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.
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