6th grade classes have been working on block prints. Some of the students had to carve a fairly hard linoleum, but most got to work on the easy cut carving material. They had to draw either a bird, flower, fish, or butterfly from book resources. None of the drawings was traced because the books and the carving materials were not the same size. Students transferred their drawings by rubbing the graphite onto the carving material. They then used sharp gouges to carve away the negative spaces and leave behind the positive. Each carved plate was printed using a brayer to roll the ink onto the plate and then rubbing the paper covered inked plate with a barren. The best carving can be ruined by using too little or too much ink, so the students practiced a few test prints before using the marbleized papers.
Many of our families do not have the means to have art supplies in the home and all kids need to have tactile experiences with art supplies. I try to provide at least two 30 min. classes where students just get a chance to interact with the clay with no objectives or expectation. This was done under the radar because although sound art education, I would have failed any formal observation because I didn't interrupt kids by asking questions or requiring a final product. The art room should be a social arena where kids learn to share and help each other with their personal explorations.