Friday, September 30, 2011

Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots

This year with 5th grade, I've tried what I consider to be a bold, outside-the-box project.  Prompted by a student's request that we do a project related to manga, and our Asian art theme, and the new Mr. Sketch markers, I thought about how I could tie all that together. 

Years ago when I was teaching K-8 at a small Catholic school, I tried this on the first day of my Art Appreciation class with the middle schoolers.  I turned on the Flaming Lips' Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Parts 1 and 2 and asked them to sketch whatever images came to mind as they listened to the music.  They thought I was from another planet.  They were used to nuns and opera music in the art room.  Robots were unheard of.  But their images were interesting.  I think they were held back mostly by the fact that they were middle school kids, and thus more concerned with looking cool than with being creative. 

This year's 5th graders are diving into this project with uncanny enthusiasm.  Maybe it's because I told them a fellow student gave me this idea, or maybe it's the musical element, or the smelly markers.  The objectives for this lesson included drawing body proportions of the girl Yoshimi, face proportions, choosing a type of balance to use (i.e. radial or asymmetrical) and experimenting with comic style lettering.  So far they are enjoying it.  I'll have to post some examples when they finish.

At least for now, they are all singing, "Oh Yoshimi, they don't believe me, but you won't let those robots eat me..."

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Marker Monster

I collect dried-out markers in my classroom and have turned them into lovely liquid watercolors.  But to prevent the kids getting frustrated by repeatedly trying more and more markers from the box and finding dried out ones, I have the students put the old, dried out markers in the "Marker Monster."  He holds the old markers in his belly until I am ready to make a new batch of watercolors. I just covered a copy paper box with black paper, cut a slit in the front, added the eyes and fur.

 I even let the Monster eat Sharpies, because they too can be revitalized using NAIL POLISH REMOVER.  Yes!  It works!  Just soak the tip in a little bit of the nail polish remover and recap the sharpie.  Overnight, the liquid refreshes the ink!

So far they are in love with the Marker Monster.  I love his crazy teeth, which are now splattered with various marker smudges.  It's a little macabre I suppose, but oh well.