Category Archives: jr. high

Art – Awkward School Pictures

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Remember those awkward school photos in the 80’s?

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Well, obviously my 8th/9th graders don’t, and as we were making these, a friend of mine gave me the idea to turn this surrealism lesson into the laser beam pictures, and thus, “Awkward School Pictures” was born.  The kids had a great time finding their animal head and adding the Zen tangle-styled clothing, and they used markers and colored pencils.  The background laser beams were done with oil pastels watercolor.  Fun stuff!

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Art – Oaxacan Wood Carvings

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Yep!  We’re still south of the border.  This time, we’re in Oaxaca (wah-HA-kah), and we’re making “wood carvings.”  We used florescent tempera paint (Sargent brand) on black paper to achieve these beautiful results.  I was truly impressed by how detailed some of my students got.  They’re really growing in skill!  I wonder how cool they would look under a black light…

Art – Ojos de Dios

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In my (now 2) Wednesday classes, the kids made their own ojo de Dios:  Eye of God.  My Wednesday classes are a mix of mature 6th-graders through high school.

I let them choose from two different styles:  the regular 4-sided ojo, or the complex 8-sided one.  The 8-sided ojos look more like mandalas when they get done, but they’re still classified as traditional ojos.  Interestingly, the 4-sided ones took only a LITTLE bit of less time to complete than the 8-sided ojos.  The students had a great time making them, and I love how they all came out so different!  The key is to offer a LOT of different colors of yarn to allow for them to really get creative!

Here’s my sample I showed the kids.  I had it out a couple of weeks before we did the project, and the students were perfectly teased and salivating to start!  They didn’t believe they were going to be able to make them!

Schooled in Love:  Ojos de Dios

Here are a few in-progress shots:

And the beautiful results!

Art – Blue Dog

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Last year, during the holidays, I introduced the (then) 6th/7th graders to Blue Dog.  They really loved the vibrancy of Rodrigue’s paintings.  The challenge for my students was to add a hat, mittens, scarf, or some sort of wintery look, and then add a crazy background.  They a lot of fun with this!

First, I showed a video about George Rodrigue:

Then, we went through a slideshow of Blue Dogs to really pick apart the paintings.

Here are the finished pieces:

Art – Makin’ Monsters

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I try to do at east one sculpture during the year with each class.  Sometimes it’s plaster; sometimes it’s wire, and sometimes it’s paper mache.  This was the year of paper mache for sure!  As the kids get older, they enjoy challenges, so I try to make each year a little harder than the last.  For my 7th/8th grade class, the challenge was to make a monster that was 2 feet tall, and could stand without support.

The first step was to draw out their monster.  I think this was the most difficult step of all!  I asked them to not make a monster that’s been “used” before, such as in movies or even other projects.  We talked about structure, and what types of things (legs, tails, etc.) a monster could have to act as sneaky supports.  The monster also had to have eyes and a mouth.  Looking back, I should have added a width limit, because some of these monsters got REALLY wide!  As in almost 4 feet!  Whoops…

The first thing was to start building the parts of the monster out of nothing but newspaper, masking tape and foil.  This also lent a challenge to the students.

Once the monster parts were built, they were put together and adjusted to be able to stand up.  Some designs only had two legs starting out, but quickly went to three legs or two legs and a tail to keep the balance.

Schooled in Love:  Makin' Monsters

After the monsters were assembled and structurally sound, the students added 3 layers of paper mache.  Some of the kids are finally at age where they’re really paying attention to the smoothness of the final product, and they think about this as they go.  It’s good to see them want to be proud of their work!  Some monsters were significantly bigger than others, so when the students with smaller monsters got finished, they helped out with the larger ones.  Teamwork!

Schooled in Love:  Makin' Monsters

Once the three layers were applied and dried, the next step was to add the primer.  I make my own using glue and white acrylic paint.

Schooled in Love:  Makin' Monsters

Once everything was nice and white, it was time to paint them.  This project took a long time, but the end result was work it.  Here are the completed monsters at the show: