What a blast! This was my first time presenting at
a carousel and wow was I energized and winded by the end!
What's a carousel you ask? Not the standard Wikipedia definition for
sure. It’s four educators with 4 different lessons/themes all
speaking for 10 minutes then rotating to a new table and repeating
the process 4 times. Got that?!?
Well, mine was on
Identity and if you were there and now here looking for the lessons I
talked about, look no further!
an anomaly for me to have a class of this size but once in a blue
moon I do. When they show up and the energy is right, we like to work
large and messy and spread out over the tables. This is the result after
two weeks working in oil pastels, a mini exhibition in the cafeteria!
Honestly - What
student doesn’t love painting with oil pastels – aside from being bright and
vibrant they fill that much needed craving for instant gratification which many
students need. One of the reasons they
are such a big hit in my class is the simple fact they make my students feel
successful. They can see the painting unfold before their eyes as they apply
the colors. Seeing their painting take shape
encourages them to want to finish their piece, which we all know, can be challenging
Oil pastels are also sensory orientated
– it’s very much like finger painting with nothing between your fingers and the
paper except a stick of color that will melt-a-way like butter as you use it. Working large is another key to my student’s success;
it often turns into a whole body experience for my students. Many will stand up to work on their pieces
leaning over the tables throwing their shoulders and elbows into their work, building
and blending colors, then sitting down with their heads close to the paper as
they apply the fine details that gives them a realistic edge.
The most exciting part for me is watching my students
puff up with pride when their peers come up to them and comment how awesome their
With my 7th grade classes, I incorporate observational drawing into
their oil pastel paintings. The 8th graders, I let them choose a photo of
an animal to recreate with the oil pastels.
I love how quite my room is when this project is going on!
More photo's of the animal paintings will be posted later this week. My camera died last week and so did some of my photos :(
new project that my students and I have come to love is one that’s
constructed out of 30 small pieces of paper. We call it the
Modular Sphere – unexciting as a name, I know, but I do teach middle school and
Paper Balls just doesn’t fly well or should I say fly’s too well! Regardless of the name, the sphere’s come out
amazing well! Many of my students continue to make them at home long after the
lesson is over.
First step is to cut out the 30 individual temples you need to build the sphere.
Adding color to each piece.
Assembling the sphere.
If you are interested in creating one yourself or with your class, I have made a demo video showing how it is done. The temple to the small sphere can be found here: