Sunday, September 25, 2016

In the Art Room: What Lifts You Mural

Ohhhh, y'all. I'm so excited about this collaborative mural that started out as a sub plan. Allow me to share with you our What Lifts You mural! That sweet face above is my assistant principal's son, Carson. 
And here's his sweet mama! Her pose makes me so happy and excited about this project. Lemme tell you all about our inspiration. 
Street art is becoming very popular in the art world. What I love about it is that it is accessible to everyone. Kelsey Montague has taken her street art to the next level by making it interactive. She's also inspired folks to think about #whatliftsyou. I love everything about Kelsey's murals: the beauty, the message and the interaction. 
She recently created a street mural in Nashville! The most amazing thing is that her murals are created in paint pens. That's right. Tons of paint pens, y'all. Time to invest in some stock. 
I wanted each of my students to contribute to the mural. Knowing that I was going to be out for a couple of days, I created a simple sub video that introduced my kids to Kelsey, got them reviewing and applying the elements of art and kept them creating. I was THRILLED to come back to school to these beauties!

Because of my 30 minute class time for my younger students, many did not finish in one class. So our first order of business when I returned was for the feathers to get finished and cut out. My early finishers then began working on the patterned papers that would also contribute to the wings. 
I love having the kids create giant sheets of patterned papers. I just throw a huge piece of bulletin board paper onto the table. Sometimes, I'll ask the kids to tell me a pattern or shape they'd like to repeat...and then tell them to go for it. Other times, I'll have a pattern started for them. You can see examples of murals with patterned papers here in our Dot Day project, in this winter collaborative, in this Village of Kindness project and in this Rousseau-inspired tiger mural
The left over papers are going to come in handy this week as we also complete our You Be You mural.
I really wanted the mural up by Monday because we are starting our Growth Mindsets in the art room then. More on that soon (including a book club, stay tuned!). That being said, I did have to hustle to get it complete. I stayed after school on Thursday taping four 12' sheets of bulletin board paper together for the black background. Then, in chalk, I lightly drew the general shape of the tip of the wing. 
Then I just started playing. I knew that I wanted their wings to be broken up a bit by the patterned papers but I wasn't sure how. Once I got a general idea, I started to hot glue things in place. 
I arrived at school at 6am on Friday morning because I was so excited to get it complete and up on the wall! I tacked down just the top of the papers so that I could lift the paper and slide the feathers underneath. I have about 400 students. Not all feathers are complete and up...but most are. I left room on the left side of the wing to add the final feathers. Once everything was glued, I outlined the top of the wing in white paint. I also added white outlines to the patterned papers. 
Back to that book I mentioned. The premise of the book is getting the kids to think beyond their "fixed" mindset that they can't do something...and change that thought into believing that they can.  Such a powerful message, don't you think? To kick things off, during art class, each of my students (as well as faculty and staff, I hope!) will get their photo taken in front of the mural. They will also write about what lifts them as that's the big idea behind Kelsey's murals. Keeping that positivity in mind, we will focus on our growth mindset. I will be sharing more on that lesson VERY soon! 
 But for now, let's get closer to these wings. 
 I only glued the "quill" of the feather down so that the feathers would have a ruffly texture to them. 
When I snap the photos next week, my husband suggested taping an X on the floor so the kids would know where to stand. Such a smart dude. 
 I'm super stoked! This was finally hung in the afternoon on Friday when my specials team buddies were free to help me hold it up and glue it to the wall. 
 To give you an idea on size. The photos I take of the kids will be hung along the wall beside the wings. 
 As soon as the wings were up, folks were ready to have their photos taken! Here is my friend Kiera who you might know as Cleopatra
My principal's sweet son, Ashton! 
 One of our P.E. teachers who you might know as King Tut (as well as Frida and Grant Wood, ha!). 
 My awesome principal and her sweet kiddos. I am super lucky to have the most supportive admins in the land. 
 Dawww, that face!
Our super enrichment teacher who is always kind enough to let me use this wall outside of her room...thank you, Ashley!
Y'all know I had to join in on the fun. BIG shout out to Kelsey Montague for the inspiration and my special area friends for helping me hang this beast. All y'all are what lifts me!
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Thursday, September 22, 2016

In the Art Room: Radial Relief by Fourth Grade


I love a project that leads right into another. I also love a project where there is zero waste. 'Tis the reason I'm totes lovin' this Radial Relief by the Fantastic Fourth Grade!
If these look familiar to you, that's because these were our printing plates we created a couple of weeks ago! You can read all about that lesson and see video demos here
For that project, I ordered cardboard pizza rounds (we used 14" but in the future, I would def use something smaller) and self-adhesive foam stickers. Michael's seemed to have the best deal in town on those. I love that Michael's and JoAnn's offer teacher discounts and take competitor's coupons as well as their own...unlike some craft megastores (not naming names...but their initials are H.L., ahem). 
This really proved to be an effective lesson in teaching all about radial balance!
 And resulted in a ton of colorful prints.
For the second phase of this project, we used spray adhesive, extra wide rolls of foil from the Dollar Tree and Sharpie markers. Just before the kids came, I took their printing plates outside, sprayed them with adhesive and slapped a piece of foil on top. 
From there, they trimmed the excess foil off, folded it around the backside and started adding color to their designs. We reviewed our study of radial balance, the elements of art and chatted about the principals of design. 
I love that we were able to create something beautiful from their printing plates. And they really enjoyed this process.
Of course, we did have a coupla dudes enter Emoji-land. Who can blame them? Emojis are rad. 
 By the way, the patterned papers you see in the background are what all of my early finishers have been creating. They will be used in our upcoming What Lifts You mural that I'm super stoked about.
But I really love the backdrop they create for these pieces so I just might have to make them apart of the hallway display if we have any extra!
Have y'all used this technique with your student's printing plates? I'd love to know if you have and what spin you put on this project idea. 

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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Art Teacherin' 101: Episode 19

Last week, I discovered a little magical device that worked wonders with a chatty fourth grade class: this wee plastic sign from the Dollah-Make-You-Hollah Tree!

So, just how does it work? In short, I start off by placing it on the table of the hardest working group. Then I set my timer for seven minutes (because five minutes broke the class up too much) and when the timer went off, the Rock Star group chatted about who was the next set of Rock Stars. The wee sign was then passed to that table and Wash, Rinse, Repeat. Allow me to do a slightly better job explaining it to you here:

I'm REALLY BIG into putting the kids in charge of stuff like the Happy/Sad board (see below-below), the clean up signal, and, now, this. I could tell a big fat hairy fib and say that it's because I like putting ownership in the kids hands or instilling responsibility. I suppose that's a super sweet side effect but the fur realz reason is that 1. I'm Lazy and 2. I'm Crazy. I'd forget ALL of that stuff each and every art class if the kids weren't so stinkin' good at reminding me and keeping up with all of it. So there. Now you know the truth. 
In case you missed my Dollar Tree shopping spree finds, here you go! It truly is Art Teacherin' heaven, y'all. 
And in case you missed that bit about the happy/sad board...dudes. I love this thing. It's quick, it's easy and it's a visual for the kids. It's also great for when I have a sub as he/she can keep up with it as well. In my sub videos, you'll often see me chat about it as a reminder to the kids that I am watching. ALWAYS WATCHING...(something on Netflix). 
Because I did a lousy job explaining my table set up, here it 'tis. With my bigger glasses, we use every seat in the house except those end cap seats. That's where I like to plop down and check out the happenings. 
Now to figure out what to do with the rest of the little signs. I have a feeling this idea is going to progress so stay tuned. Love to hear your tips and tricks for management in the art room. We can all learn from each other! 
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Sunday, September 18, 2016

In the Art Room: Printmaking Made Easy!

Hey, y'all! I'm in the middle of lesson planning for some upcoming fall-themed projects in the art room. Since my third graders are getting ready to embark on the above printed leaves project, I thought I'd share the lesson video with you as well as my fave printing projects. By the way, I often update my YouTube channel before sharing here. So if you wanna see some art teacherin' videos as soon as they launch, you might want to subscribe here
Every since I learned about marker prints from my art teacherin' buddy Don over at Shine Brite Zamorano, I have been in love. The technique is so simple and yet so impactful. I think my third graders will have so much fun creating their leaf collages. We are going to be tying in science by discussing just why leaves change colors. The background will be a lesson in glue resist and watercolor techniques. I'll be sure to share the complete lesson when we are finished. Until then, here are some of my very fave printing projects!
Last year, my first graders explored printmaking with these LOVE collages. They did both marker and ink prints and had a great time doing so. 
In this video, I share with you some more tips on marker prints as well as printing with ink. When I first started teaching, printmaking was a daunting teaching task for me. Over the years, I've come up with some things that work for me...maybe you'll find 'em helpful as well.
I love the powerful impact of these positive and negative leaf prints. The amount of prep time needed to make these printing surfaces is well work the results they produce. 
Last year, third grade got their toes wet with this printmaking project that explored cityscapes, depth and watercolor techniques. I created a couple of videos to walk the kids through the processes.
By the way, I create these videos for the following reasons: 1. my sanity; 2. so that all of my students can see my demos and 3. for anyone else who wants to use them! Seriously, feel free to play my videos in your art room. It's the reason I share them on my YouTube channel.

Last year, I was super smart and did printmaking with all grade levels at once. That meant all supplies were out and ready for the entire day. No switching visuals, supplies, etc. It really made printmaking a snap for me. Second grade worked on these sweet printed winter selfies
Fourth grade created these amazing Egyptian god portraits a couple of years ago. So much in one project: drawing, printing, metal tooling! 
A fun variation on traditional printing are floating chalk prints. If you've not tried this, I highly recommend it, so fun, easy and beautiful!
Why not print on fabric? My third graders not only enjoyed the printing process but also stitching their fabric pieces together. 
Making your mark with untraditional materials like cardboard is fun too. My third graders learned about the history of the Eiffel Tower while creating these beauties
And, of course, I've been sharing these fun radial prints that my fourth graders just wrapped up. 
Kids love printmaking because it's good, messy fun. I love teaching printmaking because it is a wonderful medium that allows the kids to see that art is not just a one-n-done. But it is all about trying over and again to create something awesome. 
I'm always looking for fun printmaking projects for my students as well as helpful tips and tricks. If you've got 'em, please share 'em in the comments below! 
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