Showing posts with label art blog. Show all posts
Showing posts with label art blog. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

In the Art Room: A Guest Post While I'm Away!

Hey guys! Just back from the NAEA conference in San Diego...and attempting to recover from that awesome experience! I'll be back with you soon with plenty of photos and stories from this past weekend but until then, please enjoy this post written by fellow art teacher buddy Faigie!

I am so thrilled to be filling in for Cassie while she has a great time in San Diego. 
I like to bill myself as the art teacher with no art background.
I do have a Masters in Early Childhood Education and have always been extremely involved in the progressive art part of early ed, and have even given workshops to teach teachers how to incorporate good art into their classrooms.
It was only this year however,  that I became a bona fide art teacher, teaching in a new private school that only goes up to first grade so far.
Even though I have a passion for kids and their art, I've always  particularly loved collage. I really see how with a little bit of direction and some suggestive materials collage brings out the best of children's creativity.
This year I only have the first grade and Kindergarten and usually try to do different activities with them.
For this activity however, I decided to give both of them collage. For the first grade  I added a bit of a twist.
I cut out some basic shapes using the large shaped hole punchers to get nice round circles. I also decided to add some hexagons for interest. 

When the children came in I sat them down and held up each shape individually. We discussed what each of those shapes made them think of.
I wanted them to go to the table thinking and to  create "something",  not just a design.
It's obvious from their work that they really did try to use their pieces as part of a larger picture.
I also added their own descriptions of their pictures to their artwork which I find really adds dimension.

Some of course made one larger picture while others made a few smaller objects on their papers.
Then came the first graders.
When they came in I went through the same discussion that I had had with the Kindergarteners but, I added one thing.
I had found a bunch of patterned papers that I had with my art stuff and I told them that they had to pick out a piece of a pattern from one of the papers and incorporate it into their collages.

I found that many of the children got their ideas from their pieces they cut out and built on their artwork from there (which was the idea).
The one below was a squirrel trying to get an acorn from a tree.

 In this one, the little girl wrote her own description of what was going on in her picture. 

One of the things I love so much about collage is that there is so much variety that can be added to each collage activity that only allows for more and more creativity. There are also many levels of sophistication in many of them and I know this can be done with all ages.
And now for my disclaimer:
I can never compete with Cassie's wardrobe  and I don't intend to.
HOWEVER, I didn't think it would be nice to finish off a post on her blog without showing you a picture of what THIS art teacher wore (or wears).
So here is my picture below of what I wear (or change into) in EVERY art class.

Faigie Kobre is a new  art teacher in a fledgling private school . She also gives art classes in her home. She runs a blog called EduArt 4 Kids teaching parents and teachers how to give their kids  great art that will help them think. She believes that everyone  can and should do art. She has a FREE report that you can get  now called "The REAL reason most people can't draw a straight line, plus 5 tips to make sure your child will". Even if you are a real artist, a distinction that she does not claim to have, you will find it interesting and may even help you help the parents of your students.

Friday, March 28, 2014

In the Art Room: Where the Party Pandas At?

Hey, Kids! I interrupt this post to let you know I'm at the NAEA convention in San Diego! I'd love to see you and have some dates and times we can meet up. Follow this linky-loo and I'll see you there!

Wuz up, Party Pandas, er, People?

I recently had to take a coupla days off and needed some quick -n- easy sub plans. From past experience, I know not to leave out our current projects for a coupla reasons: 

1. It freaks out the "I'M NOT AN ART TEACHER!" sub who seems to think my plans are written in hieroglyphs (which they usually are because I like pictures). Upon my return, I either get the stink eye from 'em which translates to "what in the world did you put me through?! It was like reading the no-words instructions from Ikea!" or the furrowed eyebrow/twitchy-eye face which means "I tried to explain what a "landscape collage" was but we couldn't figure it out. So we resorted to glue eating and sharpie sniffing. And it was AWESOME!" 

2. Because the kids, fully aware that their sub is NOT AN ART TEACHER! and, therefore, easy prey, pretend that they have no idea what the sub is talking about. From there, they use their kid-manipulation tactics to convince el subbo that it's perfectly normal to color our hands in marker and stamp it on their face. Like a Kid-Manipulatin'-the-Sub Boss.

Knowing this, and knowing I needed some sub plans for all grades in a pinch, I decided to leave some  step-by-step panda drawing instructions for the NOT AN ART TEACHER! sub. And, I'm excited to say, everyone loved it. 
I have no idea. Bob? Who are you and why are my 4th graders obsessed with you and mustaches? I can only imagine you are some curly-mustached hipster. In skinny jeans. Which should be banned form the dudes' clothing department. But I digress.

Why a panda, you ask? (okay, so you didn't ask but Ima gonna tell you anyway). Well, my students are currently learning about Asia and our panda friends reside in China. We're gearing up for a clay project/fundraiser (we want to help those pandas!) and I thought this would be a super fun way to get the kids in the mood. 
In my sub notes, I asked the sub to follow my routine of having the children gather on the floor. From there, I asked the sub to talk through and demonstrate drawing a panda with the children. These directions were big enough for the children to see once at their seats. However, just in case they needed a closer view, I did make photos copies of the same directions and had them ready on the tables.

I'm happy to say that each of my subs drew a panda...and was actually thrilled by their own artistic skills! Several left their drawings out for me to admire and hang on my fridge.
Just a couple of reminders from who the students and I have dubbed "Señor Roy G. Biv". The children were given only ONE SHEET of paper (make it work, kids! Tim Gunn's watching!) and a black oil pastel. This can be a bit dangerous as those oil pastels can get everywhere (I had one kindergartener unknowingly rubbed his chin and a buddy said, "you look like a hobo!") but I left out oodles of baby wipes and a warning of the danger of smears.
Since the kids were only given one sheet of paper (anyone else cringe at the sound of a paper being crumbled?! "Why you wanna be a tree killer, kids?!"), you can see this student practiced a couple of different ideas before giving it a-go on the front.

Now, one of the reasons I had a sub is because I'd taken my fourth grade on a field trip! When we returned from our trip, I had, like, 10 minutes before my classes started pouring. Since they had drawn the pandas the previous day, I simply had a coupla kids get watercolor paints on the tables and we were good to paint our pandas!

We chatted about a couple different methods for painting our panda backgrounds. My art teacher BFF's (hiya, Mallory!) has recently been doing this patchy wet-on-wet painting process with her students. You can see this in several of the pandas above. To do this, you paint a very small patch of color on your paper. I explain to the kids that a wash is a color light in value. From there, I show them  the wet-on-wet technique of adding those dots of color and watching the dots grow.

These paintings were completed by my fourth grade students. We've actually been doing a lot of watercolor painting lately so they are kind of experts. Many opted out of the wet-on-wet and did their own thing. Which is awesome. For more details on the kind of watercolor paint I use...and the specifics of how I teach those kids not to grind their brushes into their paper, go here.
And there you have it! I hope you'll give these Party Pandas a go...and if you do, please email me some photos, I'd love to see them!

Friday, March 21, 2014

What I Wore #93 and Field Trippin'

Hello, Monday: I know most people hate Mondays but I kinda love them. Mostly because I'm one of those people that likes the idea of having a "reset" or do-over button. I usually try new things on Mondays and, since I've chilled the majority of the weekend, I've got the energy to do so. Tell me I'm not alone in this "aw, Monday's aren't all that bad" feeling! sweater, dress: thrifted; boots: Frye, resale shop; tights: dunno; scarf: Urban Outfitters; belt: Anthro
Hellooo, long lost friends! I hope you've been having a super wonderful week. It's been great here as I'm currently enjoying the last days of my Spring Break! Hubs and I set off on a California Adventure that involved lots of hikes, trips to Disneyland, a visit with a good buddy from college and strolls on the beach. Oh! And shopping. Loooots of shopping. I might have a problem but until they make some anti-shopping pill (that would ONLY be invented by a straight man, mind you), I'm ownin' this problem. All that set me a pinch behind in blogland. So what you see here are photos of what I wore leading up to my break...which seems like forever ago!

When I return to school on Monday, it's gonna be the start of The World's Craziest Week: field trip to the art museum with my 4th grade on Tuesday, new rotation of afternoon sewing club for kids on Wednesday, school carnival on Thursday (where I'm sitting in the Pie in Yo Face booth, joy!) and flying out to the NAEA convention in San Diego on Friday. Just thinking about next week and all that I have to do kinda freaks me out a little. But in a good way.

Since my 4th graders will be visiting The Frist Center for Visual Arts to view their Looking East: Western Artists and the Allure of Japan, I thought I'd share with you some of the pieces they'll be seeing along with a wee background history of the exhibit. Enjoy these beautiful works and I'll be back with you soonish!
Utagawa Hiroshige, Plum Estate from One Hundred Famous Views of Edo, 1857. So in the late 1850's, after some strong persuasion from the United States (read: we had lots of big boats and weapons), Japan signed trade agreements with the Western nations after 200 years of self-imposed isolation. I can only imagine how the artists of that time most have felt seeing the "exotic" works of art by artists such as Hiroshige.

The Bridge in the Rain, original by Hiroshige (left) copy by Vincent van Gogh (right). One of the most popular pieces of art that influenced such Western artists as van Gogh, Monet and Cassatt where Japanese prints often referred to as ukiyo-e. These works of art were mass produced for the common man and meant to serve as a kind of postcard of a place or event. Ukiyo-e translates to "the floating world" which means that many of the depictions were of the entertainment world in Japan at that time. These prints were created by a team that consisted of artist, carver, printer and publisher. Hiroshige was the artist behind many landscaped-themed prints. Apparently, in Japan, one could not simply travel within the country without passports and permission from the government. For that reason, landscape prints were created to give folks a view of other parts of Japan.
What Does the Fox Say? Tuesday: So, who's tiptoed into the felting pool since my little video? Anyone? Ya'll won't believe how incredibly easy and addictive it is! Just watch out for those fingers. Like, seriously. sweater: DIY here; dress: Anthro label, found at Buffalo Exchange; necklace: gift; shoes: Dolls by Nina
Père Tanguy, by Vincent van Gogh. Oil on canvas, 1887. After discovering Japanese prints, van Gogh seemed to also discover color. Don't believe me? Google that nuthin' but brown painting Potato Eaters and tell me I'm lyin'.
Grainy Photo Wednesday: Sorry, dudes. My classroom photos have been looking grainy lately. And I've gotten into this annoying hands-on-hips habit (check out the next coupla outfit photos, ah! So hands-on-hips-y!). sweater: vintage, thrifted; dress, belt and shoes: Anthro; peacock pin and necklace: gifts
Utagawa Hiroshige I, Yokkaichi: Mie River, 1833. Take a close look at this print and tell me Hiroshige wasn't a funny dude. I love the guy chasing his hat and the dude with his jacket flying up. This reminds me of an Aesop's fable that was read to me as a kid (I LOVED those fables, did you?). In it there was  this argument between the sun and the wind concerning which was more powerful. They decided to test their strength on a man walking down the street. It was decided that whoever could get the dude to take his coat off was the winner. The wind blew and blew only to find that the man wrapped his coat around himself tighter. The sun simply had to shine and it's warmth convinced the man that his coat wasn't needed. I have always loved that story. I like to think that it means you can't convince anyone by simply blowing hot air but by being yourself you'll shine and people will take their clothes off. OR something like that.
Claude Monet, Seacoast at Trouville, 1881. Okay, look at Hiroshige's print...and look at Monet's painting. Coincidence? You decide.
Buggy Eyed Rainbow Thursday: A buddy gave me a set of giant googly eyes for my birthday. I had no idea where to put them until one of my 4th grade girls suggested my rainbow. All of my demos take place at that easel so it seemed like the perfect spot. Because of the arc of the rainbow, he always looked a little sad. That is until I attached a mini-moustache that another friend had gifted me. It makes me happy every time I see Senor Roy G. Biv. sweater and tights: Target; skirt: Anthro; belt: gift; scarf: dunno; boots: DIY here

Kikugawa Eizan, Otome, 1818 . So one Big Fat Hairy dif between Western works of art and these from Japan is that in Western art, painting a likeness was important. You won't find that in Japanese prints. Often because they are more about a story than they are the specific characters in that story.
Mary Cassatt, Maternal Caress, 1901. So I've looked at this painting several times and JUST NOW noticed the weird amputated hands. Whuz up, Mary?! They claim Cassatt was influenced by the Japanese but I'm not real sure. Maybe because of the flatness of the background? Or the intimacy portrayed which is similar to the print above? I think Cassatt would have painted these pieces regardless of the influence. They were inside of her, bound to come out.
Spring Breeaaakkk! Friday: What else is there to say? It's been a wonderful one! dress, sweater: thrifted; shoes: Chacos
Just how did I attempt to prep my students before next week's big field trip? My idea was to create a powerpoint but (brace yourselves) I've never made one. That's right, I'm fighting the 21st Century. But every time I started to create one, I just thought of all the terrible ones I've had the displeasure of sitting though. I wanted this field trip to be exciting! So I recalled a Ted Talks where an artist created exciting "notes" taken during a presentation. I decided I'd do the same for my chat with the kids about our trip. They seemed to enjoy it and didn't even notice that we talked our way through an entire class without getting up from the floor and making art. Ha! Fooled 'em!

Wish me luck on the field trip! I will most definitely have nightmares the night before (I ALWAYS do!) but I'm so excited about out adventure. I'll keep you posted. Chat soon!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

In the Art Room: Let's Make Sushi!

Konichiwa, ya'll! As you might recall, my wee artists are learning about Asia this year with a current focus on Japan (Asia's a big ol' place, not sure we'll be able to focus on much beyond Japan, India and China, sadly. I'd say I need a longer school year but that'd be crazy talk). Last year, when we were travelling Europe in art class, we had tea and biscuits when learning about the United Kingdom. The kids pretty much thought that was the best thing ever. For that reason, I got the notion that we outta learn about the Japanese art of crafting sushi by making some of our own -- both collage...and edible!
 I began this lesson with my 1st grade students by doing our usual: looking at the map, finding Asia, finding Japan, chatting about what makes it an island, counting the four main islands in Japanese (ichi! ni! sahn! shi!), you get the idea. We then chatted about how rice is a staple in many Asian countries. And, with Japan being an island and all, their main source of protein is fish. This go a lotta "eeew!"s from the 1st grade set who declared: I hate fish! Unless it's buttered, battered and fried, a la Chef de Capt. D's, that is. We are in the South, after all. We eat our Moonpies the same way.

But, kids! Many times, their fish isn't cooked. It's raw!

 This got a lotta wide-eyed stares from the peanut gallery. At this point, I busted out the super sweet book Yoko by Rosemary Wells. If you've not read it, it's all about a little Japanese-American cat who takes her sushi to school only to be made fun of by her classmates. In the end, her teacher saves the day, as usual (it's what we do). After reading, the kids and I decided that food that is unusual to us isn't weird, it's just different. And, possibly, delicious.
My inspiration for the collage portion of this project came from the book First Book of Sushi by Amy Wilson Sanger. The images in the book are these amazing collages that look rad and were surprisingly easy for the kids to create.

Another source of inspiration for the kids was my set of sampuru (which means sample in Japanese. Note, this is not my set but an example pulled from the interwebs). I told them about how when I was in Japan, the restaurant windows were filled with sampuru to give potential diners an idea of what to expect inside. Creating sampuru is a fine art in Japan as it's meant to look realistic and enticing. So our collage sampuru had to do the same.

If you wanna make a totes delish sushi collage as well, here's what ya gotta do (in 30 minute art classes):

Day #1: Printmaking! We did some monoprinting on a new class favorite the Gelli-Art plates. They print just like gelatin (go here for my most popular blog post to date [which isn't saying much, ahem]) but without the prep and the bad feeling you get when you find out where gelatin comes from (animal bones, people). The draw back? They are pricey -- these were $10 a pop. I had one for each two kids and they seemed content, albeit chatty, to take turns. These printed papers later became their plate for sushi.

Day #2: Making sushi! After reading our talk and reading about Yoko, we started by making two sushi rolls. In the story, we saw how Yoko's mom made the sushi by laying out the seaweed, pressing the sticky rice on top, adding a surprise and cutting the sushi. We wouldn't be able to experience those steps until for now, we simply traced circle templates and added our surprises inside the circles. Most of us stuck to green for avocado or cucumber, orange for carrots and pink for fish.

Day #3: With our plate and sushi created, we learned about common Japanese condiments while eating sushi. We chatted about how we use ketchup, mustard, salt, pepper here...but in Japan, they use wasabi (some kids had tales of this super hot green stuff), ginger and soy sauce. We created that, the green grassy garnish, some sashimi and chopsticks.

This hat was a pretty big hit with the kids...although they kept looking at my head and saying things like, "ohh, you are making me hungry!" which I thought was odd until I remembered just what was on my head! DIY directions here.
Day #4: On our last day, we put the finishing touches on our sushi collage and added a black border as well as a paper frame. Because we've gotten so much use out of our random painted scrap papers (thanks for the idea, Painted Paper!) I don't throw anything away. It's kinda a problem. But it makes for such fun collage material!
Ohhhh, looks delish!

Day #5: Candy Sushi party! As a wrap up for this lesson, I thought it'd be super fun for the kids to make candy sushi. Of course they were all over that idea! In fact, I mentioned it a little too early in the lesson which lead to the question "when is candy sushi day?!" like, every 5 minutes. I finally set a date and the anticipation was through-the-roof high.

To make it a wee bit more authentic, I greeted the kids at the door in my kimono and asked them to remove their shoes and place them up against the wall. Thankfully my room smelled like a candy factory which cancelled out the stinky feet smell.

When we entered, I doused the kids in hand sanitizer and had them go shopping for a paper plate, a set of chopsticks, a packaged Rice Krispie Treat and a Fruit Roll Up. Once they dropped that off at their seat, we met at a demo table for some quick directions. I reminded them of the tale of Yoko and how her mom prepared the sushi. I had found some packaged seaweed at the grocery and showed that to the kids. I wanted to emphasize that we were only making candy  sushi...that the process would be kinda similar but, well, not. And the taste would be completely different. I didn't want some kid begging to go out for sushi only to be disappointed it didn't taste like a fist full of sugar.
So the process goes a little like this: lay our your "seaweed" (aka Fruit Roll Up). Squish your "sticky rice" (that'd be your sticky Rice Krispie Treat) to make it about the same size as your seaweed. Place it on the seaweed and put some surprises inside. We opted for gummi worms and bears.
Roll it up and slice with your plastic knife.
Now, for my pre-K friends, I didn't have chopsticks so we used the Japanese snack Pocky. These didn't prove to work so well as they broke easily and melted in our hands. Not that the kids minded!

For those wee ones, they used their hands.
For my 1st graders, we had chopsticks and they loved them. However, they had no clue how to use them, even after a demo. Watching them attempt to operate them was kinda like watching a baby giraffe trying to walk on their new found legs -- hilariously awkward. They dropped more sushi than they put in their mouth. Which made me think: maybe I'll invest in some class chopsticks so the kids can practice some fine motor skills with them. They enjoyed using them (so much so that one boy picked up all the food wrappers with them) but definitely needed some practice. Have you all ever done fine motor activities like that in your art room?
By the way, I tried a bite of candy sushi...and all I can say is, I'll eat the real thing any day. SoOoo much sugar! Those kids were seriously vibrating when they left my art room!
But it was super fun and I'd totally do it again. In fact, I've got several 1st grade classes that have yet to have their party so I'm looking forward to more sushi-making-madness soon!

Have ya'll ever done an artsy food activity in your art room? I'm hoping to continue this tradition so I'd love to hear your ideas...icing cookie color wheel, anyone?

Off to get some sushi! Chat soon.