This first week I will be getting ready for my school's first ever summer program. Back in April or so, I was asked, with my four summer's worth of experience as an art specialist, if I would be the Program Director. I said yes, flattered by the vote of confidence, but the more I thought about it, I realized just how much I am taking on.
So far, it has been a bit difficult to focus on organizing the program while wrapping up the school year, putting on an art show and teaching quality lessons. Ultimately, I am responsible for all of the children and employees. I think it is a great challenge, one that I am ready for, but definitely a "grown up" job (more so than teaching?) and I don't really know when I turned into a "grown up."
I do know that come Saturday, I will really be on vacation. A few summers ago I drove down to Florida to visit my mom. Since then, I have not been on a vacation! I am very much looking forward to going to Ocean City, NJ with my boyfriend and his family. I think his mom is nervous that she has built this trip up too much, but I keep reassuring her that sitting on the beach with a good book, for a week, is just my speed!
The Last Days of School
The last few years I have done the same thing on the last day of art class. I know other teachers have their students help clean and pack away things, but I have so much "stuff" and, I've decided, a little OCD about my school "stuff," that I'd rather organize things myself and let the kids have a memorable last class.
So, we have a choice day.
At the drawing table, I set out copy paper, "how to draw" books, idea cards, and a word game. Most of the younger students LOVE the how to draw books, and I really encourage them to follow the steps and not trace. Its wonderful when a second graders comes up to share how proud she is that she drew a pokemon all by herself. And for me, it reinforces the stress I put on learning the basic elements like line and shape.
Bad Hair Day/ Contour Name Design
With my elementary students, another center was the "Bad Hair Day" lesson I have seen on various blogs and websites. I left some simple directions and an example. I think it is a lesson I might do if I need a one day lesson. It was not too successful as a center.
For the middle school students, I changed this center to a contour name design. Again I left directions and an example. I had fun making my example, and I think the middle schoolers did enjoy the center. Basically, you write your name using block or bubble letters in the center of the page, then using alternating colors, outline your name and continue to do so, leaving some space between the outlines, until the entire page is full.
This center took some time, and it was interesting to see who really wanted to put some effort in. Fifth grade boys LOVED this and the second graders thought it was magic!
- Fold a paper in half like a book.
- Color heavy and dark, randomly, with crayons on one half.
- Fold the paper back in half with the crayon on the inside cover of the "book" (this way, if words are written, they will transfer correctly)
- Using a pencil, draw a line design, a name design or a picture, making sure to use heavy pressure.
- Open the book and the crayon should have transferred to the blank page inside.
Everyone seemed to love this center. In fact, I had to split most classes into groups so that everyone who wanted to play had a chance. Thankfully, for the younger kids, I had put some rules on the table: youngest to oldest to take turns, whomever guesses correctly is the new artist, make sure to have categories, or use the cards I wrote out. They loved being able to use my whiteboard. I have a table pretty close to the front, so that those not drawing knew they had to sit. It kept it nice and controlled.
Out of my 200+ students, only a few did not want to do this activity. A few years ago I picked up three battery operated pottery wheels, for free! So about once a year I take them out, and we use markers to make designs. I took out my class lists and called up two kids at a time. Students were told that if they asked for their turn, they would have to go last. And lo and behold, it turned out awesome! Everyone had a turn, everyone was entertained!
Meanwhile, I took everything off the walls, organized a few boxes in the closet and made piles to be gone through at a later time. After about an hour after school, my room was disassembled, with tables pushed together in the center and chairs off the floor.