So, I did not post on this nearly as much as I intended to this year because everything just got so super busy. As I sit here at my desk, while all my regularly scheduled classes are on field trips, I silently agree with myself that now is a great time for a little reflection, with more to come later.
It’s been a rough but productive year. The district had some issues with the substitute teacher service they shelled money out for, and many teachers were called upon repeatedly for coverage. All across the district this was happening. Some teachers got it worse than others. Some principals would cancel entire classes or specials periods to have teachers cover. Naturally this was frustrating and exhausting for many, especially when there is still so much that is expected to get done by us, but that time to get it done is taken away. So that had a lot of people on edge, including myself. Anytime my room phone would ring, I cringed.
I stayed late many days to get caught up. And by the time I got home, I was pooped. Yet still, I had to summon up the energy to organize and plan meetings for the Philadelphia Art Teacher Alliance. It’s a labor of love, though. I love what I do, and I love being able to connect with other people who love art education as well- teachers or advocates.
I look forward to spending my third year in the same school and second year in the same room next school year. My rapport with students will have grown, and I will be more equipped to meet their needs artistically and expressively…more holistically all around too, really. Being in the same room, will allow me more time to focus on refining my lessons, and weeding out the not so great ones. I also hope for better camaraderie with my colleagues in the school building. I LOVE my basement room, but feel a little left out at times… I know… boo hoo, call the wambulance. But seriously, I want to connect with them more, and connect my art lessons to what they are doing in their classrooms more.
Consider this my summer to do list:
-blog/reflect on each lesson.
-write new lessons
-plan field trips
-plan locations for PATA meetings
-reach out to local artists to come into my classroom
-write DonorsChoose project for adaptive art materials and for printmaking supplies
-visual verbal journal everyday
-refine student self-assessment sheet- one for all to use…or maybe k-2 and 3-8
I am so excited about this project. 4th graders were introduced to James Audubon and we have begun to read the picture about him written by Melissa Sweet. After choosing a photo of a bird they liked, they began to sketch the bird in their sketchbooks, and were introduced how to draw the birds beginning by looking for the shapes that make up the bird. To assist with that, students were given dry erase markers to trace the shapes on the laminated photograph. I think all their sketches are fantastic, especially so for kids who are drawing from observation for the first time ever! They were very apprehensive about their drawings, and I think a lot of their self esteem is low regarding their ability in art. But I truly believe they are doing awesome. And I told them that… but they were still hesitant to believe, and then I reminded them, that I would never lie about their art. I will always tell them what could be improved upon and how to do that. Those bird drawings are simply gorgeous to me. I hope they start to see that too.
Next week we will use are drawings to cut out layers of bird shapes on card board to assemble a bird sculpture a la Jame Castle. I can’t wait to see how they turn out!
…so I published this on July 30th as a ‘page’ by mistake… trying to get used to wordpress… “I was all like where the heck is my post???!!” So I have to delete the page and repost as an actual blog post. Womp Womp.
I went to school today. It’s still summer break, but I am moving classrooms to the basement classroom and the movers came today. The basement classroom was the old classroom YEARS ago. This is the second year the school has had art in about 11-15 years. I can’t seem to get a real number, so it is somewhere around there…Anyway, I went to help move and start straightening out the room and whatever and whatnot… The room has been a Pre-K room for the last 15 years or so (again, not sure on numbers), and I was not able to peek around in the room before moving because I did not want to step on any toes as the Pre-K teacher also had to change rooms. I didn’t want to get in her way…blah blah blah…
Soooooo, today I go in the room…
It’s great. Nice size. Has a bathroom and AC! Didn’t have that before. (BTW- Carpets and play kitchen island are not mine.)
So you see that brown door in the first pic?? That is a huge storage closet…in all my excitement I didn’t take a photo of the actual closet… but guess what is in that closet??? That not even my principal knew about, nor the building engineer…
That my friends, is some kind of old kiln that I know nothing about!!!!! That boss mover man pointed it out. A kiln! Shut the front door! A kiln. So, what kind is it? How do I use it?
It is ventilated to the outside. It is in a separate room. It is all set up and ready to go with the wiring, just gotta make sure it works. (I have another art teacher friend who I am pretty sure can help with that.) Sorry the picture does not give more info. The teacher had it hidden between two storage cabinets, that I can’t move until all her stuff is out of the closet. So, yeah. If anyone out there is reading this. Help a gal out will ya?? 😀
I’m so excited. I gotta get these kids some clay. Now to write a DonorsChoose for that!!!
I have been saving toilet paper rolls for a very long time now. I’m thinking 2nd grade. Toilet paper totem ainmals? Something like that??
I have a handout to go with this somewhere. Oh gosh, I hope I can find it… This one, if I recall, used the textures/patterns of different animals. But there was somekind of connection to the identity of the student… Gotta find that handout. I’d totally do this one with my 6th graders.
I remember the teacher said she used the crayola water color pencils on black paper with this. I have some of those, and they don’t work well as watercolor pencils, so totally gonna use them for this project. Thinking 7th grade. They love candy…so do I.
Cardboard birds! These were soooo cute! And cardboard is so easy to get at any school. Right??!! Right! 4th grade?
This was at the PAEA conference a few years ago… I have tons of paper bags, and need to do some puppet making with the wee ones, so yeah. This. I’ll do something with this…I will do this with kindergarten and 1st grade. Maybe animals for one and people for the other? OR fantasy animals for one and just forest animals for the other….
Now I know I had way more images. But I have no idea where I squirreled them away!! Ugh. I should have dealt with them immediately.
I had such great aspirations of writing a blog post every other day, but it’s just not happening right now… I am glad I moved my blog off of Tumblr. I hope WordPress proves to be better. At least now it will be easier to move it to blogspot/blogger (whatever it’s called now) if this doesn’t work out. I want to buy my domain, but I will wait to see if I like this host or not…Don’t know if that matters. Oh well.
Anyway, I wanted to write more and reflect on the lessons I did and write about the lessons I want to do, but frankly, there is just no time to do that. I am really gonna have to shove my ideas together last minute like I always do. And somehow, like always, everything comes together and works out. So with this post I will share some photos of a few projects we did this year. Let me go ahead and upload them, and maybe I will talk about whether or not I liked the project and if we will do it again. 🙂
Okay… so I am realizing I have way more images of the kindergarten work. Let me explain. One of the kindergarten classes got to take art twice. Lucky them! We have art on rotation at my school. Quarterly that is- every quarter I get a new group, and sometimes it just works out that a class will get to repeat a special. So not only did kindergarten get to repeat art but they also tend to move through the projects super duper fast, hence lots of kinder art up above. I realize a goal of mine is to get them to be a little more thoughtful, but also to try and expose the other grades to more art without harming the process of their working habits and flow. There was some sculptural work done this year too. My student teacher did it, but I realize I did not take photos with my personal camera. They are on artsonia. BUT, that too is a goal of mine- to get more 3-dimensional work in each class and grade level. I was very apprehensive this year due to space limitations (storage), resources, not knowing the students and their abilities, and room climate, but this year will be different. Not everyone will be working in clay, and those who get clay won’t even be working in “real” clay, but still they will be exposed to the basics. So yeah. Good to have goals….let’s hope I can realize them. So dang ambitious. Ugh. Gives me anxiety.
Alright now. Looking at these projects… right off the bat- not doing the Kandinsky one again, unless I find a better version of it. I just don’t get enough of the students’ voice in it. Maybe we could do a mini version of it to learn about him and the elements of art, but I refuse to spend the time we did on those pieces to get such mechanical reproductions. I want to see more expressive work coming from my little darlins. On that note, as hypocritical as it sounds, I will keep my Mondrian, simply because it is an easy and fail safe project to do with the younger ones especially when teaching the primary colors. There are lots of other ways to do the Mondrian lesson though, and I may explore those options…
The “All about me Lesson” I borrowed from a friend. I loved the idea of it for the past two years, but I think I am done with it now. I may adapt it to something new… maybe. I’m not sure yet. I last used it to teach 8 different watercolor techniques to my 8th graders. Might try something with that, do away with the analogous color scheme, because frankly, they are still just grasping what the elements are and how to use the color wheel (last year was their very first year having art). So, yeah, baby steps.
I will still do Op art, maybe not the same ones, but the kids love those lessons. I know I need to scaffold the instructions better for all learners though. More goals. lol.
I’m keeping everything else. A few edits here and there of course as any good teacher would do. 🙂 I look forward to adding a lot more lessons and stressing myself out to the nth degree with all the extra work I will be giving myself. But I am sure the students will make some awesome stuff. Check in with me in a few months and see how I feel about it then. haha.
Last week I attended an online art ed conference hosted by The Art of Education. I registered early for $89 bucks, so I got that sweet swag you see above, as well as some digital swag including handouts and some discounts at some decent retailers like Blick art and a great discount to Arts and Activity magazine which I will be taking advantage of!
I truly enjoyed the convenience of doing a PD and conference from home at my computer, and I also enjoyed the format in which they chose to present the information. Doing short TED-like talks was a great way to deliver a lot of info in a little time, and we all have the ‘afterpass‘ to revisit the information AND the presenters put up additional information as well! Sooooo, if we need more, we can get more. Great!
I will say one thing I would have like to had beforehand would have been some of their handouts. I’m the type of gal who likes to follow along with the handouts when someone references them, so I felt a little wobbly at times- but really it was not that big of a deal due to the speed of the presentations. I probably would have been wobbly regardless. Ha! Drink your coffee woman and keep up! 😉
Well as far as the swag goes, I am most excited about the stuff Blick Art gave us. They also did a lesson on it during the conference. Basically it is this lesson on the golden ratio, incorporating math (geometry) real hardcore like. It can be taken down a few notches for the youngsters, but I like the idea of using this for my older kiddos. It uses Roylco tissue circles (which I will be buying out of pocket due to no budget), gridded paper, and glue sticks. I am excited to give it a whirl, especially with my handicap in mathematics… this should be interesting… haha.
Anyway, I am glad I gave the AOE conference a shot this summer. Can’t wait for the winter one! And then the next summer one, and then the next winter one! … Gues I always have PAEA and NAEA conferences to hold me over too. 😉
In my introduction at my previous school we talked in length about Archimboldo and Cara Walker. I also had the students complete a Venn diagram comparing two of the artists silhouette styles. Then I had students make a list of 30 things that represented them. I had a large example of my own that showed my silhouette as well as my list next to it. While they were making their list and sketching their images of the 30 things, I was furiously tracing their silhouettes.
At my previous school, I did the project with 3rd-5th graders and they were fantastic. I of course had to edit what I showed of Walker’s work, but that’s no big deal. We took the time to talk out our ideas, and for them to sketch everything out.
This year at my new school I had a student teacher and she took on the project. She edited the lesson a little bit to speed it along, which I understand, but ultimately, I think some students work suffered from that. These kids have never had art before and their confidence and skill is lacking in what the can do. I know my student teacher did not feel the project was a success. I think she felt the students were not ready for this level of work, but I think they were and are. They just needed a little more guidance. The above images are 3 of those 6th graders, granted they are the more talented ones, but still- pretty darn good. Just looking at those I wouldn’t call the project a failure. The other silhouettes were half finished or poorly filled in space. In retrospect, I should have given her more feedback on how she delivered that lesson. My bad. It was my first student teacher. Lesson learned all around right? Don’t get me wrong, she was fantastic! She did some wonderful lessons with my students, and hopefully we stay in touch.