Monthly Archives: January 2021

Career Placemat Project

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In Fall of 2018, I was working at a very large suburban school. I was asked by their District Office if I thought my students could create 100 placemats with student art for their State of the District Luncheon.  Because of the large size of the school, this was only about 10% of our students so I knew I could do it.

I organized six after school workshops for all grade levels Kindergarten through Fifth grade. I even had a couple of preschool and TK students who came with an adult or older sibling.

The workshops were all done by me with occasional help from a parent. I had small groups of about 20 students. For the workshops, I had some idea lists for different careers that I thought they might want but I also told the students to come up with two to three career choices of their own so that we could have a lot of diversity. Because they knew these would not be returned, I allowed students to make two if they wanted to.

Each student sketched their work on a small paper then did a larger drawing in pencil then went over that in black marker. We then painted with watercolor paint. I was so impressed with all the different jobs they came up with from gardening to scientists to dancers to race car drivers and everything in between. It was really one of the most rewarding projects we did that year.

After they were dry, I labeled each artwork on the back with the student’s name, grade and their career title. It was a huge job and when they were delivered to the district office, the staff decided they were too pretty to use as placemats and instead put them up all around the meeting room. After the luncheon, they were returned to the school and went on display on the gallery wall in the lobby.

Name Spinners

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We were working on line, shape and symmetry and sometimes making art move (kinetic art) is just fun. For this one, we used donated cardstock. Students fold the short edge of the paper to meet the long edge then cut the paper to make a square. They folded again diagonally so that they had four quadrants. Of course, I did point out that dividing our paper into fourths was a math skill.

They drew their names in a stylized fashion and added color. When they finished, we put them on a pencil top with a push pin so they would spin. Here they are in motion

By making them square, it was easy to find center with the diagonal folds.

I think this note summed up what the students thought of this project.

Kimonos

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Based on the work of Itchiku Kubota (1917-2003)

The San Diego Museum of art and the Timken had a fabulous exhibition of kimonos created by artist Itchiku Kubota in 2008-2009. You can see the Kubota kimono collection at https://thekubotacollection.com

For this lesson, I first taught in 2015. I taught my students how to make a basic kimono shape and they added different elements such as flowers and patterns in black permanent marker and/or oil pastel. When they were finished, they could add watercolor on top.

I went to the educator’s open house at San Diego Museum of Art and loved the exhibition so much that I went back multiple times to see the kimonos. The museum had a collage lesson that had been created by artist Jane LaFazio. It was beautiful but far too complex with too many steps for our 45 minute lessons.

We displayed these next to koinobori fish that had been done by third grade and cherry blossoms that had been done by the K/1 students.