Noilly Prattle: Call Me Mr. B. – Nine

Friday, May 31, 2013

Call Me Mr. B. – Nine

Grade 3

Hungry, Hungry Whale
(Multimedia project)

     I had fashioned several characters from various materials: milk cartons, PET bottles, papier mâché and paper clay that I used as models for various projects—such as the pink dinosaur on the right. One of these was a whale that I used as the basis for a multimedia project that included crayon, poster color, torn construction paper and images from flyers or magazines that I called the “Hungry, Hungry Whale”.

        This was a project for three weeks from start to finish. The first week was devoted to the base drawing which consisted of dividing the paper in half to establish the water zone and the sky zone and painting the whale and water zone. The papier mâché whale model was already set up before the class. The students were free to take “artistic license” with the style of the whale using the model only for proportions and juxtaposition of parts. Of course, they could faithfully try to reproduce the model if they were so inclined. My main instructions were to divide the paper in half with a “wave line” and to draw a large whale with a big open mouth [as in the drawing on the left].

         When the sketch was finished the students were instructed to outline their drawing with a dark crayon the color of their choice. They wax crayon functions as a barrier fence to prevent bleeding and contain the poster color paint within the desired shape. Once the outline was done I emphasized that they were to paint only the whale (any color) and the water, leaving the sky area white [picture on the right]. That was the conclusion of the first days lesson. The drawings were then put on the drying rack to dry and the painting materials washed and put away.

         Day Two was utilized in tearing old construction paper remnants (that I kept in a cardboard box from other projects) into roughly 1 ~ 2 cm. squares of four or five colors and gluing them around the whale for the sky. I encouraged the students not to make a slapdash hash of this technique. It takes some patience and focus to do it right. The idea was to outline fairly neatly the head and tail of the whale and then continue filling in the sky leaving some white space around the edges [picture on the left]. I'd-rather-be-running-around-the-playground Hiroshi's tendency was to tear huge chunks off the construction paper and glue them willy-nilly as quickly as possible—unable to control his enthusiasm. When I spotted him doing this I would give him the “teacher look” and remind him to tear smaller pieces and do some repair work. Results were, of course, uneven! When the torn paper sky was fully pasted the work was again put onto the drying rack to dry.

         For the third and final day of this project I instructed the kids to bring illustrated flyers and old magazines or catalogs, etc., to school. Then I told the students that this was a very strange and very hungry whale that would eat anything. The challenge was to find all kinds of pictures, cut them carefully out of the flyers, mags., etc., and paste them so that they would appear to be going into the whale's mouth, or, if you, prefer, throwing up from the whale's mouth. Once the whale's “food” was done, I told the students to decorate the rest of the picture in a colorful and playful manner. One final trip to the drying rack and the project was finished. The results would look something like this depending on the eye and skill of the particular kid. 

Hungry, Hungry Whale

        But, the very nature of the project was a lot of fun that the kid's could plunge into with great gusto and make an absolute mess of the Art Room floor by the end of the period. They would also “help” clean up with equally great gusto leaving two or three large plastic bags bulging with unused, crumpled and torn flyers, catalogs, etc. Great fun was had by all!

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