Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Hail to the Chief's (Americana-2nd Grade)

As part of our unit on Americana to kick off the school year, the second graders tackled profile portraits. To connect to the concepts, we looked at portraits of American Presidents found on our currency. We looked at several Presidential Candidate posters as well before the second graders set out to create a Presidential campaign portrait of their own. We also looked a what characteristics a good leader should have and after reading John, Paul, George and Ben  by Lane Smith, the students made a list. Then they chose five things from the list that they though described them. (honesty, independence, boldness, bravery, outspokenness, cleverness, strength, loyalty and so on) After drawing and painting our profiles, complete with patriotic backgrounds, students returned to the list they had made and wrote the Top 5 Reasons America Needs Me in the White House in 2044. The persuasive writings were attached and the whole thing was displayed at the movie theater in October! You can see more on our Artsonia page. 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Neat and tidy!

As I was setting up my room this year I added a little spot on the table for the supply tub. I have been leaving my frequent-flyer supplies on the table for the last year or two and it has really added teaching time to my class periods. I decided to keep people from tugging them back and fort I would make a place for them. That's when it hit me…a picture to show not just where the tub should live but also what it should look like (more or less). Wow! It only took me 16 years. I am amazed at how many times I see the students organizing the totes on their tables at the end of class without even being asked to do so! I took these pictures, laminated them and taped them to the tables. Simple and effective!

Friday, December 6, 2013

I'm Published!!

I am so excited to be published in the January issue of School Arts Magazine! The article is called Redefining Assessment and contains ideas for assessment in the elementary art classroom. It also give you talking points for your administrators about what assessment looks like in our class but in their language! Enjoy! Thanks Nancy Walkup for encouraging me to write it! BTW- that is my son, Bishop in the picture. He is so excited about being my supermodel!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Please take my point!

One of my sweet classroom teachers gave me a bunch of regular #2 pencils because I was almost out of pencils. I appreciate the gift, because hey-free is free- but I have been spending half my life these last three weeks sharpening and trading in pencils during class.

 This is the greatest elementary pencil ever made. The Ticonderoga Oversized Beginners #2 pencil.  It is fat, has no eraser and you only need to sharpen every two weeks or so. The point stays a long time and encourages light lines but still provides good detail. Kids can drop them and they do break. They are NEVER stolen, as a matter of fact, if kids find these outside the art room, they bring them back to me!! No one complains about the eraser because there wasn't one to begin with!! They last forever…four boxes can last me all year if they don't roll under something or get packed in with another supply on accident.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Let's get Radial!

Ok-Radial Weaving, what can I say that hasn't already been said? It is in the curriculum for 2nd quarter so I teach it but paper plate weavings get old after a few dozen years…ugh…what's and art teacher to do?

I decided to make it a review by comparing three different kinds of balance, line symmetry (regular same-on-both-sides symmetry), asymmetry and introducing radial symmetry! Scaffolding-woowhoo!

This is the first slide on the PowerPoint and at the end there is a visual quiz that the students look at images and determine what kind of balance was used. It worked great! 
Afterwards we looked at several different types of looms used around the world and examples of woven materials. We read the Spider Weaver, Legend of the Kente Cloth by Margaret Mustgrove. and create our paper plate weavings.

But wait…there's more!!

Then we embellished them with paper to continue the radial designs. I was amazed how different the paper made them look. I could easily see who understood the concept and who was still struggling to assimilate the new data. Paper and tape can make such a difference!

These are slated to go up at the movie theater for the 3rd Grade Art Show in December. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Visiting Rockwell at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts

The first five to six weeks of school were dedicated to Norman Rockwell, our Arts-tober artist this year chosen by the district. The displays have to be up in October so I always try to start with that artist if I can. In 4th grade we created portraits and looked at the Four Freedom Posters. Students create symbols that represented one of the four freedoms (Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Worship, Freedom from Want and Freedom from Fear) that was most important to them, personally. Then they had to incorporate the symbols into the portraits they created. The unit was long but it obviously made and impression. It was six weeks after it was complete that the Rockwell exhibit opened and we were able to visit. Students were so excited to see the real works of art. Here are a few shots that show the concentration!!
Working in the ArtQuest Gallery.

Experimenting at the animation station.

Enthralled in the Gallery!

The comments and questions by students were really thoughtful. "I was really surprised that there were so many pictures that I had seen before (in the show)."  "Mrs. A, I would say that the picture of Ruby Bridges (The Problem We All Face) shows Freedom from Fear." "I really liked how you could make up a story about each painting, like in Coming and Going, he showed the beginning and the end and you had to guess what happened in the middle!" The classroom teachers and docents were so complementary and impressed by their thoughtfulness. One classroom teacher said the docent asked how they could describe Ruby Bridges' feelings in the The Problem We All Face and the student replied that she looked proud and excited. Another group was asked why the marshall's heads were cropped in the same image, to which the students responded with, "Because they are not as important as her", "To make Ruby the focal point" and "To add suspense to the picture"

What can I say…I am so proud!!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Painted houses

This was on my wish list to teach for some time and today was the day!!

I put together a little PowerPoint to show images of the actual houses in Botswana, South Africa. Then I read Elsina's Clouds by Jeanette Winter. The Basotho women traditionally care for home and crops while the men care for the animals. The women  speak to the ancestors and forces of nature by painting on their houses. Each color and pattern is meaningful, but I didn't get in to the symbolic side with Kindergarten. The paintings are prayers or wishes for safety, prosperity and rain most often.

The students added doors and windows to their paper and then started their designs. The patterns and images were delightful. A great follow up activity to this would be to have them write a wish/prayer. Just one sentence to display with the houses would cement the idea that the images on the house have meaning to those who paint them.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Kindergarten Art Show Time!

Here are the Nighttime Pumpkins on display at the Regal Cinema 16 in Green Hills (Nashville, TN). We opened the show the first week of November with a reception of popcorn and pink lemonade which was donated by the theater! I just LOVE seeing all the pieces from a whole grade level up at the same time. AMAZING!!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Pumpkin Fiesta!!

Check out these adorable nigh time pumpkins that my kindergarteners are finishing up. We worked on some observational drawing using my foam pumpkins as models and then "brushed" up on our color mixing by using only primary colors to paint the leaves and pumpkins. On day two we cut out and glued down the grass, pumpkins and leaves. Using oil pastels the moon and stars were added and the highlight (we called it pumpkin sparkle too) to show how the moon reflected off the pumpkins. I can't help but think that the Great Pumpkin will rise right behind one of these beauties!! Thanks to the Deep Space Sparkle, the blog that gave me the idea. These will look amazing at the November Art Show!!

This one is in a really windy patch!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

El Dia de los Muertos Workshop

A day out of school for a workshop sounds like a lot of work, but not when you are spending the day at Cheekwood and it happens to be the Friday before fall break!! I attended an excelente workshop on Dia de los Muertos, the Hispanic cultural celebration known as Day of the Dead, with my Spanish teacher. I had a ton of ideas when I left! Maybe these pictures will inspire you as well!

 Classroom sized Tapetes (sand paintings using transparencies, gel glue and colored sand)

For this, they offered a template to lay under the transparency, but I drew my own calaca (skeleton) having fun (bottom)!!

Barrilete (paper kites from Guatemala) 

These are great for teaching radial symmetry!

 I discovered it is better (and less work) to leave the center in the paper plate because it didn't matter to me if they actually flew like a kite.

 Combine Papel Picado (cut paper-snowflake style) into your kite design!

 And of course the Sugar Skulls. 

I have done paper and  sugar cookie "sugar skulls" with my kindergarten students, but have never been brave enough to use actual sugar ones. These ones are tiny, think have the size of your computer mouse.

The imagery for this fiesta is fun and whimsical! I hope it inspires you to create a unit that explores this interesting culture phenomenon. 

Don't let the name scare you!!