Wow I know it has been a long time since I posted but life with a toddler is crazy! I see that many schools are starting up again in the next week or so but here in the Pac NW we have only been on summer vacation for about a month and have another month to go.
Part of my summer vacation this year was going to some classes for re-licencing credit. There are so few art teachers in Oregon that there really are no classes that are for art teachers Instead I go to classes that are intended for classroom teachers 3-8th that want to incorporate more art into their core curriculum.
I always think it is good for us, as teachers, to be in the student's position from time to time. Sitting in a chair seven hours a day as a student for two weeks really helped remind me of some important lessons:
1. It is really tiring to sit still for extended periods of time! I need to make sure I have structured times for student's to get up and move around the classroom mid-class, such as gallery walks, switching out materials or even just a 2 min stretch break.
2. Along those lines it's really hard to not talk for long periods of time! I am already pretty good about making sure that student's are allowed to have a chance to participate in instruction, discussion and may talk quietly at their table as long as they are on task. "if your mouth is moving than your hands are moving working on your art!
3. Art is more enjoyable and meaningful when you have choices! I know sometimes a lesson may not lend itself to too many choices for the student's but even being able to choose the size or color of your paper, the material you use, the subject mater...whatever you can do, big or small to let kids have a say in the work of art they are creating.
4. Ellsworth Kelly did amazing contour line drawings. Are you familiar with the work of Ellsworth Kelly? I'll be honest I wasn't. So Kelly was part of the hard edge painting movement...not my favorite style so I'm sure I saw him in my modern art history class and then forgot about him. Turns out he also did line drawings and lithograph prints of plants. They are going to be my new way to talk about contour line drawing along with the line drawings of Picasso. I like how he has a story behind each item he chooses to draw. I feel he does a good job of showing that there is a story or memory or feeling with each drawing even though they are every day plants.
5. Beeswax crayons are the bee's knees! All pun's aside, I had a chance to use beeswax crayons, Faber Castell ones to be specific, for the first time. I know beeswax crayons are a mainstay in Waldorf schools and I don't know if they all are great or if the Faber Castell ones are particularly nice but they are the perfect blend of oil pastels coverage, vibrancy and blendability, mixed with the density of a crayon and the non smudging of a crayon. I used them a lot and often I started with a base of the beeswax crayon and then added oil pastel on top for blending. I also liked the size and triangular shape of them Faber Castell ones. I'm giving serious thought to getting a class set. Has anyone used these in their classroom?
Hope everyone is or had a great summer vacation!