I've been beside myself all month wanting to post this blog but I have tried to be patient. I'm so excited to finally share this with everyone.
Recently our PTA president contacted me about a grant she had found on the American Girl Website. The subject had to be hot air balloons. I had recently pinned a work by David Kracov and knew instantly that this would be the inspiration for the project. I began by researching the artist and learned that Kracov is a native of Boston and a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design. This was terrific, my students really engage when they find out about a current, living artist and this one was from our home state. Kracov is an animator and a sculpture. The work I had chosen as an inspiration is one of his metal works.
Picking up the books about Saige helped me to gather a little American Girl history for the project. The students, boys and girls really got caught up in the story of how Saige, a young girl from New Mexico, was upset when there was no Art program in her school and began a movement to start an after school art program. This character could represent so many of my students and the disappointment they would feel at the loss of our art program. Most of my students were alarmed to learn that some students really do not have an in school art program. I think they appreciated me even more than normal!
So the project: I limited the participation to 3rd, 4th and 5th grade students. Working with Art Foil, each student cut out the shape for the envelope of the hot air balloon. Working together we analyzed the direction lines should be placed on the balloon to create a perspective and roundness for the balloons. Students then detailed the balloon in a personal way and used sharpies to add color. Magnet tape was added to the back of each balloon after twistee wire and construction paper were used to add a basket. From here, this became an interactive collaborative project. Students placed their balloon on a bulletin board that had been covered with a blue cotton background and white paper clouds. After a photo was taken, all students of all grades had the freedom to rearrange the balloons in a new configuration. Three digital images were taken for the grant application. The balloons continually changed the entire time the bulletin board was up.
The balloons were colorful, beautiful, original, and individual. This was an exciting project. If we hadn't run out of Art foil since it's so late in the school year, I'm sure everyone would have wanted to make their own balloon!