Monday, April 27, 2015

Pattern Zebras- More Than Just a Pretty Face

I have pinned some really cute Zebra's.  One of my favorites was from Color it Like You MEAN it!  This trimester the ideas I'm looking for is creativity and idea development. BIG concepts for these minis, but nothing they can't handle.  These cute Zebras are more than just a pretty face.  There is intent and great thought behind them... let me explain. 

I started out on day 1 asking the students to prep some paper.  I didn't tell them for what. I simply explained that we would be separating out paper into 4 spaces and they would be creating patterns in each space.  We reviewed pattern and I allowed them to pick where they wanted to work at the 4 stations I set up.  Each table had a different medium (paint cakes, markers, colors, and colored pencils). I thought for sure they would all clump up at the paint table, but they didn't, they distributed themselves evenly and moved around the room.  I would like to mention that I have practiced with them a lot using stations this year and that is what I contribute the success of this day to.

Day two I told them I was thinking of an animal... it is big... it has four legs... it has a tail... it is black... it is white. The 20 questions lead them to the zebra we were going to make that day. I said, "I am so excited to NOT teach you how to make this Zebra." They all looked as if I had misspoke.  They know me really well so they kind of thought I was joking. I confirmed,  "We are going to make this, but I will not show you how." Now I see the face of panic.  What?  How can we make that?

We pulled out our prepared paper and I said, we will need 4 pieces of paper to make this Zebra.  Any idea how we are going to get 4 sheets of paper. Every class comes to the conclusion that they have to cut the large sheet of paper into fourths.  I say, "Well, then go do it and meet be back here on the carpet."

Once most of the class is back, we 'dissect' the Zebra.  They determine all the parts to the animal.  I ask, "What is the most important part?" It sometimes takes a couple of hands before I get to the BODY.  I agree and then I say, "Well I'm not going to tell you how to make this body, but I will let you tell each other." They all turn to each other and talk about the variety of ways that they can make that body. Once again, they are released and they come back to the carpet when finished.

This process continues with the legs, neck and head, and finally the little details (ears, eyes, tail...) Each time they are problem solving and I'm simply guiding their thought.  These final works of art are not what some would call beautiful, or even Zebras... They are made with great thought, growing skills, and lot's of time.  These kids are PROUD of their very individual art works.

This is yet another way that I'm experimenting with creating independent, deep thinking, problem solving, little artists. Building and developing these skills that can be applied in so many other places in life seem to be the base of why my art class is important. When I look at these somewhat off-kilter Zebraish creatures, I smile... I know my students had to use their own brains for these and that makes me so proud of them.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Spin Art Bike

I have lot's of amazing Art filled friends.  The one I want to highlight today is Mickey Jurewicz.  She lives in the hip, art inspiring area of St. Paul.  Her apartment complexes open their door for an Art Crawl.  This is a lot of fun and some amazing art to be found. If you are local, go check it out yourself... 2285 University Ave. W., St. Paul.

We went to visit this amazing lady yesterday and she had this really cool spin art apparatus.  Are you kidding me?  Moving, collaborative, discovery art at is't finest.

Mickey explains that this Spin Art Bike was created by the Mayor and First Lady of Mt. Holly (friends of hers). What a hoot!  This was such a fun day.  One day left, be sure to check it out yourself! 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Picnic Weavings

This was a fun project that I did with my 1st grade to create a wonderful background for a music program coming up.  These picnic themed weavings were the first paper weaving that I did with my 1st grade this year.  We always end the year in art class with a yarn weaving in 1st grade.  I used all of Cassie Stevens GREAT tips on how to teach student to weave with paper (click here to see the first part of paper weaving... give yourself about 2 hours to look a the rest of her tutorials).  I have been teaching weaving for a long time but it is so great to pick up new ideas and techniques from such an experienced teacher.

Here are a couple of tips that I would like to share with you about this project... 

The above little tip comes from Tana Puppe, an Art Teacher from my district, and author blog Art Projects from MN Art Gal.  She shared that she places a strip of tape on the back of papers when she wants her students to embellish with yarn.  This strengthens the paper.  After the tape, she punches the holes.

I taught how to do the yarn 3 times using this large, cardboard hole.  I explained it once.  I explained it twice, and then I had the students tell me what to do ONLY USING THEIR ACTIONS!  They can not use words.  They would show me an actions, I would to it and they would shake their heads yes.  The action of teaching and moving puts it into their brains.

The plates were Styrofoam.  I used this because I wanted something sturdy and something that would not warp when lots of glue touches it.  I let the kids use scrap paper and any left over string that they might have had left over.

I only let kids get one piece of string at a time.  This keeps the line short and the kids moving around the room.  There is always 'Active' learning going on in the Hassan Art Room.  I think that is important to create an environment of creativity.

One more tip... I placed a blank label on the finished work and asked them to sign it.  I think it is the best method so far to teach kids to 'sign' their work, but also to give them a goal of where it's appropriate.

Monday, April 20, 2015

#NAEA 15- Snazaroo Face Paint

I was lucky enough to acquire bag full of goodies from Liquitex while at the #NAEA 15 convention.  It had lot's of great products that I can't wait to tell you all about.  For anyone who knows me, you KNOW I love to dress up.  I will wear makeup and a costume any chance I get.

Babe the blue ox with my Paul Bunyan, cat picture number one... and should one have a cat picture number two??  Well I do.  I just grabbed a could of face painted images of myself.

That is why I was excited to see the pack of Snazaroo face paints in the bag of goodies.  I love these paints, and thought they would be perfect to bring to Easter a couple weeks ago. 

I pulled out the paints for the 8 kids at the gathering ages 2-9.  I explained that I would not be painting their faces, they would have to do it on their own.  I was inspired by a post I wrote a couple of years ago (click here) about the Children's Museum o Minnesota. 

This little guy had a blast.  'C' thought he was being so funny and couldn't get enough of his image. with every stroke of paint, he squealed and showed anyone who would pay attention. 

 He was really excited to show his grandpa!

My 9 year-old thought it was fun to add a couple years onto himself by adding some facial hair.

The girls painted each others faces.  It was Easter, so they were bunnies.  They hopped around the yard for hours.

Some of the kids were quite precise others a little more loosey goosey. All the kids had a great time playing with the colorful, bright paints. Thank so much to Liquitex for sharing this wonderful product with me and my family.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

#NAEA15 Class Themed Artroom

One couldn't help but smile as they entered Suffolk Art Teacher, Jodie Linkous presentation at the NAEA 15 convention.  She was a hoot!  This woman had a explained how she gave this same feeling to every student that attends her school.  She truly embodies the feeling of an art teacher from her themed rooms, decorated entrance to her class room, and her dress... oh her dress! She seems to have a whole prop room in her classroom.

Jodie has presented at VA, state conferences, but I'm so glad she brought her show on the road to New Orleans.  She explains she has become quite famous in her town representing Oakland Elementary School- Suffolk, VA.  She appears in the news paper often with her over the top activities that she creates in her classroom and through out the school, collaborating with other teachers. 

I like her opening slides, she talked about the benefits of making memories and bringing creativity back into the classroom. She also showed a slide explaining her 'imagination homework'.  As her students exit the room. They will see a weekly homework 'requirement'.  They are asked to think about the themes listed on the board. 

The thing I liked most about Mrs. Linkous is that she was willing to share EVERYTHING.  She had too many participants than she had supplies.  She was a hit!  She gave away prizes and even treated us to some curriculum based songs.