Thursday, August 24, 2017

Dot Day Audition

A short walk from school we have a wonderful park overlooking the Pacific Ocean. In that park is a bush I think of as "the polka-dot bush" just waiting to be the inspiration for a piece of art to celebrate  International Dot Day (Sept. 15, 2017). This day celebrates Peter Reynold's book, The Dot. It is kind of hard to see the blossoms in this photo, but up close they really do look like polka dots!! Also, beyond the fence in the background is the ocean.

I like to ask students to imagine what this landscape would look like if we removed all the bushes, the trees and the fence. We might have something that looked like this:
This first layer was done with pastels, softened by smearing them with a tissue. Then we start adding the trees, bushes, walkways, etc. using water soluble crayons(that can be painted over with water if desired) for everything except the front bush. That is done with cake tempera, sponge painted on ( although regular tempera or acrylics would work, too). This is a good opportunity to use art vocabulary: background, mid-ground and foreground.
Meanwhile, the paper for the dots is painted, using warm colors and allowing the colors to run together a bit. This was also done with cake tempera. Branches are added with crayons.
Students are asked to cut circles of different sizes, trying to include a variety of colors. They can use lids to trace the circles, but they can also cut freehand.
The last step is gluing on the circles to complete the polka-dot bush.
An option would be to outline the dots with a marker as seen in the example on the right below.
I'm not sure which Dot Day projects I'll use this year. I have some other options here, and here, and here.

Hope everyone is off to a great new school year!!!!

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Summer Reading, The Final Days

With summer vacation winding down, I thought I would post the final books I read this summer:

1) Actually, The Shadow Land by Elizabeth Kostova, was the first book I read this summer. I loved it!! So suspenseful!!
2) The Orphan Master's Son is the book my Book Group is reading   for our September meeting. It took me awhile (about 200 pages) to get into it, but I am glad I persevered. It is about North Korea, a country I didn't really know all that much about. With North Korea being reported on at the top of almost every news cycle right now, this book provides background to inform my thinking. Warning: it is pretty brutal!!

3 & 4) Our local high school has incoming 10th graders reading Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five this summer and I was asked to work with a former student as he read it. Talk about brutal!! It actually has parallels to The Orphan Master's Son in the way the novel is constructed, but reading them back-to-back was anything BUT light summer reading!! So I took a break and checked out David Baldacci's The Last Mile from the library. It is a follow-up to his book, Memory Man, about a detective who, due to an accident, has a photographic memory (as well as some other distinctive characteristics). A typical quick summer read!

5) Right now I am reading Jennifer Egan's, A Visit from the Goon Squad. I am close to half way through it and liking it a lot!

I drove by school yesterday and they were scurrying around getting ready for our August 22 opening. They painted  all the rooms and installed new windows, so you can imagine what it will be like for our teachers to unpack stored materials and get their classrooms ready - all in about a 4 day period!!

I'm not ready to think about that just yet -- think I'll go back to my book!!