When Mrs. Kavney’s first grade class wanted to make an aurora borealis for their Alaska project I went home and experimented with all sorts of materials to see if I could come up with something reasonable. After many failed attempts I am happy to say that I have a lovely technique to share. By the way, I am doing my best to spell aurora borealis correctly throughout this post, but forgive me if I slip up. The spell check doesn’t get it.
The first step barely hints at how the end product will turn out. I opened up #4 white coffee filters and asked the students to decorate them with bands of colored markers. I provided Crayola Gel markers, because I like their hues, but any water soluble marker will do.
You might have noticed the protective shiny paper on the work area. If I didn’t have this freezer paper around, I would have used waxed paper under the colored paper.
To blend the rough edges of the strokes of the markers, students gave their colored coffee filters a light coat of water, then….
… they slipped their little hands into plastic bags and squeezed and smooched the colors around, to create streaks and blends. This is when the WOW effect began to emerge.
Our Northern Lights now needed to dry. This took only of couple of hours.
Students then pinched together a few little folds,to mimic the rays of light streaking down from the heavens.
The added advantage of this step is that the project took a step away from the original shape of the coffee-filter.
Notice that we’re still using the freezer paper to protect our work surface. Here, a thin coat of white glue (like Elmer’s Glue) is lightly applied to the BACK of our Northern Lights paper.
Now, the colored, creased, and glued paper is laid, unglued side up, upon the black paper of the final project. The glue that strayed on to the black paper virtually disappeared after drying.
One last touch, which had to dry overnight, was to use tubes of glitter glue to create a bit more drama. I limited each borealis to three or four glitter-glue streaks.
Students then cut out a silhouette of snowy mountains. Finally we were done with THIS part of the project.
Visit my previous post for more of a look at the finished product.
March 14, 2013
One of the best parts of being a guest teaching artist in schools is the relationships that I have with the teachers that I work with. Most of the work that I do is with teachers that I have worked with before. This means that year after year, as we get to know each other better, we can develop bookmaking projects that can dynamically align to the mandates of the curriculum. Each year the projects that I present generally are either repeat projects that are continually refined to serve the classroom needs better, or they are projects that are designed anew, to fit shifting interests of the teachers.
This past week I started a completely new project with Margo’ s second grade class. I have worked with Margo for years, but this is the first time that she is the primary teacher in the second grade. She said that she wanted to do some research with her students and that she wanted there to be a “global” feel to the project. After brainstorming a bit, we decided that we would reach for the global connection through the children’s snack bags. Each day for a week the class logged their snacks and noted where they came from. Pineapple from Thailand, bananas from South America, celery from California, Mandarin oranges from Florida, via Chinese origins. We had the concept, then I had to come up with a design that would work in her classroom. What I came up with is illustrated in the drawing above: it includes a pop-up (the snack popping out of the lunch bag), a window to peek through at the habitat of the snack, and two pages for writing. We started the bookmaking yesterday. I look forward to posting images when the books are done!
Last year I worked with Mrs. Kavney’s first grade class, making a Dinosaur Diorama. I loved this project and was looking forward to repeating it. This year, however, Mrs. Kavney wanted the book to be more of this world. She worked up a spectacular unit on following the Iditarod in Alaska, incorporating geography, math, and science. She wanted to have our bookmaking project put another spin on this unit, and she had her eye on studying animals and habitat in Alaska. She liked the Diorama book that we did last year, so I so I reworked the basic design. The animal is now central, a pocket is included that can hold standard size paper, which will contain the sentences that the first graders will write about their animals, and there is an area to showcase a haiku that students will write. Of course I couldn’t resist the opportunity to somehow incorporate the Northern Lights…which, when I mentioned this to the students, they responded by telling me that these lights are also known as the aurora borealis. I am learning not to talk down to these students…This project was also started this week. My next post will likely be on the aurora borealis part of the project, and I look forward to seeing how the rest of it goes.
Now, back to prepping.
March 4, 2013
Announcing a new page on my sidebar: Gallery of Student Work .
Now, here’s the back story.
Last week, at my daughter’s school. when I was bemoaning that my work schedule precluded my attendance at the next parent meeting, a parent that I have known for years, and who l very much like, asked me what I do. It is hard to explain to people what it is that I do, which is one reason that I keep a blog. But I realized that if I sent Lauri a link to my blog she would have to do a good bit of sifting through posts and more posts to see what I do.
It occurred to me to direct her to Pinterest, to look at pins from Bookzoompa, but I this didn’t seem like the best solution, either. It made me sad to realize that this blog hadn’t made it easy to answer the “What do you do?” question. But I had an idea. This is my idea: http://bookzoompa.wordpress.com/gallery-of-student-work/ It’s a new page on the sidebar of my blog, which simply is photo after photo of work done by students that I have worked with. Soon I hope to add more pages: one which puts all my tutorials in one place; and another that shows the work that I do when I am not working with students.
Please take a peek at this new page and let me know what you think. Thanks.
February 27, 2013
One of my first fascinations was making repeated circles and ellipses with something called the Magic Designer. I would spend hours at our neighbor Mrs. Carter’s house, playing with a little red machine that, indeed, seemed to make magical designs. Mrs. Carter eventually gave me her machine, but when I ran out of the specially cut paper and was unsuccessful at creating a workable substitute (oh I tried!!) the machine fell into disuse and disappeared from my life. But I had really loved using it.
Years later I chanced upon a Magic Designer…but (like my experience with hoola-hoops) I’ve never been able to do, as adult, the magic I did with the machine as a kid. I tried other types of spirograph set ups. The best I found was one made by Klutz . I don’t know if they still produce their circle wheels, but I had a great time with them.
For awhile I was made image after image with the Klutz product. At that time gel pens were just showing up everywhere, and there were brands widely available that worked great on dark paper. I used these along with prismacolor pencils, and had a great time. But I stopped being about to find appropriate gel pens, and I moved on.
Now I have figured out how to make spirals in Adobe! And I feel like I’m home again! Serendipity feels like it’s having a field day in my life; I have a series of little books that I want to make. One of them has to do with pi (you know that elusive 3.141……) and what better illustration than making circle and circles and circles.
Here in this post are peeks at some pages that I am working on. It’s going to be tricky to work on this, as my book arts teaching schedule is full until mid-June. I’ll be posting about my book-arts-in-the-classroom projects, but this other book will be quietly spinning around in my background.