Friday, February 26, 2010

Floppy Disk Flowers

-Understand that art can be made out of anything
-Use recycling to create a work of art

-Pinch Pot: Creating a pot out of a pliable material by pinching with the fingers.

Floppy Discs
Jazz Paint
Paint Brushes
Water/Water Containers
Toaster Oven/Polymer Clay Oven
Crayola Model Magic in a variety of colors
Twisteez Wire
Pony Beads
Potting Soil
Green Construction paper
Black Sharpies

This summer when I entered my new school for the first time and opened one of the desk drawers, I found hundreds of floppy disks. I knew it was a project waiting to happen, but didn't know what project. Our First Annual Art Show has a recycling theme so I knew it was time to get those Floppy Disks out. I cracked them open and pulled out the information disks. The kids got to choose three or four flowers, and they painted them whichever color they wanted with the Jazz paints on newspaper.

Next, I showed the children how to create a pinch pot out of Crayola Model Magic. Because it's an Art Show project I didn't show them that they can create a marbled look with two colors, or mix them to get a secondary color. I was going for simplicity so they got to choose red, yellow, blue, or white for their pot. I stressed making sure that their pot would stand before adding wires (although, I still had to add a cardboard base to a few of them). When the pot was shaped, they needed to add a wire for each flower that they painted.

Before the next class, I melted each disk in the toaster oven. I pushed them into the top of a coffee mug and put them in at about 250 degrees; it only took about ten seconds for each one to melt into the form. When the kids came in, I showed them how to create a leaf on a folded piece of paper, so the fold kept them attached. They were asked to glue zero, one, or two leaves to each wire. We wrapped the wire around a pencil to get a "spring" at the top of each wire and twisted one disk onto the wire. I stressed stopping in the middle of the spring so the flower wouldn't fall all the way down. A pony bead was added, and then the spring was squished shut. When all the flowers were added, they added a bit of potting soil on the top of the pot to make it look like the flowers are actually growing. They turned out adorable!

In addition to circulating the room, completed projects are assessed for the shape of their pot, thoroughness of painting their disks, and craftsmanship.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

SMARTboard Links

How ironic that the day after I posted about my SMARTboard use, an art education blog that I follow had a similiar post! Here are some more ideas of how to use a SMARTboard in an Art classroom.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

SMARTboards for Clean Up Transition

One of my constant delimas since becoming an art teacher has been monitoring the transition from project work time to clean up time. I'm sure many can relate to my stories of the kids that wander and goof off during clean up time, letting the other kids at their table clean up all of their messes. Often we'd get to the end of class time, their teacher would be waiting, and the room was not up to my standards. Many times, I'd end up cleaning the remainder of the mess when all my classes were done, thus enforcing the idea that if they goof off they won't have to clean the mess-there would always be someone else to do it for them.

Then I found The Teaching Palette. If you're an art teacher, and haven't utilized this resource, I strongly recommend it. I found an article on their site about using a clean up map to motivate students to work as a team and quickly clean the room. While I liked the author's ideas, I don't have any open wall space in my tiny classrooms to put a large map. I decided I'd like to utilize my SMARTboard for this idea but having no expericence with SMARTboards, had no idea how to make my thoughts into reality.

Then I took a weekend class through my district on how to use a SMARTboard. Since then, I have implimented a plan for clean up that is working so well, I decided to share it. If you search the gallery for a "timer," you will find a stick of dynamite that counts down seconds until it "explodes." I set it for either 180 seconds (three minutes) or 300 seconds (five minutes), depending on how much work is required for clean up. I use a split screen, so the bomb is on one side, and a list of clean up expectations is on the other side.

While introducing this concept to the kids, I started by talking about how they can "help us reach our goal" of beating the bomb. I asked questions like "will standing, and counting down help us reach our goal?" They answered with a resounding NO! "Would checking the floor help us reach our goal?" YES! The first time or two, it was a little loud, but I started walking around, quietly mentioning things like "Ooooh, I see a marker under the red table." They noticed that if they listen while they clean, I will mention everything that needs to be done by the time the bomb explodes. I also made sure that the last item on every clean up list is that they are sitting quietly in their seats. This avoids the while class counting down at the top of their lungs.

If the kids "beat the bomb," they get a point on their scoreboard; if not, I get a point. I also found the scoreboard in the gallery, and the HOME and AWAY labels can be changed to whatever you want it to say.

I have a SMART Notebook file for each day, and have the bomb, clean up lists for drawing, painting, and clay which can be moved within the slideshow depending on which materials we are using that day. Then I have a slide for each class' scoreboard. At the end of the day, I hit save and we continue each time the class meets. I told the kids they would get a "mystery prize" at the end of the year if they have more points than I do.

Since starting this, the kids have gotten very excited about clean up. Half way through the class I'll get "are we going to do the bomb again today?!" The kids are excited, and working as a team in a way I never imagined they would! It's astounding! My biggest issue now is getting them to slow down so they don't get hurt!

I've also found some interesting ways to get them lined up using my SMARTboard, and keep these slides at the end of each day's slideshow. There is a "color chooser" which shows a different color every time it is touched. I tell them if they are wearing the color it shows, they can line up. There's also letter dice that I changed to have only vowels; then I select either their first or last name as say if they have that letter in the chosen name they can line up. Finally, there is a coin flip. I have them choose heads (put their hands on their head) or tails (put their hands on their butt) and flip the coin. The correct guess lands them in line.