Models of Excellence for EL

Big news! The Capital City Public Charter School Pre-K project “The Color I Made Is Stunning!” has been accepted into the EL Education Models of Excellence collection, an amazing and very selective resource of exemplary student work open to educators across the country. Take a look at the work created by the students that will be used as a model to raise questions, provoke thinking, and inspire excellence:

http://modelsofexcellence.eleducation.org/projects/color-i-made-stunning

Make sure to stop by your children’s classroom, or the Studio, to check out our color study book!  Yay!

“It looks like bones because the people are white lines!”

To finish up our exploration of the figure and figure representation, the Sunflower and Fern groups learned how to make styrofoam prints!  We began by passing around large sheets of styrofoam and tried to figure out what they were, what they could be used for, and what they felt like.

Nneka: Feels floppy and hard.

Trebor: Softly!

Zoe: Why is it so fragile?

Nayeli: I like how it feels.

Sarah: It feels like a plate.  It’s flat.

Mae: I really thought it was real paper, but it’s not.  It’s foam.  It’s squishy.

William: It feels like it could pop.

Next, I invited a friend to come to the stage and strike a pose.  With the back of a paintbrush, I modeled how to represent the pose onto styrofoam, just as friends have been doing for weeks with figure drawing on paper and on the Gelli plates.  Since the styrofoam was large, we were able to combine all poses from each art group into one image.

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Trebor: We’re going on the stage, oh yeah!

Zavier: I want to make one hundred million little people on here.

Adrian: Zoe did such a good job.  It looks just like me!

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Luke: I see movements on the styrofoam.

Iris: How do you draw in it? What do you use? Your nails?

Elijah: You know this is just how I stand so I could pose like this for an hour.

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Miguel: I see Briana has a little tiny button, even smaller than my button.

Destynee: I see it now!  The sun is on so I can see the people on the styrofoam.

Florentina: It feels really like a fabric sponge.  We capture the movement on it.

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This week, children created their edition of prints!  Friends picked a color of block print ink, rolled it out on plexiglass into a smooth layer, rolled it onto their styrofoam and printed it on large paper.  This is the first time we have ever done such large prints in the Studio, and they came out better than I even could have imagined!  Post Spring Break, this work will be on display in the PK hallway:)

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Andres: Why wont it go into the white part? Is it because we pushed down to draw?

Trebor: It’s on the paper.  Wow!

Nneka: Push down hard to get it on the paper.  I’m so strong.

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Maia: Sticky.  Ink is sticky.

Siena: I like how it sounds.

Rayyan: Rolling the ink sounds crunchy like a cookie or wood chips.

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Destynee: The ink doesn’t cover the hair.  Why?

Sophie: It looks like bones because the people are white lines.

Elijah: The blue ink looks like my toothpaste.

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Cameron: The paper is blue but the people are white.

Abigail: Don’t forget to roll on all the sides.

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Zavier: I made all the creative stuff because I’m a creative kid.

Mae: I was right! It printed on the paper!

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“This… is art!”

The Rose and Lavender groups have been hard at work in the Studio on wooden sculptures. Friends spent a week exploring wooden shapes and trying to figure out which pieces worked together and which didn’t.  Children noticed that round shapes had a hard time balancing on flat shapes, but if both sides were flat, they could easily stick together.  Next, friends used wet glue to adhere their pieces to create one or more sculptures!

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Eli: I can mix the glue.  I can spread the glue.

Jax: Wow, so cool.  See, it can stand up!

Konone: I don’t know what I made!

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Christian: The ring and the ball look like a planet from outer space!

Bennett: I’m going to make a little kid.  It’s my sister.  No, no, I made a dinosaur with a spike on the back!

Naomi: This piece looks like a bracelet!

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Kavalli: Whewwwwww, the ball rolls.

Cathy: I balanced it!

Isabella: Wood feels cold, smooth and hard.

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The following week, friends were excited to see that their sculptures were dry!  Children used liquid watercolors to paint their wooden sculptures.

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Cathy: My sculpture looks like Mars.

Darby: This… is art!

Christian: My 3 headed monster!  I missed him!  I’m an artist because if someone is an artist, they just paint their sculptures.  Yep, I’m correct.  I’m an artist because I have to make him detailed.  It’s so crazy, the paint is drying so fast!

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Isabella: Victor, yours balanced!

Siah: I’m painting it gentle so it wont break.

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Jariel: The paint dried.  It dried fast.

Kai: Look at me.  I did this.

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This week, friends worked on adding collage materials to our sculptures.  Children collected feathers, buttons, googly eyes and other found materials from the Studio to add to their sculptures.

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Kavalli: It’s an experiment.  An eyeball fox man.

Naomi: Cathy, look! This material is shiny.  It can be the chocolate in the cookie.

Phoenix: The glue is rainbow.

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Siah: A star! A sprinkle star! So pretty.

Jariel: Mamma mia, stop sticking to me, you feather.

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“I saw an artist on TV, but it wasn’t your dad. It was a girl artist.”

Once friends felt comfortable posing by themselves in front of their art group, we began doing partner poses!  Children would get together in groups of two or three and make a plan for how they would stand, what they would do with their arms/legs, and how they could move their bodies in interesting ways.  Friends had so much fun doing partner poses that it actually stretched for two weeks because of the excitement around it!  See, figure drawing can be fun:)

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Trebor: I can pose with Kwame.  We can pose together!

Nayeli: It’s hard to model with a friend.  It’s silly and I couldn’t stay still.

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Sarah: I have an idea, you put your foot out and I’ll twist my leg.  That’ll look cool.

Destynee: Two people at the same time?  Oh, that’s why we need two stages!

Luke: Ayub, let’s pretend were calling each other.

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After sharing with my family how enthusiastic friends were with figure printing on Gelli plates, my dad asked if he could come in and model for a few of the groups.  Friends were SO excited to meet him, and couldn’t believe that he was an artist and an art teacher, too!  He modeled alone, with partners, and even did some of his own prints while others were modeling.

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Siena: You’re dad’s an artist?  I’m an artist too!

Carlos: I saw an artist on TV, but it wasn’t your dad.  It was a girl artist.

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Fatima: Mr.Cushner and Ms.Cushner? Ha!

Zavier: He paints all day? Whoa!

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Abigail: One day, I’m going to be a painter.  I love art.

Zoe: I can’t fit his legs on the paper, he’s too tall.

Zeina: Don’t forget, he has glasses.

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“You guys got to show me when you’re done. Whoa, it’s me!”

Children in the Sunflower and Fern groups have been studying the figure, while also learning about the process of Gelli printing.  I have shared a bit of the figure drawing work, as well as the into to Gelli printing, but I am so excited and proud to share the work that came as a result of combining the two.

To refresh everyone’s memory, every child had a turn (or two) to be models for their peers.  When it was their turn, they would stand on the stage (milk crate) and on the count of three, strike a pose.  Children were encouraged to think about different ways to make interesting shapes and lines with their bodies.  Once we got into the routine of modeling, friends began coming into the Studio week after week asking if they could pose first, or share that they came up with a pose that they hadn’t seen a friend do yet.

Incorporating the Gelli plate into this routine proved easier than I thought.  One child would be the model and come to the stage, while the other artists would prepare their Gelli plate at the table.  Artists at the tables were invited to use the back of a paintbrush to represent the figure on their Gelli plate.  When the timer went off, they could use the finger stamps to add detail to the background.

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Carlos: This is something so new!

Andres: I can see Trebor through the paper!

Nayeli: You guys got to show me when you’re done.  Whoa, it’s me!

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Sophie: That’s a hard pose because he’s on one leg.  He looks like a bird.  I want to pose like a flamingo, too.

Ryan: It’s hard to balance when I do a karate kick.

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Ra’Maya: Remember, just a spot, not a lot, or you wont see the person.

Ayub: Are you ready, artists?  Here’s my pose!

Florentina: I had fun posing up there!

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Even Ms.Berger came in to give it a try!

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Below is just some of the fabulous work… enjoy! Hoping to post about the VERY special visitor that came into model for some classes this week.  I’ll save that for tomorrow:)

“It feels like a squid. It’s fabuloso!”

Sunflower and Fern groups have been working on representing and depicting the figure in many different ways with a variety of materials.  Three weeks ago, children were introduced to Gelli plates, which are plates made out of durable gelatin that can be used over and over for mono printing.  I absolutely love to work with this material, both in the Studio and at home.  We began by passing Gelli plates around and friends described what they looked like, felt like, and even smelled like.

Andres: It feels like a squid.  It’s fabuloso!

Trebor: It looks like jello.

Zavier: I think it’s made out of old paper.

Madison: Like, strawberry jelly?

Kwame: It’s so sticky.

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Miguel: It’s floppy and I can drop it so easily.

Waju: It’s made out of water and ice and it mixes together to make that.

Nneka: When I rub it, I see the lines I made.

Ra’Maya: It smells like crayons.

William: Squishy and stretchy.

Adrian: It’s gooey.

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Elijah: The name is kind of funny.  Smells like goo.  Really, really stretchy.

Douglas: They look so shaky.

Selwyn: It looks like a piece of cheese for the Krabby patty.

Sophie: It wiggles!

Next, I walked friends through the steps of how to use a Gelli plate.  We began by putting a small amount of paint directly on the plate.  I suggested using the squirt bottles to put one spot of paint in each corner, which seemed like the perfect amount.  Then, we used a brayer to roll out the paint.  Friends said the brayer reminded them of what you use to paint a house, or a wheel on a big truck.  Once the paint was in a smooth layer, we used finger stamps and scrapers to create images in the paint.  Once they were happy with the composition, they set a piece of paper down, rubbed it with their hands and VOILA— their image transferred to their paper!

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Zeina: I know, the paint will go from the Gelli plate to the paper!  This is going to be super fun.

Adrian: This is so amazing and fun.

Destynee: It’s so pretty, isn’t it?  It makes other shapes.

Ayub: This is my favorite!

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Selwyn: My Gelli plate is clean again.  I love this.

Elliott: Guys, look what I made.  It looks pretty great!

William: I can’t wait to see mine.  Wow, it looks like an underwater jail!

Mae: Oh yeah, go gelatin!

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Zoe: You have to make big decisions before you put the paper down on the Gelli plate.

Zavier: I used the scraper to make a “Z,”  isn’t it gorgeous?  It’s a painting of rain.

Carlos: It’s so quick.

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Elijah: I’m an artist making my hands dirty.  Wow, this turned out really good!

Stay tuned for a post on how we combined representing the figure and Gelli printing!

“I make a snake with legs…he’s a transformer. Now he’s a juice box!”

Rose Red and Lavender Purple groups have been continuing to work on sculptures, and have been using a variety of materials to help them working three-dimensionally.  Children spent more time creating sculptures with clay, and learned how to use a wire cutter to safely remove sculptures from the table.

Christian: The wire cutter looks like a jumprope.  It goes under the clay and it cut it a little bit off the table.

Adriana: It looks like a rope and a cutter.

Alli: It was easy to use it to pull the clay.  You didn’t know I could use it?

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Esther: When you bend the wire, it looks like a rainbow.

Amal: Wow, it’s working!  It did!  It’s not stuck to the table.

Naomi: The wire cutter looks like a spider web.

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Amen: It looks like a puller.  I’m being responsible.  It’s not on the table now.

Jariel: It looks like a fishing hook!

Children used new tools to draw in clay, followed by collage materials to add details to their sculptures.

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Kavalli: I make a snake with legs.  He’s a transformer.  Now he’s a juice box!

Dennis: I making pizza.  Happy birthday pizza.

Autumn: It’s a seahorse.  Poke it, it moves.

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Jariel: This is Jimmy.  Jimmy likes to surf, but he lost his legs.  We need to take him to the doctor.  That’s his brother.  Now I need to make the baby, his name is Jayden.  Don’t eat him, or he will cry.  Don’t forget his little arms.  He wants to play.

Konone: I’m making a hot dog with fruit on top.  The sparkles are the fruit on top.

Jax: I found my bird.  He’s over here.  We have to use more sparkles.  I think he’s done now, he’s sleeping.  Wow, a new hat for the birdie!

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Christian: I wrote my name in the clay.  Now I’ll squish it and make it like a flat pancake!

Bennett: It’s a snake.  It can just slither around… so strange.

Siah: It looks like the letter “I” and I can make an “S” like Siah!

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The following week, children worked with Model Magic to create sculptures.  Friends used dot markers while they worked to change the color of their Model Magic.  Children enjoyed mixing and blending colors to enhance their work!

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Christian: I know, that’s Model Magic.  I could see M-O-D-E-L M-A-G-I-C and that says Model Magic.

Sophia: I likes it.

Amy: It feels good.  It feels smooth.

Amal: Model Magic is stretchy like a band-aid.

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Christian: I’m making a Sonic snowman, isn’t that fun?  He’s a hedgehog, like a porkypine.  Now I can make his friend Tails!

Belen: I made two friends.  Best friends.  They are best friends forever.  They playing hide and seek.

Cory: When you pull it apart, it looks like a mustache.

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Over the next few weeks, children will be working on wooden sculptures.  Stay tuned for an update!

“When is the special guest model coming? Is it your dad?”

Over the past few weeks, Sunflower and Fern groups have been continuing to study the figure in a variety of ways.  Children began by modeling for their peers, who quickly sketched their poses.  The following week, we reviewed figure drawing by reading a book called Louise Loves Art.  Friends immediately made connections between the book and our figure drawing exercises from the previous week.

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Ra’Maya: We did some poses like the kitty.

Luke: Last week we were the models and we were drawing the poses.  I like drawing models very much.

Nneka: The cat is staying like a statue so she can draw him.

Selwyn: The cat is posing like we did on the stage.

Next, I shared with friends that a very special guest was going to come and model for us!  Children were so excited and many had ideas of who the guest was going to be.

Zavier: When is the special guest model coming?  Is it your dad?

Elliott: Is it your mom?  Is your mom coming?

Trebor: Is the cat coming here?

In the future, maybe my parents can stop by to model!  Unfortunately, they couldn’t make it for those days, so Mel the wooden mannequin came by!  I showed friends that Mel could move his body in many ways to create all types of shapes.  Children noticed that he could hold very tricky poses that would have been too hard for us to do.

Mae: I really like Mel.  He’s so cool.  He can touch his toes to his head and put his arms behind his head at the same time.  His legs must hurt after.

Ryan: Mel looks like he’s kicking a soccer ball!

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Zoe: Is Mel short for Melvin?  When you said a model was coming I thought it was going to be your dad.

Justin: He arms look like he an airplane.

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Andres: Wow, you’re the greatest poser, Mel!  You stand so still.  I tickled his feet and I hear him laugh but not move.

Zeina: Mel is doing a pirouette.

 

“It’s so hard to pose… it made my foot fall asleep!”

Sunflower yellow and Fern green art groups have just begun an exploration of gesture drawing, which has brought a whole new level of excitement and laughter to the Studio this winter!

To kick off this work, friends learned that they would have two very important jobs… to be an artist, and a model.  Children brainstormed with each other to try to figure out what those two words really meant.

Zavier: A model is like an action figure or a figure majiger.  A model is in a magazine.

Maia: A model is like a sculpture and a sculpture could be of a spider or a princess so that’s what the model is.

Miguel: A model is a person you draw.

Nneka: Artists make things that are really nice.

Trebor: If you want to be an artist, you have to think about your work.

Andres: Model is like a type of play dough.  Like Model Magic.

William: A model could look like a sculpture.

Destynee: Some people like artists hold their palettes.

Zoe: I want to be an artist when I grow up but I don’t know if I can because you have to work and practice so much.  Sometimes artists make things but they don’t know what it is for a long time.  You just make and make and then you decide.

Next, I shared that when it was your turn to be a model, you would carefully stand up on the stage (milk crate), and after a countdown, you would strike a pose that you could comfortably hold for 20 seconds.  We talked about different ways you could move your body to create shapes, curves and lines.  As you were modeling, the rest of the children were the artists in the audience, quickly drawing your pose.  (Side note: It was “Dress Like Your Favorite Character Day” and “Pajama Day” during these two classes, hence the costumes, which really added to the work!)

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Ra’Maya: It’s so hard to hold a long pose.

Zeina: I was smiling while friends were modeling so that they felt comfortable.

Nayeli: You got to stand still and the artists draw how your hands and legs look.

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Friends enjoyed posing for each other.  Most groups ended up doing three rounds, with 20, 40 and 60 second poses.  As they had more time, children added details to their gesture drawings, such as the stage, clothes, and background.

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Iris: Briana should be proud of herself because she was scared to model but then she was brave at the last round.

Andres: Mister Skinny Legs is a really good model, just like us.  He can stay really still, even more still then us when we pose.

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Zeina: It’s so hard to pose… it made my foot fall asleep!

Iris: I’m looking at Selwyn’s paper to focus so I don’t move.

After our gesture drawing rounds, Miguel and Selwyn were motivated to draw their own poses and then try to model from the illustration.  This sparked some interest that we might explore further in the coming weeks!

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“Is it a bag of snowballs?”

By this point in the year, all children in Pre-K have had an experience working with clay!  It is one of my favorite materials to work with and I always love introducing it to children.  We began by examining clay in a plastic bag… friends felt it, poked it and attempted to lift it.  There’s always a sense of mystery around it, and we brainstorm what we think is in the bag.

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Belen: It feels like softy.

Amal: I think it’s a ball that’s pretty.

Bennett: It feels cold.  Like snow or ice.

Cory: Is it a bag of yarn that can roll around the school?  It’s heavy, so that doesn’t make sense.  I don’t know what it is!

Naomi: Is it a bag of snowballs?

Victor: It sticky.

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Once friends learned that it was clay, they began to work on their clay sculptures!  We had some different tools available… rollers and hammers for making it flat, clay scissors for cutting, utensils for mark making, etc.  Many children chose to work with friends and created dinosaurs and monsters, while others pretended they were chefs in the kitchen.

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Christian: It’s hard to peel plastic off the clay.  It’s making my hands grey!  Hey, you can use the roller to make it flat like a sandwich.  Who wants a krabby patty?

Alli: That tool looks like that thing you use to flip with when you’re cooking.

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Elijah: I watched Master Chef Ramsey and he tells people to cook a lot and he uses tools that look like that.  I’m gonna pretend I’m on Master Chef Junior and make a duck.  I’m gonna make the duck feet but I have to cut off the nails before you pretend to eat it.

Siah: I made a dinosaur.  He’s a t-rex, but I forgot to make his teeth.  I can just add them now!

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