Saturday, January 28, 2012

Grad. School Semester Two

In the state of Massachusetts, you have five years from the date you are employed with a public school to begin your Master's degree. Thankfully, I only started this year at a public school, but it has been five years since I started teaching, so I got my butt in gear while I still can, and got into grad school. I am working towards a Master's in Education and hope to attain professional status by 2014. (We don't have "tenure" but after three years of employment and a Master's, you have "professional status" and basically it is not as easy to "let you go.")

Last semester was my first after almost four years out of school. It wasn't that bad, although I don't think I will take an online course again. It was a lot more work than I expected! I was able to "publish" a children's book through my Multicultural Literature class though. That was a pretty awesome course.

This semester I am taking Sociocultural Foundations in Education and Integrating Social Studies and the Arts. So far I am really digging Social Studies and the Arts! Above is a picture of our first assignment. Much of what we will be doing in class can be done in our classrooms. This assignment spawned from an icebreaker we did, talking about where our shoes have been. Our homework was to trace our shoes, add our name to one so that it touched two sides and draw things that described our personalities in the other. After explaining that history begins with us, our professor asked us to add a few bullet points of a time line to our design to later be turned into a paper. Love it!

I can't wait to see what else is in store. I hope many great ideas, new lessons and information. Don't worry, I will try to post about my assignments!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

A little of this, a little of that

Forks and Spoon
I signed up to participate in the Sketchbook Project again this year, along with about twelve of my middle school students. We met once or twice a week for a couple of hours doing homework, eating snacks and making art. I think I only worked on my book a couple of times during the meetings, focusing more on helping students with their books or cleaning/ organizing/ planning. I am in the process of scanning each book and making a cd of images for each student, since we need to return the books by the end of next week.
I think next year I'd like to have an art journaling club and have "library hours" a few times during the school year, so the kids can keep their books and share them with friends and family.

cover of my book
It felt great to be able to make some little works of art. This year my theme was "This is a Sketchbook." I got most of the work done after the grad school semester was over, but it was great to have the kids asking me what I was doing in my book and keeping me accountable. Here are a few of the pages:

I spent a few days this week updating bulletin boards with new visuals for our new lessons. I have a few more things to add to this board, but so far so good. I am attempting to make it look like a Facebook page dedicated to the profile of an artist one of the grades is currently studying. Grade Eight started optical illusions last week, so this page is about Bridget Riley.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Willow Pattern Plates in progress

I can't wait any longer! I have to share how our Willow Pattern Plates are coming out.

In the beginning  of DECEMBER, grade six  read The Willow Pattern Story by Allan Drummond. We discussed illustration, pattern, value and monochromatic. Students made a rough draft of a design illustrating a part of the story, the entire story or their own story. We are now finishing up painting our design on sturdy paper plates, adding some details with blue sharpie and finally coating the plates with a nice, shiny varnish.

On the right side of this picture, a student has her story map handy. After we read, we filled it out in order to remember the story the next few classes, but also to remember certain elements which could add to our design AND its good practice for upcoming standardized test.
Each set of tables has a tray with two kinds of blue acrylic and white. Students scoop with a pop stick a small amount of paint into the palate as needed. Each student is in charge of cleaning up her own supplies and I call table colors up to the sink a couple at a time.

not yet finished, but paying close attention to detail and craftsmanship
I love how he created a square in the circle. Not yet finished.
first one done out of over 100 students. very painterly.

this student decided to tell his own story. something about Sumo wrestling.

Many of the boys in this class enjoyed the part of the story where the star crossed lovers are placed in a maze. I love the color of this maze!

an underwater story!

the girls loved the part where the star crossed lovers become immortal doves. simple and beautiful.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy Museum Day!

Vacation always goes too fast!

I was lucky enough to spend a jam packed seven days in the Clearwater/ St. Pete and Tampa areas of Florida. One of the highlights, aside from spending quality time with my family, was a visit to the brand new Salvador Dali Museum followed by a visit to a permanent collection of Chihuly work.

Nana with her two oldest grandchildren, my brother and I, in front of Dali

Nana, and Papa when he was alive, would bring me to the old Dali museum down the street each vacation. As a kid, I was amazed to learn that Dali went to art school and I could appreciate that he would paint on whatever he could find, like burlap. As a college student, I found inspiration in his "master work" The Hallucinogenic Toreador.

I was very glad to see SO many people at the brand new museum. By the time we left the museum, there was a line to get in that went out the door! (And it was raining!)
The new building opened a year ago this month and is an incredible piece of architecture. You can see from the photos above, the glass windows that appear to be water flowing through the building, which is right on Tampa Bay. Inside, is a helix staircase that leads up to the third floor galleries.

Nana insisted on following the docent's tour, which I am not opposed to, but there were too many people for me. My brother and I hung back, and explored on our own. Since the museum has more space than the old location, there were more earlier works on display, and I loved being able to show him the influences of other artists, from the Impressionists to Picasso. My Mom still thinks Dali was kind of an insane genius, but I think my brother now has a different appreciation.

Now I had no idea that Chihuly picked St. Petersburg, Florida for a permanent collection of some of his work, but he did! The Collection as it is called, also opened a little over a year ago and like the Dali Museum, I was unable to take photos of the galleries. But that was probably a good thing, as I started my visit preoccupied thinking that my innocent Nana was going to touch something in her inquisitive excitement and break it. (The above picture was taken when I visited the MFA, but a smaller version was included in the St. Pete collection)
To my pleasant surprise, my brother got really into the art! In his defense, he took a few art courses in high school, and is a cabinet maker by trade, so I know he appreciates art, but I really enjoyed how he interacted with the works.

Despite the monsoon rain when we left Dali, and the large crowds, it was so nice to be able to share the experience of viewing art with my family. I know it made my Nana proud to tell the cashier at the Chihuly gift shop that I was an art teacher and that I will put my new Chihuly activity book to good use!