Friday, September 30, 2016

Primary Pedal Update

As teachers, we can have the most amazing, well thought out plans for our classes... but when it comes down to it, it never goes the way we had imagined.  So here is the real deal... how it all went down for the first couple weeks of school.

Here was my plan for this lesson (click here).

I have nightmares of start of the year kindergarten.  There is so much training to do.  We have to teacher them such simple things like sitting, lining up, waiting for their turn to talk. These babies come into school with such different experiences.  Some have been in pre school for 3 years and other have never left their mom.  So they are bought into their new classroom on the first day, they are scared but by half way through the day, they are feeling better.  They are comfortable, they are starting to feel safe with their teacher... and that's when it happens... They are brought to the specialist.  This is in a new room, new teacher, their teacher leaves...  I hear, "Will she ever come back?",  "How long are we in here?", "I lost my tooth.", "I miss my mom", "I have a dog", "I have to go to the bathroom". So, now I get to teach this tiny little tribe of individuals.  What am I going to do with them?  I have them for an hour!!

This is what I choose to do this year.  I had one station where I was working on the Art to Remember project and the rest of the tables were packed with play... Blocks, paper and crayons, modeling clay, things like that.

Day 1:

In the first 3 minutes I show them on the board what I'm going to have them do when they visit me.  Then I quickly go around to the other tables and tell them what they can play with when they are not working with me.

Day 1:

In this lesson, I showed them they are going to trace around a vase, draw the table line, and then the water line.  When the kids come to my station by name, I get a chance to write little notes about some of them as they are starting to work. I also have a small white board that allows me to demo the instructions again.

On the first day, I never take up the whole hour.  I have books ready to go for the end of the hour wrap up. It works really well (well... I mean, I get though the hour :) )

Day 2: 

Already there is a huge change in my little kinders.  They know what a line is and they know what I mean when I say have a seat on the carpet.  It's been 6 days since I have seen them and they call me Art Teacher and I call them 'little buddy'.  We are working on each others names :) 

Again, I demo the lesson on the board.  This time, I show them how to use the play colors, how to make a swirl (and layers of swirls), how to add the stems into the vase. I also show then how to color the table.  They used color crayons for this portion. This time I have a swirl challenge for them. They are asked to work on drawing, cutting and building swirls at the other stations... This is the video I showed them. 

The are ready to go after this... I love watching these little hands work.  By bringing them to me in small groups, I'm able to get to know each little person, have a short conversation with them, see what kind of an artist they are right now.  For example, this little guy was working beside me.  I complemented his swirls, and he looked with such confidence and said, 'Well, I'm kind of an awesome Artist'. Duh, why didn't I know that. I had to stop and take a picture right then and there.

The rest of bees in the beehive were buzzing around working on swirls, trying new skills, and just having fun. 


If you are wondering, I did use this challenge for other grade levels as well.  The first and second grade loved it as much the K's.

Day 3: 

The homeroom teachers have done wonders.  These kid have been in school 12 days and they are little rock stars.  They are learning how to share, how to raise their hands. They can go to the bathroom with out me in a panic that they will be lost in the 10 feet it takes to get to the restroom and back. It's getting easier to teach them with every visit.  

The station is easier to explain this time.  They get to use liquid watercolors to paint.  They paint everything that is white... They can use the colors they want to (they are controlled colors, only colors that will look good with each other).  I have increased the station to 6 students at a time.  Kids love to paint so they have been taking a little more time at this station.  The rest of the kids are working on the circle challenge (more to come on that in another post).

I think this lesson really shows the Kindergarten-ness in each of these little guys.  It still looks like a great product that I think parents will enjoy for the Art to Remember project. 

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Self-Portait Update

As teachers, we can have the most amazing, well thought out plans for our classes... but when it comes down to it, it never goes the way we had imagined.  So here is the real deal... how it all went down for the first couple weeks of school.

I love self-portraits! I had both my K's and 1st-grade work on self-portraits last year so having them start with self-portraits for the Art to Remember project was really successful for most of my students. I have given a whole lesson with step by step instructions earlier (click here).  Just wanted to take the time to celebrate the successes in this lesson.

Day 1:

When teaching this lesson, I was sure to give little baby steps to the young artist.  I would ask them to trace a circle... then say go.  They would all run to their table, get the task done and meet back on the carpet for the next instruction.  I repeated this for the drawing of the whole face.  Once students were done in pencil they were asked to trace their pencil lines with bold, black marker.

If they were done early, they had a couple of minutes to play blocks... my favorite extra time activity.

Day 2:

I had the students watch the second half of the video focusing on coloring.

Students were able to match their skin color at a station before getting started on all the skin.

They were then able to color the irises, lips, hair, behind the teeth and shirt. I gave all my artist a choice of liquid watercolors, color crayons, or both for the background.

I had students 'ask 3 before you ask me' before moving to the background. They are so helpful to each other when asked to do this task. It really spreads out the 'help' and makes all students experts, not just the teacher.

Day 3:

Once the portraits were complete, I asked my 1st and 2nd-grade students to place their work on Seesaw before allowing me to send it off to Art to Remember.  These artists were staggered as they finished so I was able to bring the kids out two by two. It was a great introduction to a new practice in class.  Training went well! 

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Donut Update

As teachers, we can have the most amazing, well thought out plans for our classes... but when it comes down to it, it never goes the way we had imagined.  So here is the real deal... how it all went down for the first couple weeks of school.

For 5th grade, I wanted to work on the concept of form.  We are painting donuts for the Art to Remember project.  That way they can start working on how to create a shadow to make a flat shape look 3-D. For previous post and video to this lesson, click here

Day 1:

I asked my students to create a background with liquid watercolors.  I reminded them that the most successful colors are the ones next to each other on the color wheel. 

Once that was finished I invited them to add 7 donuts to their paper using a pool noodle. This went really slick.  I used sponges to hold the paint and had about 4 noodles at a station.  Students staggered in and this task was completed successfully for all students in the hour.

Day 2:

Students were first shown how to create a shadow on a form.  I decided to use a black sharpie for this part. I also had a practice donut... or as I like to call it 'mini donut' to try their shadow on first.  They completed all the shadow on the mini donut and on their final donut before they were asked to move onto painting.

Most students were able to get frosting and decorations onto their mini donut before the end of class.   I had them put these practice mini donuts on display.  They dried there and 5th-grade students the next day were able to come into class doing a gallery walk to get ideas for their donuts before getting started.

Day 3:

Students finished up their donuts.  Some needed the whole hour and I was happy to give that time to them.  Others started on more exploration of making a shape into a form.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Flamingo Update

As teachers, we can have the most amazing, well thought out plans for our classes... but when it comes down to it, it never goes the way we had imagined.  So here is the real deal... how it all went down for the first couple weeks of school.

All grades started with an Art to Remember project.  In 3rd and 4th-grade I choose to do flamingos. Click here to get to the original lesson plan and video

Day One:
I explained the project and showed them the underpainting.  This is the base of the image... simply the water and the sky.  

With any remaining time, I asked students to use practice paper to draw the jungle seen on their own... no instructions.  We did a sitting gallery share (click here to see a sitting gallery share) so in hopes that it would allow all my students to share their ideas with others.  I also had the advantage of looking to see what students might draw that would be less successful for this project.  I took that information to lead me in my next lesson.  For example, I noticed that students were drawing a full tree in their flamingo scene. In the next week lesson, I talked about how drawing a full tree next to the flamingo would tell the viewer that the flamingo was as big as a tree. This allowed me to teach the lessons necessary for a successful realistic project.  

Day Two: 

I showed students to draw the flamingo using PlayColor Sticks.  They were given a simple 'how-to' of the bird body.  Then asked to create it and join me back on the carpet for the next step. I then brought them through a short lesson on watercolor and dry brush technique.  The reason I split the two portions of this lesson up is because they were using two mediums and giving all the information at once was less than successful.  You know how it goes... You watch your first section and learn what to change for your second section... By the time the last time teaching a lesson comes along, you're a rock star teacher and your students are extremely successful. 

One little trick I discovered during this lesson was to teach my students to dab off their brush to get a more successful dry brush technique.  Working in the elementary school and having two elementary kids at home has taught me that 'dab' means you strike a pose.  So, every time I would remind them to 'dab', we would all do that silly little dance that is so popular right now. 

Day Three: 

The work was 100% dry from the previous lessons and it was time to do our final details.  I created a short lesson to help me explain this to my students.

Then I let them work for about 12 minutes.  Students were asked to do a gallery walk around the room to look at the work being done by others.  This makes it intentional for me too.  I quickly ask students to share some things that were great in other works that they might consider putting in theirs.  I also have the opportunity to redirect any influences that I might want to keep contained... Like, I don't know, a top hat on a flamingo... You know if one person has that great idea, other will start to do that same thing.  I always say it's OK to borrow ideas from others, but we want to make sure you are not taking the unique aspect of their work and putting it in yours.  It's a tricky balance for both me and my students.

By the end of day three in class these artworks are completed and ready to be shipped off to Art to Remember.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Digital Portfolios- Seesaw

Part of an art teacher's job is to make sure that their student's artwork is displayed.  Brag about the happenings in your class.  Show students that art should be shared beyond the classroom walls. In the past, that meant that an art teacher would line the walls with beautiful art to show to the rest of the school.  This is still a practice that many of us do.  However, many art teachers are looking to make the viewers of their classroom’s art be shared beyond the school walls.  Using social media is one way to do that… another way to share art is through Artsonia, Seesaw, and or Creatubbles.

Using apps to share art is HOT right now. How does an art teacher choose what platform to go with?  We thought we would help with this question.  I will be sharing about the app Seesaw in this post.  Hope Knight, author of Mrs. Knight’s Smartest Artists will be sharing about Artsonia. Tracy Evans @EvansArtHouse, Matt Grundler @Artguy76, and Beth Carter @Bacarter77 and It is Art Day will be sharing on the web-based tool, Creatubbles. This Creatubble team is art teachers from Texas who just happen to be valued members of my #PLN (Professional Learning Network) on Twitter. Beth Carter will be highlighting their take on Creatubbles posting on her blog, It’s Art Day.

I learned about Seesaw two years ago.  It perked my interest the minute that I heard of it.  I love that this app was so quick and easy for everyone to use.  I mean everyone… the teachers, students, and parents.  I talked my specialist team into giving the free version a try last year focusing on only our 1st grade students.  This year our whole district, Kindergarten through Second Grade is a ‘Seesaw’ school. Now we are all, homeroom teachers, specialist, and special ed teachers learning together to use this tool for communication with parents and admin, as well as assessment and documentation.  Let me break down this app for you a bit more.

Seesaw is an application that allows parents to see real-time (or almost real-time) information of the happenings at school throughout the day.  Teachers will start a 'class' on Seesaw and invite parents to get an app on their phone.  Then when items are posted to the app, parents are informed with a notification that their student (or teacher) has shared something on Seesaw.  It is private between the student and the guardians.  Teachers and co-teachers such as Specialist, Special Ed, and Administration also have access to the submitted work.  This allows the whole team to view the work of the students and in our teams case, has allowed for some amazing collaboration!

My favorite thing about Seesaw is how easy it is for very young students to use on their own. Once trained and with some practice, students start sharing information about school on Seesaw without prompts.  This means they are empowered to tell their parents about the learning going on at school.  Teachers can change settings to authorize the work that is being sent home to parents as well.  This is a great feature because teachers can comment on the work, have a formative assessment or even a summative assessment before giving the OK to the app to send the information to the parents.

I also have fallen in love with the support Seesaw gives to their users. They are on Twitter and post new ideas all the time @Seesaw. They also have an amazing Help Center on their website with lots of resources such as videos and webinars. They also have Seesaw Ambassadors who are all over social media sharing what they are doing with this app.  One of my favorite to follow is Angela Gadtke, @MrsGadtke on twitter, she is working hard to show educators the many possibilities to this app.

I have posted about Seesaw before and will continue to do so because I am using this tool inside and out! Click here to see support post about Seesaw.  I am a Seesaw fan.  I choose to focus on using this app more than ever this year because our district adopted it in such a BIG way with all students K-2 at ISD 728 having an account this year.  Last year I researched Creatubbles and Artsonia... Both are amazing apps and serve some of the same purposes, however, also have some different features that might be more appealing to the needs in your classroom.

Hope Knight, author of Mrs. Knight’s Smartest Artists will be sharing about Artsonia on her blog. Click here for a link to read the many great capabilities of Artsonia in her classroom.

Also, Tracy Evans @EvansArtHouse, Matt Grundler @Artguy76, and Beth Carter @Bacarter77 and It is Art Day will be sharing on the web-based tool, Creatubbles. I adore the global aspect of Creatubbles and the three will be sharing so much more in their collaborative post. Click here for the post about Creatubbles.

The five of us have also put our heads together to work on this table highlighting the features that each app has.  We all agree... All applications are amazing.  Each teacher must choose what works best in their classroom.  Allow us to give you some incite in our blog posts.