Monday, September 28, 2015

Random Mumble: Great way to start the week!

What a perfect way to begin the week. Balancing on my door handle this morning was a note with my "name" on it. Immediately curious, I hurried in to see what it could be. 

Inside of the envelope was this note:

So I carefully cut the taped seams with thoughts of what could be inside... A special piece of string or paper found over the weekend, a drawing made on a wrapper?!
Inside was a little origami fortune teller made from a post-it note!

I carefully unfolded it and held it in my hand cherishing it like the little jewel that it is. Oh! I have the most thoughtful students!

The 4th graders made fortune tellers during Spanish class with Señora Morrison. I'm thinking the origami skills are attributed to Señora's lesson. I am just happy at the thoughtful Monday gesture. 

Random Mumble: The Little Things in Life

We got a delivery to the art room this week. Mrs. Nami in the Main Office brought down a plastic box with "Joslyn Johnson Bear Tavern" written across the lid.
I opened it up in front of my class and showed them what was inside. It was filled with a couple of things but the huge excitement was for the fake fruit that filled the majority of the container and the cool note laying on top.

I can't even tell you how excited we were to receive the fake fruit from Mrs. Cariola, Art Teacher extraordinaire from the middle school. I pretended to eat some of the apples and squeeze some lemon and lime juice on the kids before we moved back to our lesson.
I am so appreciative for this batch of fruit to complement a lackluster existing supply. Sometimes it's the little things in life that make all the difference. We will be able to make better physical connections to our still life paintings with these fabulous props.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Kindergarten: Exploring Mondrian

This year, I am welcoming kindergarteners to the art room on a regular basis! It's an exciting change and we have a busy and productive year ahead of us. We just completed our first abstract composition! We discussed the colors, lines and shapes that we saw in Dutch Painter, Piet Mondrian's paintings. Focusing on his Composition with Large Red Plane, Yellow, Black, Gray, and Blue (1921) we made some great observations. 
They worked on cutting shapes from construction paper, gluing shapes and then adding black lines to their compositions in a creative way. Lots and lots to do with my two groups of 23! We began to re-create the definitive abstract compositions for which Mondrian is best known in our own way. Mondrian limited his palette to white, black, gray, and the three primary colors, with the composition constructed from thick, black horizontal and vertical lines that delineated the outlines of the various rectangles of color or reserve.

I was able to observe what skills my newest students possess and get a preliminary feeling for who they are as young artists. Stay tuned for more K artwork!

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Pop Art, Pope Francis and Perry Milou

One of my 5th graders shared with me that her cousin was commissioned to create a painting of Pope Francis. Of course I asked if it was her famous, Philadelphia based cousin, Perry Milou who she has mentioned to me over the years.

How exciting! She brought in a print (below of Pope Francis with the art museum in the background) the next day and I felt so happy to see his amazing work and it's connection to this historical first visit of Pope Francis to The United States. Regardless of religious affiliation, this visit has been impactful in numerous ways to those of us living in this area. See the beautiful cathedrals on television and seeing fine art connections has been fabulous.

A Pop artist, Milou has depicted countless famous faces with his rich palette. His "Faces" collection of Pope Francis can be viewed on his website. There is a nice video towards the top of his site that talks about how this collection was a perfect match as he realizes so many personal connections to the Pope and his visit to Philly.

I am truly thankful to my student for keeping me up to date on some amazing local art that is being created and influencing the world. Milou's paintings are quite special. 

All images are from

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Yearbook Cover Contest!

Fifth graders, It's your time to design a cover for our yearbook cover contest!!
I know you're so excited.
Check your email for information. Below are a few photos from past yearbook covers to use as a reference. 

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Fantastic Tots on Tour!

Today's Tots on Tour class goes down as one of my very favorites. And let me tell you, I needed it to be! I've been so happy to be back to school and seeing my elementary students but like the majority of teachers, I've been exhausted!!! 

September presents so many tasks to organize and new systems to learn. 
As I drove up 295 this morning it was beyond foggy. As I entered Hamilton, the sun took over and the rest of the day was  energy packed, creative and fun.
Today's focus was Monet and water lilies. After reading a great book "Where's the Frog" and taking a nice walk over to the Japanese Bridge, we created clay water lily pads and flowers. I created this lesson so simply and am excited to modify it for different ages. 

There's something about those first clay projects that melts my heart. Each year when I blog about pinch pots with first graders, it's the same thing. Being able to facilitate art experiences for young people that are meaningful and rewarding is what I love. Today was such a great day because the excitement and energy and precious moments that my two Tots groups expressed reminded me of everything important as an Arts Educator.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

A Rainbow!

II am so excited about the full rainbow that I just saw in Hopewell by the Township building. Almost all of the rainbows I've seen have been in the area.  
Out of nowhere it was just there and it made my day! We're going to have such a fantastic year in art. 

Here are some facts about rainbows from
  • Rainbows by definition is an arc of spectral colors that appears in the sky opposite the sun as a result of refractive dispersion of sunlight in drops of rain.
  • A rainbow occurs when it is raining in one part of the sky and sunny in another.
  • The colors of the rainbow are Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo and Violet.
  • An easy way to remember the colors of the rainbow is ROY G. BIV.
  • It is believed that rainbow got its name from its shape.  A rainbow’s arc looks similar to a bow for  shooting arrows.  People also noticed that this colorful arc would only form when it was raining so they called it a rainbow.
  • Scientist Isaac Newton explained how a rainbow forms.
  • Sunlight is really made up of the colors of the rainbow.  When those colors are all mixed together it is called white light. White light is the light we see everyday.
  •  When sunlight travels through the air in the same direction we see white light.  When the sunlight enters through a raindrop the colors separate causing us to see a rainbow.
  • Each raindrop makes its own rainbow but it takes millions of raindrops for us to see a rainbow.
  • A rainbow arch is a 42 degree angle starting from the direction opposite from the sun.
  • Sometimes sunlight is reflected twice inside a raindrop.  When this occurs we get a secondary rainbow or a double rainbow.
  • The colors of a secondary or double rainbow are in opposite order of the primary or first rainbow.  You will see violet on top of the secondary rainbow instead of red.
  • Moonbows or lunar rainbows occur when the moon’s light reflects through the raindrop.  This type of rainbow is rare because the moon’s light usually isn’t bright enough for a rainbow to form.
  • Did you know that no two people see the same rainbow, why?
  • A person standing next to you is standing in a slightly different spot and sees the rainbow in a slightly different place.  The rainbow may look the same but there a little different because the person next to you sees different raindrops.
  • When the sun is lower the rainbow will be higher in the sky.
  • When the sun is higher the rainbow will be lower in the sky.
  • On the ground we only see a semi-circle rainbow but from very high up such as on an airplane you can see a rainbow in a complete circle.
  • Did you know you can never get to the end of the rainbow. When you move the rainbow moves too.
  • You cannot touch a rainbow.
  • How you ever noticed that you don’t see many rainbows in the winter in cold climate.  This is because in the winter raindrops freeze into snowflakes so less raindrops fall.
  • You see more rainbows in tropical locations and by waterfalls.
  • Earth is the only planet in the solar system where rainbows are possible.
  • Upside down rainbows or cirumzenithal arcs can sometimes occur they are also known as sun smiles. They form when the sunlight reflects through ice crystals.
  • In ancient times many different civilizations had different beliefs about rainbows.
  • In Greek mythology Iris was believed to come with the rainbow as a bridge between the heavens and earth.
  • The ancient people of Serbia believed that the rainbow was the Storm God’s bow and that he used it to shoot arrows of lightening through the sky.
  • Ever try to make a rainbow at home?  Try standing with your back to the sun.  Take a water hose and spray it in front of you keeping the sun behind you.  Watch what happens. A rainbow should form.

Summer drawing challenge

Last week we started school! It feels great to be back so that we can continue on our art journey exploring, creating, imagining, and discussing what art truly is. 
I am really proud of my students who complete the summer drawing challenges each summer. 
This year, I gave close to 100 drawing prompts of which students completed as many as they wanted with the goal of 30 (one month).
Below are a few drawings by one of my lovelies. I cannot express how happy I was to flip through the pages of the carefully organized binders, folders and clamped pages. 
A little practice each day goes a long way!