Monthly Archives: October 2011

Character Building- Interviews and Intro to Habitat


Alice began class today by discussing everything that was going to happen during the course of the day. We had some students absent last week, and they needed to play catch-up so a small painting station was set up just for them. Other students were ready to write more about their characters, to solidify their thoughts and ideas about their characters. More importantly, Alice introduced the concept of portfolios! Every student was given a special folder that will hold their artwork, sketches, and brainstorming activities as they move along!


With his mask nearby, Cyben is refining his brainstorming and writing out the characteristics, abilities, and behaviors of his character!

Today, we were wrapping up the character building segment of our unit, which meant one thing: interviews! Students were broken up into groups of three, and with guiding interview questions were asked to interview one another about their characters! The whole class has been working very hard on the development of their characters and today was their time to shine!

One student was given the role of interviewer, a second student was interviewee and the third person had the role of “time keeper” to make sure we wouldn’t go over four minutes per interview. After one character was interviewed, they had the opportunity to rotate within the group and take on another role.

Finished Character Masks

Nine completed character masks! CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO VIEW SLIDESHOW!

While students were interviewing, the students in the classroom were doing a variety of brainstorming activities. One, they were continuing the written brainstorming activity- which described the personality and behaviors of the character as well as their environment- and some actually spent the majority of the time writing! Alice also introduced the concept of collage. Bringing in magazines, the students were able to pull images that described their characters and the habitat that they live in.

Peggy's Developing Collage

Peggy found some great images to go with her character's habitat! She was looking for images of China and Asian scenery.

Sam W.'s Collage

Sam W. picking images for all of the homes for his nomadic character, Bob

Busy Table

Nova, Talia, Alexis and Jasmine working hard, searching through images in magazines!

We only got through a handful of interviews, and will continue them during our next lesson. Overall, it was a great day to get gears turning in the mind as well as completing thoughts on character and character development.

Character building- Mask making continues!


For most of today’s class students worked on painting their masks. Ana brought in some gold and silver paint which everyone was really excited about!

Some students started with the metallic paints as the main color for their masks.

Sam W got started with the silver paint right away.

Sam W then added more color to his mask.

Adam really enjoyed the metallic paints.

Rex used the silver paint for the "cybernetic" part of his mask.

Other students used the metallic colors as accents.

Nova began by outlining her mask with gold.

Nova started to fill in the center of her mask.

Kai used gold and silver to accent the features of his liger.

Alexis used gold to brighten the eyes of her cat mask.

Jasmine used the metallic paint along with other colors to design the surface of her mask.

Some students started to experiment with combining the metallic paint with other colors.

Rex painted gold over the red on his mask to create the look of fur.

Cyben added silver over the red paint on his mask which gave it a mechanical appearance.

Cyben was mixing a lot of different colors

Peggy discovered that if she mixed red paint with gold, it made copper!

Here are a few of the finished pieces

Callae's wolf mask. Callae layered many different colors of paint to build up the surface of her mask to look like fur.

Callae starting the second layer of gray.

Talia's finished mask

Peggy's finished mask

At the end of class we had everyone set up their work on a table so that we all could see the masks.

Alice asked students to describe what they saw in the masks.

Everyone wanted to share something about a mask. It was an engaging conversation!

When students were finished painting, they worked on further developing their mask characters. We heard a lot of imaginative stories about where these creatures live and how they interact with their environments. Next week students will be interviewing each other to learn more about these fascinating creatures!

Character Building- Mask Making Part 3


What a productive day!!

First we started the class talking about what we were going to do today. Some of the students were at a different stage of the mask-making process, and so we divided the room into two stations- one was the painting station (for masks that were already fired in the kiln and ready to go!) and the other was the clay station (where students were able to keep working on their masks)! We also had

an after-work activity which is an exercise on how to organize the thoughts on the character. Naomi made bullets on the white board on items of what to think about:

Alice shares her experience with frustration

Alice shares her experience with frustration!

  • What does the rest of the body look like?
  • Who is wearing the mask?
  • How do they communicate?
  • Where do they live? What is their habitat?
  • How do they move?
  • What do they do all day? What are their behaviors?

After discussing that, Alice shared a personal experience about frustration- and how being frustrated is part of the learning process, and that every artist gets frustrated! Most importantly, we discussed what to do if you ever got frustrated!

After discussion, Naomi called out the names of the students whose masks were ready to be painted on, while we distributed the in-progress clay work to their tables! It was interesting to see how the clay changed after they were fired in the kiln!

We talked about paint to the students who were painting for the day before giving them their painting tools.

Ready to Paint!

Alexis is showing her ready to paint mask! CLICK ON PHOTO TO SEE MORE STUDENT WORK!

In Progress Mask Making

The other students were still working on building their masks and some even started over! CLICK ON PHOTO TO SEE MORE STUDENT WORK!

As class went on, everyone was very busy and hard at work. The students on the painting side were thinking about the colors they needed to mix and colors they wanted to use. The students on the clay side were building up details and becoming very verbal about the stories of their characters! Once they were finished at their current task, they had the opportunity to draw the rest of their character’s bodies, and start writing about them in context. A lot of creativity was happening, and a lot of thought and dialog!

Working on clay

Near-finished and finished masks- ready to fire and to be painted next week! CLICK ON PHOTO TO SEE MORE STUDENT WORK!

Some of the students on the painting side also folded their palettes in half- an interesting study in color! It was exciting to see the colors they used on their masks in a different form!

Painting Exploration!

The painting side got a lot done, thinking about what colors meant on their masks, and figuring out how to mix color. CLICK ON PHOTO TO SEE MORE STUDENT WORK AND FOLDED PALETTES!

We ended today by meeting back together in our circles and talked about what was created today! A lot of character stories began to emerge, such as Rune’s mask, which is a hawk, snake, fox creature that is attracted to forest fires. Also, Rex’s half mask that is half fox and half cyborg- his character being injured during a fight with a bear, and rebuilt with cybernetic parts! The wheels are turning and the students are starting to think about the kind of world their characters interact in! More importantly, they shared how this is shown on their masks, such as Adam’s Loch Ness/Moth Man character, which he added gills to so his character could live both in water and in land!

Circle Time

Andre shares what creatures his character is made up of, as it turns out he's very multidimensional!

Thinking about body and environment

Peggy's creature has a body now and a context- she lives in a barn in Iceland!

Thinking about color and behavior

Sam W. used words to describe "Bob" and his behavior, and is also mapping out colors he wants to use!

Again, a very effective day! A lot of planning, creativity, and more importantly- story telling taking place!