Showing posts with label teaching kindness. Show all posts
Showing posts with label teaching kindness. Show all posts

Monday, December 19, 2016

In the Art Room: Rizzi-Inspired Love Birds

With winter break right around the corner, I'm thinking ahead (for once!) about the projects my students will be working on come January. We are experiencing a break down in behavior in my classes of older students (nothing major, just more chattiness and lack of focus than what I'm used to) so we'll be returning to our start-of-the-school year chat about rules and routines. But I do want my students to still feel the love! So I'm putting together some love-themed projects for all of my classes. This here Rizzi-inspired Love Birds for my third graders is my first installment. 
Lots of focus on vocabulary in this lesson. This project will really help us explore creating a gradation, mixing tints and shades, discovering value and that's just on the first day! From there, we'll be working on creating a composition of our choice. I'm excited to see what my students create when we start these next month.
I have noticed my kids respond really well to Rizzi and his colorful works of art. A couple of my third grade classes are working on large-scale Rizzi-inspired buildings to create a city. I'll be certain to share them in an upcoming post.
Rizzi's landscapes often features a gradation of light to blue as he often will have day and night in his work. I thought this would be a great tie in and give the kids a chance to learn how to create a gradation.
Aren't his bird pieces so fun and happy? 
My biggest concern with kids creating at this age is that they do not draw large enough. Such is the reason I provided a guided-drawing activity for them in the video. This will help them understand the scale at which they are to create the most impact.
Do you have some favorite Valentine's Day/Celebration of Love projects? I'd love to hear about them. And if you give this lesson a go, please let me know!


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Monday, October 17, 2016

In the Art Room: You Be You Mural Complete!

So, like, at the end of August, I shared with you my You Be You lesson inspired by the wonderful book of the same title by Linda Kranz. I did this project as apart of our kindness and growth mindsets theme with my first through third grade kids. It was fun, easy and a great way to reintroduce the elements of art as well as drive home some super positive warm fuzzies. 
Unfortunately, I suffer from a serious case of Squirrel-itis and got sidetracked from assembling this mural. However, right before Fall Break Eve, I conned my special area buddies into "helping me" with the mural (two hours later, my friend Ali was still glueing and outlining the fish in blue...thanks, buddy!) and getting it up on the wall. Yay! Another Mammoth Mural in the books.  
In case you wanna give this fun lesson a go, feel free to use the video. You are always more than welcome to use any of my videos in your art room. I try to update weekly (with an Art Teacherin' 101 going up every Wednesday-ish). If you subscribe, you can stay tuned. 
So...true fax: this mural was only supposed to be a You Be You tribute...but with so many fish created, I had to create a second mural. This one with the title of Linda's first book in the series. By the way, when the murals went up, the edges just felt a little meh. I picked up that cute border at Joann's and added it today. I think it makes a big difference. 
Right after the mural was hung...I discovered another bin of third grade fish sitting there all, "hey there, forget something, Stephens?" Looks like I have more fish to add to the mural!
When I have my students create large murals, we usually create huge sheets of pattern papers. We call this our Painting Party. I throw papers down on the tables and either I'll start a pattern motif of the kids will. They are to repeat that pattern until their paper is full. Once complete, I remove the paper and replace it with another large sheet. This gives me a nice big stack of fun papers to use when assembling the kid's murals. 
First grade fishes just swimmin' and swimmin'. 
After the murals were hung, I realized just how much our school walls (and ceiling!) are devoted to the artistry of our awesome kids. I think it's vital to showcase ALL student artwork (not just a hand selected few) for several reasons: 1. It tells your students that "Hey! You are awesome! Your artwork is amazing! You deserve to be seen by all!"; 2. It showcases your art program and the importance of the arts to your parents, faculty and staff. This is just one small nook that is full of their work from this year! You can see more of their monochromatic selfie mural and the fourth graders' radial prints
I think my favorite part of this mural is the message. I'm a big believer in you doing you. It took me entirely too long to really listen to my inner voice. I have spent a good portion of my life doing what I thought I was "supposed" to be doing and being the person who I thought I was "supposed" to be. Letting go of that notion and really being comfortable with who I am, what my interests are and where that takes me is now the place I find myself. I want my kids to get there faster than I did. I want them to know it's awesome to be who they are cuz There Is Only One You so You Be You! 

Thank you, Linda Kranz, for the powerful message!
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Sunday, September 25, 2016

In the Art Room: Kelsey Montague-Inspired Mural

Ohhhh, y'all. I'm so excited about this collaborative mural that started out as a sub plan. Allow me to share with you our What Lifts You mural! That sweet face above is my assistant principal's son, Carson. 
And here's his sweet mama! Her pose makes me so happy and excited about this project. Lemme tell you all about our inspiration. 
Street art is becoming very popular in the art world. What I love about it is that it is accessible to everyone. Kelsey Montague has taken her street art to the next level by making it interactive. She's also inspired folks to think about #whatliftsyou. I love everything about Kelsey's murals: the beauty, the message and the interaction. 
She recently created a street mural in Nashville! The most amazing thing is that her murals are created in paint pens. That's right. Tons of paint pens, y'all. Time to invest in some stock. 
I wanted each of my students to contribute to the mural. Knowing that I was going to be out for a couple of days, I created a simple sub video that introduced my kids to Kelsey, got them reviewing and applying the elements of art and kept them creating. I was THRILLED to come back to school to these beauties!

Because of my 30 minute class time for my younger students, many did not finish in one class. So our first order of business when I returned was for the feathers to get finished and cut out. My early finishers then began working on the patterned papers that would also contribute to the wings. 
I love having the kids create giant sheets of patterned papers. I just throw a huge piece of bulletin board paper onto the table. Sometimes, I'll ask the kids to tell me a pattern or shape they'd like to repeat...and then tell them to go for it. Other times, I'll have a pattern started for them. You can see examples of murals with patterned papers here in our Dot Day project, in this winter collaborative, in this Village of Kindness project and in this Rousseau-inspired tiger mural
The left over papers are going to come in handy this week as we also complete our You Be You mural.
I really wanted the mural up by Monday because we are starting our Growth Mindsets in the art room then. More on that soon (including a book club, stay tuned!). That being said, I did have to hustle to get it complete. I stayed after school on Thursday taping four 12' sheets of bulletin board paper together for the black background. Then, in chalk, I lightly drew the general shape of the tip of the wing. 
Then I just started playing. I knew that I wanted their wings to be broken up a bit by the patterned papers but I wasn't sure how. Once I got a general idea, I started to hot glue things in place. 
I arrived at school at 6am on Friday morning because I was so excited to get it complete and up on the wall! I tacked down just the top of the papers so that I could lift the paper and slide the feathers underneath. I have about 400 students. Not all feathers are complete and up...but most are. I left room on the left side of the wing to add the final feathers. Once everything was glued, I outlined the top of the wing in white paint. I also added white outlines to the patterned papers. 
Back to that book I mentioned. The premise of the book is getting the kids to think beyond their "fixed" mindset that they can't do something...and change that thought into believing that they can.  Such a powerful message, don't you think? To kick things off, during art class, each of my students (as well as faculty and staff, I hope!) will get their photo taken in front of the mural. They will also write about what lifts them as that's the big idea behind Kelsey's murals. Keeping that positivity in mind, we will focus on our growth mindset. I will be sharing more on that lesson VERY soon! 
 But for now, let's get closer to these wings. 
 I only glued the "quill" of the feather down so that the feathers would have a ruffly texture to them. 
When I snap the photos next week, my husband suggested taping an X on the floor so the kids would know where to stand. Such a smart dude. 
 I'm super stoked! This was finally hung in the afternoon on Friday when my specials team buddies were free to help me hold it up and glue it to the wall. 
 To give you an idea on size. The photos I take of the kids will be hung along the wall beside the wings. 
 As soon as the wings were up, folks were ready to have their photos taken! Here is my friend Kiera who you might know as Cleopatra
My principal's sweet son, Ashton! 
 One of our P.E. teachers who you might know as King Tut (as well as Frida and Grant Wood, ha!). 
 My awesome principal and her sweet kiddos. I am super lucky to have the most supportive admins in the land. 
 Dawww, that face!
Our super enrichment teacher who is always kind enough to let me use this wall outside of her room...thank you, Ashley!
Y'all know I had to join in on the fun. BIG shout out to Kelsey Montague for the inspiration and my special area friends for helping me hang this beast. All y'all are what lifts me!
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Sunday, July 31, 2016

In the Art Room: Calendar of Kindness

Hey, friends! Today is the last day of July which means, for me, it's the last day of summer vacay (insert slow tear trickle down cheek here). I am excited tho because a new school year means new beginnings. It's like what the rest of the non-teaching world calls New Years Resolution except ours begins the first days of school, not the new year. 

As y'all know from my previous posts, I'm focusing with laser beam eyeballs on peace, love and kindness in my art room this year. I've shared with y'all my Calendar of Kindness that I chicken scratched onto a piece of notebook paper. To save your eyeballs, I recreated this one above for y'all to share on your preferred social media sites. I also made a pdf for you to printout, hang up, pass around, wallpaper your bath, you get the idea, here

REMEMBER: When you post on your preferred social media outlet, use the hashtags #calendarofkindness and peacefulheART. You can follow along with me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
I'll be kicking off the first days back with my students with my version of an Escape Game (where the kids will work in teams to solve riddles that will reveal our art room rules! I'll share the lesson with you soon, I'm so excited!). We'll also be doing a collaborative project that will promote peace, love and kindness. To inspire such, I wrote a poem to the tune of Queen's We are the Champions. I created a pdf for y'all here if you are interested.

And THANK YOU so much for the positive feedback about this! I appreciate your enthusiasm and spreading the word...together, we can make our shape our students into caring individuals and make their future a bright one!

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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Art Teacherin' 101: Episode 12

In last week's Art Teacherin' 101 blog post, I shared with y'all my concerns about teaching peace, love and kindness this coming school year. I feel there is a great need to bring this teaching into our art rooms (and all classrooms, for that matter!) and build it into our curriculum. But how? It's not a "standard". We don't have an "I Can" for that. It's not required of us...and I don't recall learning how to teach kindness (like, whut?!) in college. We cannot expect children to just KNOW how to be kind. We don't expect them to KNOW how to hold a pencil, cut a piece of paper and not spread glue all over their hand and lick it off (ahem). We teach them these things. So, in that respect, we can't expect them to know how to treat each other with peace, love and kindness. We DEFINITELY can't expect that of them when our collective actions, displayed on every news outlet, shows we don't know how to treat each other either! 

So, for that reason, I'm on a mini-campaign to bring peace, love and kindness into my art room this year. I do hope you'll join me...and share your thoughts, books and lessons in the comments below. United is how we are going to accomplish this goal. And we are doing it for the best reason possible: our students and their future. 
My apologies for getting a little long winded here. And emotional. I was trying to keep it together! 
I've been scratching my head and wracking my brain to come up with ideas. One way I thought we could kick off this campaign for kindness is with a little something I'm calling the #calendarofkindness and #peacefulheART. I do hope you (and your students) will feel free to join on your preferred social media. I know even my school district is already on board! I'll be posting in Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and using those hashtags. I can't wait to see what you share!

I've also created a long list of books that I cherish and share in my art room below along with projects that I've found to be successful. Please feel free to add your two cents in the comments so that we have a growing list of books, resources and projects for peace. 
 Many of my art teacherin' buddies shared their fave books with me so I'll make sure to add them here. However, I only felt comfortable speaking about the books I've actually read and used in my art room. Love the What Do You Do with an Idea...what a great book to start the art year with! Also, The Hundred Dresses is a short chapter book. I like to read it aloud to my 3rd and 4th grade students while they work. It's a book that teaches about kindness...and makes me cry every time. As does The Giving Tree. Anything Shel Silverstein has written speaks to my students, they love him!
 I love these books that celebrate our differences while explaining how we are also the same. The Colors of Us is read to my students every year before we learn to mix our flesh color for self-portraits.
My copy of The Big Orange Splot is so worn out, I've read it to my students to much. It's another book that points out our differences and explains how that is what makes us unique. It also does an excellent job of teaching how we should celebrate the differences of others. Remember: when we teach children to first love themselves, they will be able to love one another. 
So anything Todd Parr writes is awesome. And happy. And colorful. 

Have y'all read this? It's fan-freakin'-tastic. Get it in your library stat. 
Also check out Linda Kranz's other book You Be You...it's excellent as well.
 Now, let's talk projects. Here are a handful that I've done with my students to cultivate a culture of kindness. The Gallery of Gratitude was a huge hit. 
 Each employee of our school was drawn and written about. They cherished these images and words and have them on display in their offices and classrooms! 
This hangs proudly right outside the art room door. From floor to ceiling. It really is OKAY! Different is grand. 
The Village of Kindness was a successful collaborative project that used recycled materials. I loved how happy, colorful and sweet this display was for our art show last year. 
 Each house had a door that, when opened, shared a kind message.
 This school-wide collaborative now hangs proudly in our school office. It was created by all students to show that we have heart! 
This love-based mural was so easy that it was my sub plan! I've created a video to teach this lesson. Feel free to use it in your art room!
Here's an oldie but goodie that we created a couple of years ago, a We Are the World mural! It was a fun and impactful way to kick off the school year. 
Of course, The Dot is a great way to start the year as well. It also promotes self-love and how that love can transmit to others. Here is a list of fun Dot Day art projects
Art can also help those right in your own backyard. We did just that with out Houses to Help project! 
Here's a list of some other projects that promote kindness:


Please feel free to add your ideas below...and I look forward to seeing your #calendarofkindness images starting August 1st!

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