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

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

School-Wide Collaborative: Positive Four Letter Word to Describe Our School

Every year, I like to start my students with a school-wide collaborative. In fact, you can find a ton of our back to school collaboratives right here, just use that search bar! You can also see my third grader's school wide collaborative here. 
To kick off the school year, on the third day of art, all of my first through fourth grade students began painting. I picked up packs of large paper shapes from IKEA on a recent trip. Any construction paper would work great though. The paper from IKEA was thin so it wasn't the best for painting. It did, however, give us a variety of shapes to paint on. 
If you want  to hear more about my painting setup and how I introduce painting to all of my students, you can check out this blog post. Here's the break down of the lesson (keep in mind, my classes are 30 minutes in length):

Day 1 and 2: Painting! We painted patterns all over our letters. My focus for those two days was introducing my painting procedures.
Day 3: Working together in table teams, the teams of four kids had to come up with a positive four letter word to describe our school. Each table team had a dry erase board and had to write down three things: what their word was, who was going to construct what letter and what color of paper they were going to use for the letter. 

The letters were created from strips of paper. Students who finished early helped their teammates. Any tables that had fewer than four kids still had to create a four letter word...they just had the help of early finishers.

Day 4: Assemble the word! For this, the kids again worked in teams. They had to glue two long strips of cut posterboard together Then they laid out their words and glued it down. This only took a short amount of time. Once complete, they wrote about their chosen word!
 If you are interested in doing this lesson and would like a free copy of this bunting, here you go! 
To display, I stapled four triangles together to create a pattern bunting. 
 The bunting was then hung between the displays.
Because I didn't want their words to get lost on the boring wall colors, I cut out flags to go behind them. Yellow and blue are the colors of our school. Yes, that was time consuming but I really like the look. Also, the bunting and the integration of writing in my art room makes me so happy!
FOR FIRST GRADE: Okay, full disclosure, getting first graders (who are really still kindergarteners) to dream up a word and create it was gonna be super difficult. So, instead, I assigned each class a word that we voted and agreed on. One class did NICE while another did KIND. These were then hung by string in the hallway.
 I was so impressed by the artists during this lesson. The words are now hung throughout our school. The message they send really makes me happy.
 The kids dreamed up so many wonderful words. They did outline the letters in the opposite color of paint once complete. 
 I love the choice of SWAG. I also had one group come up with the word ZANY which I totally hung by the art room door!
 If you do this lesson, I'd love to hear from you! I can think of some things I would change...but for now, they look lovely, especially for our upcoming Open House.
 And it got all of the kids painting nearly right away!
 This would be the perfect project to use up any scraps of paper too. Those papers could be used as the paper for the letter making or the background shapes. 
 And how we have moved on to our sketchbooks. I am loving that lesson too! More to come on that soon.
 The ramp that leads to my room created some difficulty when it came to hanging these. 
 So I made sure to hang them a little higher...and at varying heights so they could be seen. This way of hanging them ended up being my favorite!





Thanks for letting me share this fun lesson with you all!
 photo signature_zpsd10b3273.png
Read more »

Monday, September 2, 2019

DIY: Spoonflower Student Artwork Dress!

I've had it on my mind to print my students artwork on fabric for a very long time. I've done just about every variation of kid-created fabric for dress-makin' such as having them color IKEA coloring sheet fabric which I then stitched into a dress (more details on that dress here): 
Or the time I found the fabric of picture frames! I had my students draw their self portraits on the fabric before creating that into a dress. Both of these dresses were created with Graffiti fabric markers. They've seen plenty of washing and, while the colors have faded a bit, they still look pretty vibrant. And the kids absolutely love them. More details on that dress here. 
But the idea of creating fabric from student work is one that I've been toying with every since hearing about Spoonflower. In the past, I've ordered fabric from Spoonflower and made a couple of dresses with designs created by artists. 
You can check out the details of this dress and fabric here
And details of this dress can be found here. Having ordered fabric from Spoonflower before, I knew I liked it. The fabric I ordered has a good thick quality which is great for the kind of full dresses that I like to create. So, this past spring, just before I hung some artwork up for our art show, I laid a bunch of it out on the floor and took a couple of snaps with my camera. After the art show, I uploaded the photos to the Spoonflower website and was shocked how stinkin' easy it was to rearrange the works of art to create the desired pattern. 
 In case the artwork on this dress looks a little familiar to you, it's from one of the more popular lessons on my blog: The Chris Uphues Lesson for All! Here's a peak of just a few of the works of art based on that lesson:
Take a look at the work of art above and then the print quality below. Pretty amazing, right?!
 This weekend I decided to cut into this Chris-Uphues inspired, kid-created fabric and create a dress using one of my favorite vintage patterns. Now, I did use a circle skirt pattern for the bottom...so only the bodice was used for this dress. 
Here's a little peak at some of the other fabrics I had made with Spoonflower. I cannot wait to make them into dresses too. 
 Usually I'm all about the big belt but when I tried my big belt on with this dress, it seemed to take away from the print. So I went with a hot pink ribbon for the belt instead. 
 Not wanting to waste even a scrap of this precious fabric, I decided to create a couple bow to be featured at the base of the shoulder straps. 
I'm so excited to wear this dress to school and share it with my students. Big thanks to Spoonflower for working with me on this fabric-making adventure and to Chris Uphues for his constant inspiration. 
 photo signature_zpsd10b3273.png
Read more »

Friday, August 9, 2019

In the Art Room: First Day of Art 2019-2020

I have been talking SO MUCH on this blog and on my podcast about the first days of school. You can read all about how I set up my art room (complete with a video room tour), my very favorite (and easiest!) classroom management tool, my favorite first day of art projects, my art room rules, and my art room routines by clicking any of these blog post links!

It's all wonderful to hear about how folks do things but I find it's even better to see it in action. So...today I'm sharing a video of all the things we run through on the very first day in art (keep in mind, my classes are 30 minutes in length.)
Here's what I do:

* I do my greeting, which you'll hear.
* We learn our Art Class Catchphrase.
* I introduce the Word of the Day.
* We talk about the Open/Closed sign.
* We talk about the Happy/Sad board. 
* We watch this video:
* We stretch!
* We greet each other and I ask a list of silly questions (more on that in an upcoming blog post!).
* We get our assigned seats. 
* We learn the lining up routine...and that's it!
My list of things to cover was much longer but time was not on our side. Notice...we didn't make any art! And we didn't on our second day either as we had rules to review, consequences to chat about, another video to watch, emergency drills to cover and drums to play. I will be posting a video of that second day later this week (or next, mama's tired!). 

Speaking of tired...I'm not as bad off as I would be if I hadn't made a handful of these videos a couple of years ago. They kids LOVE my rules and routines videos! If you don't make videos like those, I encourage you to do so, it will save your sanity, voice and energy. 
Stay tuned...I've been slowly sharing my favorite art room hacks on my Instagram (@cassie_stephenz) and I'll be doing a proper post here. I love sharing what works for me...it just might work fo you!
 Last year, I also shared a "first days glimpse" series of videos...if you want to check those out, you can see them here. 
AND I have been sharing everything in even more detail on my new podcast, Cassie Stephens! You can download and take a listen anywhere. If you feel so inclined to leave a glowing and glorious review, well....I certainly won't stop you. Have a wonderful weekend, friends!
 photo signature_zpsd10b3273.png
Read more »

Thursday, July 18, 2019

The Biggest Secret about being an Artist and an Art Teacher

This photo was taken my very first year teaching, in a portable, some 20 years ago. It was field day and my room was being used for the face painting station. I was 23, clueless and completely freaked out about teaching art. I'd moved 6 hours from my home in Indiana to Nashville, Tennessee without knowing a soul or having any idea what in the world I was doing. I wanted to share my journey with you in this podcast episode. I'm not going to go into too much detail here as I want you to take a listen. Think of this blog post as the visual for that episode. What I have to share took me 10 years to figure out...and changed my art teacherin' and art makin' life FOREVER.
If you like to take a listen, here you go:
I attended middle and high school in a rural school in Indiana. If you are from Indiana, I attended Northfield High School, just outside Wabash. My graduating class had something like 70 kids. It was super small and, I would NEVER have admitted it at the time, I loved that it was small. 
I was the big, weird, sassy, annoying, artsy, drama kid back in the early 90's. There weren't too many of us weirdos at the school as many kids wanted to fit in. It's human nature. I wanted to fit in too until I realized I just never was gonna. And then I started to embrace that weirdo. As seen here. 
I had the lead role in most of our small productions. I was on the speech team and traveled every Saturday to schools across Indiana reading prose, reading comedy, doing dramatic pieces. It was fun. I found my people. We were all just a buncha kids who didn't fit in but had each other. 
I was pretty confident, for the most part. I didn't mind being me.
Until I went to college. College was very hard for me, especially my freshman year. I attended Indiana University which had a student body of 30,000. Suddenly, in my mind, every kid was more creative, better at acting and public speaking and more unique than I was. I clammed up. I stopped talking to people. I began to hate myself. When was I going to be as cool and confident as I perceived the people around me to be?
And then I took an oil painting class the summer of my sophomore year. I literally fell in love. I made big messy paintings full of stories. I don't think I ever finished a single painting! But I loved making them. Suddenly I found something I felt I was good at. I had a purpose...and confidence. Again. 
While I was in the BFA painting program, I was also pursuing my art education degree. And that's where I noticed something strange.
When my painting professors found out I was also getting an ed degree, they stopped taking me seriously...after all, I was not focusing solely on my art so why should they? And my art ed professors? Well, let's just say one of them, after coming to my art showing, said I should stick to painting. She was tired of grading my lame lesson plans. 

The read-between-the-lines I was getting was that I had to pick a side. I had to choose a team. I had to figure out if I wanted to be an Artist or an Art Teacher...because, according to their message, I could NOT be both. 
In August of 1998, I took a job 6 hours from my home in Nashville, Tennessee. I became the K-2nd art teacher at Hickman Elementary. 
I had a portable classroom that was under the flight path of the Nashville International Airport. I literally had to stop talking and hang on to something every 15 minutes as planes flew overhead. I had no idea what I was doing and I was so scared of messing up. The art education of these kids depended on me and I was CLUELESS. I decided to devote all of my time and energy learning everything I could about being an art teacher. 
It was then that I decided to join Team Art Teacher. 
And I spent every moment of the next seven years reading every book, taking every class, decorating my art room, making lesson plans, doing camps...you name it. If it involved teaching art, I was all in. I was gonna be the captain of the flippin' art teacherin' team. 
And I was miserable. 
You know what a miserable person is as an art teacher? A miserable art teacher. I had neglected creating art. I had gotten so far away from my art making side and allowed myself to only focus on teaching. The face in this photo, taken when I first came to my current school about 15 years ago, says it all:
Tired. Bored. Uninspired. Uninspiring. 

I knew I had to change something. 

I knew I had to create something. 

I knew that I had to rejoin team artist...but how? How could I give up my time to my students and (selfishly, in my mind) make time for me? 

You have to, y'all. You HAVE to do both. You HAVE to be an artist and an art teacher. You'll be happy. You'll be fulfilled. You'll be what your students need. But, most of all, you'll be who YOU need. I hope you enjoy this episode...and the many more to come. 

 photo signature_zpsd10b3273.png
Read more »