Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Paper Magic: Calder-inspired Sculptures

We started our week with some Paper Magic.
We've done Alexander Calder-inspired projects before and somehow they turn out to be my favourite!
The more I learn about this artist, the more I love his whimsical work.

'Pink Stripey Socks' featured a paper sculpture, combined with bright coloured paper and stickers produced beautiful pieces

Both O and C picked out their favourite solid colour of paper, cut into a long rectangle.
They covered the front and back with colourful circle stickers and then folded their rectangle in half lengthwise.
I cut curved lines nearly to the centerfold, before opening and folding out the strips in opposite directions.
A little bit of art, engineering and learning about balance.

O later could be found writing the letters of her name in stickers!

There are tons of idea's out there for paper sculpting!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Party at Bronte


A very BIG thank you to friends and family
for celebrating Charlotte's birthday with us at Bronte Park!

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Pyramid Lanterns & Mooncakes

'Willow Day' features a beautiful paper lantern project that we incorporated into Autumn Moon Festivities.

We chose card stock folders with a solid and printed side.
Then I became engrossed in engineering the pyramid!
This took a long time; attempting to create an equilateral triangle to turn into a tetrahedron.

I wasn't anticipating O to be interested in the tetrahedron business, but the intriguing bit comes when you can fold all four sides down to one triangle.

Or fold the tip of the large triangle into the bottom half.

Once you have figured out your stencil, you can trace a million for pyramid-making.

We have collected various shaped hole punches, which we used to allow light through the luminaries.

But honestly, at the mention of mooncakes, all participants lost interest in lantern-making;)
Who can resist art as food?

Mung Bean Center

Don't be fooled by the mention of mung bean. 
The center confection is chocked full of sugar!
Leaf Luminaries. Just in time for Fall.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Wet Noodles (Spaghetti Spelling)

Food. Letters. Poetry.
O was in love.
We set up some wet noodles, thanks to our spaghetti lunch offering inspiration.
'Wet Noodles' were a favourite activity of my ESL students, because you're permitted to play with your food and the learning bit is disguised as fun.

We started out with words O feels confident with; her name and "C. A. T."

Then I asked her to spell "MOM" which came out as "WOW!"
Even better!

She delved in some artwork titled, "The Pie" and snuck in a pose as the shutter released!

She even presented me with Chinese characters.
Three lines, is in fact the number three!

We worked on more letters with an impromptu poem.
O thrives with poetry, so she was 100% game.
"Can you spell the letter "L"?"
"Now, let's see the letter 'C' ('B'. 'T', 'D', 'E')?"
"Would you try the letter 'I' ('Y')?"
"Does anyone know the letter 'O'?"

Baby C caught wind of the game and saddled up to the chalkboard wall, attempting to fully participate in letter work.
Complete with her name tag stuck to her back from the mornings music classes!

Rainbow Spaghetti. I can't believe O looked so little in these pictures!


Our early morning exercises involved combining a fantastic read with a math activity from 'The Pleasantest Thing'
I have a simple set of tangrams that I traced onto paper, before O & Baby C took time to match them up.
After they made their matches, we turned the shapes into other objects.

Then we expanded the shape lesson with the brilliant Amy Rosenthal's "Friendshape".
A dear friend whom we met in Shanghai, first introduced me to Rosenthal's work with the collection of "Little Oink, Little Hoot & Little Pea".
Honestly, it is the combination of fabulous writing and Lichtenheld's clever illustrations that make this Lit. team award-winning!

I love that they have taken simple shapes to convey witty messages to the readers (young and old)!

Shapes as Letters
Happy Face
Shapes as Words
Shapes & Symbolism
Shapes & Wit
Shapes & Punctuation

Spaghetti Weave

When I saw this weaving project, I had Baby C in mind.
It's a simple set-up of spaghetti, a colander and a pom pom or two.

Baby C set to work straight away, feeding the spaghetti through the holes, then proceeded to break the spaghetti into pieces and eat it;)
What is childhood for, if not feasting on raw spaghetti!?

Little did I know, O would take such interest in this activity.
She became frustrated with the breaking of materials.
She worked hard to engineer her colander in order to keep pom poms from slipping through.

Eventually she asked for her own colander and full lengths of raw spaghetti!

She was thrilled when I started dropping pom poms on her work and they didn't fall through.
She continued to set up art installations of pom poms resting on strategically placed pasta.

Then she presented me with a weave pattern and insisted we keep it...until dinnertime.

Vegan Bites: Morning Glory Muffins

 Morning Glory

Looking for some Fall-ish muffin recipes, I found this fully fruity combination of raisins, carrots, apples plus the addition of some cranberries
We had to 'vegan-ize' them a wee bit, subbing in chia & water for the eggs, but otherwise we actually followed the recipe this time.

They took an extra 30 minutes to bake (maybe due to the chia egg substitute).

How to soften sugar
We even snuck in a wee science lesson courtesy of some demerara sugar that was rock hard!
We placed an apple sliced in half inside the bag and waited 3 days before it borrowed the moisture from the apples to get all squishy again (the moisture even turned some of the sugar white!)

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Embossing: Toadstool

Notice the extra hand sneaking in there!

Embossing has been done before around here
It's a beautiful art project that is actually quite easy and has very professional results. The mold takes the most time to make, but you can create many pieces from the same mold.

Soft, handmade paper works very well. It's thick weave allows for some water saturation.
We had some scrap pieces on hand (though I would love to make some of our own!)

Thin cardboard is best for cutting out your mold.
We use cereal boxes which are always readily available in our home!

I explained to O that it's helpful to draw a simple shape, as it has to be cut many times over and sharp little corners might not show up as well when pressing paper.
She designed this little toadstool.
We cut and mounted four on top of one another and placed it in the corner of a cardboard rectangle.

We then wet the paper (this paper was heavy duty and could take a full soak under running water!).
Pat the excess water on a towel and place the paper over the mold for pressing.

Once O started pressing sheets and seeing results, she couldn't get her hands on enough wet paper.
She was in production mode!
When I ran out of paper, she decided to press several toadstools into one piece, which added interest.

In Waldorf education, the 'teacher' is set to carry out her own work on a daily basis; cooking, cleaning, prepping for an activity and using her hands to create. Children instantly are drawn to the activities that interest them and the teacher then has materials on hand to allow the child to help.

When I set out the embossing activity, it was completely with selfish motivations; I had a project of my own to work on, that was irresistible to O. We worked alongside one another, chatting about our processes and products, looking at each others work to improve upon our own.

Daily Doodle: Perspective

O initiates most Daily Doodles on her own. She finds some scraps of paper, cardboard or grabs a corner of chalkboard and minutes later announces a finished piece of work.

This was the case with the TP Family, who are good friends of ours.
She started by drawing the mother and daughter holding hands, but then realized that she left out their dad.
He is absolutely the tallest of the bunch, so I was surprised when she drew him in as the wee person in the center.
"Oh, that's because he is farther away."
She told me, matter-of-factly.

My lesson of the day on perspective.

Pinecone Science: Fall Forest

 Hot/Cold H2O

'Parenting Chao's' introduced a sweet little science experiment using water and pine cones
Luckily in Ontario, we have loads of both.
We set up our hot/cold water station and got down to experimenting.

Before we began, I asked what O thought would happen when the pinecones hit the water.
"Melt. Change colour."
Actually nothing happened when our pine cones entered the H2O.
Nothing. At. All.

Our pinecones were already opened to the max.
The temperatures have yet to dip, so Ontario pine cones are still sharing their seeds with the squirrels!
We realized we were doing the experiment in reverse; once the pine cones were placed in the dry container, they closed right up.

And back we went for round two!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Hay Day

Telling Tales Festival

Back this year to our Fall Festival Favourite, Telling Tales
Our beloved school bus ride begins the day, from Rockton Parking to Westfield Heritage Center.

Next up (mom and dad's favourite stop!) is the Book Sale and Swap!
This year we brought a stack of old books, which you can swap for new-to-you books!
Everything else is under a toonie!

O was keen to sport the giant book-bearing backpack and pose with scarecrows.

While Baby C was getting cozy with as many scarecrows as she could get her mini hands on.

 Suck-Face Scarecrow

Along with characters from literature, dressed up and playing their part throughout the grounds, the Heritage Center opens their doors to the village for the event.

There was a buzz about Werner Zimmerman.
We happened upon his presentation, which was a short session in animation!!
He explained that all drawing starts with three simple shapes: the triangle, square and circle.
From there, you can create 3D forms.

Then he went on to create something more complex, based on his theory of Three Shapes; a Dragon!
He stuck to the rule I have heard time and again from every art teacher out there: KISS Keep It Simple, Silly.

Not only was he brilliant at teaching his sample sketch class, he was a fabulous story-teller.
He described an old story about a boy who wanted to draw like Chuck Jones (Looney Toons).
When the boy came face-to-face with the famous Jones, he asked how he could draw like him.
Chuck Jones replied, "Create 500 bad drawings."

Zimmerman encouraged parents and children alike to not be disheartened by ten, twenty, a hundred bad drawings.
It simply leads to better work.
Anne of Green Gables outside Westfield Train Station
Storytime with Sheree Fitch

O and Baby C saddled up front and center for storytime with Sheree Fitch, the female Dr. Seuss!
She kept the crowd busy with rhymes and tongue twisters from her work.

Paper Bag Princess

 Puppet Show Audience
The local libraries have a Puppet Show Stage that crams in eager little listeners, some of whom are a little leery of dragons!!

Before boarding the bus back, O & Baby C took some time to check out 'the airplane' as Baby C called it.
It's the Bookmobile! A traveling library!

Beautiful way to spend a Fall afternoon with your family...all for free!