Sunday, September 25, 2016

Flamingo Update

As teachers, we can have the most amazing, well thought out plans for our classes... but when it comes down to it, it never goes the way we had imagined.  So here is the real deal... how it all went down for the first couple weeks of school.

All grades started with an Art to Remember project.  In 3rd and 4th-grade I choose to do flamingos. Click here to get to the original lesson plan and video

Day One:
I explained the project and showed them the underpainting.  This is the base of the image... simply the water and the sky.  

With any remaining time, I asked students to use practice paper to draw the jungle seen on their own... no instructions.  We did a sitting gallery share (click here to see a sitting gallery share) so in hopes that it would allow all my students to share their ideas with others.  I also had the advantage of looking to see what students might draw that would be less successful for this project.  I took that information to lead me in my next lesson.  For example, I noticed that students were drawing a full tree in their flamingo scene. In the next week lesson, I talked about how drawing a full tree next to the flamingo would tell the viewer that the flamingo was as big as a tree. This allowed me to teach the lessons necessary for a successful realistic project.  

Day Two: 

I showed students to draw the flamingo using PlayColor Sticks.  They were given a simple 'how-to' of the bird body.  Then asked to create it and join me back on the carpet for the next step. I then brought them through a short lesson on watercolor and dry brush technique.  The reason I split the two portions of this lesson up is because they were using two mediums and giving all the information at once was less than successful.  You know how it goes... You watch your first section and learn what to change for your second section... By the time the last time teaching a lesson comes along, you're a rock star teacher and your students are extremely successful. 

One little trick I discovered during this lesson was to teach my students to dab off their brush to get a more successful dry brush technique.  Working in the elementary school and having two elementary kids at home has taught me that 'dab' means you strike a pose.  So, every time I would remind them to 'dab', we would all do that silly little dance that is so popular right now. 

Day Three: 

The work was 100% dry from the previous lessons and it was time to do our final details.  I created a short lesson to help me explain this to my students.

Then I let them work for about 12 minutes.  Students were asked to do a gallery walk around the room to look at the work being done by others.  This makes it intentional for me too.  I quickly ask students to share some things that were great in other works that they might consider putting in theirs.  I also have the opportunity to redirect any influences that I might want to keep contained... Like, I don't know, a top hat on a flamingo... You know if one person has that great idea, other will start to do that same thing.  I always say it's OK to borrow ideas from others, but we want to make sure you are not taking the unique aspect of their work and putting it in yours.  It's a tricky balance for both me and my students.

By the end of day three in class these artworks are completed and ready to be shipped off to Art to Remember.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Digital Portfolios- Seesaw

Part of an art teacher's job is to make sure that their student's artwork is displayed.  Brag about the happenings in your class.  Show students that art should be shared beyond the classroom walls. In the past, that meant that an art teacher would line the walls with beautiful art to show to the rest of the school.  This is still a practice that many of us do.  However, many art teachers are looking to make the viewers of their classroom’s art be shared beyond the school walls.  Using social media is one way to do that… another way to share art is through Artsonia, Seesaw, and or Creatubbles.

Using apps to share art is HOT right now. How does an art teacher choose what platform to go with?  We thought we would help with this question.  I will be sharing about the app Seesaw in this post.  Hope Knight, author of Mrs. Knight’s Smartest Artists will be sharing about Artsonia. Tracy Evans @EvansArtHouse, Matt Grundler @Artguy76, and Beth Carter @Bacarter77 and It is Art Day will be sharing on the web-based tool, Creatubbles. This Creatubble team is art teachers from Texas who just happen to be valued members of my #PLN (Professional Learning Network) on Twitter. Beth Carter will be highlighting their take on Creatubbles posting on her blog, It’s Art Day.

I learned about Seesaw two years ago.  It perked my interest the minute that I heard of it.  I love that this app was so quick and easy for everyone to use.  I mean everyone… the teachers, students, and parents.  I talked my specialist team into giving the free version a try last year focusing on only our 1st grade students.  This year our whole district, Kindergarten through Second Grade is a ‘Seesaw’ school. Now we are all, homeroom teachers, specialist, and special ed teachers learning together to use this tool for communication with parents and admin, as well as assessment and documentation.  Let me break down this app for you a bit more.

Seesaw is an application that allows parents to see real-time (or almost real-time) information of the happenings at school throughout the day.  Teachers will start a 'class' on Seesaw and invite parents to get an app on their phone.  Then when items are posted to the app, parents are informed with a notification that their student (or teacher) has shared something on Seesaw.  It is private between the student and the guardians.  Teachers and co-teachers such as Specialist, Special Ed, and Administration also have access to the submitted work.  This allows the whole team to view the work of the students and in our teams case, has allowed for some amazing collaboration!

My favorite thing about Seesaw is how easy it is for very young students to use on their own. Once trained and with some practice, students start sharing information about school on Seesaw without prompts.  This means they are empowered to tell their parents about the learning going on at school.  Teachers can change settings to authorize the work that is being sent home to parents as well.  This is a great feature because teachers can comment on the work, have a formative assessment or even a summative assessment before giving the OK to the app to send the information to the parents.

I also have fallen in love with the support Seesaw gives to their users. They are on Twitter and post new ideas all the time @Seesaw. They also have an amazing Help Center on their website with lots of resources such as videos and webinars. They also have Seesaw Ambassadors who are all over social media sharing what they are doing with this app.  One of my favorite to follow is Angela Gadtke, @MrsGadtke on twitter, she is working hard to show educators the many possibilities to this app.

I have posted about Seesaw before and will continue to do so because I am using this tool inside and out! Click here to see support post about Seesaw.  I am a Seesaw fan.  I choose to focus on using this app more than ever this year because our district adopted it in such a BIG way with all students K-2 at ISD 728 having an account this year.  Last year I researched Creatubbles and Artsonia... Both are amazing apps and serve some of the same purposes, however, also have some different features that might be more appealing to the needs in your classroom.

Hope Knight, author of Mrs. Knight’s Smartest Artists will be sharing about Artsonia on her blog. Click here for a link to read the many great capabilities of Artsonia in her classroom.

Also, Tracy Evans @EvansArtHouse, Matt Grundler @Artguy76, and Beth Carter @Bacarter77 and It is Art Day will be sharing on the web-based tool, Creatubbles. I adore the global aspect of Creatubbles and the three will be sharing so much more in their collaborative post. Click here for the post about Creatubbles.

The five of us have also put our heads together to work on this table highlighting the features that each app has.  We all agree... All applications are amazing.  Each teacher must choose what works best in their classroom.  Allow us to give you some incite in our blog posts.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Bit-O-Bio, Bob Ross Support Post

We have started the Bit-O-Bio's in the Art Studio.  I have decided to run the same artist for a couple weeks at a time.  This means one week for the wrap-up, students are going to watch a Bit-O-Bio and the second (and maybe third) they will be learning more about the art, and artist with real images and links to learn more. 

Of course, I started out with a classic (well, classic from the 80's at least) Bob Ross (click here for the Bit-O-Bio).  We watched the video last week and now I'm sharing more about the artist in this post and with my classes.

Dear Hassan Art Studio Students: 

How many of you did your homework?? Did anyone watch Bob Ross on the Joy of Painting found on Netflix this last week?  What did you think? Did you learn anything?  Take a look at this video below to see a 'remix' of his famous sayings. 

Want to know more?? Check out this great article by @patrickwensink, Click here for 23 Happy Little Bob Ross Facts... 

After learning about Mr. Ross, What do you think? 
  • Do you like his artwork?  
  • Would you like to paint like him?  
  • Do you think he was a good teacher? 
  • Do you like his hair style?
  • If he was in the room with us right now, what would you ask him??

Monday, September 19, 2016

Carmen Herrera, The 100 Years Show

The bad news is, I've been in school two weeks and I'm sick.  Good news is, I can't sleep and I've caught up on some Netflix.  New to Netflix this week was a documentary called The 100 Years Show.  Some of my favorite people in this world is my 92-year-old Grandpa and his slightly younger wife, my Grandma. I adore hearing the stories they have to share. 

When I clicked on the story of Carmen Herrera, I didn't know it was one of an Artist.  A 100+ year-old WORKING artist. As I watched I learned that she was shown at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, and I'm sad that I didn't know about her then.  I would have loved to see her show and according to an article on the Walker's site I missed the show by just a month. 

The other Netflix show that I have watched this weekend due to being sick is Mad Men.  Yes, I know I'm behind times, but keep in mind I don't watch too much TV... That's my secret for the often asked question... 'How do you find the time?' Anyway, Mad Men. WOW, I have heard how women and minorities were treated differently, but watching the first episodes of this show gets my blood boiling. Who would I have been if it weren't for people like Faith Ringold who fought for the rights of women, minorities, and equality in the Arts and the world?  

This woman was almost 90 before she was 'discovered' for her talent.  A talent that is equal to the peers she once had in the art world.  Her geometric shapes are stunning, bold, and modern...50 years ago and now. I appreciated the 30-minute clip teaching me about perseverance and a drive to keep living. One of my favorite lines from this video was, 'All my friends have passed away. So, I just make new ones.' Her drive to create is her drive to live and that was very inspirational to me this morning as I took another dose of cold medicine. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

New Solution for Supplies

Making some changes to my room and routine this year.  I'm moving more and more choice based every year.  This year, I have created parts of my room to be 'stations' if you will.  Each area will support a different medium of art.  Last year I had all supplies in one area...

It worked OK... but I wanted to open things up a bit, make it more obvious when things are missing.  I found the solution in my room. I changed the bookshelf into a supply board. 

As I introduced this to my students I asked what glue was the 'right' kind of glue to use.  They guessed every glue before I said... You get to choose!  You get to choose what is right for your project.  EVERY class gasped.  They were so excited.  Yep, that is what I said, excited to choose what adhesive they used.  They get to choose what size scissors they use.  They get to choose.  Hoo Ray for simple changes in my life that make a huge impact on my students!