Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Art Teacher does Art...

My HS students are creating works of art inspired by Kansas.  What started out being a sunflower or wheat theme became pretty open ended with some wonderful ideas my students came up with.  All art pieces created will be on display and sold in a silent auction for a school fundraiser for the art department.  The kids have done AMAZING work!  Many pictures to come of their work.

While coming up with this idea, I was told by fellow staff members that I should contribute to the auction.  So I joined in on the fun and worked with my students.  It was a great time, but I quickly realized how hard it would be to complete a piece of work up to my standards for myself while helping everyone else.  I got some done, but spent a lot of time at home in the evenings working on my pieces.  I came up with 2 ideas, one of a sunflower that was close up and more abstract, and this one.

Since this is my first year, I haven't really had much time to make art outside of the classroom for myself.  I really hadn't done much like this for over a year, prior to student teaching.  It felt good to do something I was inspired by and to make it my own.

I loved working WITH my kids at the same time although it did prove difficult to manage when they needed my help.  I think it is important for students to see that the teacher really is "legit".  My students were in awe of what I was doing saying "You're just so good" or "How do you do that?"  My response generally was along the lines of "Wouldn't it be important that I have these skills in order to teach you" and they responded "Well yeah".  Made me laugh.

My art auction isn't for another week, but the work went up today to be on display for the week.  I'm hoping it will be successful.  I'll have student pictures soon.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Sunflowers Galore!

Another project to celebrate Kansas' 150th Birthday, I had each grade K-6 do a different project with the sunflower as an overall theme.  Kindergarten did a symmetrical vase with cut petals and circles.  1st grade did a "collage" of tissue paper sunflowers with brown paper circle centers.  2nd grade did a HUGE sunflower by weaving green and brown paper for the center and adding giant yellow petals, a huge stem and leaves.  I was grateful that my 2nd grade has the fewest number of students because the weaving was tricky for them as well as cutting it into a circle and keeping it all together.  I will probably use the weaving project again but 2nd grade might just be too soon.  Overall they look great though.

3rd grade did styrofoam prints and had a blast!  4th grade did a radial design by folding and tracing at the windows in my room. 

I had an idea for my 5th grade but at the last minute decided not to do it, so instead I gave them large 12X18 paper and told them to fill the space and we would color with watercolor paint.  I got some great results for this open-ended project.  My 6th graders did a pastel sunflower inspired by the work of Georgia O'Keeffe.  They had fun getting messy and blending the colors.

Overall I enjoyed using this as a theme and have hung all sunflower projects in the halls for everyone to see.  IMPRESSIVE!  Or at least that is what everyone is telling me.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Kansas Birthday Celebration!

I decided that a good way to get my younger students back into the idea of school after 2 weeks off for the holidays, was to do a quick 1 day project that was simple, yet fun.

With the 150th Birthday for Kansas coming at the end of the month, I wanted to do birthday cakes.  A few months ago my friend Katie, who I had classes with in college, and I were talking and she had this great idea, so I put it into action.

My K-2 students and I drew them together using 3 rectangle layers and candles.  They were able to decorate and color them however they wanted.
I allowed my 3-6th grade students to have more freedom with the shape and size of their cakes.  We talked about TV shows like Cake Boss, Ace of Cakes, etc.  Many of them had seen the shows and were excited for the freedom.

I displayed all of the birthday cakes outside of the cafeteria in one large birthday cake.  There are 204 birthday cakes total, one for each of my K-6 students who were in class the first week back from break.

I have received SO many compliments on how cool this looks so far!  And the kids think it is fun! :)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Technology Resources

My elementary principal is a big fan of using Twitter to find educational resources.  He passes along good info to different teachers, depending who it relates to.  He sent me this a few days ago:

This web page has several links for great online resources for Art and Music. 
The art ones are mostly for art history/online art history books, etc. but they are pretty interesting.  I got this information at a good time, because my JH kids are going to begin some artist research projects soon, so these sights will be helpful.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Bug is a Naughty Word

I like to do cross-curricular lessons, using ideas from other subjects in my classroom.  Since I'm in my first year and new to my buildings, I haven't had a ton of feedback for ideas.  At the beginning of the year though, I did learn from one of the 4th grade teachers that they do a large unit in science on insects.  The students collect insects and they pin them and everything.  The kids couldn't stop talking about it.  I decided to incorporate this into my room for a fun project.

My students drew insects with pencil, traced with permanent marker, and then added color with watercolor paint.  My only requirement was that the insects had all 3 parts and we reviewed those together.  The students could definitely tell me more about insects than I knew.  Some of them drew actual insects they had collected or had studied while others found it fun to make up their own.

Little did I know that with my first 4th grade class when presenting the idea, I said the word bugs.  Oh boy did I get an overwhelming roar of "OHHH Miss Losey said the B-word..."  I just had to laugh out loud with all of my students.  Then I swore them to secrecy that they wouldn't tell their teacher I said the B-word.  I knew they would tell him anyway, and of course they did.  I was very cautious the next day when I had my other 4th grade class and avoided the B-word :)

The students loved this project and although I got a lot of cool, creative insects, here are a few of my favorites.

Pencil Transformation

My high school students did this at the beginning of the school year and I thought it would be a good idea to share.  I got this idea from the book called From Ordinary to Extraordinary: Art & Design Problem Solving by Ken Vieth. 
This lesson is pictured on the cover of the book and discusses the transformation of something basic like a number 2 pencil.  My students had to come up with an idea to draw something using only the shape/idea of a regular pencil.  This was difficult for them to wrap their heads around at first, but once they got started, they come up with some pretty cool stuff.

Here are a few examples.

I am definitely going to use this idea again.  I think it would also be interesting if students made a sculpture similar to these drawings with real pencils, cutting them and putting them together.