Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Art Teacherin' 101: Episode 4

Make no mistake: that big toothy grin is one part love-for-my-Time-Timer and one (BIG) part it's-the-last-day-of-school! That's right, y'all! I gave as many of the kids a big squeeze and a "love y'all!" before booting them out the door and lunching with some teacher buddies. I'll be right back at school next week do work on some projects but tomorrow we leave on a jet plane to sunny So Cal and I couldn't be happier!

But, in the meantime, I thought I'd share with y'all one of my favorite tools in the art room, my Time Timer. This bad boy serves many purposes in my art room from classroom management to differentiated instruction to motivational tool. Lemme tell you the many ways I use that guy in my art room:
And to think I'm not even a paid endorser. Yo, Time Timer, call me! 
 Just to recap, I use it the following ways:

* After giving instruction, I set the timer for 5 minutes. During that time, my students gather supplies and begin work SILENTLY until the timer goes off. Then they can chat calmly with their table buddies. This allows them to collect their supplies and get settled and started in a calm manner.
* I use it for my longer classes when I have a lesson with many steps that needs to be broken down into bite sized pieces. For example, when we are weaving, I might give them the first steps of warping their loom. When the timer goes off, regardless as to whether or not they are finished, they are to hit the pause button and meet me on the floor for the next set of instructions. This breaks up the lesson so as not to overwhelm the kids with directions.
* I often have students who are "stumped". For example, I gave my students a writing task that I noticed was taking them FOREVER. So I set my timer and gave them only five minutes to complete their writing task. This made it so they were motivated and focused to complete their writing.
* Some students work best with a visual and with less instruction. For those, I use my Time Timer to differentiate. I'll give them fewer steps, set the timer and ask that they complete the steps before the timer. 
My kids love the timer as much as I do! I have several that have made themselves my designated "timer" who are in charge of setting and maintaining the time. It's so simple to operate and durable. I don't know what I did without it!

What tools do you use in your art room that are vital to your instruction? I'd love to hear! 

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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

In the Art Room: Art Show 2016

For as long as I've been at my current school (closing in on 15 years, y'all!), we've had an end-of-the-year/school-wide/hang-everything-up-that-every-kid-has-made-all-year art show. Along the way, I've learned many a thing which I've shared with y'all here and here. This year, I learned that I have The Best parent volunteers in the world (thank you Molly, Terri and Donna for making sure every child felt like a mini-Monet!) and that deer mesh and clothes pins were a match made in Art Show Heaven. Last week, I shared with y'all the clay display portion of the art show in our 1950's style diner. This week, I thought I'd take you on a tour of the halls of my school (with links to the projects shown) which were PLASTERED from floor to ceiling with masterpieces. Like, y'all. We didn't have a space to spare. Which truly is my style of decorating. So, let me show you around! Let's start in Kindergartentown. 
I see my kindergarten students once a week for forty minutes. Our clay tacos from the diner can be seen here. We worked on lines at the start of the year and built on that knowledge throughout with lessons on abstract painting, shape castle drawing and collage, winter landscapes, self portraits and guided drawings to name a few. 
One of my favorite lessons came from my buddy Laura Lohmann of Painted Paper. Those Model Magic flowers were so fun! 

I love doing guided drawings with my younger students throughout the year. That pigeon is an example. We read Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, which is short and awesome, draw together and work in watercolor paint. This reinforces line, shape and color. Not only that, but guided drawings build confidence in my students. If you've never done guided drawings with kids or are new to teaching art to children, I've really learned a lot from this book over the years. 
Of course, selfies and abstracts are something that kindergarten has down, y'all. Here's a link to my fave self-portrait lessons
With kindergarten, I usually stick with the same lessons, unlike all my other grades. Although, I do like to change the lessons up a bit. Here is an altered version of our winter landscape lesson
First grade comes to art twice a week for thirty minute blocks. I don't know how they did it, but first grade ended up with the most amount of work out of all the grades. I mean, that's ONE class, y'all! AND that's not even all of their work.
We did so many fun lessons this year. From the van Gogh-inspired trees to the Robert Indiana printed LOVE, these were a busy bunch of artists. 
 We did these selfies at the start of the year and those stars at the end. 
 Of course, they went all mad scientist on me! 
Occasionally, if we are between projects or simply have one art class before heading into a break, we'll create a guided/painted project too. That's how these Party Pandas came to be! 
 Second grade has the same schedule as my first grade: twice a week/thirty minutes. They were also super busy this year!
 Many of you have asked about the deer mesh and Gaffer's tape. You can see the tape at the bottom in this photo. More tape is used across the top just so the mesh does not sag. Then the tape is hidden behind artwork by my super crafty mama helpers. 
 One project we always do is circle loom weaving, a kid fave. And we created these Heather Galler-inspired cups of hot cocoa
Everyone in the school started the year learning about Rousseau. I love the second grade collaged version of his adventures! 
The bunny was their guided drawing/day-before-break project. So sweet!
Printmaking with second grade resulted in these winter-time selfies
 My third grade students come to art once a week for an hour. this means we do longer projects. We end up with less work...but bigger/greater things, says me!
 By the way, my early finishers worked on decorating the clothes pins that we hung the artwork from! They loved doing it and it added an extra layer of kid-created to the show. 
 My husband snapped many of the photos of the art show as I was swamped with young artists in my art room. He said this lesson was one of his faves. I realized I've not shared it with y'all...so stay tuned! I'll have a video of this lesson up soon. 
We finished off our stitching with metallic frames that added a bit of pop. And, of course, we created exactly ONE MILLION prints to achieve those printed landscapes
Third grade's answer to Rousseau were these painted paper tiger collages inspired by the art lessons of my buddy Laura!
Fourth grade not only created clay food and pencil/crayon sculptures, but they stitched, collaged, painted and chalked just about everything they could get their hands on. 
Instead of doing woven pouches like we usually do, our fiber arts alternative were these string art pieces. I really love them on those round pieces of cardboard and may have to do that again next year. 
 The abstract pieces the students created with artist Hannah Lane was also one of my faves. 
But who could forget the cuteness of their Rousseau-inspired pieces?!
 Or their Super Hero Selfies
 I've not done much collaborative projects in small groups (usually big stuff!) but this one was a crowd fave. 
Another crowd fave were these diner signs and advertisements we made for the art show! Snapping these photos and creating these pieces was a great way to build excitement for the show. You can see the video lesson of those diner signs here
I mean, check out all that cheesiness! If you give a kid a mustache...isn't that a book? It really should be!
Every year, I make a lil list of what I plan to do differently. Here it is in short order:

1. Start matting and framing work earlier (like, as they finish the work!)
2. Don't let the children of the parent volunteers EVER leave our school. 

There! Done and done. 

If you'd like to see Art Shows of Years Past, here you go!

* 2012 Art Show here and here
* 2013 Art Show here and here
* 2014 Art Show here and here



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Thursday, May 19, 2016

In the Art Room: Crayon and Pencil Sculptures

Because I'm a clay-loving art teacher with clay-loving students, I don't often venture down Papier Mache Avenue for sculpture projects. However, I knew I wanted my students to create giant-size art supplies for their fourth grade legacy. The only problem was, I knew they'd love their pencils and crayons so much that they'd wanna take it home. So my compromise was that they make one big one for the school (details on that in the near future) and one for themselves!
And I'm totally smitten with these! This project, like many of my others, morphed into a couple different projects from a group crayon mural to a sweet little photo op with some writing fun. In this clip, I walk you thru the construction of the armature for these bad boys. 
Because so many of us have different recipes and methods for papier mache, I left that out of the video. However, I can give y'all the dirty deets here. We used Art Paste and newspaper (that I rapidly cut on my paper cutter) to cover the taped bottom to about 2" up the bottom of the pencil. We completely covered the tag board at the top to about 2" down. Covering the tube was not necessary unless the kids just wanted to do it. For me, it was just important that they get the papier mache portion complete in one hour class period. 
The following class, we primed the sculptures which took all of 7 minutes. Knowing that, I created the Crayon Collaborative lesson (video below). This proved to be a great tie-in and just so much fun!
 The following class, the painting began. Students had to decide if they were creating a pencil, a crayon or a colored pencil. Once the colors were mixed, the kids set to painting. Early finishers resumed work on their collaboratives.
Finally, we added the sweet little details. The metal tooling for the pencil band and the labels for the crayons. Modpodge was also added to seal and protect (and add a little shine!). Again, every time we had a spare moment, we went back to our other project. It made for a chaotic and messy class time but, eh, that's what art is all about, right?
The kids came up with the most creative names for their crayons, it cracked me up!
Like, whuh? Grannie really digs a certain blue, perhaps? Maybe it's the color of her hair? I need to find out!
Here's a peak at the collaboratives they worked on as well. 
We used chalk...but I'm sure oil pastels would work really well for this process. And less dusty!
 By the way, not all chalk is created equal. I'm a big fan of Koss brand chalk. It's not cheap but that's because it's good. 
Save that pastel-y chalk for the sidewalk, y'all. 
 Can you guess which gender created this set of crayons? 
 It's my sweet fourth graders last year at my school. I've taught these children art for five years! I'm going to miss them and I know they are going to miss our school. So I created a little cloudy background, got a big lined piece of paper and had them pandomining writing their thoughts on the past and future. 
These images, along with their writing, were on display in the halls of the art show. It was hung next to their artwork for the year. Meanwhile, their sculptures were featured in the art room. 
 Of course, I had to read what they wrote! I do not know what "crazyness" this kid speaks of. 
 My younger students are fascinated with these giant art supplies and keep asking if they will be making them. I don't often repeat lessons out of sheer boredom...so I told 'em I wasn't making any promises but I did explain the process to them. 
 That last line, geesh. So sweet. 
 Here's a peak at one of the larger pencils that were created. These are staying behind with the school. Some of them are HUGE!
Let's hope brother has a good reputation! Until next time, y'all! 
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