Sunday, October 28, 2012

Proud art teacher moments

I had a few really great moments last week. Number 1: as a 3rd grade student finished up his pattern fish he asked, "Ms. Elcin, Can you write some questions for us to answer about our fish on the board like last time?" (For their name monsters they completed sentences like "My creature's name is... It would live in.... It looks symmetrical because...") How perfect!! A student actually wanting to write about his art!
So I asked, "What species is your fish? How long would it be in real life? What did you like or dislike about this project?" Their responses are really funny (like 6000 feet long eels), but thoughtful. We even had time for critique and sharing at the end. (Nothing makes me a happier art teacher than actual closure and reflective thinking at the end of a lesson! That and a perfectly timed and organized clean-up!)

Great moment number 2: My 4th graders went on a trip to the Philadelphia Museum of Art through their "Art Speaks" program. Prior to them going we had a whole lesson on museum expectations, and I had warned them that I expected  a good report from my friends at the museum. On their way to the bus I stood in the hall and gave them a little "I got my eyes on you" stare. I'm not sure how many of them believed me that I had friends at the museum. Turns out one group actually had a friend of mine, and when I facebooked her later, she said they were great! They also returned really excited about their experience, and wrote wonderfully detailed thank you notes for the museum.

Number 3: I had a lot of "presents" this week. My students are applying what they're learning on their own independent work and bringing back things to show me. I love it!

Number 4: I've been hearing some feedback from the other classroom teachers- many of whom have students in our school. Apparently the kids have said some good things about art class and me as their teacher (wheww!). Kids can be pretty tough critics, so I'm glad I pass muster!

Number 5: Normally on Saturdays I spend the whole day down in the basement silkscreen studio at Fleisher teaching my adult and teen classes. This past Saturday, I happened to make it around the building a bit more than usual and was really surprised at how many familiar faces I saw in the studios. There are a lot more of my school students taking Saturday Art Classes at Fleisher than I thought!

I'm a very proud art teacher!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Dot, Dot...

My first graders have just finished a mixed media sea life scene that focused on types of lines. They drew a sea creature, filling it with lots of different lines. Then they made paste paper and dragged combs through it to texturize the background. Finally they collaged all the bits together to make their sea creature hide among some seaweed.
 The funniest part of my week happened as they were gluing their collages together. I had taught them the "dot, dot, not a lot" saying to prevent them from making glue puddles on their papers. In the middle of class they all started chanting quietly in unison, "Dot, dot, not a lot... dot, dot, not a, dot, not a lot!" And I totally cracked up!
Their collages look great and all very different. These 2 were my favorites!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

3rd grade pattern fish

 Our schoolwide behavior management program has a fish theme this year, and I thought it would be fun for all the classes to have a fish-themed art project as we work through some of our elements and principles of art concentration. The 3rd grade has done a fabulous job creating patterns inside their fish shapes to make bold designs.
 We watched a video of an artist creating a "Zendoodle" style drawing to see how easy it was to draw patterns. Just to reassure the kids I asked them to raise their hands if they could draw a line, a circle, a zigzag, a spiral, etc. Of course everyone raised their hands, and they were all convinced they could make a pattern drawing too.
To finish up our lesson we played "compliment tag" where one student is "IT" and has to pay a compliment about another student's artwork, making them the new "IT". They made great, focused comments about specific things they saw in each other's artworks. Next we'll be working on a paper mosaic project to extend the pattern concept to another medium. Our mosaics will have a food theme to align with harvest and Thanksgiving ideas.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Name Mandalas

 Hooray! My 5th graders finally completed their name mandala projects! Can you believe these took 5 weeks? Some people are doing more talking than working I think....
 Students measured out half lines vertically, horizontally, and diagonally on a 12 inch square. Then they wrote their name into a triangle that was 1/8 the paper dimension. Their name was transferred and reflected around the square to create some interesting mandala shapes.
 We learned about analogous colors, and how to blend and shade with colored pencils. Their finished mandalas are beautiful- well worth the time they put into them I think.
Next up we're doing a 3D letter project to extend the exploration of type and math connections. We started off with a lesson in one point perspective to make a 3-D looking letter. After drawing their letter 3D and shading it, they had to figure out how many planes their sculpture would have. For example, a 3D letter M would have 14 planes or facets!
I'm not sure if this ties in directly with their current math lessons, but it sure doesn't hurt to make explicit cross-curricular connections whenever possible.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

some more name monsters

I just can't get enough of these symmetry name monsters. I managed to work through my pile of work to photograph a little bit this afternoon. Considering that Tuesday is my toughest day with 6 classes, no prep, and after school art club, that's an accomplishment!

The third graders are moving along nicely with their newest project too. Everyone has fish-themed work at the moment.
 I always see my 3rd graders first thing in the morning- and they arrive so fresh and ready for their day. I wish there was some way to see every class first thing- before their days are bogged down by tests, and squabbles, and trooping all over our 3 story building to get to classes. I'm fresher first thing too- no chaos has occurred in the room, no children have broken any rules yet, no projects have gone wrong. It's hard to not let the events that occur in one class spill over into how I deal with the next class. Painting with my Kinders and first graders the last 2 weeks has been rather stressful, as there's always another class ready to walk in the door as soon as I've got them cleaned up. What I wouldn't give for 5 minutes between classes! We'll get into new routines soon. But next year I might hold off on the paint till I know my little ones better, and they get accustomed to art room expectations.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

First grade name repetition

A little Jasper Johns inspiration led to the first graders' name repetition project. It's fun looking at art with kids and seeing what they notice. They could see the differences in color, and the way Jasper Johns repeated his numbers in a pattern in his big number grids. We started by folding our papers to create a 4x4 grid and traced over the fold lines to make boxes. Next we repeated the letters of our names in the boxes making them big and fat. We also tried to make a warm/cool pattern with the colors of the letters.
 This past week we got to paint for the first time! Some classes handled it better than others, but overall, the first grade has some great, careful painters!  We tried to choose a warm color to paint over cool color letters, and a cool color to paint over warm color letters. Depending on how many letters in a child's name, we ended up with stripes or checkerboards of color.
All of my classes, except 5th grade have now completed their second project of the year. I've been busy grading work. I'd hoped to get more pictures taken too, but forgot my camera this week. It's a feat to grade, photograph, upload work to Artsonia, and try to hang artwork around the building. Oh yeah, and teach! But I won't complain about a thing- I talked with a middle school art teacher this week from another school and realized how wonderful my school and teaching situation is!!

Friday, October 5, 2012

2nd and 3rd grade name projects

It's exciting to see some projects get completed! The 3rd graders have been learning about symmetry in a collage project. They wrote their names on a folded piece of paper, then cut around the name to create a unique symmetrical shape. The same process was repeated to make the features. The final touch was adding patterns with crayons around the face and even a background.
 I'm really impressed with the kids' careful work and creative play with the shapes they made. They started visualizing and imagining what the shapes could turn into.
 At the end of the project they completed 4 sentences about their pictures: "My creature's name is...", "It looks like...", "It would live in...", and "It is symmetrical because...". I plan on adding their statements to their images on our Artsonia page next week.
 Some kids went off the page with their symmetrical designs! Is that okay? Of course it is!
 The second graders are completing their name and pattern designs. There have been very mixed results depending on how well they followed directions and how carefully they worked. I think this might work out better with an older group next time. Even so, there are some great designs from some very creative and careful workers.
I'll share some more as I work through photographing projects for Artsonia. Grading, sorting, and photographing all this artwork is quite a job in itself!! Maybe next week I can get some help from my college intern and high school helper.
With all these classes completing projects I've got some lesson planning to do!!!