Wednesday, October 28, 2009

the forest for the trees

our theme for November will be owls and trees and maybe a turkey project with the little ones for fun.
Last week I posted a lot of owl ideas.
Now for some trees.

I like the oil pastel and cut tree of this project. We will be cutting our tree from a separate black paper though.

I love the teardrop shape of these leaves on this tree. I think tracing around the raindrop and painting it will be good for 2nd and 3rd.

This will be a good tint and shade exercise for 4th and 5th and a quick one day project
this is from art projects for kids. We will talk about tint, shade and concentric circles. Also how you can tell how old a tree is by counting the rings.

I'm looking at the concentric circles there and Hundertwasser and Kandinsky are coming to mind. I found this project from an all Spanish blog. I think the trees are really cool. I understand enough spanish to know that the trees are collage, kandinski inspired and have to do with noctornal animals and the moon. I think these are really fun. We can make little ones or make a big class one.
This would be great practice drawing and cutting circles for 1st grade.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

owl pomes

owl pomes to go with owl projects to tie in literacy and writing.

amazing collection of pomes at this site

Mr. Owl

I saw an owl up in a tree,
I looked at him, he looked at me;
I couldn't tell you of his size,
For all I saw were two big eyes;
As soon as I could, I made a dash
Straight home I ran, quick as a flash!

Edna Hamilton

Wise Old Owl

by Connie Hinnen Cook

Like the Solomon of fowl
Sat a wise old owl
Perched in a Sycamore tree,
While the moonlight glimmered
And the starlight shimmered,
These words he spoke to me:

"I guess you've heard
I'm a wise old bird,
And if wisdom you would find...
Always look for the best
And your life will be blest,
To all others' faults be blind.

"In this life, I know
You will find it so
That if you think kindly of others,
You'll soon find that it's true
They'll think kindly of you...
Praise your sisters and your brothers!"

You may think me a fool -
Owls don't talk, as a rule,
But in solemn tone he said:
"Don't be quick to enact
Words you'll wish to retract,
Dwell upon the good instead!"

Though I hate to admit it,
I could see, once I did it,
What that wise owl said was true.
Your faults I'll overlook
'Cause it says in The Book
What you sow comes back to you!

Now, if you will agree
With what he said to me,
Then my faults you will ignore...
Like that sage bird said
We'll both come out ahead
If we judge less, and praise more!

I like this one, it is less rhyme and little kid-ish. It has wonderful vocabulary like glimmered, shimmered, sage, sow, enact.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Give a Hoot ! Thrid week of October

This week will be a bit different in the art room. Last week four classes got their choice day. This week 9 more classes will have choice time. Life skills with do projects, kinder will do projects and one second, one third, one fourth and one 5th will do projects. I feel like skipping projects for a week puts me off schedule and I get all antsy, but I have to give the choice time as soon as the kids earn it or earning it as a incentive looses its power.

Lessons this week will be:

Life skills 1: Mouse Shapes (shape collage)
Life skills 2: Paper sack pumpkins to go in our sunflower field

Kinder: Mouse Shapes (shape collage) or torn paper apple or pumpkin (tearing is an important fine motor skill for kids to learn)

2nd and 3rd: Where the Wild Things Are (read the book, create your own wild thing) Next lesson will be a collage wild thing and then the boat from the book

4th and 5th: Aboriginal dot painting and practicing our persistence drawing

That is not much in the way of lesson plan ideas so...recently I have been intrigued by owls so I offer as far as I can tell the most comprehensive collection of owl projects and inspiration on the Internet. Enjoy
A little owl how to draw

don't remember the blog...sorry

clay owl made from two pinch pots. I wish my students had the clay skills to do this, but they don't yet.

deep space sparkle

deep space sparkle

can't find the blog...sorry
painted paper (I believe)
That Artist Women

scratch board project
from Art Projects For Kids I like the white ink/marker thing and the literacy tie-in

Guess whoooo? owl, maybe write some owl facts on the wings and tummy
good ol paper bag puppet from Elmer's glue website once again using egg carton parts.

The Crafty Crow (see the little owl made out of a toilet paper tube?)

Little triangle stuffed, fold over owl
another version
this one has a tutorial

and more with another tutorial
even better tutorial

How I want to display a sample of each grade levels owl project in the hallway. I want the rest of the school to see that we are doing a owl unit. UNIT not willy nilly projects.

Not kids art work, but I really liked the collage and painted papers using what looks like newspaper or book pages

an embroidery pattern I am working on right now

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Crud and DHS

HA! If I thought the kids were sick last week I had no clue what this week would hold. At one point this week we had 9 teachers and 137 students out sick. That is more than a quarter of the school. Plenty of kids and teachers, including myself, are still trudging through the day with the respiratory crud. While we have had a few swine flu cases our big issue right now is this horrible cold that takes weeks to go away. I have had the cold for three weeks now and it is just hanging on and makes me sound like a frog and blow colorful snot now and then the day. I am not running a fever or throwing up so there is really no good excuse for me to stay home. As a district we are a bit short on subs right now...go figure.

So classes are small and the kids who are there, and many teachers are feeling sluggish. With that many kids gone it is hard to know why a student is absent. Does he have a cold, the flu, is skipping school, or the worst ...has been removed by DHS. It's been a rough two weeks on the DHS front with 7 of our students being removed or re-placed. One of my favorite 8th graders got pulled over the weekend and sent to live in a new town with no warning. We were not able to say good buy. I'll really miss her. 3 siblings got removed and sent to grandma's last week where they are now doing much better. The boy (the one who calls me Mrs. Boobs) got through my class without incident this week. Another little boy was taken from one foster home and sent to another. We have no clue where. He was only with us for about three weeks. The most painful was two sisters who have been so neglected over the last year and were finally removed this week. The DHS worker said it was the worst removal she has ever witnessed. The most disgusting home, violent response from the adults and the cops had to get deeply involved. I somehow doubt I'll ever see those little girls ever again.

Having students removed is one of the most heart wrenching parts of teaching in low income schools. We spend so much time parenting, caring for the basic needs and social and emotional life of our students that many of us feel a deep loss when our kids are removed. It is especially hard because it is not safe for us to know what happens to our kids or where they are sent. That way if an angry parent comes in we can honestly say we don't know what happened to their kids.

When our students hug you at the end of the day and say I love you and I wish you were my mommy...well it carries a bit more weight.

Teachers, in general, tend to feel isolated. Several co-workers and I have talked and decided we not only feel isolated from society's understanding of the job, but we also often feel isolated from the experience of teachers from other schools. We have noticed that at conferences and even district meetings, we tend to gather with other low income teachers that are sharing our experiences of not just teaching, but the issues that come with low income schools.

I think it would be interesting to arrange a teacher exchange. Low income teachers would spend three days at a higher income school, discovering the issues that come with hovering parents and overachievers and higher income school teachers could see inside the world of the low income school. Perhapses we would feel less isolated after experiencing each others worlds.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

lessons for second week of october

Into the second full week of October. Two classes have earned all 4 gold stars and will get a choice day in class. One third and one fourth grade class. A bunch of other classes are on their 3rd gold star. I am going to make a pocket for each station and have each kid put their name on a stick and put their stick in the pocket of the station they want to go to. No more than four kids per station. We will switch after 15 min. To make it fair I will have to put their sticks in a cup and pull them randomly so we don't have fighting over stations. When we switch we will go in reverse order so the kids that choose first will choose last and vice verse.

For the rest of the week it will look like this

Life skills: leaf rubbing (hand over hand), tape leaf down with tape doughnut, tape down paper
Kinder: Finish coloring, cutting and pasting fish from two weeks ago
First: Leaf rubbings with side of crayon and fall color tempera wash
2nd and 3rd: Where the wild things are unit
4th and 5th: Aboriginal symbols and dot art, perseverance drawing practice
6-8th: Get all aboriginal art done! Fall leaf ATC, fall batiks

1st. Rubbing needs to be done with a dark color, black, purple or dark blue. Paper needs to be removed. If I could melt down old broken crayons in the silicone tray to make chubby crayons that would help. same watered down tempera wash that the 3rd graders used

2nd and 3rd. Read the book. Two art projects, watercolor monsters and sailboat
I would like to add a collage element to these by using goggle eyes and some fun foam shapes maybe.

In the book Max travels home on a sailboat so we are going to do some texture painting, collage and perspective with this lesson. This project is originally for younger kids but I think it will work well for my kids. Pretty high success rate I hope. I like the idea of making texture in the water and sky and the look at perspective by having larger in the front and smaller boat in the back. I think this is about three weeks worth of projects.

4th and 5th: Trying to teach persistence is the new theme for the school. I want the kids to see that much like practicing a sport or a musical instrument that if you practice drawing a object repeatedly you will get better at it. I am going to have about 12 how to draw sheets to choose from and have the students choose something that they find interesting. Then for the first 3 min of class each time they come for the next two months they will parctice drawing their object. I hope they will see improvement (fingers crossed) We will then look at a short powerpoint of aborginal dot art and look at the symbols chart. Then we will play the tell a story table game that I played with the older kids. Next students will choose 1 to 3 symbols and sketch them on paper and paint them in a solid black. Let dry till next class. We will then dot paint them in using rows of solid color around the black images. Only three colors of paint will be used. Hopefully this will produce better results than with the 6-8th graders.

If the kids seem to like the aboriginal art then we will do this project
although I don't think they have the patience to do this project yet.

6-8th: are all over the place getting their scratch boards done. We have had kids gone for entire week at a time sick. Others rushed through (6th grade) while some 8th graders are taking a really long time getting supper detailed

We have been making some fabric and glue fall batiks that have turned out really well. I have the kids practicing for their India unit batik flags. I also want the kids to make ATC using the accordion book that we used for our first project. I want the kids to make little storage books like in this picture.

So we are going to make this collection book and then today we made the textured paper from this project

each student will be assigned a type of leaf or the acorn and will make 5 cards. One they will keep and then the other four they will trade away so that they have five different leaves for their collection book. On the cover we will paint a tree in Klimt style.

My 6th grade students seemed excited about the card trading idea. My 8th grade students (I only have one 7th grader per class...go figure) are not so thrilled about having to give away their "good" art and take the 6th graders "baby art" (direct quote from one kid). It is rude but she had a point. I have some 8th graders that have taken art with me full time, everyday for almost two years now. Their work is far far superior to the work of the 6th graders that are coming to art for the first time. The music teacher and I both teach two sections of 6-8th grade electives. We keep pushing to have a beginning and an advanced level class each term. We will see if it happen.

PS. the school secretary STILL has not put in my supply order from the start of the year. We are totally out of supplies. I'm begging her to do it but she says she is too busy and will get to it when she gets to it.

Mrs. Boobs

Last week was a rough week. First of all I had a cold so that always makes me short on patience and energy. I'm not the only one sick, the kids are dropping like flies. Barfing, pooping and sniffling their way across the school. Frankly I'm amazed I made it this long before I got sick. So the kids are sick and cranky and coming and going.

On top of that we also had three suspended students return back to school this week. We had Rambo (3rd grader that pulled a pocket knife on another kid), The Boxer (5th grader that punched his teacher in the nose) and the strangler (7th grader that tried to strangle a 6th grader) all return.

Whenever kids come back from suspension there is extra tension in the classroom. Unfortunately around here when you are suspended it usually means you get to sleep in, watch TV, play video games and be unsupervised with no consequences. I have been an advocate of in school suspension for the last two years but no one wants to supervise the kids.

However, the kid that is driving me the most insane is receiving no consequences. Last week he started punching another kid during my class and I informed him that it was unacceptable behavior, he needed to leave the room and go to the office. He informed me he could do whatever he wants, to go to hell and then he walked out of the school. The SMS tracked him down and told him it was not ok, but gave no consequences. When I asked why not I was told he was going though a rough time. I do not think that is a good excuse to let him punch another kid or leave the school. I would say most of our students are going through a rough time. But whatever.

Later this week I found him holding his kindergarten sister up to a wall and telling her he was going to beat the crap of of her. I intervened was told to go F*$K myself and he dragged her out of the school. I went to the SMS and was told to write it down and that the kids were going to grandma's custody so to give it some time. If I could call DHS on a kid I would, but I can't. So the kids went to Grandma and the two little girls seem happy and well taken care of this week and so I though maybe the boy would be in a better mood.

This week when he came to class he stayed in his seat, he didn't punch anyone, in fact we only had ten min of class left when one kid called me over saying Mrs. Boomer. I told him it was Bauer. The kid who I've had trouble with yelled MRS. BOOBer her name is MRS BOOBer. I told him that was not ok and I don't call him silly names and he needed to stop. Instead he marched around the classroom yelling Mrs. Boob, Mrs. Boobs! again and again. I will say the other kids ignored him (I guess he pulls this stuff in class regularly). I popped across the hall to get the SMS or counselor or Vice principal but couldn't find anyone so all I could do was ignore him for 10 min (he was in his own world) and finish up class and send them off to library.

Later on when I found the Vice Principal and told him what the kid had been doing he LAUGHED and thought it was funny. I told him I did not think it was funny. He told me to ignore the kid and write it down for his file. I went and told the kids teacher so she could pass it along to Grandma. The teacher (also a female) did NOT find it funny and I am hoping for an apology letter or some conscience on Monday. I have not found the administrations response to be help full or appropriate. If this keeps up I'm going to my union rep about having a student to is harassing me in my classroom.

We are not helping this kid by teaching him that this type of behavior is acceptable.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

NO...things I can not do

There are a lot of NO's! with our new principal...

NO animals in school (aka no class pets)
NO giving the kids food as a "reward" giving food/snacks
NO soda in the school
NO selling food after school for fund raising
NO selling snacks at school dances
NO candy under any circumstances
NO harvest party/dance this year
NO meetings without pre-scheduling
NO work time during staff meeting days
NO PBS rewards (no paw prints, lucky leopards, cafe lent, raffles, so on)

No, no, no. Isn't there a little room for fun still in a elementary setting? Come on, what better way to teach respectful, responsible and kind than having a little class pet? How the heck are the 8th graders supposed to raise money if they can't sell their holiday-grams with suckers and candy canes and such. The PTA raises a ton of money by selling snacks at our after-school dances. Why can't I use healthy snacks as a reward/incentive? I have used goldfish crackers, fruit snacks and popcorn as incentives in THREE other school districts. I always either give the snacks to everyone or let students choose if they want a food snack or a small art reward like erasers or pencils or stickers.

When you work with a really high risk, low income population you need to have lots of constant little rewards to keep the kids motivated and moving on. We have that top tier of kiddos that really need that incentive. Wouldn't it be better to give a kid a pack of fruit snacks at the end of the day and have them not be disruptive all day long. You can't imagine the amount of time that is taken away from instruction and working with other students to keep those one or two kids per class in line. I have seen these small rewards make a huge difference.

I know there are non food rewards, I also realize that many people consider food as the lowest form of reward. I do know that tangible non food rewards can be much more expensive. I hit up the dollar tree and target $1 bins for a lot of pencils and erasers and stickers.

Just feeling frustrated by all the NO's lately. Really bumed that the class pet had to leave the room. Poor waffles. I want to hear some more "YES YOU CAN" thanks Obama.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

kinder art up-date (aka: Mice teach us about art)

I realized I use a lot of books staring mice to teach us art...mice must be good artist

So this is what Kinder has been up too
Week 1: Book- In a Painting, practice sitting in a row, practice going to table, get to free draw and practice sharing crayons

Week 2: Book- Harold and the Purple Crayon Draw yourself with gray marker and use a purple crayon to draw things that you like around you (self portrait)

Week 3: Book: Matthew's Dream Stained glass/abstracted fish coloring inside shapes with markers, using a variety of color, covering the paper with color. (abstract)

THIS WEEK Week 4: Tracing/drawing circles practice sheet, Cut out our fish, glue to blue paper, draw bubbles, tear or cut green paper to make seaweed and glue on. (collage)

NEXT WEEK Week 5: Book: Mouse Shapes primary color shape collage (3-D shapes for 1st and life skills, some free collage if there is time or next week (collage, primary colors, overlap)

Week 6: Book: Have You Seen Trees? Fall leaf crown (cutting, gluing, warm colors)

Week 7: Book: something pumpkin related. Bleeding tissue paper with die cut leaf or pumpkin on top (use of a paint brush and water )

Week 8: Book: Lines that Wiggle. After reading the book have students practice drawing different lines (remember a line is just a dot that went for a walk). After they have done some practice drawing hand out sheets of paper that have very light vertical lines printed on it. Have kids go over the lines with oil pastel (this works better than crayon). Then in each section have students make different types of lines. Finally brush very watered down tempra paint over the sections. Only offer one color at a time in a lidded cup.

Week 9 and 10: Book: Mouse Paint. Paint in 3 mice in red, yellow and blue. Next week, very very controlled mixing of secondary colors to paint mice secondary colors.


Week 11 and 12: Book- Owl Moon slab clay owl (clay, texture, slip and score, slab)
or this
read and make one week and paint the next week

Week 13: chance to try printmaking using potato prints. Do this on white tissue paper to make into "stained glass windows" later on

extra cute projects that I'd like to do