Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Kindergarten Initial Line Drawings

I tried to do something more sequential this year and started off K-3rd grade with a "line" project.  I got this idea from another elementary Art teacher in my district.  Since the Kindergarten students are practicing their names and letters of the alphabet it reinforces what is happening in the general ed classroom and also gives them a fun way to practice lines.

We used 2, 40-minute class periods to complete this project.
Day 1: I asked the students to think of their first initial then we went around the room and everybody told the class the first letter of their name.  I drew a big rectangle on the chalkboard to be my "paper" and showed the students how to write their letter in the middle of their paper, big enough to stand out, but still leaving some room around the edges.  We used 6x9" paper.  The students wrote their initial in pencil and after I checked it, I gave them a big marker to trace over.  I grabbed purple, blue, black, and green to let them choose from since I knew they would be dark enough to show up.  With remaining class time, we talked about lines.  We thought of all the different kinds of lines that we could, I drew them on the chalkboard, and the students used their fingers to draw in the air.  Naming the lines and seeing them drawn out seemed to be the students' favorite part.

Day 2: We reviewed lines and drew them again in the air and on the chalkboard.  I gave the students fine point markers and asked them to use lots of different colors to draw lots of different kinds of lines around their letters.  If students had extra time and extra space on their paper, I helped them find areas that could be filled in more without scribbling over the top of their letters.

I also did this project last fall and it went pretty smoothly then, too!

my inner monologue for the day

I totally underestimated how long it would take to complete these projects!  I'm adding an extra class period for students to complete them so that will be 4 class periods on one project.  I've never done that before with 4th-6th... since I only see them every other week that's almost 2 full months on one project!  I was super frustrated after my first class this morning when I felt like only maybe a third of the students were really trying to do their best work.  Part of me wanted to just tell the students their artwork would go up in the hallway "as is" since I knew they were more interested in goofing off than working hard.  (That was suggested to me by another teacher last year to make the students be accountable...)  But then part of me doesn't want to punish the students who have been working really hard.  Also, I'm afraid if I put them up now, it would just reflect poorly on me.  I didn't think I was making this assignment too difficult, I just need to figure out how to deal with the attitudes that sprouted over the summer.  I started off trying to use "table talk"- if you are talking it should only be to the people at your table, only be about the project, and only be a whisper.  I know the students know what those words mean, most just don't care enough to keep it up for more than 30 seconds.  I've talked to some of the 6th grade teachers and they try the same thing and have the same issues.  I could take points but the talkers conveniently quit when I turn around making it hard for me to pick out individuals instead of the whole class.  Oh well, live and learn.  Tomorrow is another day.

EDIT: I just talked to my mentor from last year and she gave me some ideas to try out. 
What are your rules/procedures for the Art room and how do you enforce them?  I'm trying something different than last year with "table talk" and while it works really well with some grades, it apparently doesn't mean much to most 6th grade students.  Do you have a good system that has always worked for you?  Share the love and help out us newbies! :)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

New Classroom

These are just some pictures of the new Art classroom I moved into at my 4-6 grade school.  I took them at the beginning of the school year so I now have more posters and artwork on the walls (and probably a few more messes.)
This is Big Foot.  He lives in the Art room. :)
Outside the door
"4S" lines are the procedure for every grade in the school
I have a lot more words up now
This is all I have for table labels now.  Last year I had big plastic crayons hanging from the ceiling, I need to decide on an idea for something to hang this year.
Art Expectations
I made these flowers last year out of rulers and foam sheets
I'm trying this out this year at both schools- I have magnetic letters to spell out ART.  If the students do a great job during class, all three letters stay on the board.  If I have to give several reminders about volume, etc. I take down a letter as a visual reminder of class behavior.  If all three letters come down, there's no more Art on the board and no more Art for the rest of the class.  Hopefully I never have to take down all three!
In progress bulletin board by my desk.  I have a loom woven piece on the right and I really like my "If you make a mistake, make it great!" poster.
Wow, the classroom looks really bare here!
Check out the storage!  The big cabinets on the left are full but I still have lots of empty cabinets!
I left these shelves open for storage of 3D projects.
Check out the gigantic closet!
Inside view of the closet
The last art teacher apparently liked glue!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Please vote for my student- Artsonia Artist of the Week!

I just got an email this morning that one of my 2nd grade students is a finalist in Artsonia's Artist of the Week contest.  Please take a minute and vote for Talon78!
You can vote once a day, today through Saturday.  If you are unfamiliar with the weekly contest, 12 artists from each grade level are selected and the artwork/artist with the most votes wins!  The winning student gets a nice placque and a $50 gift certificate to Dick Blick.  PLUS, the school's art program gets a $100 gift certificate to Dick Blick!  How awesome is that!
Thank you for your help!  (And if you are an Artsonia user and one of your students is ever a finalist, I would love to return the favor!)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Art In-Tents

I meant to do this post last week during National Arts in Education Week but life got in the way! :)

Last spring at one of our K-12 Art collaboration meetings, the Art teachers started talking about the possibility of doing a massive Art event for all the 6th grade students across the district and the 8th grade Art students.  We decided to go with the theme "Art In-Tents" to play on the "intense" nature of the day.  We got our public relations guy and the foundation that funds special projects in our district involved and took off!  We picked a day which just happened to fall during Arts in Education Week, a happy accident!  The plan was for each elementary school to take their 6th graders to the high school for a two hour field trip in which they would make two projects to be displayed in an Art show in the high school's new library.  The buses came and we took off (boy, I forgot what it's like to be on a bus full of 11 and 12 year olds!) for the high school where we found two giant tents with lots of helpers waiting for us!  We started off at the jewelry tent where two of the high school's Art teachers demonstrated step by step how to wrap a stone with wire.  The high school Art students for each hour were in the tents assisting students.  As the students finished their pendants, they were slipped on a cord and one of their labels printed with name, school, and homeroom teacher was stuck on a tag for display.  The next station was printmaking where students drew into a piece of styrofoam and learned how to ink a brayer and pull a print.  We decided that the "intense" part of the name was accurate!  It was crazy but the students had a blast!  They were dissappointed to find out they would not be going back again the next day.

Disclaimer: Not everything was perfect!  We didn't expect it to be the first year.  I probably would have enjoyed myself more if I wasn't still stressed out from dealing with all the t-shirts the day before.  -Each student got a shirt with the event logo on the front so I had to sort through the student list to see what size they ordered and pin a section of labels on the back.  Thankfully one of the 5th grade teachers who has a student teacher this semester stepped up and helped me or I would not have gotten it all done in one day!  Can you tell I can be a little high strung?  Anyway... all of the elementary schools in my district are set up K-6 except for my two which are K-3 and 4-6.  This means that my school has almost twice as many 6th graders as the others so not all of my students could fit in the tent at a time.  Some of the high school students took the extras off to the side to play games and picked Red Rover... I see why Red Rover is not allowed on the playground anymore.  One of my students ended up with a bloody nose that they thought might be broken, I haven't heard the final report yet!  BUT, we have already started brainstorming what could be done differently next year and hey, you have to start somewhere!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Hanoch Piven

I am in LOVE with this artist's work!  I learned about Hanoch Piven about a month ago while perusing Daniel Pink's blog.  I am getting started with a 4th grade project inspired by his work so I will post pictures as students finish.  (Unfortunately with our schedule, this will not be for at least a month!)  Piven has made illustrations for numerous books and magazines and has even had some of his own books published.  "My Best Friend is as Sharp as a Pencil" has visual similes and just looks very creative and fun.  Click on the picture above to be directed to his blog and see more illustrations from the book!

I'm hoping to buy some of his books when I get my PTO money and put the rest on my Christmas list to add to my personal collection.  (I especially want "The Perfect Purple Feather" for my younger students.)  Here is a video of Piven talking about his work on the news.