Friday, July 20, 2018

Character Illustrations

Last year my 4th-grade students had a lot of fun becoming illustrators for their last project. I wanted to share the video lesson along with the so many tips, tricks, and project samples in this post.

I have always been impressed with Illustrators! I have found inspiration by looking at books, posters, and magazines... but nowadays, I used social media to find my inspiration. I wanted to create a lesson that would allow my students to become an Illustrator by creating a character of their own.

We first looked at inspiration.  While in Seattle for the NAEA 2018 conference, my buddy and I went into a store called Sloth vs Robot. It was filled with the Artwork and products from local Artist to Seattle. I adored it and bought several products from the shop to bring home to my kids. One of the items was a t-shirt featuring the Artist Lauren Rudeck or La Ru as she signs her work. This T-shirt put this lesson plan into action!

Then I saw the work of Lauren Minco Lowen on Instagram. She is represented by a group called Jennifer Nelson's Artist.  You want to find some fun inspiration... start there. Anyway, Laurens work was perfect for the direction I was going to take this lesson.  She creates characters with lots of personality, expression, color, and texture.  Everything I wanted my young artist to bring into their own work. Read about how Lauren responded on this link after July 22nd.

I started by asking my students to brainstorm an idea for their character.  I suggested that the character had to be an animal. I only gave them 10-12 minutes to do this in.  That allowed for my students to have enough time to get one drawing on their paper and for some... it was many character ideas.  I emphasized simplicity and texture.   At the end of the brainstorm, they were allowed to go around and ask their friends, "What would you vote for?" Many students used this peer critique to guide them to make a decision.  Once they had the idea solidified I explained that they would be creating this same character over and over using the same shape. They also were to come up with different expressions and different 'extras'. I explained the extras to be a tie, scarf, hat... something that will make each character unique. With the remaining time, the students continued to sketch in their sketchbooks.

The next class, I gave each of the students a rectangle piece of paper that was 1/4 of the sized of their page.  I explained that they were to draw and cut the tracer into a shape that would be cutting the least of paper off.  I wanted the largest shape they could make... I showed them examples as well. This became the outline of the character space. Then they took the same tracer paper and drew the shape of their head for their character they then traced a head shape in each of their shapes. The next step was to give each of their characters expression and extras. For most students, this took up the whole hour.



In the final day, students were able to outline and color their characters. They then cut the shape out and laid out their composition. Once they had a good composition, they glued them on tight.

I used this work of art for Prairie View Elementary's Art Show through Artomè.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

4th Annual Artist Trading Card Swap- 2019

I will be hosting the 4th Annual Artist Trading Card Swap here on again for the 2018/2019 school year!! Here is the breakdown...
  • August 1st, 2018 starts the countdown for the Artist Trading Card Swap sign-up.
  • August 10th, 2018 is the official date that I will open up the sign up for the #ATCswap. (this date is important because I have had to shut down the sign up after 2 days the last two years because I can only take 100 participants-- although last year it was more like 130 schools signed up) 
  • February 1st, 2019 cards must have arrived at Prairie View Elementary and Middle. 
  • March 10th, 2019 cards will be sent back to your school.
Here is why I mention this all now. I am putting together resources for my #ATCswap. Last year I sold a slideshow lesson plan on TpT that allows me to make enough to send back all the ATC's (well, last year it almost broke even) In the purchased lesson plan I have A LOT on the resources. I mean a lot... Videos for teachers, Videos for students and a ton of lesson plans from many of the participants.  If you have a lesson plan you would like linked in the document (fully credited of course), Please leave the information in the comments below. I'll add them on and I would love to see you join us this year in the 4th Annual Artist Trading Card Swap with MiniMatisse.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Winky Rat Finger Puppet

Last year I did a little project with a sewing group called #SewASoftie (click here for previous posts about stuffed fish and stuffed owls). We had a fun time working on this project and we decided to do it again.  My daughter, Matisse, is going to lead the lesson this year. She is a Kid Ambassador for the group.

We talked about a lot of #SewASoftie projects but she settled on creating a project inspired by my sweet friend Erica. We took a road trip as a family last year and Erica (a college friend) was one of our stops. She is a working Artist and my daughter knows the value of being inspired by contemporary Artist.  Matisse was gifted a sweet, stuffed rat on our trip. Erica calls it a Winky Rat and it's her original pattern.  She sells them and posts about this Rat and other cute stuffed animals on her Instagram account, Honeymoon Pie

Here is how we made our inspired Winky Rat Finger Puppet.  We are sharing our Winky Rat Finger Puppet Pattern on Teachers Pay Teacher for free (Click Here). 

1) Cut the Winky Rat Pattern out of a piece of Felt.  You see the body here, but you should also cut a second piece of felt for the ears, not shown in the picture). You can draw the indicated notches on the back side of the felt and cut them out as well. Matisse found that folding the felt, and putting her fabric all the way to into an open scissors worked best for her to make the cut. 

2) To create the clothes on the rat, you will use a 5 by 5 inch piece of fabric.  Place the right sides together as shown. Sew a straight line under the chin of the rat, as shown.

3) Press the fabric down on the rat's body. You can press this fold with an iron or simply finger press and use pins to hold it in place.

4) Pull the fabric around the body to the back as shown in picture 4.

5) Stitch two lines on either side of the body to help hold the fabric in place

6) Cut the clothing fabric below the base of the rat about a 1/2 inch below.  

7) Fold the bottom of the fabric up to the back side.

8) Stitch the bottom fold to keep it secure. 

9) Clean up any little strings left on the rat. 

Matisse always loves to use the sewing machine. Adding the 'clothes' on the rat gave her an opportunity to use the machine and iron on this little project. 

10) Now we move onto sewing the Winky Rats signature... the eyes. Our inspiration Rat has one eye open, usually a button, and one eye closed, usually stitched.  Be sure to stay away from the ear holes as you stitch. 

11) After the eyes are secure, you will fold the rat up and sew a whip stitch around the edge of the rat.

12) Stich all around the rat... the clothes, chin, nose and the top of the head.

13) Poke the ear fabric through the ear holds.  You will have some gathering in the middle where the hole is. 

14) Pin the ears up and add some 'locking stitches' in the base of the ear to secure it. 

It's great to use a sewing machine, but it's always wonderful to hand stitch. It gives any sewing project a little more personality. 

Matisse taught her brother how to make a Winky Rat too. It was fun to see the difference in the fabric, color choices, and thread choices. Sawyer, Matisse's brother, sewed a nose on his and also added some whip stitching on the bottom of the Winky Rat Clothes.  I made the yellow Winky Rat and added some whiskers. 

Matisse thinks her mini Winky Rat Finger Puppet is so cute, she had to take some pictures of it on her iPod. That is when you know they are excited about their project... right??

We want to thank Trixi Symonds for hosting #SewASoftie again this year and inviting Matisse to join as a sewing ambassador.  Keep following #SewASoftie on social media and specifically on Colour Button's Facebook Page.  There is at least one new post every day in the month of July... Lot's of inspiration. 

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