Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Art Ninjas: Have Fun at the National Conference

Dear Fellow Art Educators,

Ahh. I'm SO jealous. I'm not able to attend the National Convention this year, but will be thinking of you while I'm teaching graffiti skills to my middle schoolers (no really!).

I can't wait to hear all about your amazing convention experiences.

If you get a chance, check out my mentor's presentation on Saturday (excerpt below is from the convention schedule).

11:00 - 11:50 AM


Connecting an Online Portfolio to Student Teaching to Advance a Graduate Action Research Agenda

Diana Gregory

Learn how an online portfolio presented as a capstone experience during student teaching allows candidates to analyze how visual art teachers become creative choice-makers, reflective practitioners, researchers, and collaborative professionals.

Best Practice Lecture

Sheraton Conference Room H Lower Level

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Common Core Vocabulary for Middle School Visual Arts

During the next school year my school district will be unrolling the Common Core Standards. The mission statement of the Common Core Standards is thus: "The Common Core State Standards provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them. The standards are designed to be robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that our young people need for success in college and careers. With American students fully prepared for the future, our communities will be best positioned to compete successfully in the global economy."

I'm rather intrigued by the Common Core. Ultimately, it provides a centralized curriculum which means that students will have the same curriculum whether they are in Georgia or in another state adhering to the Common Core. Obviously, the idea is to have all states on the Common Core Standards. The Common Core Standards align fairly well with my state standards (and I would think the same would be true of most state standards) which means incorporation should be made with relative ease. Sure, it is one more hurdle to hop over, but it is one that can be easily assailed.

One of the aspects of the Common Core Standards I like the most is that it provides a central curriculum for students regardless of location. In many ways, this is a concept aimed at educational equity that I can truly appreciate. I'm not sure overall, how if it will have an equitable impact, but I like that the idea is there. Additionally, as a teacher in a Title I school, which are known for transient students, I really like the fact that students entering or exiting my class will (hopefully) come from schools with the same standards or will go to schools with the same standards. Transient students often get lost in the shuffle as they are constantly trying to acclimate to new standards in new schools; a centralized standard system would suit them well.

The Common Core stresses a heavy Language Arts and Math curriculum. . .but it doesn't do so at the exclusion of other subjects. Rather, it encourages the use of similar vocabularies throughout all classes in the hopes of interdisciplinary learning. Obviously, the non-Language Arts and non-Math courses will have more vocabulary than just those listed in the Common Core, but all teachers are expected to use as much of the Common Core Language Arts and Math vocabulary as possible.

Looking forward to next year, I decided to start going through the Common Core vocabulary lists for middle school grades. I was surprised as just how many words really are used in the Art classroom. I decided to make display cards featuring the word alongside the definition to display in my classroom. These cards will serve to reiterate language to students and to remind me to use those words (and encourage student use) during classroom discussions.

And, because you know I love sharing, I've got them all up online for you to download, print, and display. Enjoy!! You are welcome to download and share in your classroom, but please do not reproduce for profit.

6th grade common core advert
The 6th grade Common Core vocabulary words that also incorporate visual arts: problem solving, antagonist, cube, deductive reasoning, environment, evidence, imagery, inductive reasoning, inference, investigator, lore, memoir, metaphor, mystery, personification, protagonist, realism, simile, time, value, victim, and witness. You can download the 6th grade Common Core Vocabulary for Visual Arts as jpegs in a zipped file here, or from slideshare below:

7th grade common core advert
The 7th grade Common Core vocabulary words that also incorporate visual arts: anthropomorphism, autobiography, biography, character, conflict, dialogue, documentary, fantasy, foreshadowing, parody, point of view, setting, theme, and tragedy. You can download the 7th grade Common Core Vocabulary for Visual Arts as jpegs in a zipped file here, or from slideshare below:

8th grade common core advert
The 8th grade Common Core vocabulary words that also incorporate visual arts: allegory, explicit, genre, hero, heroine, implicit, mood, preconceived notion, perspective, satire, and symbolism. You can download the 7th grade Common Core Vocabulary for Visual Arts as jpegs in a zipped file here, or from slideshare below:

middle grades math common core advert
The 6th, 7th, and 8th grade Math Common Core vocabulary has a lot of overlaps. So, rather than separate the vocabulary according to grade, I assimilated them as one Middle School group. The Middle Grades Common Core vocabulary words that also incorporate visual arts: compose, difference, evaluate, expression, plot, polygon, proportion, value, origin, prism, and pyramid. You can download the Middle Grades Common Core Vocabulary for Visual Arts as jpegs in a zipped file here, or from slideshare below:

elements and principles of art advert
And, well, just because I was on a roll, I created vocabulary display cards for the Elements and Principles of Art. You can download the vocabulary display cards for the Elements and Principles of Art as jpegs in a zipped file here, or from slideshare below:

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

"What I Do" Meme: Art Teacher Edition

Have you been enjoying the "What I Do" memes as much as I have? I love seeing how my friends interpret their careers and how they think everyone else interprets their job. Marcia, from Art is Basic, sent out a challenge for Art Teachers to create their own meme. . . And that was the last little push I needed to create my own!

art teacher meme
What do you think? What would your Art Teacher "What I Do" meme look like?

Friday, February 10, 2012

Lesson Plan: Creating Picasso-Inspired Cubist Superheroes

Cubist Mojo Jojo

I have to chalk this one up to Pinterest.

Through Pinterest, I came across the artwork of the amazing design firm, WonderBros, whom (among other amazing things) creates cubist superheroes. I knew this would be a great connection to Picasso and cubism for my students.

In years past, I’ve planned and taught the requisite cubist self-portrait and /or chair based projects. Some of the students get into it, but most of them are either bored or don’t seem to get it. Generally, when I hear a teacher utter a statement like that, I think: “Well, the teacher is probably bored by the lesson, which is why the kids are bored.” I stand by that statement. I’m a bit over teaching the “cubist self-portrait” over and over and over again.

Now, cubist superheroes . . . Doesn’t that just sound interesting?

It is. And, my students LOVED it. Here is what we did.

1. I introduced Picasso using the presentation below. The presentation gives a brief history of Picasso, touches on the blue, rose, and cubist periods, defines cubism, demonstrates exemplars of cubist superheroes, and then has a compilation of regular superheroes as reference. Please feel free to download and use!

2. During the presentation I really focused on what defines cubism. So often, students think cubism is “making stuff look weird.” And, well, cubism does do that, but it also entails a bit more. My students really need concrete boundaries, so I did a bit of research and created a list to define cubism ( and in the interest of being honest -I can’t remember what parts of the list I created and what parts I sourced). My students and I defined cubism as a style of 2-D art that uses at least two of the following methods:
a. Abstracted
b. Broken mirror effect
c. Rearranged elements
d. Geometric
e. More than one view
f. Simplified shapes

3. Next, I had students peruse a packet of about 60 5 inch x 7 inch print outs of superheroes. They selected their superhero and spent a class sketching it in the cubist style. During this class, students could switch superheroes as many times as they liked. Many sketched as many as 5 different superheroes before deciding on one that suited their aesthetic the best. Ultimately, if you want students to have the maximum level of ownership over this project, taking them to the computer lab and allowing them to research and find their own superhero would be best. However, we have spent A LOT of time in the computer lab in recent weeks and I wanted the students to maximize sketching time. For me, it was of the utmost importance they understand cubism both as a concept and as a creation method.

4. During the next class, I spent about twenty minutes discussing painting techniques. We used tempera for this project. Many of my students have limited experience painting and/or using a lot of art materials other than crayons and markers. They were so excited to learn (as I encouraged them to think about how small brushes could be used for details and big brushes for larger areas) that they could use more than one paintbrush at a time, could mix their own paint, and could choose their own paint colors. Since color mixing can be difficult I posted the following “cheats” on the board:
a. Red + lil’ black = burgundy/dark red
b. Green + lil’ black or lil’brown = camo green
c. White + lil’ red = pink
d. White + lil’ brown + tiny red + tiny yellow = tan
e. White + tan = pale human color
f. White + lil’ black = gray



5. As students painted, I circulated and aided. They loved mixing paint colors so much. In fact, their delight at “discovering” color reminded of elementary students.
yes! Using our WHOLE BODY to paint!!

6. We used 5 classes at 45 minutes a day to complete this project. All paintings are 18 inches x 24 inches.

Cubist Batman (love the broken mirror effect!)

Cubist Aqua Girl

Cubist Batwoman

Cubist Batman

Cubist Flash (love this one because the student really got it and really got into it; this is his 3rd finished piece for this project!)

Cubist Batman

Cubist Batwoman (Batman/Batwoman was really popular, but I swear they had TONS of choices!)

Cubist Robin (note how even the title is "rearranged")

Monday, February 6, 2012

Super Powers of Enterprising Teachers

I came across this fantastic presentation today. Great inspiration for the Monday after a "big weekend"!