Wednesday, December 26, 2012
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
I love the last week of school before the Winter break. The joy of the approaching holidays and the kids' enthusiasm is soothing the soul.
Harry Callahan's lakeside trees in snow to find value and horizon lines. The first graders drew 3 different horizon lines across a page, then painted each of the four sections a different value of blue. I gave them cups of white, then came around with a "squirt" of blue to change the value for each step.
The following week I reminded them that far away things looked teeny-tiny, and close-up things looked really big. We talked about all the things we might see in a winter landscape and they drew in oil pastel. Of course, some kids are super excited for Christmas and there were Christmas trees and Santa's sleigh flying through some pictures. Mostly there were bare-branched trees, snowflakes, cardinals, and snowmen. They are really adorable pictures, and I can't wait to hang them in the halls. We have a holiday luncheon on Friday, but part of me would like to skip it and just totally refresh all my hallway displays! Oh well, one more full day and a half day till break!
Friday, December 14, 2012
This week has been overwhelming with great highs and deep lows. On Tuesday I pulled together final details for the holiday concert decorations, and on Wednesday we put them all up and had an amazing concert. My artclub made all the elements for our backdrop panels and made origami stars to hang about.I know teachers are all proud of their students, but as a specialist teacher I get to know the entire student body. At first I thought having to go to the concert might be a bit of a drag (It's a school night and I taught all day, put up the decorations all afternoon, and helped manage the kiddos as they lined up for the concert), but then seeing all of "my kids" up there made my heart swell up with joy and pride.
It's also been a week of finishing projects. My 2nd, 3rd, and 5th graders have been working for weeks on paintings, mosaics, and sculptures. We FINALLY got them finished! It's simultaneously satisfying and frustrating to call "Time's UP" on a project. Not everybody works at the same pace. Some are done on time and do well, others could really use another week to make it even better, and still others think they're done when really they could push further.
My 5th graders completed their letter sculptures and worked in groups to plan displays. Some were able to create words to display together, others made acrostic poems. Here's a word I pulled together from a variety of 5th graders:
I offer this word because of the deepest low of this week. After teaching all day and staying after late to hang artwork etc, I got in the car and heard the news on NPR about the shooting in the elementary school in Connecticut. When such tragedies occurred in the past, I felt sympathy as a parent for those who lost their children. But now as a teacher, I imagine what it must be like to be in the shoes of the teachers who had to respond to such an emergency, trying to stay calm and strong for their students while feeling panic and fear. They are heroic. I pray for the children and teachers and parents of Sandy Hook. I hope they find calm and comfort again soon.
Sunday, December 9, 2012
Saturday, December 8, 2012
I owe this one to Jessica at "The Art of Education" blog. She posted a year ago about a way to do observational drawing with Kindergartners, which stuck in my memory. She focused on architecture with this lesson, but I wanted to apply it to a different genre. I'm working through units on Genre in art with my K-3rd grades, and introduced my Kinders to still-life this week. I have a bulletin board up right now with various pictures showing different genres, so we did a kinesthetic learning activity where the students showed me with a hand gesture whether a picture showed a person (portrait), place (landscape), or thing (still-life). This made a literacy connection to nouns as well. For the portraits they pointed to their faces, for landscapes they folded hands, and for still-life they pointed to an open hand. I really like these gesture activities as it allows the entire class to show me what they know, instead of just the few who like to raise their hands.
I have a lot of classes finishing projects this week, so I'll have more to share soon. The Kinders get shorter projects, so I feel like I'm writing more about them than the other grades!