Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Get started with Donors Choose ASAP to Earn a $50 Donation!

I'm sure you've heard of Donors Choose by now- the online platform that lets teachers post projects with supply requests for their classrooms and lets people who want to help your students donate money to the project- but maybe you've never tried it. This is a great time to start!

If you use my link to get started, you'll also help support my classroom!

 I've had 10 projects funded in the last 4 years including books, furniture, technology, and art supplies and it has been awesome to be able to supplement what I can provide with my budget.

Back to School with Kwik Stix!

I was provided with a brand new set of Metallic Kwik Stix to do a back to school post! This year will be a different back to school experience for me as I'm using my built up sick leave to stay home a couple extra weeks with my new baby. I've been trying to figure out some easy but fun lessons to leave for my substitute to start off the year and the Kwik Stix gave me some inspiration. 

If you aren't familiar with Kwik Stix, they are a solid tempera paint stick that comes in a form that reminds me of a glue stick. They are vibrant and bold, dry in about a minute, and are low mess. 

I don't know about your students but mine LOVE anything metallic. These aren't over the top, they just have a nice sheen. The "metalix" pack has been expanded to include more colors now, so that's a real bonus! My elementary school has a camp/adventure theme this year so 5th graders will start off with a themed project. They will use Kwik Stix to make a sky and then create an outdoorsy scene silhouette on black construction paper. I know they will enjoy the project and we'll move back to more choice-based lessons when I return. I also used the Kwik Stix to make a sign for "Camp Learn-a-Lot" which I'll put up in my empty display case to start the year. Kwik Stix are my favorite poster-making supply when I don't have time to paint one.

Kwik Stix are available on Amazon, online at Target, online and in store at Michaels, and in store at Walgreens.

The makers of Kwik Stix also produce pencil grips which are great for teaching kids how to grip pencils or for those who need some an adaptation to help them out. I will keep my set on hand in case I see a struggling student. The pencil grips are available on Amazon

Favorite Supplies for Elementary

There was a post in one of the art teacher Facebook groups a couple of weeks ago asking for everyone’s favorite supplies for teaching elementary. I decided to share my 5 favorites here! If I’m lucky my children will even allow me to share some favorites for high school later on.

In no particular order...

  • Construction paper crayons- less messy than oil pastels but can produce similar effects on dark paper. 
  • Pacon tru-ray construction paper- better colors and doesn’t fade like the cheap stuff. I like to order black by itself since it works well for mounting and construction paper crayons, then order the warm, cool, and bright packs to get a nice range of colors. 
  • Tempera cakes- dry with a different texture than liquid tempera but much faster to pass out. 
  • Crayola color sticks- last longer than colored pencils and don’t need to be sharpened. 
  • Kwik stix- awesome if you have room in your budget, especially for younger students. Tempera paint in a glue stick kind of form that dry in 60-90 seconds. Students can share the packs so you don’t have to buy as many as you might think. 

Monday, June 25, 2018

Movie Poster Design

Usually summer break is when I can get caught up on blog posts from the previous school year but this summer has been a little different! We recently moved to a new house in the country with a bigger lot that will allow for the creation of an even bigger butterfly garden, space to grow some vegetables, lots of room to play outside, AND it has a building that was previously a potter's studio! Eventually, when we get all the boxes unpacked, that space will become my studio and will have room to host workshops and teach classes. We just got internet hooked up a few days ago and on top of moving, remodeling, unpacking, etc., I'm due with our 3rd baby, like 2 days ago.

So, without further ado, here is a lesson that I've used the last 2 years in my high school computer graphics class. 2 years ago, I had a student enrolled in the class who was planning to major in film at university and would talk about the scripts he'd written. I started thinking about how cool it would be to make a life size movie poster for one of his films, as well as how many of our CTE competencies could be hit with a movie poster design project. Movie posters have emphasis and heirarchy, they give you hints at the story without giving away EVERYTHING, and they use color as a design element. 

I first asked students to come up with a movie concept- this could pretty much be anything appropriate for school. Some did parodies or mash ups, some did spin offs of series they enjoyed, and some made completely new ideas. The students filled out a simple google form with questions about genre, a short synopsis, etc. just to help them think it through.

After planning the idea, the students created thumbnail sketches to help plan the composition. They were supposed to create 3 sketches and get feedback from classmates on which was the most effective.

Next, we watched a short video on how color is an important storytelling element in films. The students were asked to choose a screenshot or poster from a movie, tv show, or video game in the same genre as the poster they were planning and sample the colors. I later showed how they could use the hue and saturation and color balance tools in photoshop to adjust the colors of the photos they were using.

The students then gathered images- either creating their own (preferred method) or using images labeled for reuse. We had digital cameras, scanners, graphics tablets, and our software available for use. The posters were designed to either 24x36 inches or 16x20 inches. Our school has a large poster printer so it was really fun to print the poster from the furture film-creator student at 24x36 inches and display it at League Art. He was a student who didnt' see himself as an artist so it's always extra fun to see a look of satisfaction on a "non-artist's" face when they are proud of their work.

 I recently posted the lesson plan with links to the plan document, rubric, etc. on the smARTteacher so feel free to head over there and check it out!