Sunday, May 21, 2017

Designing an Alphabet Letter

The photo above is what inspired me to do a lesson on designing an alphabet letter.  Click here to see another way I used the Alphabet in Art. After receiving the picture from my daughter for my birthday I just had to have the set of magnets to use to inspire my students.

I also had to have this book! Click here for buying info.
I bought some alphabet tracers, shared the above book. And also had students do a planning sheet. In each class, each student was given a different letter to do so that I could eventually do a full alphabet. I tried to match letters to their names and sometimes just had them choose the letter.
Students were encouraged to use markers, colored pencils or crayons.

Check them out:

I think over the summer I will put together a Shutterfly book with the letters to share with students and their parents at events like back to school night.

This was a fun lesson for students as they really had the freedom to go in many different directions!

Thanks for reading and for sharing my blog, last week I officially had over 100,000 page views of my blog.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Reflections & Going Forward

Approaching the end of the school year has given me time to reflect on what worked this past school year and what didn't work...........

First of all I LOVE teaching art. It is what I have wanted to do since I was in elementary school. However, I make no secret how I feel about all the changes in education that has happened since I first started teaching.

Next week Tuesday-Friday I will be giving the End of Course Exams to ALL of my students. I tested my Monday students last week. The only exceptions are the students with accommodations, they took them with a resource teacher. My students are in kindergarten to 5th grade. They get enough tests throughout the school year. So why is it important to test them in art? When I tell people I am expected to test my students, they laugh, they want to know what I could possibly be testing them on. I seriously wonder as to whether they are being tested or I AM being tested. I feel confined when I look through my scope and sequence, it's not the order in which I want to teach my units. And I don't feel it covers enough. Anyway students are tested on the standards or in other words what they learn about the art vocabulary as it relates to the elements and principles of art.

My principal had me doing quarterly assessments with my students, in which I strongly rebelled, but am stuck with regardless. Oh, and did I mention I have to write them? I still consider myself to be very lucky as I read through the Art Teacher Facebook posts.

Which brings me to this wonderful video on how technology makes us feel insecure. Mr. E from Art with Mr E. posted it and I shared it with my daughters.  It's called Mom's Crush.
Basically it's how we as moms feel inferior to the perfect moms who post on social media. Well, I took that video in a whole new direction as I applied it to myself as an art teacher.

Just because I blog does not mean I'm perfect. I still on occasion have lessons that just don't work. I read through social media and think about how my lessons could be better if I remembered to include something cool I read about 2 years ago, 2 months ago, 2 weeks ago, but I forgot or just got overwhelmed......

I feel I should push my students harder, then I remember that they are just little kids exploring their creativity, so I try not to overwhelm them and I grade them according to their abilities. Rubrics be damned. Students are absent, they miss art, there is no room in my schedule to figure out how they can make up what they miss. So I improvise. So they didn't get to mix the color brown for their tree house project, they can cut out a tree and glue on a tree house. Students go on field trips, we have hurricane days so not everyone in the same grade gets to make the same projects. In the grand scheme of things is it really important?

 For Tree house blog post click here.

We tell students to do the best they can do. Shouldn't we follow that advice and stop second guessing ourselves? Each new school year I make a list of lessons I want to do with my students along with the media I want to use. I try to include vocabulary, I create step by step power point presentations. Then the technology fails........ and class management goes to hell......... I try hard to think on my feet and always have a plan B, but that doesn't always work.

However sometimes Plan B works out better then expected. I recently decided instead or along with  a power point, I would do a storyboard presentation. It showed the steps with actual samples of what the students should do. And I saw students bringing over their classmates and explaining everything to them.  I am planning to do this for next year, I think it will help students to be in charge and make them more independent.

Students had a lot of fun earning Depp $. I saw the power it had in terms of classroom management. The down side was when it came time to shop many of the students couldn't find their $ or they brought them home..... students had been told they go in the class box or their folders, not home. Next year I decided I will make index cards and stamp them with a dollar sign. I will have cards handed out when they come to class and collected before they leave. I will have a self inking stamp made if I can't find one already out there.

This past year I tried to keep pace with the majority of students that finished up early or on time, by assigning more projects. But that left 75% of the class doing a new project, 20% doing the last project, 3% two projects behind and 2% not knowing where to jump in..... Again because of absences, or because they just moved here. Perhaps a few one day projects in between longer projects for others to catch up.  I really just don't know........

All I know is in 2 weeks I'll have more time to think about all of this and prepare for next year!

I would love to hear about your school year!             Thanks for Reading!!

As I plan my blog posts for the summer and upcoming school year, I am curious as to what you hope to learn when reading an elementary art teacher blog? Please let me know. Thanks.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Adire Eleko Cloth

So I'm on a roll! I found another sweet project that can be left for a sub or used as a one day project. I found in it this book. Click here to find it on Amazon. This book by Denise Logan is filled with fabulous projects for children!

The project I picked  is titled Adire Eleko Cloth with Senufo Mud Cloth Animals.

I gave students a little background information about the history of this African Art.

They used a blue marker and a white oil pastel.

I did do a simple resist with the white pastel and watered down blue tempera to help make the connection. Then I totally disappointed them because they would be doing a short cut version with blue paper.  However, I'm thinking I'll do it with fabric and turn it into a sewing project next year......

The author included a page of pattern ideas that I photocopied and gave out for reference.
There was also an animal insert that is done on white paper with blue marker that gets glued on top, in the middle of the paper.  Totally forgot about it......

Basically, I gave some background, did a quick demo of resist. Showed them we were taking a short cut and starting out with blue paper. We could use the patterned ideas or create our own and they could only use blue marker and white oil pastel. I have tried this with white crayon & colored pencils and the oil pastel works the best.

We are near the end of the school year and some students needed to finish up other projects and some students that were done needed to start something new. I did this with 2nd grade this week and may do a different grade level next week. With just 3 weeks left and one week wasted with End of Course Exams there isn't much time left.......

Thanks for Reading!!