Thursday, September 27, 2012

Color Terms

 Last spring I decided the space over my windows needed to be more colorful. I thought about putting the CID kids' ink tiles up there but I wanted them to take the tiles home and I was afraid they'd be too heavy. Then I got the idea of putting construction paper in the color wheel order with color terms on it. I ordered one ream of many colors and they finally came in for me to complete my project. I put them up this morning. Here are my results:



The Dot~Collaborative Work of Art

We have finally completed our whole school collaborative art project based on Peter Reynolds' book, The Dot. Unannounced to me when we began this project, there is an International Dot Day! With art only once every six school days for 45 minutes and school starting the first week of September, we didn't get it done in time to celebrate ON International Dot Day (Sept. 15th, the anniversary of it's publication), but all the kids had at least started it by then. The full work of art is completely stunning in person, and it is so much fun to watch the kids and adults alike stand in awe in front of it!

 There are a few combinations that really stand out to me. I find it interesting to listen to my colleagues. We each pick out different ones that really pop to each of us! Here are a few that I notice everytime I walk by.

This was the first project that I used a rubric for. I only used it with third-fifth grade, and it was a little confusing for some of the third graders. I plan on exploring rubrics much more this year, including picture rubrics for the younger grades to get them thinking about their art more. My rubric can be found here, if you are interested in it. However, if I do this again, I would move the writing portion to the top to get students thinking about the Elements of Design before they fill in the rubric. My student teacher and I have also discussed adding pictures of the Elements for the students to simply circle. I'm trying to add more writing though, so I'm undecided about that aspect.

The lower grades had one learning target: I can create with craftsmanship. The upper grades added in: I can use at least three of the Elements of Design in my artwork. The rubric requires them to recall with Elements they used (there are posters of them in my classroom for reference), and judge their own craftsmanship. Most kids were spot on, with a bunch being quite hard on themselves and just a couple trying to get a better grade than actually earned. The rubric certainly made grading much simpler!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Bravo Board Trophies

We made our trophies for the Bravo Board winners!The kids are totally psyched about it!

Thursday, September 13, 2012


So, what do you think we're going to make?

Friday, September 7, 2012

The Dot~Collaborative Art

You may have noticed from my last post that I have changed a lot of my classroom around this year.  I moved classrooms last year and have purged a lot of "junk" and extra furniture. My main goal is to make sure that there is plenty of room for my students to create without a ton of clutter everywhere. It has been very freeing to get rid of so much stuff! The photo is of the bulletin board I am now using for my project samples and Learning Targets. It only has one project on it right now because the whole school is going to do the same project for the start of the year.

We began with an explaination of all the classroom management changes, which I reviewed in the last post (linked above, if you missed it!). Once the students expressed that all my expectations were clear to them we started the first project. First was a video animation of Peter Reynold's book, The Dot (except when the technology failed me, then it was a good old fashioned book reading. Complete with fifth graders sitting on the floor around me!) We discussed the lessons to be learned through the book; to try, believe in yourself, "make a mark and see where it takes you" and that these lessons are not only found in art. With the younger kids I then segued into the creation process but with the older kids we then talked about the Elements of Art. They watched this video on the Elements, and then we briefly talked about them. The younger kids have one Learning Target for this project: "Create a work of art using craftsmanship." The older kids also have that one, and also to "Use three or more of the Elements of Art in a work of art."

Kids were given a paper with a quarter of a circle photocopied on it. I had to make two versions because I didn't want to have to cut all the papers into squares. I have a post-it on the top of each pile where I am keeping track of which classes have used that version and how many kids are in the classes. I'll get them as close to even as I can and possibly add my samples in if needed to even it out when I display them. I also gave the students a ruler and circles to trace. I asked them to design first with their pencils and then fill in the shapes with oil pastels. Younger kids got a demo on some oil pastel techniques, and older kids had a verbal refresher of techniques they should already be used to using. Finally, they set to work. Some of them are really amazing! I will be sure to post the final work of art all hung together in our Atrium, as well as a link to their individual quarter dots on Artsonia!

This project was inspired by this Pinterest Pin.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Happy New Year!

Here we are, at the beginning of a new school year! I have my first ever student teacher this fall, and things are going great so far. On the last (of three) inservice days I suddenly decided to change my entire classroom management system. Here's what we are doing this year, and I tried to site my sources by linking the titles of each picture, if you're interested.

Class Points
 Each class period the kids can earn up to four points. The points are for:
1. Come in quietly and sit down right away.
2. Listen to instructions and raise hands.
3. Work quietly and stay on task.
4. EVERYONE helps clean up.

When they earn a point, I move a laminated check mark to the box next to the task.

Our schools use "Above the line", "Below the Line", and "Bottom Line" behavior terms. One of my schools added "Top Line" for the kids that are going above and beyond what is expected of them. I took these and translated them into Superhero terms. All of the classes started at "Ready to Fly," the middle category. If they earn three or four points from the previous system, their class clothes pin will move up one category. Two points and it will stay where it is. Zero or one point means it will move down a category. I also told them if they stay in the "Kryptonite" category for long I would have to talk with their classroom teacher to make a personal plan for their class to improve.

I love this one, so far. I have a spot for each of my table colors on our "Bravo Board." The first two tables that are cleaned up and sitting silently get a tally by their table color. At the end of our six day specialist cycle I will look at which table has the most tallies and that table will get a trophy on their table for the next cycle. The kids are really getting into this so far. I have to find/make a really cool trophy so they really want it! My student teacher had the great idea that they could somehow add onto it, but I haven't figured out how to manage that without the table fixating on that instead of the lesson I'm teaching.

All of my previous years of teaching I have used a "helper table." It works fine, but I liked the idea of getting all the tables involved. One of my schools has five tables and the other has six, so I just added a "day off" for the sixth table. Here's the breakdown of the jobs: 

1. Supply Coordinators: Pass out needed supplies
2. Table Folder Collectors: Pick the table folders up from each table and put them on their class shelf after the Bravo Board points have been awarded.
3. Volume Control Specialists: For this job, I really pump how important they are because their reminders could help them earn their class point for working quietly and staying on task. These kids are in charge of reminding the kids when they are getting too loud. If they do get too loud and I need to take away one of the "ART" letters, these kids move it for me so I can continue working with whomever I happen to be working with when they get loud.
4. Table Washers: I have wipes, and I also got a spray bottle and towels from the custodian. After the "Bravo Board" points are awarded, this table will wipe all of the tables. 
5. Sink/Floor Inspectors: I have the kids tell me the difference between an "inspector" and a "cleaner" to make sure they know they can't leave the mess for this table. They simply double check that nothing was missed, again, after the "Bravo Board" points are awarded. 

Jobs 2, 4, and 5 are after the points are awarded so that those tables have a fair shot at earning the Bravo points.

In/Out box

This was actually my idea (woah!). Last year I ordered a Classroom Keeper for my construction paper. The company actually sent two of them  when I asked for the quote and I had  not yet decided to order them. Actually, I didn't have enough money for them! Our awesome secretary saw the panic in my eyes and called the company, who told me to just keep them and I'd get credited for the amount! SCORE! I used one for the construction paper as planned, and ho hummed about what to do with the other one. I decided to make an In/Out box for completed artwork. Before now, the kids would just add it to an ever-growing pile and it would get to be too much. Now there are two shelves for each grade: and "In" for newly completed work and an "Out" for work I'm ready to pass back. I plan on keeping the classes divided within these shelves.