Friday, December 15, 2017

Creating Classroom Community with Paper Football

I am working with 6th grade this year and I've been focusing on how to create a welcoming and safe environment for my students. The great thing about middle school is that you get to start over every quarter with a new group. This quarter I chose to create a friendly competition for the group.  One thing I've learned teaching kids is if you liked it when you were "that age"... "that age" still loves it.  Weaving in early education, friendship bracelets in intermediate... and so on.  In middle school, I loved to make these paper footballs for all my friends.  My husband loved to play the game and he lived hundreds of miles away from me. This might have been a 'thing' worldwide... If they are bringing back Starwars, Zuba pants, and silly putty... I can bring back paper footballs. 

Here is a video I made on how to create a paper football. 

I went to a Free Bracket Generator online and created a single elimination bracket for the group. When I do this again, I think I would do a round robin. Round robin means that each game you play another partner.  That way all students would be playing the whole tournament. 

Above is a look at my classroom in action. I also give the rules for the game (or at least my version). I would suggest this for any group that you are trying to create a classroom culture with. It was very successful in my Art Studio. 

The Rules of the game
  • Slide the paper football back and forth between players
    • The goal is to get the paper football to hang off from the edge of the opposite side (without falling off)
    • If football hangs off the edge, it is worth 6 pts. for a touchdown. 
      • Then the player who made the touchdown has the opportunity for an additional 1 pt. with a kickoff. 
    • If the football falls off the edge of the table the opponent gets to kick a field goal for 3 pts. 
  • We will play the game for 4 minutes per bracket level. 

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Holiday Gift Ideas for the Artist in your Life

Recently, I wrote about a gift I wanted to give to you, my digital friends. Today, allow me to talk about gifts for others.  I often get the questions about this time of year... 'My kiddos loves Art, what kind of gifts should we get for the holidays coming up?' This post is dedicated to you encouraging parent/grandparent/aunt/uncle/friend!! Let's talk about some creative gifts for 2017.

I love weaving!! I think it's one of the best ways to encourage fine motor and if you see kids engaged with a loom before, you know it can be therapeutic and calming for many. This loom from Melissa and Doug is a great purchase.  I have seen it online and in stores, but recently I saw it in my sisters house.  She home schools and has three preschool/kindergarten kids, and a 9 year old... A loom is appropriate for all elementary age students and some middle/high school students who might like to craft. Along with the loom be sure to get some fun yarns as well.  I would suggests for your younger kids a larger yarn weight to allow them to have completion at a quicker rate.

I love me some Kiwi Crates! This is the gift that could keep on giving! I bought this for my kids a couple of years ago and it sells on a subscription.  I bought three months, so they got their first crate  and then for two more months they would get a new crate in the mail.  It was a lot of fun! I bought my son the Tinker series and my daughter the Doodle.  I was amazed with the high quality and the advanced projects! 

Recently I saw Kiwi is also selling through Target! I love this because you can just purchase a crate and not have to do a subscription.  Plus... I love printmaking for kids! Even giving them a carving tool as the crate above does. Target has easy pick up so this is a great alternative to ordering from Kiwi as a subscription! 

Now for one of my favorite companies... Jack Richeson.  In our area, Blick Art and Hobby Lobby carries Jack Richenson... but online is always a good alternative. I love Semi-Moist Tempera Cakes.  These paints are more opaque than watercolors. They mix well and they are clean for home use.  For my classroom, many times I just get a three pack of the primary colors and allow my students to mix the colors.  This is a gift under $10, but I would probably get some Mixed Media Paper (I have seen this at our local WalMart) and a brush or two...


Another favorite from Jack Richerson is PlayColors.  These are a tempera stick that is easily applied to the paper. They are a solid paint that dries in 90 seconds. It's amazing for the base of projects.  I initially used this only for my younger students but have recently brought it into my older grades and they are loving it. The have metallic, florescent, and traditional colors. Jack Richeson is just one brand, there are also Kwick Sticks, and Mod Paints that I have heard are equally as good. I just have experience with the PlayColors from conferences that I have attended and what I have ordered.  I would suggest some large format paper as well with a purchase of Paint sticks.

Pacon is the paper I most often order for my students. I love the quality.  They have an entire 'craft store' on Amazon, so that would be a good place to start for Art supplies. 

For older kids who love to draw... I would suggest these Brush Pens (or brushes like these). This might be a 'me' thing... but I love to draw with the ability to change line quality... so students who want to explore drawing in a new way, this might be the perfect gift for them. Pair this with a sketchbook and an encouragement to see the book once and a while to celebrate what they have created. 

I love Usborne books.  I have been to many parties for the books and I'm always impressed with the quality of the books.  Looking online for the 'deals' might be the best way to go.  Usborne has many 'how to draw books' for all levels, but also a lot of 'how to make' books as well. 

One of the best ways that you can let kids be creative is to give them fun materials, many times these materials are FREE--ish! Here is my all time favorite thing to give to a kid... Paper towel tubes, cardboard, masking tape, pipe cleaners, googly eyes, scissors...  Kids love, love, love free exploration of materials. You can give them a prompt with a gift like this... 'build your dream house', 'make a maze for a marble'... or just give them the permission to make anything they want.  If you want this activity to last longer... give them your time too. Kids love making art with adults! Never say I'm just not that creative in front of your kids... Let them be the lead, but the BEST gift you can give your kids is your undivided attention. With a few supplies, paired with your time, and their creativity... it will be sure to be a gift that will be meaningful beyond the activity it's self. 

Saturday, December 2, 2017

A December Gift

Click here for the image above

Thursday night we had a #k12ArtChat that highlighted Empathy and Kindness (click here to see the questions asked). It was a well attended and active chat and I was so happy to be hosting the discussion.  I was with my (online) Tribe. Always a good place to be. In all the fun, I forgot to share a gift I made for you... any of you.  In the book, Unselfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in this All-About-Me World, by Michele Borba, a suggestion of a digital reminder of kindness was given.  Borba said to encourage kindness, Placing an image on your screen saver is a good idea, so I created a screensaver to share with you. Please feel free to share it with anyone you want... It's my gift to you! Happy Holidays!

Here are just some of the discussion from the chat the other night... 

I posted this, inspired by my principal, Kari Sampson.

The first day of the calendar suggests that we share the participation in this project! Allow me to do so... I invite you to print this out, place it on your desktop for the month, or just read through it for inspiration! Lot's of people have retweeted and are participating.  Share your actions on Social Media hashtag it #HappierWorld... or even Tag @actionhappiness.  Allow me to celebrate your actions too by tagging me @MiniMatisse in it or our #K12ArtChat. Sometimes the change we want to see in our classroom must start with a change in yourself! Allow this activity to help focus you on Kindness this holiday season.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Inviting you to our #k12ArtChat

I'm inviting you to join me for a Twitter Chat! I know... that can sound scary to some people but don't shy away yet.  I have made a tutorial for you to view if you would like to give it a try.  If there is one thing that educators are good at... It's continuing to learn and grow throughout their life. Click here to get a link to a 'how to' of a Twitter chat.

Our #k12ArtChat is one of the most visual chats you will find online. Most of the time you will find a large amount of Art Teachers throughout the world joining in.  Sometimes we talk about some very Art-specific topics... but not this Thurs. at 8:30 CST... We will be talking about Empathy and Kindness! This is a universal subject and should broaden our target market to... well... everyone!

I was inspired by a book called Unselfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in our All-About-Me World by, Michele Borba. Many of the questions asked in this twitter chat revolve around this book and the ideas presented in it. It's an amazing read as a parent and teacher, filled with probing questions, inspiring stories, and jammed packed with resources and activities to help encourage better people, more empathetic individuals.  Reading this book is NOT required to be successful in this chat, it was simply the inspiration for this weeks conversation.


On Sunday, November 26th I'm starting #k12artchat out with a slow chat question.  What does this mean? Well, it's when you answer at your own leisure.  You don't have to be there at a certain time.  You just answer the question and hashtag it with #k12artchat. If you watch this hashtag, you will be able to see how other people have answered the same thing. I would love to celebrate your posts as well, just tag me in the response, @minimatisse.

On Nov. 28th I will post a second slow chat question. This is the same as above, answer it at your own time, give it some thought, reflect and share.

Then we have the gathering of our #PLN (Professional Learning Network). I'm so excited to host Thursday night, Nov. 30th at 8:30 CST. We will be continuing our conversation about empathy and kindness. Here is a preview of the questions. I like giving participants a full view of what we will talk about so you can gather examples and give these questions some thought.

Hope to see you in our #k12ArtChat

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Designing Paper Lesson

I am so excited to post this lesson today because it's something I have been working hard on in the past month.  I'm also excited to see this lesson used in other classrooms because it has been one of the most engaging lessons I have ever done with my students. Allow me to introduce to you, 'Paper Design'!

I share 8 different ways to design paper. Each lesson is clearly marked with a title page and preview of the end result. 
Each lesson also has a supply list. This supply list identifies what was used in the specific process. Each supply list also gives alternative supplies.  When I was listing alternative supplies, I tried to think about what most (if not all) classrooms would have access to. These supplies are common to an Art classroom as well as homeroom classrooms in most cases. 
Then, each lesson has a well lit, close up video of hands in action creating the designed paper. These lessons are ready to show students. Of course they can be viewed as Professional Development and can teach a teacher how to present these lessons to students, however, I have made these lessons to be ready to use in the classroom. I use student-friendly language appropriate for 2nd grade up to high school learners. Each video is 2 minutes to 4 minutes long. These are designed to give students a small amount of information to all students to retain and perform the process independently.
Using this lesson allows students to explore several processes or you can present it to your class to simply try one process instead. This lesson also provides student examples as well as suggestions of how to use the designer paper for a more project-based lesson.  Designed paper can be used for everything from Artist Trading Card Design to collage work.
This lesson can be shared with your students in two ways.  The way I shared this lesson with my class is whole group learning. So I projected the lessons using a computer to my class. I have also designed this so you can share the link with your students and set up stations. This will allow for self -paced learning. Students would need a way to view the lesson at each station via a device such as iPad or Chromebook. This lesson is a Google Slide so you would need an internet connection as well. 

I'm so excited to share this lesson with you today.  Please visit my TPT store for more information! 

To celebrate the release of this new lesson I'm running a sale on my Teacher Pay Teachers Store. ALL self-paced lessons are 20% off through Monday, Nov. 20th 2017. Enjoy!