Sunday, November 11, 2012

Fall, Foliage, and Fibonacci

In this past session of art classes,
we have been discussing math in art.
What a perfect time to introduce the Fibonacci Sequence.
If you don't know it by that name,
you may also have heard it referred to as The Golden Ratio.
The number sequence was discovered
by an Italian mathematician named Leonardo.
Leonardo Fibonacci, that is.
He preceded the other famous Italian Leonardo
by about 3 centuries.
The sequence itself looks like this...
1,1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55... and so on...
In this sequence any two consequetive numbers added together
 will equal the next number in the sequence.
1+1=2, 1+2=3. 2+3=5, 3+5=8, and on it goes infinitely.
More than just a nifty little math trick,
Fibonacci discovered that this sequence
was absolutely everywhere in nature.
The curve ratio in a seashell, the number of seeds in a sunflower, or the star created when slicing an apple in half.
You will also find it in most art masterpieces
and is used by photographers
when composing their photographs
as it translates over to the rule of thirds as well!
First we learned a little more about Fibonacci, though there is not very much known about him, by reading this book. The illustrations themselves are FILLED with spirals and representations of the Fibonacci sequence.


This is a great book on many levels. Along with learning about one of the greatest mathematical minds of all time, kids will learn that greatness is not always appreciated by those around it.

Next the students were given a template leaf cut from cardstock. They created a frame by drawing four lines around the edge of their papers. Then they were given the criteria...

1. There must be either 13 or 21 leaves.
2. There must be 3 or 5 groups of overlapping leaves.
3. The number of leaves in each group must be a fibonacci sequence number.
4. The number of veining lines on the leaves must be a fiboncci sequence number.

At this point all the pencil lines are outlined in fine black sharpie.

When color is added, there must be a limited palette of colors, numbering a number in the sequence.
Leaves must be colored in such a way as to create a group pattern of fibonacci sequence numbers.

This piece was colored with construction paper crayons, on construction paper.

Then concentric lines are drawn with either pencil first and then outlines with ultra fine black sharpie, or confident students can just add the lines straight away in sharpie first.

The piece is finished up by using lighter colors to highlight darker ones and vice versa. As contruction paper crayons are opaque and fairly easy to blend, this is pretty simple. A white crayon layer can added for smoother results.  As the last step, black oil pastel is used to redarken lines lightened by the coloring process as well as really defining the frame. White oil pastel is added for highlights on the leaves.

This project was also inspired by this lesson...

Layered Leaves

over at Art Projects for Kids.



Saturday, November 10, 2012

Oak Glen- Family Photographer

This is such a FUN family!
...and CUTE, are they not?
Not to mention TALENTED.
Jenny is the owner and fiber artist behind Cooky Crochet.
You really need to check out her stuff.
No, like right now!
But, wait just a second though, and check these out first...


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Fall Flax Seed Sensory Bin

Sensory bins are awesome.
There are so many ways to play with them. They may be a little messy,
but even that mess can be part of the learning experience for little ones.
This bin is filled with flax seed and decorative foam leaf shapes-
both from The Dollar Tree.
 The container itself came from there too
and the lid makes a great tray for learning activities as well.

Here is a little matching activity.
 I glued down a few of the shapes on a piece of cardstock and put it inside a page protector. Laminating would be even better as the open end tends to allow some seeds inside.
There are many decisions to make on how to match on this grid.
There is color, shape, and orientation. I talked with my little one about all of those.
 She was mostly interested in getting her hands in the bin.
The feel of flax seed is very pleasant!

I brought out the spoons, little lids, and medicine measuring cups.
 Practicing these types of fine motor skills are a favorite activity for Little Miss E.

Even spilling a little on the carpet becomes an opportunity to learn about visual and tactile discrimination as she tried to clean up the spill.

Did you notice that up until this point, she had been laying on her tummy while she played?
The benefits of tummy time play don't end in infancy.
Even in toddlerhood, preschool, elementary, and beyond,
 tummy time activities help to build the core muscles.
Those core muscles must be developed
 well before children can spend time at desks
 reading, writing, or doing math without undue fatigue.
The student that slumps at their desk
with their head propped up by one hand
while trying to write with the other,
 may be suffering from weak or underdeveloped core muscles.

What I love here is how she has used her motor planning
 to wedge the cup up against the side of the bin
 so she can hold the cup, fill it, and steady the bin at the same.

Add in another play element.
These are little squirt toys she generally plays with in the bathtub.
In a two year old world, having a dolphin visit a barn yard of pigs and sheep is perfectly plausible. She has just entered the pretend play phase in the last couple of months.
At times like these, I am not sure who is more entertained-
her or me!

If you would like to use the matching grid,
you can click on the picture below and print it out at the size you would like.
As a side note, today is my 15th wedding anniversary.
Fifteen years ago, it was a Saturday.
I contemplated how bad the consequences would be if I didn't go through the church doors,
but instead turned left and kept going to my car and out the parking lot.
Little did I know he was mulling over that same possibility.
How in the world could we ever be ready for a lifetime commitment
as big as this one we were about to make?
Well, in the world, it may not have been possible,
but in Christ, all things are possible-
including knitting together two people who seem very different,
but who are best friends, and the perfect compliment to each other.
 It is not perfect, as anything involving humans is not,
but it is strong and beautiful,
filled with the grace we have been given,
and choose to give to each other.
Mostly it is filled with love.
So fifteen years later,
I am glad I chose to go straight and not left,
and that he was there waiting at the end of the aisle
(even if he almost passed out there).
I love you husband!
Happy Anniversary!

Pom Pom Power Play

Practicing transfer skills using a spoon

Using a spoon to pick up pom-poms. Great fine motor practice and motor planning going on here.
Experimenting with a new way, using fingers to load the spoon. Add in some tactile experience from the fuzz!
And the dump- eye hand coordination at it's finest as well as crossing the midline of the body bring both right and left hemisphere's into use to work together.

Speaks for itself...

Estimate and experiment with how many poms-poms can fit on the spoon and which sizes can fit more or with different combinations.
So many fun ways to use pom-poms!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Perfect and Not so Perfect Moments

We all love those perfect moments when we catch the perfect smile and our little ones look downright angelic.
Seriously, we all KNOW they are not ALWAYS so angelic.
The not-so-perfect-moments are important too
and every bit as worthy of being captured with skill and creativity.


They make great meme backgrounds.
Not to mention blackmail material!


Oak Glen-Family Photographer

I had so much fun with this family. I have actually known them for years, as Eddie and my husband are fellow musicians. I felt so priveledged to be entrusted to capture these special family moments.
 I feel really bad for Eddie and Mina, too.
With such beautiful girls,
they are surely going to have to invest in some serious firepower in a few years!