Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Snowmen Decorations by Art Club

The beautification/decoration committee asked me to help add in children's artwork for the holiday decorations. I had them purchase large over-sized poster board for silly snowmen to hang from the ceiling tiles, and things to make snowmen ornaments with to hang with the snowmen! 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Super Silly Snowmen!

Dancing, ice skating, falling in the snow- these are the super silly snowmen my third graders created!

Just finished outlining our drawings
I love the snowman that fell down!
We learned how to show distance through size placement, and how to blend oil pastel to make an icy looking shadow! They had a lot of fun making the snowmen act really silly in the background!

What silly snowmen activities did you do for winter projects?

Monday, December 12, 2011

Tinted Winter Landscapes

Kids just adore mixing paint! They love, love, LOVE the magic of color changing right before their very eyes! When I break out the thick, liquid tempera paint  in class to them it's just like winning the lottery! 

I'm sure you have seen or done something like this before, but it is just

Friday, December 9, 2011

Do You Have Special Needs Artists Too?

Now, as art teachers we've always had to work with every child in the building. They all get to come and enjoy learning about art. It's that one subject that seems to be the least stressful for those children who have attention problems or dyslexia and struggle in their classes. There is movement, they can stand up, there are "No Mistakes, only New Opportunities". Creativity seems to be their strongest point!

Adaptive Multistep, Pre-cut Homes
Then there are those very low functioning students. Do you have them too? I have them about three times  a week- each.  Since they can't learn a new language, as they are still learning their native English, and they can't research or follow in the Media Center, and they cause more distractions in Music as they don't speak or sing but play- they are left with art and P.E.!

Adaptive Snowman

Now, I want them to feel successful and participate in class. However, they

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Growing Support for the Arts

Last year was a difficult year for my school district. We lost a lot of funding, the budget didn't pass, and the governor was sending a very anti-schools message to the community.  Our state was (and still is) in financial despair, leaving state jobs at risk.  We already had two Related Arts members retire and their jobs were replaced with part timers instead of full timers. The Spanish teacher's job almost disappeared, and my job was at risk of turning into teaching at two buildings when the art teacher at the primary school retired. Things were not looking in the "glass is half full" direction. So my team went into proactive mode.

We tried to shine positive light on the arts, and educate the public on the value of arts education.  If people know how valuable art education is, and the wonderful things that happen in the Related Arts classrooms, then why would they want to get rid of it? Right? This way, when cuts come down the chain, maybe they would look elsewhere.

We began a newsletter to the community. Each member of the team wrote articles about the value of our program, helpful tips for parents, things that were amazing that we were working on, fun facts for the subject areas (like Van Gogh's birthday!) and took lots of pictures of what we were doing with the kids.

The articles were worked on in Microsoft Publisher, and turned into PDF files. It was laid out then to look like a magasine, with a table of contents and all.  We delivered it in a few ways to the community. First, through the Honeywell instant alert system to go directly to the parent emails on file.  Second, posted on our e-boards and the main school website.  Lastly, delivery through photocopying and sending it to a senior citizen's center for the seniors in our community to read. They are after all, important voters who still pay taxes! Many still want to be involved in our districts!

The feedback was overwhelming. We had parents emailing us how nice it was to hear what was happening in our classrooms, as they have a hard time making time to see us. We had the Superintendent write a nice letter to us for being so proactive and driven. Our principal was excited that we were shining positive light on our school and ourselves. It was all around great! So wonderful in fact, that we're in the middle of making our fall/winter edition for this years newsletter.

Other growing support for the arts ideas include:
Board of Ed Bulletin Board
  • Family Night Out Arts Night
  • Newsletters
  • Art Show in Community Store Window Fronts
  • Make a Mural in town
  • Get positive light in the town newspaper!
  • Display art in the Board of Ed
  • Charity Art:  Hospitals and Senior Centers using your art club or art class (great newspaper publicity)
  • Have the Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts do volunteer projects with you for their leadership awards
  • Post videos on your school website of the art show and other group projects
  • Have the students docent your art show to discuss with parents what they learned and how to make the projects in the show
  • Combine your art with a language arts class to make a illustrated book about the value of art and share it with the parents and board of ed as a "Cross Curricular" project 
  • March is Youth Arts Month- Celebrate it!
The point of this is to make what you and the other Related Arts staff do so fabulously accessible to the community, and to shine positive publicity on anything that you can do with you subject area as a teacher. Teach the community what makes art and the other Related Arts so important, and make yourself known so they will miss you if your subject area is gone. 

Any other ideas? Please Share!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Ready Leaders; Take Over!

Aren't their smocks cute too?
I have to thank a fifth grade teacher for inspiring me into having leaders in my art room! The kids get so excited to get their chance to wear their leader tag, and I make sure every child gets a turn throughout the year.

I know many of you have systems of giving clean up jobs to your kids and other various classroom responsibility jobs are handed out on top of that in some fashion.  I also have special systems in place for clean up and odd jobs. This leader tag system was my way of managing everything that happens in my room on top of the clean up system.

Every time the class arrives for art

Encouraging Self Reflecting Artists

Remember those days when children would walk up to you, poke your shoulder, and ask if they were done? I'm proud to say I have nearly eliminated that, just by posting these signs!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

What Elementary Art Teachers are REALLY Thankful for...

With Thanksgiving dinner just around the bend, I thought about what art teachers like myself might be really thankful for if we had a perfect day:
  1. All the brushes in the classroom were mysteriously cleaned and stored handle down on their own
  2. The hand print on the back butt-pocket of your pants actually came out in the wash this time
  3. The art room's slop sink which was dubbed the "classroom bath" for never draining properly is now a whirlpool of perfect drain suction
  4. The principal decided art was so important that

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Jasper Johns Fabulous!

Don't you just love it when their eyes light up when they have discovered a new magical art material!  Here's a new take on a scratch art extension lesson that just gives them that "aha!" feeling.  

Right before this lesson we worked with our traditional scratch art boards and tools enjoying the gold paper that shines through when scratching away the black surface. Now they learned how to make their own scratch art surface, while I snuck in some art history on Jasper Johns and little color theory! Sneaky, sneaky art teacher! 

It really is a very simple project, but with a very beautiful final product. I love fourth grade! 

An Ode to Warhol

They Got Creative!
If you walked into my room when I was working on these with the kids, you would think I robbed the "Can Can" sale at ShopRite. Spread out all around our classroom tables we had various canned veggies, fruits, and other foods with all their fun colorful labels cheerfully gazing up at my kiddies while learned a little about advertising. They described the uniqueness of the cans, the fun lettering for the names, how the labels are organized to catch the consumers attention, and the graphic images they spotted along the way. My favorite can was Popeye's Spinach! 

After learning a little through observing real world cans, we turned our attention to Andy Warhol's soup cans! We discussed all that encompasses his artwork, and went through with our opinions of it. 

By then they had so many ideas of their own they were bursting at the seams! We drew cylinders, with the option to have the lids opened or closed like Warhol did. They came up with their own soup names, but used font graphics to make it look appetizing! We had to come up with a "slogan" for their label, a design or image on the label, and simple colors to make their soup can look appealing to the consumers. 

Finally, we shaded, some added shadows, and elaborated on the white space around the cans. They were very, very creative with it!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Lovely Little Story Pots

Admit it, we all love a good story, especially when it comes from that adorable little one in your class that is missing their front teeth and is jumping up and down talking a mile a minute! Here is your perfect opportunity to channel that creative energy into something productive that also ties in with cross curricular requirements. Native American Story Pots! 

Third grade begins their journey in writing creative stories, as well as some history on Native Americans. I combined these two elements to have

Saturday, November 19, 2011

For the Love of Hands

My fifth graders never cease to amaze me! I decided to attempt this project on a whim- and they excelled my expectations.  Don't underestimate the ability level of your kids! 

Saturday, November 5, 2011

What's going on with me?

I'm totally going nuts! So many things are going on in my room! I just switched over bulletin boards to comply with my Principals "Once a Month" policy. So I finally hung up the Line art Landscapes, Spooky Silhouettes, and Day of the Dead art. My third graders are now working on a drawing of Plains Indians Pots, making a fun story out of the typical symbols found in Plains Indian art. I have some fifth grade classes starting a observational drawing of their hands with abstracted backgrounds, and some fourth grade classes working on scratch art boards drawing a still life. 

What I am finding frustrating now though, is the lack of time I have seen my beginning of the week classes! We have had so many days off for holidays and teacher training, and now a random blizzard that my poor kiddies in my Monday and Tuesday classes are about 5 art days behind the other kids! That's an entire project behind! Well, I hope soon that things will balance out, this way I don't have to choose a project to cut. I'm already adapting one to make it shorter and take out some skills- hopefully that will help.  Oh well!

I'm looking forward to posting pictures of the new projects soon!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

How about that snowstorm?!

There's nothing like a state of emergency to really bring family and neighbors together!

I live in New Jersey- and just this past Saturday we were hit big with a sudden blizzard. The only problem with this blizzard was that the trees had not lost all their leaves- leaving us with tree branches breaking under the weight of the snow & leaves and falling on electrical lines.  There were streets in my neighborhood with trees that fell from the weight of the snow blocking roads and knocking over poles.  This left us with no power for three days (although I know families who are going on five days and still waiting).  My school district closed Monday-Wednesday and is now opening with a two hour delay tomorrow. Some towns canceled Halloween and rescheduled it for Friday due to the hazards! Insanity! October with a blizzard that shuts the state down!

Well- at least I was able to work on my own painting for once. When I got power back ( and with that running water & heat!) I celebrated by taking out a canvas. Finally- some "me" time!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Just in time for Halloween!

"Spooky Silhouettes!"
 Yay! One class finished their spooky silhouettes in time for  the Halloween bulletin board! I'm going to have to take a picture of them all mounted on orange paper and hanging on the bulletin board- but let me tell you- they are awesome! 

We painted a spooky harvest moon sky reinforcing the

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Dia de los... Skeletons!

We all are guilty of creating art projects that relates to holidays at one point or another. I just happen to love using holidays from other countries! Dia de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead, a fun and festive celebration in Mexico, but can be found in some other cultures as well!

I worked together with the World Languages teacher in my building to come up with a cross curricular lesson that involves a

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Line Design Landscapes, Inspired by Van Gogh!

Ah yes.. the world of watercolor and the joy of a sharpie! 

My wonderful third graders are always awe inspired by Van Gogh! In the past they have painted the Starry Night Sky and his Sunflowers, but this is their first time working with his drawings. We studied how he used line in his drawings for texture and movement and embellishment, and created our own landscapes with line as an embellishment. We also looked at how he used thin and thick line and different ways of drawing lines for contrast in art. They had so much fun learning about

Monday, October 10, 2011

Coming soon..... !

I know, I've been slacking in the posting department. I'm hoping that my camera will charge soon so I can take pictures of the projects we're working on now. In fifth grade, we're doing "Dia de los Muertos" (The Day of the Dead, or Festival of the Dead). Fourth is starting spooky silhouettes and third is working on Van Gogh inspired line art landscapes. Simple, yet powerful looking projects! I'm also toying with the idea of how to incorporate art journals/sketchbooks. Altered pages art journals and sketchbooks could be a wonderful way to extend their learning into their free time. However, finding the time in our curriculum to spend a day or two making the journals and teaching the art station will be key in this endeavor. Only time will tell! I'll let you know what I come up with when I do!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Art Swaps!

What could be more adorable than kids making mini works of art to trade? I went to the Art Educators of New Jersey conference on Monday and fell in love with this workshop. I'm not sure yet how I will do this with my students - if it will be an art club project or a small project with my fifth graders - but it just seems like such a fun thing for the kids to do!

Students would design their own style card, using the card as a self portrait type of canvas.Would they

Thursday, September 29, 2011

George Catlin's Native Portraits!

Cheers to my wonderful fifth graders! They're so excited to be at the "top of the school", coming in ready and eager for those "big kid" projects

We Love Tribal Art!

Every year I start with a cultural unit for fifth and fourth graders. Fourth graders truly love making masks!

I've done this project in numerous ways. My favorite

Pumpkin Time!

The first project with third grade is always the most challenging for me. It is their first time in my classroom, their first time working with my style of teaching, their first time having to clean up

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Back to School!

Welcome back to school!

Back to little eager eyes staring up at you, back to all those excited "wow" faces when they have their first experiences in art; back to wiggling in their chairs and