20 February 2011

Bling Bling Providence: Art Journals

Confessions Of...
Confessions of My Love Life
This week in Bling Bling, we did art journals. I know, I know, art journals aren't jewelry! What happened is that I took in some of my artwork and jewelry to show my new students this session, and at both schools, I had a lot of questions and compliments about my art journals. Since I love art journals, I decided to do a little price research and planning to see if I could add making art journals to my classes. I have a great budget for the program, so I figured I could spend some money on journals, but since art journals aren't officially in my syllabus, I didn't want to go overboard.

Magazines are always a hit with tweens!
I found some decent watercolor paper at Ocean State Job Lot for $3.99 for a book of 12 11 x 15 inch pages as well as a pack of Reeves Watercolor Paint in tubes. For $30 or so, I was able to make enough small 5 x 7.5 inch journals for all of my students. (I bought a Bind-It-All last session to make book necklaces with the students). The only other thing I needed to buy were more glue sticks and markers. Everything else I already had from other projects. I decided that if I was going to do art journals with my students, I wanted to make sure they'd be able to work on them at home: that's why we used glue sticks instead of my preferred Tombow Mono Adhesive rollers. Also, I wanted the students to have at least one marker and a pen, so they could write in the journals. I couldn't get Sharpie poster paint pens for each of the students, but I did find some permanent markers at the recycling center for $2 a dozen. (I also got pens there for $1 a dozen.) The glue sticks were $1 for 4 at the dollar store nearby.

Glue Sticks

I didn't want to waste a class waiting for paint to dry, so I prepainted all of the pages at home. I also pre-bound the books with an assortment of colored pages, as well as a few with just white pages, in case any of the students didn't want all the bright colors. I started the class with a very brief tutorial of how to make borders, use paint markers, and combine images. I told the students that there were no rules when it came to art journals. I said they could use the journal to tell the story of their life, to imagine their future, or that they didn't have to write a single word and could just add a bunch of images. I said art journals were all about self-expression and having fun. I also told them that they'd get a homework kit to take with them so they could finish their journals at home. (They love Bling Bling homework!)


The first time that I tell a new class of Bling Bling students that they'll be getting homework that day, the notion is met with groans and complaints. Once the students realize that Bling Bling homework is awesome (and completely optional), however, they get excited when I announce that they'll have take home kits that day. Today's Art Journal kit included: a permanent marker, a pen, an acid-free glue stick, some masking tape, and some pretty scrapbook paper. Plus every kid who wanted to was able to take home a magazine. Less for me to carry... sweet!

Homework Kits

I couldn't get over how engrossed in the Art Journal project this class was! I could barely tear them away from the project at the end of class, which is actually a good thing! I was psyched that they got to take home a mini-journal and supplies to continue their work. One student told me she didn't have scissors at home so I showed her how to rip the paper instead. I hope they remember to bring the journals back after vacation so I can see their work! I took some pictures of their work-in-progress, so I'll post more soon!


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