Saturday, January 25, 2014

It's Conference in my Jammies Day!

Ok, well I'm not actually in my jammies but in spirit I am. Before the Winter AOE conference started this morning, I had to run to Wegman's for a few things, get my daughter squared away on a play date and be set for the ADT guy to come do a service. But, in SPIRIT, I am in my pajamas.
Beyond seeing the faces of fellow art teacher bloggers for the first time like CASSIE STEVENS, (who I think is just so cool and would love if she taught in my building) it was fun texting back and forth with some of my HVRSD art colleagues who were logged in as well.

I have a long list of presentations to watch today. So far I am the most impressed by Alecia Eggers' presentation on art room organization. Whoa, her art room is by far the most organized that I have ever seen. 
I enjoyed seeing Cassie Stevens' presentation on multicultural annual themes and how she wears so many costumes to inspire her students.
It's snowing now (again) in New Jersey. The picturesque views from the windows in my home, the steam from my rose tea and the smell of sharpie in my notebook is awesome. A lot of the information is in my arsenal already but it feels great to pull buried/forgotten information out or make tweaks on a similar routine. I am looking forward to implementing some of my new found tips from this conference soon. 

Friday, January 24, 2014

Grade 4: Paint Mixing and Painting Techniques

My 4th graders mixed some amazing blueish colors this week for a background to a painting. They practiced painting evenly using a new type of brush and a paint with a very fluid consistency. 
S U P E R  F U N  T O N S   O F  E X C I T E M E N T  I N  T H E  A R T R O O M  O V E R   T H E   C O L O R   B L U E


It's a Little after 9:00 am and My Day is Already Perfect

This morning was off to a bumpy start with traffic and accidents on 295. Honestly, I wish that I could have my very own lane on the highway. Large cup of tea, Coldplay on the radio and my very own lane to drive in. Well, it was quite the opposite on my commute in this morning but now the day is perfect. On my way down the hallway heading to my PLC meeting with a bagel, fruit salad and orange juice in my hands (perfect breakfast from our pot luck staff breakfast), I see a student waiting for me with two paintings in her hands.

I LOVE when my students create art at home and take the time to show me their work.
So I say "oh, zentangles, they are beautiful!" i asked her who made them (foolishly assuming that she came across these beauties and just wanted to show me..) and she replied "I made them over the weekend!"
So forget my perfect breakfast after a rushed commute. Here in front of me I had one of my 5th graders showing me TWO pieces of art that she created at home that are BEAUTIFUL AND INSPIRED BY A CURRENT PROJECT. This student enjoying art enough to continue to create a current project at home (and on a piece of reused cardboard at that) is all that I can ask for. What a gift. Thank you Claire.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

My 5th Graders Rock. Period.

As my students have worked towards completion on their zentangle animal drawings, my smile for them is one of happiness, excitement and being so impressed. Each and every 5th grader has impressed me in their own special way on this project. And the best part is that I am pretty sure they know that they are doing a fantastic job. The best thing is when a student feels good about themselves and their work. 
For this drawing lesson we worked on combining simple shapes to create a whole. We talked about zentangles, the Elements of Art : Line and shape as well as the terms repetition, contrast and value

 Here are a ton of photos of students working. Only the top two are completely finished. My students will have the choice to add a wash of watercolor to the animal or to the background to make their drawing stand out more. For those that are starting to finish, where to use the color is a tricky decision. Originally, I was planning to have everyone paint in the animal. Evanna's (elephant at the top of post) was one of the first to make this decision. As we stared at her work and tried to decide which color would enhance the design, the answer was "no color, the black and white design does the job alone!". So she chose to paint the background.


Look at the beautiful lines in this flamingo! 
 Next up we take a break from drawing and begin an exploration in clay. We LOVE clay at Bear Tavern. I do, the kids do but I have to say, I am looking forward to our next drawing (and painting projects) in 5th grade.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Grade 4: Moments I Cherish

It's that time of year when kids miss school due to illnesses. When they come back to school, they most always have catch-up work to complete. When they miss art, they miss a whole lot... a weeks worth in one day.

Last week, as my 4th graders in Mr. Belford's class moved on with their clay coil containers, I had a few students who were absent the week prior.
I had half of the class continuing to build into their coils and the other half that had finished and were ready to glaze their bisque pieces. My absent students needed me to explain the lesson but I had to distribute glaze colors to half of the class first.
So, I asked each of the students who needed a demonstration to ask a friend who had clay out to demonstrate for me until I was done with the glazes.

Well, lets just say that my 4th grade "teachers" did more than amazing job demonstrating. As I eavesdropped, the language used was accurate, it was caring, it was patient. Of course I grabbed my camera,

I went over to meet with the students who had missed my instruction and realized that there was not much more that I could add in to secure the concepts and understanding of how to build a coil container in a creative way.

It is those moments like those that I cherish. Life feels perfect when I see education at its best in moments that show me that my students can pass along information in this manner.

Grade 4: Radial Designs

We had a ton of fun and success creating radial designs in fourth grade with a touch of repousse added to the centers. My 4th graders never cease to amaze me with their positive attitudes, creative ideas and skills. 
I saw this project on pinterest via Laura over at Painted Paper blog. I modified the lesson slightly choosing to use white paper as our starting point. I had my students create their designs in quadrants. They outlined their designs in Sharpie and then used a mix of crayons and colored pencils to achieve the vibrant colors. We used copper tooling foil for the repousse centers. Enjoy these beauties, I sure am!

PD Mumble: 2014 Art of Ed Winter Conference

When I arrived home today, there was a box waiting from The Art of Ed! I opened the box as quickly as I would if it came from Anthropologie or another favorite store. 

Inside were some sample art goodies hand-selected by the Art of Ed Founder Jessica Balsley. 

 My favorites are a nice sized container of one of my favorite brands of ceramic glazes, Speedball.
Also, a copy of Scholastic Art that I never received, a funny button and a new product called "Playcolor". I really like the Playcolor but it's quite pricey :-(

Playcolor Sticks

The Art of Ed online conference is later on this month on a Saturday. My colleague Gillian Beck and I are getting excited about doing professional development from the comfort of our homes. It will be a neat experience considering that the Art of Ed blog is a well executed, wonderful resource for Art Educators. We are excited about what info will be shared and feeling the connection to some knowledgeable people.
For more info on the conference and to sign up ---> The Art of Ed

Monday, January 6, 2014

Mumble about Sinks

Despite having three wonderful, separate sink areas in the art room, my students and I all gravitate to the low sink at the right of the room. 
Today, at clean-up with my 4th graders who had major paint stuff to clean, I, out of the blue, assigned each of my three table "islands" their own sink. The helpers dealing with cleaning up all of the water containers received rights to the low sink. WOW! It was awesome. No traffic jams, no impatient hands washing hands over hands. And all three sinks were being utilized. I've always joked that it's funny how certain parts of a classroom (and our homes) are more lived in and it's tough to utilize all of the wonderful spaces, today was a success in that sense! mumble, mumble.

Low Sink
Other two sinks

Friday, January 3, 2014

Grade 3: Ships

I LOVE the wonderfully executed water and the focus on the subject.
Last month, my third graders and I discussed the paintings of American landscape painter Winslow Homer and the significance of clipper ships (the greyhounds of the sea) in American history.
After drawing the ships and deciding how they wanted their sails to look and what accessories to add in, my students enjoyed blending chalk pastels in the backgrounds to create a sky and the water.
We used watercolor primarily to create "faux" wood.. The idea for this project came from a piece of art that I saw in the TCNJ k-12 Art, Innovation and Ideas exhibit that Bear Tavern was selected for last spring.
More student work to come!

"Breezing Up" 1873-1876 oil on canvas