Tuesday, May 31, 2016

In the Art Room: Route 66 Diner Signs

I'm one of those horribly annoying people that get a whole bunch of ideas at eleventh hour. Prior to said eleventh hour, I tend to suffer from severe Idea Constipation. How do you know if you suffer from Idea Constipation? Warning signs may include: slack-jaw staring at walls for extended periods of time; the watching of exactly three dozen cat videos on YouTube; the sudden urge to clean an entire kitchen just to avoid real work (this is only in the most extreme of cases as everyone knows that cleaning a kitchen is STUPID.) I am a victim of Idea Constipation. Only at the very last minute do I have exactly One Million Ideas and little to no time to bring them to fruition. I like to call this the And-And's (mostly because Idea Diarrhea sounds disgusting) and I suffered a severe bout of both just prior to our thematic school-wide art show.
You see, once I settled on the idea of having a kid-created 1950's diner, I got the idea to have them create diner signs. Of course, this was just mere weeks before the big day and we were in the thick of finishing projects (I seriously had one fourth grade class inform me, "We CANNOT start any new projects, Mrs. Stephens! We have so many to finish!" They are so bossy, y'all). So, like, we had no time atall (please read that last word with a British accent as that's the only way it is meant to be read). Then I got this IDEA...
Due to reasons too boring and annoying to share, our end-of-the-school-year statewide standardized testing was cancelled just days before it was to be given. This meant that our third and fourth grade teachers, who had planned to test all week, now had to scramble to come up with lessons for their students. Well, that's when I stepped in. I volunteered to make them a video of this project for them to show and teach in their classrooms. This benefited me because the kids created these fab-o signs and the teachers because it gave them something fun and educational to do with their students. SPECIAL SHOUT OUT to my awesome colleagues who took on the challenge of being the crazy art teacher for a day. I seriously work with the best people. 
And just look at the results! These classroom teachers are giving me a run for the money. I provided them with the supplies and just a day later, they delivered the kids' masterpieces to me. 
Of course, we then had to use puffy paint to neon-ize our signs. That final step we did in my art room...because I like to watch the usage of puffy paint like a hawk. Kids love the puff...almost too much. 
In the video, I had the chance to chat with the kids about the history of diners and it's influence on artists and their work. We chatted about Edward Hooper.
 George Segal and his diner sculpture.
 Local and contemporary artist Diane Davich Craig and her paintings of, among other things, diner signs. 
 Not too far from our school is the world famous Loveless Cafe (those of you that visit Nashville, don't be fooled into thinking that Loveless is in Nashville. It's actually quite far from it and usually has a line that snakes around the building). Many of my students have been there and recognized the sign. The video worked well to introduce the concept of diners to them, artist influence and get them excited about the art show AND making their own sign!
The kids and their teachers were very proud of their work. A couple of the teachers even made their own signs along with the kids.
 I kinda wanna make one too. 
And I really love how the parent volunteers paired the student's diner signs with the diner ads they created (another eleventh hour idea). 

In other news, in order to prevent another bout of Idea Constipation, I've already started plotting and planning the theme for next year's art show! 
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Saturday, May 28, 2016

What the Art Teacher Wore #163

 Field Day Monday: With only 2.25 days left of schoolin', we had a field day on Monday. What that meant for this art teacher was I spent the day in the shade transforming sweet innocent children's faces into tigers, pirates, Boba Fett, and the random requests of horses, unicorns and a rainbow cat. Yes, that happened. I didn't take face painting in college so there will be no photographic evidence of the damage that was done on that day. But me and my helpers buddies had fun! dress: made by me, here; shoes: Converse

Welp, the show is over, kids. The school year ended for me on Wednesday with another year of art teacherin' in the books. This time of year is exciting for me as I start to think about 1. All the Things that I've Done Wrong and 2. Dream Up Ways to Make 'Em Right. Plotting, planning and dreaming is in full swing. Along with resting, relaxing and vacationing, of course! We hit the ground running to sunny (albeit chilly) California on Thursday and it has been a wonderful way to kick off the break. I hope y'all are enjoying your extra long weekend as well.

In other news, my attempt at sharing with you my Me Mades for #memademay kinda flopped as I only did one other What the Art Teacher Wore blog post! My vision of MeMadeMay ended up being more MeIsCray. Pretty sure you understand. 

Until next time, have a super fab-o weekender and we'll chat soon!
 Last Full Day Tuesday: Between field trips and class parties, I only saw a couple of classes on this day. That by no means meant my day was chill. I still had to bag and tag over 100 clay projects and art show work to take down. Thankfully, the teaching assistants and some sweet fourth grade students came to my rescue! It never hurts to ask for help. I need to remember this and do it more often. sweater: thrifted; top, hair bow and skirt: made by me, here; shoes: Shoe Carnival
 Last Day, Hurray!: What better way to celebrate than a good ole fashion barbecue dress from the lady who never cooks out! It's funny, being from the Mid-West, what we think of as a barbecue is cooking on the grill and then slathering barbecue sauce on said grilled stuff. In the South, it's tooooootally different. To barbecue means to slow cook meat until it falls off the bone in shreds. Imagine my surprise when I first moved to Tennessee and ordered barbecue. I was all, "where are the grill marks and the red sauce?!" dress: made by me, here; shoes: made by me, here
Disneyland Thursday: On Thursday, we hit the road to Cali (okay, we flew because lawd knows I couldn't handle that kind of car ride). Disneyland and California Adventure are our faves. Right now, the parks are actually calm-ish (well, as calm as Disney can be. In fact, the hubs coined a new term: Bisney. When something is SUPER busy, it's as busy as Disney. Therefore, it's Bisney). We were actually able to try out a couple new attractions! dress: made by me, here; sandals: Chacos
 We got to ride Luigi's Rollickin' Roadsters which entails mini-Italian style cars that "dance" in a synchronized manner to Italian songs. It was so fun! My fave part was picking out the car. 
 I had to get one that matched my dress. Of course. By the way, it's surprisingly chilly in SoCal in the evenings! I was all sorts of bundled up. 
 This ride was a total trip. But the spinning at the end just about did me in. 
 As a teacher, I find the Disney parks so inspiring. I always come away with new ideas and inspiration from what I'll teach to why and how. For example, our Diner Themed Art Show? Guess what inspired that? Carsland is all based on Route 66 and heavily vintage in theming. It's one of my favorite areas in the park. 
Shopping Friday: My other favorite thing to do in California? Shop! I am a diehard Buffalo Exchange fan (word is that there is one coming to Nashville...what?!). My faves are in Costa Mesa and Fullerton. If you've never hit a Buffalo before, you are missing out! Oh, and get you some grub at Native Foods, our other Cali fave. dress: made by me, here; belt: old, Anthro
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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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