Tag Archives: Balcarres Community School



  • (Of a substance) allowing light, but not detailed shapes, to pass through; semi-transparent:her beautiful translucent skin


I have been learning about translucence with the grade 4’s.  We are working with tissue paper and rice paper, both of which are translucent. By some lucky miracle, the grade 4’s will also be learning about translucence in science. They are getting a head start.

Ty's translucent butterfly (it started out as a target and was transformed as he worked on it)

Ty’s translucent butterfly (it started out as a target and was transformed as he worked on it)

Pick any search engine and ask for images of translucent items and you will be amazed. We thought of every day ordinary things that were translucent: sunglasses, tinted glass, bubbles, water and some ice, sheer scarves.

I love water. Perhaps this is why I have always loved things that were translucent. When I was a small girl, I loved swimming underwater in a lake with my eyes open. I liked looking at the sand and shells beneath me, and through the water at the sky and the white and green of the birch trees that dotted the shore line above me.

We have created many beautiful things with tissue paper in the grade 4 class. This week, I introduced rice paper to the students. Our final project will be created with rice paper and plexi glass. Each student closed their eyes and chose a small piece of rice paper or some other translucent paper from a basket. No two pieces were the same. Here is what some students wrote about their paper:IMG_1728 IMG_1729Other students described the paper as bumpy, hairy, thicker than tissue paper, hard to tear, see through, with a pattern, as soft, as kind of smooth, furry. The paper came in every colour! Some had paper with patterns in it, or shapes with swirls that start on the inside and works its way around or a flower pattern. Some of the scraps of paper reminded the students of something else: “my paper has the same shape as Saskatchewan”, “my paper reminds me of the colour of a bull moose”, “the green of my paper reminds me of when I go quadding in a muddy place where there is green”, “my paper reminds me of my mom’s paintings”, “it reminds me of dryer sheets”,”this paper smells like Sue’s house”, “it makes me think of a dragonfly”. Because they did not choose their paper, some students did not like their paper while others did.

Students were then asked to glue their paper on a small piece of transparent film. They could tear it or cut it or arrange it any way they liked, eventually adding other scraps of paper to their design.

playing with rice paper - some of the designs in my living room window

playing with rice paper – some of the designs in my living room window

more abstract designs - you can see Emma's dragonfly at the bottom

more abstract designs – you can see Emma’s dragonfly at the bottom

here I have layered the transparent film

here I have layered the transparent film

more layers

more layers

the student's designs make shadows on the wall in the afternoon light

the student’s designs make shadows on the wall in the afternoon light

all the students designs layered together with some translucent parts and some that are not

all the students designs layered together with some translucent parts and some that are not


Dear Grade 4’s

Smokey the COLLAGE Cat

Smokey the COLLAGE Cat

Dear Grade Fours,

I thought you would enjoy meeting one of our three cats – he is called Smokey and this is our living room (a big mess!) before I came to visit you today. Have you heard of CALICO cats? Well, I think Smokey is a COLLAGE CAT – happiest when lying on papers, or even better – in the middle of a collage piece I am working on. Deep down, Smokey is an artist too.

In the picture of Smokey, you can see the paint chips which each of you chose as your favourite colour. Here they are as Darian arranged them on the table. Some of you picked more than one favourite colour!

Paint Chips

Paint Chips

Back at home  with Smokey’s help, I cut out different shapes in tissue paper that matched your favourite colours. Together and with the help of your teacher and Jessie and Marina, we created the colourful rooster pictured below. I call him Raggedy Rooster – is this a good name? For some Raggedy Rooster was too messy, for others he was just right. One thing I love about creating art is that there are many ways to create a rooster – and all of them are fine. One of the things I hope we can learn together is how each of you like to work best as an artist. Some like to be detailed and exact and like everything to be very neat. Others like to cut or tear quickly and don’t mind if everything isn’t perfect. The beauty of collage is that all these ways make for beautiful pieces.

"Raggedy Rooster" - this rooster's got attitude!

“Raggedy Rooster” – this rooster’s got attitude!

Below “Raggedy Rooster” is the rooster you drew together – when we were learning that a rooster is a collection of shapes. Below your rooster I have included some roosters I have created – one is a collage and is your classroom right now.IMG_1531


Free Range Chicken - watercolour

Free Range Chicken – watercolour

“Free Range Chicken” is not really a rooster, just a very fancy chicken who gets to run around in purple running shoes. Does she remind you of anyone?

I look forward to seeing you all again on Thursday when we will create something that flies – could be birds, dragonflies, dragons, rockets….Thank you for all the ways you are helping – sweeping the floor, emptying water, teaching me how to speak without an Ontario accent, keeping me in line and giving me such a fantastic and warm welcome to your classroom.

Smokey says good bye – here he is, napping again, near a basket of paper!! His eyes match the yellow paper.

What is Smokey the COLLAGE cat's favourite colour??

What is Smokey the COLLAGE cat’s favourite colour??

Bye for now,

Sue and Smokey

For the month of March, I am privileged to work with the grade 4 students in Mrs. Anna Maria Burianyk-Noey’s classroom at Balcarres Community School. I will share some of our adventures in this blog from time to time. We are exploring the medium of paper collage and hope to create some rice paper panels to add colour and beauty to the new entrance of the school.