Wednesday, March 30, 2011

State Birthday Cake Drawings

This is my favorite of the projects I left with my sub during maternity leave.  The project was completed in 1 or 2 class periods depending on the schedule and snow days and was taught to K-3rd.  This year Kansas turned 150 and I knew there would be even more celebrating happening at school this year than any other year I could remember.  The instructions I left were for my sub to read a book called "One Kansas Farmer: A Kansas Counting Book" that I was given for Christmas a couple of years ago.  The book obviously has counting as implied by the name but had some cool facts about Kansas that I didn't even know before!  (Did you know that Kansas leads the nation in helium export?)  They talked about symbolism and our state symbols (meadowlark, bison, sunflower, etc.) before looking at a PowerPoint with slides of interestingly decorated cakes.  I said to pretty much let Kindergarten and 1st grade students draw cakes their own way but made examples of how to draw cylinders to show perspective and visually stack them to look like a layered cake.  The students drew the form of their cakes first, added symbols for Kansas, and colored with colored pencils (Kindergarten used crayons.)  I will definitely use this lesson again because of all the great things it teaches (perspective, drawing, symbolism) with a local social studies tie in.

 The Kinder-cakes!

If I had more Art time with my older students, I would have them do an Art History version.  At last year's KAEA conference, we celebrated 75 years of KAEA and had tables decorated with the coolest cake sculptures based on artists from history!  I wish I would have taken some photos to share with you all!

Artsonia's Artist of the Week- TWO finalists!

Good Morning!

I just received word that I have two finalists in Artsonia's Artist of the Week Contest, one from each school! Please make a really quick trip to Artsonia and vote for these students! You can vote once a day, today through Saturday. Winning students receive $50 Dick Blick gift certificates to buy art supplies and their school receives a $100 Dick Blick gift certificate!

Devan307 is a 3rd grade student at Pauline Central. You can vote for his drawing of a birthday cake for Kansas by clicking on "vote for" under the image.

Brandon7708 is a 4th grade student at Pauline South. You can vote for his drawing of a Canada Goose by clicking on "vote for" under the image.

Thank you for your support!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Projects from Maternity Leave

My son was born the Saturday after Thanksgiving (4 months ago today!) so I didn't go back after Thanksgiving break until the end of January.  I was excited to look through the projects that the students completed while I was gone.  Most were new projects that I had never tried with students before.  Some are keepers "as is" and some will need to be reworked if I try them again.

One of my examples
4th-6th Grade students finshed or started "name doodles" or other projects that incorporated words.  The name doodles turned out great!  I left several examples with different variations for the other word art but I may not have done a good enough job explaining.  Or the students just might not have fully understood.  I could tell from some projects that the individual students "got it" but others either didn't or maybe were trying to take the easy way out.  I forgot to save a few photos of student work but I do have some of my examples.  It might be worth trying again.
Another of my examples.  Including my random thoughts!

Kindergarten students made collages inspired by Mondrian's paintings so they could practice squares and rectangles (part of my SMART goal).  Here is my post about the project last year.

1st grade students did follow the leader penguin drawings.  I stand by follow the leader drawings or "I draw, you draw" as being fine in moderation.  I think it can help drawing be less intimidating when students see me model the thought process and breaking pictures down into lines and shapes.  It's also good for practicing listening skills and following directions.  I always allow the students the freedom to personalize!  I saw lots of students added other penguins and creative details in their backgrounds.

2nd grade students learned how to shade spheres and reviewed cool colors.  The students made drawings of snow people on cool colored construction paper with pastels.  I intended for oil pastels to used but my sub couldn't find them and used dry pastels instead.  I think it might have actually turned out better, sometimes the dust looked like snow!  I wasn't prepared with fixative or the substitute of hairspray (even though my drawing professor would do the alive equivalent of rolling over in his grave!) so I just had to warn the teachers not to carry the stacks of artwork against their sweaters since the drawings were messy.

3rd grade students tested out a new project for me.  I don't know whether to call it a collograph or something else.  If you know what it would technically be called, please let me know!
Day 1- The students drew snow people on cardboard and then traced their lines with bottled glue.
Day 2- The students put paper over the top of their glue drawings and rubbed with crayon to make the image show through.  I could tell lots forgot to hold the crayon on it's side and ended up pressing too hard while some didn't use enough pressure.  It's always a challenge so I put in my plans to let them practice on computer paper before making their final prints.  Since I wasn't there, I don't know if it actually happened.  I would try this technique again even though it was super hard to see most of the images this time.

4th-6th grade students started the Jr. Duck Stamp program and finished it when I got back.  Another post about the ducks (I love ducks) is coming!

K-3rd drew self portraits of themselves in the snow then started birthday cake drawings for Kansas (our state is now 150!)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Spring Break

Thought I would post a rundown of my spring break... 

Saturday I took my barn photo to the fair building for the Spring Expo.  I am the secretary for Jackson County Arts and we made "barn art" to promote the barn tour that we are helping with this fall.

 Walked to my parents' house on Sunday and took photos of textures along the way since Turner had fallen asleep in the stroller.  Was not dressed appropriately for the 80+ degree weather!  Went home and changed us both into shorts.

On Monday we went for more walks and found crocuses blooming in the back yard.  Yeah Spring!

On Tuesday the weather was still in the 80's but windy.  My husband dropped off Turner and I at the park where we met my MIL, niece and nephew, and some cousins.

First trip might have gone better with nicer weather!

 On Wednesday we had planned to take Turner on a little trip to Topeka.  It had cooled down a little and was pretty windy but we went anyway.  Went to the zoo, took a few photos, fed the waterfowl at a cemetery, took some more photos!

Check out those geese feet!

On Thursday I found some more signs of spring in my yard!  

Also, I found out that 7 of my students received honorable mentions in the Kansas Jr. Duck Stamp Art contest.  I don't remember what day that was on.  More on that later. :)

And in between spending time with my family, I uploaded and published HUNDREDS of photos to my schools' Artsonia galleries.  I am finally caught up on all the artwork from my maternity leave.  I had my sub save almost all the student work while I was gone so I could still publish it for the students.  Because I'm a crazy lady.  You can check out my K-3 gallery here and my 4-6 gallery here.

Last night we invited my mom over for dinner.  I made shrimp alfredo and we watched some basketball. I usually don't care much for watching sports on TV but if I fill out a bracket, I can handle a few games during March.  I choose my teams based on the names or mascots I like the best.  That's why I don't have any teams left!  I am a sucker for Gonzaga...

Tomorrow we'll go to church, eat lunch with some extended family traveling through, attempt Turner's 4 month pictures, and try to get ready for "normal" life to resume.  I have really enjoyed my time home (and am looking forward to summer) but I also feel energized and excited to take on the rest of the school year.  There's a reason we have spring break.

Now that I'm caught up with editing and organizing photos, I'm going to attempt a giant post of projects I planned for maternity leave and then record the projects completed since I returned to school.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Language Barrier- Any Tips?

I just got an email that we will have a new 2nd grade starting at school who speaks only Spanish.  I've never been in this situation before!  I asked my principal and he said he could give me a few tips and also suggested another teacher to talk to but I thought I would ask some Art teachers...  Do you have any tips for me?  I'm kind of nervous.  I want to make sure that this student has the same opportunities and gets as much out of Art class as the other students.  I know that Art is a "universal language" but I'm wondering about communicating expectations and directions for projects.  I always demonstrate for the class when we start a new project but beyond that, what should I do?  Thank you for any help you can offer!

Oh and I should add that my Spanish skills are very limited.  I did well in my 2 years of Spanish in high school but that's probably not worth a whole lot.  I know some words but I don't think I could carry on a conversation.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Kindergarten Cities

I've been trying to get all of my Kindergarten classes back on the same schedule now that I don't have any double classes (PRAISE THE LORD!) so I've had a few one-class projects.  This is one of them!  I was thinking about all of the things that the Arts can teach and realized that I sometimes need to do a better job of letting students solve their own problems.  I can be too quick to just answer their questions so I've been focusing on talking them through it and letting the students come up with their own solutions.  Anyway, I thought that working together in small groups to design cities would be a good way to foster creativity, teamwork, and critical thinking and problem solving.

I put a piece of colored butcher paper on each table with some pencils and crayons and told the students they needed to work together to make a city.  We talked about some things that cities might need like schools, hospitals, stores, etc. but my favorites were things the students came up with all on their own.  It was really interesting to see how the different groups interacted.  We had some little leaders who delegated tasks to other students, some groups really collaborated as they moved around the table and inspired new ideas, and some groups had members who worked pretty independently.
Naming their city, took a few tries to get "Kansas" spelled right!
This student wanted to draw a "sewer gator" and insisted that they are real, even though other students argued with him.
Sorry it's sideways... this sign says something about can I kick you... I can't remember exactly and I can't read it!
Mail plane!
Building on fire, fire truck putting it out.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Youth Art Month Response

Just wanted to share some positive feedback I've gotten about the YAM cards I sent to everyone and their brother at the district office!

"I received an art month card with artwork by _____ on the front. I'm enjoying it-displayed on the wall by my desk where I can look at it and smile!
Thanks for the work you do to enrich our students' lives and to ensure that we are teaching the whole child."


"Thank you for sending over the beautiful card from art work created by ________! It is sitting on my desk and whenever it starts getting a little gloomy around here I glance at _______'s card and it always cheers me up! Great card! Very colorful!
Thanks for all you do to inspire and enhance creativity in your classroom/program!"

I thought it was nice that they took the time to send an email about the cards.  One of my principals also mentioned that he thought the cards were really cool and it reminded him to ask me about getting nice frames and blowing up student artwork to be displayed in the office at school!  I'm really excited about the artwork that will be displayed.  We're hoping it will be done when we come back from Spring Break.