Sunday, March 14, 2010

Patchwork Rain Stick Project for children

Wow this has been a busy week but now that the opening of my show is over with, I will have lots more breathing room! One week of classes left on the term and vaction in the states for three weeks will make the next month pass very quickly!
I am late posting the weekly update because of the opening but here it is now!

This week my 5 yr old class and the 5-7 yr old class created patchwork rain sticks. This was a messy job but they had fun and worked on some good motor skills and spacial relationships.
The monday 5-7 group is a longer class in addition to them being older and a little more developed. As a result, their completed projects were more refined than the 5 yr olds and they were able to do more of the work!
I prepared the tubes and blocked one end for them before class. I prepared the foil that goes inside the tube which makes the sound of rain when the grain that is added runs along it. I let this group put the foil inside, add the grain themselves and put the end caps on with tape. Once this was accomplished I gave them scissors and a pile of upholstery fabric samples to cut up and glue

onto their stick. Their goal was to not leave any cardboard showing and to be sure all edges of the fabric were glued down. I highly recommend covering the working surface with blank newspint on the ends of rolls which is usually given away at your local newspaper. We have gallon jugs of glue which I poured into small cups and provided paint brushes for them to paint the glue on with.
The end results were quite nice. Their challenge though was getting the ends of fabric glued down. I had to keep reminding them to be sure to paint the edges of the fabric so that it would stay down. There must be a learning curve to installing the foil for best effect though. Our rain sticks make a nice sound but you had to giggle the sticks a bit to keep it going.

When the 5 yr olds do the same project on tuesday that the 5-7 yr old class does on monday, I have the advantage of tailoring the project to fit their skill and attention level. I made sure first of all to cover the tables this time :-) I also knew that they would not be able to insert the foil and cap the ends themselves. I had them work on cutting various fabric scraps that they could share while I filled the tubes with foil. I then went to each child to let them pour in their own grain and capped the ends for them. By the time that was done, they had cut enough fabric pieces for the class to use to glue onto their pieces. Their rain sticks weren't very tidy but they still enjoyed them and were happy to take them home!

The stick to the left is my class sample. I'm sorry to report that I did not get proper photos of the children's finsihed sticks!

I've run into a glitch with the 8 & up class project! I had planned that this would be a four week project but the class schedule was incorrect and we now have only one class left of term, when I was planning on two. YIKES! The children had not yet begun to stitch their surface designs on so I was able to have them simplify their designs a bit and hope that we will be able to get them done in the last two hour class. I will email their moms and ask if they can come early next week so that they can have a bit more time to work on them and finish them up. I had tried to plan the project so that they would not end up with the piece incomplete and not ever be able to wear it. I hope we succeed!
One of my students will not get to finish and in fact never got to design or stitch on hers at all as she broke her arm badly last week! We all wish her a quick recovery and look forward to her return to class next term.

Until next week.................

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