Saturday, December 3, 2016

It's Happened!!!

The amazing Nic Hahn has completed the sorting of the 2016 ATC trade.  Our cards are in the mail and on their way.  My students are eager and I must admit, so am I!!!  I can't wait to see that little package arrive and be able to share the trade with my students.  Nic posted a few photos on her blog, here.  I was able to locate photos of our two schools and the receipt of our cards.  Funny, but I've honestly worried for weeks that they might not arrive.  Here are our cards: I'll be sure to update when our packages arrive and how we continue managing the trade in our schools.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Building a Still Life Composition.

After taking an AOE Studio Drawing course this past summer, I have rethought my process for observational drawings.  This year I have decided to truly involve students in the still life process by allowing them to touch the items and put together the components of their own still life rather than being limited to what I might assemble for them.  The focus for the assignment is to demonstrate an understanding of Space in art by using overlap, placement, and linear perspective.  Students in 4th grade are drawing Pez dispensers.  Part of the fun is truly examining the dispensers and choosing which ones are most personally appealing. Here are some photos of the process as students are spending week two on building their still life compositions.

3D Color Mixing Pumpkins

Color Mixing Pumpkins

I have done this project with my 2nd grade students for a number of years but felt I wasn't making the strong Math connections that I wanted.  I was motivated to create a template for the project where students could more closely be involved in the measuring of the clay  to make clearer connections.  Here is the template I created.   I made enough copies so each child would have their own and ran them through the laminator.  It can be used like a place mat to actually do the work on.

First I measured out the red, yellow and blue model magic clay for each student.
I use scissors to cut the individual pieces.
Measure off pieces and mark in the clay
Use a ruler to connect the marks
I used the side of the ruler to connect the dots and mark the cutting lines

Blue pieces are much smaller

I began by handing out the three colors of clay that were needed:

The place mat ready to begin

First step, mix red and yellow 1" pieces together.  Add in an extra piece
of red that measured 3/4" x 1/4".  This gave a red-orange
color for the pumpkin.
I conducted this project as a directed activity, walking them through each step, one step at a time.

Next the brown for the stem was formed by mixing the very small
pieces of yellow, red, and brown. 1/4" x 1/4"  The 3/4" by 1/4"
yellow and blue were mixed to make the leaves.

Placed on a tray with student's names until they are dry
enough to write on the bottom with a sharpie

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Working on ATC in 4th grade

4th grade ATC
Students in both of my buildings are participating in the ATC exchange with  Mini Matisse over on blogspot.  I decided to structure the cards around particular lessons so that students would be exposed to artist or concepts by grade level and then able to prepare their card with some specific parameters.  Fourth graders investigated the artistic style of Laurel Burch, folk artist, who was propular within the last 40 years or so for her whimsical jewelry designs and other commercial items.  Students were drawn to the colors and patterns and jumped right in to develope their own individual ideas for their subject matter.  Burch is most well known for her cats but has also included other animals in her work.  Students choose cats, horses, dogs, unicorns from stencils I had prepared ahead of time.  A few creative individuals dabbled with their own personal ideas.  The backgrounds were created using coffee filters.  Students drew a variety of geometric shapes.  These were squirted with water.  Students watched in amazement as they discovered the shapes were morphing into organic shapes.  Finally, a way to truly demonstrate the differences in geometric and organic shapes.  The results were breathtakingly beautiful.  We have stashed away the left over scraps for future projects, these were too beautful to throw away!
White Fang by Analeah

Dragon by Hope

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Build and Draw - Observational drawing with Kindergarten

Build & Draw
I took my first Studio class with AOE this past summer, Studio Drawing.  If nothing else, the course gave me the "courage" to try a few new techniques with my students.  I also re-evaluated some of the ways I presented a few of my lessons for Kindergarten.  After taking the Reggio Emilo class a year ago, I have been beginning the year with my Kinders doing creative play activities using a variety of manipulative and not jumping into the year with projects.  After four weeks of creative play, I introduced my students to a draw and build.  They used three children's blocks to build something and then drew the shapes using a whiteboard.  For an entire class, they built, drew, rebuilt, drew, etc.  This week, five weeks into the year, I handed them pencil and paper for the first time.  They repeated the build and draw on one piece of paper, three times, then were given colors to practice their coloring skills.  This was a terrific way for me to establish a baseline for observational skills, shape identification and reproduction and coloring.  I am so happy with the results!
Kinders are standing to do art this year

Progressing with their drawing

Ready to build again


Great Concentration


Let's get started!

Trading blocks to build again.

Lots of building imagination
Starting to add color

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Classroom Friendly Sharpeners has a new Yellow!

 Check out my new Yellow Classroom Friendly Sharpener.  If you haven't heard, it is the quietest sharpener on the market.  But my favorite thing about it is the ease of use and the great point it puts on my pencils.  Turn the crank just a couple of turns and you have a fabulously sharpened pencil.
I sharpen 36 pencils in my classroom at least twice each day.  With my new yellow sharpened it is a quick efficient job.

Below are photos from a first grader who figured out how to use the sharpener with no instructions.  That is how easy it is to use.  You can order a few for your classroom by clicking this link. and visiting the Classroom Friendly Supplies web page.
Squeeze the black handles and insert the pencil

Grab the handle and start to turn

Just a few turns and your pencil is sharpened!

Now to make some Art!

Oh, and did you know  you can replace the blades on your old sharpener?   I have a sharpener that is about 3 school years old.   I added a new blade when school started and it is just like new!  I love these sharpeners!  

September 15th - International Dot Day

Left on my desk at the end of the day

 Happy International Dot Day everyone!  My students have been working on projects for a couple of weeks.  Dot are decorating the halls as they begin to complete their projects.  I always plan a little something different for each class.  This year is no different.  I was especially pleased to receive this terrific little sign, to the left, on my desk at the end of the day.  One of my super duper students made it for me and left it as she was exiting school for the bus at the end of the day.  I was so thrilled that she remembered that today was the day because I hadn't even mentioned the date since last week.  See, they really do listen to us!!!  Love it!

Mandalla dots
Emoji Dots

Beautiful Mandalla
More Emoji Dots

Dots with Symmetry
Cassie Stephens Inspired Dots

More CS Dots

Cassie's Dots