"A Faithful Attempt" is designed to showcase a variety of K-12 art lessons, the work of my art students, as well as other art-related topics. Projects shown are my take on other art teacher's lessons, lessons found in books or else designed by myself.
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LAND ACKNOWLEDGEMENT I acknowledge, with deep respect, that I am gathered on Treaty 7 territory. I acknowledge the many First Nations, M├ętis and Inuit whose footsteps have marked these lands for generations. I respect the histories, languages and cultures all the Indigenous peoples of Canada, whose presence continues to enrich our community.

Monday, March 29, 2021

Paper Mache Foods with Moods

One of my most popular lessons according to my students! I enjoy it but these take forever to finish and there's lots of drying time involved- it helps to work on two projects simultaneously. 

I've posted this lesson previously HERE and HERE.

Grade 4 - 6 students started by building the general form of their chosen food using newspaper and masking tape. Make eyes and features separately and tape them securely on. 

Then cover them with paper mache- we use strips of paper towels or newsprint because we have lots in our classroom. As a paste, I use Elmer's Art Paste- it's essentially wallpaper paste. You just add water and it thickens up nicely. 

We set them on containers to dry overnight. 

Prime them with white acrylic paint or gesso.

Then paint them using acrylics. Varnish when dry and come up with a creative mood for your food!

Some finished work- Grade 4,5,6


Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Twig or Branch Weaving

One of my favourite projects!!  It takes forever to complete but a great project for the last couple of months of school. It forces the kids to concentrate and really take their time.
I posted all the detailed steps previously HERE.

I teach this to my mixed grade class of grades 4 - 6. It's definitely super tricky for many of the grade 4's, especially the boys who struggle more with knotting and fine motor skills. So spend some time teaching how to tie knots.

I bought this book about 20 years ago!

The toughest part of this project is finding an appropriate branch. It needs to be sturdy and have a good fork in it. No floppy or overly flexibly branches!  We have a wooded park near my school so I take my classes there and we go hunting for branches on the ground (dried, not fresh branches are the best). I also encourage kids to bring them from home. It takes a long time to fine the perfect branch so don't leave this until the last minute! You can paint colourful stripes on your twig first, with acrylics, for a pop of extra colour.

Choose a neutral colour for the warp thread and tie it securely to one end and wrap it around the entire fork and tie it off.
Then start with one colour of yarn, tie it on and add the needle. Go over under over under. When you reach the end, go back the other direction. Use a fork to tap down the yarn so you get a nice tight weave. Switch colours as needed. 

We weave these using plastic needles- they're perfect for this. 
I buy the Roylco brand "plastic lacing needles".

I store my yarn according to colours in plastic bags. 

Some finished twigs:


Thursday, March 11, 2021

Amate Bark Paintings


This is a beautiful painting lesson that introduces students the Mexican folk art of amate bark painting.
Amate or bark paper is handmade paper made is made by stripping the bark from a wild fig, nettle or mulberry tree—each tree provides a different tone, ranging from brown to white. The bark is cleaned and dried before it is placed in a pot of boiling water for seven to eight hours. Then it is separated into fiber strips and pounded with a flat rock into a sheet of paper. Once dry, it's used as a base for whimsical paintings depicting wildlife and plants and flowers or village scenes.
I have two samples of my own which I show students. You can often find these at thrift stores!

For our paper, we used brown butcher paper from a roll. 
Students sketched out their designs in pencil. 

Then went over all their lines using Sharpies. 
Then they crumbled their paper to give it a natural paper look and feel. 

They painted these using tempera paint as well as neon acrylic colours. 
Adding a bit of white to each colour will make it more opaque. 

Once dry, they added dots and lines for extra detail and then touched everything up 
with the Sharpies again.

Some Grade 4, 5, 6 paintings:

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