Monday, August 27, 2012

Second Grade, Third Grade, Oh My!!!!

We added another class to our day (the art/music/PE) this week, and boy, do the mornings go fast now!  Adaptive art is first thing, and I'll talk about all of it in a future post, but for now, second and third grades:

Second grade has been busy learning about texture.  We took notes in our sketchbooks:

And then did a simple crayon rubbing on a 6 x 9 paper, then painted it green (more on that later).  
The next time they came to art, we read The Lady With The Alligator Purse by Nadine Bernard Westcott and looked for things that have texture.  (Hint, hint, it's the alligator purse).  Students then drew their own ladies.  They could be a grandma type or cool teenager type, whatever kind of babysitter figure they'd want.  Here are some student examples:

Students drew in pencil on 12 x 18 papers, making sure her head went to the top and her feet to the bottom.  We'll paint our ladies with tempera block paint next time and use our texture papers to add an alligator purse.  I'll post finished work in a week or so.  They're doing a great job!

Third grade is also using their sketchbooks to take notes, but we've been talking art history.  Specifically, the first artists, why we have art, why art's important--you know, the Big Idea sort of thing.  After our discussion and note-taking, students used torn paper "hills", chalk and paper towels to make cave-like papers:

 Shown with the manilla paper "hill" template.

 Without the paper hill template--we throw the "hills" away when we're done.

They'll add animals with oil pastel next time.  This is a great lesson I got from the book Dynamic Art Projects for Children that I modified to fit my lesson/objectives/learning targets.  Speaking of learning targets, that could be a post all to itself, and maybe it will be in the future, as it's something I'm struggling with a bit right now.
Here's a picture of the book for those of us who always remember better with a photo:
Dynamic Art Projects for Children: Includes Step-by-step Instructions And Photographs

Happy art teaching!!!

Friday, August 24, 2012

A Whole Full Week Under Our Belts

A whole week and a half done, and it truly feels like we've never left.  I thought I'd update the first grade painting lesson.  After our paintings were dry, I cut them in two.  When students returned we read Gertrude McFuzz by Dr. Seuss.  It's an old copy from my childhood that I colored all over.  The students are horrified that someone colored in the book and delighted to find out it was me ("You were a bad kid, Mrs. Fresia!").

This is exactly what my copy looks like, only mine is really beat up
After our reading, they then use crayons to draw a bird on one of their papers, and glue it to the other and draw a background.  Then we use REAL FEATHERS to make the tails (with first graders, it's like I told them they won the art lottery--they're seriously swooning at the news!)
Here are some pictures of work from yesterday and today, enjoy :-D
 A view of them as a group.
 Upclose with LOTS of feathers.  I don't limit them, I just let them use as many as they want.
 Bird with pill-berry vine from the book.
Love the personality of this one!
A little organizational note: I give them two colors per class (first day got yellow and green, second day got yellow and red, third day got white and blue).  It makes for a more interesting display AND it makes it easy to return work to the right class (unless you've got a class +, like me this year!)
As for everyone else:
Second grade is busy learning all about texture, real vs. implied and looking for texture in books we read and things we see everyday.  They should be done with their project in the next week or two, so I'll post some of those when they're done.
Third through sixth is busy working with big units, so they won't have as many projects, but they're really doing well.
Yeeeeeaaaaahhhhhhh for a successful well under way!

Monday, August 20, 2012

First Grade Fun and Some Kindergarten, Too!

Whew! Every year when school starts I forget how hectic the days are.  I'm barely holding on some days (like today) when I'm trying to cram so much into 40 minute time slots.  I thought I'd do a little update on what first grades' been up to these first weeks of school.
The first time I see them, we talk about rules and procedures (boooorrrrriiiiinnnnngggg, but so necessary) and with the few minutes we have left I read It's OK to Be Different by Todd Parr.  Then, I give each student a 6" x 6" square of white paper and let them do their own version. They only have a few minutes with their papers and markers, but I want them to color as much as they can. Here's the bulletin board I made of all of them together: 

And some close ups:

And my personal favorite:

It says "accesorizing" because she wants everyone to know that it's OK to accessorize!

Today was the second time I saw one of my first grade classes, and we did some painting:

Next time, we'll read some Dr. Seuss and make an awesome collage out of our papers!  This is always a great project to liven up the halls.

Speaking of liven-ing up, kindergarten had some live fun today, making glasses to remind them to look at things closely like artists do:

I just made a template out of old cardboard (I think it was a Pepsi box), traced it 3 times on tagboard, and then photocopied it 30x to have enough for the grade level.  I pre-cut the eye holes for them, they just color with markers and cut them out.  I love this project because it's a quick and easy way to see who has control over their cutting (I keep masking tape close by to tape any mistakes on the back of the paper).  They are super proud to wear their glasses home!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Gettin' into the Groove

Well, as hard as it is to believe, the school year really is under way.  I worked on a new bulletin board before students arrived:

I wish I added a little bit more, but I was pressed for time. Kind of weird to do a real bulletin board fashioned after and on-line one. My plan is to change it to different artists throughout the year. 

In my classroom I've been busy giving kids the safety schpeil we have to give every year (fire/tornado/earthquake drills and other important procedures). Not only is it boring to repeat 20x, but I worried in previous years that I left important stuff out by the 15th time.  Last year I put all of it on Smart Notebook with recordings of my voice, interactive links,and student interactions (with the Smartboard). The students seem to respond very well to it. I know all the students are getting the same information and my voice is saved.Love love LOVE the Smartboard, it's really life changing!

I have to share an adorable story about a kindergarten student: I was giving the intro to the safety procedure Smartboard thing when he raised his hand and said "Hey, um, I don't know if you know this, but I don't like changing classrooms." Then he laid his head down and sobbed.  Heartbreaking, yet adorable all at the same time.  After we'd gone through procedures, we got out the smelly markers, smelled 'em, colored with 'em and he was happy as could be.  Cute little guy, I can already see he's going to be a keeper!

This coming week we'll all be diving into our projects and units and getting into art big time!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

I Used to Photograph my School Supplies

Well, that's not really true.  I photographed my Christmas presents with my 110 Kodak.  My school supplies I would get out, organize, sort and admire several times a day before school started. No wonder I love organizing my classroom!

My sweetie and I decided to run up to "Mama's schoo" for an hour or so today to get a better jump start on getting things organized.  We have a new principal this year and she wanted everything down for the summer.  This meant taking down all my table signs, which was good because I spent today cleaning/dusting them before I put them back.
 Each sign has a photgraph of the artist on one side and an example of their work on the other,
except for Ansel Adams.  Funny that I couldn't find a photograph of a photographer! 
Ansel Adams table is just his work.

Notice that I have both a color and an artist above each table?  Both have a purpose.  The color is for their table boxes:

Each of my eight tables has a color and an artist.  The colors are primary, secondary, black and white.  Students at the yellow table use supplies from the yellow box, students at the green table use the green box, etc.  Each table box has a "parking spot" on the cabinet along the wall.  While not yet stocked for this school year, I keep crayons, markers, scissors, and pencils in boxes.  Glue is in a bin/box of it's own (I hate the gluey mess) and erasers are on my desk, along with extra pencils (students can get up to get them whenever they want).  Even kindergarteners understand this system the first month of school.

The artist above each table coresponds to their table folder.  I know many art teachers who use table colors for this, but this system works for me.  I've used this system since about 2000 or 2001 when I heard about it at an art teacher conference in my state.  If we're doing something that's not messy (drawing, for example) work goes directly into the table folders at the end of class (I set them out about 5-7 minutes before the end of class).  Here's what 1st grade, Day 3 folders look like right now:
Pardon the sideways look, it's not letting me turn it :-/  If it's work that needs to go in the drying rack (gluey or painting) I don't use the folders, but I've had student teachers who put it back into folders before the students arrive.  I typically use the artist table folders 1st-6th, but I have K folders if I need them.

Our school district is on a three day rotation, so I made my banks of drawers primary colors.  Day One is red:

In those drawers are red artist folders.  Folders are all the same, made of 12 x 18 white tagboard with photocopied artist name and info (just what kind of artist they are/where "painter" "sculptor" etc and their birth/death dates) glued on and student grade level hand written on the top:
These are Day Three folders, so they're blue.

Day Two is yellow, with yellow folders:

And Day Three is blue:

My Sweetie is "helping" here by putting random crayons in the first grade drawer ;-)

When I did my student teaching, my cooperating teacher (Sharon Williams, one of the very best, most amazing teachers I've ever met!) gave me a calendar of artists, and I used it at the end of the year to make my artist table signs.  And I knew I didn't want to have to re-make them often, so I used high-quality fadeless paper for the color signs.  These signs are almost 12 years old, and they still look great!
You can't see it here, but there's a photograph of Jasper Johns on the other side.

I didn't work long today, but I felt productive when my sweetie and I left "Mama's Schoo" after an hour and a half.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Writing for Publications

I made a lesson up about Native American shields a couple of years ago (I so rarely know if I actually made something up or if I got it from someone/somewhere).  I was SURE I made this one up myself, so I thought I'd try to get it published.  Got all my ducks in a row last spring, got all the writing done, pictures taken, parent permission forms. . . and didn't mail it at the beginning of the summer.  I promise you, I had the best of intentions.  It was just so summery and I got distracted with other things.  But have no fear!!! I just got it all together, images burned onto disk, in the envelope, ready to go!  Now I just have to get it to the post office. . .
Until I hear back from my friends at Arts & Activites (we're tight, BTW), here's a little preview of that fourth grade lesson:

I've had one lesson published previously (First Grade Jewelry Portraits), and to read it click here.  I will say that since it's been published, I've made some changes to that lesson.  Namely, I have the students make their magazine beads around a paper straw--so much easier!  I just make little masking tape flags with their names, they make the beads, they can even go in the drying rack!  Here's a few student examples from that lesson:

That's my thing to be proud of for today: my lesson is really all ready for submission.  Oh, and I cleaned some windows at home :-)  'Cause I know for sure I won't be doing any of that come next week, it'll be all about school.

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