Friday, February 18, 2005

"Mask-making Center Opens"

How embarrassing! I have not updated my blog in over a month!
I am glad that vacation is next week so I can get caught up on "school stuff."
The past few weeks have been so busy in the art room. I introduced the mask-making center to grades k-5. This has been very popular with the lower grades. They are designing simple paper plate masks with different eyeholes cut out. Some want oval eyes, slanted "mean" eyes or single rectangle cut-out eyes to make Ninja faces. I have been cutting the eyes out for them because they have a hard time doing it on their own. I need to have MANY plates with eyes cut out in the center because it takes too much time for me to do in class. One of my kindie classes has really taken to the mask center and have been designing costumes to accompany the mask. They are making Patriots football players (no surprise since the Pats just won the Superbowl this particular week!). This was Anthony's idea. He made the facemask/helmet and then added a large piece of colored paper that was stapled to the plate. He completed his costume by adding a number for the jersey. Today he made Wolverine from X-Men using the same idea. He asked for 10 popsicle sticks to do Wolverine's claws and when he couldn't figure out how to do it (I wasn't too keen on the idea of a 6 year old with claws anyway!) he decided to add his body instead. I have to bring in a picture of Wolverine for him so he can color the body and face and add ears.
I try to encourage students to spend more time on their art (if necessary) when they have a particular idea in mind. In this case, Anthony's Wolverine mask was a plain white plate with eyes cut out. He said he wanted to leave it plain white but I think, no, I knew he just wanted to get it done in one class. I felt it was my duty to get him to spend more time on his project. I just have to remember to find a Wolverine picture within the next week. :-)
Third, fourth and fifth graders began the mask center with symmetrical cut paper masks. Surprisingly, not too much interest here! Only a few students chose this project but the ones that did created some great masks. The fourth and fifth graders began papier-mache masks last week. This week most of them began to add paint. In some classes, all of the students wanted to make them. In others, only half of them did. During the lesson I told them that it was a commitment for at least 3-4 weeks for them to create their mask. (1 for papier-mache, 2 for paint,3/4 more paint/embellish). The rule begin a finish the mask. Some kids asked if they had to paint their masks or could they work in a center. I made all of them paint their masks.... except one ("Mrs. Bonomi, I had an idea this morning so I want to do this instead."
How could I say no?) Nick created an imaginary bird with wings using tubes and egg cartons. I love it when kids think like an artist and come to art with their idea.

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