Saturday, February 23, 2013

Fraction Quilts

This is a great arts integrated project that our 4th graders did this year. The teachers reproduced the quilt squares and the students used what they had learned about patterns in the art classroom to decorate. This project was used to teach fractions. However, measurement could be incorporated if students drew their own quilt squares instead of coloring copied ones. I have a vision for doing this with fabric one day...As soon as that happens I will definitely share! Multiple choice test questions could be designed around the artwork to help students prepare for common assessments, etc.

This wonderful fourth grade teacher always displays objectives with her artwork!

Advocacy Board

Outside my classroom, I have a two wonderful metal boards. I use one for displaying student work and the other for visual art education advocacy. I believe it is important to make this information available for students, parents, teachers, and administrators. This is my current art advocacy board. Notice that I included a list of sources.

(P.S. My favorite is,"Art is academic. Do not confuse it with entertainment...")

Monday, February 18, 2013

Weaving with Reusable Materials

Weaving with kids is so much fun! You can weave with all sorts of reusable materials.

weaving with kids reusable materials woven wall hangings

How I Got This Idea

I replaced the shelving in my pantry, and just couldn't stand to throw out the old wire shelves. It felt wasteful.

The only reason we replaced them in the first place was because some of them were broken in places. Although, most were usable as shelving when we bought the house, it was time to replace them. BUT for the most part they were in good condition!

Anyway, after driving around with these partially broken, wire shelves in the back seat of my car for a couple of weeks, I had an epiphany! Why not use them as looms for a weaving project?

A loom is a frame for interlacing at right angles. These were perfect!

Here's What We Did

I asked my Facebook friends for donations of fabric scraps that could be cut into strips about 2 feet long and 1 inch wide. My Facebook friends always come through for my art students! I received lots of great fabric scraps. Some even donated old (clean) clothing.

I added these scraps to the ribbon scraps and yarn that I already had in the art room. I let students work in groups to devise color themes and combine the fabric, ribbon, yarn, and even some paper to create their own design. 

They used glue to combine ribbon and fabric. They took turns in their group weaving the strips into the wire shelving. They took turns holding the shelving while their peers weaved as well. They also used glue to attach smaller details after they were finished weaving.

In the photographs, you can see the different parts that make up the whole of this project. Below, the blue and dark pink areas are strips of the donated fabric. The smaller pink squares are scraps of poster paper. The black parts underneath this are cut up scraps of ribbon. The green is yarn leftover from another project.

weaving with kids reusable materials woven wall hangings

Students LOVE to Weave

This was another great collaborative project. In fact, we loved it so much, we are making installing these permanently in our school AFTER they hang in our local art museum for the spring show!

Here are two more weaving with reusable materials projects for kids:

weaving with kids reusable materials woven wall hangings

Here Are Some Other Reusable Items for Looms:

weaving with kids reusable materials woven wall hangings

weaving with kids reusable materials woven wall hangings

Weaving in groups (group work in general) can get a little noisy (okay a lot noisy). My Strategies for Handling Chatty Classes guide might help. This is a 19 page ebook available in my Teachers Pay Teachers store for only $8.

P.S. Want a FREE Weaving Assessment Checklist? Claim yours here!

Affiliate Disclosure: Party in the Art Room may contain affiliate links. If you click one of my affiliate links, I may receive a commission for referral. Please know that I only recommend resources and products that I believe in. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by lining to and affiliated sites. 

Collaborative Zentangle(R) for School Beautification

Timeframe: 4- 1 hour sessions for student work, plus 2-4 hours teacher preparation and assembly time
Grade Level: 2nd-5th
Materials: two 4 feet by 8 feet wood panels, exterior latex paint, paintbrushes, black permanent markers, drill, screws

My school hosted a Peace Event in January for all students who had kept the peace during the first semester of school by not receiving any discipline referrals. Each grade level participated in several fun activities that day, including the creation of this Zentangle for School Beautification.

Here's what we did:

I worked with several parents to secure supplies for the project. One parent's business sold us the wood at cost and then cut one of the panels into 6 wavy pieces. You can see that each of the pieces has the shape of a vase. I was able to load the smaller pieces into my SUV and carry them into the school myself. (Although, I did drop one on my foot which required medical attention! Don't let anyone ever tell you that being an art teacher is easy!) The largest piece (the uncut panel) had to be delivered. (Hindsight is 20/20, I should have had all of the pieces delivered! Ha!)

Two days before the event, I worked with students and several other teachers to draw the Zentangle patterns on the smaller pieces, and circles on the uncut panel. We drew them with a pencil first, then traced the lines with a black permanent marker to make them more easily visible. It might be helpful to know that my students had spent quite a lot of the first semester learning about patterns and Zentangles. This is what made the design of the panels a success.

After the patterns were drawn on the pieces, I put one dot of paint into each section so that students would easily be able to add the correct colors.

On the day of the event, several teachers and parent volunteers helped me to set up tables in our gym for working. We placed large black trash bags everywhere in hopes of minimizing the mess that this had the potential of making. (I was surprised that no paint was spilled or dropped in our gym! The students really took extra care with this project. I was quite proud!)

Here I have to admit that I was VERY nervous about beginning the painting part of this project. I was unsure about so many of the aspects of pulling this off. I had put a lot of planning into it, however, and it worked out beautifully. I have to thank my wonderful parent volunteers for this! They were a big help, and it couldn't have been successful without them.

Each grade level was divided into 4 groups. Each group worked on the project for about 15 minutes. So, this was a very fast paced activity! There were 16 groups of students, about 500 students total. Since the pieces were placed on tables, all students had to do when it was time to rotate to the next activity (after 15 minutes!!!) was place the paintbrush back in the container with the correct color of paint. We used old butter and sour cream containers for the paint. These worked well because they could support the weight of a few paintbrushes without tipping over.

The older students painted after the younger students. They were able to straighten out lines the younger students had painted as well as add extra coats of paint to cover spots missed. This was very helpful! The older students have better developed fine motor skills and were able to make this a truly collaborative project.

After the event, I let the pieces dry for about a week. Not that it took that long, I just didn't have time to check on them before a week had passed! One of our custodians and the security officer moved the pieces to my building where I stored them for about a month before the maintenance department came to hang them. Maintenance used a drill to hang the uncut panel on the wall first and then attached the smaller pieces on top. Notice that they overlap to create depth. In other words,the pieces were not reassembled to fit together like a puzzle. They were layered and mismatched so that some parts are closer to you and others are farther away. In some places, the boards are overlapped 3 times.

The piece was hung in the school's office. I had to climb on a ladder to paint the sides and edges of the piece after it was hung because it was so large I wasn't able to do so beforehand.

I want to mention that I wish all of our students had been able to work on this project. Even though the majority did, the small percentage of students who did not attend the Peace Event missed this opportunity. However, hopefully this provides some incentive for more positive behavior in the future!

I heard a lot of positive feedback from the faculty and administrators about this project after it was hung in our office. I have also heard a lot of positive feedback from parents. I think that the students are very proud of themselves for creating this work of art to make their school a more beautiful place. This endeavor turned out to have been very successful and worthwhile. It brought so many students, teachers, support staff, and parents together. We call collaborated on this school beautification project! We all truly have something in which to be proud!

Copyright 2013- There's a Party in the Art Room- Amanda E. Koonlaba

The Zentangle® Method was created by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas and is copyrighted. Zentangle® is a registered trademark of Zentangle, Inc. Learn more at

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