Sunday, October 31, 2010

Owl roundup time! part duex

I Love owls and during the short, chopped up month of November we focus on owls, scarecrows, cornucopias and a turkey hear and there. This is part re-post of last years owl ideas, part new ideas from this year. ***Disclaimer*** At this point last year a whopping 2 people read my blog and I was sloppy about sighting where I found my images. If I have a project from your site and it's not linked please just let me know and I will fix it right away!!!
Great owl drawing how to. Whoooo's is it:)

I know this was posted just a few weeks ago! Yet I can't find who it belongs too. You took two photos and made a little animation. Help!!! Love the patterns and the articulation on the wings.

Worked so well with model magic...the blog had the word pink in the name?

clay owl made from two pinch pots. My middle school students are ready to do this project this year!

some commercial kids art but I think would be really fun way to review shapes and use up scrapbook paper

this is adorable and a great way to explore texture rubbings and shape with the owls...once again I have looked and looked for its me find it!

deep space sparkle. 2nd and 3rd grade LOVED this project last year and we had fantastic results.

from, this is great with the books, Owl Babies (k-1st) and Owl Moon (2nd-4th)

That Artist Women, look at the amazing painted paper that makes up the feathers. The twice a week 5th grade class will do this one this year.

While we are at That Artist Women look at this amazing water color resist owl. I'm going to make this one for me!

Good for kinder or 1st. Guess whoooo? owl, maybe write some owl facts on the wings and tummy
1st or 2nd would have a lot of fun with this. paper bag puppet from Elmer's glue website using egg carton parts.

Love the little fabric fold over to turn this into something paper based...

this one has a tutorial

and more with another tutorial

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

Art in the trash

Sigh, I have a continuing problem in my art room that makes me want to cry and question if my school should even have an art program.
When I was hired at my current school some major information was not disclosed. Things like:
I would be teaching two nursing life skills classes each week
Five classes are taught exclusively in Spanish to primarily native Spanish speakers
That there was no art room
That the school had not had an art program in over 20 years

I've adapted to most of these challenges, I've figured out how to teach life skills students, I learned basic Spanish to ease translation, I talked my way into a "classroom" that used to be the book storage room and was storage for the school. Which brings us to undisclosed fact #4 no art program for 20 years.

I was told the year before I started that a teacher had split his time between teaching dance and art. Turns out he taught dance 3 weeks a month and put out crayons and paper once a month to teach art. It took me months at my new school to find out this info.

I was baffled to why students could not hold a paintbrush and anything having to do with painting sent some kids into tears and/or fits of rage. Projects were ripped up, tables were flipped, things were thrown and oh where there was a nightmare. I did not want to admit that I was struggling so much in this new school so it took till mid October for me to start asking around if these behavior occurred the year before.

Turns out the kids were acting out in a mix of fear, nerves and new experiences. We spent a whole year just trying out different art materials and getting used to them. Over the years the tantrums have decreased as students have become comfortable with the art materials and techniques. I can now get the kids to try new things and push themselves.

The one thing I can NOT do is get them to keep their art!

Aside from a few kids here and there, almost every child over 2nd grade throws away their art... inside the school. I have made a rule that NO art is allowed to be thrown away inside my classroom. That didn't work. The kids were throwing away their art in their classrooms. The teachers said art had to go in backpack and go home. I started finding art in the hallway trash cans and dumped outside the school. I tried holding the kids art and sending it home in bundles twice a year. In the trash. I have laid out tables full of their art at conferences for the parents to pick up...the parents want it...right, right?! WRONG!!! I have these twice yearly battles were I beg and plead the families to take the art home. After 3 years some families now take the art to shut me up and then dump everything in the large hallway trashcans. I can honestly say 15% of the parents seem happy to get their kids art and take it home. At back to school night I burst into tears when one 6th girls mom told me she had framed some of her daughters artwork.

What is going on? I can say most of the kids seem to enjoy making the art, they are happy to come to art class but they don't want to keep it. From clay projects to paintings. I can't believe 85% of the students and parents are not engaged in ANY lesson we do.

This feels like such a waste of time and materials. I think I find it particularly challenging since I buy the majority of our art supplies with my own money.

I know there is extreme value in the kids simply having the experience of making the art, and the knowledge they gain from making it. But I just don't understand...why do they, and their families not want their art!? How do I change a school and community culture. How many years can I fight using thousands of dollars of my own money!! Each time I find a project shoved in a trash can a little piece of my desire to teach art dies.

Has anyone else had this problem and have a solution?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

complex color wheels

click on the images to see them larger

6th and 7th grade completed their complex color wheels. Each color wheel showed understanding of primary, secondary, intermediate and complementary colors and tint.
The individual project is preceded by a group simple color wheel and in individual simple color wheel. For the complex color wheel I made a large circle for the kids and divided it into 12 sections. I have had them make their own circles and segments in the past but they usually have to try several times and it wastes a lot of paper.

So on 11"x17" I have the large segmented circle and then a extra "slice" of the pie as we call it. I have the kids divided the slice into three sections with shapes or lines. They go over their lines with sharpie and cut out the slice. They slide the template slice under each slice of the big circle and trace the pattern. No need for windows or light boxes.

Now spare the kids, and yourself, a lot of frustration and on the outside of the circle pre-label the correct color for each slice. Next have the kids mark (lightly)on each slice what should be the P (parent color) The T (tint) and the C (complementary) color.

Have the kids do all the parent colors first. I want the kids to practice their color mixing so they have to remake the colors in the following classes to make their tints and complementary colors.
When dry everything gets outlined in sharpie and the circle gets cut out and mounted on black paper. Tada! Not bad for 11 and 12 year olds!

our zentangles

Our second project for the 6th-8th grade students was complex zen tangles.
Students could choose to trace around circles using overlap to make a design
or they could make a random tangle shape
or they could use a known shape (such as a heart) and make a tangle inside that

Each work of art had to include 10 different patterns and be inked in with sharpie. We got a lot of really striking works of art with only paper, pencil and pen.
using circles

tangle in an organic shape

random tangle

do you see the dragon and it's wings inside of the heart?

tiny tiny view of one classes work

Sunday, October 24, 2010

It's pumpkin time!

I LOVE Halloween! Making costumes, getting candy, carving pumpkins, getting candy, decorating the house, going to the pumpkin patch, getting candy :) Here is my Snow white costume I sewed last year from a fitted bed sheet and reclaimed items from the Goodwill.
and the year my dog and I wore matching bumble bee costumes
here he is in his chicken costume
When I started teaching at my urban school there were no costumes during the day, but the PTA held a "Harvest" dance after school where the kids could dress up.

Then we got a new principal, a man who follows every rule, or suggestion laid down by the school district to a T. No costumes, in fact no more harvest dance. Yes I admit it, I had been letting the kids do some Halloween esq art, haunted houses, black cats in the moonlight, expressive face pumpkins. Was I busted. I got lectured for half an hour about why that was not ok. I begged and pleaded for something spooky and we agreed on pumpkins with NO faces, bats and spiders. So I present a week of Halloween activities...minus the Halloween.

kinder: are doing pumpkins in their classroom so we are studying the color wheel with Plant a rainbow. Painting on the green stems and leaves to our flowers. Perhaps there will be a pumpkin coloring sheet for them when they are done with their project ;)

1st. I love the book "It's Pumpkin Time!" by Zoe Hall. If you skip the last four pages of the book it is all about pumpkins growing and fall.
we will continue to practice our circle cutting skills to make a pumpkin patch collage and will use green paint to put on the stems and leaves. Basically a 20min version of the great secondary color pumpkin patch lesson.

2nd grade: Made their collage sunflowers and I noticed need some more work on their small motor and dexterity skills. I think making these 3-D strip pumpkins from Color, Color, Color will be perfect. I think we will add some green pipe cleaners to be vines

3rd grade: Maybe we can't do pumpkins with expressive faces...but he didn't say we couldn't do Monsters with expressive faces!!! I'll make a suggestion menu of things the kids can add...eye balls, horns, fangs, stripes, spots, eyebrows, hair...! It's perfect because this group is little monsters! (one class is banned from all supplies minus paper, pencils and crayons at the moment, they are earning privileges back after and scissor/paint incident we won't get into. They are drawing sunflowers in vases) Anyway I love the inspiration from Crafts by Amanda

seeing that 3rd grade comes twice a week, on day one we will take a paper bag, stuff it with newspaper and paint it our base color. On day two we will collage on the face with construction paper.

4th grade: I had the sub on Friday draw a simple pumpkin with them and go over the lines with white glue. We will use my new liquid watercolors to paint them in during our 1st class. Then during our second class we will make these fun bats that I found on the crafty crow.

One fourth grade class only comes once a week so they will draw our pumpkin in sharpie and then watercolor it in. The "bonus group" of 10 4th graders that come once a week started embroidering a spiders web and will make a bead spider to go with it.

5th. Is working on Klimt trees or, as we have started calling them snail trees. The trunks are being colored with colored pencil and metallic sharpies. We will use metallic watercolor for the background. My twice a week class start a oil pastel and black paper harvest color to come.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

6th-8th perspective and identity

NOTE: I have 6-8th graders at the exact same time so I need to be hitting standards simultaneously. Right now we are doing identity for the 6th graders and perspective for the 7th graders (No 8th graders this trimester)

I mentioned that my students dislike having to do projects that feature their face. Just to test the waters I took photos of one 6th grade class. They were NOT happy at all. This is about as "happy" a face as I got
Can you say, "I hate this?!" This is not a battle I am excited to start.

So instead we did our eye drawings inspired by Esher. The kids did a decent job drawing their eye and image of something that was important to them. Their coloring was less then impressive though. Pushing forward I then gave them a pre-drawn eye and a graphite stick and showed them how to use value and shadow to create form on the eye. I loosely flowed the instructions on Art Projects For Kids. OH they liked that a LOT!
a few of our eyes

So the next day I brought out the willow charcoal and showed them how to draw a branch with correct form and shading. They also loved that and did a great job. We added some leaves in pen and water colored them in.

So far everyone is really enthusiastic about learning how to make things have form. So I pushed forward to one point perspective. On Thursday I showed the kids how to make blocks using one point and vanishing point. They did such a good job that we put our blocks in a large box. I asked the kids to draw a set of blocks that spelled their name, a word or a simple phrase.
I bought two brand new set of blocks for this project and when second period left someone had colored all over several blocks with Sharpie....ARGGG stupid....little....

Next I was going to move onto two point perspective city's but realized that is an 8th grade requirement. Instead I found this great lesson that uses one point and incorporates a figure with correct shading. I fond it on Jennifer Lee's Artsonia page. This will be a great way for us to do perspective, shading with form and get thinking about people again.

Then we can keep thinking bodies and skeletal systems to do some Day of the Dead characters. I will ask each skull to have a distinct personality. I love this Freida Klaho inspired one that I found on the web
I just have to comment here, after working in a predominately Hispanic school, I have developed a better understanding of Day of the Dead and it's relationship, or lack of there of, to Halloween. They are two separate things. Day of the Dead occurs on the 1st and 2nd of November. While these dates match with the Catholic All Souls Day and occur after Halloween, they are NOT the same event. Day of the Dead has it's origins in Aztec ceremonies and other indigenous cultures. The immersion teachers at my school, all natives of Latin America, are insistent that we do not use Day of the Dead and Halloween interchangeably. Therefore, we do not do ANY Day of the Dead celebrations or artwork till post Halloween.

Let's keep going with figure and skeletons and create those wire and tinfoil people in motion. I just got a big roll of wire from SCRAP.

Slowly moving back into drawing people while still looking at perspective we will combine the falling people drawing (I like Mrs. Jahing's version) and cut and paste our drawing onto this perspective background from We Heart Art

And then we are back to having to do a artwork with our face. Well I was cursing the net and decided to look at the school website of one of the best ranked Middle Schools in Portland (but not in my school district). Low and behold, there is their identity project...but the kids did not draw themselves! They altered printed photos of themselves using a variety of media and collage. Well if the blue ribbon school can do it so can we!
It still uses photos of the kids but at least they get to alter their photos! Maybe in the spring they will be ready to draw themselves, but for now lets just draw ON ourselves.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

boobies vs. Silly Bandz

That got your attention didn't it? Today I bring you a battle royal: Boobie bands vs. silly bandz.

Have these made an appearance at your school? It took me a few weeks to realize what they said. A ton of middle school, ahem, boys, started wearing them. I didn't pay much attention. However, earlier this week, while watching a 6th grade student draw, I really looked at the band. "I love bo..."I couldn't see the rest. " What does that say?" I asked. He blushed bright red, I spun the bracelet around his wrist... boobies. "I love boobies?" I ask raising my eyebrows at this mild mannered young man that I have known since he was in eight. "Ummm, ummm," he stutters. "Humm," I say and in my head I count up how many students must be wearing the I love boobies bracelets.

What dose it mean? Where did they come from? Why are the kids allowed to go around school wearing a bracelet that says boobie. After school I ask the VP, who is charge of our 6-8th students, what is up with the bracelets. He rolls his eyes and says it has something to do with breast cancer awareness and fundraising. "Oh yeah, I'm sure the 7th grade boys are worried about breast cancer research funding," I remark. Admin has decided to just ignore them with the belife that if we ban then it will become a big deal.

Fine I guess. I love boobies as much as any other boobie owner. My grandma and aunt died of breast cancer. I donate to breast cancer research and believe in education and awareness. However, I find the bracelets inappropriate for 11-13 year olds to wear to school. I really, REALLY don't think most of kids wearing them give a crap about breast cancer, fundraising or research...they just want to wear something that says boobies.

Ironically silly bandz have yet to really catch on at our school. A few kids have them but hey are not a big deal. Instead I was really unhappy to have a group of 3rd grade students come in to class today and realize three of them are now wearing I love boobies bracelets. Ok fine, they are going to let the middle school students have a rebellious moment, but I am not ok with 8 year olds wearing them.

What do you think, am I uptight and old fashioned, are boobie bands appropriate for the classroom? Are they ok for middle school age, elementary age, high school? Everyone?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

6-8th Identity unit ideas

Our complex color wheels are done! So are our color theory musical symbols with "vibration" lines. After two weeks of painting we need to do something else. It should be time for clay, or tin tooling or something! But, even thought I gave her my supply order 7 weeks ago, the secretary STILL has not sent it to the school district warehouse, the only place I can get art supplies with school money. So these projects feature a lot of drawing, pencil, marker and pen. We are out of oil pastel, chalk pastel, clay, tooling foil, acrylic paint, watercolor or canvas paper, yarn, tissue paper, glue sticks...on and on. We do have...tempera paint, construction paper, copy paper, crayons, markers, colored pencils and white glue.

Over the years I have discovered that my 6th-8th graders really dislike doing art that features their own face. The students at my current school seem particularly sensitive to drawing themselves or altering photos of themselves. I suppose when you are in early adolescence you are already so critical, and often uncomfortable, with your looks that of course you don't want to stare at photos of yourself or use your less then advanced drawing skills to make a rendering of your face.

Yet one of our state standards for middle school age students is to explore identity and self portraiture. In the past I have asked students to do a Chuck Close grid drawing based on a photo of them. I do really like this project. Thinking box by box and knowing that everything is going to end up abstracted helps students with their self consciousness.
I have used both versions of the Chuck Close lessons on Art Projects for Kids. The first version is more advanced and while less "realistic" I tend to like the results better.

We may end up doing this project, but instead I want to see if we can do an "identity" unit minus the self portraiture.

When I think identity I think of the saying "The eyes are the window of the soul." When I think of the eye as a window, I think of Mc Eshers drawing Eye (the first picture in this post). Students will practice drawing eyes and how to correctly cover part of the eye ball itself with the flesh of the eye. After practice we will draw a large eye. Where the pupil and iris would be, students will draw a reflection of something that represents them...a person, place, or thing.
That crazy dude Rene Magritte was on the same brainwave as Esher with one of his few school appropriate works

My cousin sent me this photo of a drawing done by a Physics major from Princeton. I know it was done by a girl and is several years least. That is all I know about it, but it is really cool and great inspiration.
obviously we are going for something less advanced.

After the eye we will try out this really cool project idea Art Class Inspiration, she got the lesson from another site that appears to belong to a graphics design student named Daniel Eatock. Here is the link to his site that included directions for the project and examples. We may have to simplify it a bit, but I think it will be do-able. I will give students a sheet of inspiration questions to use for the text and this will be a great tie in to Alphabetise. Oh and bonus points for me if we use writing in the classroom.
I like the ones that use color and think I will ask the students to included some color in theirs.

Moving on it is time for us to hit up perspective, a 6-7th grade requirement while also doing the identity requirement. I always have students design their dream bedroom in one point and then write their names in thick letters and use one point on them to make them "explode" towards us.

I see that this is a common requirement for middle school students because Mrs. Keber over at VWMS Art Room is also doing one point perspective rooms. I also like her twist on teaching "boxes" with one point by having the kids create phrases with kids alpha blocks. We will be stealing that one flat out!

If we can find a roll of wire, or at least a roll of tinfoil we can make our figure in motion sculptures from two years ago. Thank goodness for paper towel and white glue paper machie.

Well if that dosen't keep us occupied I don't know what will!