Thursday, July 11, 2019

Nic Hahn as Everyday Art Room Host

I'm excited to share that I have a new job! Well not really... It's kind of a new, old job... well really it's a second job (or third, or fourth...). OK... I'll just come out and say it. I'm working for The Art of Education University again. I have worked with AOE for many years now in many capacities, a Grad Credit Course Instructor, an AOE presenter for their online conferences, a Pro Pack Instructor, and some other efforts that haven't even come to be yet because they are always growing and let me tell you there is some new fun stuff ahead. In my new role, I will be presenting weekly as a Podcast host for The Everyday Art Room.

Yes, you might know this podcast. Cassie Stephens has been the host for two years and she has been amazing! That girl always has something going on... writing books, making clothes, going on TV shows like 'Nailed It' (and winning). She does FB live, and Instagram. Oh... and she teaches at a sweet little school in Tennesee. Yep, She is always busy and now, she is doing a Podcast on her own. She is going to be sharing from a different lense her path in life, from what I understand. She says,

"I want a place where I could speak about life: my bouts with depressions, feeling lost, hating myself both as a teacher and human..."

If you have listened to Cassie before you can imagine that she will have a take on these subjects like no other. I'm excited for her to grow in the way she needs at this time in her life. I know she will crush it as she always does! Be sure to check out her new Podcast called Cassie Stephens on Spotify.
As for me, I feel like I won the lottery!  I get to talk about something I'm so passionate about... ART EDUCATION and CREATIVITY!  One of the big changes you will see as I 'take the baton' is that I will be inviting guests onto my podcast as well. I have made so many great connections throughout the years of attending conferences, and through social media, that I'm excited to present you with experts in the Art and Art Ed world. You might know some of them, but others will be new to you.  Just because someone is lesser known doesn't mean that they don't have amazing things to share! 

Monday, July 1, 2019

Art to Remember- Colorful Shapes

This was such a success for my kindergarten students last year that I really wanted to share it with you now. Due to the bright colors and simple steps, this project was a winner for my Art to Remember fundraiser for my youngest Artist.  It's always hard for me to find a lesson that can be successful for all students at the start of the year when my K's are coming in with such diverse backgrounds. I found these simples steps to be age appropriate for the students of my classroom.

I didn't even let the kids use pencils for this assignment.  My goal of having the students start with sharpie markers was to avoid the 'mistake break' when a kid thinks that they can't do it and continue to erase and erase. K's, for the most part, have no worries... they just do what they are asked because they are just excited to be at this new place called school.

As the video shows, I had students start with a tracer in the center of the paper. They then drew 5 lines from the shape to the outside of the page. When demonstrating this I also showed a non-example of what it would look like to have all the lines on one side. This encouraged kids to use their whole page.

Once the page was divided, students created shapes and lines to make designs in each of the spaces outside of the shape.  Having lot's of resources for the shapes and lines was important. (see slideshow at the bottom)

The students added oil pastel in each of the designs. I had a bucket of oil pastels that kids would go to to get one oil pastel. Then when they were ready to change out the color they would come back and 'trade the color in'. I love doing this so kids are moving around the room... movement helps my wiggly kids for sure.

Another classroom management tip: I place boards down on the table tops when students are working with sharpies so that if they go off the paper, it doesn't end up on the table. I call these drawing boards.

One color I did not let students use when adding oil pastel was black.  I used black later on in the project when I had students trace the shape and lines to help them stand out.

The marker prints were a blast.  I did this in small groups as students were working on another little project independently. This was my set up, plastic sheets over white pieces of paper. The plastic was taped down and the paper was there to show students how big of a space they needed to color on with the markers. You could also get a volunteer to come in and help with the station if working independently is not a skill your students have yet.

This is one of the crews in action.  The fun part about this is that it really didn't matter how the students colored on the plastic. One thing I emphasized was lots of colors, other than that, it really didn't matter. 

Students then squirted some water onto the plastic.  I also had a spray bottle in hand that allowed me to give a little extra squirt if needed. 

Finally, the kids pressed their art upside down onto the wet marker. They gave the paper a good "back massage" and the colors transferred to their paper. It was magic!!

Below was a simple slide show that I had students use as I instructed. Feel free to use it as well. 

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Wearable Art- Inspired by Delina White

I'm so excited to share this fun lesson I did with my 3rd grade. I was inspired by the work of Delina White. Mrs. White is a Minnesota Anishinaabe Artist who I had the privilege to be taught by in a workshop about a year ago. Delina is known for her blend of traditional and modern design in her Wearable Art. Using mediums such as leather, beads, birch bark and other fibers, Delina has created an amazing collection of work that she shares on her website, I Am Anishinaabe.  My love for her style was reenergized as Billy Kheel, our recent Artist in Residence included a little work of Art in his installation inspired by the Minnesota Native. When I started to connect this lesson with our experience with Billy Kheel, I ran across Delina White's TEDxBemidji talk on Fashion, Compassion, Identity, and Unity. WOW... talk about relevant and powerful. I knew this Artist MUST be brought into my classroom as an inspiration. 

Along with the Artist in Residence... I just happen to have a lot of felt around my room. I decided I would use put together a way for my students to learn about the Artist Delina White as well as the concept of Organic Shapes while using fibers.  Yep, I was excited! 

In this lesson, I started the kids out with pre-planning in their sketchbook.  In my lesson, I broke down how each color was a shape that we would be making putting back together like a puzzle. Students used subjects from Minnesota's Nature. 

Then we created our patterns and cut out our felt. I was shocked at the ease my 3rd grade had when cutting felt. They were very motivated. We used Aleene's Tacky Glue to connect the felt. Then we used puffy paints to add the extra details. Again, I expected a lot of difficulty with the fabric paints, but the kids rocked it!

The fun part was modeling our Wearable Artwork! We did a photo shoot of our art to share with parents and our followers on Instagram. I even let the kids be part of the fun playing both the photographer and model. 

I am offering this lesson on Teachers Pay Teachers. I put a ton of effort in this lesson researching Delina, organizing the flow, recording, collecting project samples, and even giving some teacher tips with images after teaching this lesson to 5 sections. Want to know more about this lesson? Please watch the video below. If you are interested in seeing the lesson on TPT, Please click here

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Creating a Successful Composition for Observational Drawing

My Kindergarten students are doing a performance this week in music class for their parents. The theme for this program is 'Sea You Next Year'. In Art Class, we also have been working with the theme.  We all drew fish for one of our projects working on following steps and tutorials to learn to draw. We used videos from Kids Art Hub (Angel Fish, shark, and an octopus) as well as  Easy Peasy and Fun (shark and dolphin)

A second project involves using shells for a still life.  My mother-in-law goes to Florida for the winter so we usually visit sometime every year. I have a mass amount of shells in my collection. Many of my K's have not been to a beach and/or seen and touched shells. This was a real treat. So many of them were over the moon excited to have the opportunity. 

The first day I gave the kids paper and said, go ahead, start drawing these shells. Right away I noticed an issue with composition. That night I came up with a solution and made the adjustment with the rest of my classes. 

I asked the kids to use tracers first to fill the page up with shapes.  We used big circles tracers from Fiskars.  Some people said they had issues with these tracers breaking but I have had them for 5 years and have not had an issue. We then used smaller tracers shapes for the spaced in-between. These tracers where a creation of my own (with my husbands help) using the laser engraver. By doing this step students were able to successfully fill the page creating a full composition. 

Then, we filled the shapes with Observational Drawing. The objects we used were shells but you could use anything. I really like the shells because of the variety and the textures. Kids loved touching, smelling, looking at these little treasures. 

I then used a method of marker bleeds that I have seen a lot on Lauralee Chambers Instagram. We traced around the shapes as shown in the video with our markers (good, juicy ones). Then we used water to encourage the bleed between the markers. 

The end results were awesome. I really like this as a kindergarten lesson but I'm excited to try it out with other grades as well. I think the tracers to develop a full composition could surely be a skill that could help other grade levels. 

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Summer Art Camp Options

I mentioned this on Facebook last week to my friends and family and I'm sorry to say, it's about half full, but there is still room for a few more students. If you are interested in signing up your kiddos who have completed kindergarten on up to 12 years of age, I'm offering a summer camp at the Oliver Kelley Farm. This is geared to students who are serious about art and will have an attention span for such an intense summer Arts Camp. Take a look at the dates and contact me at if interested. I will let you know if there is room by the end of the day you email me.

If my Arts Camp doesn't work out for you, might I suggest my good friend Leah Schultz who is putting on a camp as well in Elk River. Leah and I were hired at ISD728 the same year and have been a good friend since. She works at Twin Lakes Elementary as an Art Specialist. Quality camp her people! Give Leah a call if you feel that is going to be a better fit for you. Tell her I sent you.

Another good option is another friend of mine. Kelly Scharber is local to Rogers and puts on sewing classes all year round. This would be perfect especially for our 5th-grade students at Hassan who have been sewing for weeks and loving it! Kelly's classes are more machine sewing which would be a great option for our kids who have learned how to hand stitch. Her classes will be developing in the next few weeks for summer... but check out her FB page here