Thursday, September 29, 2016

Art Teacherin' 101: Episode 20

Y'all have heard me chat before about the importance of pursing your creative passion in order to be the best art teacherin' type you can be. But you might be wondering, how? How do I find the time to do that?! Allow me to introduce you to the Power of NO. 
I was born and raised in the mid-seventies in the Midwest. I was raised to be to do what I was told even if I didn't wanna (the power of the paddle, y'all) and to be agreeable even if I didn't agree (I'm a self-diagnosed passive-agressive). When someone asks something of me, it's my nature to just say Yes! when I'm screaming NOOOOO on the inside. 

As art teachers, we are asked for our time, our talents and our resources. This should be considered sacred and only doled out in tiny amounts, if at all. I'm not saying don't be a team player (although, truth be told, I've NEVER been considered one of those!), if it benefits the education of your students and is fair for all sides of the teacherin' table, I say go for it. However, when scales are disproportionately weighted to the disservice of you, your students and your supplies, you gotta draw the line. And, as we 80's kids learned: Just Say No. Nancy Reagan taught us well. 
This past weekend, I really needed to just say no and focus on some creative YES. If you follow me on Instagram, then you know my weekend was spent crafting up a storm. From making these Celluclay Halloween heads (DIY to come, kids!) to finally getting back into my sewing room with some fun IKEA fabric...
It seriously felt like I was putting gas in an empty tank. 

So, how do you get yourself into that NO mindset? My husband put it so stinkin' well: imagine how long it would take you to do said task. Now think about how long it will take you to say no. The amount of time it would take to say no outweighs that time zapped from you day. Just say NO if you want to and forget about it. 

I also love advice about responding to requests either in person or via email: Thank you for your kind offer and for thinking of me. I am going to politely pass. 

And there you have it! More time for you, your students and their resources. Power to you and your No-ness!
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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

In the Art Room: Spooky Starry Night

Before I chat about this lesson, I gotta give a big ole shout out to fellow Art Scout Troop Leader and good buddy Ginger Pacer. When I saw a version of this project on her Instagram (her's is super cool and involves a lot of paint exploration which I love), I knew I wanted to give it a go. However, I'm under a pinch of a time constraint with this project so I knew I needed to adapt and make it work for me. For that reason, I decided to go with a smaller format than we normally work with (these bad boys will be 9" X 12") and use an oil pastel resist. Here's the complete video'ed lesson (my apologies for the title being left out at the beginning. The kids had a good laugh at that!):
In a one hour session, my fourth graders each got their photo snapped with these wings, watched the first half of the video, drew their skies, watched the second half, painted and some even had time to sketch ideas onto dry erase boards. It was action backed...despite the fact that I was battling a monster migraine that caused me to lose sight in my eye (anyone else get these?). Since my 6 Advil and migraine meds were not kicking in, I was so thankful to have the video to do the work for me. However, it did mean that my usual Wednesday night Art Teacherin' 101 will be postponed until tomorrow. So, y'all come back now, ya hear?!
I do have a SUPER HOT tip for you until then...every fall, I bust out my Haunted Mansion CD  that was originally recorded in 1969 and sold at Disney as a souvenir for the ride. We play this over and again in my room in the fall for my older classes and you can seriously hear a pin DROP. The kids LOVE the slightly spooky and silly tale that lasts about 30 minutes. I noticed that during their free time, my kids were illustrating the story and I thought, HOT DOG! We need a haunted house project. So, when I saw what Ginger was up to, I was super stoked to heavily borrow her idea. 

So here was my little example I cooked up. 

Side note: I used to read chapter books to my students as they worked and they loved it. Their favorite are the choose your own adventure types. However, it was hard for me to help kids and provide feedback while reading. So switching to audio books has been a game changer in my room. I've recently invested in more (the Radio Theatre series is a fave) and I'm excited to play The Legend of Squanto to my students as we approach Thanksgiving. I'll keep you posted on that one, I've got to do a teacher preview first.
Back to the project! True story: when I mentioned the use of puffy paint in the video today, the kids literally cheered. They truly are my artists, I tell ya. 

Here's what they managed to knock out today. 
This kid cracked me up: "We used watercolor in my old art class but salt!? No one ever told me about SALT! Look at it!" 
Apparently, I say the words, "I say 'Go For It'" a lot in my art room because in the video, where I do say it a couple of times, the kids said it along with me. 
 I was thrilled to see the variety of takes on this project: vertical or horizontal format; round stars or star shapes; variety of mark making. You give them fluorescent oil pastels and they'll go to town, these kids. 
 So much yesssss.
 Next up: we'll paint the black silhouettes and add puffy paint. 
Our final day will involve using the silver sharpies which I don't anticipate taking long. A quick project to wrap up this study is in the works. 
Until then, pet that sweet black cat in your path and have fun!
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Monday, September 26, 2016

In the Art Room: Andy Warhol Inspired Flower Prints

Today my second grade friends started a new printmaking project that I thought I'd share with y'all. In our 30 minute session together, they were able to watch the first half of the video, discover a little about Andy Warhol, learn some new vocabulary, work with printmaking tools and complete about two sets of prints (one positive and one negative). Whew! Next time, we'll print again to insure that we have enough crisp prints to pick from to create our own Andy Warhol Flower-inspired collage. Lemme show you how we are creating these pop art beauties:
Here's what you'll need:

* Colorful copy paper. I found mine super cheap in the Back to School section of Walmart a while back.

* Fake flowers. I tried real sunflowers in my experimenting and found that the petals kept falling out onto the printing plate. Fake flowers from the Dollar Tree were my best find. 

* Acrylic paint. I tried using tempra and it didn't work on the Gelli Arts printing plate. 

* Brayers

* Printing plate. I used Gelli Arts but you could also use this recipe to create your own gelatin plates

* Scissors and glue

* Those two little words that get everyone excited: PUFFY.PAINT.
After the kids have created their prints, we'll proceed on to the collage and puffy painting portion of the video. I'll keep you posted in a follow up on just how these colorful beauties turn out. 

In other news, I kinda sorta totally wanna wallpaper my entire house in these. Who's up for a flower printing weekend?! Party at my house, you bring the flowers, I'll bring the brayers. I'm telling you, this project is so fun, just ask Andy...
I mean, doesn't he look thrilled?! Ha! Love that wonderful Warhol, y'all. 
This lesson is going to be followed up by a flower painting project by our next artist inspo: Vincent van Gogh. I thought printing the sunflowers would give the kids a good opportunity to see them up close, check out those textures and better prepare them to recreate them in paint. I'll keep you posted. 
Until then, have a super happy and colorful week, kids! 
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Sunday, September 25, 2016

In the Art Room: Kelsey Montague-Inspired 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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