Wednesday, August 31, 2011

If you were a Superhero what would you look like?

ColorSplasher G - that's me!

Ok...I am such a follower...but I can't let my members of my PLN have all the fun. I had to join in and create my own Superhero.

So what are my super powers? is adding a splash of color where it's needed. But the most important super power I have is the ability to create an environment that allows students to show self-expression and creativity.

What would you look like as as Superhero? What would your powers be?

Create your own at .
To save your picture once you've created it - just take a screen shot of it.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Harold and the Purple Crayon - A Kindergarten Lesson in Line

An Introduction to the Art Element of Line

This is one of my first lessons of the school year with my Kindergarten students. I always target the Element of Line first with all students so this fits very well into that. We begin with a discussion of what lines are and how to we can make a variety of them. Then I read Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson.  We go back over the book after reading letting the students pick out the different kinds of lines Harold made. Then students are given a paper that has Harold on it and they use a purple crayon to draw some of the lines that Harold drew.
Large paper for group drawing - about 5 feet long
As students work on this individual paper. I lay out a large piece of white bulletin paper onto the floor. I have students, one group at a time come over and draw on the big paper with extra large purple crayons (ones like Crayola So Big crayons).
This paper is displayed with a big version of a cut out of Harold holding a purple crayon.

This book is a fairly small book and sometimes hard to share with a large group of students. This year I created a PowerPoint to show to the students on the Smartboard or projected on a screen.

You can find this PowerPoint here on my Art with Mrs. G website. That website is currently under construction as I set it up for my different schools and move some data onto it from a MobileMe website. But the Harold ppt is there for anyone to use.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Circle Paintings On Display

The Circle Paintings from the first week of school are now on display. I look forward to hearing the student comments as they look at all the paintings! Click here for an explanation of this project.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Crazy or Not - First Art Class of the New Year = Painting!!

The first two weeks of the new year have come to a close and I have a weekend to renew and regroup for week 3. This year I decided to approach the first class with students a bit differently than I have in the past. Instead of spending the 45 minute first class of the year with rules, procedures, and creating art portfolios, I decided that we would jump right into the new year with a fun, energetic project. 

I chose to do "Circle Painting" with my 2nd through 5th graders and adapted it to "circle drawing" with my Kindergarten and 1st grade students (see this modification at the end of this post). If you haven't heard of Circle Painting yet - do a quick Google search on it. There are some YouTube videos out there on the subject also. Here's my take on the basic gist of circle painting: a group of people get together to collaboratively work on a painting. Each person adds something and expands off of what others paint. This can be one large painting or a circle of smaller paintings.  This sounded like a wonderful first day project. As we were working on them I could be emphasizing one of my important rules in my art room - Respect. Working together as a group requires students to respect each other and their ideas. So even though I didn't spend a great deal of time boring students with art room rules -we had fun as one of the rules were explained and practiced.

Here's how I set up my circle painting - 
I have my students in groups. I hadn't yet put my students into seating charts yet -so I just made sure the groups were even. Depending on the size of the class - the groups ranged from 3 to 5 students each. Each table had a large 18x24 white paper labeled on the back with the class code. I squirted a little tempera into about 35 cups (I have some rather large classes this year!). A brush was placed into each cup. Students were sent to put on a paint shirt and pick a cup of paint and stand -not sit- around their table.

Before students were told to start - I went over how they were going to be moving around the room and how they knew when it was time to move. I assigned each table a number 1 student who would be responsible for starting the painting by painting a circle in the center of the paper. Once that student finished the circle the rest of the students could begin to paint on the paper. They could paint inside the circle, outside the circle, adding lines, designs, shapes, whatever they wanted to add. I asked for them not to paint words at all and we went over how to be respectful of what someone has painted. Adding to someones painting is what they need to do - not to destroy or paint over what someone has done.

After I noticed that all students had painted at least a little something painted on the paper at their table I rang a bell or made a clapping pattern that signaled them to move to the next table and continue with that painting. We moved clockwise around the tables and they were allowed to trade paint color at any time. After that initial painting round I only let them paint about 3-4 minutes before I sounded the alert to move to the next table. My goal was to get them to every table and then back to their original table.

Everyone enjoyed the experience. It was interesting seeing the reaction of the students when they returned to the table where the painting had started. Some were pleased at the results, while some were a bit upset because someone had changed something they thought should have been left alone. It was a great cooperative project and I believe it will stick in their memories.

Here are some in-progress pictures from different classes -

Kindergarten and 1st grade modification:
I was not brave enough to do the circle painting with my youngest groups of students. They just were not ready for that. Instead of painting we did the exact same project but called it a "circle drawing". I introduced Line as an Element of Art. We went over how to draw a variety of lines and then I explained how they were going to do these circle drawings.

Using crayons and markers they did the same thing as the older students did with paint - just a lot less mess and confusion. They had fun doing this and were even a bit more cooperative when it came to making marks off of someone else's marks.
Sometime before the end of the school year I plan on revisiting this project with these little ones and have them do the circle painting when they seem ready for it.

Here are some pic from the "circle drawings" -

Monday, August 22, 2011

Before & After Art Room Set Up

With budget cuts this year came some rearranging of elementary art teachers in our district to cover all 12 elementary schools. Along with my "home" school I returned to an old favorite and added a new to me school. The new school had a simple art room with really good art tables. When I walked into it this summer I saw a very white blank slate.
Look - a chalkboard! Oh goodie - how old school.

Here are the after shots -
My Mona Wall

Above each table is an artist with their work. I refer to the tables as the color or artist.

My Data Center - more things will be added like the art room mission statement

A close-up of my behavior incentives & Smart Goal

This shelving unit was just screaming for lots of art stuff!

The sign in the middle says: The "EARTH" without "ART" is just "EH"

Word Wall, drying rack, and I'm Done...Now what?

This will be a spot for students to find things to do if they finish early.

I hung felt up for word wall. The words are laminated and have velcro on back making it easy to put up and down.

Added a bit of color and art element posters to front of room.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

New Member of My Art Room Team

Meet Dusty 

This is the newest member to my Art Room team. He will join the students and me as we work together to keep the Art Room clean and organized. With staff cuts, I'm teaching more classes in more buildings. The only way I can survive these jam-packed days is to keep the art rooms as organized as possible. I'm thinking Dusty will help. Elementary students love to make a mess but they also love to be helpers. The old broom and bent dust pan we had in the past just worked poorly. So I went to Lowes and picked up 2 of these. They were not very expensive and will help out greatly. Not having to bend over to use the dust pan is a big plus!

Dusty's My Name...Cleaning's My Game

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Time to Prepare for a New School Year!

 School starts back up again next week so this last couple weeks of summer break is spent frantically trying to get art rooms (3 this year) ready for all the creative learning to begin.

Today I worked on getting this window box display ready. This school is unique with these glassed in boxes outside of each room. I find them so much fun to fill up - especially with student artwork.  Many of the classroom teachers in this building find them to be a hassle. But that's what makes the art teacher different. We love being creative and visual. We want to catch the eye of students, parents, and even other staff members.

Many non-art teachers often wonder why I spend a lot of my precious time creating interesting displays for my students' artwork instead of just sticking them up on a tack strip. Though I do utilize the tack strips, I tend to want to create a more visual pleasing display with the artwork that includes other information or great quotes or sayings.

I'm always looking for new ideas and have borrowed a great many ideas from many of the wonderfully creative teachers in my PLN.

Do you have a favorite display that you put up in past years?

Here are a few of my favorites from last school year:

5th Grade Presidential Portraits
3rd Grade Owl Paintings and Clay Owls
3rd Grade Van Gogh Sunflowers with Texture centers