8th grade sculpture project? (long back story)

Discussion in 'Art Teachers' started by ArtTeacherK, May 11, 2009.

  1. ArtTeacherK

    ArtTeacherK Rookie

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    May 11, 2009

    I have a dilemma:

    I would like to do a sculpture project with my 8th grade for their final project of the year. I feel like, in general, this grade has gotten the short end of the stick (assemblies always being scheduled during their art class, a string of first year teachers, including myself, with no set curriculum, plus despite having only 15 or 16 kids per class the ELL kids are sent to art with them bringing their class size up to nearly 35 in one class). They are not enthusiastic about art and even though I've been able to reach some of the more receptive kids who were interested in doing art in high school, I feel like a lot of these kids had given up on art before they ever walked into my room.

    As much as I've tried to teach them some of the things that other kids on their grade level would be doing at other schools, they are years behind where they should be. This makes planning projects very difficult because they're bored when something is "below" them but get easily frustrated when I give them age-appropriate projects.

    I want to give them some kind of last project that they're capable of doing but could motivate or excite them so they're not just throwing paper at each other all class. We've had no storage up until now, but I've sent home all the work from every class and have also secured an extra temporary storage space. I have about 110 kids who come with the 8th grade and I have no time in between classes, so it would have to be something that kids could set up, clean up, and still have some time to work on during a 45 minute period. I can probably store the projects in between classes if they're small enough and would love to give this project 2 or 3 weeks (I see my classes once a week for 45 minutes).

    My new teacher brain is fried and while I've mapped out most of my end of the year for K-7, I am stumped! Any suggestions?
     
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  3. Securis

    Securis Cohort

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    May 11, 2009

    Available materials are?

    Not knowing that, I suggest wire sculptures. Matisse and Calder are good examples of artists who used wire. Making mobiles might be an idea as well.
     
  4. Securis

    Securis Cohort

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    May 11, 2009

    Origami. Paper is very accessible and there are multiple levels of difficulty.
     
  5. Crzy_ArtTeacher

    Crzy_ArtTeacher Comrade

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    May 11, 2009

    Oh Securis those are very good ideas. Continuing on the paper idea, you could do paper sculptures, or even paper masks where you cut and staple the paper to become more three-dimensional. What kinds of materials do you have access to? Do you have any model magic? I did model magic mini meals with my 4th and 5th graders and they loved it.
     
  6. jspader02

    jspader02 Rookie

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    May 11, 2009

    what about bringing in food to work with - like any dried noodles, candy, cereal, snacks, anything they can find around the house that their parents can live without? anything that won't spoil of course. toothpicks/glue to stick things together, piece of cardboard for the base. then you can pick a theme that they like, or even vote on one. (monsters, animals, etc.)
     
  7. Securis

    Securis Cohort

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    May 12, 2009

    The only problem I've ever had with using this type of material has been storage. Even short term storage brings on a pest invasion. They're great materials but I hesitate to use them in my classroom.
     
  8. Securis

    Securis Cohort

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    May 12, 2009

    I don't know how your admin would feel about fire but an alternative method for making wire sculptures is to get something flammable like newspaper or cardboard and wrap the wire around it. Essentially, you use the wadded paper or cardboard as your armature, creatively shaped however. Once it's wrapped, add fire and burn out the armature.

    It's likely a "NO GO" on the fire but it couldn't hurt to ask. Especially if you were the only one using the fire.
     
  9. ArtTeacherK

    ArtTeacherK Rookie

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    May 12, 2009

    We have construction paper, a small amount of air dry clay, and access to a grant to Micheal's Arts and Crafts (although my coordinator would prefer that we purchase supplies that could be reused year after year, such as clay tools).

    I was thinking that since I have enough time to gather materials (about 3 weeks) I could do some sort of art with recycled materials if I ask the 8th graders to bring them in and if I also put a notice in every teacher's mailbox and alert my own friends. I actually haven't had the luck of ever observing a recycled material sculpture project with a middle school class and one roadblock is that the kids aren't allowed to handle utility or exacto knives (I'm working on that).

    There just seem like so many options and I'm not sure where to start to create good, well crafted art with recycled materials. I'm trying my best to not end up with a pile of paper towel rolls wrapped in duct tape. I feel like if I could narrow down the recycled material or combine them with other materials we have available, I'll be much more successful.
     
  10. ArtTeacherK

    ArtTeacherK Rookie

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    Yup, we have a mouse problem so we're not even supposed to have candy or birthday parties anywhere but the cafeteria (although people ignore this, I think food sculptures would not be able to go by unnoticed).
     
  11. ArtTeacherK

    ArtTeacherK Rookie

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    May 12, 2009

    I like the mobile idea, especially since I can have them all hanging from the ceiling. How much wire would you estimate for 110 students? One of my biggest first year challenges has been trying to figure out the proper way to ration materials.

    I saw a high school project where they painted tissue paper with water colors and used the tissue paper as calder would use his colorful metal pieces. I think my 8s could definitely handle that.
     
  12. Securis

    Securis Cohort

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    May 12, 2009

    Let's say your projects have measurements that would fit inside a 12"x12"x12" cube. I'd suggest between 3-4 feet of wire per student. So, 500 feet of wire would fill your needs plus it would offer those students with more enthusiasm extra if they wanted it. Industrial tie wire is stiff yet bendable. It can be purchased at most hardware stores very inexpensively. It does sometimes come with a coating of oil that has to be wiped off as it's unspooled. Wire-cutters are a necessity. Tender hands will have a problem with extensive use and the ends tend to be sharp after cutting.


    Another project that I have done using recycled materials is a paper-pulp mask. I use milk jugs and other plastic containers as the base. I then use staples, wire, cardboard, paper, tape, glue, and various other materials to build the masks armature. After the armature is complete, you add paper pulp in thin layers. Allow over night drying under a fan then repeat the process. Build up areas with the paper pulp just like clay. IF your paper pulp is fine enough and enough time is taken to smooth out the texture you can get a smoother finish. For an even smoother finish, paint on several layers of elmer's glue. Once dry paint with acrylics.

    Paper pulp is paper ground in a blender with water. Remove 70% of the water then add elmer's glue. You'll need a lot of recycled paper and a lot of glue and a lot of prep time to keep up demand for 110 students.
     
  13. Samothrace

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    May 12, 2009

    Along with the mobile thing....I've not done it, but use liquid starch on the tissue paper and sort of collage the pieces together so they are overlapping. Do this step oin wax paper. After it dries you can cut it into the desired shape and string it up so it's a bit transparent.

    I've not done this, so who knows what might happen! lol


    Big bugs might be fun out of the recycled stuff. It's hard to do sculpture stuff without being able to use exacto knives.

    I'm still thinking. I always have a hard time thinking up sculpture stuff. lol


    Ooh...Louise Nevelson. If you do the recycled or found materials and mount them on a predetermined size of cardboard or something. Talk about composition, shape and texture and paint in white or black. Could be very successful.
     
  14. ArtTeacherK

    ArtTeacherK Rookie

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    May 15, 2009

    Thanks everyone! I'm going to pick up some wire today and try to use our grant to get some wire tools.
     

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