Friday, September 23, 2011

Art Lesson

I'll be sharing this week's art lesson next week do to some internet issues. Also, I'll be out of town next week on art day and not teaching so it works out to post this week's next week. See you then.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Lesson 2: Egyptian Art

It's the second week of art history lesson plans for kids! This week I put together 2 lessons, one for the 6 year old and one for the 8 and 11 year olds. I like to break them up when possible so they get individual attention. I think the 6 year old could have done with a little less info about Hieroglyphics, but she did great with her project. Here are the lessons.
Egyptian Hieroglyphics
age- 6
print out of the Hieroglyphic Alphabet Chart found here: (or use another of your choice. There are lots online.)
print out pictures of actual hieroglyphics or internet access to look at them
drawing paper
crayons, markers, or other drawing material

1- Hieroglyphics are an ancient Egyptian way of writing. Get the students to repeat the word after you. (Find Egypt on a globe or map if you like) Look at some actual Hieroglyphics. Google it or try these sites:
2- Where do we find Hieroglyphics?
On things that Egyptians decorated such as cosmetic palettes (like the palette of Narmer), pottery, and labels in tombs. 
3- How do Hieroglyphics work?
When this system first started each picture represented an actual object. Later, some of the pictures started to represent different ideas. For example instead of a picture of the sun just meaning sun it could mean light, warmth, etc. Then, pictures started to represent the sound of that word.
Here is an example:
hi there

4- How are Hieroglyphics read?

Egyptian writing can be read left to right, right to left and stacked.
Sound confusing?
There is an easy rule to remember in reading. Which ever way the animals or human characters are facing you read backward from there.
When the characters are stacked you read the top first. 
Here are some examples:

This says temples and reads from left to right.

This says ancient Egypt and reads from right to left

This says Cleopatra and is stacked. 
5- View the Hieroglyph Chart. Talk about what the symbols look like. 
Have the student choose a word or phrase to write out with Hieroglyphics and which direction to use- left to right, right to left, or stacked. Remember to turn the animals the right direction depending on the direction you want it to be read. Use markers or crayons to draw out the symbols. The student can also add a decorative border if desired. My student wrote out her name and then added some of the other Hieroglyphs that she liked. It might help with young students to write out the word they are going to be doing on a scrap of paper and have them cross out each letter as they draw the symbol or have them write out the English letters and place the Hieroglyphs above them.

6- Place Egyptian Hieroglyphics on the timeline. (3000 B.C.)
aside from the links already given, information in this lesson came from Wikipedia and these websites:
* The websites above offer enough info that this lesson could easily be adapted for even the oldest students, by teaching more in depth about Hieroglyphics and even letting them explore the websites a bit themselves. Try having them create their own hieroglyphic alphabet.
Egyptian Drawing
ages- 8 and 11
picture of Egyptian figures in color- I’m using the images found on this page:
drawing paper
1- Egyptian artists used a particular style to draw people. Here are some of the drawing rules they followed. Go over these and demonstrate with your body what they look like or have the students try to imitate the body position themselves.
The body faces front while the head faces profile.
The eye also faces front
legs are turned to the same side as the head with one foot in front of the other.
more important people are drawn bigger than less important people
no shading or perspective
people were portrayed as youthful
men’s skin was red and women’s skin was yellow
2- View some examples of Egyptian art and look for the Egyptian art rules in action.
If desired you can also discuss other things seen in the artwork you are looking at, such as:
What is the subject of the picture?
Are there any hieroglyphics?
3- Assignment-
Draw a person in the Egyptian style.  Use markers and try to follow the Egyptian rules. You could also have the students add hieroglyphics in their picture using the chart from the previous lesson.

Older kids- The Palette of Narmer is a great piece of Egyptian art for study. There is a Wikipedia page about it and it breaks down all the different symbols seen on the palette. Older students could learn about the symbolism on the palette as well as the Egyptian drawing rules and then create their own drawing or palette design.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Lesson 1: Cave Paintings

Cave Paintings (specifically the Lascaux Caves)

internet access
flat stones (You can also use brown paper bag or brown construction paper. Try crinkling it up and then flattening it back out to give it a rock like texture.)
white charcoal or chalk
pastels in neutral colors

1- Present information to students:
Where are these cave paintings?
Lascaux is the setting of a complex of caves in southwestern France. (Find France on a map or globe. What Continent is France on? It’s not too important to talk much about France since these paintings were done way before it was a country.)
These paintings are estimated to be 17,300 years old.[1][2] They primarily consist of primitive images of large animals, most of which are known from fossil evidence to have lived in the area at the time.
The cave was discovered on September 12, 1940 by four teenagers and their dog.[4] The cave was opened to visitors at one time but had to be closed due to damage to the artwork. Rooms in the cave include The Hall of the Bulls, the Passageway, the Shaft, the Nave, the Apse, and the Chamber of Felines.
What are common subject matter in cave paintings?
The most common themes in cave paintings are large wild animals, such as bison, horses, aurochs, and deer, and tracings of human hands as well as abstract patterns, called finger flutings. Drawings of humans are rare.

2- View the Hall of the Bulls- 
I used the images found at this site:
We discussed what animals we saw as well as the colors used. I explained to the students that the artists were using things found in nature to make these drawings. There was no Crayola!
This virtual tour might be a nice option. I didn't look at it too long because that sort of thing uses up too much internet here.
3- Assignment- 
We are going to make our own cave like drawings on rocks. Let’s consider what animals we see in Tanzania (or where ever you live). Let students offer answers.
in Geita- cows, goats, chickens, donkeys, dogs, baboons
in Tanzania- elephants, lions, ostrich, zebra, impala, giraffee....
Each student needs to choose one animal to draw. If needed pull up pictures online to assist the students. Most kids won't need this, but older kids who are more concerned with realism might.
Have them draw an outline of their animal using charcoal. If they mess up wipe it off with a damp towel and begin again.
Use neutral colored pastels to add color and the white to add highlights. To help my students do highlights I showed them a stainless steel salt shaker. I asked them if they could see a very light or white line on the salt shaker. That is the highlight. It's just one line where the light is hitting most. I demonstrated on my own rock how to put just a few lines of white to be a highlight on the animal. 
4- I'm planning on doing a timeline with the students and each week we will put the art we have studied on the timeline. I didn't have it ready this week, so we'll add this when the timeline is up.

After the rocks are finished spray them lightly with hairspray to seal the drawings. If you don't do this they will smudge when touched. One of our's had issues when sprayed. The charcoal, but not the pastels, ran in the hairspray. I may have been spraying a bit too close. Start out far away and ease into it. I actually think it just makes the drawing look a bit aged, but it's not ideal when a student spent a good deal of time on their drawing.

The factual information in this post came from Wikipedia and my own memory from school. The Wikipedia page includes much more info than I have included here.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Art Lesson Plans

In my former life (before I moved to Tanzania) I was an art teacher. Fresh out of college, I taught for a couple of years at a pre-k through 8 school before making the move to the other side of the world. I'm thrilled to be able to use all my art teacher skills teaching the 3 school age girls on our team here in Geita. The girls are all in the elementary age range and they all love art which of course makes them that much more fun to teach. Last year we just did an overview of sorts, doing a variety lessons dealing with art elements, principles of design, and things I knew they would enjoy. This year I'm really excited to be doing a whole year on art history. We're starting with prehistoric art and will move our way through many famous artists ending with some current artists. I'm also excited to be able to share my lesson plans here. Each week I'll post the lesson plan and pictures of our work. If you're a homeschooler or just have kids who wouldn't mind an extra art project now and then I hope you'll enjoy them. I'll be posting the first lesson, Cave Paintings, tomorrow!

A note on supplies- I'm a believer in putting "real" art supplies in kids hands. Crayons every week get old. Lots of mediums, like watercolors, are just plain frustrating if you're not using the right kind of paper. That being said, I still use crayons and markers plenty and any art lesson is better than none! I'll try to offer different options for different mediums when possible and tell you where to buy it if it's something specific.

A note on ages- I found when teaching pre-k through 8 that most lessons are really pretty adaptable for most ages. You wouldn't believe how often the eighth graders are disappointed that they aren't doing the  project that the 3rd graders have been working on. In some cases I'll be doing the exact same thing with all 3 of my students and in some cases they'll be learning about the same artist, but doing slightly different projects. One easy adaption for even older kids is to give them more background information about the artist.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Cardboard Truck: Decorating

I opted to spray paint the truck white, except for the poles which I painted black, because I was running out of white. I didn't stress of perfection on this. Little Man isn't interested in perfection and I have no plans of turning him into a perfectionist! I drew details on the outside of the vehicle using a Sharpie and crayons. Rather than trying to make perfect circles and straight lines I took a very artsy, sketchy approach. If you want a more geometric look, just use a ruler and trace bowls for circles. 

 The inside with the original steering wheel.

 I considered cutting the back of the truck so that it would open, but decided it would weaken the box too much, and it's easy enough to put things in and take them back out as it is. The license plate is designed after a Tanzanian tag, since that is what Little Man sees all the time.

 I decorated the cardboard behind the seat cushion to look like a seat back.

These pictures were all taken before the adaptions were made to the steering wheel, so the front looks a bit different now as I showed in the last post.

This truck was a lot of fun to make and Little Man is having a lot of fun playing in it. I hope this gave you some inspiration for your own cardboard vehicle!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Cardboard Truck: Details

 I decided to add several details to the truck: a rear view mirror, and ignition and a steering wheel.
First the rear view mirror.

The basic structure is a piece of cardboard with several little pieces hot glued on the back. For the reflective part I used a tea package opened up. Aluminum foil would work here as well. After spray painting the base I glued on the tea packet with some Elmer's.

In the below picture you can see the finished rear view mirror along with the ignition. The ignition is just a box spray painted black with a slit cut into for the key.

And, here is the key, just a piece of cardboard cut out and colored on with a Sharpie.

The steering wheel has been a bit more complex. First I'll show you my first approach, the one that Little Man destroyed! Then I'll show you how I "fixed" it. If your child is older or less rambunctious than mine the first method might work for you.

Approach 1-

I cut out the wheel from a piece of cardboard. For the outer circle I traced a bowl and then marked the center by measuring across from several different points. The rest just required a little measuring. I can't recall where the pole piece came from, but it is a sturdy cardboard roll much like the aluminum foil rolls used in the basic structure of the truck. The hole in the center of the wheel was measured to fit the pole.

 I cut the back side of the pole at an angle so that once glued onto the truck it would angle up.

 The pole was spray painted, and then I traced the blunt cut end of it it to get two circles.

I then made a circle 1/4 inch outside the original circle. One of the circles needed to be a ring so I cut both the original circle and the second one. Below, you can see the sharpie lines are the ones I actually cut.

 The solid circle I colored red with a crayon for the horn. The ring I colored black with a Sharpie.

The ring then got hot glued to the pole.

Once dry, I put the wheel on and then hot glued the horn to the end of the pole.

 The wheel is sandwiched between the ring and the horn and is able to turn.

I knew this approach might not hold up to the toddler, and it didn't.
The second approach isn't as pretty, but it is preferred by the kid.

I tied yarn around the center of the wheel.

Then I tied all 4 strands together in the middle.

I fed all three through the pole. Originally this pole was just hot glued to the inside of the truck, but that didn't hold up well. Instead I cut a hole and stuck it through, then hot glued it. It has held up better this way.

The yarn then got fed through a hole in a piece of cardboard and I tied it in about a million knots on the other side.

Here's a view from the inside. In order to still turn the yarn had to be loose enough that the wheel can actually pop off the pole. Little Man doesn't seem to care when it is just dangling there, but it really bothered him with approach one when the whole wheel popped off.

The only thing left now is putting it all together...

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Cardboard Truck: Basic Structure

In this post I'll show you exactly how I cut up my box and created the basic structure for my truck.

big cardboard box
utility knife
pencil and or crayons
tape (any sturdy tape- masking, box, duct. If you plan on spray painting I think masking tape would probably take the paint the best. I used box tape.)
hot glue gun and glue sticks
2 aluminum foil rolls - the cardboard that is left when the foil is gone. These are stronger than a paper towel roll.
measuring tape

I used this great multi-tool of my husbands to cut my box. The serrated knife worked great. I think any utility knife would work fine.

Here's the box I had to work with.

1- Draw out your design so you know where to cut. I started out drawing in pencil, flipping the box different directions to figure out which idea I liked best. Eventually I switched to crayon because my pencil lines were getting confusing. It was harder to cover the crayon with spray paint. Colored pencils probably would have been a better option. Make sure when planning your shape that the windshield will be at the correct height for the child to see out of it.

2- Cut the basic shape. Here is my truck. In the back it is just a flat cut where the bed of the truck will be, then it curves up in the front for the windshield. Another option at this point which would greatly simplify the whole project would be to cut off the whole box even all the way around to make a convertible. I really wanted a top so that Little Man would feel like he was going into his own little space.

 3- Cut the door. To make a door you need to cut one side and the bottom of your door. To keep the box strong, cut the bottom of the door about 3 or 4 inches above the bottom of the box. After the side and bottom are cut the door should fold open pretty easily.

4- Cut out the windshield. The bottom of my windshield starts on the box and continues up onto the top flap of the box. I made it rounded rectangle shape.

5- Cut the side flaps. I cut an angle on the side flaps at the top so that when I attached the front to it, there would be a bend on the front of the vehicle.

 After cutting one side I used the cut off from the first side as a template to cut the other side.

6- Tape the side and front pieces together so that the flaps stand up.

 7- Put in the truck bed divider. I didn't take a separate picture of this step, but you can see it below. I used a scrap piece of cardboard and simply taped it in to divide the front and back sections of the truck.

8- Add the roof and back posts. The roof is made of 2 of my scrap pieced taped together and the posts are the aluminum foil rolls. In the front the roof is taped on. The posts are hot glued at the top and bottom and then taped on for reinforcement.

So that is the basic structure. Next post I'll be showing you a few more details that I made to put in the truck.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Cardboard Truck: Seat Cushion

I'm going to break this down into several posts highlighting the different components. Along the way, I'll offer alternate options and advice based on my own mistakes experiences. If you are looking for the perfect tutorial on making a cardboard vehicle, this might not be for you. However, if you are looking for ideas, inspiration, and enough help that you (yes, even those of you who doubt your crafting abilities!) can make something the kid in your life will love, keep reading!

Several weeks ago I went ahead and made a seat cushion for the truck. I'm a believer in using whatever you have and what I had was bubble wrap. We have plenty of it from moving breakables across the world on a shipping container and it makes a nice cushion when piled up. Before I give you the details of how I made it, I'd like to offer a few suggestions for those who might not have such a huge supply of bubble wrap and don't want to buy any. Several other options for a seat come to mind:
a sturdy shoe box (or box about that size)
a piece of thick foam from a fabric/craft store
a small pillow
just leave it out- If you cut the windshield low enough, just let the kid sit on the floor of the box. He won't mind.

Ok, here is how I made my bubble wrap seat:
1- Stack up enough bubble wrap to be as thick as you want the seat. Mine measures about four and three quarters.
2- Wrap tape around all layers of bubble wrap starting with a piece around the center. Then do tape strips close to the edges. You can use any sort of sturdy tape you have: Duck Tape, Masking Tape, Box Tape. Scotch may not be strong enough.

 I added a piece of thin foam that I had on top, but it's not really necessary.

3- Cut a piece of fabric big enough that it will cover the top and sides of the bubble wrap and wrap around to the bottom where it will be secured.
4- There is no exact science to how I covered the bubble wrap with fabric. I used a hot glue gun and stretched and folded the fabric as I worked my way around.
When I got out the box last week and started put the whole thing together I realized that my seat stuck out a bit too far. It was easy enough to alter. I ripped the fabric back off and used a knife to slice through the bubble wrap. Then I re-taped the edge I had cut and recovered it with fabric. Initially the cushion measured twelve by twelve. I cut it down to twelve by eight and a half.

Here is a picture of the final product.
The bottom
 And the top.

Any other thoughts on what might make a good seat cushion?