Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Monday, December 5, 2011
OPTIONAL: Add spirals
UPDATE: Unless you plan on spray painting them, or leaving them their original color I'd recommend skipping the spirals. Brushing on paint causes them to become too wet and straighten out.
Click here for our project inspiration.
Thursday, November 17, 2011
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Sunday, October 16, 2011
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
1. I got a new classroom! I'm super excited about it, and loving it~but arranging it and organizing it took up ALL of my inservice time before school started and I still have not caught up with all the work that needs to be done. Now instead of having a room in the middle of the school with no windows (it used to be the stage area when the school was a high school), I have a beautiful room with windows all along on side. Although it's a little smaller, the natural light more than makes up for it.
2. Half of my department retired last year and I have been helping out my new colleagues so they will get a great start on their new careers with our district.
3. I had a baby! Our little boy, Jerry Richard, was born June 24th, so he is three months old now. I pump before lunch, leaving me with only about a half hour to clean up after one class, eat, and get stuff out for my three afternoon classes.
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Gargoyles from Coffee Trays
Teachers often drink a lot of coffee in order to keep up with students, and often one will go out and get a bunch of coffee for their coworkers, often bringing them back with a carry-out tray. Don't throw these out- collecting coffee trays is the first step towards a fun and educational gargoyle project. Not only does this give students an opportunity to see how entertaining recycling can be, but they will learn how easy and beneficial it is, as well as learn a bit about classical architecture.
Before you get started, a great way to get students excited during their brief gargoyle history lesson is to give them a crash course on the importance of gargoyles in Europe and to show them pictures of several different gargoyles around the world. Gargoyles date back to ancient times. The name comes from the Latin word, gurgulio, meaning to swallow or throat. Kids will recognize the other modern word derived from this root, gurgling! Gargoyles were originally used as rainspouts on buildings, to shunt rainwater off the roof and away from the foundation. They often depicted a frightening face, supposedly to ward off evil spirits. Today, they are more often used as decorative elements on buildings and tombstones, or as Halloween decorations.
Cardboard (5x5 in squares)
Lots of Carry Out Coffee Trays
Brown and Gray paint
1. Make some paper pulp! First, soak shredded newspaper in water and stir. Then strain it, and add 1 cup of white glue to strained paper. It's best to do this shortly before class if you can so that it doesn't dry out beforehand.
2. Cut most of your coffee trays in half- these are to be the eyes. Make sure to leave enough trays to cut into quarters for mouths. Say if you have 20 students, save 10 trays for eyes, and 5 for mouths. Egg crates can be cut any way and used for horns.
3. The flat cardboard is to be used as the base of the gargoyle. Kids will write their names on the back.
1. Take the half piece and bend it in the middle so that it curves out. The curve will be the nose, the indents the eyes. Tape it down to the cardboard with lots of masking tape, but don't tape the bottom down yet.
When students get creative recycling everyday objects, they can soon see caterpillars and boats and bird feeders out of milk cartons and pizzaboxes. The possible projects are endless. This could also be a good time to teach them about what items are recyclable and which aren't. It's fun and worth the effort!
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
45-Minute Digital Art Lessons are Inexpensive and Beneficial for Young Students
With the rise of computers and mobile devices in all aspects of our daily lives, many artists are putting down the paintbrushes and oil paints and turning to digital platforms to express their creative ideas. Since professional artists are moving to digital media, it's no surprise that the youngest artists among us are following suit. As digital art software becomes less expensive, easier to use, and more widely available, children can also join the ranks of digital artists. There are many free or low-cost options online for teachers to choose from for traditional or online courses, and all students can benefit from learning digital art techniques.
Digital art software programs vary greatly. Some programs, such as iDoodle2 lite and DoodleIt are available for the iPhone and other mobile devices. These programs generally have fewer features than those meant for a full-size computer. They also might be more difficult for smaller fingers to use. Other programs, such as the free Inkscape and Gimp work best on a full-size computer. Both programs are similar to the expensive professional software used by graphic designers, and both offer considerable functionality and control. For very young or beginning students, Microsoft Paint or any similar program already on your computer may be sufficient to gauge the child's interest level before downloading a more extensive program.
The most important technique for encouraging artistic expression in a young student is to make each lesson fun and fairly brief. Young children shouldn't begin with hours-long lessons. Longer classes could wear the students out and tax their shorter attention spans. 45-minute lessons are perfectly timed for young students. By maintaining a short but interesting lesson, instructors can help younger students retain their original enthusiasm and creativity. Art remains something enjoyable rather than becoming a chore or just another subject to be studied.
Many parents report that the creative outlet helps their children learn to express themselves in safe, nurturing ways. According to one study, art plays a key role in cognitive and social development in children. Often, by working on an art project young students are able to work through the basic personal and social problems that occur in their lives. The art provides an outlet for new or difficult emotions. In addition to mental, social, and emotional benefits that children and young students gain from expressing their creativity, there are also physical advantages. Especially in young children, digital art lessons hone hand-eye coordination and teach muscle control.
With the decline of arts programs in schools, many parents feel that they need to take matters into their own hands. Less than 10% of arts funding comes from the government, and in addition, the New York Times reported that corporate art funding declined to less than half of its 1994 rate by 2004. With these dismal prospects, it's no wonder parents are working to encourage a love of art in their children at home, and digital art is the perfect solution. It requires no specialized, expensive, or bulky supplies, and rather than purchasing and providing messy paints, brushes, markers, paper, and other supplies, parents can encourage the artistic talents in their children with less expenditure of time and energy as well as money. Digital art requires little setup for a bout of intensive creativity. Simply turn the computer on, open the software program, and the young student is ready to create.
Young students should begin with simple projects that teach them the functions of their chosen software while still encouraging creativity. Add different skills slowly and methodically in order to keep students interested. Each new lesson should teach only one or two new functions. Some options for younger students include using a shape-drawing function to create different sizes of each shape (squares, circles, etc.) or using paintbrush or pen functions to draw simple figures such as flowers and trees. Older students can combine these functions to create a simple landscape. Animals and human figures should be reserved for later lessons, as they often prove very difficult for young students to create digitally without practice and familiarity with the particular software. For older students, free lesson plans are available at The Virtual Instructor.
Young students may enjoy enhancing existing images or photos as well as creating their own images and paintings from scratch. Capture your students' interests by providing them with a well-known photo and allowing them to color, stretch, crop, and otherwise enhance the image. Family photos, maps, and even scans of newsprint can all create excellent bases for a young student's creativity. You can encourage students' hand-eye coordination and use of color by providing a black-and-white photo and allowing them to color in the sections. Being provided with a familiar starting point can be less daunting to young students than facing a blank canvas and beginning the entire project on their own.
Whether a young child is a budding Picasso or simply enjoys the creative process for its own sake, he or she can benefit from art instruction. In addition to being a enjoyable and inexpensive hobby for young students, digital art helps them to develop life skills that they will use forever. The creative, social, and cognitive benefits to a developing mind cannot be easily overestimated.
Monday, August 1, 2011
Friday, June 10, 2011
Monday, June 6, 2011
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Monday, May 23, 2011
Thursday, May 19, 2011
I love this project. Honestly, the hardest part about it is deciding on subject matter. Everything turns out great. I've done under the sea, jungle, radial imagery, and now music. We went with music this year to go along with our Young Author's Day, which is tomorrow and a big deal around here. The kids wrote books that are displayed in the Media Center, and will be doing workshops with professionals throughout the day tomorrow. These are hanging in the windows of the Media Center, which also over look the Atrium.