Friday, November 8, 2013

A quick Goldsworthy inspired moment

My seven year old made this this morning while waiting for the school bus.
It's nice to start with the day a smile.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Art Parent Giggles

My 3yr old is going to be a green crayon for Halloween.  This fills me with glee as an Art teacher.

Sometimes it's not about what's easiest for you.

It has taken me a few years to realize that maybe the way I'm separating and storing my oil pastels isn't the easiest on the kiddos.
I inherited these nifty three sectioned containers when I started teaching at my school and they are perfect for storing since they stack without a lot of the container in each other (so things don't get smooshed or stuck to the container on top).
I had been separating them into warm colors, cool colors, and neutral colors in order to keep the colors from getting too icky.  Each section had it's own yogurt cup that the oil pastels went in, that way over flow would be trapped in the bottom container or the cup could be taken out and passed around the table.
As you can see the kids can't put colors back in the section they came from.
While this seemed to be a good idea to me, the kids aren't too nice to my yogurt cups.  I took them out and now the containers are just going to hold the oil pastels and the container will have to travel around the table.

New and semi improved, still needs labels.
I'm still going to separate the warms, cools, and neutrals and I'm gong to tape little pieces of color paper to the edges to show/label what colors go in that section.  That should solve the issue of getting the colors back with their family.

Monday, October 28, 2013

You know it's windy when...

...this happens.

That's the shade structure on our kindergarten playground flapping in the breeze.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

One Mouse, Two Mouse, Red Mouse, Blue Mouse.

First grade is working with the story Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh for their color wheels.  (Another Pinterest project.  I love Pinterest, don't you?  I need to stay off it).
It's always fun to read the little guys a story, it's a nice break.

We're using the primary colors (Red, Yellow, Blue) for day one, only to ensure that we finish.  We've pushed it to the limit of the time we have together, so it's a good thing it's only three colors.
So far, so good.  Except we're using A LOT of primary color paint.  I know we're safe, I bought plenty, but it's still scary to be throwing an empty bottle away, it seems, every other day.  But when every grade is painting, that's the way it is...right?
I have these laid out on two of my tables to dry, there are primary colors EVERYWHERE.
Sometimes, I feel like I'm in a circus tent.
Next up is color mixing to make the secondary colors!

2nd Grade is Singin' in the Rain(bow)

Second grade is getting probably the most traditional looking color wheel out of all of them.  It's a seven color (primary, secondary and a neutral) wheel, that looks like...well...a wheel.  The kids all say it looks like a beach ball, which is pretty close, but they're going to be umbrellas.  Again, another Pinterest project.

We did all the painting and color mixing stuff first to make our color wheel umbrellas.

I think this is mine, actually.
This rotation is drawing and coloring our figures.  I'm throwing the kids for a loop with this since they're not full figures, it's just the bottom half of the raincoat, legs and boots.

I love the patterns and individuality the kids put into their art.
I think we'll figure it out when everything is together, hopefully.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Getting Colorful with Chameleons

The first major project is Color Theory and Color Wheels.  The little guys (kinder to 2nd grade) are making traditional color wheels, the big kids (3rd to 5th grade) are doing non-traditional ones.  It's really because I don't want to make six a day for a month...doesn't sound fun to me.
I'm basing 3rd Grade off something that people do with their kinder/1st graders.  I don't really feel bad about  this, I know my students and this is up their alley.  Sometimes I get jealous looking at other Elementary Art teachers' blog and the drawing abilities of their younger grades and wish my students' work looked like.  Then I remember that my kids are where they are supposed to be developmentally, for the most part, and it's okay.
We're making Color Chameleons (this was the jumping off point).  Again, so far so good.  We spent day one drawing them and Tuesday we'll start painting.  I found a step by step how to draw sheet that's helping quite a bit, the kids get so focused on erasing the tiniest oops that they fall behind.  The sheet helps them to catch up.  Some get ahead and some are just tracing the final one.  Oh well, they'll just find that the tiny ones are hard to paint.  The lines are to help remind them that we have six colors to squish on our chameleons, to give them all room and to maybe help with some tertiary color mixing (which is something I don't have to teach them).

I've got some pretty talented kids.
Yes, it's a floating chameleon, that threw the kids for a loop, too.
It's because the branch is a separate paper and step.
I told them they could draw one, if they wanted, it just wasn't coming with their chameleon.
We painted in our Color Chameleons this rotation.  The kids really enjoy painting, sometimes too much.
I'm giving them two choices on how to paint them in.  We can use either Rainbow Order (ROY G. BV) or we can use Color Wheel Order (mine starts with Yellow, 'cause that's what's on top).  All the classes wanted to use Rainbow.  Not a problem, rainbow order rules my room, so it's all good.

Poor little chameleon, no violet :0(

I love this one's head, it gives it a GREAT expression!
Next time is a neutral branch and then assembly in two weeks.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Just Make ONE...and one more and one more...

We're working on Color Theory for our first project across the board in all grade levels.
Kindergarten is doing two projects, Rainbow Hands and a torn paper Color Wheel collage.
Rainbow Hands is another Pinterest project (I don't think this is what I had originally pinned, but it's the same thing.). I'm spreading it over two days. The first day is printing, the second should be cutting and gluing...yeah...So this is what day one is supposed to look like:
BIG teacher hands
These are the kindergartners:
I have no idea how she forgot yellow.  Other than that she followed directions.
Little kinder hands...not so much.  And direction following...not so much., but still okay
Okay, the first two aren't so bad.  You do have to understand that directions went a little like this:
"You're going to put ONE hand in the red paint, give it a good smoosh around (I put my hand in the paint, rub it around and show the kindergarteners)
and then make ONE red hand on your paper (holding up one finger)...ONE (holding up one finger)...How many (holding up one finger)?"
"What color? (showing them my hand)"
"Red"  (Which at the time was the only color they had)
"How many?"
"And that's because we have more colors and hands to put on the paper."
I let them loose on the red.
And this is what I got from most:
I don't even know what to say...*sigh*
I'm re-thinking the project.  We're not going to cut and make a cute rainbow.  At least I know they were introduced to color mixing and had fun.  I'll hand back papers next time and we'll use them to help us color in an Art "math" problem and a rainbow, I guess.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Ever had a day like this?

So this happened at lunch (11:00-11:30 for me, it was about 11:15).
These served me well and were my go to sandal.

I tried calling home to have my husband bring in a new pair...yeah, didn't happen.
But this did.
Yes, that is masking tape, I was out of duct tape.
At least this was after the 44 first graders were in my room.  
Not a great Monday.

Zany Zebras in 4th

We're starting non-traditional color wheels in 3rd through 5th grade.
Fourth just so happens to be lucky enough to be chosen to do this project I found on Pinterest here.  They did Analogous colors, but since we're only doing 6 colors in our color wheels, we're calling it good to go.
This is a new project for me and this morning was the VERY first time I taught it.
I do have a "How to Draw" follow along page for those who get "lost" and we're all drawing our own zebras (and they all happen to look the same, which is okay).  She let her kids trace theirs (which I have nothing against, I was thinking about doing the same) so her's look more like real zebras than my kiddos.
Please don't tell my kids, they're really proud of theirs.  We didn't get to the stripes yet...
My Zebra
These have GREAT individuality.
The bottom one is my favorite, she added eyelashes!
Okay, the top one got ahead and started on stripes.
Long nose or short, still a zebra.
I'm really pleased how GREAT and INDIVIDUAL these are all turning out.

We've only added stripes and outlined them this rotation.  I really want to keep painting as a full class period thing.  Some of the kids spend 5-10 minutes adding stripes and outlining, others have taken the whole 50 minutes.  This is why I didn't start the next step.
The students had two options, white zebra with colorful stripes or a colorful zebra with black stripes.  I think that'll throw enough difference in the group to make the classes unique.

This one will be colorful.
Another colorful one.
This one will have it's stripes painted in.
Another with colorful stripes.
 Then I have this child.  He brought me his paper with a wonderful zebra base and started whining about how awful it was, trying to get one of the copies I had made for students who were absent from me.  NOT HAPPENING.  He was here, he put in the effort, it looked WONDERFUL.
"No, student (didn't call him student, but, you know, internet safety, disclosure and all that) your zebra is GREAT, add some stripes and maybe it'll look even better."
He leaves, sits, works, comes back a little later.   Zebra is still in pencil at this point and salvageable.
"Ms. Novak, my zebra is AWFUL!"
"No, it's not, erase the pictures and scribbles and add lines or little Vs.  You'll be fine, you got this far, the only problem is you don't seem sure of the directions."  I show him on my sample what needs to be done.  He seemed to understand, though bummed, and goes back to try to get something accomplished.  By this point he has MAYBE five minutes of work time left.  I get sidetracked by another student (or two) and can't check on him again.
Class ends, things are put away.  I flip through their folders and find this...
Not making me a happy camper and I know he's not a happy camper.  His zebra would have been fine, but since it didn't look just like mine or one of his table mates he's upset.  What do you do?  This child has the potential in him, he is a goof, but a good kid, he just doesn't see what he can do so he resorts to this:
Just in case you didn't/can't see it above.
Next week is color!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Separating Life and Teaching

As a teacher and a parent, it happens to all of us, we end up teaching the age of our kiddoes.  No matter the grade levels you teach.
I happen to be the mother of two school age children, the same age I teach. 
I have three wonderful, energetic boys all together.  (No kind stranger [or heaven help you FAMILY!] I don't want to try for a girl.  I'm happy with my boys  And I'm scared I'll end up with another!)

A three year old:
My little present
A kindergartner:
Yes, this is the face he wanted to show the world.  See what I have to work with!

And a Second Grader:
He was trying to talk to me while I was taking his picture.
Doesn't really work, but it makes for some fun faces.
I am also the daughter of a High School English teacher.  I try not to do what my dad did to me (mostly unknowingly, I hope).  I did end up in my dad's class my senior year and it was pretty embarrassing.  He nagged (looking back it wasn't bad, but at the time it was horrible) me at home about homework for his class and knew things before I did, about things I didn't think were all that bad or a big deal, but apparently were.  Thankfully my boys are elementary age and it's kind of cool to have Mom at work, so it's all good (right!?)!

 Let me tell you, teaching Kindergarten to Fifth Grade in a day, five days a week then going home to pretty much the same makes you one very tired mama...and teacher.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Make Your Mark, prt II

I checked out "Ish" form my local library for the very first time this year and this is the first time year.
It's about Ramon, who feels he can't draw until his sister, Marisol, points out his vase is vase-ish.  Ramon then looses his self doubt and has drawn "ishly" ever since.  
I point out that this means there are no wrongs, but I'm getting blank stares.  Is this really a hard concept?!
We're painting to go along with "Ish."  It's actually going very well, surprisingly well.  I made home mats for all the supplies (they aren't laminated yet, so I'm making another set to laminate) and everything stays on/in it's home spot.

Pretty grungy from 6 class a day for 6 days.

Things aren't moving around the table as much and only two water cups have been knocked over (not big spills though) out of all 36 classes.  I made these during Open House.  I had to stay for on hour one night (we split ours over five days) and I stayed for 1st grade's.  Usually I get a few visitors, not even a handful, but a enough to justify my time.  This year, none.  NOT A ONE.  I don't think it helped that right as parents were released to visit classrooms after the Admins' spiel, there was a five minute downpour.  No one would want to leave the comfort of the awnings to cross over the not even ten foot uncovered, unprotected space to get to my awning and room.  Nope, not a single parent.  I know this because I didn't want to walk around the unprotected corner to MY OWN child's room to talk to his teacher.  Nope, didn't want to do it.  So I spent my hour making anally retentive, OCD mats for my tables for paint supplies.
I may have to make ANOTHER set so that they just say paint.

I'm having the kids do a white crayon resist with our paint.  It's amazing how much thrill they get out of  this "magic" painting technique after a brief "Trust me, it's the best, most fun way to do this project."  I did have a few fuddy duddy first graders who just wouldn't trust me, so they used the black crayon we wrote our names with.  
Not as fun with black crayon
She second guessed herself, and the white makes it pretty cool!
They were much more impressed with my paper than theirs.  Told them so :0P
These are both first graders who trusted me.

 This guy was just so excited to paint for the first time he got a little carried away.  I didn't have most of my now first graders last year, so painting is still pretty new to them.

We're "signing" while we paint to remind us of how to paint in my room and it's a lovely quiet experience (some throw in the little extra reminders):
Swirl, swirl, swish, swish
(NO tap, tap, tap)
From the water to the paint
Rub, Rub, Rub
(NO poke, poke, poke)
From the paint to my paper!
Paint, paint, paint.

I'm making it an anchor chart, it's THAT affective.

One of my 2nd graders did contribute this fun and helpful (?) misunderstanding...
"Ms. Novak?  Squirrel, Squirrel, Fish, Fish with the brush in the water?"  So that'll be the title of the poem and lovely add on graphics to my paintbrush anchor chart.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Make Your Mark, prt I

I decided this year to use Peter H. Reynolds' "Creatrilogy" for the first month, hemhem...3 rotations of school to "introduce" the kids to the most used media in the Art room.  And to participate in International Dot Day.
If you're not in the loop, Peter H. Reynolds' "Creatrilogy" has three great books in it, "The Dot," "Ish," and, "Sky Color".  (More on the "Ish" and "Sky Color" later)
Each year there's a celebration for the first release of "The Dot" around September 15th.  It's called International Dot Day and is a world wide thing.  My school is just a small chunk of the participation.  But we make our marks.  You can find more on their site or their Facebook page.

The kids all love "The Dot" which is about a little girl named Vashti who learns to make her mark.  I read it to them last year as well, so most already know it and the project.  I read (or in the case of some of the bigger kids, I tried to get "willing" readers and did reader's theater) "The Dot" and we made our marks.  This year I forced them to only use crayons, not so happy campers in my room, but I showed them how to layer colors lightly or get bright, bold color, so it wasn't all grumbles.  I did let them use other media (markers, why do they all love and only love the markers) when they turned in their "dot."

I was amazed at how well some of them thought outside the box.  As is the case, most ended up looking very similar to mine, even when I told them "It all starts with a dot, so anything goes!"  I did have an amazing kindergartner and fifth grader.
This is my first year seeing kindergarten as much as I do, I try to remember where they're at developmentally, sometimes I want them to do more than they can.  This one blew me away!

The fifth grader I knew was good already, but she just proved that I should do more for/with her.

These ended up as the first thing on my new to me bulletin boards.  I have six boards in the Library, they used to be our Star Writers, but we're not doing it this year and they became mine.  They are more like mini boards, than a full board.  This first go around, I used one for each grade K-5, but I think that the Kinder board will end up being the "What we did" board.  The Kindergarteners really want to take their art home then and there and I really do feel that they should "make and take."  I am trying to teach them to be patient by having the projects last two days, not one.  The big kids projects last at least four days.
I use ROY G BV to organize my grade levels: Kinder is red, 5th purple/violet.


1st Grade

2nd Grade

3rd Grade

4th Grade

5th Grade

I didn't have a chance to strip them to the board and put up what I wanted as a background and border since I thought I had a week to put them up before the Library was in use for parent classes, I didn't.  Yeah, they went up in 90 minutes Tuesday for Tuesday after school.  Only thing I did was pull down what was on them and put up my stuff.  They're not bad, but not what I want.  When these come down I'll strip them to the bare board and put up my backing and border since there will be more time. Since the boards are so tiny, I'm now worried that I'll only get one piece from each class up.  That's not a problem in K, 4th or 5th grade where there are only 5 classes per grade.  1st grade has eight classes, 2nd has seven and 3rd has six.  Five 9x12 pieces sort of fit okay on a board with a little (okay a lot) of overlap.  Gah!  Who knew bulletin boards would be so organizationally difficult.  Can't I just slap something up and call it done?  No?

Saturday, September 7, 2013

We're in Art, be an ARTIST!

The first rotation of school was going over rules.  I use the acronym ARTIST to help the kids remember them.  I found and modified something (here) from Pinterest (GREAT site, but you probably know that already because you are SUPER). This is the second year I've used it and tweaked it this year. 
A-Act Responsibly and
T-be on Task (It used to be "Try your best", but after an observation from my admin where it was noted that not all students were on task, I changed it.  I don't know if it will help.  What is "on task" behavior?  If a student is working [I think we were cutting and gluing, making a fruit bowl collage that day] yet talking about something [a movie, their day, not the project] what are they?  On or off task?  I really don't think my third graders [the grade level that was observed at the time] have or need the depth of knowledge or knowledge retention to carry on a full conversation about the artist [Paul Cezanne in this case].  I do give them the information if they WANT to hold an intelligent conversation, but I'm sure they don't retain it  [more than sure, since they can barely fill in a fill-in-the-blank worksheet, with word bank, correctly]. I might be wrong on the need to hold lengthy, intelligent art conversations in third grade, but my main goal is that they can connect an artist's name to their work and style.  Remembering an interesting tidbit would be great!  Okay, this tangent is WAY too long)
I-Imagination and creativity
S-Stop, look and listen
T-Team player

I might have to tweak them again, not sure I like the wording on all the letters...I certainly need to change how they are displayed.

They used to be vertically down my wall next to a bulletin board.  I put them horizontally over my main white and Smart board.
I like the first arrangement better than the one I did this year, so I think I'll go in and change it.  Which means finding a new home for the sticker chart...ahhhh, more change!
Where the Rules are currently living
 Okay went in and changed them back to where they used to live, makes me happier.
On the far left is the sticker chart that had to move.
The purple paper in the middle says "Remember to ALWAYS be and ARTIST!"
 I put these up instead.
What filled the empty space.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Welcome back, ready for change?

This is the start of my 9th year of teaching at my school (which happened to be my FIRST teaching job out of college).  I love my school, the kiddos, and my fellow Specialists (Humanities, Library, Music and P.E.  I like to call them my "Arts Department").  What I don't love is change.  I know it happens.  But that doesn't mean I need to like it.  Since I started we've been through three Principals and four and a half assistant Principals.  I say "half" because at one point we were between "official" administrators and had a retired Principal come and fill in for a bit.  We've gone from a year round school schedule to a nine month.  So change happens at my school, a lot.  It's for the good, most of the time, but still.  Not nice.  That leads to the new school year...
"Every student, every classroom, without exception, without excuses."
Our first official day of the school year with students was August 26th.  Teachers reported the Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday beforehand.  Those first three days were full of change: learning lots of new teacher names and figuring out our new Principal.  Half, if not more, of our staff left at the end of last school year for greener pastures so there were quiet a few new faces.  We got a few from other schools in district and a few from out of state, which is typical I guess.  So now I have to learn new names, okay fine.  We also learned what the Specials' schedule was (SOMETHING relevant!).  Yay!  But wait, more change...
I go from a nice schedule with five 50 minute classes (three in the morning, 30 minute duty free lunch, 15 minute lunch duty, 50 minute prep, two more classes, 10 minute after school duty) to a six day rotation (A-F days) teaching six classes a day...WHAT!?  Forty minute prep first thing, three classes, 30 minute lunch, 3 more classes and 10 minutes after school duty.  There are also two random 50 minute blocks where I don't have a class to total my prep time to the required 250 minutes.  This rotation thing looks scary, is this set in stone? (yup, pretty much)  Oh well, we'll make do.  I think the "Arts Department" all thought this would be okay, but looking at it a little more closely we realized that we saw the kiddoes six less times than we would on the old schedule...that's not good, that's basically my clay unit right there or the Music teacher's Holiday program.  Yes, the Monday/Friday classes wouldn't be SOOO far behind because of holidays and staff development days, but we always made do and managed to finish what we needed to.
Not so scary...I think!?
Oh well, we'll see how a few rotations go, thank goodness the first month is Rules, Procedures and Introductions to Art Media...