Friday, 27 March 2015

Blue Abyss End of Term Display

Right, this is the last post for a couple of weeks at least because the Easter holidays have now begun! I thought I'd leave you with this wonderful picture of the Blue Abyss display board. There are a few examples of our Blue Abyss paintingsjellyfish and bioluminescent fish.

Another teacher next door to me was given a present by one of her children that they'd been working on over a few weeks to do with the topic. I thought it was fantastic and most definitely deserved having its picture taken and posted on here, so here you go:

I will definitely be using this project idea with a future class of mine!

Have a great Easter!


Thursday, 26 March 2015

Blue Abyss Painting

We've whizzed through another half-term and tomorrow is our last day in school before a lovely 2-week break (so it will be quite quiet on here for a bit!)

I came across this beautiful art activity on Pinterest and knew straight away that it would match in very well with our Blue Abyss topic as it looks like you're looking up from the deep blue abyss towards the sky.

This was an excellent opportunity to teach the children about value, tints and shades. We watched a short video introducing the new terminology and worked through a few brief examples to consolidate our learning. They were amazed at how many different colours could be created just by simply adding small amounts of different colours.

Paper- we used square paper for the children and I think this had the best effect
Poster/tempera paint- Blue, white and black
Black sugar paper to cut out creatures

Making this artwork followed a clear structure which was a good test of how well the children could listen and work in pairs.

1. Start with a small white circle in the centre of the paper

2. Add a hint of blue to the white and mix thoroughly. When mixed, paint another circle around the white circle, slightly overlapping as you go.

3. Repeat this step slowly adding more blue until the grade of blue is similar to the blue paint on its own.

4. Now do the next circle just with the pure blue paint.

5. Finish off the last couple of rings/corners, adding a hint of black to the blue each time.

6. For the creatures, children worked from a help-sheet that gave them guidance for drawing their creatures. They then cut these out from black sugar paper and applied them to their art when it was dry.

We had previously talked about perspective and how the animals in the middle of the piece should be smaller to make it look like they're further away, with the creatures closer to the outside being larger as if they were closer.

I'm very pleased with the results and have had numerous teachers popping in their heads to compliment the results.

Excellent, 4B!


Friday, 20 March 2015


Following on from our super bioluminescent fish, we embarked upon a 2-week activity that resulted in a bloom of jellyfish (yes, I had to google what the collective noun was)

I had previously stumbled across this great project on One Crayola Short and thought it'd make a great addition to our Blue Abyss topic.

Attempting to do this with a group of 30 was perhaps a mistake. At first, glue managed to get into every corner of the classroom and the children weren't really smoothing down their tissue paper on both sides. I strongly recommend a really detailed model. I usually make my own in preparation but unfortunately didn't have the time on this occasion.

We got there eventually in a couple of lessons and it was lovely to see such great teamwork and camaraderie with children helping each other cut and stick all of the extra little details.

Here are the results:

They're ready just in time for the second parent-teacher consultation evening. I'm sure they'll be a hit!


Wednesday, 11 March 2015

3D Letters and Lollipop Stick Names

Every year, a group of children in Year 6 opt to stay in school rather than going away on a trip. I was asked to do a WHOLE DAY of art with these children as a treat and I very quickly agreed! A very successful project that I've done previously is this 3D letter idea. Before, we did it as a large group of a 3-week period. Due to only having 8 children in the class this time, I thought we'd try squeezing it all into one day. Thankfully, it worked!

Instructions for the project are all on the link in the first paragraph. Here are the results:

The Boys:

The Girls:

Due to the group working so well, we had some extra time at the end. Each child was given roughly 12 lollipop sticks and told that they had to spell out their name or initials. They laid out their designs first and then glued them together. To finish, they painted and a couple of the group glued on a pipe-cleaner as a hanger.

Good job, Year 6!


Monday, 9 March 2015

Bioluminescent Fish

As I said before half-term, we have now begun our new topic, "Blue Abyss." I was racking my brain for art project ideas to do with fish and browsed Pinterest but just couldn't decide what to do. I then came across my Klimt 'Tree of Life' scratch art project that I did with Art Club and felt that this was perfect! I thought that the same method could be used to create our very own bioluminescent fish (fish that emit their own light.) We learnt about bioluminescence and also watched some amazing clips of these fish and creatures in action.

Black paint
Washing up liquid

1. You need to cover your piece of paper completely with wax crayon. This can be a laborious task but to give it a bit more structure I showed my children the following pictures. I explained that they should start with one colour and draw random regular and irregular shapes across their page. They then take another colour and add a shape to each of the shapes already drawn. This process is repeated until the page is completely covered with colour. The final product looks much better with a range of colours and quite small shapes so that when you scratch, the colour changes a lot.

2. The next stage is to paint over the crayon page with black paint. The look of horror on the children's faces is always hilarious! It is important to mix washing-up liquid with the black paint for it to work. I don't know the exact reason or how it works but I'm guessing that it helps make the paint easier to scratch off and make it less flaky. I used probably about 2/3 paint and 1/3 washing-up liquid. To get a good covering, use short paint strokes, almost like dabbing the paint on. This will let less colour through. Make sure you can an even covering.

3. When it is completely dry, it's time to start scratching! I gave my students about half a lesson to do a detailed plan of their fish on plain paper and gave them a sheet of different shapes and sizes they could use for inspiration. It's important to stress that errors in scratch art can't be erased so they need to be careful and take their time! These are the stages that I recommended when scratching in their fish:

- Draw your outline carefully and go over it a couple of times for it to really stand out

- Add scales to the main art of your fish's body. I modelled how these can be drawn by first making rainbow shapes and then on the next row, doing the same shape but from the middle of one rainbow to the middle of the next. Hard to explain but I'm sure you know what I mean!

- Add patterns to the scales. I recommended using patterns on every other row of scales but let children do this how they wanted to. I left a lot of different patterns on the board so that everyone would have ideas. If I had more time, it would've been nice to give everyone a post-it note which they could draw a pattern on. You could then stick these all up in the classroom and have a big ideas wall!

- Finally, you can add any extra details that you'd like such as sea-weed or other small fish.

That completes the bioluminescent fish walk-through! The children had lots of fun using a technique a bit out of the ordinary and they're proud of their fish. They really come to life when stuck up on a window with the light shining through. They really look like they're giving off their own light!

Please let me know if you attempt this in your own school/class, I'd love to see results!

Here are ours:

They certainly catch the eye. They're ofFISHally fintastic.