Friday, April 14, 2017

Noodle Felting

Last evening my husband and I had the opportunity to attend the opening of a local artisan studio that offers fiber art supplies, classes and handmade goods. In talking to the owner about my desire to bring felting to my classes I was introduced to the art of "noodle felting." In college, I learned how to card wool by hand and felted by stitching the layers together inside a pillowcase in my father's washing machine (much to his chagrin). Over the past few years I have seen examples of wet felting using a sushi mat and other household items. Noodle felting is a great, economical way to introduce wet felting to my elementary classroom.

To begin start with wool roving. Tear in 3-4" chunks. Lay down in alternating directions. I placed my wool on a layer of bubble wrap inside a disposable paint tray liner available at your local home improvement store. You should also add a layer to create agitation such as wire mesh/tulle. Use a squirt of liquid dish detergent with warm water and mist/spray the wool.  I folded the bubble wrap over the wool roving layers. Using a pool noodle roll over top of the wool. In the photo below I've used pipe insulation in place of a pool noodle.

This is the finished dry felted piece. The inspiration was an abstract landscape of a day at the beach.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Full STEAM Ahead

This year our school is combining our annual science fair with "Math & Literacy Night" to create a new event called "STEAM Night." Students can bring in traditional science projects or artworks and teachers will host stations integrating different elements of the curriculum. Since this is the first year art has been included I am very excited to participate. I thought that pendulum painting would be a fun idea to demonstrate for the kids.


To get started you need to make a pendulum.
I recycled an empty contact solution container because I wanted to be able to quickly and easily stop the flow. I cut off the bottom and reinforced that area with duct tape. Next I drilled three equidistant holes about .5" from the bottom of the bottle. If using a plastic water bottle, a hole puncher will work. 

Next loop about 1 yard of string or twine through each hole. Connect the three lengths at the top. I used a tripod we had at home, but you could also place a broom handle across two chairs. 

Tempera paint that has been thinned two parts to one part water is added tot he container with the hold plugged. Place paper under the tripod, remove the plug and let it go.


Monday, February 13, 2017

Time to make the donuts

This year my crayola grant is focusing on the work of Wayne Thiebaud. I had planned to have my fourth grade students create a layered cake with a piece removed and also make a model magic cupcake. Both are lessons I've borrowed from another teacher in my district. As the supplies started   rolling in, I saw a teacher post a lesson for donuts on a discussion board for art teachers. I knew right away that I could connect this to the Thiebaud lesson. And, hello fastnacht day! I don't know if this is a big deal if you're not Pennsylvania Dutch, but this is very relevant for the students in our district.
My first group of students finished their donuts today and they are gorgeous. I had them focus on unity, variety and emphasis. Since we used a pool noodle as a stamper, all of the shapes are the same. That's our unity. I supplied three colors of paint: vanilla, chocolate, and cinnamon. That's our variety. They used the amazing playcolor paint sticks to add frosting, glaze and sprinkles on top. They were allowed to use glitter on ONE donut which created emphasis. More photos to come.

This lesson idea inspired by Katie Mallette.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Games in the art room

Once per trimester my classes can earn a "Free Choice Day" which I mentioned here. Since that post, I've accumulated some new games and favorites that I wanted to share. 

Zany Chain - Summary: It's like win, lose or draw. They pick a card and read the clue. There are three ideas on the card and they choose one to draw with a metail chain (like a long necklace) on the table. 

Playfoam - Oh, my gracious. This is the coolest stuff ever. The students were so excited to work with it. The best I can describe it, is if playdoh and a rice krispie treat had a baby, it would be this stuff. It doesn't stick to the table. If you seal it in a bag it stays good for over a year. It's pricey, but worth the splurge. 

Magna Doodle - Available at a yard sale near you

Block Buddies - Like tangrams, but for younger kids. Making picture mosaics to match a picture card

Drawering - This year I had four ipads available as a station. I limited them to this app, no selfies, etc. I think the novelty worked, because they didn't fool around at all. They get very zen and relaxed with this. It's like a spirograph without the little circle, wheels where your pen pops out of the space every 3 minutes.

Rubik's Race - Match the pattern by sliding the tiles. Square Up is another version, which I prefer because they each get a separate board and don't have to be seated across from one another. It allows for solo play and includes two shakers.

Scratch Art Anything - I've had them do trees, mittens, bookmarks. Anything to use up the scraps or colors no one wants. 

Many of these items would also be good year round in an art center for early finishers.

Thursday, November 17, 2016


What to do when you find out you can't use sinks for the day and had planned painting and glazing? Today I road tested my Iggy Peck:Architect lesson. For today's lesson, since I was caught a little off guard we read the book and they worked in teams at their tables to build a bridge across a river (a 4x9" piece of blue paper).

Each table had the following items at their disposal:
scrap cardboard
(1) piece of wire
glue sticks
(8) popsicle sticks
(1) straw

The only rule was the bridge could not touch the river in any way. They completely rocked it and were SO proud of themselves. I had not at all predicted the way they would take charge of this project and I never would have come up with some of their solutions. There was only a small moment of fear when one of my shy, quiet girls began stabbing the cardboard with a closed pair of scissors to make notches in the cardboard.

Early finishers were allowed to create a house made of unusual materials. I had a picture of the old lady who lived in a shoe and the Berenstein Bears' tree house.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Scarecrows Finished

The first group of students finished their scarecrow weavings  today and they are much better than I expected. They really put their hearts into this. Definitely will do this lesson again. Printed out photos of cornfields for inspiration, but did not do direct instruction. I love the way they turned out! Some were early finishers so the texture plates came out and we made the scarecrow faces look like burlap feed bags. So proud of them! If you'd like to teach this lesson but don't want to write the three week lesson plan, check it out here.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Scarecrows in progress

My second graders started the scarecrow weaving lesson today and they really rocked it. We had a discussion about what scarecrows are, where you find them, what they do and what objects you would use to make one.

The students made good connections to the use of farm supplies such as hay, feed bags and broomsticks. Our population is divided urban/rural so there are some students who live on or visit farms regularly so that made the lesson come alive for many of our kids.

They were able to draw the face, body and stripes. Next week we will cut the stripes and begin to weave. If this seems like a lesson you'd like to try, check it out here.