Thursday, May 17, 2012

5th Grade Plush Monsters



Aaah, the joys of Pinterest. I've been faithfully pinning away for nearly a year and I'm constantly excited about the wealth of ideas I can find on the site. It seems like many times I'll pin something and it sits, lonely and ignored, on my board. Other ideas hit me and I immediately begin planning a lesson based on the pin. This is one of those lessons.


By the time my students are in 5th grade, they have definitely hit the stage of being self-conscious about their artwork. They have realized that some kids definitely have more of an aptitude toward art. I try to combat that with projects that are not completely tied to pure drawing and painting skills. Block printing, claymation, sewing, etc. are projects that put more emphasis on creativity and less on technical skills. 


I'm extremely happy with this plush monster project because it is another one of those projects that nearly every single student was really psyched to work on. Each student designed their own monster before making a simple pattern and cutting the main shape out of felt. I hadn't sewn since 8th grade home-ec. That year, I happened to be in a study hall with my mom, who was a 7th grade teacher. After one day, I decided it was too weird and picked up home-ec! I used all of my 8th grade sewing knowledge to show my students how to sew their monsters together, flip the fabric inside out, stuff them, and finish the sewing. They then added details with craft glue. Since this project was TOTALLY new for me, I was a little concerned about how the finished project would come out. Luckily, this was one of the most successful projects of the entire year. I'll definitely be doing this next year!

8 comments:

Hope Hunter Knight said...

I've been wanting to do an "ugly dol" type thing myself. Glad to know the 5th graders pulled it off so well! Thanks for this post.

KatMariee said...

This is fantastic! Reminded me of the Mighty Ugly project (http://www.mightyugly.com/) I heard her speak about a year ago and it was fantastically inspiring. Just thought I'd share!

Ruth Byrne said...

I do a similar project with fourth graders. We use sewing needles and thread and its a bit of a hurdle. What kind of needle do you use? I like the look of the yarn stitching. If it's going to show it might as well be decorative!

Megan E. S. said...

What fill do you use? I was thinking of cheap dollar store pillows for the fill. Or maybe even scrap paper.

Zach Stoller said...

I used something called "flufferfill" from Blick. It was fairly cheap and I only went through 3-4 bags for nearly 100 students. Pillow stuffing would probably work, though.

Ms. Gram said...

Very interested to find out what kind of needle you used! I have a ton of yarn needles.. but those just don't seem to work nicely with felt..

Zach Stoller said...

Ms. Gram,
I am by no means a sewing expert, so I'll try to explain the needle the best I can. It is metal and is almost exactly two inches long. The eye is elongated, which made it a little easier for the kids to thread. The sharper the needle the better. Some of my needles aren't terribly sharp, and it was a little tough to get through two layers of felt. Hopefully that helps out. Post another question if you need any clarification.

Maggi D said...

Can you share your lesson plan? How did you transfer the drawings from the paper to the felt...cut it out and trace it?

Great project!