Thursday, May 8, 2014

Art Room Hacks

There is just something about spring that inspires me. Every spring I get a rush of new ideas for my classes-just in time for summer break! I try to re organize my classroom and document it before leaving so I don't lose these thoughts. After ten years of teaching, I am finally to the point that I have a few of my favorite elementary art room hacks; simple ideas to ease life in the elementary art classroom. 

1. Filing Cabinets as a Magnetic Surface & Supply Storage
I saw a great pin on Pinterest that showed two full sized filing cabinets used back to back to provide a magnetic teaching surface. Genius! I already had three two drawer shelves in my classroom that I was using side by side as a table and lesson plan storage. I moved these to the other side of the room, where I tend to intro my lessons and put them end to end. I will be using the side as a magnetic surface to teach the kids about the countries we are studying, and the top is a perfect counter for supplies. To top it all off, I was only using a small portion of each drawer, so I realized that I can put the class' supplies in a drawer for each grade level. The grey cabinet under the overhang of the counter has the kindergarten supplies in the top draw and first grade in the bottom drawer. The blue cabinets hold drawers for 2-5's supplies. Most of my classes are back to back, and now everything is close and organized so I don't have to have it all out for classes that aren't using the supplies! It has been a huge time saver already. Of course, I do have to beautify the top and label them still!

2. A Screen to Dry Clay
One of the teachers I replaced had two screens in her clay cabinet. I love this, as it allows for clay to dry quicker and more evenly. They do get stretched out, and end up needing more support, but still work great. To save time, they work even better when put on a rolling cart of some sort to more easily be moved to the kiln. Oh, and we got new windows last summer! All the screens from our old windows came to work with me.

3. In Boxes
This one was actually my own idea (gasp!) I was sick of the "where do I put this" avalanche of questions after every project. Each grade level has a box and knows that if it's not wet, that's where completed projects go. Now I just deal with the avalanche when doing sculpture.

4. Leave the Paint Out
I teach 6 classes almost every day. Let's face it, usually 3-4 of them are painting SOMETHING. Why put the paint in a cabinet or on a shelf when I'm going to use it virtually every day? I have a dedicated countertop for paint. As an added bonus, it makes it possible for me to order big containers with pumps, which is so much faster to pour! An added tip, have a needle tool handy for clogged pumps, they are skinny enough to get all the way into the pump and clear out all the dried paint.

5. Two words: Photo Labels
Even the kindergartners know where to put things when they can match their item to a picture!

6. Use a toy Organizer for Yarn
Ok, another one of my own ideas, lol. I bought this toy organizer at a garage sale a few years ago, but my kids just dumped all the toys out every time I sorted them. I got sick of the mess and brought the organizer to school. All my yarns are sorted in containers based on color. It's usually a bit cleaner than this, but my second graders are weaving. 

Friday, March 7, 2014

Youth Art Month

Happy Youth Art Month!
I decided to forgo my usual regional show this year as I hadn't save much work from the year and am a bit stressed out about our upcoming art show. Instead, we are celebrating in-house. And I have never seen such excitement among the students! I meant to post this last week so all of you can use it as a resource if you'd like, but it's not too late you still can do it! We have our Spring Break the third week of March, so I only have three weeks set up anyway. 

Mystery Artist:
I created three quick (about 40 seconds) iMovies about one artist for each movie. We are playing them on our Monday student news show each week. I have a box for students to submit their guess of who the artist is. I am randomly picking one winner from the stack of correct answers to win a prize. I just picked up some art pads at Wal-Mart. They were only $2.00 each, so it didn't break the bank to get six (one for each week (minus Spring Break) for both of my two schools). I kept the movies to artists that I have taught at more than one grade level throughout the last several years. My kindergarten colleagues also helped out this week by making "Camille and the Sunflowers" their storytime book. They said it was fun to hear a lot of gasps when they got to the part that showed the painting and the kids recognized it from the video! Here are my three videos: 




Now, I'm assuming that because I used pretty standard artists and most/all of you are art education professionals you know the answers. If you don't, feel free to ask in the comments or send me an email. I didn't want to put them below the videos in case someone wants to show the video straight from this blog.  

Spring Break Drawing Challenge
Due to Spring Break consistently being in the middle of YAM, I decided to jump on The Art of Ed's idea of a drawing challenge over break. (on a side note, if you don't get their emails, you should!) I created my own drawing ideas, though. Here is a copy of my full challenge, I haven't determined the prize for this yet, but I did create a certificate for all the kids that participate using a template on Word. (Note, I linked to the certificate on Google Docs, but it changed the font I used, so it's a bit odd. I have it set for everyone to be able to edit it if you want to edit it and download your own version). I had them printed on goldenrod paper to make them feel extremely important for the kids. I will also have everyone that receives a certificate put their name in a box for a prize. I might use the freebies from the conferences I've attended and make a little bag of art goodies. 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Monoprint Making

I am very fortunate to have an extremely supportive parent group at both of my schools. Last spring Dick Blick's Art Room Aid program had a Youth Art Month promotion of matching funds. I jumped on the chance at getting something out of my regular price range and asked both of my principals the best way to proceed. We asked the parent group at one school, and the other principal used funds reserved for using on things many kids will use. I ended up getting a printing press, bed, blankets, and litho supplies for each school! Once it arrived, I was a little overwhelmed. I haven't done printmaking since college-with a trained professor looking over my shoulder. Lucky for me, one of our very active parents also happens to be a professional printmaking artist. Genie Castro came in and worked with my second graders on creating monotypes and reminded me of the joy of printmaking (and how to run a press!). The results are completely blowing me away! I am about halfway done putting them on Artsonia, as Genie is taking them home and pressing them. Here's how we proceeded: 

Day 1: I introduced Genie and she demonstrated how to ink a plate. She showed them how to add more than one color to a brayer and cover the plate completely. She added yarn, string, ric rak, plastic yard fencing-anything thin on top of the plate and then showed the kids how to run it through the press. Please note, I brought the press from my other school AND I have a student teacher (who happens to be amazing at printmaking) right now-so there were three adults in the room. Two of us manned the presses while the third circulated to help kids that needed more color or had questions. If/when I do this again, with only me, I think I'd start another project that the kids can do solo and take small groups to the press. The kids formed a line at each press after washing their hands. They were in charge of writing their name on the paper (Stonehenge) and dipping it in the waterbath (I borrowed a large shallow pan from our kitchen staff.) and letting it drip while the adult reset the press. Once the press was engaged, the kids did the work of running their print through the press. 

Day 2: Genie came back and taught the kids how to sign a print. She went over how to come up with a creative title, use the 1/1 for a monoprint, sign it, add a copyright symbol, and the year. She even encouraged them to write it on scrap paper first so they know they are spelling everything correctly. Then the kids signed the print from the previous class and worked on printing more. All the kids printed two on Stonehenge paper, and some had time to print extras on cheap paper too. 

The kids loved this whole process! 
When they saw Genie was back for the second day there was a lot of celebrating!

This is our second grade Art Show project.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

By Local

It's Art Show season! This year is my school's TENTH annual Music and Art Show-so I decided to go BIG. We are always trying to get the show more community involvement, so this year I asked a different local artist to come in and work with each age group. This hereby begins my mini-series on our show. I'll have a conclusion after the show, to showcase how it went. If you want to see more about the show and our work leading up to it, like our Facebook page. I am allowed to post more there than I am here. Here's a quick preview of the artists featured: 

Kindergartners worked with Audrey Martin, acrylic artist. Here is an iMovie of their completed birch tree paintings.


First graders are working with Rachel Navaro, who owns and operates The Create Space here in town. They are making African masks out of a milk jug cut vertically. One class is done, a second is close. I will be posting more about them when they are all finished. 
Second graders are working with Genie Castro, a printmaker. Genie had plexi plates made and we are using the printing presses that our parent group bought us last spring with the Dick Blick Art Room Aide matching funds program to create monoprints. Both of my schools purchased one press for me, and I brought them both to one school to work with Genie. When we are finished, I plan on bringing both to my other school to do this as well. I have a student teacher, so we can each man a press. Students are making two prints and we haven't determined how we will display them yet. 
Third graders worked with Emily Steffen, photographer. Their project is completed, minus the printing and displaying. I can't post the iMovies here, as they have images of the kids in some of them. The iMovies are posted on the Facebook page linked above if you are interested in seeing them. Emily showed the kids how she tells a story of the wedding day through her images, down to the tiniest detail. We split the classes up into three groups and one went with Emily, one with my student teacher, and one with me. Each group focused on a different part of their school day; morning, recess, and afternoon. They are awesome! 
Fourth graders will be working with Megan Gaworecki, who is a jack of all trades. They will be manipulating vintage photos of our city. They start next week. 
Fifth graders are making mini tee pees based on Dakota Indian traditions with Heidi Sime. One class has met with Heidi so far, and I am really excited to see how these turn out! 

Stay tuned for more info, photos, and iMovies of each grade level's work with our local artists!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Paul Klee Non-Objective Drawings

Here is a sampling of my latest project from the 5th graders at one of my schools. My other school is starting it next week. It is inspired by another former colleague. Check out her gallery here.
We started by looking at images by Paul Klee. We first focused on his abstract images such as Castle and Sun and talked about abstract paintings. We defined abstract as art that is based on a subject matter but converted into shapes. We then segued into his non-objective paintings and defined non-objective as art that has no subject matter. 
Next, the kids were asked to draw 4-7 large lines on their paper to break up the space. Finally, we talked about color theory and focused on analogous colors. I explained how to read the color wheel and quizzed them with questions such as "If I am on red, which two colors could I use?" I then demonstrated how to blend the oil pastels and leave a space around the pencil lines for black. I stressed saving the black for last and explained that we didn't want the black to smear into the colors. 
Most of them turned out amazing! Here is our gallery, but you can see some of them below.

Blue Dog

My third graders are starting a project based on George Rodrigue's Blue Dog paintings. I am always so excited to teach about a living artist, which made me extra sad to learn that Rodrigue died in December
We are starting our lesson by reading Why Is Blue Dog Blue? by Rodrigue. I was nervous that the book is a little young for third graders, but they loved guessing what color Rodrigue would choose for each of the pages. 

After reading the book, we drew the dogs together. I was using the SmartBoard and the kids followed along. I allowed them to add a collar to make each one unique. We will start painting next week!

Color Wheel Spirals

I got the idea for this project from a former colleague. Her gallery is here. I love the color wheel, but realize that not all people do. I love that this project allows for students to mix their own secondary colors but isn't a boring, generic color wheel. I also love adding the iPad step at the end to add interest for students that might not have been excited about the painting step. 

Here is the video I created using a free trial version of Camtasia. I love Camtasia. If I was in the market for a $300 software, it would be Camtasia. However, I'm not, so now I'm experimenting with iMovie-which is free-much more my price range!


I am doing this project with 4th graders, and they are looking great so far. A couple of classes are done or nearly done painting and will start Sharpie next class. My other school will be starting these next week. 

Completed painting.

This and the following photos are after using the Percolator App.

Student work in progress.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Picasso's Blue Portraits

I am starting a new project with my second graders soon. I decided to use a presentation App on my iPad called Flowboard to introduce the lesson. Here is the intro, and I will post about the project once we get started. Here's the link to the Picasso Flowboard.

View on Flowboard - Presentation and Storytelling Platform for iPad

CREDIT: The portrait template on the last slide was created by Tricia Fuglestad. I received it when I purchased the eBook for her Master Class at Education Closet.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

iPads in the Art Room

I am extremely excited tonight. This morning I learned that a grant I wrote for six iPads was approved by the Education Foundation of Hudson. This fabulous foundation consists of Hudson alumni and accepts proposals up to $3,000 twice a year. They also funded document cameras for each of the elementary art classrooms a couple of years ago. I feel so fortunate to work in a district that not only supports teachers, but also the arts! 

Last summer I took the iPads in the Art Room class through The Art of Ed, and last week I viewed the Creating on iPads Master Class on Education Closet. Both are fabulous resources if you are looking to get started using iPads in your art room. I am glad that I took the AOE class first, as it begins very basic, with setting up the iPad and learning basic features before moving on to finding, sharing, and using apps for projects. I came away with a lot of great ideas, and still have to go through some of the other students' final projects. There were just so many great ideas I haven't gotten to them all. Tricia Fuglestad's presentation on EC was fabulous, but fast. I was glad I have background knowledge on iPads and the video was recorded so I could backtrack and pause when I needed to get everything completely understood. I showed a few fifth graders her portrait project and asked if they would like to do it. At first they declared there was no way they could possibly draw like that-then I showed them a quick demo of the process and they got very excited and asked if we could do it next! I already have a project planned, and have to get Sketchbook X on all the iPads (and hopefully obtain my new ones!) before we can start that project, but I am encouraged by their enthusiasm and am optimistic about the art they will create on their personal iPads after learning how to use the layers feature. With the addition of six iPads from the grant, I will now have eight iPads designated just for my art department, so look forward to more exploration of using iPads in the art room on One Crayola Short!