Saturday, September 19, 2015

First Week Activities

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.  

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Welcome Back!!

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