Sunday, May 1, 2016

Donors Choose- Mirror Request

I wrote up another Donors Choose request.  This time in hopes of a classroom set of mirrors. This is something that every student will use for years to come in my classroom.  I use mirrors many projects from lessons on symmetry to self-portraits. (Click here for the link to this project

I already had a generous donation from Karen who lives in North Branch, MN.  That was really cool to see a personal donation from a local donor. 

I thought I would try to advertise this a bit on my blog to share with parents of Hassan Elementary what our art room could use.  It's a great way to specifically support the Art Studio.  My hope is to have these in my classroom before the next school year.  Donors Choose been a great resource for my classroom already. I have received headphones and stylist for my classroom that my students use all the time. (See previous post) I'm honored to have another request out there for others to support the Art Studio of Hassan Elementary.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Sidewalk Chalk Request

I have been inspired by my blog'n friend in Califonia (once again), Don Masse from Shine Brite Zamorano.  I would like to do some radial balance work with some of my students this spring.  Our designs are going to be well planned out and should make Hassan Elementary really beautiful.  I only have each class 4 more times in the art studio and I want to make it fun, exciting, and perhaps get outside a bit!

Check out Don Masse's work, he uses bright colors as well as shapes and lines to make his designs.

Another blog'n friend that is using some chalk in her classroom is Cassie Stephens... have you heard of her?? Anyway, Last year she had a chalk artist come in but it was rainy outside the day they were to work on their art, so she brought the art inside... on the ceiling tiles. It was such a success she did it again this year! Check out her post

To be able to make these works of art I could use some donations from our Hassan Families.  There are two ways to make sidewalk chalk art.  One way is with chalk.  My favorite is Bold colors from Crayola. Another is to make sidewalk chalk paint. For this, I need corn starch and food coloring (see previous post).  This is a lot of fun because kids are creating their own colors with the food coloring and applying it with brushes.

Here is the request I have for Hassan Families-
  • Sidewalk chalk (any colors, even used...)
  • Corn Starch
  • Food Coloring
Thanks for your support! 

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Picnic Bug Weavings

First-grade weaving.  What a joy! I really like showing these minis how to weave and I have found that it fascinates them. I do something different every year so here is the rundown for 2015.

First, we did a little pre-test (first weaving) to see where all students are at.  They had some paper that they made at a station in a previous class so we used them for their weavings. The paper was a little warped from the paint but it they all ironed out nicely!  I also tried something new using different materials for weaving such as ribbons, wire, and strings.

Students created their weaving and brought them up to me.  I mounted them onto a background as they wrote their name on a name tag. These actually turned out to be sweet little works of art.  I'm was thinking they would just be process pieces, but they were display-worthy.

For our second weaving, I decided to have each class work on something different for a full display.  Music was doing a concert with the theme of picnics.  I chose to make that our theme too! One of my classes created paper weavings as place mats for their 'picnic lunch'.  I did this last year as well (see post)

The rest were approached the same way.  Day one the students did a weaving at the end they cut out a shape and glued it to the back of their weaving. So for example, below a student would cut out a large apple shape and glue it to the back of the weaving for it to dry.

Day two, students cut out the weaving around the 'tracer' glued to the back. This allowed the weaving to stay together but also for us to give the weaving a different shape (a butterfly, a fruit, a circle for a bug body... )  This could work for any shape for sure.

I really enjoyed the look of the fruit weavings and butterfly weavings, but my favorite was the bug weavings below. 

When the weaving was cut out, the students created these great faces with big bug eyes and so much character!  All of the paper for this was scraps from other projects. Strips of paper from cutting down larger sheets. I showed them how to curl and fold to give texture and each bug turned out so different, and so dang cute! 

The very best part is I had a talented volunteer, Kelly VonBank, offer to come in and display.  This wonderful woman was there all day making what could go down as he best display in the history of Hassan, at least since I've been teaching there. This was in perfect time for the 1st-grade music performances.  Parents were all over this school wanting to see the amazing performance of their minis, and all the kids were excited to share the work that they made in the art studio. 

I made time for our 1st-grade students to also venture out the large bulletin board to see their artwork on display.  They were excited to find their art, but also thrilled to look at all the other students beautiful creations too! 

Monday, April 25, 2016

Asking for Help...

Last Thursday I had a meeting.  A building leadership meeting that I so, so, did not want to go to.  I have been avoiding everyone in my building lately.  I'm stressed out, overwhelmed with my job, and know I'm a miserable mess... Not something that I wanted to bring to my team in this meeting. But there I was, sitting in the leadership meeting.  So I chose to be quiet.  I knew if I opened my mouth, negativity was going to fly out.  I did it, I got through the meeting without contributing a ton, but stayed after to have a short chat with my principal. 

With a heavy heart that I was carrying it didn't take more than three words before I was in tears with a laundry list of reasons why I was feeling this way.  It's not me, well, not the 'me' that I like to show the world.  Mrs. Adamson-Baer (my principal) listened, took notes and asked me what I could do to take care of myself.  I tossed out an answer of doing more yoga calm, or mindful breathing... all of which I know could help me but the thought of putting time aside for that overwhelmed me even more.  Her words, what can you do for you... kept ringing through my ears. 

I talked to my husband about the miserable day I had, how the kids are really starting to loose it.  Behaviors down, I don't want to be at work... so on and so on.  He listened, hugged me, and repeated Mrs. Adamson-Baer's words, what can you do for yourself to help you out of this funk. 

Early Friday morning I let myself be more vulnerable than I ever have. I got up at 5 am and wrote an email to my whole staff.  I explained that I was feeling overwhelmed and could use some help.  I listed a few items that were on my to-do list that I could use spare volunteers for.  Within the hour, I had half of our staff write me back offering to donate their prep, suggestions of volunteers, and real solutions for my tasks. 

Our amazing office staff put out an all call to parent volunteers.  The result was quality help scheduled this week.  

Teachers with more fluid schedules donated 10 minutes here and there to come in and help out kids, so I could direct the volunteers walking into my door.

I was honest with my students asked and them for help too... I had student helpers taking their role seriously and helping one another with kindness and success.

Our amazing health clerk and parent liaison helped dismantle our 'March Madness' display to allow for parent volunteers to come in this week and display new art.  I also had some 'regular volunteers' continue with the mass amount of firings that are required after clay week.  That has been such a help.

And then there was this... Mrs. Adamson-Baer emailed me with a time she could come in to help.  She was willing to do anything so I had her load the kiln (keep in mind, I'm allergic to clay so I can't help with the greenware). She came in a filled learned how to load the kiln, and did the very labor intense task of moving clay for me. POWERFUL!! The whole day was amazing.  I have always felt supported but I have never had so many people hold out their hand and offer to help in the way they did on Friday.  But when have I ever asked for it?  When have I let myself be vulnerable, share that the job I have is too big.  When have I showed my co-workers that sometimes I can't do it all on my own.

In this beautiful experience, my life was changed.  I learned to reach out to the ones that care, the people around me.  I learned to show that I'm not perfect, I need help and sometimes this job gets too big.  I was teared up on Thursday because I was overwhelmed and teared up on Friday because I felt so supported and accepted. Ask for help if you need it... take care of you... create the work atmosphere that you need.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Kindergarten Students Flipping their Own Instruction for Printmaking

Yes, someday's I'm not totally prepared for my class.  I like to have a flipped video prepared for my kindergarteners.  When doing stations it gives them information and expectations really fast for all 6 options for the day. Doing this allows my students to get to playing (I mean learning) faster. I knew I was going to print with my students, but I didn't have the videos done. 

As I explain in the video above, this is what I ended up doing for the day. Instead, I assigned each student a station and gave them a mini lesson and some time to learn it.  Then I revisited the stations and recorded a student introducing the directions.  I looped this together and showed it to the rest of my classes.  It was PERFECT!! 

After the fact, I recorded the 'What is Printing' video above.  PS... If anyone has a better explanation for printmaking for k's, please share.  I'm always at a loss for the words to use for these little buggers to give a definition for printmaking. I digress... I showed the intro to printing above and then had the students set up the stations by handing out the gems (see gem post). 

After the kids have a little break from setting up stations, I ask them back to the carpet to show them the flipped videos from the k's.  They loved seeing kids their own size, and in some cases, they even knew the now famous teachers.  Even though this total intro to the stations was a total of 10 minutes long (I try for 6 minutes), the k's were still actively listening.