ArtMuse67

Musings about the importance and impact of art and art education in the 21st century.

Musings about the importance of art and art education

Beautiful Butterflies in Kindergarten

♠ Posted by ArtMuse in
 The other art teacher in our school finished out the end of last year with these beauties.  They're big too, 18x24".  I LOVE working big with kids...it gets them out of their comfort zone and makes the art seem so much more substantial, especially with the little ones like the kinders and first graders. The other art teacher shares my sentiment and the butterflies themselves were painted on 18x24" white paper and then cut and mounted on a colored background.

 The white paper was first folded in half and the students drew half their butterfly in pencil first. I taught a day or two of this lesson and when I had the kids do it I told them "no erasers, just draw and re-draw as needed". In my opinion, WAY too much time is wasted on kids compulsively erasing their "mistakes" waiting and trying to make their work "perfect".  Although, I will say that if your going to teach your students to work without erasers, that you should really discuss and model it,  it helps exponentially when you can coach them through it and explicitly teach why they don't really need to erase at all.  

After they drew half their butterflies they used black tempera and a medium-sized wide brush to paint over the half they drew, periodically folding and printing the wet paint onto the other side of the paper to create a symmetrical images. Lines that were faded or didn't quite touch were simply painted over.
 The drawing and painting was day 1. Day 2 and 3 consisted of painting the inside of the butterflies with colored paints.  Most kids, by June, have no problem matching the sides up pretty consistently.  It's AMAZING how much the little kindaroos grow and develop in one year.  Kindergarten teachers really do make magic happen. 

 Day 4 was cutting and gluing the butterflies onto a backing and then adding different embellishments like stickers, gems, and metallic confetti pieces. Some of the children were completely dedicated to keeping their designs symmetrical, even with the embellishments, and some just glue the sparkly stones on willy-nilly, either way the results are adorable. If I ever teach kindergarten again, this is a lesson I would totally "borrow". 


How do You Doodle?

♠ Posted by ArtMuse in

Thanks to our schools AH-MAZE-ING psychologist, I was introduced to the book "How do you Doodle?" by Elise Gravel.


This book completely coincides with my search for ways to make my classroom more mindful.  Part of what I am trying to accomplish is providing opportunities for students who struggle behaviorally to express themselves and be reflective about their actions. I'm going to place a few photocopied pages from this book in my "focus and fix kit" for students who need to "take a break". 

 I think it's a really fabulous book and so I wanted to share.  Here are a couple of pictures I snapped from the book.  

Enjoy!






Starting the Year with Collaborative Color Wheels

♠ Posted by ArtMuse in ,

This is by far the best first project I've ever done. In years past I've began the year with all sorts of things that included:
- Art room scavenger hunts (to help students learn where everything is)
- "Dot" drawings: Give each student a piece of paper with a dot on it and let them create a drawing  based off that.
- Design thinking challenge: "Creative Problem Solving in the Art Room"- I made a PowerPoint slide of 3 images; a bicycle wheel, a sneaker and a stool and the students had to work in teams of two to create a drawing of an invention and then present it to the class.
-Found Object Sculpture Challenge: where the kiddo's used pipe cleaners, popsicle sticks and cardboard tubes to create sculptures.
-Straight up rules and routines (super boring!) but yes, I spent my first 2-3 years of teaching spending the whole period on going over and practicing rules. 

But for the past 2-3 years I've been starting off the year having the students create a piece or item for a school-wide collaborative art project. Out of all the things I've tried, I like this the best, and this years project is turning out to be one of my favorites.

I got the idea for this from doing a google search of "recycled art+ kids group project", or some variation of that.  The image that came up that caught my eye is to the right (if this is your picture, let me know and I'll be sure to give ya some credit!).

This year I teach grades 2-5 and another art teachers does K and 1.  I'm having my kids do the color wheel part and later on, once those are done, I'll have the other teacher have her kids collage the black side of the oak tag with colored CD shards.  Then, I'll hang them all up to create some type of mobile.  At least that's my thinking so far....
I'll keep you posted!






Continuing at the Begining

♠ Posted by ArtMuse in

Whoa, it's been awhile...I almost forgot how much I like blogging!  About this time every year I eagerly look forward to catching up on all the great art ed blogs I follow.  I really love reading about how all the wonderful, creative art teachers out there setup their classrooms and see all the new tweaks and changes they are making to their rooms and their teaching. It's inspiring (and insightful) when we get to delve into each others practices and learn from others new and different ways to do things.  Sometimes something as simple as a saying or signal can give us insight into a more effective way to change our own practices.

For the past 3 weeks I've been listening to the 'Everyday Art Room' podcast from the Art of Ed.  The always inspiring Cassie Stephens authors and narrates the podcasts and its REALLY impressive.  Very clear, concise, and organized, the first 3 episodes have focused on routines, rules, and consequences and I highly recommend checking it out, even if your a veteran teacher. This is my 10th year teaching and I still found her information relevant and thought-provoking.

Listening to her podcast made me re-think my own practices and, as I do every year, I am trying a few little changes in my setup and approach, forever striving to find what works most successfully for me and my students.





This year I'm all about mindfulness. After having a tough last year, I'm going to try my best to stay organized, positive, and really focus on making my classroom as much of a community as I can. 



Good luck to everyone starting soon and to all of you who have already gone back!
  




Hermit crabbin it up



And when I mentioned hermit crabbin in my post title, I wasn't referring to my long absence from the blog-o-sphere, although I could see how you could misconstrue...This lil' ditty of a project (and post title), got started like this: Today on probably what was the most humid of all humid days this summer, (and when I say humid, I'm talkin' Florida in July, wallpaper peeling, face meltin' humid!), I decided to go into my un-air conditioned room in my mostly un-air conditioned school and get a jump on my setup. The good news is that I was able to unpack all my supply boxes, hang my signs, label, sort, re-stock, decorate AND tackle one of the three bulletin boards I'm responsible for makin' all pretty-and-such. All that's left is 2 boards and a pesky showcase! 

                                                        "Hermit Crab Shell Change"

What your looking at on this board is an Eric Carle lesson I've seen around on a few pin boards amd such. It was the final kinder project of last year. It was two sessions of paper painting pandamonium followed by 3 more days of drawing, cutting and collage. I sprinkled in some cute clips of hermit crabs and read the book that inspired the project: "A House for Hermit Crab" (duh!).


 My fave part of the whole lesson wasn't the adorable smirking quirky crabs, which I do adore, but was actually watching the look on the kiddos faces when I showed them what hermit crabs look like in real life. Amongst the videos I showed em' after reading the story was of a real hermit crab changing it's shell. if you ever wanna see the most varied facial expressions and reactions form a 5 year olds, show em' this video! I got every look from disgust to fascination, but hey, it kept them alll hooked! And really, can you actually teach this project the right way without showing them the real life star of the story? I think not! 


Enjoy, and good luck in the "new" year!











Spring Walkthrough

♠ Posted by ArtMuse


 Here are a few pictures of my room from my schools yearly "Spring Walkthrough".  This is about as close to an art show as I get.  I hang a sampling of k-5 artworks that the students have done throughout the year.  I posted about the koi pond that I displayed during walkthrough here
Even though I had a wall put up in my room at the end of last year making it a bit smaller (see post here), overall I think it looked great!

The Koi Pond

♠ Posted by ArtMuse in ,
 

At the end of every year my school hosts it's annual "Spring Walkthrough", where teachers line their classroom walls with the work their students have done throughout the year, turning the building into a giant museum. Since our elementary school has a little over 600 students you can imagine the chaos that ensues. This year, one of my favorite displays was my koi display. The first grade art teacher and I hung our work together and showed off her kids 2D koi and my fifth graders koi sculptures. Here are a few pics:


 The idea for the clay fish came from a video on youtube by fellow blogger "Adventures in Positive Space".  The title of the video is "Koi Fish Sculpture Tutorial"
 


 


4th Grade Jellyfish

♠ Posted by ArtMuse in ,,

I just love these jellies!!!

I taught and posted this lesson 3 years ago and originally found the project from the blog "Create Art with ME".  the only main difference this time around was that I made the paper 16x20 instead of 12x18".

Generally speaking, one of my main goals as an art teacher isn't to have my students create artwork that is "pretty".  For me, the process is just as, if not more, important than the product. But I'd also be lying if I said it wasn't important that teachers have artwork the want to display in their rooms, that parents want to hang in their homes (besides on the fridge), and that students are proud to show off.  Essentially, this boils down to having the conventional "pretty" or better yet, "beautiful" art. This project is one of those...sort of.



 It's fairly light on content and doesn't require a lot of higher order thinking, but does teach certain art vital art concepts such as value, tints, shades, opacity and transparency, and also although simple in nature, gives the kids the chance to work with two of the most fun materials in art: paint and chalk pastels.

It's the type of project where everyone ends up happy, and quite frankly, it's good to have a few projects like these in your repertoire, especially now that we're coming up of Spring Open house nights!

Here's how the project went down (each period is 40 minutes)
Day 1-Drawing the background by separating the white paper into about 7 shapes using either wavy , curving,  or straight lines and/or concentric circles. The paper can be held horizontal or vertical. After a demonstartion, the kids start painting tints of blue.
Day 2- Demonstrate mixing shades of blue and have the students complete the painting portion of the lesson.
Day 3- Practice day-Demonstrate how to draw jellyfish and color, keeping them semi-transparent, and then have the kids practice drawing and coloring with the chalks.
Day 4-5 Work on the good copy, drawing sand/rock for the bottom of the ocean  adding details like coral, seaweed, other types of underwater creatures, and at least 4 jellyfish.

The project could also tie in with something science based as it makes for a great jumping off point to learn about underwater sea life and jellyfish.  It sparked a few questions from my students I had to google to find the answer to!