Sunday, February 21, 2016

4th grade ATC trade.

I have wanted to participate in an ATC exchange for a couple of years now and just couldn't seem to pull it together.  Sitting here right now I am wondering "why not??"  This was the easiest day ever and the results were pretty good.  I allowed my students to create a card of choice using a medium of choice as well as subject matter.  We began by throwing out ideas and talking about how we would want to represent our school to students across the country.  Would we want to illustrate something about our community, our interest, the art that we have made or would we just want to present our creative selves?  Since, this was a choice lesson, the end results include all of the above.  The first batch of twenty is in the mail, off to a small school in SD and now we will practice being patient.  This week, we will pull together another 80 to send off to another program in another direction...don't have that address, yet.  Then, I'll be looking for another place to trade with maybe using another grade.

Friday, February 19, 2016

A Heart a Day Challenge

I jumped into the A Heart a Day Challenge with Mr. E this month and it has been such a plus to my personal well being.  I can't believe I have never done anything like this before but believe me, I'll hop on the bandwagon again.  I think one of the hardest things about teaching art is that we tend to lose ourselves in the process.  We become so busy with lesson plans, classroom management, grades, school politics...the list goes on, that we often set our personal needs aside.  After all, we got into this art teaching thing because we loved to be creative and make art, right?  And yet, in that process, the first thing we tend to loose is our own art making.  Thank goodness for all our colleagues out there that recognize that we need to take care of our own creative needs as well.  This month has had me thinking hearts thanks to Mr. E.  A few days have felt particularly challenged as I have tried to not become mediocre with my heart making.  Often I have felt like I am all over the place and I am sure if you looked at the full gamut of the last 18 days you might recognize that as well.  Mostly, I have really enjoyed this challenge.  I look forward to making something new every day and have started to challenge myself to pick up new materials and take some chances with things I don't have a comfort level with. (translate: what do I do with all those gelli plate prints???)  I honestly am not looking forward to February 29th and this challenge coming to an end.  So what am I doing about it???  Well, I'm following blogs, twittering on Twitter and in search of my next challenge.  I'll stay on board for as long as I can.  If you have a great challenge you can recommend, please let me know.  If you haven't done this yet, jump on board.  It's been a great experience!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Charley Harper Winter Cardinals

I posted about this project back in 2013 here.  This years projects are turning out so sweet, I just need to post a few new ones.  I made a small change in the lesson this year as well.  Students drew the vegetation and bird during day one prior to applying the watercolor background with the kosher salt.  That was allowed to dry and week two they returned to the project using watercolor pencils to add color to the bird.  I think this gave them better control over the coloring of the bird and it gave me the opportunity to introduce them to an additional medium, which they loved.  This is alway a WOW lesson that I make certain to post on the bulletin boards and share with everyone in the school.  This is done with 2nd grade students.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Artic Habitats in first grade

 Recently on Facebook, I viewed a great post by Michelle Reile on habitats and I knew it would be perfect for a collaboration with first grade.  Students were doing classroom projects on Walrus, Emperor Penguins and Polar Bears.  I decided to jump in and have them create habitats in the art room.  The students loved taping into the information they were learning in their classroom and then exploring how to create their 3D habitats in the art room.  There were many ahhhha moments as the paper was transformed into the triangular habitats.  They did struggle to understand the method to attach their animals and a few children were forced to go back and
 try again to create an animal that could be glued into the habitat.  They kept cutting off the tab but there were many successes as you can see as everyone caught on to the process.  The best part was having the older grades view the results and beg to create their own.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Making Home Made Liquid Watercolor NOT using old markers

I really love using liquid watercolor with the little ones in my school.  It is so convenient and easy, especially when you are not needing to use a multitude of colors.   Yesterday my 2nd graders were doing a watercolor/crayon wash with blue and I knew I did not have enough precious liquid water color to do the job.  My options were limited: 1-only give them a small amount and hope it was enough,  2-water it down some more and dilute the color, or create a choice 3.  Here is how I came up with choice #3!  I always have those trays of watercolor where the little oval only has a little paint left in it but being the thrifty one, I just can't bear to toss them out until the last little bit of paint has been used.  Hearing lamenting students: "But Mrs. H, the container is empty."  I gathered up a couple of those almost but not quite empty ovals and dropped them down into a jar of warm water and SHAZAM liquid watercolor!  And yes, it was great!  The color was vibrant, it painted just like the stuff I had previous bought and you could not tell the difference!
You can bet, I'll be stockpiling those "almost empty" containers for now on and tossing them into a jug of water.  Oh, and the little ovals from the paint, saving those, too!  The art club is planning to create with recycled materials next week.  I can't wait to see what they come up with using those things.  I'll be sure to post something and let you know.