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.