Saturday, January 24, 2009

Aboriginal Handprints

This is a lesson that I have done with my first graders. As a class, we look at and discuss aboriginal art, and then I give them a piece of paper, and have them trace their hands with a pencil, three times. I want them to overlap the hands. After the hands are drawn, I give them black sharpies, and have them trace over their pencil lines. Next, I talk to them about patterns, and then give them colored sharpies and the students draw patterns on the hands. Finally, the students pick a color to paint the background. I really like to use opalescent paints for the background, it gives the pictures a little shine.

Crayon Encaustic

I know, I know.... I haven't updated my blog in a while, but it has been crazy, with the holidays, starting a new semester with the kids, and starting a new semester of grads school. Sorry. Anyways, this is an example of a lesson that I create with my students. This is crayon encaustic. This is a great way to recycle those old crayon nubs, and turn them into wonderful art. First, you need to melt the crayons. For this, I have an old chili pot, that my father turned into my crayon melter. He drilled a hole in the bottom of the pot, and installed a light fixture that hold two light bulbs. He drilled another hole on the side near the bottom, and ran the power cord out of the side. Next, he drilled holes in the sides of the pot, near the top, and installed two metal shish kabob skewers (to hold a foil muffin pan). Finally, he drilled some holes in the lid for a vent. This is just one way of melting the crayons. I know that there are items that are sold on the market to do this, but they can be expensive, and don't hold a lot of wax. Be creative, you just need to use a light bulb to melt the wax.
Anyways, I fill the muffin tins with peeled crayons (hint....soak the crayon nubs in a bucket of water overnight, the labels come right off) and let the heat melt the crayons. I start this before my class comes in. When the wax is melted, I have the students gather around the pot, and "paint" the wax on their paper with q-tips. They have to work quickly, but when they are finished, the pictures are beautifully textured. After the remaining wax has cooled, I pop the crayons out of the muffin tins (they look like colored Reese's Peanut Butter cups) and put them in my treasure box.