Monday, April 19, 2010

SMMART READING: Color-By-Sight Word
Check out Fry's 300 Instant Sight Words to see which words should become good friends with your child.
This activity is just like paint-by-number. Find a simple coloring page and create a key. Write a few sight words in the key and mark a different color of marker by each word. Now, write the sight words in the coloring page picture according to where the correlating color would best fit.

Monday, April 12, 2010


There are many hundred words that young people learn to read automatically by familiarity. These are called "Sight Words"...if, not, the, and, like... You can check out Fry's 300 Instant Sight Words.

So, a simple, simple way to practice sight words is to read a book with your child. Follow each word with your finger and whenever "the" appears on the page, let your child read it. She may need to sound it out the first few times, but she'll soon understand that this is the word that she needs to look out for. Repetition, repetition, repetition...

Slowly add another sight word for her to read as well. So your finger stops and hovers on every "the" and "it" until your child reads the word. You don't even have to read the whole book at first. This exercise may tire your child at first, but soon she'll be cruising...and you know it's time to give her more sight words to be responsible for as you read together.

Tell me what you do to practice sight words together.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

SMMART ART: Claes Oldenburg

"Good Things Utah" is shooting off site for a few weeks while their studio set is being torn down and completely redone (I can't wait to see the new set!). GTU's producer called me to ask if I could fill a segment this week...they're taping at a Pizza Parlor! She was wondering if I had any SMMART ideas that could complement the location...

The first thing that came to mind was...Claes Oldenburg...of course!
He seems to adore FOOD as many of his sculpture inspirations... well as everyday objects, soaking in a swig of whimsy, and larger than life...

Claes Oldenburg, arrived in the United States with his family when he was less than 10 years old. He went on to study at Yale Univeristy and The Art Institute of Chicago.

"Oldenburg initiated his career as a figurative artist, and has worked with a plethora of materials, including burlap, plastic, newspapers, plaster, canvas, and latex. His artistic triumphs are products of his wit, skilled draftsmanship, and ability to combine innovation with tradition. In his printmaking, the artist is interested in a variety of techniques including lithography, etching, woodcut, and screenprinting, and he has printed over 250 editioned works as well as posters, pamphlets, and books. His vivid imagination and diversified mastery of media have positioned him as a prominent figure in American art for over fifty years."

I think there are many ways to recreate Oldenburg's works...from cutting out a large spoon and cherry from a cardboard box to stuffing paper food picture pillows with used grocery bags.

Oldenburg Paper Picture Pillows

Lay down a large piece of butcher paper and set out the markers. Show your child a few Oldenburg sculptures and explain how Claes often created HUGE sculptures of every day objects and food. He is also known for his vinyl stuffed "soft sculptures". One example of soft sculpture is of a toilet sculpture that looks like it is collapsing into itself due to lack of rigidity.

Encourage your child to draw various foods and objects...on a large scale.

Help your child cut out his creation. Cut another piece of paper out the same size to form the back of the paper pillow. Align both pieces of paper together and staple around the edges. Leave a small space at the top. Stuff used grocery bags inside to create a large scale paper sculpture. Staple the hole closed and admire your "Oldenburg soft sculpture".

Oldenburg Papier Mache Sculptures

Show your child pictures of Claes Oldenburg's sculptures. Ask your child, "If you could create a sculpture, what would you make?"

To help your child create a papier mache sculpture, you will need:

Newspaper cut into 2inch wide strips
Flour, water and salt(helps prevent mold)
Pipe cleaners
Cheese cloth

White spray paint (optional)
Acrylic paints (keeps from molding) or tempura

This is a great step-by-step video sequence from creating the papier mache mixture, creating a form, papier macheing the structure, drying and painting your sculpture.

So, First create a form out of a few pipe cleaners.
Then wrap the form in cheese cloth (or a light weight remnant fabric) and staple the cloth in place.

Mix your papier mache paste. Place a scoop of flour in a bowl and pour in a few Tb of salt. Add enough water to form a somewhat thin paste. You want the papier mache paste to be thick enough to adhere to the newspaper strips, but not too thin (like melted icecream). Dip the newspaper strips into the paste and quickly raise the strip out of the paste, while using two fingers on each side to skim off the excess paste. Start applying the papier mache dressed newspaper slips all around the pipe cleaner-cheese cloth form.

Set your sculpture to dry on a metal rack for one to a few days until the sculpture is completely dry.

Then, I spray paint the sculpture white and let the paint dry. Now you can let your child paint (we just use tempura) his sculpture as his imagination sees fit. (If you want a long term piece of art that won't mold be sure to let your papier mache dry long enough, and use acrylic paints.)

Glue on embellishments with craft glue...whala!


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