Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Just Outside My Door

There is an easel just outside my door, with a poster that I change every year.  It's actually a piece of poster board securely taped to a piece of foam board that is tied to the easel with pipe cleaners (can you tell I've had things knocked over before?).  I like to do a totally different one every year, and this is what this year's looks like:

Hard to see in the photo, but it says:
Knock Knock WHO'S THERE? a few things that make Mrs. Fresia smile
I was really torn between this idea a sort of "Sweet Sixteen" theme (for my sixteenth year teaching) but in the end, this idea one out and I'm very happy with it.  Each door opens:

First/red door

The black is magnet strips, so the doors will stay closed.
The blue door got a smear of red on it from someone opening it.
Kind of like what happens on your front door at home.

I googled "front doors," looked at the images and painted from those images.

I need to photograph my artwork more often,
but this is my purse for the year.
It's Gelli-printed on an old running shirt,
then appliqued--it says:
depending on how you're looking at it.
Last door. . . 

This is an acrylic mirror.  I have a class set of stand-up
acrylic mirrors and one broke.
I saved it, scored it with an Exact-O knife
and cut it to size.

I'm enjoying the interactive aspect of this year's poster, and I know the students are too.  Every single day children are opening the doors and commenting (or maybe checking for spinach in their teeth).

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Not 'Lion,' I Really Like These Lions (Now)

After help from some readers (thank you, Christie & Connie for being supportive readers) I do now really like our lions.  What started out as some cutting practice really came together well:

We drew our lions together with marker, cut them out and assembled them.  Thanks to Christie's brilliant idea, we added some tempera paint (two finger printing for clouds and cardboard edge for grass).  I had pre-cut 4 x 18" strips, and we added paint to that too.  After drying, more cutting (the grass) and some glue, we were done:

And because our building is in our first year of becoming a Leader In Me school, I had to throw that in too:

I was so excited to get it all put up that I did it just after they were finished, so I'm betting some will be glued to the bulletin board! They are just delightful, and right off one of our attendance offices, so I think they'll get lots of admirers.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Lichtenstein Inspired Fun

Who doesn't love Pop Art?  Fifth graders really love it when we talk about Pop Artists Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol.  We took some notes on the two and used a file that you can download here (look for the one that says Pop Art Notes).  Students then planned out their own comic book style paintings, (I had them come up with 3-4 ideas sketched out in their sketchbooks).  One of the things I was looking for was that center of interest person with a speech bubble (it didn't have to be a self portrait, but many students did draw themselves).  I gave each student a 12 x 12" white paper, and had them draw them with pencil and trace them with Sharpie.  I tried to get them to have equal parts black and white on their papers before adding tempera paint.

We spent several class periods painting--I had them use the other end of the brush for the Benday dots. I did only give them primary colors + turquoise, black, white, peach and brown.

These are really brightening our hallways!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Sometimes I Just Don't Love It

My kindergarten classes need some extra cutting practice this year, so I decided we'd make lions (and later "hide" them in some tall grass).  I don't love them.  They're kind of . . . eh.

I'm not really big on directed drawing much with kindergarten, and this lesson feels a little too factory/assembly line.  We still have work to do, of course, adding our tall grass and maybe coloring a background. I just like a bit more personality.

Who knows? Maybe they'll be amazing, but so far, I'm not sold.  I'm open to suggestions on ways to make them more interesting while keeping the cutting/gluing practice part in tact.

I also decided today that the years I spent waiting tables were NOT wasted.  All that balancing of drinks and platters sure does come in handy when painting with fourth and fifth graders! And I'll post about my fifth graders' Lichtenstein paintings soon--we're nearly done with them.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Texture Monster Building Fun

As promised, here is a post about my latest second grade lesson.  

For the past several years, I've started second grade out by talking about texture.  We write this definition in our sketchbooks: texture is the way something feels or looks like it would feel.  This year, after defining texture and drawing as many things as we could think of that have texture in our sketchbooks, we spent the next class period fingerpainting.  I have this huge box of donated paper that feels like fingerpaint paper to me, so that's what we use.  I was in my first-weeks-of-school-how-do-I-even-function funk at that point, so there's no photos of this step (plus the whole one adult/25 fingerpainting second graders thing).  My fingerpainting expectations are these--one paint hand, one clean hand.  And 3-4 paper towels per student.  I put a blob of paint on the middle of their paper, remind them "one paint hand, one clean hand" and move to the next student.  Students paint away with one hand, wipe their hand as clean as they can with the paper towels when finished then wash their hands while I put their papers in the drying rack.
The following class period I gave them back their dry paintings and had them feel the bumpy texture and cut the white off.  These blobs are the bodies of their texture monsters.  I got out the scrap box and random papers and demonstrated different ways to make texture with paper.  We talked about how monsters aren't real, so anything goes as long as it had texture.  When I turned them loose to work on their own I got this wonderfulness:

So scaly and pokey!
 So we spent a few days working on our monsters, and the final work day, we added speech bubbles:

And then I hung them in the hall.  I love that they're all so completely different and unique.  So adorable and wonderful!  SO hard to hang on that little tack strip:

Speaking of the halls, I also hung up some color-mixing clowns that first grade did:

So much fun!  Every school needs more kid paintings!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Sometimes You Just Forget

With the school year well under way, it's just amazing to me how fast my day goes.  Every minute is busy, and the students are so funny and interesting and exhausting/exhausted (I just love those exhausted kindergarteners the first weeks of school).  My schedule is sooooo much easier than the past few years (when I had adaptive art or traveling to another building, then plan time, then eight classes with a 20 minute lunch).  This year I have my plan time with my lunch, giving me time to regroup and focus.
As for projects, I'm doing modified sketchbooks this year (half the size) with sixth grade from a lesson I blogged about last year.  Fifth grade started a unit on Pop Art, so we're having fun with Lichtenstein and Warhol (I'll blog on those as we're working, so look for some posts), fourth grade is working on Emily Carr landscapes, third grade is busy with their cave "paintings", second grade is studying texture and making monsters that are looking AH-MAZING (blog post coming soon for that one too), first grade finished their Gertrude McFuzz birds and are drawing clowns to paint next, and kindergarten made their glasses, and now they're practicing gluing lines like Mondrian (which I don't really have the greatest post for, the lesson is barely mentioned).
Maybe it's teaching so long, maybe it's my schedule, maybe it's not being pregnant ('cause I've done enough teaching while pregnant), but whatever it is, this year has been delightful so far.  Fun and interesting and FUN. Perhaps it's a combination of better schedule/not being pregnant/no more babies up in the night AND experience?  I'll take it!!!!
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