Tuesday, November 18, 2008


The super duper artist in residence at our school this year, Agee, has been working closely with Lauren and I to ensure that the art projects she does with our students reflect and support the work we are doing in the classroom.

When we told her we were starting an investigation into the Greek Myths, to correspond with our recent visit to The Metropolitan Museum of Art tour of the Monsters, Gods and Heroes of Greek Mythology, she was chock full o' ideas.

Since we introduce these stories with the mythical bang and horror of Medusa and Cyclops she suggested we make masks to represent these creatures.

They are constructed on sturdy cardboard backing with a simple cut out for the nose and eyes (for Medusa) or nose (for Cyclops). This is then covered with colored tissue paper with a diluted glue substance. Students were encouraged to use the images they 'saw' when they visualized these creatures during our initial read alouds.

The texture of Medusa's skin was bandied about as was the requisite amount of glitter for Cyclops' eye (evidently a lot!).

The final product(s) will be displayed in the lobby of our school for all to see. I think they are amazing!

Next up...The Trojan Horse!


Barbara said...

I want to be in your class! These masks are nothing short of AMAZING! I wonder if we could make masks of some sort with the homeless children at the shelter where we read. It would have to be something much simpler than these, but I'll be the kids would love such a project. Children are so creative if we don't force them all to do the exact same project!

Reya Mellicker said...

WOW!! Wicked cool masks. They're so potent!

Your students - and you and Lauren and the art teacher - are truly talented and versatile. They really got the vibe of that myth.

Stay warm, my dear!

Salty Miss Jill said...

Ooh, I love the snake haired Medusas!

ciara said...

i love these masks! my girls would probably love to be in that class just so they could makes those cool masks...so would i! i love the creativity of a child. i encourage it in my kids whenever they show it. :)

J. David Zacko-Smith said...

Oh the masks we wear . . . day in and day out!

Gary said...

Barbara - Again, I have to give a 'brava' to you for volunteering your time in supporting literacy with children who are in danger of falling through the cracks.

You can make simple masks using only paper, crayons and string. Although the masks Agee created with my students are impressive, I find that children are just as pleased with the less spectular. It is the process and ownership and play connnected with it that is important. If you do this, please post some pictures.

Reya - I am trying to stay warm but that is a challenge these days. I can take no credit for the masks other than the idea. Laruren and Agee are both artistic but this is not an area of strength for me. Luckily, I surround myself with good people.

Jill - Medusa had me at hello. I was surprised that most of the kids decided to make Cyclops masks rather than Medusa. I think they were seduced by the glittery eye.

Ciara - We had a discussion before this project about the creation of these masks being more of a craft rather than an art. Agee said something about art being free and open whereas a craft had a set outcome. This was an interesting delination for me. Things that make me go "hmmm". But arts or crafts I still think they show tremendous creativity.

J.DS-Z - That is so true...and so deep. More contextual musings from my wise bud.

lettuce said...

3 posts in a week gary? how am i supposed to keep up??

these are great. I sometimes wish I worked with little kids (rather than big ones, ha!)
and the Obama pics are priceless

i sometimes think the distinction between art and craft is that people will pay a lot more for art

Gary said...

Letty - Of course you know what this posting frenzy means. It means that I have college papers to grade for my students at Fordham that I am avoiding. So you can expect a few more in the coming days. ;)

Kellyann Brown said...

LOVE these masks. You know, _everything_ looks better with glitter(and lots of it!).

WAT said...

Ok. Lauren is a pretty gal, and I think u two make awesome friends/teaching colleagues and it reminds me so much of a WILL & GRACE relationship, I only wish I could be there to intrude, although I promise I wouldn't be as annoying as Jack McFarland! LMAO!

Hey, the masks are really cool, almost a bit like the ones for Mardi Gras! I used to love Greek mythology. "Clash of the Titans" is still one of my fav childhood movies.

Okay, I'll shut up now.


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