Monday, May 9, 2016

Emoji Soft Sculptures (5th)


This lesson started off by me showing my students a PowerPoint presentation which introduced the Pop Art movement and some of its major artists. I really emphasized that Pop Artists wanted to connect to everyday people, so their subject matter reflected the pop culture of the time (movie stars, advertisements, comic strips, food items, etc.). People saw their work, recognized it, and connected with it (a BIG difference from Abstract Expressionism).
Then we began talking about popular things in our culture today - which of course lead to talk of iPods, iPads, video games, Instagram, Facebook, texting, and a slew of other apps I'm sure I'm not cool enough to know about. It hits hard when you don't even know what your students are talking about - I used to know it all!
I explained that emojis are also a great example of contemporary pop art because they are super recognizable and relevant to the tech-savvy time we live in.
Then we looked at a few different (emotion) emojis and talked about what they meant. Then I asked students what they would mean if they were used in a different context.
So for example, the emoji with one eye closed and its tongue sticking out. On its own my students said it meant "crazy." Then I asked them what they thought it meant if it were sent with a text message that said something like, "I hate you." The words on their own sound mean and hurtful, but when sent with the emoji, they become almost endearing - clearly not meant to be serious.
Emojis can help to provide context to written words, like in the previous example, or they can be used decoratively in a fun illustrative manner.
As visual people ourselves, I think art educators are in an amazing position to teach our students about the power of this type of visual imagery and its effectiveness in communicating more meaningful messages.
Once we were done talking about the symbolism of emojis, we began talking about what soft sculptures are. I told my students that they would be creating their own double-sided emoji soft sculptures using felt and yarn.
Guys I gotta say - I love it! I used to do an angry birds sewing project with my 5th graders, but decided to change things up this year to keep the project super relevant to my student's interests. They were crazy engaged during this lesson!













Prior to deciding to do emojis (and the decision was made pre-happy meal) I was planning on doing Minecraft Soft Sculptures with my kids. If you are interested in that lesson, click on the image below to go to my TPT store. :)


17 comments:

  1. Ha! Leave it to McDonald's to steal the thunder on your awesome art idea! :-) What a wonderful project, you are always so creative! Thank you so much for sharing! Mrs. P @createartwithme.blogspot.com

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  2. I love it! Did you use large eye embroidery needles to sew?

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    1. We used yarn needles! Like the one shown in this picture:
      https://suchthelike.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/steel-yarn-needle.jpg

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  3. I did CRAZY BIRDS this year with 4th...I may have to try these next year! SO FUN!

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  4. Love love love it! How big are they?

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  5. I have been itching to do a sewing project with one or more of my classes. This is perfect!! May I ask how large the groups are that you work with? And did you precut the circles for the students or did they trace lids and cut out? HOw many weeks did it take to complete? So excited to get started!! Thank you very much :-D

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    1. I did this lesson with my 5th grade classes.. and they have close to 30 students. It took us 3 full days.
      The kids traced circles onto their felt sheet with 5" diameter circle stencils I made.

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  6. Love this!! I have never sewn with my kiddos before & I'm thinking of trying this. Since I have never done anything like this I have a few questions: 1)What are they stuffed with? 2) Does the yarn go easily through the felt? 3)How do you adhere the eyes/nose/mouth to the emojis? 4) Do you adhere facial features before/after you sew & stuff?

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    1. 1. Cotton Filling
      2. The yarn needle can be tricky but it just depends on how sharp the tip is. If my students are using dull ones I have them work on the carpet to they have something to bear down on.
      3. Felt glue
      4. After.
      :)

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  7. WE DID IT!! Thank you for the awesome inspiration. I loved how they turned out but even more loved how proud my 5th graders were of their sewing. They were astonished that it wasn't that hard. :) Thank you!! xoxo

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  8. Do you have the emoji project available for use? I am trying to make a math scale drawing and this would be a great thing to do with the project!

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    1. I have the PPT I used. If you email me at melindagram@gmail.com I'll send it to you!

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