Tag Archives: art

The Scream

We all have things that scare us, of course.  In the book that my 5th grade gifted students are reading, The Giver, the main character is “apprehensive” about an upcoming event.  To help the students connect to the text, I asked them to list some of the things that worry or scare them.  Using our green screen and the Green Screen app by DoInk, I had the students superimpose themselves on the image of Edvard Munch’s, The Scream.  The students then used the WordFoto app to add their specific fears to the picture.  Here is one result. (You can click on it to see a larger view.)


When I looked closely at this student’s final product, I noticed the word, “division.”  I was a little upset because I had told the students not to put silly things just to get a laugh.  In my mind, division and multiplication would fall into that category, especially since this particular student has never had any problems achieving well in math.

“Why did you put this word when I told you not to put something silly?” I asked him as I pointed at his picture.

He looked at me solemnly.  “I meant the division of people.  You know, how war and other things divide us.”


It’s good I asked…


What Made Me

I was recently doing research for an article and ran across this fabulous public art installation.  Wouldn’t this be cool to adapt for a classroom?  I don’t think that I can legally post any of the pics on my blog, but definitely check out the ones here, and comment below if you have ideas for classroom use!


Spectacular Sculptures

One app that I use for digital curation is Flipboard.  This app allows me to create my own digital magazines where I can collect links on various themes.  My “Fun Friday” magazine, for example, is where I add anything that looks cool, but isn’t especially educational.  As I was going through “Fun Friday” this week, I noticed that several articles were about unusual types of sculptures, so I decided to do a themed Phun Phriday post today:

Hollow: What Rushes Through Every Mind, image from the Mori Art Museum on Flickr.  Creative Commons License
Hollow: What Rushes Through Every Mind, image from the Mori Art Museum on Flickr. Creative Commons License

Bubble Wrap Versatility

Happy New Year!  I’m going to start off 2016 with a Fun Friday post about bubble wrap.  Although it’s not used quite as often to cushion packages, you might have acquired some during recent gift exchanges.  Here are some alternatives to adding it to the landfills.

  • Michael Fischler demonstrates his artistic process of creating bubble wrap art in this video.  The completed portrait is of musician Beth Thornley, whose music accompanies the video. Georges Seurat would be impressed!
  • To create a more edible work of art, this video demonstrates the use of bubble wrap and chocolate for creating a cake decoration that is beautiful and impressive.
  • New to the world of bubble wrap art?  You might want to start out by combining your bubble wrap with a rolling pin and paint for your first project.
Bubble Wrap Art via
Bubble Wrap Art via ElizaJaneCurtis on Flckr

Hopscotch Snowflake Tutorial

One of the apps that I recommend frequently is Hopscotch.  This free iOS app has been one of my all-time favorite creation tools ever since we tried it a few years ago during Hour of Code.  Using block programming that is similar to Scratch, Hopscotch allows users to create works of art, games, and even presentations.  (One of my 5th graders chose to use Hopscotch to present his Genius Hour information last year – much more interesting than PowerPoint!)

Hopscotch offers many tutorials, which are a great way to introduce students to the different coding possibilities in the app.  Earlier this school year, I mentioned that the company just released lesson plans for educators.

If you want to take your students beyond this year’s Hour of Code, you might want to try a Hopscotch tutorial, and then see how they can “remix” it to make it their own.  One that is great for this time of year is the Snowflake Tutorial.  Students can learn about symmetry, angles, and many other mathematical skills while they also obtain basic programming skills.  To top it all off, they can create digital works of art, and every single one will be different.

Hopscotch is an app that my students often mention they use at home on their own, a great example of using technology to create rather than merely to consume.

I would advise walking through any Hopscotch tutorial you assign so you can familiarize yourself with the tools.  Also, beware that earlier tutorials (before 2015) may look a bit different as the app has been updated since then.

For more ideas for using using coding in the classroom, check out my Programming for Kids Pinterest Board here.

from Hopscotch Snowflake Tutorial
from Hopscotch Snowflake Tutorial

Thanksgiving Special

Last year, Colossal did a story on artist Hannah Rothstein’s “Thanksgiving Special” series.  Rothstein imagined the Thanksgiving plates of 10 famous artists.  It would be fun to show students one or two examples, and then have them choose an artist to represent in their own Thanksgiving plate art.  This activity would not only amp up creativity, but also be a lesson in art history and in seeing things from another perspective.  You could also use it to teach about parody.

My favorite piece is the Mondrian.  But, you should definitely check out the others on Colossal or Hannah Rothstein’s website.

Thanksgiving Special Mondrian by Hannah Rothstein
Thanksgiving Special Mondrian by Hannah Rothstein

Is String Art Making a Comeback?

String art fascinated me as a child.  Creating circles out of straight lines of thread seemed so delightfully oxymoronic that I would mesmerize myself for hours doing it over and over again.  Since the only string art projects I did came from kits bought at the local hobby store, there wasn’t a lot of creativity embedded into my “art.” Like most people, I confined myself to following instructions, and never considered constructing my own designs.

I'm pretty sure this exact masterpiece used to hang in our living room.
I’m pretty sure this exact masterpiece used to hang in our living room. Image from: Darwin Bell on Flickr

In the last week, however, I’ve found articles about three different artists who would scoff at my string art portfolio.

Julian Saluud makes "cave paintings" using fluorescent string.
Julian Saluud makes “cave paintings” using fluorescent string.
Zenyk Palagniuk used 13,000 nails to make a portrait of a famous entertainer
Zenyk Palagniuk used 13,000 nails to make a portrait of a famous entertainer.
Son Lux animated the video for "Change is Everything" using pins and thread.
Son Lux animated the video for “Change is Everything” using pins and thread.

Now I realize just how unimaginative I’ve been all of these years.

If I was really creative, I  would have made a wall-sized owl with big lips using fluorescent string.

Another missed opportunity for fame and fortune.