Sunday, October 11, 2009

Name Mandalas

My fifth graders have voted this their favorite project of the nine weeks. This looks like a hard lesson, but is really simple (if the students listen to directions)! First off, the students were given a 12x12 piece of paper and were shown how to fold it. The paper is folded in half in each direction (vertically, horizontally and twice diagonally) Using the fold lines as a guide (which make 8 triangles) the students draw their name in one section. I have make sure that their letters are touching two edges of the triangle, and are overlapping slightly. They start with pencils of course, but once they have a design that they like, they trace it with sharpies. The next step is to for the paper in half with their design on the outside, flip it over, and hold it up to a window or light box in order to trace the design onto another triangle. Continue unfolding and refolding until the design is traced around the entire square (note... 4 sections will have name reversed, this is correct). Finally, the students get to paint their names using whatever paint I choose. For this class, I choose glitter liquid watercolors that were donated to the art room. It was more gel-like than liquid, but the students liked it. I had them paint the background black. The neat thing is that unless you tell the viewers that this is the child's name, it is usually hard to find it.

Time for grading!!!

Well, it's that time of the year again, the time that all teacher just love and look forward to with excitingly beating hearts... (note the sarcasm!). It's the end of the first nine weeks here in Metro, and it is time to grade all of the children's artwork. After years of lugging stuff home and spending my entire weekend sorting and trying to figure out whose paper is it that doesn't have their name on it, I decided that I was not going to waste my weekends again. So a few years ago, I came up with this method of easy grading that ensures that no artwork is dragged home with me and that the no-name papers are taken care of as well. First of all, I do not grade throughout the nine weeks at all, I grade only at the end. I take the last week of the nine weeks and call it "Catch-up Week". After explaining to the children that this is not the stuff that we put on our french fries, I pass back all of their artwork (the ones with their names on it). The papers without name go in a pile on the floor by the trash can. On the board I write down a list of the projects that we completed and that I am grading, so that if they are missing something they can search the pile by the trash. I then give them the first half of the class time to finish any projects that were not quite done, and to check their craftsmanship. Halfway through the class, I start walking around and grade their artwork. In MNPS, for elementary students we are required to grade with an E-S-N grading scale (E=excellent, S= satisfactory, and N= needs improvement). After spending years writing more S's on my grade books than I dare count, after all, most of the students get an S, I finally realized that if I wrote down just the N's and E's as well as 0's for missing work, I could assume that any blank spaces were the S's and I would save beau-coups of time. After taking a walk around the room and grading, the children then have a portfolio of work to take home that day, and I throw away any artwork that is left on the floor by the trash (unless there is a child absent of course.... I'm not that mean!)

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Back to school!

Well, it's that time of year again, and school has started back up. I decided to keep the theme of jungle for my classroom, but I have included more lizards this year, as well as the monkeys from last year. Here are a few of my bulletin boards. The first one is my behavior board. I have assigned a number to each of the seats, and have a corresponding pocket on the board with four pieces of colored construction paper in the pockets. As a child chooses to misbehave, their "cards" are pulled, and there are consequences given. This board is right by the door, so as the classroom teachers arrive to pick up their students, they can easily see if a child misbehaved.
The next board is the one outside of my classroom. We have new teachers this year, and with two art teachers (one outside in a portable) I wanted to make sure that they could find my room.
I have quite a few bulletin boards in my classroom, but they are not in the most convenient areas of the room. One of the boards has to be covered up by the shelf that I use to hold the children's artwork, so I decided to "split" up the remaining board.
Now let's talk storage. I mentioned the shelf that I use for storing my students artwork. Storage is a huge issue for art teachers, and unless you are in a room designed for art, you need to get very creative. I was very lucky to have a kindergarten teacher who decided that she didn't need this piece of furniture anymore. I offered to give it a home. I have little labels with the teacher's names on them stapled to the sides of the shelves. The artwork can be stored flat (unless, as you can see, I let one of the little ones put the artwork in instead of me doing it)

I also have two little wooden shelves that hold plastic bins along one of my wall. I have not finished putting all of the art supplies out yet, but I like using these bins because then I can grab the whole bin to pass out supplies.

I also have a wooden shelf with the glue on it, and a set of drawers with things like brushes, beads, scissors, etc.The drawers are nice because they slide all the way out for distribution.

Monday, June 29, 2009

One of the coolest things ever!!!!!!

In buying supplies for Art-al-Sol, I found a glass fusing kiln that goes into the microwave. I ordered it and tried it out with my campers. It is AMAZING!!!!!! You design a glass piece, place it on kiln paper, and place it in the kiln. The whole kiln goes in the microwave for just a few minutes. The only drawback is that you have to wait for 30 minutes before you can take the glass out of the kiln and see it. I know...patience is a virtue, one that I usually have, but this time, it was very hard to wait. I found this kiln in an art supply catalogue, but I also found it at Hobby Lobby. It's a little pricey at about $119 at H.B., but with a 40% off coupon, it makes it more affordable. I have fired my kiln over 60 times, and it is still working great!

Art-al-Sol 2009

Each year Metro schools offers a summer art program called Art-al-Sol. I have taught this camp for the last three years. This summer, we used the theme of Art around the World. We had some great artwork this year, and I thought I would showcase some of it!

What a semester!

The spring semester of grad school has been very, very hectic. I have been so busy with it, that I could not seem to find the time to post...sorry.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Aboriginal Handprints

This is a lesson that I have done with my first graders. As a class, we look at and discuss aboriginal art, and then I give them a piece of paper, and have them trace their hands with a pencil, three times. I want them to overlap the hands. After the hands are drawn, I give them black sharpies, and have them trace over their pencil lines. Next, I talk to them about patterns, and then give them colored sharpies and the students draw patterns on the hands. Finally, the students pick a color to paint the background. I really like to use opalescent paints for the background, it gives the pictures a little shine.

Crayon Encaustic

I know, I know.... I haven't updated my blog in a while, but it has been crazy, with the holidays, starting a new semester with the kids, and starting a new semester of grads school. Sorry. Anyways, this is an example of a lesson that I create with my students. This is crayon encaustic. This is a great way to recycle those old crayon nubs, and turn them into wonderful art. First, you need to melt the crayons. For this, I have an old chili pot, that my father turned into my crayon melter. He drilled a hole in the bottom of the pot, and installed a light fixture that hold two light bulbs. He drilled another hole on the side near the bottom, and ran the power cord out of the side. Next, he drilled holes in the sides of the pot, near the top, and installed two metal shish kabob skewers (to hold a foil muffin pan). Finally, he drilled some holes in the lid for a vent. This is just one way of melting the crayons. I know that there are items that are sold on the market to do this, but they can be expensive, and don't hold a lot of wax. Be creative, you just need to use a light bulb to melt the wax.
Anyways, I fill the muffin tins with peeled crayons (hint....soak the crayon nubs in a bucket of water overnight, the labels come right off) and let the heat melt the crayons. I start this before my class comes in. When the wax is melted, I have the students gather around the pot, and "paint" the wax on their paper with q-tips. They have to work quickly, but when they are finished, the pictures are beautifully textured. After the remaining wax has cooled, I pop the crayons out of the muffin tins (they look like colored Reese's Peanut Butter cups) and put them in my treasure box.