Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Art Teacherin' 101, Episode 42:Grab and Go, Sketchin' Sticks!

 Hey, y'all! As apart of my mission to get my art teacherin' life together (the never-ending quest, I swear!), I'm trying to manage my Early Finishers. I've chatted many-a-time about my fast friends here and here. However, sometimes, sending my EFers off on a fun and far-away adventure can serve as a distraction to my Pokey Lil Puppies (aka HOW ARE YOU STILL WORKING ON THIS PROJECT WE STARTED IN SEPTEMBER?!). For that reason, I've decided that SOMETIMES, my EFers will work in their sketchbooks. And, instead of just assigning the usual "free draw", I decided to take a page from my friend Kaitlyn's book and create Grab -n- Go Sketchin' Sticks! Here's more:
I mean, after all, what do our kids need to do more? DRAW! What are they usually doing? PLAYIN' ON THEIR MAMA'S PHONE! My kids were thrilled to draw with was like a novelty. I was like, y'all know you can draw anytime, right?!
 I just so happen to keep my Grab -n- Go's in a cute container but it's totes not necessary. This ole flower frog finally came in handy! It's from TAG but several years if you really want one, check ebay.
Here are just a few of my drawing prompts. I made them double sided so the artists can pick their favorite idea. If you need more prompts, just google "drawing prompts" and you'll find a never-ending list of fun.
 With these sticks, my students have options. They can use my drawing books. I keep them as organized as I can in these color-coded bins. I spray painted the binding to further color code them. 
They can also use my still-life drawing objects like my wooden mannequins, plastic dinosaurs, 3-D forms and flower pots. I love the incorporation of the mannequin in this prompt!
Kids also know that they can add color with color pencils, markers, oil pastels and more. Whatever is available on the shelf is fair game. Thanks for letting me share, y'all!
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Tuesday, January 30, 2018

How to Teach Paper Weaving!

I'll never forget my first year teaching. It was: wonderful, traumatizing, exciting, nerve-wracking and, most of all, a HUGE learning curve! I'll never forget seeing "weaving" in my first grade curriculum and breaking into a sweat. I'd gotten a C in fibers in college (which is so funny as fibers are my favorite thing!) BECAUSE OF MY WEAVING! When warping that big ole loom, I missed a couple of warps. Instead of going back and fixing my mistake, I thought, "eh, that professor will never notice." Little did I know that it'd leave a huge run all the way down the length of my weaving that seemed to scream, "THIS SLACKER DESERVES A C!" And a C I got.

I remember introducing weaving to my first graders that year and a boy named Jonathan shouted out, "Weaving's for GIRLS and I ain't doing it!" It was then that I realized I had to make weaving (and teaching in general) fun, silly, wacky and engaging. For all my learners, boys and girls. The thing is, he turned out to be my best weaving and biggest fan of the medium. As most boys do!

Introducing kids to weaving is something that I've been doing now for 18 years...and this lesson hasn't changed all that much. I read the same book, show them how to make a loom on the first day and we weave on the next. I know so many teachers struggle with weaving. The key is, introducing them to weaving with a simple paper weaving. Once they understand the concept, they'll take off like a weavin' rocket ship. 

I thought I'd record my two thirty minute classes. Here's what we did on the very first day: creating our looms!
Here are some must-have visuals that I always use: thrift store weavings and looms; my GIANT paper loom made from laminated paper; my Goat in the Rug book.
I also love having the roving for the kids to see and touch. Normally, I'll pass it around but I had forgotten to check with the nurse for allergies so I held off on this day.
This here is my FAVORITE book on weaving and the kids absolutely love it! After we create our looms, we sign them and await the following day's weaving adventure:
If you'd like more info on paper weaving, you might enjoy this video. It will explain the process more:
Here's how we went about cutting our looms and how I explained it...

I'll keep you posted on just what we are doing with our weavings...I'm really excited and cannot wait to share. I have a TON of weaving projects both on my YouTube channel (just search my Fibers playlist) and right here on my blog. Happy Weaving!
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Thursday, January 25, 2018

Gallery of Gratitude, Part 1

Hey, y'all! I am so excited with how these kid-created portraits of the faculty and staff at my school are turning out, I thought I'd share. This is just Part 1 of the Gallery of Gratitude posts...I'll be sure and post again once these are on display.

In case you missed the first post about our Gallery of Gratitude, you can check it out here. This idea is not a new one at my can see our Gallery of Gratitude from a couple years ago here
 Two of my fourth grade classes got their portraits complete. They did such a great job and I have so much left over modeling clay that I think I'm going to have them create self portraits next week. They've become pros at this and have really loved creating them. Here's the lesson video I created and used:
Here are the supplies we are using:

* Modeling or plasticine clay. No one brand is better than another. I have just been purchasing whatever is cheap at the craft store.

* Model Magic Glaze. Here's the thing: modeling clay always stays soft. These portraits will be on display for a while in my I knew I'd want them to be protected with a hard varnish. This "glaze" works really well at becoming super hard. I think ModPodge might work pretty good...but this stuff is a lot harder than that. 

* Plates from Hobby Lobby. So our "frames" are actually plates from Hobby Lobby! You can probably find them online. 

* Matte board. I cut ours down into 4" squares.
 Day #1: It took us some time to cover the entire background, create a skin color and add the head, ears, neck and nose. That took us an hour, believe it or not. Chatting about the project and watching the video took some of the time too.
Day #2: We really made progress. Almost all of the kids finished their portraits...some were super close! I thought I'd share what their works in progress look like.
Biggest bit of advice: HAVE PHOTOS! The kids really studied the photos, matching outfits, hairstyles, glasses and more. My sweet buddy the bookkeeper printed off yearbook photos and each student was able to use one as a reference. I plan to hang these photos near the clay creations when on display.
 And now, forgive me while I share a ton of these cute clay portraits!
 When we take these down, they'll be gifted to the teachers, faculty and staff. The kids will also write a message of gratitude about that person to be hung with their portrait. I'll post about that in Part 2!
 In the background, the kids were asked to add something that "said" something about that person. Here's a portrait of a kindergarten teacher. 
 Those are books behind our library assistant!
 And music notes behind our music teacher!
 I am loving the giant earrings and the cherries in this portrait. 
 This teacher plays guitar in his class. The glaze was just put on so it will dry clear, not milky like you see.
 One of our custodians is also our school D.J. Here he is, outside on field day with his baseball cap on backwards spinning records.
 This background, love!
 Incredible attention to detail! This one makes me so happy!
 Artistic license was taken with hair color here and I'm loving it. 

More to come, y'all! I had to share our amazing progress!

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Monday, January 22, 2018

In the Art Room: Artists with Heart!

Last week, we were out of school for seven consecutive days in a row with snow. It was heaven, lemme tell you. We finally ended up going back to school on a Friday after a 2 hour delay. If your school is like mine, when we have a delay, we specials folks get an alternative schedule...which basically means that whatever you'd planned on doing, just go right ahead, open that window and throw it right out. Knowing that, and knowing that I didn't wanna spend my shortened Friday running around like a mad woman trying to locate projects, sort supplies and remember where we'd left off, I decided to do a fun one-day project with all of my classes. That's when I got the idea for a crash course on four artists who use hearts in their art!
I did this lesson in about 30-40 minutes. My classes are 30 minutes in length...but this did run a pinch long. The classroom teachers don't usually mind if I keep their kids a little longer...which only works for me if I don't have another class standing outside my door. Thankfully on this day, it worked out. 
And we cranked out these beauties in that short amount of time! I created a keynote of each artist. I did a quickie intro, shortie demo and then set my timer and said, "okay, you have five minutes!" We NEVER do art class like this...but the kids really seemed to love the challenge. They took to calling it "speed art" or an "art game". I need to come up with a name for it. I really love this idea of a crash course in learning about artists! 
For a wrap up, we've been doing this standing-on-our-chairs thing (hey, if Ron Clark can do it...). At the end of art class, the kids stood on their chairs, looked around the room, admired each other's artwork, got super loud and then I rang my chime and we cleaned up. 
In the video, you'll see what supplies we use and how I have them organized. I love chalk pastels, oil pastels and a new kid-fave: paint sticks!
The kids had not used paint sticks yet and they were huge fans. Several companies now make these. Mine are from Sargent. They go on slick and wet like paint but dry instantly. So fun!
Now we have some fast, fun and colorful art for the halls!
I stayed after school on Friday and started to matte an frame the work. I'm trying to get a little ahead for our big art show that we do in May. I'm always in a mad dash to frame in the I thought that I'd take one class a week to sort, prep and frame. We'll see if I can keep that routine up. I know I'll be happy that I did come springtime!
I have a TON of love-y dove-y lessons on this blog, you can find them put all together in one blog post here
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Sunday, January 21, 2018

In the Art Room: Dean Russo-Inspired School Mascot!

I'm so excited to share this lesson with y'all! My students are loving it, we are learning about a wonderful artist, using new art supplies in unusual ways and making marvelous masterpieces all at the same time!

Our school mascot is the tiger. That was the inspiration behind which animal we created. However, you could do any animal or person for this project. In fact, if you check out the artist Dean Russo, our inspiration, you'll find that his main source of inspiration are animals. Here's the lesson I created for my students...and yours! 
Here are the supplies we used:
Bingo dotters! These are my NEW FAVORITE TOOL in the art room! If you follow me here, you've seen my first graders working with these too. I have had them in my cabinet forever (they come empty) and I initially filled them with tempera paint and water...big mistake. They clogged and didn't work at all. One day, I remembered them and decided to add India ink! (see what I did there?) They work great, are low mess and the kids LOVE them! Check out these HUGE drawings created by my third graders in just 30 minutes!
We did not draw these out first. We had a long chat about Beautiful Oops and just going with the flow...and not getting upset with what we perceive as our "mistakes". Then we just went for it. At the end of the lesson, so the kids could see everyone's work, we all stood on our chairs and took a look around the room. Then we let out a great big tiger's ROAR! 
This week we will be adding color with a fun method: chalk and liquid starch!
Let's first talk about chalk. My absolute favorite is Faber-Castell's chalk. It's bold, bright and works so well with this process.
Please watch the video so you can actually see the magic that is chalk and starch. I learned this trick from my sweet and AMAZING art teacher buddy Jennifer Alvarado. A lot of folks have told me that they have a hard time finding this product. Try Walmart online if you can't find it in the store. 

This will be the second time we've used this method this year. Check out my fourth grader's pretty!
This lesson is super for teaching color theory. These laminated color wheels get a lot of love during this lesson. 
Earlier this school year, I organized my oil pastels in bead containers after seeing a fellow art teacher do this. I will be interested to see just how well my third graders manage to keep these organized without Naggy Stephens having to get on their case. 
 I actually thought the tiger looked good before the pattern. But since that's what Russo is known for, I thought I'd give it a go. I'm so glad I did! I think the kids are going to have so much fun with this part.
As my students make progress on their tigers, I'll be sure and keep you posted. 
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Thursday, January 18, 2018

DIY: Latch Hook Jacket!

In case latch hooking a mini rug and sewing it to the back of a jean jacket wasn't the first clue...I have cabin fever! I'm currently on my SEVENTH day off in a row after we got some snowy weather here in the South. Y'all know, we Southern Lilies cannot handle that white powdery stuff and it just shuts our town down. I've been knitting, needle felting, and latch hooking since. It's been GLORIOUS...but with this DIY, I'm starting to question my sanity. 
 When bad weather is predicted in these here parts, everyone makes a mad dash to the grocery store. I happened to pop in to get my staples (cat food and a bottle of wine. Pretty sure nothing says pathetic more than that!) when I was practically run down by carts filled with Wonder Bread and gallons of milk. What EXACTLY does one do with that much bread and milk? Are milk sammies a thing?
 Me, when bad weather hits, I skip the grocery and head to the craft store. My provisions are CRAFTS!! I know I'm gonna need something to occupy my hands. So I hit the craft store with the idea of knitting a rainbow scarf rolling around in my head. After piling my cart full of Roy G. Biv yarn-i-ness, I turned a corner and spotted a whole aisle of these: LATCH HOOK KITS!
I grew up in the best era: the 80's. Crafting was all the rage and I was a huge fan. One of my faves? Latch hooking. I can still remember sitting on my babysitter's couch, latch hooking a mushroom in all those horrible 80's browns and greens while watching MTV. I remember they played that video for Madness' Our House about 20 times a day. I can still see it in my head!
Even my parents caught the latch hook rug and made a huge red rug with a bright orange running tiger across it. It sat in between their dresser and their waterbed (omg! Why was that a thing?!) for years. 
I never did finish my mushroom rug but I managed to complete this guy in just a couple nights. I had EVERY intention of taking this to school, showing the kids how to do it and adding it to my early finishers fibers area...but when I got the call for another snow day, I couldn't stop myself! When I bought it, I thought it would be fun to hang in the art room as a reference for TEXTURE (and I still plan to do that!)...but, in all my cabin fever wisdom, I decided to add it to the back of a jacket instead.
The final design, only being 8" square, was not as big as I would have liked to fill the back panel of the coat. So I added 8 additional rows: two turquoise and two indigo, both at the top and the bottom. This filled the space completely. I did have to cut the yarn to that certain size to hook which was a slight drag...but not that bad. 
 From there, I just used a super sharp needle and some super strong thread and stitched it to the back of the jacket. Easy! Right after this photo, Asha the cat came over and planted herself right here. IT'S A COAT, KITTY! NOT A RUG! NOW MOVE, I GOTTA VACCUM IT!

Alright, be honest: is this crazy or what?!
Not gonna lie, it's warm and certainly easy on the back when I sit down. Kinda like giving a panda a piggy back ride. 
Pretty sure I'm gonna be getting a lot of back rubs from the kids for this one!
Now, don't judge...I already have designs on hooking a Mona Lisa coat! Okay...time for me to leave the house. Fresh air and human contact might do me some good. 

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