Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween

Inspired by my Modern Day Cave Painting lesson, this is my Keith Haring pumpkin!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Symmetrical Monochromatic Paintings 2012

(I cropped these in Picasa, but for some reason it didn't show up here. Sorry)

I LOVE this lesson.
So many kids are successful and I think they really have fun mixing the paint.
This year I attempted to talk about color, line and emotion, but since they took so long to complete, the idea got lost in translation. Original line choices and color were supposed to be based on an emotion.
I'm really proud of my students and hope that this lesson has set the tone for the remainder of the year.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Seventh Grade Mandalas

This was my second time doing this lesson. I found it before school started last year in Arts and Activities (September (?) 2011).  In the magazine the name design is called a kaleidoscope design and originally I did it in order to learn my new students names. This year, I knew my student's name (although I am still having trouble with the twins! I feel awful about that) and attempted to link the activity to social students. I introduced a "mandala" as an ancient design used for meditation and reflection, that represents us and our inner world.

Class #1
After introducing the term mandala, I displayed an example using my brand new, spectacular document camera. I asked how the example is a reflection of me? After a couple seconds of silence, a few rumbles started and I poinedt out to students that I spelled out my name. I then asked how balance was used? (We had reviewed the elements and principles the week before, so balance was fresh in their minds) I drew on the whiteboard, over my projected image, all the lines of symmetry and introduced radial symmetry. At that point, I passed out photocopies of a 45 degree triangle and walked students through the steps:
  1. Write name in block or bubble letters inside the triangle. Think about how your name will be reflected. If you want your letters to touch, where should you draw it?
  2. Add lines and shapes to break up the remaining negative space.
  3. Trace lines heavy and dark.
  4. Fold paper along the bottom line of the triangle.
  5. Keeping the paper folded, trace the lines that can be seen through, making sure to apply pressure in order to make the lines "jump" to the blank space on the inside of the folded paper. (Hopefully at the very least, students can finish up to this step in 40 minutes)
  6. Open the paper and retrace the lines that "jumped" so that the photocopier can see them.
That should bring the class to the end of a 42ish minute period. At the end of each day, I made 4 photocopies of the completed pages. I made sure students knew upfront that I needed the pages done, so that I could help them by photocopying. If they didn't finished, it would make more work for them. At the very least, if students finished step 5, you could photo copy the front and the back four times each.

Class #2
  1. Pass out 12x12 paper and instruct students to divide the page evenly into four quadrants.  I did a quick refresher how to draw tally marks and connect the dots.
  2. Each photocopy will be cut and pasted into a quadrant.
  3. Review symmetry including  how to apply color symmetrically and go for it! We used a combination of Crayola classic and bold conical and thin tip markers. For the background/ negative space students could use color pencils

 Sorry these pictures are on a weird angle. The bulletin boards I hung these up on are above lockers!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

MFA and ME

The last couple of weeks have flown by! We are officially halfway through the first term at both the high school (which has four terms) and the middle school (which has three terms). I have been trying to grade works as they come it but it always feels like ALL of my students finish at once. All 375+! I feel like I am constantly trying to play catch up. I've slowly started to put together work for display boards too and hope to have some pictures tomorrow. Between grading, two graduate courses, an after school club and life, I have just enough time to read a few pages in the book I started in August before I fall asleep at night.

And our weekends are pretty busy too!
At the end of September, Smithsonian Magazine sponsored a free museum day. Our friend and her seventh grade son asked if we wanted to go with them to the Museum of Fine Arts for the afternoon and I couldn't say no. The price was right!

I seem to have only taken pictures of Babylonian and Greek art. I was super excited to have stumbled upon what appears to be part of the Gate of Ishtar. I only learned about the gate and the ancient walled city a few years ago. It was pretty cool to see in person. I'd like to make some paper mache Greek pottery this year with seventh grade, hence the other images, but we will have to see how the time and behavior plays out over the next few months. In Social Studies, they don't cover Ancient Greece and Roman until after winter break.
It was really nice to spend time with people outside of school and work and to share something I love so much. I even bumped into an old college classmate working at the museum!

A couple weeks later, we visited my best friend and her husband up in Maine. The two moved at the end of August due to a job transfer. We started our journey stuck in a hour's worth of traffic before we even left the city. Stupid me should have driven around to go north, but I wasn't thinking.

I really like the way this picture came out. I will have to print it and put it in my inspiration box. (As if I've had time to make anything!)

Our friends now live on the coast of Maine, as you can see from the pictures. We walked around a few different coastal towns, including Belfast. We even stumbled upon a little brewery that offered free tastings! They must have known we were coming. And we spent the rest of the weekend relaxing. It was so nice to catch up and realize that no matter the miles between us, or a change in location, our friendship is still the same. It was very comforting.(You can read more about the transition from life in the city to small town ME at Can't Get There from Here)

While I hope to update this weekend with an actual lesson, it looks to be another busy one with family dinners and our annual Pumptoberfest where all our friends bring pumpkin flavored food to a wonderful pot luck. This year there will even be a crafts table for the little ones as everyone seemed to have kids over the last few years!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

High School...student teaching

I did my student teaching six years ago at the high school level.
It was weird. Or, unreal. For many reasons.
For one, I was twenty- one teaching, in some cases, eighteen year olds who lived in the same town as I did. I remember one Friday afternoon, unable to find a parking spot in the lot of my dorm, I parked on what we affectionately called "Ring Road" right outside my building. (The main drag was a circle encompassing the college) As I got out of my car carrying a thirty pack of beer, one of my students was playing roller hockey in our outdoor rink. Even though I still don't know if he or his friends spotted me, I was mortified. 

For other reasons, student teaching where I did was more unreal.
The school was at most three years old.
When the new building was being constructed, the builders and administration actually asked the art department what they wanted. There were four, five, six rooms for the Fine Arts department. One was dedicated to ceramics, another a computer lab, a second lab for graphic arts, two general art rooms and one jewelry classroom. I believe there was also one for fashion, a photo lab and another for life skills/ home ec/ earlier childhood education which was also lumped into the unified arts department.

There was also an entire de-part-ment!
I had two supervising teachers, there was a department head and two other teachers who comprised the art department. (Currently, our entire city functions... functions without a department head) AND all of these people plus the two student teachers had their own space in the teacher's lounge. Not to mention there was a refrigerator, microwave, coffee pot and dishwasher in the lounge in addition to a conference size table for lunch, office spaces and men and women's restrooms.

Having the opportunity to be supervised by two different teachers was great. They each had their own style and area of expertise. I was able to learn a lot about what I wanted and what I ... didn't want to be as a teacher. Since I was a part of various classes at the high school too, I was able to take part in the senior exhibit off campus AND the school wide jury-ed art show.

I left after four months with a great deal of knowledge, much more confident in my decision to become a teacher and even more self confident.
I was also exhausted.

The following two years, I struggled to get my foot in the door in any school system. After being hired two days a week at a parochial school, I quickly realized that my student teaching experience was not the real world. Thankfully, my position did give me the opportunity to learn about classroom management, developing curriculum and budgeting.

Now, six years later, I am back in a new high school, thankfully years older than my students, and learning the ropes all over again.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

I got one!

This year I travel between two schools. I am at one of the two high schools in our city in the morning and one of the five middle schools in the afternoon (its the same school as last year, but now I'm full time between the two). I have about 75 students at the high school, primarily at the Art One level. There are a handful of students in each section that don't really want to be there and most likely were randomly assigned Art as an elective. I am doing my best to try to rope them in. Or at least keep them interested.

One student on the first day of classes was pretty hesitant. She informed me right off the bat that she can't draw, but she'll give it a try. I cheered her on, saying that's exactly the kind of attitude I like to hear and I will do my best to provide her with the tools to succeed.  Since then, she is one to always have her hand up to answer my questions and willing to take suggestions and learn.

At the end of last week, she missed a couple of classes and her friends told me that she was in a computer applications class. Sure enough I got an email today saying that she was trying it out, since the teacher had promised her if there was a spot she would let her try. At the conclusion of the email, the teacher said " Good for you- she has chosen to stay with Art."

I'm glad the teacher took the time to let me know. It made my day.