Friday, August 1, 2014

Preschool art inspired by Giacometti's elongated figures

August 1st happens to be the National Swiss Day . So I will take this chance to introduce you to one of the most famous Swiss sculptor and painter : Alberto Giacometti.

Grade Level:  I intended this art lesson for preschoolers and / or kindergartners . It is designed for children with a low attention span .

Material needed : For this project , you will only need :
                                        * Some chenilles or pipe cleaners (whatever you call them)
                                        *  A piece of white paper for each student
                                        * Some glue

Resources: You can find some informations on this Swiss artist and his work online . However let me summarize it a little bit for you .
             Biography : Alberto Giacometti was a Swiss sculptor and painter . He was born on October 10 1901 , in a town called Borgonovo , in the Southern part of Switzerland . He was the son of the post-impressionist painter Giovanni Giacometti . He was the oldest of four children . Two of his brothers (Diego and Bruno) will also become artist themselves .
                                  Alberto Giacometti , first studied art at the Fine Art School (Ecole des Beaux-Arts) in Geneva , Switzerland . He then moved to Paris , where he attended the sculpting class of Antoine Bourdelle (an associate of Auguste Rodin ).
                                   Alberto Giacometti is known for his paintings and drawings of slim subjects and his elongated sculptures such as "The three men walking II" (1949)  .
                                   He died in 1966 , in Chur , Switzerland , of heart disease .
                                   He is the face on the bill of 100 Swiss francs .

               Art: Among his work , are the following (that you can show your students) :
                       (1) "L'homme qui marche" ("The walking man" ) which is a life size bronze sculpture . (You can see an image of it on the back of the bill of 100 Swiss francs ).

                       (2) "Les 3 hommes qui marchent " ("The 3 walking men II" ) ,1949 . Another sculpture .

                       Some drawing of his elongated scultpures are :
                       (3) "Sculptures" , 1950
                       (4) "Homme debout" ("Man standing") , 1957 .

Activity : The goal of this activity will be to have the students create a stick-like figure with pipe cleaners and glue it on a piece of white paper.The figure should be "moving" , for example walking , dancing , running , etc.

(1) Each student will be given 2 and a half pipe cleaners , as well as a white paper .
(2) With the first pipe cleaner , the student will make the head by twisting a circle . Like this :


 .
(3) The student will then fold the end of the pipe cleaner to make a foot .
(4) He/she will take the half pipe cleaner to make the second leg . Fold the end of it to create the foot and attach it to the main pipe cleaner by twisting it around the body . Just like this :


(5) He/she will twist the last pipe cleaner around the upper body to make the arms . The student should give it the desired shape so the figure will look like they are dancing , running etc. This one looks like he is trying to catch someone or something :


(6) Once this is done the only thing left to do is to glue the pipe cleaner on the white paper and let it dry .


Tada ! It is finished . It is a very simple project to do with your students . Have fun :)

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

More gardening adventures

Hi everyone ! Sorry for not posting for a while . I spent a couple of weeks with my fabulous sister and then I had pretty much a ton of work to catch up . But I am back , and I will keep you up-to-date with my gardening adventures . As you remember I started a little garden last March . I went a little bit overboard by planting several flowers and a lot of vegetables . So let see how things are going almost four months later ...

Herbs :
I love to add fresh herbs when I am cooking . So Last March , I planted a few of them . I planted some cilantro , some dill , some sweet basil , some parsley and some spearmint . It started to get really hot since last month , and the herbs were having a hard time to put up with the heat . So I had to bring them inside where they kept thriving . I did not take any more pictures of most of the herbs, but they grew a lot ....and we ate and enjoyed  them a lot . The spearmint started to grow pretty late (in comparison to the other herbs ) so I took a couple of photographs to show to you :



I am quite happy with it as it is the very first time that I am able to grow any spearmint ! Can't wait to try some :)

The thyme and the oregano did not grow .I will have to try again at some other time !

Vegetables :
As you may remember , I went crazy and started to grow a lot of different vegetables . I was just curious to see what I could grow .

(1) Tomatoes : The tomatoes were a complete success ! They have been growing amazingly ! I had grown tomatoes before , but I never saw anything like that ! I get 10 to 13 grape tomatoes each day. That is not much , but plenty to add to a salad :) Take a look at them :


They were growing so much and becoming so big , I had to transplant the tomato plants in bigger pots and move the pots from the shelf to the floor . I was a little shaky , because I am not too good at transplanting plants ....but they survived !










Don't they look delicious ? These are all grape tomatoes , because they are my kid's favorite . But I also recently tried to plant two grape vine tomato plants ...there are slowly starting to grow .







(2) Radishes:
Well , what can I say ? The radishes were pretty much of a disaster ! With the exception of one , they did not thrive . I believe they did not have enough sun on the shelf . They were fighting to get some sunshine . The leaves became very big ...but the radishes themselves stayed tiny . To try again in full sun !

(3) Zucchini or Italian squash :
We had already two or three of them . Not all the zucchini that start growing are maturing . I think it might be because of a lack of bees and an incomplete pollination process . However the ones we had were simply very tasty :)






If you never tried to grow zucchini before , you should . It is relatively easy ! It was the first that I tried :)

(4) Green beans :
I love green beans , but I didn't know if I could grow any . Oh , what the heck ! I just had to try . It started very well...(Most of the plants will generally start well !) ....And it kept growing ! I started to see some little white flowers (Sorry ! No pictures ! All of them got fuzzy !) ...And then  a few days later , as I was watering the garden ...I lifted a leaf ...and they were ...green beans ....waiting to  be picked up !! Yoohoo !!! I had done it !






(5) Spinach: Sadly none of the spinach survived ! Heat or ...bugs .. or squirrels :(

(6) Peas : I tried planting some peas again (as the other ones died ...) One plant started growing again ....and yesterday .... I noticed a couple of little flowers .


We'll see what happen next !!!!

(7) Onions: I am not sure what the deal is with the onions.. they seem to have a hard time to thrive ...They do not look like they are growing  much ...



(8) Yellow squash : Just like the zucchini ..it is pretty easy to grow , but once again , not all of them mature .






Mmmm.....yummy !!!

(9) Carrots : Hmm .. the carrots have beautiful leaves ... but their bodies seem very small ...I think they are missing some sun . I planted them with the beans , and they ended up covered by the bean leaves ..




I got impatient ..and I had to see how small one of the carrot was ...See what I mean ?




(10) Lettuce : The lettuce ...At first it did not grow...But I read somewhere that the soil needs to be a certain temperature ...and it should NOT be planted too deep...So I tried again ...and here we are ...



See how beautiful it is growing ?


Look at that ! I was so excited  !!!


The lettuce was growing perfectly .....until the starving squirrels ate them all :(....And now they were all gone... Sigh ...

(11) Peppers : Here are the peppers ...


The plant was getting many leaves ...



Even some flowers ...


But then it was hot ...and I think I made yet another mistake ...I overwatered it !!! Now the leaves and the flowers are falling off ....Oh well ...

Flowers :
Let's take a look at our flowers ...Remember , unlike the vegetables , I tried to plant them directly in the soil .

(1) Nasturtium : They seem to be growing well . They can handle a pretty rough soil and seem perfect to grow in our garden .











I was not too excited about those flowers , but they end up to be very pretty with their bright colors :)

(2) Mammoth sunflowers :
And here comes the drama of my beloved giant sunflowers . It is one of my favorite flowers to grow and it is usually fairly easy . But this year ....Oh , my goodness !!! Between the rollie pollies and the squirrels ...it is has been a huge fight ! I had five of them ....and then ...
Look at this one ...it was about 3 to 4 feet tall ...and one morning I went out to find it like that . A squirrel had dug a tunnel underneath completely damaging it :(


I found out that putting an empty roll of toilet paper around the seedling helps protecting the sunflower against the rollie pollies...at least it worked for a while ...


You can remove it once it is bit enough !
This one was my last one ...I thought it was safe from both the rollie pollies and the squirrels ...I couldn't wait for it to bloom ...


But then ....one morning ...I just couldn't believe my eyes ...



....bitten away by a naughty little rodent ...:'(  ..Even knocking down one of my poor little garden gnomes...



Here is a view of my vegetable garden ...



 Whatever happens to your garden , don't get mad . Just remember that it is a learning experience . As I said in the first post , I am not a green thumb ....but I am learning as I go ...and believe it or not , it is a fun experience. Now if you do that with your children ..they will have the upper hand by the time they get grown-up .Not only that , but they will also more likely appreciate healthy food . All right ! That is is for today . I wish you all a happy gardening adventure :)