December 16, 2010

...the grumpy grader...

Yes, I'm going to bellyache a bit.  We've had snow days this week...some we truly needed...others not so much.  This is the last week of the nine weeks & the start of Christmas break.  I usually have a "Finish Up Day" the last week of the 9 weeks so students can finish some of their unfinished work...and it gives me time to do a portfolio review with each student in class.  I've loved doing it this way over the past hand full of years!!!  I love the time I get with each student to talk about what is working & what needs work.  Getting their perspective on their work is so helpful to me as their teacher.  HOWEVER...with the snow days & half days...I've not had any classes this week...AND...the teachers still want their grades NOW NOW NOW!!!  So I'm up to my eyeballs in art, and
 feel like I'm missing a key component of the grading process....
the student!  It will get done....but it is so much more enjoyable with the kiddos!!!!

December 09, 2010

December 07, 2010

Snowmen St. at TGE

A couple weeks ago I saw a GREAT idea on Lines, Dots, and Doodles. 
....Check out the link....

I gave each of the teachers & many of the staff a 2 1/2 foot blank snowman.  Their only instruction was to decorate it...or have their students work together to decorate it.  I really wasn't sure how this would be received.  This is a very busy time of the year...and there has been some "stuff" going on at our school that has caused many to be stressed/frustrated(I'm totally ignorant of such things..and blissfully happy in my little art world).  I'm happy to report....THIS PROJECT HAS BEEN A HIT!!!!! Many of the teachers have come to me and said how much fun they've had creating their snowman...and they didn't want to give it over to their students!(maybe I should have a few art nights for them!!)  Everyday you can find teachers looking over the snowmen...trying to figure out who did what....and smiling...laughing...forgetting about whatever was weighing on them....if only for a moment. 
I hope you enjoy looking through the snowmen of Tulip Grove Elementary!

This is my van Gogh snowman... I was pretty happy with how he turned out!!!!

December 06, 2010

Abstract Expressionism - 4th Grade

A couple summers ago I had my art camp create Abstract Expressionist paintings.  They were amazing!!  We had the time, money, and resources to create them on large canvas board panels.  I do not have that luxury during the school year with my once-a-week/ 4 cents per class per student budget! After weeks of wrestling with perspective & still life drawings...I wanted something totally free & fun for my 4th graders.  So I figured out a way to create Abstract Expressionism on a budget! 
I used craft circles(the 12 inch circles I use for circle weaving)...and Apple Barrel paint from Wal-Mart. 
I limited the color choices to a winter palette.

The results....AMAZING!!!

December 01, 2010

Super Site for Savings this Season - Shutterfly!

With 803 wonderfully different designs to choose from for the Christmas will find the perfect complement to your family photos!  I've uploaded several different designs/layouts for you to see the variety. Remember though...this is only 1% of the available cards!!!!  My personal fav. is the black & white photo with the red/green criss-crossing asymmetrical ribbons!  I also like the option of making the images black & white.  We have some amazing close up photos from the fall, but Margaret is obviously wearing fall colors. Going black & white with them will allow us to use them for winter as well.  It reflects my personal style, but I think my wife will want a more traditional layout.  She enjoys more symmetrical designs.  The great thing is...with so many options...we'll surely be able to find a blend of our styles.  We may also need to consider one of the layouts that will allow us to show off more photos of our beautiful girl!!!!!  With family & friends all over the country, this type of card would allow us to share so much more!   .  I know whatever we decide...the end result will be wonderful.  We've so appreciated the quality and service Shutterfly delivers. Also, we've not found a better price for the quality & product!! 

Margaret is the first grandchild for my wife & I's parents.  Pictures of the first/only grandchild are like GOLD!!!  ha ha  The calendar maker on Shutterfly allowed us to create amazing Christmas presents for the grandparents that would bring great joy all year round.  To top it off...IT'S EASY TO USE!  All of Shutterfly's services are easy to use!!  So if you have someone that is hard to buy for...think about creating a calendar this Christmas.  It's a gift that gives the whole year long! 

For those of you that are coffee/tea drinkers....or know someone who is...why not consider a mug with the favorite mugs in your life!!! 

So check it out!   

David Wiesner

You may not know his name, but I hope you know his books!!  Tuesday ring a bell?? I just was introduced to his newest book..and I think it is a must have for all art teachers. Art & Max is a beautifully illustrated book of lizards & art!  How could you go wrong with that?!?!?!  The website is also very cool.  There is a section that allows you to see some of his creative process in developing his books.  This is a wonderful resource if you are teaching illustration to your students!!!! 

November 30, 2010

Nominations/Best Blog Lists- What are your thoughts??

I know many of us in the bloggie world have been receiving e-mails of our blogs being listed on "Top Blog" lists & such.  It's fun to be recognized because blogs do take time, energy, and heart!  However, I wonder sometimes about the motivation of such awards.  Some may just be trying to increase their hits by connecting to our loyal blog followers.  Though, I have had many hits come from these I guess it does work both ways!!  ha ha  I kind of appreciate the lists I find my blog on where the individual/company did not contact me.  I just found one today from Canada!  I'm thankful for Sitemeter.  Lets me know a bit more about those visiting my site.  I found one of my lessons popping up on several French blogs over the past month!!!  That's kind of strange...and cool!  What are your thoughts?? 

November 24, 2010

The Thankful Art Teacher

I am thankful for having a job that I love(because I know many do not).

I am thankful for having a beautiful classroom & supplies to teach(because I know some do not have either).

I am thankful for my students who I have the privilege to teach...and who end up teaching me many a day!

I am thankful for administration & teachers in my school who believe in the power of art(and I'm working on those who do not!!! ha ha)

I am thankful for all of you who make blogging about art ed so much fun!  Thank you for giving me some of your valuable time...I pray I never waste it!  

Finished Winter Mural - K-4th

This project is very directed.  As the teacher, you have to have a vision for the final product so you can have the students create the components that are needed.  Wanting my students to enjoy this is created in front of them, and their opinion on where things are placed is encouraged(though if they want a tree in the sky...I over rule them!).  Each lesson must be engaging & have value on its own, but at the same time fit into the bigger picture.  Not always easy.  For a couple of the lessons the students create multipul of their item, and leave the best of the best for the mural & take the rest home.  This is a win/win!!!  You also have to take into consideration that the object must be finished in once class time...something like this should not go on forever...or the kids will get bored with it.  I hope this info helps some of you...if you want more information on individual lessons...just e-mail me! . 

November 23, 2010

Winter Mural - K-4th

Last year I had my students create a Fall Mural.  It turned out soooo cool!!  Here is a link to it!!

This year we have just two days before Thanksgiving break.  I did not want Mon./Tues classes to be ahead since I only have my classes once a week.  So my student teacher and I decided it would be best to do projects outside of the units we've been working.  We decided to do a Winter Mural.  High impact..and each child plays a part!! We have collage trees/ snow people/houses, watercolor van Goghish sky, tinted snowy ground, and colored pencil animals. It has been going great...I wanted to show you the start of it! 
I'll post the finished project tomorrow!

November 16, 2010

Fabric Fun

I come from a long line of quilters.  Though I personally do not quilt, I love fabric!!!  Colors, patterns, designs....going through the fabric section at Jo-Ann's or Hobby Lobby is like going to an art gallery for me!  I've inherited a ton of fabric for my classroom!!!  I do a quilt lesson with 4th grade, but I'm dreaming of some new projects.  The hardest part, I find, when using fabric with elementary students is cutting it!  Our class scissors are not great at cutting fabric after hacking into a million pieces of paper over the years.  So today I backed a ton of fabric with paper. In theory...this will give the scissors more traction(I think).  So now I'm dreaming of fun projects!!  I think I may do a mixed media painting with a object as an inspiration piece?  Any other fun ideas???  Share!!!

Your Thoughts/Ideas on Math/Reading in the Art Room

So, I have just made more work for myself. Why do I get myself into these things?!?!  My 1st year mentor is now "Executive Director of Instruction for Elementary Schools".  He is over the instructional coaches for our district(my wife is one of them)...among other things.  I've told him about my desire to be a coach for the elementary art teachers for our district(we have over 90 elementary art teachers).  Well he had a great idea...why don't I work up something to show the instructional coaches for our district on how math & reading/writing can be incorporated into the art room.  I have many things that I do, but would like to hear from bloggie friends...on what you do in your classroom to go cross curricular.