Thursday, October 6, 2011

Finally Doing Something Fun

I read Rafe Esquith's book Teach like your Hair's on Fire a few weeks ago.  It was one of those books that makes me feel guilty that I don't teach as well or as thoroughly as he does. As much as I would love to run things as efficiently as he does. I had to remind myself that he teaches one grade and the same grade every year. He can reuse and make minor changes to his yearly curriculum but more or less teach the same things every year. Yeah the kids, the Shakespeare play and the music changes each year but the activities are more or less the same.  I have to reinvent the wheel each year with students in multiple grades, some who can't read well or do the same math.  But I really enjoyed the book and took what ideas I could from it.

One of the things that quickly caught my attention was the art projects his kids do. I would love to do the string art project that he describes in the book but I don't see my kids doing that one right now. But one of the other project he mentions in the art section is a plaster mask. He does it every October for Halloween. I figured I could rationalize this as a sort of history project. Sort of a mummy type thing. But really it is just a fun project.

So I bought some plaster bandages. I actually got them on ebay. I got 6 rolls for the same price Amazon was selling one. I didn't know how much plaster bandages I would need to make the masks so 6 rolls sounded good. It ended up being a whole lot. I used 1 and a half rolls to make all 4 masks. So perhaps we will be doing this project next year as well. I certainly am ready if we have any broken bones.

Henry was the first victim. I covered his eyebrows and face with petroleum jelly so that it would come off without too much fuss and with out pulling out the hairs. Then we set to work on the bandages. 

 None of the kids wanted me to cover their eyes or mouth so we left them open.
 I can't say it ended up being really smooth. Perhaps I was in too much of a rush. These kids were somewhat impatient to "see the results", they couldn't hold still.
 Sophie was next.
 I was surprised at how quickly the plaster dried so the kids could take the masks off.
 Ian was a little skeptical of the whole thing. He thought it might be a little scary to lay there on the table and have plaster all over his face. But eventually he did it because I think he knew he would miss out on the painting later. And of course the camera battery died right then so I don't have any pictures of him laying on the table. He was by far the wiggliest and would wrinkle up his eyes so I had to keep smoothing them out.
 Here he is with his finished project once I got the camera back to full power.
 I sort of liked them just white but the kids were determined to paint them.

 That night they also insisted that my husband have a mask of his own. So he let himself be covered in plaster as well.
 It has been a whole 2 days since we made the masks and Sophie has been pestering me about painting them. So this afternoon, since it was raining anyway, I broke out the paints and they got down to business.

 Molly woke up from her nap and had to do a little painting as well.
 Here are the finished masks. The painted them any way they wanted.
 Sophie was determined to make hers look Egyptian.  I think she did a great job.

So my kids can't say we never do anything fun! Now... what am I going to do with these masks? Do I mount them on the wall? If I don't they will soon get smashed. I guess we will see what happens.


Bibliophile said...

This looks like a fun activity! It's always good to have an art project or wiggly thing to do to change the day from boring......

Chocolate on my Cranium said...

Wow! What an awesome art project! I will definitely have to try this with my kids. They will think I am the coolest mom. :)

Malissa said...

Looks like so much fun!! You always seem to have such great ideas!

Mama Bird said...

What a great idea following you