Showing posts with label art field trips. Show all posts
Showing posts with label art field trips. Show all posts

Thursday, December 4, 2014

In the Art Room: 10 Totes Amazing Field Trip Tips

Do y'all take your students on field trips? I remember my very first year teaching (some 17 years ago, ahem) when I was informed that taking kids on a field trip was apart of my curriculum (which reminds me, New Teachers: Don't confuse your curriculum with a Bible. Ya don't hafta live or die by the thing. Think of it more as a suggestion. More than likely from someone who hasn't been in an art room for a handful of years. Possibly because they couldn't handle the scandal [oh, now, curriculum writers, don't get your artsy pants in a wad. You know it's kinda true.] Now, if you'll please help me down from this here soapbox, I'll return to the post at hand. Thank you). And I just about freaked out. I mean, here I was, in my first couple months teaching, just trying to wrap my absurdly small brain round the fact that the art education of 400 students was in my constantly-paint-covered hands and now I also had to take 'em field trippin? Are you kitten me? Cat's crazy!

But I did. I took 100 first grade kids to see some Impressionist exhibit.

And, what? You want me to tell you it went off without a hitch? That the whole thing was a magical experience? Well, it wasn't, y'all. I made many a mistake (One being I paid for 100 first graders to wear headphones for the exhibit. You know, like a Walkman, y'all [17 years ago, remember?] As you can imagine, that ended badly). After that first experience, you'd have thought I'd never give it another go. But afterward, the kids talked about our field trip for weeks (and so did their classroom teachers, unfortunately. Ahem). They loved the art, they loved the bus ride, they even loved those ridiculous Walkmans. And it made me realize that the kids just loved getting out and experiencing the world. Which immediately made me thing of The Most Famous Field Tripper in the Universe...
That's right. Ferris Bueller. 
Because our Word of the Week had been "gratitude", some of my second grade students wrote thank you notes to the Frist Center for Visual Arts. I shipped 'em out just yesterday.

I mean, you've gotta take 'em out to see the world so they won't miss it, right?

Since that first year, I've taken my students on field trips to the local art museum or botanical gardens nearly every year. Now, I don't take 'em all (I'm not that crazy) but the grade level where it most pertains to what we are studying. Or, if I'm being really honest, to the grade level that is the least likely to run amuck and act a fool. Which changes every year, as y'all know.
 Now over the years, I've learned a thing or three and I thought I'd share 'em here with you. To ease your field trip anxiety (which never actually goes away. I suffer from Field Trip Night Terrors before each and every outing.) I thought I'd share with y'all my 10 Totes Amazing Field Trip Tips. Are ya ready? 

1. Preview the exhibit before planning a trip. So, the art museum has a great exhibit on Pablo Picasso? Sweet! Just be sure to check it first to be certain it's not Picasso's lots-of-boobs-and-naked-chics period, emrkay? Seriously, be certain it's kid-friendly and interesting. Don't no (under 10) kid care about Picasso's philosophy on Cubism.

2. Get the lay of the land. Before you take kids, you really outta know just where the bus will drop the kids, what door you'll enter, what time the art museum actually opens (last year I got us there about 10 minutes before the museum opened. It was freezing outside! I seriously ran from one locked door to the next, banging on the door,  looking for a way in. I felt like Dustin Hoffman in the final wedding scene of The Graduate). It's also super important to know just where the bathrooms are. I mean, do you really wanna be known as the art teacher whose student peed in the middle of a Picasso exhibit? "Clean up in the Rose Period!" Me thinks not. 
3. Talk to your teachers and get 'em on board (i.e., have them do your dirty work). The teachers at my school are super supportive and have always been corporative with field trips. These folks take their students on field trips more regularly than we do, so they are used to this field trip game. So, put them on the case! Use their permission form format when writing your own (they may even be kind enough to just write it for you!). Also, have them collect the forms and the money. Think of it this way: it's a lot easier for them to collect from the 20 plus kids they see daily then the 100 you see only every couple of days. 

4. Bring in the reinforcements: CHAPERONES! My fave chaperone? Our school nurse. She's there "just in case" and I'm so happy for that. I also love it when grandparents are able to make the trip as I can tell it really means a lot to them. And, as a general rule, the meaner the mom-chaperone, the better (oh, I joke. Kinda).
5. Tell the kids what's up. I created this prezi before my most recent field trip. Cuz the more informed the kids are, the more excited they are going to be. Many of my second grade kids had not been to the art museum. Don't assume your students have either. This might be a once in a lifetime for them (fingers crossed that's not the case!). 
One of my fave things to do before a trip to the art museum, is to write about it as a class. I usually start with, "What do you know?" either about the art museum or the exhibit, "What do you want to know?" which encourages the kids to reflect on their upcoming trip and, when we return, we talk about "What did you learn?" As the kids tell me this info, I'll jot it down on a large piece of bulletin board paper. Often times, I'll display this along with some photos from the experience in the hall upon our return.
Our art museum has a lot of history. So I really enjoy sharing that with the kids along with what's inside. When the kids make more of a connection with a place, they'll be more excited about going there and, hopefully, want to go back. 
6. Museum etiquette. Look, even school-skippin Bueller knew how to behave in an art museum.
We spend a whole lotta time on this here chat. My biggest concern is always disturbing the artwork and/or disturbing the patrons. I tell 'em, people pay big bucks to visit an art museum. They're there to see the art. Not some children with no sense of etiquette. After all, that's just down right uncivilized and might cause people to look at us like this...
 Like, ew, what's wrong with that kid and why is he hanging all over Picasso's Blue Boobie Nude Number 23?

Now, you'll most def wanna silence your cell phone but don't forget to bring it! You never know what kind of emergency call you might have to make to your school (I had to ring the bookkeeper last year in a panic. I hadn't paid the admission cost! Thankfully she came through with a credit card payment...but I woulda been in hot water with out my phone). 
7. Tell 'em what they'll experience. You know, like the artwork. Show them examples of the art and how they'll see "the real thing" (which is a mind-blowing concept that I don't actually own the real thing, to my students. "Wait, you mean that poster isn't the real Starry Night?!" Um, no). 
At our art museum, we spend one hour touring the exhibit and the following hour creating stuff. I explain that process to the kids so that they completely know what to expect when we arrive. AND because I completely hate answering, "What are we doing noooooow?" twenty-thousand times. Ahem.
8. Bus behavior. Oh, the bus. Not my fave part of going on a field trip, not gonna lie. However, on my most recent trip, the teachers I went with did something which I thought was simply genius. They requested that the kids remain silent while we were on the city streets so that the bus driver could focus. As soon as we hit the highway, they were free to chat. The noise level was hardly noticeable because of the sound of the highway. Once we turned off the highway toward the museum, it was back to silent bus. Smart, right?

Speaking of bus rides, before that bus even reeves up to leave for the museum or return, please be certain to do a head count. Like 20 times. Those teachers I mentioned above? They were constantly counting their kids. Once on the bus, once after we got off the bus, again inside the museum -- you get the idea. Count those heads like there's no tomorrow, y'all.

And don't sit with the kids. Definitely don't eat any gummi bears they've been keeping warm in the pockets all day (please tell me I'm not the only one who remembers this scene?!). Personally, I like to sit at the front with the bus driver. Because I'm always a little concerned s/he might not know where to park or drop us off. Oh, and speaking of bus drivers, I always have a map to the museum on hand for the drivers as well as chaperone passes (because I hate the idea of them sitting on the bus for two hours). 
9. Reflect fondly on our experiences. 'Kay, so I already told you about the one writing thingie we sometimes do. This year some classes even wrote Thank You cards which were pretty sweet to read. You've gotta have some sort of reflection time after such a trip, right? Get 'em talking about what they learned and loved. 
 I mean, can I get an "awww...."? 
Reflecting can also come in the form of creating. We actually created these paintings at the start of the year when we first began exploring Kandinsky (lesson here, kids). So it was a great tie-in to what we saw at the museum.
10. Be inspired! Seeing an artists work in a museum is inspiring for the kids and me as a teacher. The kids are excited to return and create and I'm thrilled that I squished some culture into their lil heads. It's a win-win-inspirational experience, y'all.

So, tell me, do you take your kids on field trips? What are some of your Totes Amazing Field Trip Tips?! 
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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!

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