Monday, June 18, 2018

Enjoying Summer

This last school year was a lot for me. I moved to a new school where all teachers and students were new to each other.  Our staff was made up of teachers and support staff from all over the district as well as outside the district. This meant we were able to learn so many new 'best practices' and traditions but also meant that we had to develop ourselves as a team.  All the students were new to the school and many to each other. This meant we spent many hours developing a culture and creating this new building to be a home for the kids that entered the doors every day. 

I worked with both Elementary and Middle School students... I was really excited about TEACHING this wide range of students. The challenge was Elementary I had for an hour in a 6 digital days rotation. I graded K-5 every trimester using an E (Exceeding), M (Meets), P (Partially Meets), and D (Does not Meet) grading scale. The littles were also graded in Trimester. The middle school, however, I saw every day for 45 days straight.  Art is a quarter class for middle school and graded on a traditional A, B, C, D, F grading scale. Their classes were 52 minutes running on a completely different schedule. My brain was so mixed up with this divide and shifting. 

My daughter, Matisse, came to my school for the first time ever. That was a new dynamic where we had to separate when I was a 'teacher' and her 'mom'. That took a bit to figure out, but it was an amazing experience. We rocked out to the radio every day coming into the school. We had inside jokes and I had 20 minutes there and back for one on one conversation with my daughter. I also got to know her friends and teachers well. It was wonderful, however, I discovered there was a lot less time in my day to work when I have my daughter with me. 

Because Matisse was at my school, I found myself signing up for a lot of volunteer opportunities that I hadn't in the past. I was one of our staff PAC (Parent group) representatives which required a meeting once a month.  I also found the opportunity at this new school to take on Yearbook. I also became one of our schools Union Reps, and unfortunately this year we had a 'no' vote on a tentative agreement and therefore, we held many meetings, sit-ins, extra events to try to educate our teaching staff and district staff on what would be a good compromise and why. Finally, I chose to be a coach for a program called Girls on the Run.

I wanted to do all of these things I signed myself up for.  I wanted to bring my skills to share with my new school. I was proud of my finished Yearbook, I enjoyed the curriculum and time spent with my daughter and the 40 other girls during Girls on the Run. I like educating myself on Union concerns and efforts. The PAC group was a highlight of my month. These parents bring so much amazing support to our schools (and I'm going to say it... we had a lot of laughs). I want to work with students from Kindergarten through 8th grade. That is why I applied for this job. But the listed activities didn't include my daughter's basketball, and softball, my son's choir concerts and baseball. It doesn't even come close to highlighting the fact that I want to be the best wife I can be to my husband for our whole life together and an amazing Mom to the two people I brought into this world.  There was no time for my family; my three sisters and their families, my Mom, Dad, Grandparents, Aunts/Uncles, and my Inlaws. Friends?  I remember friends... I hope they remember me.

The year was challenging.

After a meltdown and a lot of self-reflection. I have come up with some goals for the upcoming school year to help me find my balance again. I revisited my family mantra again... Goal or Soul... What are my goals, and what feeds my soul? I had to add another aspect to this idea, Time... Where should my time go at this point in my life. 

Where will I put my TIME?
  • My husband
  • My kids (and their activities-- this part of life is temporary, I want to give myself to them)
  • Myself - I NEED to be creative (watercolor, drawing, creating lessons, creating... just creating)
  • My Family and Friends
  • School- Given my students/coworkers/my tribe

What are my GOALS?
  • To provide for my family (full-time job-- or the equivalent in parts of jobs)
  • To make sure my family knows with all their heart that they are my first priority. 
  • Be known amongst my tribe (educators/art educators/artist) as a giver, and support
  • Create a healthier me (PT for my back, Yoga for my brain and body, workouts for my heart, and drawing for meditation)

What feeds my SOUL?
  • Create a love of Art for the students I teach
  • Continue to connect globally with other Educators
  • Feel the LOVE from my family in hugs, words of affirmation, and support (I know I need this in my life)

Because of this reflection and realization, I have come up with a plan for next year. I will be working K-7 (per my the schedule is given to me). I was told that this was non-negotiable if I wanted to keep working with ISD 728 as a full-time employee... so I will make sure my mindset is prepared for running the two schedules again this next school year with grace and positivity. I will continue to spill my heart and soul into teaching (there is no other way for me) I will let go of the Yearbook, PAC committee, and Girls on the Run for the 2018/19 school year.  I will continue to share on this blog, my Instagram, and Twitter when available to do so. I will go dancing, play pickleball, and go for walks with my husband. I will continue to support my kids with this interest (sports, hunting, conversations, future plans). When there is extra time, I will be with friends and family. 

To start on these efforts I will be taking a break. I will be posting again starting on July 10th when I am participating the 2018 Sew a Softie Blog Crawl. See you then.

Here are a few others to follow for the upcoming Sew a Softie Fun... 

Trixi Symonds
Founder of Sew a Softie

Follow on Instagram these participants:

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Sketchnotes and Technology in the Art Room

Sketchnotes and Technology Resource for today's Art Camp... Will update soon when I'm done running my daughter to softball ;) Leave comments if you want a link to something I talked about today and it's not found in the resource Padlets below.

Made with Padlet
Made with Padlet

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Tactile Texture Sticks

I was inspired by a post from @artwithmrsmac from earlier this school year. I was impressed with the simplicity of this tool and the size of this powerful teaching tool that will allow me to store them with ease year after year. @artwithmrsmac... This Minnesota teacher thanks you for inspiring me... Yah for the Art Ed Tribe! 

I used these sticks when talking about Tactile Texture. It was a great little 'cool down' from the activity that we had done in the hour. This support activity took 10 to 15 minutes. See the video below to get an idea of how I used the sticks.

Here are some of the tools I used to create my texture sticks. I thought about pipe cleaners and I think any pipe cleaners would work but I happened to have ordered this HUGE pipe cleaner set just to see what I could do with them.  I'm not sure at this point what else I can use them for, but it was perfect for the texture sticks :) 

A lot of our Art Rooms have a little extra Aluminum left over from students sculptures. After using a tool to press out some of the metal,  I added a little color to make it look more interesting and cut it to shape to glue onto the stick. I used hot glue gun for all of these sticks.  

Speaking of hot glue guns. I also experimented with these Cool Shot glue.  I thought this would be a good way to give students a feel for hot glue guns in a safe way. To be honest, I didn't get them out this year for student use... maybe next year. I did, however, use some of the color glue sticks to create a bumpy texture on one of the sticks. 

Tissue paper has a feeling like nothing else.  It was a good addition to this project.  I found using glue gun worked for the application but I did scorch my fingers once or twice... part of the job I think. 

These little fuzzy balls are another perfect fit. I think they worked well and I loved the bright beautiful colors.  It looks so inviting!  

I also used sandpaper, feathers, and felt. I have no tips or tricks for these three so I included them on this final image altogether. 

Overall, this was a great supporting activity for Tactile Texture.  I have posted often on Texture, please see the previous post to learn more. 

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Clay Coil Design

The 5th-grade district standards say that we should teach coil method and most of the time, clay is the perfect medium for this. This project was created to be exploratory and students had the option to add a hole in the flat piece to hang the projects as well. They are decretive pieces that really taught a ton of skills.

Tracy Hare, our visiting Artist, had tons of pre-recorded videos and handouts to help the 5th graders understand how to create so many wonderful shapes using the coil method.  These works of art were created on a foam plate while making them, however, the end result was a variety of shapes and sizes. They only had the one hour to create with clay, so every Artist got done what they could get done.

Students were asked to decorate their fired work with oil pastel and a mixture of 1 part water and 1 part acrylic black paint. Take a look at the video to fully understand the process. The decorating of the clay works took one and a half class periods (60-minute classes). For one class... I tried it all in one day, I was rushed and short with the kids because of it. Live and learn, I would suggest all the oil pastel one day and as students are working on a second lesson, pull back small groups to add the black paint and rinse the work as it shows in the video.

I think this lesson was a hit with my 5th graders.  They seemed to really like the magic of rinsing away the black paint to reveal the color again.

To see all the lesson plans that Mrs. Hare worked on without students at Prairie View Elementary and Middle School, please click here.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Underwater Clay Sculptures

This 4th Grade, Underwater Sculpture is not nearly as amazing in the photographs as they are in real life.  I adore this project that Tracy Hare created with our students this year for Clay Week 2018. To see all the projects, please click here

Tracy and I are from Minnesota and both of us went to Florida for Spring break with our families (not together). She must have been inspired, and so was I. I had plans to do some observational drawing with shells and she had plans to make this sea life sculpture with our 4th grade. I was able to share my shells and some texture tools with her as she instructed this lesson plan. 

Again, the base of this project was a pinch pot... Oh, the many things you can do with a pinch pot. The additive sculpture on top was what set this work of art apart from the rest. She had them creating seashells, seaweed, starfish and even mermaids.  There was so much choice within the theme that every one of these projects looks different. 

The finishing steps were once again similar to the younger grades work, (see previous post). We used the semi-moist tempera cakes to add the color and a pearl or a glitter finish (videos can be found on the 1st and 3rd-grade clay week posts) to seal their project. The students have lot's to be proud of. The projects are turning out amazing.