Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Strike a Post; Make a Gesture!

What middle school student doesn't hate drawing people (okay, I do have one, but he's the only one in my 11 years of teaching)? When I introduce this project and tell the kids I'm going to teach them how to draw people, there is actually a collective moan throughout the room. Then I let a kid stand on my desk while I demonstrate a gesture on the board. Usually they remain nervous about it until they start sketching their own and they see how fun it is. After practicing several times I have them pair up and they take turns modeling and drawing. The energy in the room this year was so cool! The kids really seemed to like the project and when I saw them in the school they would ask, "Do we get to draw people again today!?!?" I've posted a few that are also hanging in our hallway.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Wild Animals

I'm always looking for inspiration....lately my source has been fellow art teach blogs and my son. That's where this project came from! I was struggling to get my students to, "think large", so I used this project as one way to work on that. The kids all chose an animal and put it in an environment that "made sense". We looked at Henri Rouseau for inspiration for this. Then, as they were working I kept encouraging them to make their animals larger and larger until they were almost half the size of their project. I also encourage them to not feel restrained to the paper. The project was a collage with just about everything I had in my cupboards. We even spent some time experimenting with different ways we could manipulate the papers. The results were kinda cool! When I'm done with them, I think the 7th grade teachers are going to use them for a bulletin board themed, "7th Graders Are Like A Wild Animal..." (they will then list reasons they are similar).

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Apple Festival 2011

I'm a lucky art teacher. Not only do I have a new classroom (as of 2005) and an awesome schedule, but I also have a great group of kids to work with. Van Wert has a fabulous student body, but the students I am referring to are my Independent Study kids. Back in 2001, when I was hired, the principal mentioned how she would like to have a time for kids that are talented in art to come to the artroom and do more advanced work. I owe that principal a great deal! Not only did she hire me (and I was her first), she also planted the seed for a program that has saved my sanity. On those days that I wonder why I teach a subject that several don't find "important", I get to work with kids that LOVE art...and it all happens at the end of my day. I can't think of a better group to end my day with.

I call them my "Independent Study" kids, and that is how they work. I help them come up with challenging projects, direct them towards a media that would work best for the project, help them find reference pictures, and set them loose...I love it! As they are working, I might give them pointers, pull a few out for a critique, or help direct them, but they truly work independently. Often I look at their work and have to remind myself that they are middle school kids because some of their work turns out so much better!

With the Apple Festival quickly approaching, I announced at the beginning of the year that we would be starting out with work for the festival art show. The direction I gave them: think fall or apples or both. Pictured here are a few works created by my Independent Study kids for the Apple Festival.


Kids come home with stains from art class? I found this great info. on another art teacher's blog and thought it would be great to pass along!

INK/MARKER- Dye stains can be difficult to remove. First, pretreat the stain with a heavy-duty liquid detergent, then rinse thoroughly. Soak the stained garment in a dilute solution of all-fabric bleach. A few highlighter (marker) stains may be removed or lightened by rubbing immediately with isopropyl alcohol and flushing with hot water.

PAINT-Treat while wet. Soak in cold water; wash in cool water with heavy-duty detergent. After paint has dried for 6 to 8 hours, removal is very difficult. Treat as combination stain. Wash in hot water. Rinse. Repeat if necessary.

GLUE- Soak in cold water; rub fabric against itself under running water to dislodge stain. Launder in warm water with heavy-duty laundering detergent.

PENCIL- Use an art gum eraser to lift off excess, but avoid rubbing the fabric. For delicate fabrics, use spot treatment methods. For most durable, washable fabrics, use a pretreatment aerosol product, stain stick, or stain removal gel. Then rub in heavy-duty liquid detergent. Rinse in warm water and launder

Monday, October 17, 2011

Art History Reproductions

I hated the drowning feeling I constantly had during my first year of teaching. Since then I have been fine-tuning lessons that I teach regularly each trimester. I know, I know, to be a good teacher I should change up my lessons much more often. However, I have kids that say, "I've been waiting to do ________ project like my older sibling!". Plus, there's comfort in knowing what works in a lesson and how to best teach it. Having said all of that, I've been trying out some new projects this year in an attempt to refresh myself. A few of those attempts have gone okay (not good enough to share or brag about), some have fallen on their face, and others turned out FABULOUS! This project is a "Fabulous".

I have been blessed to work with an outstanding group of 6th graders that have great attitudes (the perfect ingredients for a successful new project). However, when I first introduced the lesson I was a little worried. I LOVE studying art history...I'm not normal. On the first day I was practically jumping in the air with excitement over the idea of my students getting to learn about famous artists in the past. When they came to class I had spread out about 40 Scholastic Art magazines featuring 40 of my favorite painters. Each child had to choose someone different and then we headed to the computer lab where we toured a museum and they each set out to research their artist. They then printed out a picture of their artist's work and created a frame. The students then reproduced that work of art by their artist. I then hung all of their work in the hallway and that's where we had class for 1 1/2 days while the kids did their artist presentations. It was SO COOL! Everyday people in the building tell me how much they enjoy looking at them and how much they have learned....I love educating others about art (even when its not in my classroom)!!!!

2 Pt. Cities

The 8th graders just completed a project in which they created their own city by using 2 point perspective. Each student had to come up with a theme for their city. Several students were inspired by their childhood when selecting their theme. I've posted a few that I found to be very creative and well done.