Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Musical Mandalas

A mandala is... An integrated structure organized around a unifying center. ~Longchenpa

Aren't these spectacular? Can you believe that they were made by fourth graders? A-ma-zing. And, as a bonus, there is a math tie in and, as one of my smart followers pointed out, Social Studies!

images of Mandalas, posterboard or matboard scraps for background (I use the back of Flawboard), ice cream lid and cool whip lid to make circles, old CDs, hot glue gun, pencil, protractor (larger ones work best), ruler, permanent markers- thin black and regular sized colored

Step 1: Discuss Mandalas and show examples. Some great resources are Mandalas of the World, Mandala coloring book, and The Mandala Project online.

Step 2: Using pencil, trace around the two lids to make concentric circles- these will be used as guidelines and may be erased later.

Step 3: Hot glue an old CD (blank side up) in the center of the circles, making sure it is centered.
(Notice that there are no circles drawn around the CD in the photo below? I realized much later that it is easier to draw the circles BEFORE gluing on the CD.)

Step 4: Using the fine tip permanent marker, draw a dot in the center of the CD.Line a ruler up with the dor and draw a line across the CD.

Step 5: Find the hole at the bottom of the protractor (shown by the arrow in the 1st photo below) and line it up with the dot in the center of the CD. Make sure that the black lines on the protractor's bottom line up with the black line that has been drawn across the CD (shown in 2nd photo).

Step 6: Keep the protrator in this position and make a mark at every 30 degrees (30, 60, 90, 120, 150, 180). Flip the board around and repeat steps 5 and 6 so that the CD is marked every 30 degrees all the way around, as shown in the 2nd photo below.

Step 7: Using the ruler, connect the marks at 90 degrees so that you now have perpendicular lines (math term!)

Step 8: Continue connecting the marks all the way around to make 12 equal 30 degree sections. *Note: be sure to remind students that when they line up the two marks, they also should line the ruler up with the center dot. I have had students connect the wrong marks! If a mistake occurs, whiteboard cleaner on a kleenex will remove the permanent marker.

Step 9: For this step, use the fine line permanent black marker. Focusing on one wedge, draw a simple design using lines and shapes. Use the center circles to help space out your design.

Step 10: Repeat this same design in the remaining sections. Remind students that the design uses Radial Symmetry (math term!), meaning that it is the same all the way around. Again, use the circles as a guide to line up the design.

Step 11: Using the ruler and PENCIL, lightly extend the sections out on to the board, past the edges of the previously drawn circles. Remember, these are guidelines and may not be kept, depending upon the design.
Step 12: Using the previously drawn lines as guides, draw another design in one of the sections. I have the students use pencil at this point.

Step 13: Once the design is decided upon, trace the lines to be kept with the fine line permanent marker.

Step 14: Continue the design in the remaining sections, making sure to line everything up as carefully as possible. Use the guielines to help space things out. (Oops! Someone got antsy about coloring before taking the photo!)

Step 15: Have students choose 5 or 6 colors to use in their design. Explain that dark colors should not be placed next to other dark colors.
*Note: Have the students make a mark using each color on the BACK of their board so that they may match them up during the next week.
*Note: Colors will show up lighter on the CD than on the board.
Finished Mandala

Some totally engaged students:

Some finished masterpieces!

View our gallery of Mandalas on Artsonia.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Cupid's Weave

This is a fun lesson to do with my kinders and serves as an introduction to weaving.
Materials: 9" X 12" construction paper in various colors, scissors, pencil, weaving strips, decorative papers (for smaller weaving strips & small 3" X 5" pieces for heart shapes), heart templates cut from posterboard/cardboard, glue,
For mounting: paper fasteners, 1/8" hole paper punch, posterboard
Step 1~
Have students choose one piece of 9" X 12" paper and fold it in half, as shown below. Along the opened end, have students draw a pencil line accross the top, about 1" down from the edge. Students should write their names on the line. Once weaving begins, it will be important that their names are on the edge, rather than in the middle.
Step 2~
Students begin cutting from the bottom (folded) up to the line and stop. Repeat cutting approximately every inch or so apart. It isn't necessary to measure; just remind students not to make their cuts too close together or they will have more work later, during weaving.
I tell the students that their papers should look like a hula skirt or car wash when they are finished! My students respond well when I give them visual imagery like this.
Step 3~ Have students open up their papers and demonstrate weaving. I tell my kinders that their papers are like dirt and the weaving strips are worms. The "worms" are going to go under and over the dirt until it reaches the other side. Then, the next worm goes over and under- just the opposite of the first worm. I then tell them that their worms have to snuggle up next to each other so that more worms can fit. I often walk around and help with this part as they work.
"The worms."
Before they begin weaving, I show them how "Mr. Wrong" does his weaving, demonstrating several mistakes. They enjoy catching these mistakes and often giggle and yell out, "No!"

Step 4~
In the next step, students will add the "baby worms" to the weaving. They slide a thin paper strip through their weaving, one on top of each "mama worm." Yes, I tell them that each mama needs a baby!
To make these smaller strips, I simply sent some decorative paper through our school's shredder.
A student's weaving with the "babies" on top of the "mamas."

Step 5~
Pass out several 3" X 5" pieces of decorative paper to the students and have them choose 3 different ones. Students trace around the heart templates and then cut the hearts out. Remind students to use the back of the paper to draw on so that their pencil lines will not show in the finished product. All scraps are saved for a future project!

Step 6~
Students glue their hearts to their weavings. Their weavings may be turned either direction, but all hearts should be oriented in the same way. Remind students not to be "glue monsters"- a little bit goes a long way. *smile*

Step 7~
I have my students turn their papers over (on the floor) and "rub their backs" to make the glued on pieces lie down.

Finished student project.

Step 8~ (optional)
To display the students' weavings, I punch a small hole in each corner and, using paper fasteners, attach them to pieces of white posterboard. The vivid colors really pop against the background.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Happy Heart Flags

Today is my husband and my 19th wedding anniversary. I decided to create something homemade this year, so this vignette is what I came up with. Bonus- it doubles for Valentine's Day. I have directions for the flags at the end of this post.

This cool banner is from Lisa Frost. Love her work!

The flags are homemade.

I also made the heartstrings, based on Little Birdie Secrets' blog post.

My husband wanted cupcakes, so I bought this cool holder at Wal-Mart.

I put candy in the jar to hold the branch in place. The branch, by the way, is glittered.

More decorations came from Meijer.

How to make the flags:
Step 1: Get an old book, preferably one that has been discarded from the library! Using an X-Acto knife, carefully cut along the spine to remove the pages.

Step 2: Cut each page into a triangular flag shape.

Step 3: Notch each top corner. I have shown where to cut by adding black lines here- you should cut on these lines. *Note- by adding this notch, the edges won't show when it is folded down in a later step.

Step 4: Collect a bunch of really cool papers. Have I mentioned that I LOVE paper??

Step 5: Cut some hearts from the decorative papers and glue one heart to each flag.

Step 6: Add a line of glue along the top (notched) edge and lay a cord or string in the glue. *Note- do not cut this cord- keep it on the spool so the flags can be strung up.

Step 7: Fold the notched edge down over the cord and press to seal.

Step 8: Get some cardstock or heavy scrapbook paper to use as backing.

Step 9: Glue the flag to the backing , lining up the top edges.

Step 10: Using some fancy edged scissors, cut the cardstock so that just a small edge shows around the flag.

Step 11: Continue until you have your desired length.