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

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

DIY: Folk Art Fish UPDATE!

My sweet second graders had to push the pause button on this project last week to tend to painting and bedazzling their exotic birds. But now that those are done, we were able to bring back our Sandra Silberzweig-inspired folk art fish and work on them a bit more today. Almost all of the kids finished them off in 30 minutes (which is pretty awesome, considering these are 12" X 18"!) and they were so thrilled with themselves...as was I!
You can check out (and feel free to use!) the complete lesson right here: 
My students did this project in three 30 minute classes. On the first day, we chatted about Sandra, her work and the use of line and black glue. We drew our fish and went over our lines in glue. If you go to this post, I share how I make black glue. 
 The following art class, we began working with the chalk. This project is perfect for my second graders as they are about to embark on their chalked ceiling tile project super soon. You can check out what my second graders have chalked in the past both here and here. I'm not sure what they'll be chalking this year...but I need to figure it out soon! I'll be sure to share with you right here. 
The key to working with chalk is getting the kids the right stuff. So much chalk is filler and junk. The end result is usually very light in color. I love Koss Brand Chalk, even it if is hard to find. We purchase ours through Amazon. I love the subtle colors in this artist's work. 
 Compared to how bold and vibrant this one is!
 I seal all of our chalked projects with Aqua Net. I have noticed that the nozzle on the 'Net has changed and it now does not come out in a nice stream but speckled. However, if you hold the can far enough away from the work and spray, it's fine...and the speckles (mostly) disappear. It's much cheaper than fixatives.
This is usually how I lay them out to spray. Take 'em off the drying rack, spread 'em out and spray away!
They are going to look stunning at our art show!
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Friday, February 10, 2017

In the Art Room: Candy Heart Sculpture UPDATE!

 My fourth graders are wrapping up their Candy Heart Sculptures and I thought I'd share how they turned out. The kids loved creating these and were thrilled with their work. I'm not much of a project-repeater but this one might have to be done again! Here's the process video I created to share with my students and you:
I know several of y'all did this project with your students and mentioned that paint was flaking off. I only saw a little bit of that...so I'm thinking it might be the paint used. It's a constant search to find paint that is both nontoxic and good quality paint without being super expensive. We used a combination of Blick tempra, Sax Versa Temp and Chroma paint. I did seal the hearts with a quick couple swipes of ModPodge to prevent chipping and add a little shine. 
I knew the struggle would be with the lettering...which is why in the video, I cover it so thoroughly. I'm happy I did, I think they did a great job painting their words on that lumpy bumpy plaster. 
Knowing that I'd have some early finishers, I grabbed four large boxes out of the recycling bin and put those kids on candy box painting duty. I had primed the boxes with white paint the night before and just drew on it in pencil. If I have time, my plan is to grab some laminating film and make it like a window in the box. Early finishers also wrapped up this drawing lesson:
I'll be certain to share their drawings soon!
The sayings the kids picked out was my favorite part. I thought it spoke so much about the kid creating the heart. 
 I had printed out a list of the hundreds of sayings that Necco has used every year on their hearts. I told the kids they could come up with their own saying...or use one of Necco's. All I asked was that I check what they planned to write first. I didn't have any issues with inappropriate sayings...but I didn't want to take my chances. 
Love to hear from y'all if you gave this project a go! I'm off to put these on display in the library. 
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Monday, January 23, 2017

DIY: Enchanted Tiki Room

If you know me, you know I love Disney(land, preferably) and I love all things retro. So it wouldn't be a stretch to assume that I love the Enchanted Tiki Room. I know, it's so cheesy, you better bring the Ritz crackers but I just can't help myself! When I was a kid, my grandparents would take me, my Aunt Judy and my cousin Ang to a little place in Florida called Tiki Gardens. While the grandparents got all sorts of happy on Mai Tais, we explored the faux Hawaiian terrain, squawked at the parrots and picked out oysters to have pried open for pearls. I have such happy memories of that time and such a love for that sort of kitschiness, that it inspired me to create a wee corner of my crafting room into an Enchanted Tiki Room. 
True Confession #147: I often buy things at the thrift store because I find them interesting/inspiring/neato-mosquito but don't have a clue what I'll end up doing with them. Case in point, those faux bamboo frames. I think I've been hoarding them for at least four years just waiting for the perfect project. And I'm so glad I did. They inspired this Tiki-Tastic corner! 
My other inspiration came in the form of a trip for toilet paper to Target. You know the story, walk into Target for t.p., walk out with $146.76 worth of stuff that you JUST HAD TO HAVE. That's exactly what happened when I spotted these fun round frames at Target. Did you know they now have a "craft" isle? Y'all. I am in SO.MUCH.TROUBLE. After flipping through my Tiki Pop book for inspo, I threw back a glass of my version of Mai Tai (red wine, anyone?) and started blocking in this painting. Man. How I've missed painting. 
 After a couple of nightly painting sessions, Blue Bernice was starting to take shape. I have currently been inspired by Vladimir Tretchikoff  which is why Bernice is that lovely shade of blue. If you follow me here, you've seen the nightly progress. 
True Confession #148: I did struggle with painting that cleavage. Mostly because I don't have one and I was all, "what is that SUPPOSED to look like?!" In other news, I love painting, have I mentioned that? I'm just using craft store grade acrylic here. In college, I got my degree in oil painting and I love to slap that paint on. I don't have the patience for the dry time or tolerance for the smell of oils but cranking out these acrylic paintings sure does scratch that itch. 
Once Bernice was complete, I moved on to a shameless copy of the Disney image of the Enchanted Tiki Room. 
Just a wee process photo. I start with a super quick sketch and then a blocking in of the colors. I always limit my color palette because I LOVE ALL THE COLORS and therefore want to use ALL THE COLORS. So limiting that temptation is for the best. 
 I sit entirely too close to my paintings which means they get all sorts of crazy up close. 
I tried not to get carried away with detail knowing that I would be viewing these from a distance that was not six inches. 
Since those two previous paintings took quite a bit of time, I was determined to bust out the two tiki paintings. I pulled together a few of my favorite colors and did some dry brushing in the background. 
Once dry, I lightly sketched out my tiki head and then just set about painting with not too much of a plan in mind. 
 Most tiki masks found online were pretty scary looking. I wanted mine to be of the friendly variety, so I painted them kind of silly/happy. I just imagined them being at Disney...and came up with these cheesy faces. 
 Originally, I was going to hang them square but when the moms came to visit this weekend (we had a double dose visit of my mom and Mitch's mom), my mom suggested hanging the squares like a diamond. I really liked that idea. It added a bit more fun and funk to the arrangement. 
This guy was painted in the same way: dry brush, one color tiki mask painting. 
Currently, these bad boys of tiki town, hang in my craft room, right above my favorite vintage chest of craft supplies. For more of a tour of my crafting space, check here and here. Until next time, kids! 

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Sunday, November 27, 2016

Field Trip! A Visit with Camilla Spadafino

For the second installment of my Field Trip! series, I was excited to sit down with the amazing artist and art teacher Camilla Spadafino. Long before I ever met Camilla, I had heard all about her: what a wonderfully kind and warm person she is and what an incredibly inspiring teacher. My best friend Mallory put it best: she's the kind of person who makes you feel good just being around her. So y'all can imagine that I was thrilled when she agreed to take part in our Field Trip! 
With this Field Trip! series, I want my time with the artist to feel natural. I also want the artist to feel comfortable so I have been letting them decide on the format. With Bebo, we watched him create one of his fun and funky sculptures. Being a teacher, Camilla suggested walking us through how she created the portraits for her Miss Camilla's Neighborhood Coloring Book
In the video, Camilla chats about what initially inspired her portraits. Since then, she's created over 100 portraits of friends and family in her east Nashville neighborhood. What I love about her process are the endless ways they can be used in our art rooms. 
While she was sharing her method, I got the idea that my Gallery of Gratitude project could be updated. Instead of the kids drawing the portraits, we could use Camilla's process, thus making the portraits more realistic and, if on canvas, more permanent. Also, the kids could interview the person to find out their interests and their dreams for the future. How fun would a wall of the faculty and staff of our schools be?! 
I learned so many new tips and tricks by hanging out with Camilla. I love how she talks about working quietly to let the art speak to her and finding magic in what she is creating. I also love when she chats about respecting art supplies. Doesn't she do a fabulous job including vocabulary? The perks of interviewing an art teacher.
I love what she had to say about using certain colors and how that is a form of branding. I had not thought of that! But what a wonderful way for the kids to think more carefully about the colors they use. 
Another idea I had came when Camilla was talking about her pet portraits. This year, my school is reaching out to the local animal shelter and working with them on several projects. I have been trying to come up with a way for my students to create portraits of the adoptable pets. With this method, I can drop by after school, snap photos and have the kids use these. I know they will LOVE this project. 
Having the kids create coloring books of the portraits would be a wonderful fundraiser as well. I'm telling you, when I walked outta Camilla's house, my head was spinning, I had so many ideas. She truly is magical.
 When Mitch came home from work that night, I was so excited to tell him about my experience with Camilla. Every sentence started with, "...and then..." 
Camilla also shared her latest project called Paint the Town by Numbers. I learned so much about the back story behind this new endeavor including how she dreamt up this project and is bringing it to fruition. I'll be certain to share that with you in a follow up blog post and video. She was even kind enough to give me one of her paint by number kits which I enjoyed on Thanksgiving, in between plates of food. 
What a wonderful time I had hanging out with Miss Camilla! I'll be certain to share my video'ed lessons to company my visit here. I often update my YouTube channel before I share here so subscribe to stay tuned! 
Special thanks and a warm hug to Camilla for being so open to an interview and being a lovely host. Have fun, y'all!
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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Art Teacherin' 101: Episode 19

Last week, I discovered a little magical device that worked wonders with a chatty fourth grade class: this wee plastic sign from the Dollah-Make-You-Hollah Tree!

So, just how does it work? In short, I start off by placing it on the table of the hardest working group. Then I set my timer for seven minutes (because five minutes broke the class up too much) and when the timer went off, the Rock Star group chatted about who was the next set of Rock Stars. The wee sign was then passed to that table and Wash, Rinse, Repeat. Allow me to do a slightly better job explaining it to you here:

I'm REALLY BIG into putting the kids in charge of stuff like the Happy/Sad board (see below-below), the clean up signal, and, now, this. I could tell a big fat hairy fib and say that it's because I like putting ownership in the kids hands or instilling responsibility. I suppose that's a super sweet side effect but the fur realz reason is that 1. I'm Lazy and 2. I'm Crazy. I'd forget ALL of that stuff each and every art class if the kids weren't so stinkin' good at reminding me and keeping up with all of it. So there. Now you know the truth. 
In case you missed my Dollar Tree shopping spree finds, here you go! It truly is Art Teacherin' heaven, y'all. 
And in case you missed that bit about the happy/sad board...dudes. I love this thing. It's quick, it's easy and it's a visual for the kids. It's also great for when I have a sub as he/she can keep up with it as well. In my sub videos, you'll often see me chat about it as a reminder to the kids that I am watching. ALWAYS WATCHING...(something on Netflix). 
Because I did a lousy job explaining my table set up, here it 'tis. With my bigger glasses, we use every seat in the house except those end cap seats. That's where I like to plop down and check out the happenings. 
Now to figure out what to do with the rest of the little signs. I have a feeling this idea is going to progress so stay tuned. Love to hear your tips and tricks for management in the art room. We can all learn from each other! 
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Tuesday, August 9, 2016

In the Art Room: The Art Rocks Escape Game!

Welcome back to school! Over the summer, my husband and I played an Escape Game. If y'all aren't familiar, the concept is that you are "locked" in a room that is filled with clues to help you escape. The clues usually involve code-breaking, riddle-solving and just plain old hide-n-seek. We had so much fun that I decided to bring the concept to the art room. I thought it would be a great way to introduce my kids to the rules, routines and the space that we call the art room. It was such a blast that I thought I'd share it with y'all! 
As the students entered the art room, I had one kid stand at the door and pass out these small slips of paper. There were 7 different colors with about 5 of each. This year I average about 32 third and fourth graders per class so I needed to make sure I had enough for everyone. Once seated on the floor, I started this video:
A whole lotta (poor) editing went into this bad boy. Apparently I forget to edit the part where I adjust my wig. AND, if you make it all the way to the end of this video, you'll catch a look of how I really felt wearing that too-tight head piece and super-sweaty pleather jacket. Regardless, the kids ATE.IT.UP.
Just before I let them have at it, I read them the wee rules of the game...
Now, if you're worried that the kids will get a lil to wild playing this game, I found a sure-fire trick: Tell them there are SPIES watching. I fibbed to the kids and told them that before class had started, I had pulled aside a couple of kids to be my spies. Their job was to listen and share the secrets they overheard with other teams. Oh my goodness, y'all. Those fourth graders took that so seriously it was bananaz! My only other rule was no running...I have a big room and there was A LOT of excitement. But we can't be running in the art room, y'all. 

Once I gave them the go-ahead, the kids immediately teamed up and went to their coordinating table. There they found this:
To make things easy for myself, I made all the puzzles identical. Some kids figured out that they were just to look for the yellow heart...but my rule was that all puzzles had to be solved before moving on to the next. My favorite was when one team said, "our puzzle is too hard!"...and I'm all, "Dudes. They are all the same." 
Once the puzzles were solved, the kids went in search of their heart. I made sure to hide these pretty well so it was a bit like an Easter egg hunt. 
Once they found their box, the kids discovered the following inside:
A dry erase board and marker, a decoder and a code to solve. Each of the seven boxes contained riddles which revealed the class rules. They were to solve the riddle and return to our spot on the floor with their dry erase board. 
Just in case you'd like to use the code feel free! The Rockin' Riddle Rules the kids solved here: have fun, be respectful, follow directions, raise your hand, take pride and be nice. 
They were highly engaged, that's for sure! Once everyone had their rules, I played the next clip in the video where I chat about each rule. Then we were on to a self-guided room tour complete with a back-stage pass. 
(Yes, we refer to the place to put our dirty paint brushes as a "hot tub". Don't judge.)
I tried to think of the places in my art room where the kids would visit the most. I also came up with fun clues to help them find those places. I had specific dry erase marker colors in each spot so they couldn't just write the answers in. Also, I had them go to the places on their pass in the order listed so we wouldn't have any traffic jams. 
 A peek at how I labeled the places and placed the markers. 
 Where we play the Smartest Artist game
After the passes were full, we met again on the floor. In the next part of the video, I take them on a tour explaining the different places in the art room and emergency procedures. 
The final phase of the game was a "solo mission". Each artist was given three Post-It's and a Sharpie. They could pick from any of the six questions on my board to answer in a complete sentence. Once finished, they returned to the floor where we played a quick round of Smartest Artist before heading out the door. 

You.Guys. I hadn't had a chance to read what they had written until this morning. It made my day!
I mean...
This was only after a couple of classes had a chance to write. I can't wait to see these filled up! I plan to hang them around the school for our Open House Night. 
Because my focus is Peace, Love and Kindess this year, this is an important question for my kids. 
Their responses let me know that they KNOW the answer...we just gotta make it happen. 

Thank you for allowing me to share this super fun way to kick off the school year! Feel free to steal any ideas you see here. I'd LOVE to know if you do this kind of thing with your students. The kids told me that they are excited to play this kind of game again...which can only mean that this will be a new and fun way to introduce new concepts to the kids. An Elements of Art Escape Game, anyone?! YES, PLEASE! 
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