Saturday, September 28, 2013

Another International Dot Day Project

 4th Grade students incorporated math concepts to create these radial symmetry projects.  Folding and fractions were reviewed as students first created a half circle then quarter circle and cut the circle to obtain four quarter circles to begin their project.  A stencil was created from a chosen 3, 4 or 5 letter word.  Concentration on negative space and it's placement helped to create a more interesting stencil.  The stencil was then traced 4 times to create the repeating design element.  Again, concentrating on negative and positive spaces, students used colored pencils to emphasize portions of their design that were repeating.  Here are a few completed student projects.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Trash Monster Buckets

A update on my sand pail trash buckets.  The custodian came in the other afternoon and ask me if I was really doing Art this year! : )  He was teasing me, naturally.  Custodians really can be our best buds!  His remark was based on the fact that my trash cans were consistently empty daily.   I explained my new procedure with table trash buckets.  I call them recycle buckets with the kids.  He was thrilled at how well the kids were taking to using the buckets and how successful we were being with recycling.  Hopefully this will be a continuing trend.

Monday, September 23, 2013

New to Artsonia

Welcome Teachers to Artsonia is at the top of the opening page and it looks so inviting.  I decided to finally set up Artsonia accounts for both of my schools this year.  I'd be holding out on you if I didn't admit that it was a LOT of work to set it up.  But with the weekend of work behind me, all of my students are now in the system.  The permission slips have been sent home and I've downloaded about 40 pieces of 5th grade artwork.  I feel like now it is just wait and see and mostly I am hoping that the parents really do give permissions.

Here is what I like most about the system.   After I've downloaded the art, I can instantly tell whose work is missing.  I haven't graded anything, yet, but I can go into the exhibit to review work and grade them later.  Now if someone accidentally takes home a work, I have a copy of it to look at later and it's not lost.

I especially like the ability to send email newsletters to families to keep them up on what is happening in my classroom.  With the new push for parental communications, this feature should make my job easier.

Editing works and enhancements are a breeze.  Now I realize how everyone makes their student's work look so professional, I'm on board for that!

I'm sure I will spend more time downloading work but suspect I will become more efficient with the process with practice.  I did download the app for iPad and iPhone for multiple downloads.  It worked well.

To sum it all up,  I think this process will be a win-win and if the Art Room brings in money all the best!  Oh, and I only will have to add new students and the incoming Kinders next fall!

Saturday, September 21, 2013


I make sketchbooks with my 1st - 5th graders every year.   Inside the front cover is a list of assignments with full  instructions on completing them.  Most often, I leave the sketchbooks as an assignment when I have a substitute.  Students also use the sketchbooks as a go to when they finish a project earlier than anyone else.  Over the years I have given students the option of decorating their sketchbooks to their own liking as long as the illustration included their name prominently on the cover.  I am not always pleased with the effort the students put into the covers of their books.  I always hope to see something that they feel passionate about and often I see something they have rushed through just to get it done.  This year, after viewing many different pins on pinterest, I decided to approach the project in a new way by having the cover represent a review of concepts from the previous year.  Here are my new covers for 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade.

I plan to take the 4th and 5th grade sketchbooks in a new direction as well by perhaps having them design their own covers along the same format.

Friday, September 20, 2013

First, Second and Third Graders Dot Day Bulletin Boards

First grade students explored color mixing for International Dot Day this year.  Liquid watercolor in the primary colors was used with a dropper to create secondary colors on a coffee filter.  Here is is the bulletin board displaying all of the dots.

2nd and 3rd graders bulletin board for Symmetry and Asymmetry

Thursday, September 19, 2013

3rd Grade Dots

These asymmetry dots were created by 3rd grade students for International Dot Day 2013.

Radial Notans

5th grade students observed International Dot Day this year by creating radial notans.  The emphasis was on negative and positive space.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

International Dot Day and I'm with Peter H. Reynolds!

Setting up just before it started
Peter H. Reynolds

Introducing Animation-ish
Yes, it is true.  I had the pleasure of listening to a presentation by Peter H. Reynolds and his team today at the Eric Carle Museum.  It was fun, exciting, and enlightening.   Here is my "did you know?" from the day.   In the original printing of "The Dot",  Vasti painted a yellow dot, a green dot, a blue dot and a red dot.  She discovered she could mix red and blue and make a purple dot.  In the next printing of the book, the purple was changed to a green dot to correspond with the illustration where Vashti appears to be painting a green dot.   The original video of the book also mentions the mixing of red and blue to make the purple dot.   Since I have both original releases; I just didn't know that!!!  I also had never connected that Ramon from "ish" was the young boy who drew the squiggly line in "The Dot", his sister, Marisol is the leading character for
"Sky Blue".  All this new and fun knowledge from a great day at the Carle!  Yes, I did take lots of pictures which I will share with  you now.
My official membership token for the Dot club, an admission sticker along with the dot I wore
I added a dot 
The wall of dots

Picking a book
10th Anniversary issue of "the Dot"

Oh, and I bought "The Museum" and had it signed!  That was
my wish list book!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

September 15 - International Dot Day!

Finally my students began their Dot Day projects on Wednesday.  Many of them were too wet to photograph.   Here are a few to share.  The older students will be posted later when there are some completed projects.
1st grade "Dots" in the dry rack

A few dry 1st grade dots
First grade students used pipers and liquid watercolor in the primary colors to create their dots after a reading of  "The Color Kittens" by Margaret Wise Brown.  The purpose was to create the secondary colors in a tye dye effect.  Some students delighted in the mixing and created a secondary color dot.

Second grade students created symmetrical dots using the primary colors and tempera paint.  The dots used for both projects were coffee filters.

2nd grade symmetrical dots

Friday, September 13, 2013

Back on track - 6 minute drawings

I think one of the best things I ever adopted was the idea for the six minute draw.  A fellow art teacher shared the idea with me;  a friend from another district had suggested it to her.  When students walk into the classroom, I have paper and pencils set up and waiting for them along with a little orange "at work" traffic cone.  This is their signal to sit down silently and engage their creative art brain.  I have a timer set on my iPad for 6 minutes, everyone independently draws.  For me, this is the opportunity to switch out the materials from the class that just walked out and to become mentally prepared for the new class in front of me.  This is my saving grace!  I'm sharing with you a student drawing from today.  I'm really impressed by my veteran students who are used to the routine.  They are really stepping up their drawings this year.
Student work

Monday, September 9, 2013

Can't wait to start a project and selling off some books

I finally will be able to start a real art lesson on Wednesday.  The first week of school is such a challenge with new procedures, seat assignments and brand new students.  I know the kids are as eager as I am to finally get down to business!  I introduced a job chart to my students this year and I'm thrilled that they are excited about it.  Since I will be changing the job rotation from week to week and do not teach the same thing all day, I think I have made a little more work for myself.  I spent this afternoon jotting down the chart assignments in each class based on the projects and materials.  I think I can leave the chart the same for all my morning classes but will need to change the jobs for the afternoon classes.  If I don't jot it down, I'll definitely forget who did what.  I plan to change the assignments at the beginning of each week and I want to rotate the jobs to keep it more interesting.  Anybody have a better idea for job management?

On another note,  I cleaned out my bookcase today and am parting with a few never used children's picture books.  I decided that if I have not incorporated them into my lessons in the past two years, I'm not going to work them in.   I might as well make some money off of them so I can buy something else.  I've got my eye on "The Museum" by Susan Verde.  It is illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds

Sell a few and buy something new!  I think it's a perfect plan!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Class list and more

I just finished creating my class list for the year.  Of course, they will change but at least I have them created in the computer.  It is easy enough to make adjustments once the class list are made.  It took several hours longer but I also created photo class list.   With over 600 students, there are always one or two students that I just can't seem to get their names to stick in my brain.  We use powerschool in our district and on the child's schedule page, there is a copy of last year's school photo.  I copied those photos onto a class master list, alphabetically, that will go behind my seating chart.  One copy for my attendance binder and one copy for my sub folder. I know when I was a sub, photos of students would have been so beneficial.  So now I have a "cheat sheet" for those brain dead times when I just can't seem to come up with a name to match a face and my subs will totally avoid those pranksters that claim a different name when you are absent.  I also shared the photo class list with the other teachers in my building.  Most recess responsibilities are covered by the Paras who most often do not know all of the students.  Hopefully, the list will be useful for that purpose as well. I haven't decided if I will add photos to my seating chart because I do move students around, but that is another option for quick student identification.

Here is my seating chart diagram, one for each school.  I add a color to the center once the tables have been arranged.

Grade: ‑___________________________
Day of Week _______________________
Classroom Teacher __________________                                                                           2013 - 2014


Grade ________________________
Day of Week ___________________
                                                                                                        Classroom Teacher______________