overwhelming).   They did great and had a lot of fun.

IMG_2272The final step was to have the kids talk about how their pumpkins were feeling. We were really proud of them, I think they were surprised at how much they learned.

Texture Collage

tree002It’s been a busy year so we’re a bit behind on our posts. We did this project back in October, when it was actually fall, but we’re only getting a chance to share it now. And here we go:

Frottage is such a fun way for kids to learn about textures.

1) First the kids had to learn the name of textures so, we created various textures inside very large bottle caps  (we used sand paper for rough, some plastic drawer liner for bumpy etc etc)  and used them in a game. We put 1 bottle cap at a time inside a bag and the kids had to feel to learn the name of each texture. (Later we created another set of bottle caps with matching textures so that the kids played a  blindfolded memory).

2)  Next, we gave the kids some crayons and some paper and they went crazy and did rubbings on everything and everyone! It’s such a simple exercise and the kids had so much fun doing it! When they were finished we analyzed the textures and gave them a name.

Untitled-23) Finally we began our project:

  • The kids did crayon rubbings again on bits of fall colored paper (except brown).  They had an idea of what worked and what made better textures this time around.
  • Next, tore the paper and  they glued them onto a larger paper to create a background. For this step, we said no scissors.
  • They did the same thing to make the trunk and branches of the tree, this time scissors could be used.
  • The next step was to cut the leaves out of  newspaper and glue that onto their tree
  • It was a bit hard to see the tree and leaves, so we also got in a little practice shading.  The kids had to outline the tree and leaves using colored pencils, shading darkest on the outside and getting lighter towards the center.  This was probably the hardest part.
  • The last step was to cut out the letters f-a-l-l- and sponge paint them on.

Among the games we did to learn textures was to do this word search.  Inside the circles the kids had to frottage textures – which didn’t work for all the textures.  I think if we to redo this we might just draw pictures of things with those textures.

Texture wordsearch

ESeLf Portraits

Per leggere questo post in italiano, cliccate qui.

Self portraits are a great exercise in observation. The objective of this project was not not only to learn the names of body parts, but also for each kid to be aware in detail of what they looked like. Did they have a big mouth or a small mouth?  Long hair or short hair?  What color? We also asked that the kids put something in the background was a reflection of themselves (a sort of inner self portrait).  And on top of all that, the kids got to experiment with chalk pastels. Everyone had used chalk before (on chalk boards, on side walks), but it was the first time that they got to use it as an artistic medium-mixing and blending the colors together.  We think they did a pretty great job all linguistically, artistically and fun-tistically! (Yes, we made that last word up, but they did have fun!)

Animation (Flip Book) Workshop

To read this in Italian, click here.

Saturday’s workshop was probably the one of the most challenging, but fun workshops yet, we made flip books -which are basically a series of drawings that seem to move, as the pages are rapidly turned. This is a great activity to do for transit verbs (a fiish swimming, a plane flying etc) or to teach stages (a seed growing into a flower or a tree) – Keep in mind that the best ideas are the simplest ideas – especially if it is your first time animating.

What you will need:

  • a pencil
  • colored pencils
  • post-its
  • a stapler
  • tape (masking or scotch tape)

For younger kids, it is easier to grasp the concept if they have an example.

1.  Print off one of the sheets above.

2. Put a post-it on top of each frame (keeping the sticky part on the left hand side) and use a pencil to lightly trace each drawing.

 *If it’s hard to see the lines, you can always put the sheet against the window and then trace.

3. Color each of the frames (make sure that you color every frame in the same way -for example: if you color the flower yellow with a green stem, it should be yellow with a green stem in all the frames),

4.  Write the title of your flip book on a post it.

5.  Take 2 blank post its and set them on the table (this will add pages to the book and make it easier to flip).  Stack the your drawings on top of these 2 blank post-its, in sequence working from frame 8 to frame 1 (so frame 8 should be on the bottom and frame 1 on the top). Take 2 more blank post-its and put them on the top. Stack you title page on the very top.  Stack as neatly as you can, the neater it is, the easier it will be to flip.

6.  Bend the left side of your book back about 5 cm.  This will make the pages stiffer and easier to flip.

7.  Staple the ‘binding’ and secure the staples by covering them with a strip of tape.

8.  Now flip!

Older kids may be able to grasp the concept of how to draw a flip book on their own. Here’s how to do it:

1.  Think of something that can move from left to right or up and down (without having to draw many complicated movements.  For example a fish swimming, a plane flying through the sky, a car driving on the road, a hot air balloon rising in the sky, etc.  A person walking is quite or a horse running is quite complicated and won’t work well for the method we are using.

2.  Draw your idea on a post it, keeping the sticky side to the left. We have drawn a spider that will lower itself down it’s web.   If you are going to have something go from up to down, like we are, make sure the drawing stays on the right hand side so you can see it as it flips.

3. Take another post-it (post -it #2) and put it on top of the first post it (post-it #1) so that the right edges are lined up, but the top edge of #2 is slightly above #1.  Remember to put the sticky side on the left.  Trace.  See how our spider looks slightly lower.

4.  Do this again and again, until you have at least 8 drawings. You can have more than (, because the more drawings you have and the slighter the movement when you retrace, the better your flip book will work. Less than 8 drawings makes it hard to flip the book and the animation won’t be a smooth.

5.  Color all your drawings.

6.  Neatly stack (in order) all your drawings, starting with the last one on the bottom.  (If you have only 8 drawings add 2 blank post-its to the front and 2 to the back, this will make it a bit easier to flip and see the animation).

7.  Make a title page and put it on the top of your stack.

8.  Fold back the left hand side of your stack about 5 mm.

9. Staple and then tape over the staples

10. You are ready to flip!

Tom Wesselman

Per leggere questo post in italiano, cliccate qui.

via moma.org

To learn about things in the kitchen, we took inspiration from Tom Wesselman, an American artist who helped lead the pop art movement. First, we played games to get the kids familiar with the vocabulary – we do anything from flashcard games, to bingo and spelling games and  we also like to throw in a few drawing warm up exercises before getting started.

Once the kids had a bit of vocabulary under their belt,  we looked at a few of Wesselman’s pieces and discuss what elements they recognized.   Then, we rolled up our sleeves and got to work.

via all-art.org

The kids had certain guidelines they had to follow, just to make sure we they used as much as the vocabulary as possible, but then after that, anything goes:

They drew, they cut and they glued:

They really got into making the smallest details of the kitchen, like the glass in the windows, the clock above the stove and some even made a chicken in the oven!

We’re so proud of the kids – they not only made some beautiful pieces of art, but they are also able to talk about them in English!

Rockin Out (the Painted Rocks Workshop)

Having a bad day? Go paint a rock.  Stressed out? Go paint a rock.  The kids were bouncing off the walls when they came in today, but as soon as we started painting the rocks, everything changed. There is something so therapeutic about painting rocks!

What you will need:

  • rocks (make sure you wash them off and let them dry thoroughly)
  • acrylic paints
  • paintbrushes
  • water containers

First decide what you are going to paint. (To keep the vocabulary simple, we decided to do barnyard animals, but there are so many things you could do-bugs, houses, food, freestyle decorating or just about anything). Since we did animals, we asked the kids, what color their animal would be and what 2 colors they need to make that color.

The kids mixed their paints.

Then get painting.

This is a great time to start using body parts vocabulary- eyes, nose, mouth, legs.  You can also throw in some vocab that is specific to animals like whiskers, snout, beak or paws.

Now you have a cute decoration for your knickknack shelf, a paper weight or if you have painted a large and heavy enough rock, also have a fancy doorstop.

Jumping Frogs Workshop

Per leggere questo post in italiano, cliccate qui.
http://youtu.be/SVPmtaHmL4g

This was a really fun workshop, we made frogs that jumped really high!  To do this you will need:

  • craft foam (it comes out better if you have a few colors)
  • 2 googly eyes
  • 2 empty yogurt pots or plastic cups
  • 1 or 2 rubber bands
  • a pencil
  • colored pens (Sharpies) work the best, but may not be appropriate for smaller kids)
  • scissors
  • a hot glue gun (to be used with the assistance of an adult)
  • an awl (or something to poke holes into the cups- this is quite dangerous, so this instrument should be used the an adult)
  • frog stencil

1. Print off a copy of the frog parts onto thick paper.  Cut out each part.

2.  Trace the frog’s parts onto craft foam with a pencil and cut each part out.  Glue the parts together to form the frog, including the googly eyes.

3. Use the Sharpies to draw on a mouth, a nose and don’t forget to draw on some speckles.

4. Have an adult poke 4 holes, equal distance (more or less) into the cups. Cut a rubber band in half and make a knot at one end.  Thread the rubber band from the outside to the inside of one hole and then thread again through the opposite hole and tie a knot.  Make sure rubber band is a little bit taut. Do the same thing with the other half of the rubber band into the remaining two holes.  Your rubber band should make a cross at the open end of the cup.  5. Glue your frog onto the cup (bottom side up).  Now you are ready to make your frog jump!

6.  Take your other yogurt cup and put it onto the ground (bottom side up), now put the frog cup on top of that, push down and let go!

(This would be a fun project to do for Easter with a rabbit too, let us know if you try it).

Thanks tobkids for this project.