Thursday, July 22, 2010

Butterfly Tattoos

It either has something to do with the way I teach, or the way Woodland Park kids have learned to learn, or maybe some things that are wonderful projects for one or two kids just aren't easily scalable to an entire class. Whatever the reason, we've now tried this balancing butterfly project 3 times and while we've managed to create dozens, if not hundreds, of butterflies, we never seem to make it to the balancing part.

The way Ariella does it over at her beautiful homeschool blog Childhood Magic, you cut a butterfly shape from watercolor paper, paint it, then afix pennies to the backs of the wings which gives them the ability to balance on the tips of fingers, noises, and pencils in much the way the tree part balancers do. In spite of my visions of our classroom, both indoor and out, being gaily festooned with lovely balancing butterflies, the kids have different ideas, politely watching me demonstrate how my sample works, while remaining clearly and universally unimpressed. A few of them are excited by the pennies, but only until they find out I don't want them to fill up their pockets.

Nope, it's all about painting those butterflies. My daughter Josephine was helping out in class yesterday and the job of cutting out new butterfly shapes fell to her. She played Edward Scissorhands for an hour and half with barely a pause. If her fingers aren't cramped up this morning, I'll be surprised.

And not only was simply painting butterflies all the rage, many of the kids were committed to creating saggy, soggy butterflies by continuing to saturate their paper long after they'd used up its ability to absorb moisture.

These two then started making butterfly "tattoos" by wrapping their soggy butterflies around their forearms in order to transfer the paint to their skin.

They went home with what I think are called "half sleeves" in the tattoo business.

She clearly arrived in class with some "ink" already, but you know what they say about tattoos: it's hard to stop at just one. 

As I took these last two pictures, several of the younger girls gathered around to admire their older, bolder classmate. Not quite getting the point, they wanted me to take pictures of their hands.

(I understand there was a lot of last minute scrubbing required to get those arms ready for the swimming lessons that were scheduled for right after class. Sorry Jaimee!)

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MOM #1 said...

LOL, so cute.

I'm keeping a file of all your fabulous creative projects.

I may be all done with kids of my own, but I bet I'm gong to be the most loved grandma in town when I start breaking out these fantastic ideas.

So funny about the hand photos.

Pumpkin Delight (Kimberly) said...

they are beautiful any how. don't you love when a project doesn't go as planned. sometimes it's a happy accident, sometimes it's not

MommyTeacher123 said...

Haha! I love it!

Scott said...

Nice ink. : )

Play for Life said...

Tom as you know Sherry and I are HUGE supporters of encouraging the children to make activities their own. From start to finish they are encouraged to do it all and I LOVE that your children turned their butterflies into tattoos ... it's so great when they think outside the square ... but I'm curious to know why the children didn't cut out their own butterfly shapes.
Donna :) :)

Megan said...

hi tom! i'm your newest follower, a semi new kindergarten teacher in kansas. can't wait to share ideas!

Deborah said...

Ok- that looks just about as messy as it can get but WHAT FUN!

Jillian said...

I love how it's about the process not the product!

lori said...

i am adding this idea to my butterfly unit...the tattoos, not so much the balancing aspect. lol. what fun !