Monthly Archives: May 2013

Creative Writing – Good Writing Anchor Chart

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Now that the 2012-2013 school year is over, it’s time to start thinking about next year!  I’m truly inspired by my upcoming classes, too!  I’ll have Jr. High/ High School Creative Writing, Jr. High Anatomy (a.k.a. Blood & Guts!), Jr. High History (Middle Ages, part deux), Epsilon Math (Fractions), Levels 1 & 2 Art classes, a SPED Spelling/Reading Class, and a Map class!

Before school starts, I’ll have a 6-week Summer Art Camp, along with a Math Interactive Journal class.

So, in order to have everything ready by the time school begins, I’ve started putting my room together.  Here’s the first of many:

For my Creative Writing class - or for anyone that needs to know this.

For my Creative Writing class – or for anyone that needs to know this.

I saw this on Pinterest, and decided to make my own version of it.  I love it!

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Level 1 Art – Junkbots

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Schooled in Love:  JunkbotsWhat a great idea to help all the hoarding homeschoolers!  Who knew they had all this junk?!

I put all the usable stuff in (some-what) sorted buckets on a table.  This created a “Junk Store.”  On their initial visit to the store, they could collect up to 10 items.  This was to make sure everyone had a fair opportunity to get the stuff they wanted.  After everyone went once, the students were allowed to go up as many times as they liked.

For our Junkbots, I gave the kids rules:

1.  Each Junkbot had to have a head and a body.

2.  It had to have eyes or some sort of visual aid.

3.  The students were allowed to have up to 4 items kept in their “natural” state.  (Stuff that wasn’t going to be spray painted silver).

4.  Each Junkbot had to have a name.

 

We used E6000 to glue the pieces, but that didn’t go as well as planned.  If some students were STILL having trouble, after trying to do it themselves, I would help them out with Gorilla Crazy Glue.

This was our Junkbot Store.  Notice the large selection of... junk.

This was our Junkbot Store. Notice the large selection of… junk.

The Junkbots are built:

Time to spray paint all the Junkbots silver.  I did this myself to save time and resources, but the kids LOVED them once they were done.  I guess they seemed more “legit.”

Line 'em up, and spray 'em down!

Line ’em up, and spray ’em down!

 

Once they were dry, the kids put up to 4 things on the robot that were left in their “natural” state.

Not too shabby for “junk!”

 

Level 2 Art – Crazy Quilts

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For some reason, I thought this project might be a little juvenile, but the upper grade level students seem to really take to it!  I found this project in this book:  Dynamic Art Project for Kids, by Denise Logan.  It’s a pretty cool book, and we’ll be doing more projects from it, to be sure!

The first step was simply talking about sleeping faces.  Was the head upright, or tilted?  Was the face going to be feminine or masculine?  Was the mouth to be opened or closed?  Was the mouth smiling, frowning, or having no movement?  We drew out a couple of ideas on a scratch paper, and when we were happy with the design, we re-drew it onto our heavy watercolor paper.

Adding color!

Once it dries, you can go on to add the fine lines with our wonderful friend, the Sharpie.  It’s the B.A.S.E. (Best. Art. Supply. Ever.).

This is Annika's finished product.  I simply cannot believe how wonderful the face turned out, as well as the quilt!

This is Annika’s finished product. I simply cannot believe how wonderful the face turned out, as well as the quilt!

Graduation! Money Tree

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We’ve reached that time again at our co-op when 8th graders graduate to high school, and our seniors say goodbye.  It’s always a nice ceremony, but this year went particularly well.

Every year, we give our departing seniors a money tree.  This was my second year in charge of that, so I really stepped it up a notch.  I asked each family that goes to our co-op to donate money.  They’re pretty amiable, and very generous!

Here’s how I put together the trees:

1.    Get money.

2.  Go to the bank and get everything changed into one-dollar bills.

3.  Put together easy-peasy topiaries:

Put a piece of cardstock inside a pot, to cover the hole.  Fill the pot with pea gravel.  Shove a floral pick in the pot as far as it'll go.  Put a small Styrofoam ball on the top.  Done.

Put a piece of cardstock inside a pot, to cover the hole. Fill the pot with pea gravel. Shove a floral pick in the pot as far as it’ll go. Put a small Styrofoam ball on the top. Done.

4.  Using floral pins (they’re U-shaped), pinch the bills in the center, and use a pin to stick it to the ball.  Cover the ball with these.  About $45 covers a 3″ ball.

5.  Put a ribbon around the pot with the senior’s name on a tag.  Stick a little graduating cap pick in the top.  Oh!  And make sure you have a bowl of extra pins for those that want to add money to the tree at the reception!

These are perfect, because I asked the seniors to remove the money from the balls and leave the tree for the next class.  I.  Am.  So.  Smart.

These are perfect, because I asked the seniors to remove the money from the balls and leave the tree for the next class. I. Am. So. Smart.

Graduation! Blessing Board

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This year I added a “Blessing Board.”  It was SO successful, I am totally doing it next year!  This was perfect for ALL our graduates:  seniors as well as 8th-graders.

1.  Use a portable corkboard, and print off a header-sheet that has instructions.

Schooled in Love:  Blessing Board

2.  Lay out the supplies.

Schooled in Love:  Blessing Board

 

3.  Write your blessing of goodwill on the card.

Schooled in Love:  Blessing Board

 

4.  Fold the card in half, write the recipient’s name on it, and pin it to the board.

Schooled in Love:  Blessing Board

 

5.  Soon your board will be filled with blessings!  At the end of the ceremony (or day), the graduates get to remove the notes and take them home.

Schooled in Love:  Blessing Board

Level 2 Art – Sci-Fi Space Art

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Schooled in Love:  Sci-Fi ArtWhen we started this piece, I was really excited.  Something inside me loves to be a messy artist, so when it came to the cling-wrap method of making textured paper, I was beside myself with glee.  The kids, however, liked the squishy part of moving the paint around, but didn’t like the part when they had to scrunch it all up.  I got this idea from Dynamic Art Projects for Kids, by Denise Logan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Make sure you lay a lot of news paper and use HEAVY cardstock for this project!

We've blobbed our paints, covered it with cling-wrap, and tugged and pulled to make some great wrinkles!

We’ve blobbed our paints, covered it with cling-wrap, and tugged and pulled to make some great wrinkles!

Now to begin creating far-away galaxies:

See that little, white "F" in the corner?  Well, I forgot to have the kids write their names on their papers, so I had them write an initial with paint.  It'll be covered up later, anyway.

See that little, white “F” in the corner? Well, I forgot to have the kids write their names on their papers, so I had them write an initial with paint. It’ll be covered up later, anyway.

How about a little sci-fi city for your sci-fi planet?

Schooled in Love:  Sci-Fi Space Art

Try using different sizes of cardstock to achieve different lengths for your city.

Don’t forget to give your city a force field – because we all know there’s no breathable air in cities that are on outer space planets in sci-fi movies.  Oh, and force fields are glowy.

Level 1 Art – Water Bottle Fishes

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Yes, “fishes” is correct:  they’re different species.  😉

To start, you’ll need the following for each student:  1 disposable water bottle, 1 12-inch dowel rod, 1 4 x 4 wooden block.

You will also need:  scissors (or an exacto knife), masking tape, scrap cardboard, a drill (with a bit the size of your dowel rod), newspaper, flour, water, a hand-mixer, mixing bowl, cheap toilet paper, joint compound, vegetable oil, Elmer’s Glue-All (NOT school glue), modge podge, sponge brushes, tissue paper, large google-eyes, Aileen’s Tacky Glue, and sequins.

First things, first.  Remove the outer wrapping, lid, and ring from the water bottle.  Drill a hole in your wooden block and push one end of the dowel rod into it.  If it’s loose, add a little glue-all to it to help it stay put.  Using your scissors (or exacto knife), cut a SMALL slit on the side of the water bottle.  Push the other end of the dowel rod all the way into the bottle.  If it’s loose, use a piece of masking tape to secure it.

Cut out fish parts from the cardboard, like the fins and tail.  Tape those to the water bottle.  Rip SMALL pieces (about 2-3 inches) of newspaper, and set them aside.

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Here you can see the skeletal structure.

In a mixing bowl, put about a cup of flour, and add enough water to where it becomes the consistency of pancake batter.  Dip a piece of newspaper into the batter and pull it through your index and middle fingers to wipe it off.  Press it to the water bottle, and smooth out any wrinkles.  Once the water bottle and cardboard pieces are completely covered (make sure to look under it!), let it dry.  Add another layer of paper mache.

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This is the first layer of newspaper on the fish. See the dowel rod? When we first started the project, I used bamboo skewers, not even thinking about the weight of the sculpture. Duh! Anyway, after getting real dowel rods, having them cut down to thirds, and re-drilling the hold in the wooden block, all was well in the world of Mrs. Darby’s art class.

To create the paper mache clay, remove the toilet paper from the roll, and soak it in a bowl of warm water.  Squeeze the water out of it, and pull it apart in very small chunks into a mixing bowl.  Add 3/4 cup of Elmer’s Glue-All, 1 cup of joint compound, 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil, and a 1/2 cup of flour.  Mix on low for about 20 seconds, then mix on high for about 30 seconds.

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Here is the big bucket o’ paper mache clay, ready to go!

Once the fish is dry, smear on the paper mache clay in a VERY THIN layer, smoothing it out as you go.  I made sure there were tubs of warm water at each table for when the kids were done.  I didn’t want to pour that down the sink.  Let the fish dry.

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Abby puts on a thin layer of paper mache clay. This helps to fill any gaps missed and to smooth out any weird spots. Notice the new, thicker, stronger dowel rod?

You’re finally ready for the colorful part!  Cut small pieces of tissue paper and adhere with modge podge (I made ours by thinning white school glue with water).  Let dry.

When you're ready to add color, saturate the area with modge podge with a sponge brush.  Then add a piece of tissue paper and cover the area with modge podge to seal it.

When you’re ready to add color, saturate the area with modge podge with a sponge brush. Then add a piece of tissue paper and cover the area with modge podge to seal it.

This one’s ready for the next step:  Embellishment!

All the tissue paper is on!  Now to add the details...

All the tissue paper is on! Now to add the details…

Add the google-eyes and layer the sequins like scales in some areas.  Done!  🙂

Schooled in Love:  Water Bottle Fish

This project took us about 6 class periods to finish.