Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thank you Art Rocks! Readers

THANK YOU! to all of my regular blog readers and to the visitor's of Elementary Art Rocks!
This blog has been such a blessing. My second website, this blog initially served as a way to not only communicate with parents at the schools where I was teaching but as a way to document my days as an elementary art teacher. Making the shift from a high school to middle school and then to an elementary art teacher was a great experience as I realized how much I loved teaching at every single level.

I am thankful for all of your comments and support over the past several years.
Here are some cool facts about this blog!

As of today, we are at 349,832 page views!
10,000 visitor's just last month!
Almost 300 posts!

And what's interesting for me is what the most popular posts have been. These posts, when I see them on Google searches or Pinterest, my heart always skips a beat. I am thankful that these posts have been helpful to other art teachers over the past several years.


Written in 2011: SNEAK PEEK at ART ROOM MURAL

Written in 2013: GRADE 1 MONET BRIDGES

Written in 2011: MONSTER MAMA (Art and Literature)

Not a top post but....
Year 2012: BIRCH TREES
This is a lesson that I saw online and was inspired to modify and use in 2012. I've seen this project soooo many times now but the results are consistently great and an example of how some lessons are oldies but goodies.

 T H A N K    Y O U   to everyone for visiting and I hope the next few years supply you with new ideas and inspiration to try something new or reinvent something old.

Happy Thinksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Each day as I enter school, I feel excited and appreciative for another day of doing what I love. There is always something new happening or a new way of looking at things in front of me.
One thing that happened recently was an old thing seen through new lenses. 
We were using glitter in second grade to create jewels for our Tree of Life inspired paintings. The kids had drawn their shapes and were filling them in carefully and so happily using glue. Their little fingers were being careful to pinch glitter and sprinkle the colors of their choosing in the areas that they wanted to make the most unique and beautiful jewels for their trees. 

Something seemingly so simple had their attention and interest for an hour- and they could have gone longer. 
We chatted about birthstones and they were intrigued by the concept of a precious stone to represent their birth month. 
As an adult, it's a great reminder to appreciate the view of this world through a child's eyes. There is so much that can be taken for granted... Like the excitement for glitter and birthstones. 

In the same class period, when it was time to begin cleaning up, using our mini brooms was the best option for cleaning the glitter.

Every art teacher knows the allure of a few token clean up tools... Mini brooms are high on the list. 

It wasn't the mini brooms that stopped me for a moment but the care and ownership that my boys put into the clean-up. Oh, and these kids were sweeping every single piece of glitter on the tables and floors AND having meaningful conversations about the best procedures for sweeping. How could I forget how much the kids loved the mini brooms??! Well, we don't need them often, that's why. Easy to forget.
As I stood there watching them, I thought of new ways to inspire clean-up for my Friday Art Enrichment class that has 11 boys and 6 girls. By the time we roll around to clean-up, their minds have moved to "what's next".... meaning, "what am I doing once I go home".
With my Thursday group where I have 20 girls, clean-up has barely any challenges at all.
So, with the inspiration of my 2nd grade boys and the mini brooms as inspiration, I decided to think much simpler and created individual tasks for them to complete in order to leave for the day. Individual jobs is the key. Table jobs at the end of the day are worthless. 
I appreciate the moments in which I learn from students how to be a better teacher and the opportunity to thank my students for inspiring me on so many levels. In this case, my students reminded me of something that I forgot and the reminder allowed for a new and better clean-up structure for an after-school class.

Just some random thoughts for this beautiful day...

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Grades 3, 4 & 5: Op Art

We enjoyed exploring Op Art as our first project this school year in these three classic projects. We viewed the work of Victor Vasserly (the 'Father' of the Op Art movement) and the mesmerizing designs by Bridget Riley. 

The kids were really into it and we could have viewed images on the Epson for much longer. 
Speaking of the Epson. This past summer, the art room changed drastically. The wall space that housed the SmartBoard that I have been fortunate to have for all these years was finally replaced, at my request a couple years ago, with an Epson projector and new dry erase board. The span of white board space now spans over 15 feet. The once cumbersome SmartBoard and wasteful wall space that it took up is now a clean and fantastic wall of instructional space that we use every single class period of every single day. We have always utilized the carpet space and SmartBoard but not to this degree. It's fantastic. Everything looks brighter.

Back to the Op Art. So we are viewing these incredible illusions and the kids could feel immediately what I was saying about Op artists trying to irritate their viewers eyes. Some of the illusions of the high contrast designs gave us headaches! In all of them we saw lines and patterns used to show movement and dimension. 

On the left of the white board I keep samples related to grade 3,4,5 projects and to the right are grades k,1,2. Closer to the door I have another board that has all of our current projects hanging along with objectives(not viewable in this picture taken in Sept, will post in the future). The kids see what Op art projects are planned for the other grades and ask if they can try the other illusions. 
So basically, 4th and 5th graders chose between the converging cones and the checkered spheres and grade 3 did hands and a few requested to try out the spheres. 

I am really proud of the results. The hands ended up being the most difficult of all. Each project required the use of a ruler, patterns, precision and planning. The STEM classes enjoyed these projects for their mathematical connections.