Bird Houses

Term: 4 Year: 2012

If I loved my little bird house, I knew that this was a project that my grade six art class would adore!

First term I took part in the Zart Art PD, School Garden Art, looking for new ideas and inspiration for our ever growing garden. During this PD we were shown how to make wonderful birdhouses by Jane Byrne. How they are made I will go into later. As usual running out of time in the PD, we did not get to finish our birdhouses. I was so impressed and inspired by all the teachers' work, that when I got home I went straight into my studio and put my first gold layer of paint on my bird house. I continued to finish it with feathers, kindy glitz and a little tissue paper leaves, delicately glittered on the end. I must say I just loved my little bird house.

As soon as I arrived at school I proudly showed my bird house to all the other teachers in the staff room. I then put a note to all teachers to start collecting one-litre milk cartons for the art room and in no time at all we had enough to start!

The children were blown away from the word go, when I held up my bird house and told them that this was their next project. We set about brain storming straight away. We talked about natural objects and colouring, lolly pop houses, Doctor Suess’s Lorax trees, hobbits houses, mushrooms and even dinosaurs! I told the students that they could create whatever they wanted as long as their ideas were shown clearly in their designs so that I could be on the same page as them and help them gather materials for their work. The designs and drawings the children came up with were excellent, we were on our way!

Step 1: Make the bird house base construction out of paper plates and a milk carton. Even at this stage the outcomes were fantastic!

Step 2: Plastering was next and for this stage we invited our Principal Mr. Bergmeier to join our class. This of course was to the delight of all the students. Mr. Bergmeier worked on an student that was absent, so that they would not fall too far behind. The plastering was gooey, slippery, cold and wet. This of course was to the delight of all the students who plastered their work lovingly and creatively. Once again after completing this stage the works looked amazing, although they were white with no finishing touches. The works were replastered in a second lesson we did this to ensure the birdhouses strength.

Step 3: Students applied the base coats of paint and collected things around the art room and outside that they would like to use. Each student was given a paper bag which they filled with all sorts of goodies such as buttons, pipe cleaners, leaves, glitter, pom poms, match sticks, feathers, beads and all sorts of loose objects.

When we met again, the students collected their work and paper bags and were ready to get to work straight away so they didn’t waste a minute of their art lesson. Using Supertac, student busily glued and attached bits and bobs to their work and made me race around the art room fetching them this and that. One young lady wanted to make a dinosaur come out of her bird house, we decided she should use Magiclay and wow was I glad I suggested that because she worked her magic.

The last lesson and we were up to finishing touches, we used kindy glitz and normal glitter with PVA for larger areas, and the last thing the students did was to lacquer their work.

Now I don’t want to brag, but the outcomes of the students work were fantastic! The students often surprise me with their creativity and I am often blown away by their work, and this time was no exception. The students loved every stage. We marked the work together as a class and worked on our art critiquing skills and there were many A+ works much to everyone’s delight!

Kylie Wickham
Visual Arts Co-ordinator
Cranbourne West Primary School
Suitable for Level 4