Thursday, February 18, 2010

A Man's Touch

This Monday was President's Day, and the Sm'Arties had a guest art teacher. This guest teacher, with his background in Scouting and Tree Surgery, was the perfect one to teach the Sm'Arties how to tie a few knots.  He's trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent - He's my husband!

He taught the Sm'Arties to tie six Boy Scout knots. Each person had a section of rope.

We tied square knots, double half-hitches, bow lines, sheet bends, clove hitches, and taut-line hitches.

He's got style

And then I fell into the well.  (It's a pretty shallow well.)  I shouted, "Help!  I need some Sm'Arties to come save me!!!"
Sm'Arties to the resuce!  They tied a rope to the swing set, but it didn't reach.

So they attached the ropes end to end.

I am saved!  Hurray for the Sm'Arties!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Fabric Art Homework

I love what the children did with our orange paper-reptile-fabric assignment!   
 Camo makes a great addition to the little fabric stash I gave them.

 Look at the layering!

Good job, Sm'Arties!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Lizards are Still Leapin'

I've looked forward to working with fabric with our Sm'Arties.  This week we did it!  I printed out some lizard clipart so we could cut out 2 fabric lizards.  Peg and I cut out all the brownish lizards - that fabric was slippery, and cutting around the little wiggly reptiles just takes time. 

I showed the children my finished piece, and encouraged them to feel of the texture.  Since one fabric had a suede-y nap, the piece is fairly textural.  The green lizard got his little beady eyes rubbed off.

Then I gave each child a rectangle of fabric and talked about how working with fabric differs from working with paper.  We tried pulling the fabric north-south, then east-west, then diagonally.  They could feel how this non-stretchy fabric still stretches on the bias (diagonal).  When you lay it on paper and move it around, it can stretch and become distorted.  We also talked about how wet glue will seep right through the fabric more than it does on the paper we usually use, and I looked daggers at them.  As a result, we had to push them to use more glue :)

I showed the children how to pin the their patterns onto the fabric, a little manual skill I thought might come in handy someday.  Then they cut out the green lizards, with lots of help from moms due to the lack of really good-cutting scissors (result of sending an email out at 10:00 Sunday night for a Monday morning class.)

Then we arranged the little lizards on orange cardstock, one head facing up and one head facing down, and glued them down using regular gel glue and paintbrushes.  They were cute just like that, but we were not finished.

Each lizard got a little stripe of another fabric to glue down his backbone, and 2 little gold beads for eyes.   The beads were on a bead strand, and each child got a 2-bead piece, which we did not cut apart - they were already spaced just fine for this project. (Note - I did not want to use googly eyes.  I think the little beads looked more artsy).

We scribbled around the lizards so they would stand out from the picture.   The students had a hard time just scribbling - they wanted to outline neatly!   I introduced the children to Crayola Slick Sticks.  The Sm'Arties loved them as much as I do.  They feel like something between a soft oil pastel and a marker, and color beautifully.  (I saw one review of these that compared them to lipstick in texture and coloring.  I agree.  Then the reviewer said how much she disliked them and gave them only 2 stars, saying that her 2-year-old loved them but she - Mom - hated them.  A 2-year-old?  Come on!  The Sm'Arties, 2nd-5th graders, give them a big thumbs-up.)

We also added a few hightlights to the lizard bodies, and drew a border.  All the borders were a little different.
The 12-pack of Slick sticks includes white, gold, and silver crayons.  They really make nice highlights on fabric.
We love how they turned out! 

Each child has a little bag of fabric scraps, including a few beads, and a homework assignment - to bring me back one or more pieces of reptile artwork.  Earthgirl is working on hers this afternoon.  I can hardly wait to see how they all turn out.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Inspired to Doodle

During Sm'Arties class time, we often sit on the floor with our 1-cent spiral notebooks (Staples Back-to-School sale), and do some directed-type drawing.  It's fun to see how the different children approach my little directions.  I love this floor time.  One scribbles away happily, says, "I'm done," and shows me a boisterous, messy drawing.  One ignores my instruction, in his own drawing world, then turns around and shows me some variation on my idea.  One gets very concerned if his drawing does not EXACTLY match mine.  (He has lightened up considerably over the last few weeks, and hasn't erased a hole in his paper since before Christmas)

I want the children to know they can take a few directions and play with their pens and pencils.  I want them to enjoy PRACTICING their drawing skills. I'm practicing, too.

This week we did a fun little doodling game.  Sitting in a circle, we each started an animal doodle (I think I said, "Draw some eyes"), and then, after a minute or two, I had them pass their notebook to the left and continue drawing.  It was a barrel of fun, at least at the start.  Now I know what rules we'll use if (probably when) we do this again. Rules like, "no just scribbling on the page," and "no writing 'girls rule'") so that we can all enjoy the whole process.

Take a look at these doodles.  I like the happy music, too.