Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Art Teacherin' 101: Episode 12

In last week's Art Teacherin' 101 blog post, I shared with y'all my concerns about teaching peace, love and kindness this coming school year. I feel there is a great need to bring this teaching into our art rooms (and all classrooms, for that matter!) and build it into our curriculum. But how? It's not a "standard". We don't have an "I Can" for that. It's not required of us...and I don't recall learning how to teach kindness (like, whut?!) in college. We cannot expect children to just KNOW how to be kind. We don't expect them to KNOW how to hold a pencil, cut a piece of paper and not spread glue all over their hand and lick it off (ahem). We teach them these things. So, in that respect, we can't expect them to know how to treat each other with peace, love and kindness. We DEFINITELY can't expect that of them when our collective actions, displayed on every news outlet, shows we don't know how to treat each other either! 

So, for that reason, I'm on a mini-campaign to bring peace, love and kindness into my art room this year. I do hope you'll join me...and share your thoughts, books and lessons in the comments below. United is how we are going to accomplish this goal. And we are doing it for the best reason possible: our students and their future. 
My apologies for getting a little long winded here. And emotional. I was trying to keep it together! 
I've been scratching my head and wracking my brain to come up with ideas. One way I thought we could kick off this campaign for kindness is with a little something I'm calling the #calendarofkindness and #peacefulheART. I do hope you (and your students) will feel free to join on your preferred social media. I know even my school district is already on board! I'll be posting in Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and using those hashtags. I can't wait to see what you share!

I've also created a long list of books that I cherish and share in my art room below along with projects that I've found to be successful. Please feel free to add your two cents in the comments so that we have a growing list of books, resources and projects for peace. 
 Many of my art teacherin' buddies shared their fave books with me so I'll make sure to add them here. However, I only felt comfortable speaking about the books I've actually read and used in my art room. Love the What Do You Do with an Idea...what a great book to start the art year with! Also, The Hundred Dresses is a short chapter book. I like to read it aloud to my 3rd and 4th grade students while they work. It's a book that teaches about kindness...and makes me cry every time. As does The Giving Tree. Anything Shel Silverstein has written speaks to my students, they love him!
 I love these books that celebrate our differences while explaining how we are also the same. The Colors of Us is read to my students every year before we learn to mix our flesh color for self-portraits.
My copy of The Big Orange Splot is so worn out, I've read it to my students to much. It's another book that points out our differences and explains how that is what makes us unique. It also does an excellent job of teaching how we should celebrate the differences of others. Remember: when we teach children to first love themselves, they will be able to love one another. 
So anything Todd Parr writes is awesome. And happy. And colorful. 

Have y'all read this? It's fan-freakin'-tastic. Get it in your library stat. 
Also check out Linda Kranz's other book You Be's excellent as well.
 Now, let's talk projects. Here are a handful that I've done with my students to cultivate a culture of kindness. The Gallery of Gratitude was a huge hit. 
 Each employee of our school was drawn and written about. They cherished these images and words and have them on display in their offices and classrooms! 
This hangs proudly right outside the art room door. From floor to ceiling. It really is OKAY! Different is grand. 
The Village of Kindness was a successful collaborative project that used recycled materials. I loved how happy, colorful and sweet this display was for our art show last year. 
 Each house had a door that, when opened, shared a kind message.
 This school-wide collaborative now hangs proudly in our school office. It was created by all students to show that we have heart! 
This love-based mural was so easy that it was my sub plan! I've created a video to teach this lesson. Feel free to use it in your art room!
Here's an oldie but goodie that we created a couple of years ago, a We Are the World mural! It was a fun and impactful way to kick off the school year. 
Of course, The Dot is a great way to start the year as well. It also promotes self-love and how that love can transmit to others. Here is a list of fun Dot Day art projects
Art can also help those right in your own backyard. We did just that with out Houses to Help project! 
Here's a list of some other projects that promote kindness:

Please feel free to add your ideas below...and I look forward to seeing your #calendarofkindness images starting August 1st!

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  1. I lost one of my students in the shooting in Fort Myers, FL this past weekend...I have been cycling it over and over and over in my head. I now have his brother as my student...thank you for the hints!!! I decided that this year in art is going to be focused on kindness!!!!

    1. I am so sorry to hear this sad news. I'll be thinking and praying for your student's brother and his family. Your students are lucky to have you taking this large task of teaching kindness on! Best to you :)

  2. As always thank you Cassie! I have been watching each episode this summer and all have been super inspiring. But today you really hit the nail on the head. I absolutely love this goal for us all to teach kindness and mindfulness. I can hardly wait to get started with the theme! And thank you for the resources. Many I had not heard of so it looks like I've got some Amazon shopping to do!

    1. Thank YOU for taking the time to watch Art Teacherin' and to leave happy feedback. I am so glad to share...I really think this needs to be a group effort to be successful :) And, oh, yes. My Amazon cart is spilling over! Thank you for joining the fun :)

  3. You're an inspiration Cassie! I'm going to look to see how I can incorporate Love, Peace and Kindness into this term's theme of Landscapes. With everything going on in the world today I've stopped looking at my personal Facebook page and watching/listening to the news as it's so depressing. I'm going to take this major negativity and turn it into a positive teaching opportunity! Thank you for blogging this. X

    1. Oh, me too! I have to avoid the news outlets and social media, it just too negative and nasty. It can be super easy to get sucked into all of it's best to avoid it and try to flip the coin to peace, love and kindness. Thank you so much for your sweet words. Please be sure to share some of your lessons! You can email me or post them in your social media and tag me. I'd love to see!

  4. Anonymous7/28/2016

    Cassie, you are an inspiration! The International Day of Peace is sometime in September. I celebrate this day with my students. They draw their idea of peace on a peace dove template. These doves are strung and hung above each classroom teacher's door. They stay up all year. I read Todd Parr's (love him) Peace Book. I also tape a peace dove to my door with the words "Peace Zone". The art room is one of the best places to plant the seed of love, peace and acceptance. Thank you for all you do and being the amazing art teacher you are.

    1. Oh!! The International Day of Peace was left off my list! Thank you for reminding me, I'll be sure to add that link! I love how you incorporate this into your beginning of the school year curriculum! What a fabulous ideas and I love the idea of a dove template as a starting point. Thank you so much for sharing :) Have a wonderful and peace filled year :)

  5. Anonymous7/28/2016

    Hey Cassie,

    I am about to start my 5th year teaching and from day one I have felt the lack of character education and empathy teaching in today's American classrooms. It seems like the art place is the last defense against schools being almost completely void of teaching and learning peace, love, and kindness. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to develop and implement Peace Day at my school. It was a school wide event that aimed to promote character development and community. It was pretty successful and a definitely a memorable day for faculty, students and the community. Here is my blog post about it: I love all of your collaborative art ideas and if I am part of Peace Day again I will defnitely be borrowing some! Thanks for speaking up about this, I hope more (art) teachers take initiative to teach kindness! :)


  6. Anonymous7/28/2016

    Hi Cassie,
    That was beautiful! Thank you so much for continuing to share all of your wonderful ideas - so much great inspiration! I'm just entering my 7th year of teaching PreK- 5th grade art (it's a second career mid-life calling for me), so I'm very grateful for such a giving, creative online community of art educators! I usually try to kick off the year with a scollab, and love the ideas you've been sharing. Last year, I wanted to reinforce with the kids that "We are a part of something so much bigger than ourselves" (idea "stolen" from at Winchester Elementary) and that became our theme for the year. We created a Gallery of Gratitude (inspired by you, but which I sadly have no pictures of), and we did an Empty Bowls project with all of the K - 5th grade students as well as many faculty and staff. We had a Simple Soup Supper night and sold the bowls for a minimum of $10 each, and we were able to raise over $3000 for The Sheridan Story (an organization here in the Twin Cities that is helping to fight child hunger in our schools). It was a great learning opportunity for all, but especially the 5th graders as I let them take the lead on organizing the event and helping with kiln rotations, etc. My 1st graders used your Todd Parr-inspired project for their self-portraits - so colorful and wonderful!

    I love your Calendar of Kindness and #peacefulheART idea and am going to figure out a way to incorporate it into the beginning of our year (teacher workshop week starts Aug. 16th, and the kids the following week), so I still have a little time left for planning : ) All of my daily messages to the kids about what we're doing that day end with "Always, keep your heart in your art, Love, Mrs. Cullen", so I think I might be back to something with hearts this year.

    And, even though I have several of the books you mentioned, my Amazon cart is now overflowing (again - just placed an order yesterday, too).

    Thanks again, Cassie! Love your blog, your artsy outfits, your sense of humor, and I'm definitely planning/hoping to attend Art Scouts next year!

    P.S. I'd post a few pics, but I can't quite figure out how to do it...

  7. I have tried to sneak a bunch of this into my room for the past two or three years. I do feel that it makes a difference. One of my favorites for 4th and 5th grade when studying the human figure was posing the question, "What is a true hero?" I used that as a basis during Black History Month, read Faith Ringgold's book about Martin Luther King with the students and had them come up with the kind of person they think is a true hero, and had them create finished pieces with full figure drawings and test.

    Another favorite, for younger students was to read the book "When Pigasso met Mootise" and talk about what it means to be a friend, how we talk about each other's artwork, and who their best friend is and why. Then they create a portrait and self portrait of them and their best friend. I loved this, because we got some good art history in too.

  8. Thank for another wonderful episode! I am constantly inspired by your work ethic and passion for your crafts.
    I just bought the "What Do You Do with an Idea?" book to kick off the next school year. My principal requested that our theme be Perseverance this coming year, but I'm thinking my kids need to know Peace in order to Persevere. Thank you again and again for sharing!

  9. Cassie!
    I am so in love with this post! I have found a lesson I want to try. I would like to read the giving tree, because it's amazing and I wanted a project that goes with the story and I found this picture. My spin on the project is to give each student a paper and let them paint it with varying shades of green and then cut into the hearts we need for the tree. I would do the trunk. It would be a beautiful collaborative project that goes along with our story. The Giving Tree. <3

    1. I loooooove that idea!! I also love The Giving Tree but, not gonna lie, I cry EVERY time I read it!! Anything by Shel Silverstein is a win in my book. Thank you for sharing a great idea!!

  10. Very nice post, impressive.
    Its quite different from other posts.
    Thanks for sharing.
    preschool n fort myers


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