Connecting and Building Relationships with String Art

I know it’s been a while but I hate blogging just to blog – I always want to post the valuable things I do rather than bore you with random words about my day to day.

This past week we had a visiting artist, Amanda Morrow, local from Des Moines, come and work with students on String Art.  The students created two pieces – K-2 worked on a 3’x3′ Findley Paw and 3-5 worked on a 2’x4′ piece with “I Have a Dream” written.

To prepare the students we discussed and watched some videos of string art. During this I had students make observations and draw conclusions about the videos they saw.  You can see the prezi I made here.

When Amanda was here, I sent 3-4 students up to work with her at time during which they were physically involved in the creation of the string art.  We had to play with our master schedule so that all students would get enough time but the staff I work with are incredible flexible so everything worked out.

While students were in small group, of course I then had the rest of the class to occupy.  Rather than continuing another lesson, we did some “faux” string art on paper.  K-2 were given a worksheet with a set of dots and after reviewing what we concluded from the videos, connected the dots with color using straight lines from  one dot to another and continuing without picking up the colored medium until we were ready to “cut” the string.  At this point, they could then change colors and try a different design.  3-5 were given a more general worksheet with no dots because they were to create their own design of nails using dots.  To help them, we reviewed shapes and how to turn letters into bubble letters so that everything was a shape (string art doesn’t work well with just lines unless the design is 100% abstract).  They created their shapes, transformed them into dotted shapes and then repeated the same process K-2 did with color.  Because I have more time with 3-5, they also took their design and could either transfer it to a nicer project paper and finalize it for Artsonia or they could create a second design for Artsonia.

Believe it or not, this simple activity to have them do while small groups met was a hit! Students loved creating their own design. And they loved brainstorming how they might do it at home.  It is my hope to get some donations from hardware stores so I could send home DIY (with a parent) kits for them to work on.

Here is the document I made for K-2. Here is the document I made for 3-5.  If a K-2 individual was confident with the dots, I would challenge them with the 3-5.  If a 3-5 individual was confident with design, I would have them enlarge their ideas to negative and positive space.

This was a great residency for many reason – one, the two piece have two purposes.  One is being auctioned off in a fundraiser through an organization that supports our school.  The other gets to hang in our building.  Another great thing? The conversations.  Students really found a connection with our artist and felt pride in the work they were doing.  It wasn’t a difficult task but it was an exciting one as they saw the work get completed.  One student said “My favorite part was…well, I imagined the nails as people and we were connecting them with the string, bringing them together.” I mean, talk about powerful.  And it’s affordable! Students CAN do this at home – it’s not unheard of and it’s easy for parents to get ahold of versus some of the other residencies you see with mural artists or large scale sculptures.


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