Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Creative Photography Week 3

My assignment last week was "Narrative".  I found a note I had scribbled to myself that said Little Gingerbread Man.  Luckily, I have access to a stuffed fox so that came in handy.  I baked gingerbread for the first time and altered the shape of the cookies as well as the decoration with royal icing to help tell the story.  I just have a few days left in this class!  It has been frustrating at times but I've mostly enjoyed it.  Our final assignment is a self-directed body of work.  I chose to work on photographing flowers at night.  I just have to narrow it down to 20 photos to turn in then I'll put the link here in case anyone is interested.  If you're not interested in photography, never fear!  I have more lessons and ideas to blog about and should have more time in July to get caught up from the school year.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Giant Box Turned Frame

One of the custodians asked me if I wanted some giant boxes last fall.  I didn't know what I was going to do with them, I just knew they were giant and had potential!  I decided to turn one into a big frame that I can have my younger students use to act out paintings from Art History.  I finally had time to cut the opening and paint the box at the end of the school year.  I didn't use a yard stick or worry about making anything perfectly symmetrical, I like it a little off balance.  I drew the frame with a marker first then painted it with tempera paint.  I cut off the flaps from the open side so the students can either walk in the side or step through the hole.  I'm sure this could also be used as a puppet theater.

One of my students helping test out the box.  

I still have some not-quite-as-big boxes and I'm trying to think of the best use for them.

Creative Photography Week 2

Week 2 was all about shutter speed: capturing motion, light painting, and panning.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Creative Photography

I'm starting to work on my master's degree through the University of Nebraska at Kearney.  They have an all online Master's in Art Education program!  I was really excited when I read through the required courses, I could see myself using every sing one of them.  After that, there was no way I could do curriculum and instruction.

I'm enrolled in Creative Photography for the month of June. It has sometimes been a struggle to find time with a 6 month old, but I'm making it work!  I have to give myself little pep talks like I do with my students. 

Inner Monologue:
This is hard.
That doesn't mean you can't do it! 

Anyway, thought I would share some of the photos from my first assignment which was about aperture and self portraits.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

2nd Grade Tactile Paintings- Andy Lakey

This is a loooong post.  I understand if you just look at the pictures. :) I started this blog as kind of a digital, visual journal of my teaching experiences so that I could reflect on how everything is going.  When I don't have to be formal, I write how I think.  My 6 month old son (who is teething) is in bed so I'm doing a little blogging before I head that way.  Side note, I start my first Masters course tomorrow (Creative Photography)!  Anyway, enjoy the beautiful artwork by my students.

I am just a little bit proud of this project.  The students and I both enjoyed the process and I could have posted a photo of every single project.  The heavens aligned and everything turned out great!  A couple of years ago, I picked up a freebie book at the KAEA conference- veteran teachers clean out their rooms and bring books and supplies for the scavengers (students and beginning teachers) to look through.  The book is called Andy Lakey: Art, Angels, and Miracles.  I noticed that the cover photo had a really cool texture.  I grabbed the book, put it on the book shelf at school and kind of forgot about it until a student who had finished her project early, showed it to me and asked if we could do a project about like that.  

I read through the book to learn more about the artist on one of our work days back in February.  Here is my best attempt at a brief summary: Andy Lakey was addicted to drugs, overdosed, and says that he encountered angels when he almost died.  He started making drawings of the angel figures that he saw and felt he was supposed to become an artist and share the message they gave him.  He taught himself how to paint and quit his job.  He had a happy accident when he combined two different kinds of paint and found that it could be used to create texture.  His paintings started getting picked up by galleries and he donates a big chunk of his work to charities.  His paintings can be experienced by people with visual impairments because they are meant to be touched.  The paintings are in high demand from hospitals and schools for the blind.  Some call Andy Lakey the painter for the blind.

I showed the students pictures of the work in the book and focused more on texture and the painter for the blind part than the angels.  Now that I think of it, I never even mentioned angels or any of the spiritual part to the students.  Maybe I should have since it is the biggest part of the artist's motivation but I avoid mentioning anything about spirituality at school.  (I had a parent email me that her kids couldn't participate in the clay skull project for Days of the Dead!)

Anyway, to introduce the project, I asked the students
How could you experience a painting if you couldn't see it?
After a minute or so, someone said you could touch it!  We went ahead and talked about the other senses.  Could you smell a painting? Maybe.  Hear it?  Taste it?  Yuck!  Then I told the students that we were going to be making paintings that were meant to be touched just like Andy Lakey does.  

While the students wrote their names on their papers, I passed around my example and asked the students to close their eyes and touch the painting to experience the texture.  To actually get started on the project, I reminded the students of one of Andy Lakey's paintings we looked at that was made up of lines and shapes, no pictures OF something.  I gave the students about 2 minutes to draw line and shape designs on their construction paper with crayon.  I told them the color of the crayon didn't matter because it was going to be covered up in the next step.  When their time was up, I showed the students how to trace over their lines with bottled glue and use the secret ingredient to create texture- SAND!  I bought a big bag of play sand last year for just a few dollars and I love using it at school.  I put a cup of sand at each table and the students sprinkled it over their wet glue.  Extra sand was dumped back in the cup and we used a little dust pan to clean off the tables.  Wet sand pictures went on the drying rack until the next class.

At the beginning of the second class, we reviewed warm and cool colors.  I told the students that they were going to pick either warm or cool colors to use for their paintings.  I had the students raise their hands to show me which color scheme they wanted to use then split them up into warm and cool tables (I also put out black and white at each table).  By asking the students to choose a color scheme before I told them they were probably not going to be in their assigned seats for the day, I think I avoided students choosing a table just because their friends were there instead of the colors they really wanted to use.  It worked really well to have the paint separated at the different tables- the students didn't get confused and use the wrong colors and their paintings automatically had color harmony.  The students painted right over the sand pictures with liquid tempera until no plain paper showed through.  

When I had students who had missed the first class, we worked backwards.  They painted first then stopped a few minutes early, drizzled glue, and sprinkled with sand.  I really like the results both ways.

Supplies Used
Construction Paper
Bottled Glue
Play Sand
Tempera Paint
Paint Brushes

Andy Lakey websites

3rd Grade Complementary Color Pictures

 I needed a one-class period project for my 3rd grade students toward the end of the school year.  They are always BEGGING for free draw so I compromised- free draw with some stipulations!  We quickly reviewed complementary colors using our good friend the color wheel then I told the students they could make a picture of anything they want as long as it was nice for school and only used one complementary color pair (plus neutral colors.)  I had markers and crayons available at the tables and I also put out the scrap paper.  Most students stuck to the drawing supplies but some got brave and incorporated construction paper.  

While the students got started, I played the complementary color song from Songs in the Key of Art. (I'm glad I put the baby to bed before I opened the webpage, I forgot it plays music!)  The songs get stuck in your head which is a good thing since it reinforces the material!  I ordered the first two volumes and they are at school but I think the chorus is this:
"Red and green look so good to me, 
purple and yellow do, too,
Complementary colors next to each other,
What about orange and blue?"

I have about a bazillion more photos to upload to Artsonia and post on here so stay tuned!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

8 Things (I'm glad I ordered)

I'm Glad I Ordered

I made some purchases with my Art budget this year that I'm really happy with!  I thought I would share.

#1 Glue Pump: I LOOOOVE the glue pump that I bought!  It is more affordable to order glue in gallons but if you are a messy pourer like me, it can be a bit of an inconvenience.  The pump eliminates most of the mess and really doesn't take too long to refill smaller bottles.

*Ok, I'm revising my statement about the glue pump.  It works great as long as the little cap stays on.  If that falls off, the glue hardens inside and it's useless.  I might try ordering glue pumps one more time.  Hopefully the cap will stay on and I won't have any more trouble.

#2 Crayola Color Sticks: I tested this product at the KAEA Fall Conference and decided they were worth ordering.  I do wish that I would have read the description more carefully before ordering.  I saw "classpack" and added to my list.  It includes 10 sticks of 12 colors.  I didn't end up using them this year because I knew my 20+ students in each class would be fighting over the colors.  I am going to order another set in the fall and then I plan to pretty much replace the traditional colored pencils that are in my classroom.  Don't get me wrong, I love colored pencils.  They are just about my favorite supply to use.  The problem with colored pencils in my classroom is that most of the colored pencils are old, stubby pencils that take forever to sharpen.  It seems like the students spend more time waiting in line at the sharpener than actually drawing.  I think that the color sticks will eliminate this problem since they are pure color, no wood.  That means they do not need to be sharpened and there is no waste.  So even though they are quite a bit more expensive than colored pencils, they will last longer and should be make classroom management easier!

#3 Mr.Sketch Markers: I got a tip about these markers from another Art teacher at the KAEA conference.  I was told that the color lasts a lot longer than Crayola markers so after I found out that they come in "unscented" (yes, I loved how the red ones smell like kool-aide when I was in 4th grade but do we really need to encourage kids to sniff markers?) I put them on my wish list!  The colors are vibrant, the markers are sturdy, and I love the shape of the tip.  The tip of the marker is more square than conical so I showed the students how to pretend they are paintbrushes to apply the color quickly and evenly.  I'm a convert.  (Plus the new Crayola markers that are made with recycled plastic have colored lids but everything else is black.  It's easy to see how little ones get the colors mixed up.)

 #4 Prang Paint Pump: I had wanted to order pumps for my big bottles of tempera paint and I am so glad I did!  For the same reason as the glue pump, I am a messy pourer.  I just realized I photographed the wrong pump!  There were a couple Prang pumps at one of my schools but the pumps I ordered were actually Sargent Art Paint Pumps.  The Sargent Art pumps were a just over $2 compared to the $6 Prang pump.  I have mostly generic tempera paint so I decided to take a gamble hoping that the bottle opening would be the same size.  I am happy to report that the pump fit several different brands of paint bottles.  The only thing I'll warn you about if you've never used a paint pump before, is to apply slow, even pressure when you are squirting paint.  I got in a hurry one day, there was a tiny clog in the pump, and blue paint went EvErYwHeRe!  See below...

 #5 Clay Tools: Believe it or not, there were no true clay tools from previous Art teachers.  I did find plastic cutlery which worked OK but thought I should replace them with some sturdier tools.  I am also glad I got a couple wire tools that make it SOOO much easier to divide the clay for classes.
 #6 Crayola Window Markers: I ordered a box of these with my Artsonia money.  They were fun to have around.  There is a small window by my classroom door and I used these glass markers to decorate it for seasons and Youth Art Month.  I got some cool effects by drawing on both sides of the glass to mix the colors.  They hold up on glass a little better than dry erase markers and wash off with water.  (They will smear or wipe off if you have little fingers that can't resist touching everything in line.)

#7 Masking Tape Dispenser: If you have to hang artwork in the hallway with tape, this will save you time!  It's a lot easier to tear tape from the dispenser than off the roll.

#8 Paint Pipettes: These were pretty affordable and a lot of fun to try out with my students.  You can see one project we used them for here:

On my list for next year are....
  • More metal rulers, enough for each student to have their own.
  • A nice stapler!  -The one I had was old and broke all the time.  Then it disappeared.  I wasn't too disappointed.
  • Heavy duty scissors for me to use, bigger scissors for my big-handed students.

Have you made any great supply purchases lately?  Share them if you have!  Let me know if you write a blog post with your list and I'll add it here: