Friday, December 21, 2012

Bad ink?

As my class was printing the second color of their reduction prints, my ink started doing funny things. The ink would roll off of their printing plate as they tried to add new. There was plenty of ink for rolling. It hadn't been left out too long. This didn't happen with my first class that printed. This ink was left in my school from the previous teacher when it used to be a middle school, meaning I have NO idea how old it is, except at least two years. Does it sound like bad ink? Does that happen? Feel free to offer suggestions/opinions. I only have a little bit of the black ink left, but I have a lot of other colors that I am a bit worried about.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Paper, Paper, Everywhere!

I am trying to organize all of our painted paper, but what to keep? How small of pieces do you keep? What do you throw away? I admit that when I first started teaching, I threw away a lot of paper. The longer I teach or the older I get or the worse that budgets get, I have a much harder time throwing away things that I can see that we could use. The problem is, will we? Tell me what you do with your scraps.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Dia de los Muertos

These lessons are from last year, but I was a bit slow to share. Kindergarten created the pumpkins and 2nd grade made the papel picado. Third grade did a great job creating their skeletons with oil pastel on black paper.
Students had a skeleton to use for observation drawing, then used their imagination to create the skeleton participating in life.

My sixth graders created linoleum block prints of their skeletons. The kids really enjoyed the linoleum block cutting, but even these smallish prints took too long, I think.

My fourth graders really got into this ofrenda project.  The idea came from Mini Matisse, who linked to the Minneapolis Institute of Art project. The finished projects do not have a particularly polished look, but I was happy with what the students learned.

Students were to choose someone they loved, who had died to honor through their ofrenda. The examples I am showing are pets, but many more chose people as well. Students were given scrap paper and small buttons, baubles, and so on. I also purchased small skeletons and skulls through Oriental Trading, enough for each student to have one. Students were also given the option to bring in their own items or photos to use in their ofrenda.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Quarterback Mona

I have enjoyed seeing so many other teachers who "dress up" the Mona Lisa in the classroom. I decided that the one on my door needed some decor as well. I'm not sure that I like this as well as those on prints. Hopefully, it will make my kids laugh.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Olympic Rings

 As I wrote before, this Olympics poster definitely looked like paper roll stamped rolls to me. First day of school for Pre-K and Kindergarten. It made for a bit of a wild class, with so many kids who don't know they can't just wander the room.
 Even though this wasn't much of a creative lesson, the kids still managed to make them their own. I love passing these young classes, and hearing myself called "the paint lady." Painting is a nice way to start the year.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

First Week Down, Classroom tour



After all of my apron-making, I ended up ordering this Mona Lisa apron from Zazzle, much more my style. I also really like the way it fits. It is extra wide, so it covers my sides as well. 

I love seeing other art teachers' rooms, so I will definitely share mine. Mona Lisa on the door:
Is this doorway just screaming to be painted or what?

Gallery on the back wall. My daughter helped to fill some of the frames for me. 
 Seriously, my classroom is HUGE. I have a large wall of windows for natural lighting. I've been telling the students to just avert their eyes from the pile of boxes and other items in the corner. My back rooms weren't opened until a couple of days before school started. It is going to take me awhile to complete the unpacking.
 Other side. I don't have a lot of bulletin boards, so I am using my cabinets for that purpose.
 Artist of the month as a facebook board. I've seen this idea a few places, including here.


 Front of the room. My smartboard will go in that empty space in the middle. Again, ignore the trash. That part was at least gone beforeo school started.


Saturday, August 4, 2012

This was fun!

I have such a long expanse of cabinets, and nothing to put there. I remembered this classroom from Mrs. Knight's Smartest Artists, but I didn't want to make it just like that. I found these canvases for cheap at Michael's, plus 60% off, plus 20% off of that. They are 18x24, so they will still have pretty good visual impact above the cabinets. I am so excited for the new school year!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

What worked for me?

At the beginning of last year, I posted about all that I was doing to keep things organized. Now, that I am prepping for the coming year, I thought I would share what worked for me, and what didn't. 

This first part is actually from a different post talking about centers. I still absolutely LOVE centers for my pre-K and Kindergarten classes. The kids end up doing a better job on the main lesson because they get more individual attention from me. They are less likely to do a rush job, because I really break things down into smaller steps. They were moving on to a new center before they had a chance to mix every single color in their painting. For projects that took longer, I would change up the timing of the centers, and have two groups working on the main art project, but rotating at different times. I could do this, because I always had one group sitting on the carpet, building or reading. I would also forgo centers for some projects, especially towards the end of the year. Things that I have used for centers: BLOCKS, tons of blocks. I have a couple of different sets of wooden blocks and legos. I am considering getting foam blocks this year-not so noisy. We also have tangram blocks. While the original intention is for flat designs, my students also use them to build up.
I make playdough for one center, which the kids really love. When they start making a bigger mess with it, I will rotate it out, so they don't get bored. We keep it in bags, inside a covered bowl, so it lasts a few weeks. 

Last year, I painted my lower cabinets with chalkboard paint. This was a huge hit, and had minimal set-up. I'm in a different building this year, so I'm not sure if I will be able to do something like this again. 



My 6th graders added frames around the chalkboard paint, too. Most of these things were available for early finishers, too.  Those were my most popular, but I would sometimes rotate in free draw and modeling clay. I can't imagine that I will stop using centers any time soon, unless my class times were shortened significantly (right now, they are 45 minutes.) Thanks again, Becca Ruth!


Last year, I talked about going crazy color coordinating. Honestly, I felt crazy setting things up, but most of it really kept things going. The kids knew where things were supposed to go. It did make things easier. One thing that I used were table folders (I'm not sure where I got this idea, read it on someone's blog last summer.) I laminated a folded 9x12 piece of construction paper, where I had written the teacher's name. It made passing things out so much easier and faster, because I didn't have to do any of it. The kids passed them out-the kids picked them up. The only problem I found was that I didn't discover that names were not on everything until much later, which made assessments harder if I was doing anything outside of class. I would even attach them with clips to the drying rack. Students were supposed to put their wet items on one of the racks underneath their table folder. Some would get mixed up, but not so many that it was too confusing. I could just pull paintings off of the drying rack, stick them in the folder, and they could be passed out quickly again.

I had originally intended to use colored placemats for the students to cover their table and keep with their paintings on the drying rack. I didn't like them at all. They seemed to just be in the way, and didn't stay on the drying rack very well. The only thing I used them for was underneath the playdough at that center. I still have some for last year for that purpose, but I won't try to use them for other things. It is just easier to me to clean the tables. 


You can see my table folder's clipped onto my drying rack. 

My crazy color coordinating will continue this year. I'll keep using those things that work. Since I have so many sinks in my new room, I think I will be color coding them, too.

Last year, I had the students in grades 3-6 start each class with a 5 minute drawing. I liked the idea that they would have more time for drawing practice, and that it would give me 5 minutes with back to back classes to get last minute things organized and see who was there. However, it seemed to take too long. Not the drawing part, but putting the sketchbooks (a folder with loose paper really) away. We ended up abandoning it towards the end of the year. What I would really LOVE to have are actual sketchbooks for the students to use. One year, several years ago, I made sketchbooks for a whole grade, but I'm not sure that I have the time or resources for it this year. I'll have to think on this more.

Another thing that worked really well for me with organizing was my job chart. I loved having it. It was easy to change the jobs out in the bubbles, though I didn't rotate them except when we changed out media. It was easier to keep some consistency.
We studied all of these artists last year, and I think I will change the artist this year to different ones that we will study. I can't wait!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

New room and aprons, ie- post full of terrible photos

My school had outgrown its building. We had portable buildings outside, two Kindergarten classes sharing a room, and reading classes in the hall. A bit ironic since the year before our district closed several (14?) schools  because of empty classrooms. The good thing about this bit of irony is that there was a large empty school building just over a mile away from our school. So, this summer, a middle school is being outfitted as an elementary school. When they first showed the teachers through the building, it had been a dumping ground. All of the furniture from all of these schools that closed was everywhere. Naturally, all of that stuff was removed; the rooms were painted, new carpeting, doors, lockers, etc. They are not finished, but the second floor items have been moved into the classrooms. We aren't really supposed to be there, but I had to check it out on Monday and start unpacking. This is what I walked into on Monday, a mountain of crap pushed to one side.
Really these pictures are terrible, so I'm not sure that you can see the five large pallets of boxes. The giant tv stand is blocking some of it. I get a little overwhelmed with so much work in front of me sometimes. I just started grabbing one box at a time. It helped that I was afraid I was going to be kicked out at any moment. Decisions about where to put things had to be made quickly, though, of course, things can be moved later if it doesn't work for me. 
My last classroom was little and full of character. This room is very ordinary, but has an excess of SPACE. I'm not sure if you can tell how really large it is. In the above picture, you can kind of see the lower cabinets that run all along that side of the room under the windows. There are SEVEN sinks on that wall. This is a former science room, so they are those little bitty sinks. With so many though, I can assign each table its own sink! There is another little sink at a teacher area behind all that piled up stuff, and another large (wide not deep) sink all of the way to the left corner. Woohoo! Two years ago, I was moving into a classroom without a sink. I filled up a large orange water jug, which was in a cart over a bucket. No hand washing allowed. Last year, I had one little science sink, and many times I would decide that it was just going to take too long for everyone to wash their hands. I still might decide that, but not because of a lack of sinks! To the back right of the room is a kitchen. I don't have a key to it yet, but there are a couple of windows in there. It has a dishwasher and full size refrigerator. I am a little scared to see inside of the fridge. There is another locked door back there, which hopefully is a closet large enough for my kiln. 

This other photo is of the other side, with tons of cabinets again. This photo was after I had been unpacking for awhile. My son would like for you to see his new Spiderman water bottle. I realize it might look like I just piled everything on the counter, but there is just as much inside those cabinets. Some items I am pretty sure that I want to put in the back area are just stacked over near the door.  Behind me in these photos are two large whiteboards, space for my smartboard, and a very small bulletin board. I have another large whiteboard on the other side of the room and a small bulletin board. I would definitely prefer the bulletin boards, but I have worked around it before with tape and magnets. I will share more photos closer to school, hopefully it will be pretty and colorful by then.
***********************
On to the next topic-aprons. I wear an apron at school all day, everyday. I used to only wear one when we were doing messy things, but I ruined a white shirt while we were using crayons one day. It's just become my uniform. Generally, I just wear a plain black one most of the time, and then a longer one from a clay lady workshop when we are doing clay. I started decorating a couple this past year. I gyotaku printed one of them, and had one of them screen printed with a guitar by one of our sixth graders. I am going to add "Art Rocks!" to the top. Since, I wear these everyday, I decided that I should have more that are interesting. I saw these aprons, and, immediately was drawn to the cute ruffles, my hidden girly-girl coming out, I guess. They are not particularly practical, but I thought that I could at least wear one with less messy media.


Aprons from a Crafty Weekend. 

I had a plain white apron leftover from my daughter's art birthday party earlier in the summer. I'm also a quilter, so was able to just used my scraps. I still think it is really cute, but not sure that it is really me. Photo at night, in a mirror, really nice. The red is more pink, plus every color is off really. 
My daugther, the ulitmate girly girl loves it, but thinks it would be better as a dress. My husband thinks it is just ugly. 
The same night that I made my ruffle apron, I also attempted to make this denim apron. I had a trashed pair of jeans and more fabric for the edges. 
Mine isn't quite right, though. First of all, I prefer the dark denim. Mine also fits a bit weird, but I'm not sure how to fix it. 
View one from the front, I made my edging thinner, too. 

Now, in this photo you can really see the problem. Giant gapping at the chest. I really can't wear it like this. Is it too wide? Too long? Ties on the side too low? All of the above?

Again, my daugher thinks it is cute. My husband thinks it looks trashy.

PS. Let me point out that I originally found both of these on pinterest. It is one of my pet peeves when someone only cites pinterest. It's a pinboard, original ideas don't come from there, they are generally from someone's blog or other website. Give actual credit, though I realize it is kind of hard when you have seen hundreds of different examples of the melted crayon art.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Olympic Rings

As everyone seen this olympic poster? From BBC News :RRachel Whiteread, was the first woman to win the prestigious Turner Prize 1993. Best known for her sculpture, she created this piece using the five Olympic colours. The rings represent the famous Olympic rings, but also marks left by drinking bottles or glasses. Organisers said the stains act as "memories of a social gathering".

Is it just the elementary art teacher in me, or did everyone else already think that they had seen this before, as a Kindergarten project? Toilet paper stamping, right? Still, totally doing this as soon as school starts, will "tie it" to the olympic art!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Moldy Paint and Art Show

Updated to add: I contacted Sax/School Specialty about my moldy paint. It wasn't old paint, just from earlier this year. They are replacing it! Nice customer service there!
I am in the middle beginning of cleaning up my rom for the year and packing everything for a move to a new, old building. I discovered that both my blue and purple gallons of tempera are moldy. Is there anything I can do about it? Is there something I can do to prevent it next time? I had to work pretty hard to get this paint, so it kind of kills me to just trash it.

The last 6 weeks have been art show season around here. Three art shows for the district, with 15-60 students participating in each show. Tonight was the opening for our school art show. Every student participates, with at least one item, but most have two or even three. SO. MUCH. WORK. But, so worth it. Of our 500 students, there were probably around 100 students there. And still, it was worth it. It was worth choosing all of the work,  labeling it, displaying it, and publicizing it. Worth every darn minute to see kids so excited to show off their work. Parents were proud of the art their students had created and I was proud of all of them, too. I was already talking to my principal about how we can make it even better next year. (#1 priority - earlier in the year, this is seriously ridiculously late. We only have another week and a half of school.)

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Recycled Paper Weaving

 Wow, did I ever love this lesson! These weavings were so fun. They are bright and colorful and with very few exceptions, the results are all great!
The original lesson is from Art Lessons for Kids. I usually do a fabric weaving with my Kindergarten, but it requires a lot of prep for me. I cut the fabric in strips make the looms and wrap the warp, then the students weave. I have plenty of scrap paper, and I only had to cut my donated mat board down to the same size.

The main thing to remember for this lesson is to break it all into small steps. I use centers in my pre-K and Kindergarten classes, so each step was about 15 minutes. One lesson was creating the warp, day 2 was painting the background and warp. Day 3 was weaving (I would NOT do this with a large group of kids at once.) Day 4 was the last day of painting.
I will definitely be doing this project again!

PS. When we were setting up for our district art show last week, I saw another teacher with these same weavings. Hers looked great, too. I told her we must be visiting the same places online.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Outside Weaving

The weather has been too nice to pass up the opportunity for having class outside.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

More Picasso Portraits

 My fifth and sixth graders also created Picasso-style portraits. I've done similar lessons before, but I used the directions from Deep Space Sparkle this time. I was really happy with these results.
 I gave students the option of outlining in paint or oil pastels and everyone chose pastel. I will say it is a bit harder to get fifth graders to make cubist portraits than it was for first graders. Once the kids were willing to loosen up a bit, the paintings turned out fabulously!



Sunday, March 11, 2012

Picasso's Blue Rose

This was another great lesson from another blogger, Phyl from There's A Dragon in my Art Room. This was such a fun study of Picasso's Blue and Rose periods, while teaching the students about monochromatic color schemes.
My students were a bit thrown with not having skin tones. "How do we make brown?" I reminded them that we were making monochromatic paintings. Some of the students didn't seem to know how to approach painting the face with that restriction.
Our last day, we used various oil pastels in the blue or red range, along with black and white to add details. This really helped a lot of students' work.

I was very happy with the results of these paintings. Thanks again, Phyl for another great lesson!


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