Whanau Koru Artworks

At the start of the year you want to build relationships with children and it's really great to embrace their whānau.

This year I decided the children would create a koru artwork based on their own family.  I thought we'd use paint and use a variety of textures.

I developed a template for the children to follow.  Below are some of the tasks the children completed before starting their final artwork.  They also got to explore tones of colour using pastels and the colour wheel.

Whānau Koru Design Family Tree based on the 'Koru pattern'  
Task 1 - Use the koru pattern to create an artwork about your whānau (family). Your koru patterns can grow out of each other, touch each other, be large and small.

  • List family members you want to include in your Koru Family/Whānau Tree.
  • Draw four different compositions.

Task 2 - From your four compositions pick the two designs you really like.  Re-draw these two designs and start to explore what colours you could use.

  • Will you have different colours for different people in your family?
  • Will you use different tones?

After completing Task 2 the children picked one composition and sketched this on to card.  When all artworks were finished they were uploaded on the class blog for families to view.

Using PVA glue to add textures on to the koru patterns.
Layering paper to create texture... 
Using plaster of paris as a texture.  After all textures were applied and had completely dried the children coated everything in white acrylic paint.
Starting to apply acrylic paint...
Some of the completed koru artworks.


QuickTapSurvey...came just in time for my class.  Before they get right into creating their truffle recipes, as part of our technology unit, they had some questions that needed to be answered..

What an authentic context for them to create a survey to gather answers to their questions.  They wanted to know information like: what flavour of truffles people liked to eat, what coatings did they like on truffles and what price were people willing to pay for 6-8 truffles.

First you need to set up a username and password on the site  QuickTapSurvey. The interface is user friendly and I helped the children to create one truffle survey all truffle groups could used.  Under different questions is a section that shows you very clearly what type of questions you can ask, like multi choice many answers or a yes/no question.  This was really helpful for the children creating the survey.  You get to have only one active survey on the 'free' version.  Once the survey was complete it was published.

Then the rest is just so easy.  You need to download the QuickTapSurvey App onto your iPad.  Login, and you're survey appears! So easy and so simple.  Of course the free version only lets you have the survey on one device.  If you do use two devices then it will ignore responses on the second device (unless of course you upgrade and pay).

My class have really enjoyed visiting other classes, selecting a group of children to complete their survey.  We've enjoyed looking at the analytics and so far they've found out that more junior children have never tasted truffles before....roll on truffle making!

There results so far...

The Venetian Mask Parade...

Finished Venetian Inspired Masks...

Click here to see a slideshow of the finished Venetian Masks.

Venetian Masks - Slideshow

Slide show of the finished Venetian Masks.

Making Venetian Masks - Decorating

After all the painting was completed each mask had a couple of layers of water based varnish applied.  I decided to use water based varnish as I knew this wouldn't fill the classroom with varnish fumes.

Ostrich feathers...stardust glitter (very fine), placed on some patterns...
Starting to add embellishments around the eyes...
Stardust glitter applied..
Making a posy of feathers....held together with felt and some hot glue gun.  Then placed inside the mask.
Deciding where to place the feathers...
Click here to see Making Venetian Masks Sessions 1 to 7.

Making Venetian Masks...Painting

Boxes of masks ready for painting....
First coats of paint on the left...on the right dry brushing technique.
Paint patterns that you want to stand out first...
On the left music notes, stuck on then coated with PVA glue.  Then apply metallic gold paint and rub off.
Dry brushing...apply a base coat of colour to your mask.  Get a dry brush, apply a small amount of paint.  Brush off on paper and then apply to the mask.  This will show any texturing you've done to your mask.

Click here to see Making Venetian Masks Sessions 1 - 7.

Making Venetian Masks - Session 6 & 7

Session 6:

Now the fun began!  After each child had decided on the form of their mask it was time to start chopping!

I decided to use cane fibre papier mache masks. However, I wanted the children to have more creative freedom on the form their masks took, so I purchased the full masks.

If the children could they sketched out the shape of their mask onto the papier mache masks and I chopped the masks.  This was too dangerous for children to do.  I had to use a combination of scissors and a craft knife.

The original shaped mask (on the left), the shapes after they've been cut.

To avoid seeing the texture of the original masks the children applied a choice of materials.

What we used:
* Glue gun (hot glue gun)
* Layered Paper (like building up a collage effect)
Atelier Mouldling Compound

After the glue had dried each mask was coated with a good quality white acrylic paint.

Making Venetian Masks...Session Four & Five

Sessions Four & Five:

After viewing many different Venetian masks on Pinterest it was time for children to start exploring their own designs.  They sketched four possible shapes for their mask and varied the patterns and colours they could use.

Below are some of the final designs.  I scanned these in and emailed these to parents so they could help buy some of the embellishments, like the feather.

Making Venetian Masks - Sessions 1 - 3

This year my class are making Venetian inspired masks to be displayed at the Cultural Festival.

I set up a class Pinterest account and also used the Witch's Pinterest to pin a variety of Venetian Masks.  This worked brilliantly, all the inspiration was at their fingertips.

On the class Pinterest account we pinned a variety of half masks.  I decided to make half masks in the class as I thought this would be easier to manage.

Sessions One to Three:
The main focus was to get children really looking at Venetian masks.  They sketched their shape, colour, the patterns (the designs they saw), and noted down the types of embellishments used.

Exploring shape, patterns and colours.
To get the children to notice the patterns I projected a Venetian mask onto the whiteboard (using the data projector), and copied the patterns with a whiteboard pen.  I also made some cardboard templates to show the use of pattern.  This is also a great opportunity to talk about symmetrical patterns and rotation.

Making an eBook in the Classroom...

Ever wanted to make a ebook with the children in your class?

Well, here's the journey I went on.  I thought I'd start with some writing the children had already published in class - jellybean similes.

I went hunting on the internet and found a few ways of making ebooks.

ePubBud lets you create an eBook, convert a .doc into an eBook and you can even pay money and buy an ISBN.

Titatok - run by Barnes and Nobel lets you create your ebook and then order your book to print.

I first thought I'd try Apple's Pages as it lets you create .epub files.  I also found a couple of online tutorials detailing the steps.  Click here to view these tutorials

I tried 'Pages,' and discovered it wasn't going to work if I wanted each child to record their voice, reading their jellybean simile.  I just couldn't add multiple sound files in 'Pages,' as they jumped all over the page (excuse the pun).  I could have just converted a .doc into a pdf, but by doing this I wouldn't be able to have any sound files.  

Well, after experimenting with the above I found the answer right under my nose.... Book Creator, an app for the iPad.  This app does cost US $4.99 or NZ $6.49.

I had already taken digital photos of each child's work, so I just emailed these to my iCloud account.  I then saved them into my Camera roll on my iPad.  The interface on Book Creator is user friendly, so I got a group of children to insert each photo on to each page.  I gave them the responsibility of recording their voices.  This app has a 'Getting Started,' tutorial which shows you the basics.  I think there's lots of fun to be had with Book Creator.

Once your ebook is finished you can send it straight to iBooks (or Stanza as I also have this installed on the iPad), you can email it, or send your ebook to iTunes (ebook or pdf).

When our class ebook was finished I could have emailed the .epub file to parents.  However, I wanted the ebook to be uploaded and to be able to be accessed online.  I had a hard time finding anything on the web that could do this.

I found ePub Bud let you upload an .epub file and by changing the settings you could allow the file to be downloaded.  I did this and sent my parents the url address.  Once uploaded your ebook can also be read in a web browser, however because I had sound files this wasn't going to work.  At the time I didn't know this and emailed the support team to question why this button wasn't working. I got a very quick reply and the technician removed 'view in browser button,' so only the 'download button' was visible.  Click here to see our ebook 'Jellybean Similes.'

Making Venetian Masks...

Below are some pics of venetian inspired masks from a workshop I recently went too. I spent most of my time texturing a full masks (the white one below), and will finish this with my class, as we make venetian masks together.
Lace sponged with metallic paint...
Putting texture on the mask before painting...

Use edging so the mask has clean lines...
Serviettes used to cover the half mask...

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