Showing posts with label in the artroom. Show all posts
Showing posts with label in the artroom. Show all posts

Thursday, September 10, 2015

In the Art Room: Sketchbooks for Kids!

Hey, y'all! I'm so excited to share something that I'm sure many of you already do but I feel like I just discovered: sketchbooks! In the elementary art room! I've never successfully attempted sketchbooks with my students before as I just couldn't figure out how to afford 'em if we bought them and how to make 'em if we didn't buy them. Recently, however, art teacherin' buddy Jane Shores recommended using old manilla folders with paper stapled inside and I was like, ahhhhh, I think we can do that! I'm thrilled to say that my students love the result and have enjoyed working in them. I made a wee video to walk you through the sketchbook-making/how we're gonna use 'em steps. 
I hope you can focus on my video and not so much on the fact that I missed a button on my sweater! Geesh. 
 To make our sketchbooks, we used the following:
* Recycled manilla folders. The central office in my district was kind enough to send me a mountain of the ones they were going to otherwise recycle!
* 20 sheets of copy paper per folder. 
* Dollar Store faux-duct tape. Works just as great for half the cost.
* Baseball card sleeves. For holding our Artist Trading Cards, thank you SO MUCH for the idea, Nic Hahn
* Electric stapler. I picked one up off Amazon. Works like a dream going through the folder, papers and sleeve. 
 On the first day of sketchbook making, I gave the kids the folders and told them they could paint their folder either all warm or all cool colors. They could paint fast and furious or delicate and detailed but they had to have it done in 30 minutes. The following art class, when they came to art, I had already stapled the 20 sheets of paper and the baseball card sleeve into the folders. We were ready to start sketching! 
 For that we met in the "Jungle Lounge" in the art room (more details on this and my painted window to come). Once the sketchbooks and pencils were passed out, I did a palming activity with the children (video clip below). While their eyes were closed I played my rainstick and told them to imagine a rainstorm in a jungle. What are the animals doing? Is the wind blowing? Is the weather getting worse? When they opened their eyes, they were allowed to sketch at their seats or on the floor but they were not allowed to talk. 
Palming is a great way to chill those kiddos out and help them refocus! Worked like a dream for this sketching activity! 
While they sketched, I called them up to add the duct tape of their choosing to the spine of the book and to create a label. This really was a special moment for them as it really made their sketchbook their own. I was able to catch a glimpse of their sketches as they came to see me. I was floored by their great drawings.
Most of these third grade students sketched without stopping for a good 45 minutes. I did ask them to take a break with me on the floor when I was finished with the taping. We chatted about our experience sketching so far (consensus: they LOVED it!) and how it would look during a normal art class. I plan to use this as an art class starter for the first 5-10 minutes of most art classes...I'll keep you posted. 
At this point, I told the kids about Artist Trading Cards. These are baseball-sized works of art created by artists of all ages. I told the kids that their ATC cards were going to be kept in those baseball sleeves. I have a sign in my room that lists the Topic and the Media for the ATC cards. This week, it was "Tigers" and "Colored Pencils and Sharpies" (yes, we're on a tiger-kick. Lesson details to come!) 
So, those finished with their sketches, were allowed to start their ATC's. 
The great thing about those sleeves is it's the perfect spot to keep unfinished ATC's! 
"In my jungle, a mysterious animals is afraid of the rain and is hiding". ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! Love! 
The kids absolutely loved their sketchbooks and I'm thrilled! I'll definitely keep y'all updated on their progress...but I gotta know:

Do you use sketchbooks in your art room? How? Any tips or tricks? Please share in the comments, friends!

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Thursday, April 9, 2015

In the Art Room: Kindergarten Clay Birds

Well, hey there, bird legs! It looks like you are getting a two-fer this week as I'm sharing yet another "In the Art Room" with y'all! That's partly because I've not had two seconds to do any sort of creating of my own (which is making my right eye twitch a lil) so no DIY-ness this week. And also because what the kids have been busting out in the art room lately has been so stinkin' sweet I just had to share. For zample, check out these kindergarten clay birds!
 Like, riiiight?! The kids created these birds in just under 45 minutes and they couldn't have been more proud of themselves. They were all created during our school-wide Clay Week (aka Cray Week). I'll be sharing what each grade level created in upcoming posts. But just had to start with these as they're currently my fave. 

* Low fire (cone 06) clay. Okay, so we don't all have a kiln. For that, I'm so sorry! Working with kids and clay is one of my fave things in the universe. I've already decided that next year, we're gonna have two separate clay events just so me and the kids have more clay time! 
* No clay? How about Model Magic? Or another air dry substitute?
* Sargent brand fluorescent oil pastels. Any oil pastels would work...but I personally loved the vibrancy of the fluorescents. 
* Watered down India Ink. Like, real watered down. I use a cup of water to a splash of India ink.
* Big brushes or...a bucket to simply dunk the birds into.
* Pipe cleaners and beads.
Since y'all seemed to like the butterfly video (despite the lackluster quality) I decided to film another clip for y'all. Once again you're sitting on a stack of miscellaneous art room stuffs. Next time, I promise I'll bring my tripod! AND not pound on the table during a taped demo. Der. 
Once the clay projects were complete, they dried over spring break (and then some. I'm a firm believer in a good two week dry out period. But only for clay. Ahem.). From there they were bisque fired. I then decided to have the kids do this lil pastel resist trick on 'em because it looked so groovy on these butterflies last year. And because I like to reserve my glaze (and that super fun second round of kiln firing) for my 2nd thru 4th grade kidz. 
Now I've gone about the painting portion two dif ways and I think I've found a winner. Normally, I give the kids a big moppy brush and let them have at it. The prob with that is that there are always white spots. Which means I gotta tell 'em one million times to go back and repaint. So today, for sanity and time-savin's sake, I had the kids gather round while I dunked each bird in a watered down bucket o' India ink. Which they though was like the bestest thing everrr. I then handed the birds to them on a plate (they're only drippy for a moment as the bisque absorbs the paint rapidly) and the kids set to work on the next step (which I briefly explained in the clip until my camera decided to shut me up).
 So what my lil clip didn't give me time to say was that once the feet were complete, the kids had the option to add beads. I did limit their bead intake to no more than 5 beads per foot. You'll notice that one lil bird in this post didn't quite get the memo. Que sera. 
Once the feet were created, the kids simply inserted the top of the pipe cleaner through the hole, bent it around and twisted. And I say "simply" but it's kindergarten. So it wasn't quite that simple. But those that did get it were great teaching buddies to their friends. And in the end, they all were complete.
Just to make sure the birds didn't lose their feet, I did add a touch of hot glue to the back. I also added the pipe cleaner hanger and hit that with glue as well. 
And there you have it, some super cute kindergarten clay birds! Have fun, y'all!
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Thursday, August 15, 2013

In the Art Room: The First Days of Art Class

Konichiwa'ing and bowing to "Sensei Stephens"...a girl could get used to this. Unfortunately, I can't seem to train the hubs to do the same.
Konichiwa, ya'll!
 I don't know about you, but I am always super curious how teachers begin their school year. Since I just finished seeing all of my first through fourth grade classes for an hour this rotation (I see my students for a 1/2 hour twice every six days. Yeah, I'm just as confused as you are), I thought I'd share with you the first days of art class. Not included in this episode of In the Art Room is kindergarten-town. Because they start a little later than the rest, I only saw one class this week...and I tend to do things a little differently with them (read: whatever I can manage to do with a herd of cats, er kids, in one session).

On the first day of art class, I greeted my students outside my room wearing my kimono. We chatted briefly about how we would be studying the art of Asia this year beginning with Japan. They learned that whenever they are on a red line (one outside my room as you can see below, one in my room where we line up and another set where we sit on the floor) they are to be "samurai silent". I then told them how to say hello in Japanese and how to bow to show respect. Which is what's goin' down in that top photo.
My Samurai Silent line.

Once we entered the art room, following another red line, I asked the kids if they could tell me anything that was different about my room. Keep in mind, the last time they saw my room, it looked like this...and now it looks like this. From there, we gathered on the floor in "Japan".  I used the yellow map to remind them the name of our continent, the continent we studied last year and the continent of Asia. 

I chatted with the kids about my trip to Japan several years ago (I did the Japan Fulbright Memorial Fund program which I cannot recommend enough. It was such a wonderful experience. You really outta do it). They learned that children in Japan are very much like them, including their style of dress. However, on special occasions, folks do wear a kimono. I chatted about my kimono, the obi (that giant belt) and my geta (the wooden shoes I'm wearing).
I know what you're thinking: You didn't talk about RULES on the very first day?! I'm getting to it! But c'mon. On the first days of school, it's nothing but rules and procedures and blahblahblah. Not only that, but I've been these kids' art teacher forever. We kinda sorta got this. That being said, after 10 minutes of chatting about Japan, I did have the kids move to this part of my room, take a seat on the floor so we could discuss...Art Class Rules.

Now, before they ventured to that part of the room, I asked them to go shopping at The Store for a piece of newspaper. The Store is simply the supply-gathering table I have set up in my room. You can read more about that here.
Okay, so you mighta noticed I'm wearing a different kimono. I'd accidentally left my other one at home that day and was left using my thrift store kimono.
Once seated on the floor with our newspapers, I went through the roll and greeted each student with a "konichiwa!". This gave them the opportunity to not only practice their konichiwas but to also learn my name if they were a newbie.
Five minutes later we got around to the rules. Now just to spice things up a bit, I like to use my sound machine when chatting about something that might otherwise be monotonous. This little gadget has 16 different awesome sound effects from a scream (to demonstrate what I might sound like if a rule is broken) to a round of applause for awesomeness. Consequences to not following rules are also discussed. Behind my rows of seated kids, I've got two red X's that are my designated time out spots. Students are to stand and face me when in time out so they can still hear instructions but no longer (er, hopefully) disrupt the group. Now, I'm not gonna lie, I've had my share of office referrals. But it's rare so I don't chat about it much.
When all that's covered, we get to our Very First Art Project! After teaching for a million (okay, 15) years, it's one thing that I've found drives the kids nuts on the first day: not getting to "do art". So I always try to include a little something. On the first day, we spent the last 5-7ish minutes making origami hats. I used this as a chance to really emphasize the rules: If you "listen carefully" then you'll be able to "follow directions. Origami can be confusing, so "try your best". "Be kind" to your friends, lend a hand if they need help. And that wrapped up our very first 1/2 hour session.
For our second 1/2 hour session, we practiced our samurai silent business and got our seats in art class. I have six tables with four chairs at each. Every table has a color and every seat has a number. Each student was instructed where their spot was (I'm a believer in assigned seats with an even ratio of boys/girls and positive peer grouping). I told them that we were going to play the Painting Game. Once they were given their seats, they were told to put on the apron that was on the back of their chair, don't touch the paint and wait for everyone to get their seat.
So the Painting Game was just a fun way for us to review proper painting procedures, review the elements of art and have fun. I would draw a number and then either a line or a shape and the kids were to paint it. I reminded them that our paint brushes are like ballerinas: they ALWAYS dance on their tippy-toes. They never EVER scoot around on their bottom. Because that's bad for the bristles and just plain weird. I mean, who ever heard of a butt-scootin-around ballerina?!
After a couple rounds, the kids swapped paint cups and brushes with their neighbors. We talked about the principals of art by chatting about variety, emphasis and all that other groovy goodness.
I changed out the table coverings at the end of each day which means these papers got pretty well covered. The kids were responsible for enhancing the painting that was already before them...which was a struggle for some. However, they all seemed to enjoy their painting time and were eager to do it again. Which we won't be anytime soon because we have a million other projects to get to...but I didn't tell them that. By the way, these paintings will be used as a backdrop for another project I'll share with you soon.
To wrap up the Painting Game and chat about what we learned, we lined up and played The Smartest Artist. More on that game here.

This is actually a photo from last year...I just didn't manage to snap one while we were playing this week. I quizzed them on the elements of art, the primary colors and the names of lines. After that, we bowed and said sayonara before exiting.
And there you have it! One hour in the art room, broken down into two classes. Every time I see these guys, I'll be covering a new routine and procedure (next up, safety drills) but I gotta break it up a bit with some fun. For my sanity and theirs. Teacher friends, how do you approach your first days of school. There's just so much to cover, the fun never ends. Thank goodness Friday comes once a week and saves the day, right?!
And now it's time to announce the Winner Winner Chicken Dinner! Debi! Congrats, girl! I can't wait to send this crayon-goodness your way and see what amazingness you create.

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