Sunday, December 13, 2020

Roll an Elf on a Shelf

We did a Roll a Turkey activity the days before the Thanksgiving break last month and one of my students requested we do an Elf on a Shelf the days before the Holiday break.  So, I came up with this for them.  I'm hoping it is not too hard for 2nd - 5th grade. 


Saturday, December 12, 2020

What do you do when they have NO supplies at home?

All Student Works
My most frustrating challenge this year is that students don't have the basic necessary supplies they need for Art class.  Many of them lack paper and pencil.  I've often encouraged scrounging through the recycling bin to use the back of envelopes, cardboard cereal boxes and other materials to repurpose for drawing supplies.  It actually breaks my heart!  I tried using Pear Deck with all of my student for simple responses but the kick back from parents was painful.  So with the quest for other ways to make art, I decided to dig deeper into Google Drawing.  All of our school issued computers have it available so it seemed like the best first step.  I was inexperience myself so I turned to YouTube where I found this terrific video for beginners,  Easy Drawings with 3D Shapes  This guy is terrific.  One of the things he does is to keep it real.  He makes mistakes and then corrects them, he changes his mind if he doesn't like a choice.  He approaches it like a kid would so they can easily relate.  He inspires.   In my live lessons, I play a portion of the video and then stop and repeat the process with my own demo so it can be slowed down and repeated as many times as possible until we are all on track.  It took about (3) three 30 minute classes to complete the first project.  But, I am so happy with the successes!  Realize your students are going to be really pumped to continue to work with the lesson after class time so the final step on day one was to create a new Google Drawing template that we labeled "Just for Fun" so they could experiment independently without touching our in class work.  So, in the works for future lessons are Notans, using value, mosaics, and a go at perspective and portraits.  I set using Google Drawings with my students as this year's professional goal so I will need to incorporate at least 25% of my lessons using the program.  If anyone has any great lesson ideas that you've had success with, please comment and share!  Thank you and Happy Google Drawings!!

 Here's another adaption we might give a try

to when we work with gradients.

Saturday, October 10, 2020

A New Adventure


So, Tuesday morning I will begin my Professional Development for teaching full year at the Virtual Academy.  I have labored over this decision since school begin for us in early September.  I feel like I am abandoning "my" students that I have worked with for multiple years.  I have been in one of my schools since 2005 and the other since 2010.  It feels like a loss in so many ways.  It came down to the feeling that I really didn't have a choice to make.  I am 65 years old, have a husband with health issues on disability and a daughter who is pregnant with our first grandchild.  I've felt committed, then anxious, then undecided and unsure every step of the way to this point.  Ultimately, with no guarantees, I felt I needed to chose working virtually from home.  I know I can do this and I know I will give 100% to the endeavor.  My plan is to rock it with success!  

The down size, supplies not being available to students and limiting how I can present lessons.  I will miss having hands that are caked with clay and watching as my students gleefully create and explore with a lump of clay.  I will miss students that I adore and admire for their creative energies and enthusiasm.  Maybe, next August, I will be able to walk back into my spaces and greet them in person.  I can hope for that reality.  Until then, I will work to build new relationships with new talented kids who bring me pride, laughter and smiles and rest assured, I will feel just as torn at the end of the year knowing they will be going back to a new normal and I might not be able to tag along.

Monday, June 15, 2020

Cartooning about Picasso

A few weeks back with on-line learning, my third grade students interacted with an assignment at the Tate Art Museum.  The assignment involved making a Picasso Fortune teller, they all love those and playing with it to chose a subject for their drawing.  I also task them with sharing one fact that they had learned about Picasso.  Fast forward to this week and their last assignments.  I we were in the building we would have been doing cartooning so I decided to try to stay on task with those plans and bring the Picasso fact they had shared back into the picture.  Students were given a number of cartoon templates that I found at Picklebums and were instructed to create their own original cartoon.  When this one hit my email today, I knew I had to share.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Games for Visual Meetings

I have been having a virtual visual meeting with my students once a week for the past few weeks.  Numbers are growing but it is still a small manageable group.  My goal was to offer this time to help any students who were struggling with lessons.  Despite my poking and prodding, those students still are not showing up.  Instead the time has turned into an Art visit where students share what is important to them and we draw together.  Last week I took a suggestion and the students drew along with me as I used a white board they could view.  This week I was searching for something different and decided on a "Roll-a-Dice" I found on Pinterest.  It was for making "Silly Spiders."  Thanks to whomever created it cause my kids loves it and we had fun first drawing a number of spiders and then coloring them.  I was able to locate a dice that we could manipulate on line so my students could be a part of the choosing the number as well.  I found that here.The virtual visual gave us the opportunity to share with one another by holding our work up to the camera of our computer.  As we were leaving this week, I ask the group what they would like to do when we are together next week and they suggested a Roll-a-Dice Silly Animals.  So, I Googled and came up short.  There are many animal sheet available but they are usually themed by animal and my students wanted silly animals.  Very broad but I rose to the challenge and have successful created an official "Roll-A-Dice Silly Animal" for next week's session.  I'm sharing it here with anyone who would like to use it. Let me know how it goes, okay???

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Distance Learning...Still

So distance learning has influenced my teaching in ways totally beyond my initial thinking.  In many ways it has been a challenge.  My shining take away is that it has given me the time and opportunity to look at my lessons with a new approach.  This was a necessity because communication of intent has many times been a huge challenge.  Directions that I think are simple and easy to follow have stumped my students.  Or maybe they just aren't engaged enough to pay attention and absorb intent.  Regardless, I have learned to simplify, simplify, simplify.  A few weeks ago I set up a Sites on Google Classroom.  This has been my game changer.  The lessons are more polished and I feel easier to follow.  I just paste the link into my classroom and the students are directed to a one page span where everything is easier to access. The lesson flows with steps and bullets to define expectations.  No perfect world, I still have a few that even struggle with this but for the most part, we seem to experience more success.  Here is my Home Page.  From there, the different grade levels are across the top with drop downs to sub pages for the lessons.  This is really easy to set up and mostly I love how it looks.  If you are task with using Google Classroom.  Check out the Sites.  This is New Sites not Classical Sites.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Texture Safari - Distrance Learning Style

One of my favorite projects for 2nd grade this time of the year is to take them on a Texture Safari.  They explore the classroom looking for textures both implied and actual, they classify and describe them.  I went in search of a video I could share with them on YouTube but everything was for younger students and it showed.  I went on Safari in my home with iPad in hand to photograph some textures to share with them.  The project will involve first identifying textures then creating their own texture collage from rubbings.

Here is a link to my video.