Saturday, March 26, 2016

Have you seen this, yet??

I don't usually jump on the contest band wagon with my student's art.  Simply because it is such a hassle to obtain all the necessary permission slips in order to enter their work.  However, I like the idea of this one simply because it is a great subject area for art making.  Check out this contest here from the company "Life is Good".  I'd love to have a few of my students enter this one so I might have to embark on the leg work.  Here is the entry form link as well.  Happy creating!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

A few snowmen on the Value Project

The shadows in the snow are terrific!
This is the project I mention in yesterday's post.  A few students did finish with the snowman.  I think these are worth posting because the students were so creative and imaginative with their snowmen.
Hockey Time
Great job with the value as well!

Pretty in Pink
I love the value in this one!

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

The weather changed so we changed our minds!

 A few weeks ago, when I still thought there was a chance we might receive a major snow storm up here in New England, fourth grade students began a work with an emphasis on value.  It was to be a snow scene with a snowman collage onto the completed work.  They were to experiment with shadows on the snowman.  With today's temperatures in the 70s, it felt like a snowman just wouldn't work for students today.  Instead we shifted gears and decided to create a picture that would suggest the scene that was warming up and just prior to springtime green or one that might be late in the summer season when vegetation had begun to die away but insects were still prevalent.  Here is where the value painting took the students.  I really love the variety of ways that they approached the project and all the end results.  Sharpies and colored pencils were used over the tempera paint.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Neat Freak Treats

My thumbs are sore from peeling crayons but I have a lot to show for it and have re purposed a huge container of broken bits.   My students love re purposed crayons.  This all started in the fall as I revamped my classroom management.  I added a new job to my job chart called "neat freak".  The neat freaks job is to help clean up all the tools that were dropped on the floor or misplaced and not put back away correctly.  After everything has been cleaned up, I call the neat freaks, one from each table to locate a mystery item.  I used to write down what the item was on a post-it before they began but now I just keep it in my head.  For example, it might be the pencil that rolled under the table or a shelf,  scissors that were left piled down somewhere instead of returned to their place or even just a paper that was dropped on the floor and not picked up.  I think this is the highlight of each class because the winner receives a prize.  I began the process thinking I would pick  up pencils, cutesy erasers and such at the dollar store for the prizes but stumbled on the idea to re purpose crayons when I found a silicone baking sheet of pumpkins back in the fall.  They were an instant hit so now my only out of pocket cost is for the array of baking forms I have added to my collection.  Just google silicone baking sheets and you will see what I mean.  I will be able to reuse the baking sheets for years so my investment has dropped to zero.  Now I spend my evenings and weekends peeling broken crayons.    I will either develop the strongest thumb muscles know to mankind or be forever in pain!!!  It's the little things that make the difference in a classroom and either way the payoff is definitely worth it!

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Calder Mobiles with a Math twist

student work
teacher example
I was cruzing on pinterest a few weeks ago and spotted this pin where straws were being used to create a 3D shape.  Fourth grade teachers in the past have mentioned to me that students need to understand shapes better for the state test.  I have done many different projects where I have had students create a 2D piece of work that is then folded to create a 3D pyramid or cube.  This shape using straws and string struck me as intriguing and I immediately knew I was ready to try this out with a  group of students.  I decided to try my idea with 3rd grade and since I already had the needed materials in my classroom began immediately with the idea of creating a 3 sided pyramid.  The materials were simplistic:  plastic straws, string, plastic needles, paper clips, scissors and a ruler.  The first week was dedicated to having student measure and cut the straws into 2" pieces.  This turned out to be a full lesson in itself as they need reinforcement on how to use the ruler to measure.  We wasted a few straws but success with measurements far outweighed the cost of the straws. (I was able to obtain some donated straws as the weeks went buy so that was off set anyway.)  The needles were used to allow for ease of putting the straws onto the strings.  Next step was knot tying.  With Velcro shoes, kids aren't very good at this anymore and I knew I did not want to be taxed with tying all the knots.  I challenged the students to create the pyramid, a cube and a rectangular cube.  After a visit with the 3rd grade Math teachers, I knew what vocabulary I needed to concentrate on to make connections to their classroom work.  I encouraged making a minimum of four shapes.  They view the works of Alexander Calder and his work with both mobiles and stables.   The final step was to actually create their own mobiles with

teacher example
 attention to balancing on a fulcrum.  All the vocabulary they had been exposed to in 2nd grade Science was review during this process.  I must say, much of this project was a very painful experience.  Often, I doubted whether the students would actually achieve my goal and complete a Calder mobile.  Witnessing the pride of accomplishment when completed was so worth it!
Oh, and this is my 300th post!!! I never knew I had that much to say.