Thursday, April 28, 2011

Duck Stamp Awards are Here!

Got a whole box of entries back from the Jr. Duck Stamp Program.  Every student gets two certificates- of appreciation and participation.  The Honorable Mention students get nice ribbons, pins, and some other little prizes.  I got to present the awards to students at one school today and will do the other one tomorrow.  They are so excited when they get to be recognized in front of the whole school!

I'm jealous of the bracelets.  They say:
Ask me about Jr. Duck Stamps

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

3rd Grade Architecture 2 Ways

One of the Visual Arts standards in Kansas addresses trying out a variety of media and comparing and contrasting media.  (I don't have the exact wording with me.)  I thought it would be interesting to have students use the same image in two different ways.  Last fall one of my 3rd graders asked if they could draw imaginative buildings and I thought it was a great idea so I made sure to write it down!

On the first day of the project, the students worked on black scratch art paper.  I have a bunch left from the previous art teacher and I'm not super impressed with it.  Some of the students have a really hard time getting the lines started.  I tried sharpening the wooden styluses (is that the right plural form?) because some were getting dull and it didn't make much of a difference.  I just told them to do their best and keep trying until they found the right angle to hold it or a way that worked for them.  I introduced the concept of architecture to the students and only one out of over 100 knew what an architect was since he aspires to be one!  I read somewhere that telling people to "be creative" can actually inhibit creativity and that asking them to make something only they would think of is a better approach.  I kept that in mind and asked the students to draw a building only they would design.  I encouraged special features- we had flying buildings, buildings that looked like cookies (fun fact, a building that is shaped like something is called a duck!), buildings with simple machines, special entrances, and security features incorporated.  I always have students check with me when they think they are done.  I asked the students to tell me what was special about their building and encouraged a few to add more design elements if the building was on the plain side.  The majority of my students were really in to this project.  Some students who had never really talked to me besides to answer a quick question went on and on describing their buildings.

Each student was given a half sheet of scratch art paper.  When they were finished, I gave them a 9x12 inch piece of white drawing paper which they folded "hamburger style".  The scratch art paper was glued to one half of the drawing paper and then the students were to draw the exact same image from the scratch paper on the other half of the drawing paper.  The students drew in pencil then traced with sharpie and colored with crayons.  I reserved the last 10 minutes of work time for writing.  I asked the students to compare and contrast the two drawings in whichever way made sense to them (Venn diagram, list, sentences, etc.) and describe the special features of their building.  I mentioned "pretend you are trying to sell your building so you want to tell the buyer all the cool things you made" just to try to get them to be descriptive.  Some students took it literally and wrote an ad for their buildings, I really LOVE that idea!  All in all, I think this project turned out pretty good and would be worth doing again.  I always like to incorporate writing and only had to send a few back to the classroom for students to finish since they tried to get away with not doing it in Art class!

Writing from the back of a project
The writing below goes with this drawing

The writing below goes with this drawing
 This drawing is by the student who wants to be an architect.  I was super impressed for two reasons.  1- I have never covered perspective* so this was intuitive! 2- For some reason this student does not use the pincer hold for his pencil and holds it in his fist.  Somehow he makes it work!

*I haven't covered perspective yet partly because I am not super comfortable with perspective using rulers and partly because I don't know when, meaning at what grade level, it should be introduced!

Versatile Blogger/Announcement

Thank you to the Modern Art Smock for the Versatile Blogger Award!  I've recently discovered her blog and I like what I see! :)
Now I'm supposed to share 7 interesting facts about myself and pass the award on to 10 other bloggers.

I don't know that I'm super intersting but I'll try!

1. I married my high school sweetheart in 2007.  I'm 24 years old and my husband and I have been together since I was almost 16!  It's kind of a tradition in our families to marry high school sweethearts.  Both our parents dated in high school, both of my husbands siblings are married to their sweethearts, and my brother is now engaged to his!

2. 5 months ago (today!) I gave birth to my son.  I am loving being a mom and doing my best!  Everything has gone really well so far, pregnancy, labor, nursing, figuring out bed times, etc.  I feel very blessed!

3. I am a nature lover!  Not to the point that I want to live in a tree, but I would like to climb one!  I have always enjoyed spending time outside whether it was fishing or gardening.  I live in town but I've tried to create a wildlife habitat in my back yard.  I plant host plants for caterpillars and nectar plants for butterflies so I can attract them to my yard.  I had some help to put in a rain garden last fall full of native plants so I'm excited to see how everything turns out this summer.  I also try to attract birds and I have a "thing" for birds and their nests.  To me, nests symbolize home, family, and a safe place.

4. I am "hyper mobile" which means I am double jointed. I mainly used this skill to gross out my mom by bending my elbow the wrong way when it was my turn to serve as a volleyball player in middle and high school.

5. I have slightly crazy hair and have donated to Locks of Love three times.  I was going for a fourth but cut it off when I was pregnant.  I'm going to try again though!

6. I know how to do the Foxey Lady dance from Wayne's World!  I also have the first half hour of the movie memorized.  My friend and I used to drive around in his car singing Bohemian Rhapsody and headbanging. 

7. I love to read.  I just wish I had more time for it!  I adore reang series of books because I get so attached to the characters.  I hope my son will enjoy reading when he gets older so we can do it together.  He likes to be read to now, I just hope it sticks!

Now I will be passing the award onto the following bloggers (I tried to make sure they hadn't received the award before, hope I didn't miss anyone!):

(Now, post 7 interesting facts about yourself, pass the award on to 10 other bloggers, and thank the blogger who gave it to you and link back to their page!)

Wow, even with so many people already chosen, it was quite a task to narrow it down to 10!

And now, the announcement.  Not a huge deal, just going to be having a giveaway to celebrate passing 200 followers.  I'm thinking about making a "If you make a mistake, make it great" poster, do you think that would interest people?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Bulletin Board Ideas

My crayon bulletin board is featured over at Bulletin Board Ideas!  They also cleared up the authorship of the poem (Written by Shane DeRolf and later published in the children’s story The Crayon Box That Talked.)  I saw some other cool ideas for bulletin boards on their website.  I also saw one I recognized from Mrs.Picasso's Art Room- Check it out!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Photos of Drawing a Goose

As I mentioned in my last post about the Jr. Duck Stamp Program, I created a PowerPoint that shows how I approach drawing a Canada Goose.  Since I was gone on maternity leave when my older students began the project this year, I was even dorky enough (and "nesting" enough) to record my voice explaining each step.  I always think it's interesting to see how different people approach drawing so I thought I would share the photos of my drawing.

This picture is hard to see, but I basically laid out the drawing really lightly with pencil.  I always suggest that to my students so it is easier to erase if they make a mistake.  Or draw a teeny tiny picture instead of filling the space.  Lots have trouble with controlling the pressure but some are starting to get the hang of the press lightly approach.

When I have the lines where I want them to stay, I erase any extra lines and "firm" the lines that are staying.

 After I got the larger areas all laid out, I started to add smaller details.

 I always think the black markings on Canada Geese has a blue undertone so I start there.
This is the photo I was referencing for the body of the goose.

 Finished the beak, then started adding black to the neck and head.
Added more layers of black then started with the first layer of color on the feathers. 
 Added more layers of color on the body and started to develop some light shadows.
 Started to work on the background.  I used a photo I took of some wetlands to reference for the background.

 Adding navy for more depth in the background grasses.
 Working on water and reflections.
Finished drawing (all made with school grade colored pencils!)  It was really helpful for the students to see the process without having to watch me draw the whole thing!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Jr. Duck Stamp Program

5th grade student, Honorable Mention

Ever since I took part in the Jr. Duck Stamp program in high school, I've been a big fan.  I know a lot of teachers don't do the program with their students because it takes so much time but  I had always planned to do it with my students and something the other elementary Art teachers in my district were already doing. (Check out last year's post to see a photo of wetlands in my area and photos of my high school duck stamp drawings.)

If you are not familiar with duck stamps, here's a brief summary, at least as brief as I'm capable of being (if you want a more in-depth look at duck stamps, check out the US Fish and Wildlife Service page.  Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamps, or "Duck Stamps," are sold by the government to raise money for wetlands conservation.  98 cents out of every dollar generated from duck stamps goes to purchase or lease wetlands.  A lot of people think it's all about hunting because those 16+ who want to hunt waterfowl are required to purchase a duck stamp but they are also bought by stamp collectors and people  who want to use them as a pass to get into National Wildlife Refuges.  Wildlife artists compete each year to try to get their paintings chosen to be printed on the duck stamp.  Jr. Duck stamps have been around since 1989 and the goal of the program is teaching "conservation through the arts." The students create a realistic drawing of an approved duck or goose to show that they have learned about the species and their habitat.  Students can enter their artwork into a contest at the state level.  In Kansas, they choose 3 1st place, 2nd place, and 3rd place winners and I think 12 honorable mentions in each of the 4 age groups.  All the first place winners are put together and the Best of Show is chosen to represent the state at the national level contest.  The national winner is actually printed on a Jr. Duck Stamp and the student gets scholarship opportunities.  I assume that all the states have similar processes.

The Jr. Duck Stamp program is a great way to incorporate science and observational drawing and ties into the curriculum for most grades as you can talk about the animals, their habitat, and environment.  I always start off by assessing prior knowledge of wetlands and habitats.  I then show the students some of the duck stamps my dad has saved for me and explain what they are all about.  I have lots of photos I have taken of ducks and geese printed out for the students to reference and some calendar photos that one of the teachers gave me.  This year I had created a PPT of me making an example drawing with photos of each step since I was gone on maternity leave when my 4-6th grade students had to start the project.  I showed the PPT to my younger students as well since it is a lot quicker than me demonstrating in person.  I did draw a few things up on the board like legs and feet and beaks/bills to point out that they are not stick legs and not plain triangles for the beak.  I told the students when we practice observational drawing we can pretend to be scientists and draw all the important details.  Each student chose a photo to reference when drawing but I encouraged them to change the background or something to make it their own.  I allowed three classes for each grade level to work on this project.  The first class was mostly introduction, passing out paper, labeling information on the back, and filling out an entry form.  I encouraged each student to take home an entry form for the art contest just in case they decided to enter. Some of the classes had a little time to start drawing in the first day.  I had the students draw out all the important details in pencil before starting with color.  This is a good time to talk about composition.  The students have to use 9x12 inch paper (must be horizontal) but the design needs to be appropriate for printing on a smaller stamp.  I tell the students to draw big so we can see the details and to fill the space.  Even if their reference photo has a whole flock of geese, I ask them to focus on drawing one or two.  So far I have just given the students colored pencils to work with but I may let them use paint next year.  I always preferred to use colored pencils when I entered because I felt like I had more control over the media and could be more detailed.  On the last day, I talked about ripples, reflections, and shading.  If any students finished early, I had them write a conservation message which is an additional contest.  Most of the students enjoy this project but a few complain about it being "hard".  I always tell them that just because something is hard doesn't mean they can't do it and that we learn more from challenges than doing things that are easy all the time.  Next year I may give the students a choice of Jr. Duck Stamps or the State Fish Art Contest since the goals for the project are similar.

If I remember correctly, I sent in about 300 entries between my two schools this year.  I ended up having 7 students receive Honorable Mentions and all I can say is that the drawings that placed higher must have been AMAZING because I am so proud of my students!

5th grade student

5th grade student

6th grade student

6th grade student, Honorable Mention

4th grade student, Honorable Mention

4th grade student

1st grade student, Honorable Mention

1st grade student/future Art teacher, Honorable Mention

2nd grade student

3rd grade student, Honorable Mention