Posted by: keepingthemistakes | November 12, 2015

One of those days

My title today means many things.  Thursday is almost always “one of those days” because I see 7 classes, 3 of them middle school, most of them back to back. The day just generally kicks my tail.  By the time my last class comes in my desk is covered with piles of paper, paintbrushes, projector cords, coffee mugs, and so on.  I’m tired, and they are one of my most energetic classes.  Today also brought some amazing growth in art learning and skills, though, so I’m pretty pumped about that.  I’ve been trying to incorporate choice-based art into my middle school classes.  It’s taken time for me to get my thought processes about lessons changed around, but I think I’m getting there.  Last week 7th grade started learning the basics of value and shading and 8th grade started learning various watercolor techniques.  We continued today, and next week I will give them an assignment to take what they’ve learned and do a project that is relevant to them and their interests.  I hope they will run with it.  I’m so excited about the work I’ve seen them do the last two weeks!

I’ve also started using a curriculum called “Think Art Now” with my 5th & 6th graders, and the 6th graders seemed especially excited (and loud) while working on the Matisse collage project today.  They are my last class, of the day and of the week, and their noise makes me really tired, but I’m glad they are excited about making art.

I’ve also started a new classroom management plan, because the noise and listening levels have risen and dropped respectively.  I feel like I always have to raise my voice to be heard, and I don’t like that.  I found an idea for a wall-haniging of the word “ART”, where you can flip each letter over individually when they are losing ground.  I have a game where they can earn spaces each week toward an art party, so the flipping letters (haha) are based on how many points they will earn.  If you can still read the word ART at the end of the class, they get all 3 points.  If the A is turned around, they earn 2. If the AR are turned around they earn 1, and if the whole word is turned around they earn 0.  I’m not raising my voice or giving them a warning, but just turning the letter around and hoping that those that notice will encourage the others to do what they need to do to not lose the rest.  I also asked them to make a list of classroom expectations they want and can live with, as well as consequences.  And I’m making a little notepad where I can share with the teacher how they did, how many spaces they earned, and which students struggled.  I’m hoping it helps.  Any sharing of things you’ve had success with in your classroom are welcome!  Please comment!

zentangle pumpkin

One of my co-workers has a farm and made me an offer I couldn’t refuse on mini white pumpkins, so next week we are making pumpkin decorations for Thanksgiving.  Some, maybe all, classes will be drawing on them with Sharpies, similar to the one above.  I was going to hot glue construction paper details on them to make turkeys, but when I made my example (thank goodness I tried one first) the paper wouldn’t stay on.  So, I’m kind of back to square one on that and I might just let everyone draw on them.

This week I realized I only have 4 more art classes with my students before Christmas.  What????  How did that happen, and how am I going to get all those polymer clay Christmas ornaments done?  The way time passes is crazy, that’s all I can say.

Thus ends the post of random thoughts at the end of my busiest day.  Happy weekend!

Posted by: keepingthemistakes | May 5, 2015

Counting down . . .

I’ve been an almost total failure in keeping this blog updated this school year.  Not sure what happened, but maybe it can get better.

RIght now we are in the thick of finishing up our clay unit.  Once again, I waited until the last 6 weeks of school to do clay.  Who knows why.  Every year I say I’m not going to wait until the end of the year . . . so far I’m 6 for 6 in doing so. I am getting better about planning and organizing the unit, but I still feel like I get down to the last couple of weeks and I’m scrambling to get the firings done!!!

Here are a few photos of the projects, mostly in progress.  Previous years 2nd grade has done a mammal unit and we made clay mammals.  This year they discontinued that unit so I rearranged which grades made what projects.  I’ll have to rethink next year as well, since two grades did the same project this year.  Kindergartners made texture necklaces for mother’s day

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FIrst grade is making pinch pots with texture and a melted marble in the bottom of it.  Second grade made mold formed bowls using balls of clay.  Here is a photo of some of them being glazed . . . these are bowls of absent students that I was glazing after school.  I was tired, thus they are all being glazed just the same.  My creativity muscles were tired🙂

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Third and fourth grades are making a coaster/tile with a stamped design using radial balance.

Two weeks ago I took my fourth graders to the Wichita Art Museum.  This is the third year in a row we’ve been able to do this field trip!  The first year I had received a Target Field Trip grant, but the last two years we’ve been able to go because the art museum has a program that pays for buses for field trips so that makes it very doable!  Here’s my selfie with the Chihuly chandelier!

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My colleagues and I planned a professional day for art making.  We had a guest artist come and teach us techniques for paper altering that we can use with our students and for our own creative growth.  Using Citra Solv, a natural cleaner, you can make really cool papers, specifically from old National Geographic magazines!  Here is an example of one of the pages I altered.  Fun stuff!  And it smells very citrusy!  Check out the Citra Solv Artist Page here.

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Lastly, check out my Vimeo page.  I’ve made several movies of the iPad art my students have done this year.  (Please let me know if that link doesn’t work).

Happy last days of school!

Posted by: keepingthemistakes | February 15, 2015

#loveteaching

There was some sort of social media campaign last week to post what you love about teaching with the above hashtag.  I have to admit that last week was incredibly busy.  We had commitments every evening, which made for long days and lots of yawning.  Also, valentine’s day.  At an elementary school.  Yeah.  Wonderful, but wow. I subbed in a 4th grade classroom Friday, and it a great day.  But wow.  The party was total chaos, but then it was time to go home🙂

I read them the book “The Art of Miss Chew” by Patricia Polacco.  It is such a wonderful book, and the class was completely silent while I read.  When I finished, they broke into applause.  I had to stop a couple of times to hold back tears, because the story touches me so.  You should find it and read it.

I’ve been failing once again to post in a timely way, but here’s to new beginnings.  I will say that teaching art, and maybe teaching in general, gets better every year.   I keep thinking I’ll hit the summit and start down the other side, but so far I feel like I’m still climbing.  And learning a lot while I’m doing it.  I’m really hyped about information I’ve found about TAB (teaching for artistic behavior) and Dbae (Discipline based art education).  Basically, it’s teaching techniques, and then letting students come up with their own creative ideas.  I’ve found that I’m not completely comfortable with the kind of art I’ve been teaching — where we all basically make the same thing.  Each student is creative to a certain extent, and they learn the techniques and elements I’m teaching them, but there’s not much time or option for branching out and really creating their own ideas.  I think that’s important, and I’ve struggled with not allowing my students to do that.  Next year, if I still have a job (you’ve probably heard about our wonderful Governor and his support <cough,cough> of education in the great state of Kansas), I’m going to have a TAB/Dbae classroom.  I’m pumped about it.  I’ve already started doing some things with these methods, and it will take some getting used to for me and my students as well!

Since I like posts with photos or videos, I’m going to try to embed a video I made using collaborative art my students made for the Martin Luther King, Jr. community celebration in January.

<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/117416703″>MLK Movie</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/user32558072″>Beth Burns</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

 

 

Posted by: keepingthemistakes | November 12, 2014

This week

I’ve been thinking a lot about all the learning that goes on in an art room.  It’s about art, but it’s also about math, language arts, science, and life. I’ve been feeling like the arts get lots of lip service about other discipline areas seeing the value, but when push comes to shove, the arts almost always end up with the short end of the stick.  I decided to make a list of the things besides art that I’ve taught in my classroom so far this week.

  • Simple chemistry /color mixing
  • Patterns (math)
  • Wiritng/Vocabulary — writing artist statements
  • Social Studies — learning about folk artists
  • Symmetry
  • Prediction (reading a story and predicting with illustrations what is going to happen next)

That’s a short list.  And then there are all the life lessons — trying and allowing yourself to do it wrong so you know how to do it better next time.  And then there’s this

the arts + the brain

And my new word wall!!!

IMAG1123I really believe in this.  I hope we can work to increase the arts in our schools.

Posted by: keepingthemistakes | November 11, 2014

Whoa, seriously?

I just had a pretty long post written and I lost it.  Yikes.  I had covered teaching methods, classroom management, importance of art education.  Wow.  And now it’s all gone, and I’m running out of steam.  I’ll try for it another day.  In a nutshell, I feel like my teaching methods continue to improve, I think art ed. is just as important as regular ed., an I think the art experience needs to be different than the regular classroom experience.

I had also noted a great iPad project I started with 4th grade.  They are writing artist statements and putting them with a manipulated photo self-portrait.  I gave them some prompts/sentence starters, and showed them some that 5th graders had written at another school.  Then, they wrote their own — they shared them at their tables (Kagan style) and then had the option of sharing with the whole class.  Their statements literally brought tears to my eyes. Here are a few gems:

Art is a journey waiting to happen.
Art makes me feel good about myself!
Art is a nice and fun way to change your bad mood.
Art makes me feel like myself.
Art makes me feel confident of myself and happy.
Art is my passion. Art is who I am inside.
When I create art it makes me strong.
When I create art I create life.

Many of my students are English Language Learners, so their use of vocabulary speaks so highly of their classroom teachers!!!  Moments like these are what keep me going some days!

And I’ll end for today with a few photos of projects done this fall. One of my schools has a Fall Fun Night around Halloween and they usually ask me to do art to decorate.  These are the projects we did.

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6th  grade, different perspective of an autumn tree

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5th Grade Zentangle Pumpkins

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3rd Grade Line/Pattern Leaves

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2nd Grade Oil Pastel Pumpkins

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1st Grade Texture Pumpkins

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Kindergarten Q-tip Autumn Trees

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8th Grade Autumn Printmaking

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7th Grade Chalk/Oil Pastel Batik

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Posted by: keepingthemistakes | September 28, 2014

iPads and Dots

IMAG0779IMAG0777This year is going well.  I feel more organized and on top of things, and I am working with more classroom teachers on art/ELA/writing projects, so that feels good.  So far our major acheivements have been painting dots — the whole school, including some staff have painted them — to commemorate and celebrate International Dot Day, Sept. 15ish.  If haven’t read The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds, you should.  It’s an amazing and inspirational book, and one of my favorites to share with my students.  I love all of his books, actually.

I mentioned in an earlier post that the other “specials” teachers and I received a district teacher technology grant to purchase 12 iPads to use in our classrooms.  I’ve been able to use them first. It’s taken weeks to get the approved apps on them and get them ready for student use, but we are there.  I started them last week.  Our classes are generally 22-24 students, so they are working in pairs.  In my last post I also mentioned Tricia Fuglestad and her amazing iPad lessons.  She has been such an inspiration, for both myself and my students (I have shown them her videos of student work as inspiration).  But, after my first week of iPad lessons with 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grades, all I can say is . . . WOW.  It was terrifying, mystifying, and awesome all at once.  I haven’t taken any photos yet because it was C.R.A.Z.Y.  First grade is making Lima Bean Monsters, Second grade is animating characters from a Fractalized Fairy Tale they wrote in their classroom (using Chatterpix Kids) and 3rd grade is making symmetrical vases using their own profile, and using positive and negative space.  Here’s a chatterpix video I did this summer.  I drew the pumpkin (which also may look like a tomato) in an app called Brushes 3, but it seems to be no longer available.  Ok, I can’t seem to insert it here, so look here http://youtu.be/aZadgjsxgVQ. Hopefully that will work.

So that’s what’s been happening in the art room.  I wish I saw kids more than once a week.  The first four weeks was spent doing intro to art, fall self portraits, and portfolios.  The second week we missed a Monday for labor day, and then a Thursday at my other school for conferences, so my Monday & Thursday kids have had even less art than everyone else.

Happy Fall!

Posted by: keepingthemistakes | June 29, 2014

Time, the final frontier

Is that a real thing? Like from a movie or something.  I don’t really think so, but yeah, it’s been like 4 months since I’ve posted on this blog.  And before that it hadn’t been that long, BUT it had been since August before THAT.  So, seriously only about 5 posts for the whole school year.  That is pitiful and I am planning to do better.  I’m also planning to do Artsonia this year.

I know, almost sounds impossible, right?  My track record isn’t that good.  But . . .

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I did get to see the world’s largest Van Gogh in Goodland, KS earlier this month!

And, I do already have my first lesson plan made for August.  I used things I learned in professional development in spring and early summer. This summer I continued Kagan training.  Have I told you that cooperative learning is THE BOMB.  Oh yeah, I think I did tell you that.  I am even more convinced.  Before that we had a whole district training with Anita Archer.  Wow.  Another training that felt really relevant.  I’m incorporating her strategies immediately when school starts.  If you’re not familiar with her you should look her up.

Ok, another thing I’ve worked on that feels pretty earth shaking to me, is that I designed this portfolio insert.

portfolio insert Kindergarten Quarter 1

I don’t know if that worked or not.  If you click on it, do you get a word document?  Hopefully, you do.

I have struggled with grading.  I think this will help.  Each quarter I will make a new one for each grade level, including “I can” statements related to the concept(s) I will be focusing on.  At the end of the 9 weeks they will evaluate how they have done, I will evaluate how they have done, and they will take the portfolios with completed works home.  If there are P/T conferences at the end of the quarter I will keep them there to share with parents who stop by.  Grading in art is just a challenge, for me anyway.  I’m hoping this will help.  I might incorporate a spot to mark somehow if there are behavior issues, to inform my participation in art grade.

And finally, I have been pinteresting project ideas.  My plan is to organize my art class pinterest boards a bit this summer, too.

AND, my fellow specials teachers and I received a teacher technology grant for 12 iPads to share!!  I’m super pumped about that and have been perusing lessons using iPads.  I found an incredible art teacher in Illinois, Tricia Fugelstad, who has shared lots of great ideas.  I’m finding other resources, too, but this presentation has been very helpful, and her website looks like it’s full of great ideas. Now I just can’t wait to get my hands on one and start really playing around!

So, there are plans and goals.  Wish me luck!  And hope to see you here again sooner than last time.  Hope you’re all having a great summer!

 

Posted by: keepingthemistakes | February 28, 2014

Where do I begin?

If you’re as old as me, that phrase makes you think of a song from the 70’s.  A love song.  Name that tune.  I’ll give a prize to the first person that gets it right🙂

It’s been a busy month in and around the art room(s).  This month we did a lot of sunflowers, since we celebrated Kansas day the end of January.  I’ve been so impressed with the work my students have done!  This is going to be a very picture-laden post, because I can’t choose which examples to show, so you just have to see all of them (except I didn’t take pictures of each one, just a lot of the 2nd grade ones.  Ok, maybe all of those), because I LOVE THEM ALL. I got most of my lesson ideas from a workshop I attended at the 2012 KAEA conference.  A mother/daughter team of art teachers often presents about a theme for many grade levels, and I try to attend their workshop (the whole two times I’ve attended KAEA . . .what a depth of experience, huh?).  The first year it was on sunflower projects, the second year, winter projects.  I’ve used almost all of their ideas!

Kindergarten did cut and torn paper sunflowers

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First grade painted loaded brush sunflowers — that’s where we filled our brush with paint and made prints with it rather than brushing. Easier said than done — we are so used to BRUSHING with brushes.  We did the brown and yellow all at once, dipping the whole brush in yellow, and then just the tippy toe top in brown.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

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Second grade made problem solving sunflower collages — we figured out and shared different ways to make flower petals out of squares of tissue paper, and we learned about symmetry too. I think these turned out AMAZING. (Note to self, don’t use green backgrounds next year)SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

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Third grade did watercolor resist sunflowers — no pictures yet, but they did a great job.

Fourth grade radial design sunflowers (they are still finishing them up so I don’t have any pictures – but they are turning out really nicely, too).

Fifth grade did chalk sunflowers.  This is a photo in progress.  I’ll post the finished work in my next post.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Middle schoolers have still been working on their diversity projects, and are now beginning color wheels.

I’m also working on: organizing my art room (does that ever really get done?), ordering supplies, planning curriculum for the rest of the year and for next year, and then everything else that goes on in a week, including my Friday sub jobs.  Today I subbed for music at my main school, and I did a collaborative art & music project.  It went pretty well, considering it was all new for everyone.  Hopefully we can try it again sometime.

We are supposed to have more bad weather this weekend.  We’ll see.  Maybe it will just pass us by, or maybe we’ll get another snow day! I mostly hope we don’t, because my daughter is supposed to travel to our state capitol on Monday for Model UN.  She will be very disappointed if they don’t get to go.  They’ve worked really hard to prepare.  So, as much as I love a good snow day, I’m hoping it doesn’t come to pass this time!

Posted by: keepingthemistakes | January 23, 2014

January 2014!

My January focus is on Diversity.  Celebrating our differences.  Getting along.  Our community has an annual Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration on the holiday, and I try to display my student’s diversity art there.  It’s always a struggle to get artwork done in time.  I only see kids once a week, which generally gives me two class periods before the program/exhibit.  Unless they’re sick, or there’s an all school assembly during their art time.  Or a fire drill.  Anyway, here are a couple of pictures of the art we displayed.  I only did art for display with three grades, but all of them did work focusing on diversity.

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They mixed their skin tone for the self portraits and then collaged the details.  This was 4th grade.

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The MLK portrait was made several years ago by 4th graders.  It’s like a puzzle, they each painted a piece with three skin tones, not knowing what it was, and then we put it all together.  The rainbow/doves on the right side were made by 3rd grade and have some of Martin’s Big words on them (Peace, Love, Together, Dream, etc).  We watched the movie “Martin’s Big Words”.  There’s also a book.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESThese are “My Dream” folders made by 2nd grade.  They have their handprints on the outside in two skin colors, and then inside they wrote or drew about their dream for a better world.  The one that made my heart melt was the one that says “My dream is for everyone to  be a foster family.  So no one will be left out.”  Wow.

Kindergarten and 1st grade read/watched the movie “Elmer” and drew and painted patterned elephants.

Older grades did projects more focused on cooperation, and they are still working on those.  I did a really cool poetry/rap project with middle school.  I’ll write a whole post on that!!

Next up, Kansas Day sunflowers and SNOWmen!!!  I’m hoping that by drawing/painting/sculpting snow we can bring on a snow day or two.  What do you think?

 

Posted by: keepingthemistakes | January 4, 2014

I know I’ve been gone a long time, but guess what?

I got a new camera!!!  So maybe, just maybe, there will be more posts here for the spring semester (with pictures!!!).  Since there was one post all fall, we can only hope.

In the meantime, we tie-dyed 300ish t-shirts.  That was a big deal, and I hope to have pictures soon, taken with my new camera.  We didn’t make our polymer Christmas ornaments.  I just didn’t have it in me to tackle another big project like that right after the tie-dye shirts.  Next year.

4th grade did an AWESOME Christmas project — with coffee filters, metallic Sharpies, and Prang water-based markers.  I took pictures of every one, because they were so beautiful.  Then guess what happened.  I took them on my phone, and for the second time in recent history, I inadvertently deleted every. picture. on. my. phone.  Every one.  I don’t know how I did it exactly, but I did it twice.  No more phone pictures. I do have my OWN coffee filter art to show you, so I can do a tutorial, but I don’t have any of my students work, and they were so much more beautiful than mine.  <sigh>  Maybe I’ll ask them to bring them back so I can photograph them . . .   

All of this to say, I’ll be back!  Soon.

Happy New Year! (it’s snowing!!!)

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