Grade 5 – 3D Pixel Pokemon

This was a very nice project and the kids really enjoyed it! They were asked to first create their own, unique Pokemon. They were then given a piece of mathematical paper (with a grid) and told to lightly draw their pokemon on this paper in pencil.

They were then shown how to transform this organic shape into one made out of square pixels. Once they had done this they were told how to make these pixels ‘3D’. They had to draw a line from each corner going diagonally left and up to the next corner of their grid paper (but not going through their Pokemon!) Once they had all of these corner bits done, they could link the corners with a line. It took a little explaining to get this process going but, once I had shown them an example or two of me doing it, the learners got it! I loved their creations!


Grade 5 – Matisse cut and paste

Matisse was a very versatile artist. Though he is most well known for his Fauvist works, he was also a realist painter in his younger days and a very experimental ‘cut and paste’ artist in his twilight years.

I originally discovered this project on the fantastic page deep space sparkle. It was a very nice project! It was pretty simple and the outcome was some beautiful artwork!

The lesson began with a brief introduction to Henri Matisse. I showed his art through the ages and talked about his influence on the direction that fine art went. I then showed some examples of the project and explained what the learners would be doing.

The lesson begins with the learners taking pieces of coloured paper, cutting into shapes and creating a background with them. I explained how these pieces of paper must be quite large so they don’t distract from the figure and how they should not be just horizontal and vertical as this does not communicate movement – and we wanted our dancers to be moving! To introduce the figure, I had precut pieces of black paper for a head, torso, pelvis, upper and lower arms, upper and lower legs as well as feet and hands. I called the learners up to arrange this on a piece of board using press stick so that the figure was dancing.

The learners then worked on their own artworks. As usual they took what I told them and pushed it far further than I had imagined! A few of them I had to remind about adding clothing and extra details to increase the look of the work.

Grade 5 – James Rizzi

James Rizzi was an American pop artist who was based in New York. His work sought to inspire people and promote such values as love and unity. I discovered him accidently while looking for a nice project for the Grade 5s. We had only one period left of term 1 and so we needed something quick but also fun!

James Rizzi

After a quick introduction to Rizzi, the Grade 5s were introduced to their project. Rizzi had many large scale murals and art pieces of a city where the smiling buildings were alive and interacted with the citizens. The city featured in many of Rizzi’s artworks was obviously his own city of New York, our Grade 5s were asked to do their own city of Cape Town!

They started with an A3 piece of white paper. They took a black crayon and drew the outlines of the buildings and landmarks around town. Some of the learners found this difficult as they like the safety of the pencil and eraser! They then were asked to paint their city in bright colors!

Grade 5 – MONKEYBIZ Papier Mache

MonkeyBiz is a very cool organization that sells some very original crafts from South Africa. They became famous for their animals that made from beads, with long limbs and quirky features.


The project given to the grade 5 group was, using only newspaper and sticky stuff, to make a monkeybiz like creature!

They were first shown one relatively simple way to create the structure for a four legged creature: They used 2-4 pieces of newspaper tightly rolled up and then taped for the body, neck and head; They also used two separate rolls of 1-2 pieces of newspaper for the legs.

The head and body section is then bent back and again forward to create a section for the neck and head of their animal. Attaching the legs to this body was a small obstacle the learners had to overcome. Some tried to cut the lengths in half and stick each on separately with tape but this was unstable. What worked best was folding the length of of the leg over the body and then taping this onto the body but a fair amount of tape is required to ensure the legs don’t flop apart!

The next step was to cover the structure of the animal in papier mache. We used wallpaper glue as our sticky medium and strips of newspaper which we layered our animals with.

Finally, we were ready to paint! The learners were reminded that monkeybiz didn’t paint their animals normal colors but crazy colurs with interesting designs!

I hope you enjoy seeing what our kids achieved!


Grade 5 – Modigliani Portraits

20150610_114242The awesome thing about working with kids is how they suprise you. When you give them a task you have certain expectations of them and it’s amazing how time after time they will blow these expectations out of the water!


This project was originally introduced by one of our Belgian student teachers. The task was to do a self-portrait in Modigliani’s strange style. When the kids first saw Modigliani’s pictures they weren’t impressed. They laughed and joked at the strange, elongated faces, calling them giraffe people. When they actually started working on their own versions they found the process fun and freeing! Each learner was given a mirror so they could see what of themselves to include. The student teacher also showed them some of the characteristics of Modigliani as well as (when it came to this) how to effectively use pastels, combining interesting colour combinations to make up the basic skin colour.

20150610_114300The learners loved this project! They all worked at different speeds, one or two finishing quite quickly while others took their time. In general it took 2-3 periods however.

As the pictures of the kids show, they were inspired! I had kids who don’t normally do that well at art produce masterpieces!

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Grade 5 – Frogs

The idea for this project came from the Santam’s creative arts teaching manual. A free book available to art teachers.

The grade 5s arrived in class to a barrage of questions about frogs. Who likes them? What do you know about them?! Tell your stories!!! This they did with great aplomb. Having some idea of what the next artwork would entail, The kids suspicions were confirmed when various pictures of frogs were handed out.

The learners began with a square piece of paper, cut to the width of an A4. A border had already been drawn onto this. Their first task was to draw one of the frogs in pencil in the center of the ruled square. The pictures of frogs that they received all had patterns and this was emphasized.

The next step was to trek out to the gardens and pilfer a bunch of interesting natural elements (sticks, leaves etc.). Heading back in they drew these behind the frog using black pen/ black koki.

Finally the kids could work on the border of their artwork. We first brainstormed a selection of words to do with frogs: So big, small, ugly, cute, poisonous, squishy, jumpy were some of the contrasting adjectives used. They cut these out of either black or colored paper and, along with decorative elements, used these to decorate the border.

This is a successful project and took the grade 5’s 2 weeks.Frog_006 Frog_009 Frog_010 Frog_001 Frog_005

Grade 5 – Starry Night

The plan was to introduce the Grade 5 group to Van Gogh and then do an interpretation of Starry night, Grade 5 style. I was not aware that the savvy camps bay learners had done a similar project in grade 2. Van Gogh is such an interesting character that the learners were still interested however. I was able to take them a little deeper into Van Gogh’s post impressionist art form as well as his history (They all wanted to hear the story about the ear, which I was happy to tell…Though a slightly sanitized version).

Here are a few of their artworks. I only have a few though there were many very beautiful ones!

An interesting take on Starry night, where the cyprus tree has morphed into a blazing fire! I think that Vincent himself might have appreciated this interpretation.

StarryNight_02 StarryNight_04