Monday, December 30, 2013

Think Dots As a Formative Assessment

Color Think Dots - used as a formative assessment for third grade

My third grade students were finishing a project at different stages. Since I have only 6 iPads for my students to use, we often work on multiple projects when it involves using them. Third grade students were typing in their Color Letters (Post to come later on this creative project!) as they finished up on the drawing part of the project. I assigned this Think Dots sheet for students to work on as they waited for their turn on one of the iPads or when they finished. This both gave them something to do that reviewed their color knowledge and showed me where we still needed to focus our learning. Since it involved painting and rolling dice - they were into it. 

Each table was given a laminated Think Dots sheet (laminating will save it for use over and over again) and a die. They were showed how to fold a 12x18 paper into 6 sections. They were to roll the die and do what was asked of them on the Think Dots sheet. They could re-roll but eventually all tasks should be completed. Generally in a Think Dots activities, there are varying levels of difficulty or thinking. The task contained lots of choices that let the students show their creativity. 
For example - "Paint a design in a section using Primary colors." This gives students the opportunity to paint anything they wish. 

When students are finished with these, I will be able to look them over and gather data on how many students completed each task correctly. That data will guide my teaching on the next lesson we do. If all students have mastered most tasks then we can move on to a new concept. I may find that many students still need some extra time learning a certain concept. 

You can find my Color Think Dots here if you wish to borrow. 

Friday, December 27, 2013

I Heard You Can Draw! - Book Review

About a month ago I had the pleasure of sharing a wonderful book with my students. 

 It's a story that reminds us, as artists, to be true to ourselves. Young Sarah was caught by her teacher drawing in class. Her classmates discovered her artistic talent and began to ask her to draw all kinds of things for them. 

My students enjoyed the book. A couple of classes even asked me to read it a second time! After reading the book I asked the students to be book reviewers with me. 

Here's some of the things they had to say:
"I like that it is funny."  "I love the rhyming words."  "I've never seen a book before that lets you draw in the last pages!" (The end of the book contains a small sketchbook for students to draw whatever they want.)

Things that I liked about this book:
One of the first things I noticed was it taught many of my students a new vocabulary word. It was in bold so the students knew they needed to stop and figure out what it meant. 

Another important aspect of the book I enjoyed was the message. It told students to be their own artist. What they want to draw and express is far more important than what others may want. Be true to yourself!

I congratulate M. D. Savran on a wonderful book that every art teacher should share with students!

You can get your copy at Amazon. Visit the I Hear You Can Draw blog for more information about this book, the author, and more. 

Monday, November 4, 2013

I Think I "Felt" in Love with Needle Felting!

Up until a year or so ago, I had no idea what needle felting was. I started to pin some of these cute little sculptures on Pinterest and made a mental note to find more out about how these were done. I've never met an art form I didn't like. I love to try new things!  

So, when I saw that there was a felting workshop during the IAEA Conference I made a point (no pun intended) to quickly sign up for it. I wasn't disappointed!   Natasha from Esther's Place Fiber Studio taught us about wet felting and needle felting.   I had a blast! My first sculpture needed a lot of work - My owl looked a bit tipsy!

The next morning I purchased a starter kit so that I could do more at home. Even better - the last day of the conference at the raffle I won a big basket of 65 balls of wool! So Excited!!

So first chance I got I tossed all my school work aside and began to create a felted turkey sculpture. 

Here's some of the work in progress:

Molly is wondering what that smell is? 

I like how my turkey came out and look forward to creating again.  I'd love to take this skill into my classroom. I think my 5th graders would enjoy doing it. 
Have any of you ever needle felted with students in school? If so how did it go? Please share your experiences! 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Reflections On the IAEA Conference

The annual Illinois Art Education Association Conference was this past Friday and Saturday. Although I have been teaching for over 18 years, and have attended a handful of national conferences, I had never attended my own state's conference. So this was my first, but not my last, time attending.

I went to as many workshops and presentations as I could. Many were full of ideas that I could take back to my art students - both my K-5 students and my ArtsyBug Studio students of all ages. Some gave me ideas to pass on to my colleagues who teach middle or high school. Some of the sessions gave me ideas for my own artwork.  A few provided some new ideas or things to add to projects or lessons I already do.

Here's a glimpse of what I took away from some of the presentations I attended:
Everything Apple: Getting Techie
Technology is a big part of my teaching and daily life. I use technology in the art room and I teach about using technology both to my elementary students and Art Education teachers for The Art of Ed. I am an Apple lover....the Mac kind...not granny smith. So I was excited to see what ideas a group of great art teachers had for using Apple products in the art room. Among the group were the ladies from The Teaching Palette - Theresa McGee and Hillary Andrlik.
Some great ideas that came from here:

  • Tips for Artsonia
    • Using QR Codes to have students access the site to complete artist statements on Artsonia (new classroom mode)
    • Create an iPad stand to help students photograph artwork. Now to find someone to make this for me - times for each of my buildings with Artsonia galleries.
    • Using the microphone built into the newest iOS update on the iPads to differentiate. Students who need to can speak their artist statements instead of type.
  • Ideas for Brushes or Sketchbook X with other apps
    • Trees in perspective - Traditional painting combined with Brushes to duplicate, resize, and paint background. Then use Animator Free to animate it snowing.
    • Photograph a figure then use Brushes to erase background and create a digital one
  • GarageBand or Screen Chomp to add student talking about artwork and/or process they took.
  • Skitch to teach 1 point perspective.
    • Students photograph part of the hallway and then mark up arrows to the vanishing point.
  • iBook Author - So many possibilities!
    • Could be used as assessment
    • Use to add poem to artwork then video tape student reading using Photobooth
    • Creative writing and SoundCloud - record story or writing about artwork using GarageBand
When Animals Attack...the Art Room! - Deyana Matt
  • This presentation gave me a ton of ideas for lessons using animals! 
Here are my favorites - 

Meeting Common Core in the Art Classroom -  Let me preface this by saying that I'm not a fan of the whole CCS movement for reasons I'm not going into here. But it is here and we need to show that the Arts can and do play a major role in the whole education of our students. 

  • This session took a look at the Common Core ELA and Math Standards and how we as art educators can meet many of these standards in our art program. Ideas for focusing first on the anchor standards were shared. There was quite a lot of information here that would take up an entire post so I'm not going to go into all of it.
  • Let me just say that we don't need to change our whole curriculum to help meet these standards. Take a look at what you already do and see where you can expand to meet those standards.

I love to create art even more than I love to teach it so I made sure to attend some hands-on workshops!
Monoprinting Using Gelli Arts Gel Printing Plates
~I've been wanting to try one of these Gelli plates for awhile now!

Wonderfully Wild with Wool ~Oh What Fun!!
Learned about wet felting and my new favorite - needle felting!


My first needle felted sculpture!

 Concentric Kirigami ~Cut paper fun!

Oh...and one of the best parts - I won a few raffles which included these two awesome items:
A Gelli plate and a basket full of wool!

But the best part...getting to visit and collaborate with friends in person who I normally only talk with online!
Mona meets Starry Night!

Friday, October 18, 2013

An Oldie but Goodie - What If Picasso Made Witches?

This project has been around quite a while, but it's a good one. 
I used it as an introduction to the abstract artwork of Pablo Picasso for my 3rd grade students.
We talked a bit about color choices when they picked the colors for the face. Looking at the color wheel we discussed what colors would be contrasting and stand out next to each other and which ones might blend more together. Ultimately, they could chose any two colors they wanted!

We also discussed what a profile was and how it differed from seeing a face from the front view. 

Students had a lot of fun creating their witch or monster. We started by cutting out a face shape from the two colors they chose for the face stacked together. Then they drew a profile on one of the pieces, cut it out, and glued it to the full face shape. 
I gave them examples and tips for cutting certain shapes like the mouth but gave them lots of room for creative choices. 

For some reason they kept questioning me on what they could or couldn't do with this project. "Can I make it have elf ears?" "Can mine have a mustache?" "Can I do a different kind of hat?" "Can she have a booger?" My answer - "You are the artist. You make the decisions!" I use this answer quite a bit. It usually brings a smile to their face.

I'm always a bit cautious of doing this project. I don't want to those students who might not be able to do Halloween themed things because of religious beliefs to feel uncomfortable. If I know ahead of time there are students who might not be able to do witches I modify it to monsters or let chose what they might do using the same skills.

Like this project but too late for could a similar project before Christmas and do What If Picasso made Elves?

How do you handle projects that might be off limits to certain students because of religious beliefs?

Friday, October 11, 2013

5th Grade Landscapes with Zentangle Inspired Lines

5th Grade students reviewed line quality in a work of art while creating these 
landscape paintings with Zentangle inspired lines.

Students first sketched out their landscape as we talked about using a horizon line and different levels of ground. They were then able to paint their landscapes with a creative color scheme. It was a blast seeing them get creative with the color.
I encouraged them to use different colors in each section of ground.

Once painting was dry, students reviewed line quality and watched a couple videos on zentangle drawings and then they began to fill the sections of their painting with different lines. Most of the lines were drawing using colored pencils. Some were done using black marker.

I love the variety the students ended up having in the finished works!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Color Experiments

In my quest this year to allow students as much creative expression and freedom within the boundaries of learning outcomes I felt a new approach to our color unit in my upper-elementary classes was in order. Instead of going over the color wheel as a lesson to introduce our color unit, I decided to give the students a chance to experiment and explore color mixing on their own before we even discuss Primary, Secondary, Intermediate, Warm, Cool,....and all the other color schemes we want our students to understand and be able to use in their artwork.

So much fun! The kids loved it and I loved hearing their conversations as they worked. "Hey, I just made sea green!" "Ewwww....this looks like my baby brothers diaper!" "How did you make that color? That is so cool!"

Some students chose to just paint blobs or lines as they mixed while others thought about using their mixed colors to paint images. They all were sad when clean up time arrived but by then they had used most, if not all, of the paint on their palette.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Directional Lines and Pumpkins

By the end of Second Grade I want my students to be able to describe and draw directional lines.  I want them to be able to tell you which way a horizontal, vertical, and diagonal or oblique lines goes. I also want them to be able to use these different lines in an artwork. 

This year we are learning and practicing this knowledge by painting pumpkins. Not just ordinary orange painted pumpkins - but pumpkins filled with lines. 
Students had fun mixing colors as they painted. They used horizontal lines in the background and vertical and diagonal lines in the pumpkin. They were able to be as creative as they wanted. Some added lots of lines and different colors while others kept is simple and limited their lines.

Here are some works in progress: