Tuesday, October 7, 2014

First Grade Matryoshka Dolls

Last cycle my first graders had just a quick step to finish their first project and then they filled out an assessment and started this project. Based on Russian Matryoshka Dolls-also called Babushka Dolls or, in English, Nesting Dolls. They started by folding their paper in half twice to make four sections. Next, they folded one side to the center of the paper twice to increase to six sections, four are smaller than the first two. They sketched a circle at the top of the first section and then added a little neck and a body that went all the way to the bottom of the paper. Repeat those steps in the next section, a little shorter. Continue until there are six Matryoshka Dolls, all a little shorter than the last and all touching the bottom of the page.

This week, they will use assorted circles to trace a face on the head of each doll.

We'll talk about the Russian style of drawing the faces and add a pattern to the dress.

They'll look something like this prior to coloring.

Students will be cutting the excess paper off the top and fan folding on their fold lines so they stand up on their own.

They will be given markers, colored pencils, and crayons and asked to use at least two of these materials on each doll.



Monday, October 6, 2014

Russian Tigers

My students are still "in" Russia and I already found myself stumped as to what to do with my kinders. I have so many go-to plans that develop art concepts and fine motor skills but not necessarily Russian or Asian concepts.  I flipped through a children's book about Russian and discovered that tigers were nearly extinct there until the last 20 years or so when they began working to rebuild the species that was declining. While scoping out Pinterest I came across this image of a tiger and I found myself inspired. 
Click photo for credit link
I happen to have an adorable book called "It's a Tiger!" by David LaRochelle that I got at the school book fair last year, and it was a perfect link to Russia, literacy, and an art project that teaches fine motor skills (drawing, cutting, gluing)! The kids adored this book. Every kid had a smile on their face as they chimed in "It's a tiger!" on every other page. It's super fun to read aloud too.

 The project started by having the kids glue orange and white strips of paper in a pattern on a half (9X12") piece of black construction paper. I talked about A, B patterns and then asked them to leave a black space between each strip to make it a more complicated pattern. A, B, C, B, A, B, C, B. Sounds complicated, but they totally got it!

The first class they were also able to get an orange square and red trapezoid glued down for the beginning of a face. 

Student work.

Student work



Next class the students will take two orange and two white strips of paper and fold them in half and cut them. They'll take one half and repeat the process to get four small and two medium pieces of both colors. 



They'll glue only the center of their tiger face to the center of a 12X18" piece of black construction paper.

Next, they'll add the medium sized strips in a pattern above the tiger's head to create a body.

Glue down the top of the head.

Add two rows of strips in a pattern to create the legs.

Glue down the bottom of the head.


And here's my kindergarten (sample) version of the first picture. I should start having student projects to post on Wednesday (I think!). I'm so excited to see them done!
 I do have one special needs student in kindergarten, so I created a storyboard of the second day's steps. I was concerned that it might be a bit much for him and, really, all the kids benefit from a storyboard. I was already taking pictures to put in my sub plans for Thursday, so it fit to put them together for the kids while I was at it. 


Classroom Signs

I have had several teachers interested in different signs they have seen in my classroom, usually in the background of photos I've posted here or on my class Facebook pages. Always one to help out, I've created a Google Docs folder for them and opened it to anyone with the link to view it. I'll keep putting files there-they are typically just downloaded from the internet or compiled by me, so they are usually 8.5X11" signs. The photos of this post are examples of what you'll find there. Enjoy!











Friday, October 3, 2014

iDoceo 3 Revisited

I recently reviewed an App called iDoceo 3, which is used for managing the plethora of paperwork a teacher has to do each year (day, or even hour!). My favorite feature is the calendar/planner, which allows users to set any type of class cycle. It's the first program I have found that works flawlessly with my district's crazy six day cycle. 

One feature I forgot to mention is that it is password protected. I love this too, as the app contains all my students' photos and grades and, now, I discovered, even photos of projects and assessments! This newly discovered feature is why I am revisiting iDoceo for you today.


This is a sample class, just to show you how to add photos. I have been dabbling with Three Ring lately, but this feature makes that app unneeded, which I am grateful for, as I was having troubles figuring it out completely! From the screen above, the user would tap the three vertical line with a + on the top right to create a new project! assessment, or student task. The pop up below will appear.

Name the new item. You can add other parameters, and color code it if needed.

Next, double tap the box in the new column next to the student's name to get the pop up pictured above. I haven't used any of the icons yet, but you can add up to four for each project, plus a grade. To add a photo, tap the speech bubble on the top left of the menu.

From here, you can send this to parents, students, or both or add an attachment. I teach elementary, so I'm not emailing anyone their grades. However, the attachment feature is where I add photos.

Look at all the things you can attach! Video or audio of kids taking a about their art! Photos of projects, assessment, or the process! A URL-link to Artsonia anyone? Or a file of their artist statement for the project! Talk about documentation for that SLO! 

Here, I selected a random photo, tap DONE next.

The user can add ag get rade and/or icons for record keeping, then tap DONE again to save the new records.

That's it! The small black triangle in the right corner of the grade box shows that there is an attachment for that project.












Friday, September 26, 2014

Kindergarten Kandinsky Paintings

To begin our tour of Asia, my Kindergartners looked at art by Wassily Kandinsky. They learned what a concentric shape is, and that it can be any shape inside of each other. They then learned what my expectations are for painting in the art room, and we got started. 

Every year, I am completely amazed by the differences in my Kindergartners. Some have never held a pair of scissors. One year I even had one that had never held a pencil! So it's not surprising that these all turned out so different from each other. I love the variety, and it was very informative to watch them paint.


 I prefolded the paper for them so that each paper had eight squares. I demonstrated how to "tickle" the paper with the tip of the paint brush to get a nice line and asked the children to fill each square with as many circles as they could fit.







 They are so fun displayed in our atrium!



Wednesday, September 17, 2014

My Favorite Apps-Class Dojo

Here is another app/website that I use daily in my art classroom. Class Dojo. This is a classroom management app, but includes the ability to record attendance and open the results to parent involvement. I choose to keep mine between the kids and I, as I understand that everyone has a bad day, and I only see the students once every six school days. I clear out all the points after class each day so everyone has a clean slate each class.

Here's what is great about Class Dojo:

This is the main screen. Last year I had a seperate log in for my two schools, and regretted that decision. I was logging in and out constantly and it was a pain. This year, I put both schools in one log in and gave them different icons to keep them organized. This is working well for me, but  makes it so teachers at my second school cannot connect to me. I emailed Class Dojo and they said that having two schools on one account is a feature they are currently working on adding. To add your class, tap the + in the top right corner. 

This is the screen that will pop up next. 



Tap and choose an icon for your class. 


Name your class and add the grade level. 



Tap the box that says, "0 Students" to add students.




Tap where it says, "Student Name" to begin putting students into your class list. 


Tap DONE to put the student on the list. 


Continue until the class is all put into the program.


Now you are ready to actually use Class Dojo. From the screen above you have many options. You can take attendance, which I do as the kids settle into their spots. This make the absent kids whiteout and get skipped when you select the whole class to give points. 
You can also check reports-which I will show in a moment, edit bubbles-which are the points given, and start class. 

This is what your class will look like when you start it. Tap a name to give them positive or negative points. Did I mention you can customize the behaviors you are looking for? I have classroom specific behaviors that use the same terms as my class rules to keep the kids understanding my expectations. 


Let's give George a positive point-he's working so hard!


Positive points show as green bubbles. If George got another positive point, the number would change to two.


That Alf! He's so naughty, he got an off task point. Negative points will only show as red if there are no positive points given. If Alf had been on task earlier and had a green point, it would show no points. If he had three positive points, it would go down to two points. 




When you click on reports, you have the option of looking at a specific child or the whole class. My students love to find their percentage!

The report will show as a pie chart, unless you change it to a bar graph. Last year I had rewards specific to the percentage of positive behaviors earned. 

That's basically it! You can collaborate with other teachers-either both giving points or simply sharing students. I'm not going to go into that, though as I haven't done it and they have a great tutorial on their website to get you going with that feature.