Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Lesson Plan: Black History Month & Creating a Self Portrait Using Text

tagxedo finished jpg

In just a few days it will be February and Black History Month. It has always been important for me to celebrate Black History Month with my students. I know that sometimes people find celebrating one race for a month disconcerting. . .I've heard people say "Why isn't there [other racial group] History Month?" That is a long and lengthy debate; and honestly, I haven't ever found it very informative or worthwhile (other than to identify really unsympathetic people).

I find Black History Month to be a great, inclusive, and authentic way in which to encourage my students to talk about race, culture, and diversity in a positive manner. Some students want to share about African American triumphs and they educate their fellow students while at the same time, opening up the opportunity for students of other racial backgrounds to share similar histories, experiences, or understandings.

Additionally, I was floored when I realized my students didn't know what "civil rights" meant. Sometimes, we make assumptions that are really unfounded. Why would they necessarily know about civil rights?!

The most important thing to me is that my students develop a sense of global diversity and want to both learn and share about culture. In the spirit of that, I created this digital art lesson.

Step 1: Students take a picture of themselves against a white wall. You could take it the week prior to this lesson.
ms j

Step 2: Introduce the concept of cultural diversity and share the stories of specific African American artists. . .I think it is good to add other "non-dead-white-guy" artist as well!

Step 3: Introduce the project in full to students.

Step 4: Have students complete the "55 Words About Me and My World" worksheet. My favorite prompt: "15 words that reflect how I would like to see the world change are:"
55 Words About Me and My World

Step 5: Have students manipulate their color photo into a high-contrast black and white photo using Microsoft Office Picture Editor.

Step 6: Have students go to www.tagxedo.com and upload their photo using the directions provided (my click-by-click directions are below and available for download!).

Step 7: Have students enter text from "55 Words about Me and My World" worksheet and manipulate the font and color of their portrait. Save.
tagxedo me

Step 8: Students insert their finished text portrait into MS Publisher and add their name beneath their portrait.
tagxedo finished jpg

Step 9: Save and Print!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Modification, Differentiation, Adaptation and the Art Classroom

Today, teaching in the diverse environment that we do, thinking concretely about modification, differentiation, and adaptation is vital.

Currently, I work in a Title I environment and my students represent an amazing range of abilities, disabilities, behaviors, and circumstances. Yet, there are a few commonalities. For many of my students, for a variety of reasons, home a pretty wretched place; unfortunately for some, school is not much better. There are quite a few students in every school who just seem to hate the place; and at my school that seems to be a pretty big number.

When I was in school Art is what made the rest of it bearable and manageable. It was a place wherein I was happy; I got to be creative, have multiple answers, and had my voice heard. It is important to me that my classroom is a haven of sorts for my students. I want them to learn about Art, true. But more importantly, I want them to develop their creativity and ultimately, feel good about themselves and about being at school.

Often, I am not able to do much to change a student’s home life, but I can ensure that at least one hour of their school day is pleasant, fun, and a place wherein they know that they are important to me and that their thoughts are important to the whole class. In order to do that, my Art classroom must be one of the most inclusive and open classrooms in the school.

I’ll tell you a quick secret. I have a nickname; it is “Wild-Child Whisperer.” I’m known for being “good” with the kids that are “bad.” I’m not particularly empathetic; I just want everyone to enjoy Art, and that means the so-called “bad” kids too.

Here are some of the methods I use to ensure the accessibility of Art:

Talk to your Special Education department. Educate yourself about students.
-If you are a “Wild-Child Whisperer,” your classroom will become a haven for difficult students.
-Make a point to discuss modifications and adaptations for specific students with your Special Education department.
-Respect your paraprofessionals. These are some of the most over-worked people in education and many of them spend all-day with some of the most nerve-trying students in the building.
-Enlist the aid of your paraprofessionals. Most paras don’t have certification and due to this their expertise is often over-looked. However, paras spend all day (or most of the day) with students and they almost always have all the ins and outs of students’ modifications and adaptations memorized. They also are privy to all the nuances of students’ behaviors, and often know a lot about a students’ home lives. Paras are power-houses of information and knowledge. When in doubt, ask a para. Also, as human beings, they appreciate having their knowledge base respected.

Students with auditory tics, who display un-controlled noise making, and/or blurt/yell uncontrollably:
-Ignore any and all noise the student makes. If you recognize it, the rest of the class will think they should recognize it too.
-If the students blurts/yells at another student call the non-noisemaking student up to you. Tell him/her “When someone butts into a conversation that they are not a part of, the best way to get them to leave is to ignore them.”
-If the noise-making student is ever late for class, absent etc. use that opportunity to talk to the rest of the class. It is unethical to share the any specifics about another student with the class but you can say something like “Sometimes we have classmates that make unusual noises. When that happens we are going to ignore those noises. If the noises in particular bother you, please don’t talk to the student making the noises. Please come and talk to me and we will handle it together.”
-Truthfully, there isn’t much you can do to stop any noise-making tics. If the student is blurting/yelling sometimes you can talk to him/her quietly and ask them to stop and/or talk to you prior to yelling.

Students who are EBD (emotional behavior disorder), have anger management issues, and/or are deliberately disruptive:
-Kids who are disruptive are usually displaying displaced behavior due to some really troubling circumstance.
-Raising your voice/yelling and/or getting into a power struggle with these students will not work.
-When at all possible, do not allow the disruption to derail your class. Instead, calmly say something like “Please stop; you and I will discuss this in a minute” and continue with class.
-Most anger is a narcissistic behavior. When you talk to an angry student appeal to the student’s sense of self by saying things like “I want to keep you out of trouble, I want to help you, let me know what I can do to help you succeed” etc. etc.
-Do not ask an angry student to empathize. Most angry students are angry due to circumstances wherein no one is considering their feelings. Asking them to emotionally give before they get will not work and is asking too much of them.
-Set-up a “cool down” place and share it with the students. Mine is directly outside my doorway in an alcove I can see inside the classroom. Students can go there to calm down, breathe deep, and/or wait for me so they can discuss what has made them upset. It sounds too easy, but I can’t tell you how much this works.
-Prevent angry behaviors by talking to the student prior to class about what you can do to help them. Developing a non-verbal signal they can share with you during class is helpful too.
avoid frustration and tantrums by anticipating the abilities of your students. For instance, I had student try using compasses and then provided this template alternative.

Students who have Asperger’s and/or are somewhere on the Autism scale:
-Since these students represent a wide range of skills and abilities, check the rest of the topics for specific information.
-Many of these students have very strong feelings about loud noises, high-pitched sounds, textures, and getting dirty. Since almost all of that happens in the Art room, you need to anticipate when a set of circumstances will be overwhelming to a student and provide an alternative.
-During days wherein there will be loud and/or high-pitched sounds I arrange for these students to wait in the classroom across the hall until the noise-making is over.
-I have a set of neoprene (latex is a common allergy) gloves and plastic baggies to cover hands to prevent distress about textures and dirt.
-These students are always allowed to use the sink, yet they often don’t. Just knowing that they have the power to remove dirt at any time from their hands seems to be enough comfort.
This student LOVED sewing but HATES glue!

Students with physical limitations
-Talk to your Special Education department about any current and/or on-going technologies and/or modifications the student is using and educate yourself.
-Develop a non-verbal signal for the student to ask for your assistance. To be truly inclusive, you cannot sit by the student and provide him/her with every small thing s/he needs. Instead, use a sheet of paper that is one color on one side and a different color on the other. Have one color represent “I’m good” and the other color represent “I need help.” By using this simple tool, students can try when they want and solicit aid discreetly when needed.
-Provide the option of table easels. For students with palsies and/or physically degenerative disorders table easels are easier to reach. If you do not have table easels ask the Technology and/or Typing teacher if you can borrow a few of their book stands.
-Provide the option of clipboards. For many of these students, working in their laps is the most accessible option; the clipboard allows for this.
-Develop modeling clay as a gripper for pens, pencils, crayons, and paintbrushes. Since many of these students can’t hold a tight grip, wrapping clay around a pencil provides for a great option.
-Provide scissors that bounce open on a spring. Fiskars makes an excellent variety of these. ALL of my students want to use them!
-Assign student helpers. Pick out students who are mature enough to be polite and discreet. Ask them to get to class early and move chairs of the path of wheelchair/crutches/canes/walkers. Ask these students to always get a double of any material they get up to grab and ask them to leave it in the middle of their table. In this way, they aren’t specifically getting a material for a “needy” student, but rather are just providing extra for the whole table.
-Talk to the student! It is important the student knows they can ask you for aid and also that you respect them as an individual.
-Push them to their limits (without going past the limit). Avoid making things too easy. Art should be accessible, and it should also be challenging. Students who have to try and then achieve something big are proud of themselves! You don’t want to deprive your students of that opportunity.
a great pair of "bouncy" scissors

This student sometimes prefers to work on a clipboard. I always put one nearby and he can choose his preference without making a request.

This student tried printmaking but couldn't control the gouge enough to make specific cuts. Instead, s/he used scissors to cut a plate

finished artwork
Learned Helplessness:
-Some students grow accustomed to being aided and prefer to be enabled.
-While the path of least resistance is to just aid them all they want, you are harming the student. Eventually, these students will be adults and your job is to help them be the best they can be. Some students will get upset and display negative behavior when you deny them over-aiding, but if you are well-educated on their adaptations, and modifications, you can be sure you are doing right by the student.
-Be fair, specific, and matter-of-fact. When asked to over-aid, tell the student you know s/he doesn’t need certain aid and make it clear you won’t be providing it.
-Be consistent.
-Reason. For example, I had a student who told me he couldn’t be expected to peel the crayon paper off the crayon because his hands were “too big.” I showed him my hands, which are bigger and then said: “Well, you obviously use your hands for lots of things because I can see callouses and dirt in places. I bet you can do this too!”

-Have Plan A. . .But, have Plan B, C, & D.
-In nearly all of my classes I have at least two and as many as five students who have already taken Art this year. The reasons for re-taking Art vary according to student, but none of the students are re-taking due to grades or because they specifically wanted Art again. I do not want them to repeat projects because that is boring and because their boredom leads to poor behavior. Instead, I run as many as three different projects in my classroom at all times. I’m fluid about non-repeating Art students trying out the repeating Art students projects.
-Have modification and adaptation tools on-hand and ready-to-go. Over anticipate what you might need and have tools ready.
-Set up your Art room in such a way that there are a variety of tools and materials that students can access on their own, without request. This saves you so much time, and it encourages creativity and personal responsibility.
-Always, always, always have an engaging and fun “I’m Finished” assignment that students can access on their own.

Some of us were sewing, some of us were printmaking, some of us were painting! All on the same day in the same class!

A completed sewing project!

I hope you find these tips and tricks helpful! I’m curious. What methods do use in your classroom that are “indispensible?”

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Lesson Plan: Albrecht Durer and Printmaking (on the cheap)


This is a fabulous lesson plan I stumbled across nearly a decade ago on The Incredible Online Art Department. Over the years, I’ve varied it and seen all sorts of incarnations. This project is recommended for students in 6th grade or older as it makes use of linoleum cutters. However, with modifications like Styrofoam printing plates it could suit students as young as 4th grade.

Additionally, I’ve modified the original project requirements to create a less expensive version of relief-printmaking. It is important, especially in Title I environments, to find ways to incorporate advanced techniques and materials alongside frugality.


This project usually takes my students 2 weeks to complete. We meet every day for one 45 minute session. Even though my Art quarters are only 9 weeks long, I can justify this project because students are using so many different artistic skills to complete one amazing work.

Here are the steps I follow:
1. Introduce students to the art, history, and style of Albrecht Durer and Printmaking. I use the presentation below

2. As a class we examine the Rhinoceros by Durer . I hang a sheet of paper over the board (or use a SmartBoard) and students come up and trace over the patterns and textures on the animal. I then remove the artwork and just leave the student-traced textures. In this way students can see how important texture is to an artwork.
Albrecht Dürer_ Rhinocerus woodcut
Rhinoceros by Albrecht Durer, 1515

3. Students invent textures using the texture/pattern worksheet below

4. Students go online and print out an image of an animal of their choosing. You can modify this by providing pre-selected images. I find, however, that students engage more when they have more ownership over their selections.

5. Students draw their animal in pencil on a 10 inch x 12 inch sheet of paper

6. Students add texture to animals

7. Students trace all pencil lines with a dark marker

8. Students paint animal with watercolors

9. Students learn how to create a relief printmaking plate; includes teacher demo

10. Students sketch for plate. This should be their “signature” and can be a design or a set of letters (like Albrecht Durer’s signature). Remind students that letters should be reversed and words must be backwards (tricky!)

11. Students sketch and carve plate (I use very soft linoleum to avoid cuts etc. and because it is easier for students to get details). I pre-cut the linoleum into 2 inch x 2 inch squares. . .But, I have considered using erasers too!


12. Demo how to print the plates using stamp pads (this is a huge money saver for me. . .Though, if you can, using brayers and tube ink is best!)

13. Students print a border around a 2nd sheet of paper that is 14 inches x 16 inches. I’ve used white and colors; they all look great!


14. Students glue painting into the center of their 2nd sheet of paper

15. Finished! (whew!)









P.S. Having fun is important too!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

12 Powerful Words for Standardized Testing

Recently, I discussed strategies you can use in your classroom to help integrate the yearly push to "integrate testing topics" into all classrooms. I know it is a hot topic for us Art teachers. . .Yet, you will be involved in standardized testing this year (one way or another!).

The literacy coordinator at my school gave me a list of 12 common words used on the CRCT (the Georgia version of the dreaded test). I decided to find visual reminders and make mini-posters for all the words. During my vocabulary photo search, I came across a fabulous little compilation made by another teacher. I put them all together in a presentation to share with you:

I like the idea of using these words in my classroom because ALL of them can lead to amazing art discussions. Just imagine starting class with "infer the meaning of this artwork" or "Compare and contrast the artworks below." While I know we all (as those who often feel as the last hold-out for educational creativity) balk at standardized testing, these words are powerful and lend themselves to our class easily. Additionally, these words are beneficial for my students to learn, regardless of a test. And, I bet you feel the same.

If you want to download each slide as a photo to print out for your class, try visiting the site of origin, here.

Lesson Plan: Op Art Spheres (the easy way)

This is an exemplar I having been using for while; image from here

Teaching about Optical Illusions is so much fun. I have been doing the following lesson for as many years as I have been teaching. The ones I have here aren't quite finished, but I thought I'd share some in-process with you.

I recommend this project for students as young as 4th grade and as old as 6th. I have done with 3rd-6th. . . And, my 6th graders are working on it currently.

One of the great things about this project is that it is very math-relevant. If you like, you can use rulers and compasses to help students practice. In my experience, I usually offer the compasses and also offer various circle templates. If you are a new teacher (or a circle-frustrated one) here is a quick tip: spend an hour tracing and cutting out various circle sizes on heavy paper. I did this about two years ago, and I find them to be one of my most useful assets. How often do you hear: "Do you have something circle-like I can trace?" I don't necessarily want my students tracing all the time, but there are moments when it is appropriate and these little templates are a time-saver!


I also do not have a classroom set of rulers. Instead, I made several different widths of heavy cardboard "straight-edges" and we use those instead. . .Nearly free and perfect for use!

Below is the (super fun) presentation I use to introduce students to optical illusions. Easily a student favorite!

The traditional way to create an op-art sphere is to use measurements with your compass to "swing" an arc across your circle to create the needed illusion lines. For many (okay most) of my students using a ruler is a challenge. When my 1st quarter Art students used compasses it was too challenging for a few students. Several got so frustrated they shut down and felt as if they had failed. It is important to be sensitive to the needs of your classroom community. I want to introduce new tools to my students, true, but I don't want to overwhelm them either. In my classroom, we use a mix of circle templates, compasses, and this handy-dandy little "cheat" that I made up (check out my .gif below)

webcam to gif
Webcam to gif

I love this shortcut! And, this is a great little video to upload to your classroom blog. Not only can students view it at home, but you can play it during class for an added visual reminder.

Here is a quick break-down of the product process:
1. students use the template circles or compasses to create 2-3 circles on their papers
2. students follow me using the steps show above to create a grid for 1 op-art sphere
3. I demonstrate how to color the sphere in a grid
4. I demonstrate how to use the "straight edges" to create a background grid
5. students work and color
6. I demonstrate how to add a drop shadow
7. students add a drop shadow and finish their work

-You can use anything from crayons to markers to colored pencils to paint to create these great little projects.

-For students who need modifications: you can rely on the circle templates and aid them in coloring by labeling their grids with the appropriate colors and/or helping them to label their grids.





I helped this student create colored "x's" to aid with the coloring

Enjoy! I hope your class has as much fun with Op Art as we do!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Permission and the Blog

I have a feeling this little post may make me a little un-popular. . .But, just know that no matter your opinion, I still respect YOU.

First, a story:
About four months after I began this blog, I featured some ceramic jewelry that one of my students created (the post has been removed; you don't need to go look for it). In that post I had pictures of her work, other students' work, and a picture of me wearing the work (because I don't post images of my students on the internet). The images were a result of the interests of one of my students. This student, let's call her Ann, came to me with an image she found on the internet of ceramic jewelry; she wanted to make it. So, together, we broke down how to create this piece and then she created her own design based on the aesthetic of that first piece.

I was proud of Ann's work and celebrated it here. The following week, I received an email that was copied to all of my then professors (I was in graduate school at the time) and the Dean of my college. The email contained a formal cease and desist order and a letter my academic institution stating that I was turning in copied artwork for grades. The person who sent this email was the artist whose jewelry my student had copied. Somehow, this person became confused and thought that since I was in school, I must be turning in copies of her artwork for a grade. She had pictorial diagrams with arrows demonstrating how the work was similar.

I replied back to her, and copied my professors and my Dean, and stated that I was a teacher, that the artwork was created by an under-18 student, and that I had not aided the student for any personal profit or monetary gain, and that the artwork had nothing to do with my graduate studies. Furthermore, as the images were used in academic, K-12 setting for educational purposes, I was protected from copyright infringement (which is true; I check with a lawyer and an scholastic librarian). I concluded that I wished the artist had simply emailed with a polite request to remove the images as I wanted to promote positive relationships online, and would have done so immediately. In any event, I told the artist that I would remove any and all images pertaining to her artwork ASAP. And, I did.

I had to have a very uncomfortable meeting with my entire graduate department. They agreed I had done no wrong, and handled the situation correctly. But still, it was very embarrassing to have at all.

So, when we begin talking about permission and the blog, I have some real life experience.

Second, some thoughts:
In the DIY world there is a whole dialogue devoted to the "evils of the copiers." Some go so far as to say "Do-it-Yourself" does not stand for "Duplicate-it-Yourself." The point being that many cottage industry craft persons sell their wares online and that they lose money when their images are used to copy work. And, while they -for the most part- emphasize that they are not talking about people who copy for personal use, many would argue otherwise. Those in the wedding industry especially don't want brides copying crafts instead of purchasing. I empathize. At the same time, I would counsel some common sense. If you are a crafter, selling work online, and you have a blog, I would be very careful about what was posted. After all, if you are so foolish as to post "how-to" steps on your blog, you have freely given away the "recipe" for your craft.

Yet, it is rude to take. My mother is a professional photographer and in the days before digital she would give customers proofs with her copyright embossed. At that time, most photographers made money off of the number of prints ordered by customers. I can't tell you how many customers would just clip off her copyright and run down to Kinko's or wherever and have prints made. So, I do feel for people.

It is wrong to take images from anyone's internet site and post them onto your site without providing a source. If the images are copyrighted (and most are) then you are doing something illegal. But, once you get into the territory of posting your own images/ideas that are slightly altered from another online source, the water gets more murky.

Good manners (and ethics) would say that if you use someone else's idea whether written or visual, you should provide access to the source. The internet, at this stage, is like the Wild West, and you can't truly expect all people to do that. Unfortunate? Yes. Realistic? Yes. I would exercise caution. If you don't want your ideas taken (in every sense of the word), then I would not post them on the internet. Instead, write them up, edit them well and submit them to magazines and other, more scholarly and professional, sources.

If you find someone is using your ideas without permission and it upsets you, then I would contact that person. In my experience, most people are not deliberating taking, they just lack tech manners, experience, or foresight to list/link to a source Or, they may have simply forgotten they got the idea from you. If you are concerned about your images being re-used without permission, then put a watermark on them before you upload.

I know of one blogger who began watermarking images for a truly excellent reason (I'm not going to use her name out of respect). This blogger has fantastic ideas, some of which I have used (and always cited her as a source). People would see work inspired by her work on my blog and pin it to Pinterest. This blogger was the true source of inspiration, and that was important to her. So, she went in and under all of the images pinned from my site that were inspired by her work, she cited that and put a link to her site. Which I thought was cool; that gave the pinner 2 places to check out the project. Then, she began watermarking her images, which ultimately saved her a lot of time!

Closing Thoughts:
I try really hard to always cite my inspiration sources on both this blog and on all the presentations I upload to slideshare. But, I am human and I miss sources. I'm not treating every blog post as a graduate paper and combing over it to see if I've missed a source. I'm sorry for it, but I'm not a professional blogger, and this is something I do in the very limited time I have.

I know I have posted inspired items without a source, albeit unintentionally. In fact, just this week, I posted an image of a project I'm doing about Frank Big Bear and I know I saw something similar online but I can't find the source written anywhere or on my Pinterest board. Normally, when writing about lesson plans, I would list that the source was online and if anyone knew of it to let me know. But, since I only posted one image, not a how-to, I didn't stress overmuch.

My underlying point is that we have a really great little Art Education community here online. I know y'all are all good folks looking for great ideas and lesson plans and some of you are willing to share both in return. I don't think any of you would intentionally use a project without citing a source. . .But, we probably all should try harder to make sure we do. At the same time, I encourage you to remember that this is the internet, and it is likely that people will take your ideas and re-post them. If it bothers you to the point of distraction, I encourage you to be very careful about what you share.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Let's Get Testing!

Not my best angle, but you know, who is Keith Loutit?

Okay. You're back at school and now that the holidays are officially over, your administration is gearing up for that official, how-much-funding-will-we-retain, AYP, testing!

We could all have an in-depth discussion about how we feel about testing, the merits, the drawbacks, the impacts, and the results. . .But the reality is that you, the Art teacher, will in some manner aid/abet/administer/supervise/organize/distribute state mandated tests of some sort this Spring.

And those tests have almost nothing to do with Art.

But, you are expected to aid the "bubble" students (those who are thisclose to passing scores on mock tests) during your every day Art class to succeed on a mandated math and language arts test.

This is reality.

My school has regulated collaboration meetings weekly. Teachers in similar subject areas gather together to discuss how they are implementing lessons and how they can collaborate to strengthen the curriculum. We are all required to collaborate. Since neither the Business Education teacher nor myself has another co-collaborator, we gather weekly and, uh, collaborate. Fortunately, he is incredibly bright and efficient and we do a great job of showing off how interdisciplinary our subjects are.

Today, we were asked to outline how we intend to meet the needs of "bubble" students daily between now and the test date. We weren't exactly expecting this question, but we handled it pretty well. We decided to develop a poster system in our classroom that uses common words from questions/word problems on the test.

These words include (but are not limited to): examine, evaluate, analyze, comprehend, compare, contrast, infer, determine, review etc. etc.

We intend to incorporate these vocabulary words into classroom discussions so as to increase student understanding of their meanings. The literacy coordinator was present at our meeting and she really warmed to the idea. She especially liked it when I explained how I often ask students to "read" and artwork to interpret meaning and to infer information. I'm constantly dumbfounded at how people simply don't realize how inter-disciplinary Art is.

Once I get a cute little poster designed, I'll post it here to share with you!

In the meantime, I came across these (incredible, amazing, darling, well-executed, helpful) great posters by the author of 3rd Grade's a Hoot. While her students are much younger than mine, I think these vocabulary reminders about addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division would be a great addition to any classroom, including Art. I mean, really, aren't you always using these words?!

She sells large copies of the posters on her website! So, you really must go check them out.

If you like the posters from 3rd Grade's a Hoot, I really, really, really encourage you to visit her great blog. I'd also remind you to pin for pinterest from her blog (not mine) because it will be more helpful to people if, when they click on her pinned art, they go directly to her site!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

What's Happening in Art This Week?

Do you have to blog as part of your job requirement? I do. Not here of course, but my school expects all teachers to keep a blog that is updated weekly. This provides an important resource for parents and students alike. Teachers use it in a variety of different ways in my school from a means to show homework, for reminders, for notes to parents etc.

As an Art teacher, I use it to share what the students are doing with parents, to give shout-outs to successful students, and to highlight the successes of the Art program.

I am going to begin to put a similar copy on this blog as well so you can see how I pace my students and what sorts of trouble we get up to!

This week in Art:

The 6th graders will be studying the nature of line and the art of Frank Big Bear. You can learn more about him here:

Here is an example of a 6th grade Frank Big Bear project:

The 7th graders will be learning all about texture, print-making and artist Albrecht Durer. You can learn more about him here:
Here is an example of the 7th grade project:

The 8th graders are going to be learning more about how to draw by observation. . .Specifically, they will be focusing on contour lines. You can learn more about contour lines here:

Here is an example of the 8th grade project:

Monday, January 9, 2012

Welcome to Quarter 3!

Goofing Around with the Glue Gun!

Today was my first official day back at school after the holiday break! We didn't break until December 23rd and all of my colleagues commented today on how loooong the break felt because of the time we had after the 1st. It was awesome.

What really surprised me was how many of you commented that you only get one week off for the holidays! Even as a child I had two weeks off, and I think I sort of assumed it was a concrete rule. Funny how things you learn as a child seem so "absolute"!

I hope your new quarter is off to a fantastic start. I know I'm really excited about my incoming students. . .And, I'm really excited because I have a lot of students taking Art because it is so accessible to their various skill levels; that is a real compliment and a real challenge. I want to make sure their time in Art rocks!

Today was a teacher work-day and I had the BEST day because I got to spend all $2400 (I have about $3 left) of my grant money today! Wheeeeeeee! I purchased 18 digital cameras (one for every 2 students!), SD cards, USB drives, a bajillion AA batteries, 60 lbs of modeling clay and all the other fun findings for stop motion animation. The math coordinator and I are hoping to meet later this week to discuss how we can incorporate mathematical concepts into the project. I. AM. SO. EXCITED.

And, I obviously needed to share!

On a related note, do you twitter? I recently began to twitter and I'll admit it is a bit addictive. I don't notice a lot of Art teachers twittering. . .Or at least twittering about Art teacher things. How cool would it be to share quick quips with one another during the day? You know, for when that cute kid in fourth period makes a hilarious joke about post-modernism and only an Art teacher would get it.

If you want to follow me via twitter, just search for me "artfulartsyamy"