Monday, May 31, 2010

Mural Project

Step 1: Get funding and permission!  My district has a foundation that raises money to support the schools. Teachers are given the opportunity to apply for classroom grants.  I discussed my idea with my principal, got permission, and wrote the grant.

Step 2: Introduce students to the project.  On the first day of the project, I made a PowerPoint that showed murals from Art History, murals in Kansas that they might be familiar with, and murals that I have painted. We talked about the different reasons that people paint murals and how murals make a big statement.  I told the students that the mural would be in the school after they leave so it was their chance to show what was important to them and what they are "about".

Step 3: Students make drawings/proposals for the mural.  I told the students that I wanted to pull parts from different drawings to make the final design so it would reflect more than one idea.  I didn't give the students a set theme, I just said it obviously needed to be school appropriate and reflect the students or school.  I let the students work with a partner if they wanted (I thought some might be intimidated) and I'm not sure if this was a good idea or not.  Some pairs worked really well together and came up with great ideas, while some let one partner do most of the work.

Step 4: Make the final design.  I sorted the drawings and came up with three different designs.  My principal and I discussed and chose which design would be used for the mural.

Step 5: Buy supplies.  I think I asked for like $330 but I could have done the project for a lot less.  I didn't spend all the money and could have gotten by with a quart of most colors instead of gallons.  I took the design with me and a list of the colors I needed.  The lady who was mixing my paint was new in that department and had a hard time.  First, she mixed the same bright green color in three gallons instead of one.  Next, she didn't get the lid pounded on tight enough for one of my quarts and when I went to put it in the cart, pumpkin orange hit the floor and splashed all over eVeRyThInG!  I guess I was the perfect person for that to happen to since I am used to having paint on me, you have to be patient to be a teacher, and I've worked in retail before!

Step 6: Transfer drawing to the wall.  I started using a grid but adjusted proportions that looked "off" once I got them on the wall.  I taped off the border and put a drop cloth on the floor.  I quickly learned that a drop cloth is not enough and taped paper to cover the exposed portion of the wall close to the floor.  I also was reminded that painters tape isn't perfect on cinder block walls.

Step 7: Start painting with students!  I had planned things with a really awesome Para at school so that she stayed in the art room with students (who were reading their AR books) so I could take about 1/3 to the hallway at a time.  It would have been crazy trying to paint with all 22 students in the hallway at the same time so it worked out really well.  We could not start painting the mural as early as I wanted because of the testing schedule so I probably put in a good 10+ hours finishing up the painting when the students were out of time.

Step 8: Touch up- this will be done when I return to school next fall.  My principal is trying to get a gallon of paint that matches the wall color so I can touch up where the paint dripped or bled through the tape.

Step 9: Feedback!  I had the students take a survey and asked what they learned from the mural project.  I still need to read through all of them but it will help me when I turn in my report about the project to finish up the grant obligations.

Everybody has been super appreciative of the mural and both the students and teachers are making all sorts of plans for future murals!  My principal said that even without a grant, he could get me money to paint a mural every year if I want!  I think I will need more time than a year to recover from the mural but I definitely think it was a valuable project. I might try to do one every three years so each student will get the chance to work on a mural in either 4th, 5th, or 6th grade.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Completed Mural!

While I have a couple of minutes, I wanted to go ahead and share a picture of the completed mural I painted with my 4th-6th grade students.  The students are already making big plans for other murals they want to paint and my principal said even without a grant, they could get me money to do a mural every year if I want!  I said maybe every other year... I had fun but need some recovery time!  Anyway, I will post more process photos and write about the experience later.  But probably not until the end of school!  (One more week with students and two days of inservice before I can declare the end of a successful first year!)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

End of the School Year

I'm experiencing for the first time May as a teacher... I never paid this much attention (before I had students in 7 grades) to how many field trips there are at the end of the year!  We also have field days, talent shows, and DJ parties coming up.

Since I only see my 4th-6th grade students every other week, yesterday marked the start of my last art classes.  Every student is taking a post-test over basic color theory for my SMART goal data and then I'm having them take a survey to give me feedback.  I've pulled a few random surveys out of the box to read and I'm really glad that I decided to do it!  Here are the questions on the survey:

1. What was your favorite art lesson of the year and why? (I projected a list of projects for each grade as a reminder.)
2. Is there anything Mrs.Morris could do differently (how she teaches) to help students learn better?
3. What is something good about how Mrs.Morris teaches Art?
4. What did you learn from the mural project? <----- This will help with my follow up paperwork for the grant I recieved!
5. Write down anything else you would like to tell Mrs.Morris

I can't wait to go through and figure out the most popular projects for each grade.  It will help me decide which projects to revisit next year and I think when the students are voting in writing, they are more likely to give an honest answer than to vote for their friends' favorite.

Before the students started the survey, we talked about constructive criticism.  I reminded them that even if I ask them to fix something on their projects, I don't say "this is bad" and walk away, I give them tips and specific ways to improve!  Most students so far have written "nothing" or left #2 blank but I have been given a couple things to think about.  One student said they needed more time on projects and another said to talk slower! (I warned them that I talk fast when I get excited!)  It would be interesting to know if students would rather get to do fewer projects but have more time on each or more projects with more variety with a little less time...

I liked these two back to back answers on the same survey:
2. Is there anything Mrs.Morris could do differently (how she teaches) to help students learn better?

explain more

3. What is something good about how Mrs.Morris teaches Art?
she explains things

The mural project is finally finished and I have oh so many lessons to write about!  I think the next two weeks will just get busier so I'll probably have quite a bit of catching up to do after school is out!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Cinco de Mayo

The 4th grade team at my school does a big Cinco de Mayo rotation with all the students.  I'm planning a lesson for this afternoon on some Mexican folk art and thought I better remind myself why Cinco de Mayo is celebrated.  I thought it was to celebrate a victory and was just getting ready to search when I saw a video on Yahoo's Who Knew? News.  It's an interesting and quick reminder so I thought I would share!  Have a great day, everyone!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Present from a Student

A few weeks ago, one of my second grade students gave me this awesome poster in the hallway before school.  I always enjoy seeing what this student comes up with. She is super creative and no  matter what the assignment, she always finds a way to tell a story with it.  She has a very distinct style for a 2nd grader!

She included several art history parodies.  She must be encouraged at home because I haven't covered all the artwork she referenced yet!
Parody of "The Scream" 
Channeling Dali- the Persistence of Memory
I don't think Picasso actually used the title "The Messed Up Face" but it might have been a good suggestion :)

2nd Grade Surreal Paintings

Salvador Dali's The Persistence of Memory from 1921 stands out to me as a dominant painting from the Surrealist movement.  I have always found the clocks really interesting and thought it would be a perfect way to introduce my 2nd grade students to Surrealism.  I started with a PowerPoint with images of Dali's painting and information about the movement before introducing the assignment.  We discussed the paintings, especially the Persistence of Memory.  I pointed out that parts of the painting are realistic and parts don't make sense (the best way I could put Surrealism in 2nd grade terms!)  

For the assignment, I asked students to think of something they could draw that had a circular shape in it.  The whole object could be shaped like a circle or just part of it, like the iris/pupil in your eye or the center of a flower.  I explained that they would draw everything realistically, except replace the circular shape with a drawing of a clock to make the artwork surreal and pay homage to Dali.  This was a two class project.  The first day was about art history, discussion, and drawing.  I had a variety of cardboard tubes and rings for students to trace if they wanted help making a circle.  The second class was spent painting the artwork with tempera.

The most confusing part about the assignment for the students was giving enough visual information to tell what the clock was really supposed to be.  For example, if they said a tennis ball is shaped like a circle, they needed to give clues so we KNEW it was supposed to be a tennis ball and not just a clock.  I tried to get the students to visualize the circular shape they were going to draw before I mentioned the clock- obviously since the shape was being replaced with a clock, a clock would not be a good choice!
Clock= Tennis Ball
Clock= Face
Clock= Candy?
Clock= Nostril, haha!
Clock= Apple
Clock= Mouse face
Clock= Hole in a key