Sunday, February 16, 2014

Warrior's Choice

The assignments that I give my 5th and 6th graders usually last 2 or more weeks (they come to art once a week for 40 minutes).  The days that they are finishing up a project may allow for a little time after they are finished before the end of class.  I would like for my students to be engaged for the full 40 minutes that they are with me.  Creating activities that keep the students' interests and genuinely involved is always my goal, and a challenging goal at that!

Prior to this year we did what I called "free-draw," which was a supply of drawing paper, drawing books and markers.  But that only piqued the interests of some students, resulting in students being tempted to do things other than being involved in art learning while in my classroom.  Even if it was just for the last few minutes of their time in art, I felt that there was NOT something right about that, not to mention it led some students down the path to getting in trouble for lack of something interesting for them to do.

I had enough of that nonsense and decided to provide a bunch of activities for students to choose from.  But these activities needed to be economical because they would be available all year, easy to clean up, fun, and art educational of course!

I created nine activities to choose from not including the drawing paper and drawing books and also not including computers.  I went to the store and bought large, plastic storage containers so the supplies would be organized and easily put away when students were finished with them.  They are stored on a shelf that is labeled for each container so the students can see exactly where each container goes.  Do they always put them in the proper spot on the shelf?  No.  But we are working on that.  SMH

I will highlight one or two of these activities in the next few posts.  Oh! And I wanted to come up with a name for this collection of "free-time" activities that wasn't "free-time activities."  I wanted the name to be something that the students could relate to and sounded like they were getting to do something special.  I took our mascot: Warriors and added Choice to the end of it for the obvious reason that the students are choosing an activity.

Here is our first couple of Warrior's Choice activities:

Interior Deisgn

The students get to arrange furniture (laminated pieces of construction paper) in a room (a black sheet of poster board), and then choose fabric, laminate, paint colors etc... for all of the surfaces in the room.  I obtained an excessive amount of swatches of various materials and colors from a really great program called Zero Landfill in which anyone can come on designated days during the month of September and pick up materials that design and building companies would have normally thrown out.  The program is advertised to artists, teachers, and students but anyone is welcome to partake.  You can learn more about this program through the above Zero Landfill link. 

Modeling Clay

This is the most popular activity!  Students flock to this container after they complete their assignments.  I had some of these linoleum pieces from the above-mentioned Zero Landfill and use them as mats for working with the modeling clay because it is very difficult to wipe off of the tables.  The bin contains modeling clay, linoleum mats, and clay tools.  The clay started out as a variety of colors but then was mixed together to make an even grey color at first and then after I put a little more in the bin an even army green color. There was no way around the mixing of the colors!

I will post one or two more Warrior's Choice activities next time!  Stay tuned!

 Notan In Progress

Notan In Progress

 The 6th graders are doing a form of Japanese art called notan.  The word notan means contrast in Japanese.  Shapes are cut out of colored, square paper and inverted outside of the square and glued down.  We are making symmetrical notan by folding the paper and keeping it folded while we cut.  A contrasting color is chosen for the background paper.  This is a one-day project, which is rare in my class, but welcome because the 6th graders need some more 2-D art in their portfolios. We have only completed two other 2-D pieces so far this year.  Later the students, themselves will be selecting one piece from their portfolio to be displayed in the art show.  This is something I am excited about and curious to see the results of  because in the past I have been the one selecting art work for the art show.

I will post completed notan later!

Nanners says "Arty On!"

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