Thursday, 29 September 2011

in the style of one of the great masters - picasso

Take a look at this painting.


It is a famous painting by the famous artist Picasso.  It is a painting of his son Paul, when he was a small boy.  A small boy of about your age, actually!

And now look at this painting.


This too was painted by Picasso.  It is an (of-not-on) self-portrait.

I wonder.  What are the differences between the two paintings?

Tanisha starts us off.  The (of-not-on) ‘self-portrait is not wearing a hat’.

Tim notices the lines.  The ‘self’ has ‘lines on the face’.  Yes; so it does.  Thick black lines.  The portrait of the son is much more fine and delicate.

Melchior notices the colours.  The (of-not-on) self-portrait is more ’yellow’.

Alexis notices the shapes.  The son ‘has a round or oval face’ he tells us.

And Mélina tells us that the portrait of the son looks ‘more real; more like a real person’.

Now look at what happens to Picasso’s portraits.  Ooh er!


Weird huh!

OK.  Keep that odd picture in your mind.  Got it?  Good!

Now let’s get on with our art lesson.  Today’s task is to draw two (of-not-on) self-portraits.  Two!  On two different shades of ‘sugar paper’ using your choice of oil pastel colours.  You might need to check whereabouts your features are using a mirror.


Although the portraits should both be similar (they are both (of-not-on) you after all!) it doesn’t matter if there are differences between them.

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Next, use watercolours…..


to colour your face and hair.

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Stop briefly to admire all your hard work.  And to allow the paint to dry.

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Ooh.  Aah!  Lovely!

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And now.  Are you ready for this?

Clip your two (of-not-on) self-portraits together with paperclips.


Take a deep breath.  And…..cut!  Snip.  Snap.  Snorum.


Cut your beautiful (of-not-on) self-portraits into 4 wiggly pieces.  Oh  no!!!


Now choose four of the eight pieces (two from each portrait) to rebuild your (of-not-on) self-portraits.


Stick them down onto black paper…..


just like doing a jigsaw.

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Well, Picasso did pretty well out of his efforts didn’t he!

grab and count - or how big are YOUR hands (especially if chocolate is involved)?

It was a pretty straightforward idea.  You reach into the box of unifix cubes with one hand.  Dig around for a bit if you wish.  And then grab. 


Grab as many as you can fit into your hand.


Give a little wave…..


just to make sure they are well and truly grabbed!


Next, build them into a tower – and then count how many you grabbed.


Count carefully!


And now, let’s sort our ‘grabbed and counted’ cubes.  Let’s see if we have grabbed the same number as anyone else or if we have the biggest (or the smallest) hands (you see, we quickly decided that bigger hands would normally grab more cubes!)



we felt, probably had the smallest hands.  She grabbed 5 cubes.  Itaru, on the other hand, managed to grab an impressive 11 cubes!  And in between were Anousha, Yanis and Lakeisha.  They each managed to grab 7 cubes.


Why not try it for yourself?  And what about if you have more than one grab?  Do you always grab the same number of cubes?  And how about if you try grabbing cubes of chocolate?  (Actually, in that case, I think a bit of ‘healthy’ cheating might need to be involved; certainly it would if I was part of the challenge!)

all buttoned up

Of course you still remember our friend Ling Sung (he of ‘cleversticks’ fame); probably you still also remember his friend Sharon who could do up her buttons. 

We wondered – who in Class 1b can do up buttons?

Helga helped; she hunted through her lost property and found a car-di-gan (sorry; I just can’t help myself!) with 5 buttons (5 tricky buttons) and Béatrix also found a car-di-gan, this time with 3 easier buttons – bigger holes you see.

We took turns to see how many of the buttons we could do; we could choose the tricky ones or the easier ones.  (Yanis actually chose both – he is a bit of a buttoning expert!)


We recorded how many we managed and then shared it with the class.  This is what we found out.


We began by counting together. 

15 children (actually 16 – we couldn’t fit all the buttons that Yanis did onto our chart!) tried doing up buttons.

Then Tanisha told us that ‘there are more people who did three buttons’.

Anusha added that ‘2 buttons only 2 people did’.

Joseph joined in; ‘3 people can do 5 buttons’, he said.

And Melchior mentioned that ‘2 people did 4 buttons’.

Tim told us that ‘zero people did one button’.  In other words, everyone in Class 1b can push least one fiddly button through a hole; what a nimble-fingered lot we are!

I wonder – what other true things can you tell from our chart?

wiggly woo

As well as all those weeds, we ‘discovered’ all kinds of different ‘treasures’ during our gardening ‘sortie’.  Things that elicited squeaks and squeals in some quarters!  But of course, fat wiggly worms…..


and even skinny wiggly worms…..


are VERY important to gardeners.  In fact, the more worms there are in your garden, the healthier that garden is!

This is because worms wiggle their way underground and as they go, they allow extra air and moisture into the ‘soil’ (that’s the ‘proper’ name for ‘dirt’).  And as we know, plants need both air and moisture to grow.  So any worms we found as we were digging, we carefully dropped back onto the soil so that they would tunnel their way back down again and do their important job.

Judging by the number of squeaks and squeals, we must have very…..





(PS I wonder; how are snails good for our garden?)


sorting the wheat from the chaff - or in our case, the weeds from the chives

Tuesday dawned bright and chilly after a pre-dawn fog.  Perfect gardening weather.  Which was lucky because it was to be our first venture out to work in the school garden.

Before we began, a little survey; how many among us have had prior gardening experience?  A quick totting up of the numbers of waving arms – and not everyone, it seems has had the chance to get dirt under their fingernails.

So – why do people ‘do’ gardening?  What is gardening for?

Melchior told us that it is ‘to let the plants grow’. 

We looked around.  Certainly there are a lot of plants already growing pretty well in our garden.  From swaying, pink and white cosmos…..

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through dancing nasturtiums and red, red roses…..

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and all the way to fat yellow squash…..

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and - what are these? 


And (gasp) these?


A little unsure, we are, abut these last two.  But hang on a minute. 

First let‘s think back to what Melchior said earlier.  Gardening is ‘to let the plants grow’.  Indeed.  But not all plants.  Some plants we do want in our garden because they are useful (like squash) or because they look pretty (cosmos) or smell  sweet (those roses).  But some get there by accident.  And if they are allowed to grow to their full size, they will stop the plants we do want in our garden from growing properly.

These plants are known as weeds.  And one of our jobs would be to dig out the weeds.  Weeding out the plants we do not want in our garden is done ‘to let the (other) plants grow’ better.  The plants in the bottom picture are weeds.  And boy what a lot of them there are!

But what of those in the other picture?  The ones that look a bit like grass.  Are these weeds too?  Do we have any risk-takers amongst us?  Someone who would be prepared to taste a tiny bit of one of those grass-like stems?*  Thought so.  Far too many willing guinea pigs!  Let’s get the verdict from just two of them.  One, a bit unsure (but still very brave!)…..


and another very enthusiastic!


The taste?  ‘Spicy’ a bit like onions.  Which is because they are a bit like onions!  These are chives.  Snipped with scissors and sprinkled into salads!  So these grass-like plants will be staying put during our weeding frenzy. 

In short, we will have to be very careful weeders!  And so on with the job.  Forks and trowels at the ready?  Off you go!

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Careful that you get the whole weed out.  Shake off any loose soil.


Some plants are s n e a k y and can grow again from a tiny piece left behind!  Some roots seem to go on…..and on…..and on, don’t they!


Some plants are s t r a n g e.  I wonder if you can work out why these ‘milk’ weeds that Joseph found got their name…..


(and no, it’s not because they give us milk* – although it does look a bit like milk, doesn’t it!)

What sharp eyes and nimble fingers we needed…..


to sort out all those weeds from the chives – and the swaying, pink and white cosmos – and the dancing nasturtiums – and the red, red roses – and the fat yellow squash!

*Please remember never to taste anything you find growing unless a grown-up you know says it’s OK!  There are lots of plants that could hurt you.