Thursday, October 12, 2017

Symmetry Game


Often in Art there is crossover of content.  Many times when I'm teaching an Art concept I hear the kids exclaim "We learned that in (Math, English, Science...)". What a wonderful thing to have your students eyes light up and connect the dots that education isn't in departments, even if many of our schools are set up that way.


As I introduced our new lesson to the 3rd grade about Symmetrical Dragon Heads, I warmed the students up with a quick game that gets their bodies moving. When the students exclaim... We know what Symmetry is! I ask them to prove it with a partner.





The students are laughing and laughing as this quick little activity warms them for the concept about to be covered in the Art Studio. I offer to take the picture of anyone who would like to have it, and we get into learning how to create symmetry by cutting paper. (play video from the start to 2:20).


We finish up our first class period by creating several dragon heads out of scrap paper from the copy room. They choose one that we will start with for a pattern of our final artwork for our next class period. 


Overall, this is a fun day for my students revolving around the shared concept of symmetry.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Three Glue Methods


At the start of the year, there is a lot of 'system setups' that have to be done before the classroom can move smoothly and the students can work more independently. One of the things that must be covered with my youngest artist is gluing.  This is one of the most challenging skills for young Artist to create something that is going to stick... but not be flooded with glue a maintains good craftsmanship. 

I always choose a very simple project for my students to be exposed to the process and different tools I provide in my classroom for gluing. This year I am choosing to teach the kids using the subject of ornamental corn. 

Here is the overall lesson but I did break this lesson into little bits to have a successful product.



In setting up my room this year I worked on three different types of glue options for my students to use. One is the white glue.  I use slip bottles for this because I have found that having the lack of twist cap was beneficial for my youngest (and sometimes oldest) students. I fill the bottles with the amazing Elmers glue pump and remove the little red caps.  They do get dried over but that is when I ask the students to use THE GLUE UNCLOGGER 2000!  They love this.


Another option I offer is the glue sponges.  This year as I was creating all new sponges I thought... hey, why not use a soap square... That has worked well thus far.  They are easier for my students to open and the sponge fits perfectly.


And of course, I allow the students to use the glue sticks as an option as well.




With a couple of containers and the addition of tape and a stapler... I have a nice adhesive caddy ready to go. Let the gluing began.



For another fall pumpkin gluing lesson, please click here.



Sunday, September 24, 2017

Seesaw Uploading for Kindergarten


This is the third week of school for me and there are so many fun activities happening in my class that I can't wait to shout it from the rooftops.  The best way for me to do this is via Seesaw.  This is the strongest tool in my classroom for advocacy!

For the past couple of weeks, I have been sharing class happenings of the Art Room by recording the action my self and sending it to all parents with just a couple quick steps. Now I want to put this in the hands of my students and what better place to start, but with my Kindergarteners. 


Here's the deal, I set up my station ahead of time.  I show them the big job of coloring that is required.  I tell them they have to get rid of all the 'white spots' and they must ask three before asking me.  When they get three 'yes's' they can come on up and upload their art to Seesaw.

As the K's make it up to me one at a time I walk them through the process. This is my most training I have to do for Seesaw, so I take the time to talk to each student, bring them through the process, and celebrate after they have posted their artwork for their parents to see. 

In one of my classes, I lost my job. This little K was more interested in helping her peers than she was interested in playtime.  I gave her the rule that she could not do it for the students but rather guide with her words and pointing.  She taught the majority of the class how to upload their own work to Seesaw. Talk about empowering students! 

Here is the setup for the unloading station. We were so lucky to receive these 'Justand Tall' iPad stands by ProComputing Products, through curriculum review.  I have an IKEA end table for the base. It is the perfect height for the littles and the stand is incredibly sturdy. I have placed the stations by outlets so I can have the iPad plugged in if needed. I plan to have the stations available at all times for the students to upload their work to Google Drive, Schoology, and/or Seesaw.






Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Collaborative Art Warm-Up Activity.





The best thing about having kids going through the education system is that they learn from the village. They then come home and teach me what they have learned.  This year my son is in middle school and I'm teaching 6th grade for the first time.  I have taught 7th and 8th grade... 9 through 12... and P-5. But this is the first time to teach 11/12 year-olds.  My coworker Mark Pederson has had lot's of years with this age group and is now teaching my son.  I'm learning so much from this man!

My son explained a warm-up game to encourage teamwork and collaboration. I had to give it a try in my classroom too. It was a blast for my students and I thought it might be great for yours as well. Thanks so much to Mr. Pederson for being an inspiration for this post.


Here is how I did this game in my class:

First I gave each table-group a sheet of paper with a circle (or two) and a line on it. I told them they had two minutes to discuss how they would take these shapes and lines and make them into a monster.


When the 2 minutes were complete I showed them the tool they would be using to create the monster. This is a marker with four strings taped to it. The strings are roughly two to three feet long.


The rules of the monster making were that they can not touch the marker after the cap was removed. Each person in the group must have a hand on one of the strings the whole time. I set the timer for 5 minutes.


After the 5 minutes, I asked them what tips and tricks they have to offer others that made this task more successful.  Suggestions such as holding the string closer to the marker, moving the paper rather than the marker, communication... were all mentioned.


Then I asked them to trade markers and draw a second 5 minutes to complete their monster face.

This was a fun 15 minute 'Friday Fun' activity for my 6th graders. Again, thanks to Mr. Pederson for reminding me that middle schoolers need to have a little fun.



Saturday, September 16, 2017

Art to Remember- K/1 Snails


We are starting off the year doing Art to Remember projects.  Art to Remember is a school fundraiser that allows families to purchase products with their student's artwork on it. I don't consider this a fundraiser for our school, but rather an opportunity for arts advocacy as well as a service.  I have this scheduled out to have products returned by the holidays.

I have done this little snail lesson before with K/1 and it was time to bring it back.  It's such a fun lesson. (click here to see the lesson the last time I posted) I have been running the project the same in many ways; Painting on day one, drawing on day two, and coloring on day three. I also have stations set up around the room to allow for some play and discovery around the idea of the snail. At each of the stations, I have created some clay snails for the littles to play with.


Here is how I used the little snails in the classroom. I also added a station with Snail books from the public library.  They were able to 'read to a snail' if they wanted. 


Here is the class in action! Early learners do such a great job with SHORT little lessons. That is why I show them how to draw in tiny groups for about 5-8 minutes.  Then I believe learning through play and discovery is the best. So setting up these stations is a blast for the kids.  Adding the snails increased the interest.  What a fun way to learn.


If there was extra time I showed the book Escargot. I am really bad at a French accent it turns out but The kids have enjoyed the book so far. As I went to post this book here, I noticed there is another version by Sophia.  She does a really nice job reading as well so I wanted to share both options here in this post.