Making Puppets in the classroom….

The thought of sewing enough puppet skins for twenty four children could sound daunting.  On this occasion I managed to get four parents to help sew the puppet skins.  These puppets were made a few years back and used in a class movie called 'The Fuppets - Return of the Nits.'

I decided to put together a slide share to show how I went about making these puppets.  We decided in class to call them the Fuppets.

Puppet skins….
Children stuffed their puppet's hands and arms, they decided what color their mouth plate would be...
Then it was time to pick what sort of eyes they wanted for their puppet.
Then time to look at what their eyes, nose and hair would look like when all put together….
Making a wire hand for one of the puppets...
Making eyecups... 
A box of Fuppets... 

Creating Artworks inspired by Mark Rothko...

Do you want your class to create some abstract artworks?  Well, why not use Mark Rothko as inspiration.  These are the steps I took to get my 8 - 10 year old children to create their own inspired Rothko artworks.
I created a booklet which contained the tasks below.

Task 1:
I showed the children two different artworks by Mark Rothko.  Artwork one 'Rust and Blue,' and another artwork with pinks and red.

Children viewed these artworks and where asked:
  • What do you feel when you look at this artwork?
  • What do you think it is about?
  • Can you give this artwork a name?
This provided great discussion within the class.  It allowed the children to have their own views of Mark Rothko's artworks and reasons for this.

Task 2:
Viewing and Sketching...
Use the Internet: Google: “Mark Rothko” select images. Pick four images you like and sketch these. You will need to use coloured pencils, pastels....crayons to record the colours used.

Try to pick canvases that use different colors. Look at all the artworks you’ve sketched: What do you notice is similar? What is different?

Task 3:
Creating your own Mark Rothko inspired artwork.
You are going to create your own Mark Rothko’s inspired masterpiece.  The children also viewed some other Rothko inspired artworks by other children.  Click here.

Think of an emotion or feeling...happy...sad....excited....jealous…..

My emotion I am going to show is…..

Start exploring the colour palette you want to use.  Look at the colour wheel.What colours will I use to show this emotion.

Reading the children the book My Many Coloured Days, By Dr. Seuss also helps to get children talking about feelings and color.

BUDDY CHECK - Get together with a buddy and share your ideas.
Composition: Now start exploring the composition you will use...where will you place the colour, what balance of colours will you use?

Children used chalk pastels for their artworks…on embossed canvased paper.
Original design is on the right... 
For the base color some children used watercolor pencils…when this dried they went over with chalk pastels.
Tip: get children to put a white piece of paper on top of their work…it is easy for chalk pastels to smudge.

Below are some of the artworks created by my class..


A slide show with all the Rothko inspired artworks created by children...

Abstract Art: Sonia Delaunay & Wassily Kandinsky

Our art  theme was 'How can we express ourselves?' We explored color and how this links with feelings and emotions.  I showed the children many different abstract artworks.

I decided to focus on three abstract artists: Mark Rothko, Wassily Kandinsky and Sonia Delaunay.

View the slide show below to see how I got my class to make abstract artworks inspired by Kandinsky and Delaunay.  The children in my class were aged 8 to 10 years old.

The draft design on the right…creating the final artwork...
Class artwork inspired by Wassily Kandinsky...
Making a Sonia Delaunay inspired artwork…

Below are two finished artworks inspired by Sonia Delaunay...


iMovie for iPad - Traliers

I have to say, in the classroom setting, I usually get children to create movies from scratch.  I've been using iMovie software, found on apple computers, for years and never really looked at the movie trailer option.

That was until I discovered the iMovie app on the iPad.  This is so much more user friendly...imagine trying to walk around with you laptop or having to record all the footage on a camcorder.  Then importing this footage into iMovie and then drag and dropping the footage into the right frame.

With the iPad its so much more portable.

So why use iMovie trailers in the classroom?  

I think it comes down to your purpose and reason for using them.  My class created their trailers at the beginning of the school year, so my purpose was to focus more on social skills.  I wanted different pre-selected groups to work together, problem solve and work collaboratively to create their movie trailer.

What did we do:
I shared the iMovie trailers with the children.

I gave them the option of choosing from the following iMovie trailers because they could have 2 - 6 characters...

Superheroes - 2 - 6 characters
Expedition - 2 - 6 characters

I have to say I felt redundant...I walked around and checked up on each group, and took some footage for children, for instance if they needed a group shot.

The children were managing themselves and working out their problems.  I called them in part-way through their project and they shared their work with others.

Tips for children:
The person filming needs to say Action, once the counter counts down.  No voice is recorded for the movie trailer, so it doesn't matter how much noise they make while filming.

Props - some children brought different clothes and created props for their movie trailer.  This was much better than children wearing their school uniform.

Storyboard - Click here if you want to use storyboard help sheets.  You can print these out.  Some groups used these, other children planned their ideas on paper.

Other ideas....
I think you could also use movie trailers as a way in for children to create their own movie trailer from scratch.  Why not use a movie trailer and get children to create on about a book they've been reading or for an original story they've written.....

Below is and example of one movie trailer my class made.


Show Me - Triangle Pretzels

Shape Up! Fun with Triangles and other Polygons, by David A. Adler is a must have for teaching children about polygons.  I've used this book before to inspire a maths session about triangles.

Children love the idea of using pretzels to make triangles...then break one side of the triangle, eat it and put the triangle back together.  What do you notice?  What is the same?  What is different?

While the children were exploring triangles with pretzels I had an iPad which was running via Reflector.  I filmed the children, so they could see what their fellow classmates were doing on the data projector.

My first session focused on making different triangles and getting the children to draw different triangles.

I made the ShowMe below, so children could watch this independently and use it for consolidation.

I also use this book to introduce right angled traingles....that's my next ShowMe to be made.

Click here to see more of my whiteboards using ShowMe.

How to Write a Personal Recount...

In the holidays I had lots of fun creating my first eBook using iBooks Author.  I entered my ebook 'How to Write a Personal Recount,' into the Cyclone Computers Competition in New Zealand.  I submitted my eBook into the Teacher category, K - 6, and was excited when I heard I got first place in my category.

I've put my book on the iBookstore, and it's FREE!  I had no other option, as I'm in New Zealand.

Overall, I found iBooks author easy to use and anything I wasn't sure of I googled to find the answers or used the help section, in iBooks Author.

I did some background reading on iBooks Author before I started to construct my ebook.  The main thing I needed to know was what size was the maximum an eBook could be (which is 2GB).  I wanted to add video snippets and at the start I wasn't sure how much MB this would use.

I found some useful links:
100 page Guide to Publishing with iBooks Author
iBooks Author Publishing your first eBook
25 iBooks Author Tutorials from DIY Journo

I think I spent about twelve hours planning my eBook.  I wanted to create an eBook that teacher's could use with children that was visually rich.  I added video snippets to support the concepts covered and used a variety of widgets.

I used a good quality camera to take a range of photos of the two stars of my eBook, Miss Poppy and Crazy.

I developed the analogy of using a hamburger to help children learn the structure of writing a personal recount about seven years ago.  I've used this in the classroom and it provides children with a visual prompt to construct their recount, like have you written the top of the hamburger bun...the Setting?
Chapter one of my eBook deals with the personal recount structure.

Once children are confident with the recount structure I move on to talking about how to make their hamburger really delicious, so the reader wants to keep munching their way through their recount, (Chapter 2 Personal Recount: The Language).

Snapshot taken from a page in my iBook 'How to Write a Personal Recount.'

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