Musings about the importance and impact of art and art education in the 21st century.

Musings about the importance of art and art education

First Week Activities

♠ Posted by ArtMuse

After giving this much deliberation and changing my idea oh, about 100 times, I settled in on a sculpture challenge.  This year I am staring off the year with all clay projects...say WHA?!!! (Yup, I'm feeling particularly saucy this year!) and so,  I wanted something that would tie into sculpture in some way.

Initially I was thinking of doing a drawing challenge based on a workshop I took at the NAEA convention a few years back.  It's basically a challenge where the students draw a dot on their paper and then turn it into something. I wrote a post on it HeRe

The challenge went something like this: I began the period by going over some rules for the art room. Specifically, hand raising, staying in seats unless you raise ypur hand and ask to get up, and how to respond to the chime I use as my class signal.  I generally don't go over procedures like handwashing and handling materials until we are actually doing/using them, otherwise I feel like it's not quite relevant.  I also spent a moment going over my new table labels and cooperative group numbers.

After the rules, I introduced the releveant vocabulary which will connect to their first project.  We discussed 3-dimensional, sculpture, abstract, representational, and assemblage.  This activity was done with grades 2-5 grade and so the last 3 vocab words were tiered as the geade level increased.

The Challene was basically to build something. I encourage them not to think of anything specific, but to simply start building and see what came of it. It was interesting to watch, as some of the students really thrive with the freedom to create anything they want, while others struggled because of that same freedom. 

Overall, the activity was a success. It got the kids creative muscles working and forced them to think in ways that they normally don't.  Interestingly it was pretty much equally successful on every grade.  It also worked well as a way to introduce the vocabulary for their first full project.  

Welcome Back!!

♠ Posted by ArtMuse
One of the best parts of being a teacher, of the many great parts, is the beginning of each new school year and the possibilities that it brings. Just think, we get to go "back to school" shopping every year!  As hard as it is to go back after the summer break, there is always an aura of excitement and anticipation that the new year brings.  We teachers have 2 new years each year, the traditional January 1st new year, and the first day of school "new year".

Despite some new challenges this year like a smaller art room, a huge influx of new students, making my schedule busier than it's ever been, and having this be my first full year back as a mom, I am still optimistic.  There's something eternally hopeful about the opportunity that a fresh start brings.

Getting back to what I mentioned above...I lost about one-third of my art room at the end of last year to make room for a larger more functional ESL space (and all of our new students).  On the upside, my art room was huge before, and so now, it isn't tiny, but probably the size of a normal classroom.  For years I had a  6 foot rolling partition that divided my room into 2 spaces, an ESL area, and art. Now, I have a finished wall complete with two eight foot bulletin broads, although  I now have less space, it does look a lot nicer. When all this was happening last year, I was upset at the thought of loosing my space, but seeing as how I didn't have a choice, it was a case of making lemons out of lemonade.  Dare I say, it may even be nice, having a more functional space instead of a larger, less utilized room.
                        The above picture is my old room and below is my "new" room

As a result of the change, furniture got rearranged, supplies shuffled, and items given up. Given the new layout,  I tweaked a few of my classroom management procedures and routines as seen in some of the pictures below.

I backed all my classroom bulletin boards with fabric. This will eliminate the fading and the need to change   the paper every other year.

My table labels, and class folders went from R1, R2, Y3 (representing red table 1, red table 2, yellow 3 and so on) to cooperative group table colors using paint swatch squares, based on the colors red, orange, yellow, green, purple, and blue with numbers 1-4. Meaning that 3 tables will go by their actual color and three Will be the secondary colors and not the actual color of the table.

I labeled my sinks...thank you pinterest!  I had come across a post where the art teacher was venting about the kids always lining up at 1 sink and leaving one empty and I thought, "YES, that happens to me all the time! She combated this by simply numbering the sinks and coloring them with corresponding table colors.  I can't wait to try this!

    My class rules are the same as well as some of my posters and anchor charts

Year End Round-Up-Better late than never!

Here are a whole slew of lessons I didn't have time to post about during the school year.  This post has been sitting on my "to-do" list for a long time!!

 5th Grade Birch Trees

 For this lesson we tried our hands at homemade watercolors. The kids loved the idea of using materials they made from scratch to use in a painting, Unfortunately, the watercolors didn't come out half as vivid as the crayola standard sets so, I gave the kids the option of using them, and some did, but mostly the ended up using the palettes anyways.  At least they had fun making them! For the painting itself, we used masking tape to mask off the "tree's", painted the background first, and then after removing the tape, added thin Sharpie lines and watercolor strokes to give the trees its trademark texture.

5th Grade  Symbol Spoons

My fifth graders seriously blew my mind when making these spoons. The only requirement I gave them was to include at least 3 different symbols that represented themselves or their interests.  What they came up with was AMAZING! We used tempera paint with modge podge instead of glaze so I could give them as many options for color as possible. 

4th Grade Clay Looms and Weavings

 In retrospect I wish I had taken more photo's of these, because they really were beautiful but I was so darn frustrated with this project, by the time I got the case up, I wanted nothing more to do with it! 
If you ever have the kids make their own clay looms, be prepared to use A LOT of clay, and spend LOTS of time with the hot glue gun repairing cracks, chips, and breaks.  Oh and possible a drill and drill bit for all those pesky holes that shrunk too small in the firing process even though though you told the kids 1000 times to make the holes BIG.  OK, rant over!

3rd Grade Stacked Teacups

This was the last project of the school year.  I needed something fun, quick and gave the students enough freedom to stay engaged without giving them so much freedom that their summer jitters would create pandemonium during art!

Fabulous Lil' Froggies

♠ Posted by ArtMuse
My second graders just wrapped up their clay frog project. not one of my favorites, I'll admit....Some frogs ended up looking a little road-kill-ish, all bumpy and squished and such.  There were also quite a few that had excessively long legs and arms which were consequently, broken at some point during the drying/firing/glazing/firing process.  There were enough lost limbs that I couldn't quite keep track! (eek) Thankfully though, the kiddies didn't seem to mind their humorous and somewhat abstract froggies and their excitement stayed pretty consistent despite some setbacks.  Here are a few of the more recognizable ones..

 For the glaze I used Mayco Stroke and Coat in Cottontail (white) and Amaco Lead Free "CTL" or Crystaltex glazes in Fantasia (green), Peacock eyes (white with blue speckles), firecracker (red), and Amaco 'AA-24: Exotic Blue" which by the way, looks much more multi-dimensional in the picture than on the clay. All glaze fired on cone 06 (fast)