Tag Archives: co-op

Art – Molas


My high school students love the fact that they get to use X-acto knives.  There’s just something about being old enough to be trusted with a potentially disastrous situation.  Or… maybe it’s because they love the clean, detailed results a good blade can give them.  Or… maybe it’s because it’s a completely different type of project.  It could be all of the above.  I try to have at least one project per year for the high schoolers that uses an X-acto knife.  This year, they made molas.

Molas from Mexico are usually made from fabric, but we used good ol’ fashion construction paper.  The students started off drawing a general shape, whether it was an animal, object, or design.  The idea was to cut large shapes and leave some of the last sheet to create the overall picture.

They turned out lovely!

Art – Makin’ Monsters


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:

Art – Superhero Grid Drawings


Grid drawings are a fun way to challenge even my artistically-minded students.  It forces them to think linearly instead of just drawing whatever they think of.  For the ones who automatically think linearly, they get a chance to really shine because this project, if done correctly, yields beautiful results!  It makes everyone look like a pro!

I found these pre-gridded super heroes, which made this project 100% easier than coming up with the examples myself!

Once the students picked out their favorite superhero, they drew a grid with 1″ spaces.  They didn’t draw the super heroes out in pencil first – this was straight-up Sharpie!  Once they were done, they erased the grid, and viola!

Art – Charley Harper Cardinals


My 5th/6th graders did piece based on the artwork of Charley Harper.  Here’s the picture it was based off of:

Schooled in Love: Charley Harper Cardinals

First, the students drew a birdbath and outlined it gray oil pastel.  Then they used a gray watercolor wash to fill it in.  Once it was dry, they cut it out.  They lined up the birdbath on the second sheet of paper and made a small mark at the top of it in pencil.  They removed the birdbath and drew a cardinal body on the line, like a Hershey’s Kiss.  Next, they drew two dots for the eyeballs, and then drew a “U” and connected the dots at the top.  Inside of that shape, they drew an upside-down “U”, and then a “V” to create the beak.  They colored in the black part with a Sharpie, as well as outlined the cardinal with it.  Once they were done with the body, they used a ruler and a red Sharpie to make the “flapping” wings.  An orange Sharpie was used to color in the beak.  Then they used oil pastels to color in the cardinal and make the branches.  They water-colored the background blue and then glued the birdbath into place.  Finally, using a mix of glue, shaving cream, and glitter, they added puffy snow to the birdbath, the bottom of the paper, and to the branches.  They REALLY loved that part, and it looked pretty awesome!

Art – The 2015 Art Show


I know, I know… It’s the end of July and I’m STILL posting for the school year.  But it is what it is.

We had our art show at the St. Sabina Gym this year.  A HUGE thank-you to the Altar Society for reserving the gym.  This helped IMMENSLY with the cost.  Remember – we’re a co-op, and we don’t have the luxury of tax-paid gyms or large spaces (or supplies, paper, tables, chairs, etc.).  Everything we do comes out of pocket or from donations.  The Altar Society was able to use our art show to have a bake sale and raise money, and we were able to scratch each other’s backs this way.

We started setting up about 9:00 on the morning of May 8th.  The show was scheduled to begin later that day at 6:30pm, and it was time to rock and roll.  Let me say this up front:  I could NOT have done this without the help of the adults and students who came in.  Some stayed a couple of hours, and others stayed for most of the day.  They were a HUGE HELP!

This next year’s show is schedule for April 29th.  It’s a little earlier in the year, but it seems the beginning of May is difficult for most families because of graduation, soccer nationals, and other end-of-the-year things.  Having it a week or so earlier should help ease that.  We’ve also reserved the day before to start the set-up.  I think this will help with the stress-overdrive that happens about 3 hours before the show opens, when we’re all scrambling to get things put up.  If I can get the pillars and panels set up as well as the lay-out for the projects done the night before, we can start hanging things a LOT earlier.

Enough talking!  On to the show…

But first!  Thank-you to my hubby of 20 {fabulous} years for taking all these pictures AND taking the day off to help set up!  I love you, Chris!

This first set is the overall view of the show.  We added another set of panels this year and had four pillars.  We also utilized the walls.  We had two activity tables:  the draw-what-you-want table with kraft paper, and the make-a-dot table.  Both were a hit!

Here’s the first pillar:

This next set is the pictures that were on the perimeter walls of the gym.

Here’s a our “Make-A-Dot” station.  Apparently the “M” got put in the wrong place.  Maybe next year…

The 7th/8th grade woven circles looked beautifully placed here.  It was SUCH a great idea from one of the helpers, because I couldn’t get them to hang on a panel.

Here are the 5th/6th grade Day of the Dead skulls:

The first panel set:

I just love the way the volunteer arranged these fish paintings made by my 7th/8th graders!

The monsters, made by my 7th/8th graders:

The second panel set:

The high school Trophy Animal Heads:

The second pillar:

The Greek vases, made by my 5th/6th graders:

The third panel set:

Paper mache bowls, created by my 3rd/4th graders:

The third pillar:

Yarn and foil designs, created by my 5th/6th-graders:

The fourth panel set:

The perspective project, by my high schoolers:

Here’s our center piece:  a chandelier in the style of Dale Chihuly, using water bottles.  It was definitely the star of our show!  When the a/c came on in the gym, it made our chandelier slowly spin.  How cool was that?  This was made primarily by my Wednesday class, but other classes helped to paint the bottles because there were so many.  I think we used almost 300.

Schooled in Love:  2015 Art Show

Here’s the bake sale and refreshment station.  Thank you again to the St, Sabina Altar Society for lining up the use of the gym!

New Building, New Tables


During the middle of last year, our old building came under new management.  The new priest wanted to do something different with the building, so we had to pack up and move when we were done with the school year.  Remember, we’re a co-op, so we don’t have an official “place.”  Because our co-op grew a LOT within those last two years, we were now having to scramble to find a building that (A) would fit all of us, and (B) not be TOO expensive.  That was like trying to find a needle in a haystack.

We visited so many buildings, and we even considered splitting the co-op up, based on age-level, but the places we were looking at wouldn’t let us leave anything there.  So basically, we’d be hauling in our stuff every morning, and hauling out our stuff every afternoon.  I was willing to make it work, but I wasn’t sure how I was going to it.  I have 5 art classes – can you imagine having to bring in all that stuff, and take home all the drying stuff every day???  If would have sucked for the other classes as well…

Finally, we found a building that, while was a BIT more expensive than our last place, was able to house all of us AND let us keep our things there.  It’s a three-story building with plenty of rooms, and we have basically the run of it.  We’ll have to have fundraisers to help offset the cost, and we’ll all have buns of steel by the time the year’s over (from all the stairs), but it’s now home.  It used to be a military barrack, and while we were cleaning it, we found spent shells!  Cool, huh!  The kids thought so.

School in Love

I was a little worried when I noticed that most of the rooms are carpeted or have beautiful stone tile.  I was envisioning all the paint and what-not falling to the floor, and then I saw that two rooms had old linoleum, which was PERFECT, and I got one of them!  Bring on the messes!


At the last place, we used their tables, BUT we didn’t have enough tables for everyone at this new building.  My husband and I sat down and brainstormed, and we came up with a plan to build 4 tables that would be ideal for my art classes.  You have to understand that NEITHER of us have ever built anything substantial that didn’t come in a kit (where it tells you to match B with B, and so on), but we were determined to make this work.  Our prototype table is a little… off, but we learned from it, and each table got faster and faster to build.  They’re 4’x4′, so they allow for the perfect work-space, and they’re a little taller than we anticipated (I promise we measured!), which worked out perfectly to use stools.


Apparently the stools need to be 2′, in order for a student to sit comfortable under the table, and when I asked for stool donations, I got some 3-footers, so now I need to cut them down.  We’ve already had the first week of school, and the kids love the table/stool configuration in my room!  Good job, husband!

Art – Making Masks


If you’re an art teacher, and you haven’t heard about Art Room Aid from Dick Blick, you’re missing out!  It’s a great way to ask for what you need, because you just might be blessed by an angel willing to cover the cost of the supplies!  This is how we were able to make the masks in my high school class.  Thank you again, angel, whoever you are!

We did these at the end of last year, but between all the end-of-the-year stuff I normally have to do, the totally awesome art show, my daughter graduating high school, and packing up the entire school to move to a new building, by the time everything was said and done, I “checked out” for the summer, and all I did was create artist trading cards for the last month.  It was SO good for my soul!  Now, I’m getting back in the swing of things, as we’ve had to move into a new building (3 stories!), and that’s a LOT of steps!  I should have buns of steel by the end of the year, since I’m on the second floor.

Now, on to the masks!

The students paired up and decided who would go first to have the mask done to them.  Some people get nervous about their mouths being covered, and some people have more issues with their eyes, so I had the partners ask the models which made them more nervous, and they would cover that part last.  I also played music to help the models relax, and I used my son as a model to walk them through the steps.  The partner creating the mask then smeared a LOT of Vaseline all over their model’s face, making sure to add extra along the hairline, eyebrows, and eyelashes.  I pre-cut the bandages into workable pieces, which really helped a lot.  Once the petroleum jelly was thoroughly applied, they took two bandages, dipped them into water, and created an “X” between the models’ faces,  After that, they were to take bandage, wet them, and smooth them over the forehead, down the sides, and over the jawline.


Then, it was on to the rest of the face, making sure every bandage laid partially across another one to connect them.


Once we had their faces covered, we had a little fun taking selfies with them and such.  The models were instructed to just lay there and relax.


Once the masks were dried, even the models joined in on the fun!  They tried walking to each other, writing, and dancing.  It was really funny!


When they were finally done horsing around, it was time to remove the masks.  We allowed the models to remove their own masks, because no matter how much we tried to cover potential tender spots with Vaseline, some hair did get caught in the plaster.  I asked the models to smile and scrunch their faces and wiggle their jaws around to release the masks.  Some had a harder time than others, but all the masks were removed in good order.

Schooled in Love:  Making Masks

This one looked a bit like the joker!


We put the masks on cups to help support and keep the shape while we were gone over the weekend, and when they were good and dry, the students began decorating them.  Originally, my plan was to have them paint the masks, but I gave them an option to collage, and they liked that idea.  I had them cut out words from magazines that described them.  Some words were serious, and some were just plain silly (which completely works for these guys).  They used a homemade glue/water sealer to affix them, and they all turned out great!


To hang them in the art show, they punched holes where the temples would be, and tied string in the back.  Then we used pushpins to put them on the panels.  They looked like they were coming out of the wall!

A Mask of Me

A Mask of Me