Saturday, August 27, 2016

Now Teaching High School, Looking For Some Feedback

I just finished my first week as a high school art teacher. I regret that I do not have any pictures for this post, but that is partially why I am posting. I am not sure what to do with this blog right now. I am reluctant to just keep posting as usual, because everything on here has been geared toward elementary. I hope that this blog has been a resource that has helped someone. Therefore I do not want to remove it, or it's content. It seems to me that the best thing to do is start a new blog for the new job. In doing so, I was hoping to get some feedback on here of suggestions. What did I do well on this blog? What could I have done better? Any thoughts on what would work well for a high school blog? What do y'all find helpful from art teacher blogs? Is there an angle/pitch that I could take that would better benefit others?

By the way, my first week was awesome. Full of the changes that come with starting over, but I have had more meaningful engagements with students then I felt I was having in the elementary environment. I feel that I am being able to better reach students at their level, and that is rewarding in such a great way; one I had not previously experienced. I am teaching all three AP studio classes (2-D,3-D, and Drawing), as well as 3 sections of art 1 and 2 sections of Art 2 and 3 combined.

I have some amazing students and can't wait to share what they are doing. I am making a big push to have open ended art problems for them to solve as my lesson plans. I t is taking some getting used to for them, because it is different than how they have been taught. To be honest, it is taking some getting used to for me too. For the ones that are starting to catch on, in this first week, I see huge lightbulbs above there heads. Once they all see the possibilities, I have faith that the creativity will begin flooding the room.

Again, this post is one of looking for feedback.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Mural Project is Finished

Well, I have not written a post since school let out. I have been sitting on this for a couple of weeks. The mural that I started with my after school program kids is done. It got postponed a lot due to the crazy rain we got here in Texas this spring, so I had to wrap it up on my own after school got out, but here it is.

We started off back in the fall generating ideas, then after getting it drawn out I turned it into a coloring sheet of sorts for the students to figure out color and patterns. I synthesize what they came up with, and then it took till spring before we got paint. The students had most of it painted when we got what seemed like a month of nonstop rain. So once school was out, I showed up a couple of days and finished it off. I think it turned out great. Here are some close ups.

It sits right in the center of the school, and the steps in the middle are the ones that the teachers have to take when they come to school from the parking lot in the morning. Had a lot of fun working on this with the students. Hope that it is well taken care of.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Emphasis and the O'Keeffe Inspired Flower

This is actually the third year that my students have created up-close flower paintings while learning how artists create emphasis, and being introduced to the works of Georgia O'Keeffe.

I found one of the best videos on YouTube for teaching emphasis. You have to check it out. Here is the link I do not own this video or anything, just found it while scrolling around on YouTube looking at nerdy art teacher videos. 

After the kids are all jazzed from the video, and I have them identify what is most important, and how we know it is most important, in different artworks at the end of the video we do a few small exercises for them to show me that they understand how to use emphasis in their art.

Their flower paintings actually take several class visits to finish. On the first day they draw their flower and begin outlining it with sharpie. The second day, they start coloring in only the flower using oil pastels. I try to get them to experiment with highlights and shadows (few ever do), They do actually play around with and learn to use the pastels pretty well with this project. They are usually still coloring with oil pastels on the third day. The fourth day, we paint the background with water colors. 

Another thing that I like about this assignment is that I get to talk to them about mixed-media. I explain that their paper is special paper called mixed-media paper. We discuss what media is, and why we need this paper to use different kinds of media. I also get to show them how to get bright colors, and not watered down colors out of their paints. This project also works well to review warm and cool colors. We use color temperature to help create emphasis. Students have to pick either warm or cool for their flowers, and use the opposite for the background. 

Here are some more examples. Enjoy.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Collaborative Grid Portraits

2nd year in a row doing this lesson with 5th Grade. Students learn about Chuck Close, the grid method, and breaking big jobs into small pieces and sharing in the workload to accomplish big things. Last year my 5th graders created two large portraits of our Principle and Vice Principle. This year 5th graders created portraits two other administrators at our school. These portraits are 32"x 40". Students do not know who they are creating portraits of as they are doing it. I keep it a secret. An 8x10 photo is cut into one inch pieces and spread out among 4 classes of 5th graders. Students enlarge their piece of the portrait to 4"x4" using a grid, then complete it with pencil value. Students do the initial layout and piecing/taping together of the squares. I come back when they are done and straighten up some of their seems. It is a lot of fun to watch the students guess who the portrait is of as it comes together. The whole lesson takes about 3 class times (50 minutes each)to teach and complete. After these are done, we give them to the subject of the portrait as a gift.

Students use a grid with the numbers of the pieces written on it as a map while they put the portrait pieces together.

Students lay their one inch square on top of their value drawn piece for comparison.

Sometimes a few pieces get lost, but special helpers get picked to do the missing pieces. Everyone enjoys this project.

Origami and Street Art

Yesterday my after school program students designed a wall piece in the main hallway of our school made of origami cranes and butterflies. For the past 3 weeks, 4th graders have been learning origami. They have had the choice to take their origami creations home, or donate them for this project based off of the artwork of Mademoiselle Maurice. Check out her website, She has some great work, and the students loved how origami can be used for street art. Below is one of her works.

My 4th graders have loved doing origami. Origami has seemed to tame even the wildest of post-spring break classes. It does take them about a class and a half (50 minute classes) to learn a crane or a butterfly. 

Currently we are learning how to make origami dragons, thanks to a great video from Art for Kids Hub. We used their video for learning how to make a butterfly too. Their origami videos are great for my fourth graders. The instructions are clear, entertaining, and they go at a pace that my students can keep up with. Seriously the best origami instructions I have found for students. The students respond way better to following a video tutorial than paper instructions or even me showing them on the overhead. I do still pause at key steps, make sure everyone is understanding, and sometimes show how I make the same folds.

The fact that almost every student wanted to take their origami projects home, rather than donate them is a testament to their excitement about origami. I have had a large percentage of students that have gone home as well and looked up other origami tutorials and brought me presents of other origami creations. I had visions of our hallway design being much, much bigger, but a small amount of donated works kept that from happening. I am just glad that this close to the end of the school year, they are stoked about an art assignment. Here are some more pictures of  our hallway design.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Perspective and Craftsmanship with Kindergarten and 1st Grade

This is lesson was a repeat from last year. Around the time that 1st grade is teaching 3D shapes, I teach perspective. Great time for some cross-curricular connections. I love introducing Kindergarten and 1st grade to perspective. They are totally bought in. They think drawing in 3D is the coolest.

 I teach them 3 simple steps. First you draw the shape of the front. Second, you add diagonal lines (all pointing to the same corner of the paper), and last you use twin lines (parallel) to connect the ends of the diagonal lines. 

Of course some students struggle with this, but surprisingly they keep at it, even at home. Heck, at the beginning of this school year almost all of the students I taught this to last year, had practiced all summer. Their favorite is when I show them how to use perspective when drawing a car.

After our drawings are complete, we practise craftsmanship with markers. I really push slowing down. We had a great success this year. The other thing that has to be pushed is filling in all space with color. No white. Here are some of the results. Honestly, I let some of the best ones go before taking a photo.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Interior and Exterior Buildings


2nd Graders designed their own buildings, inside and out. These were really fun. The students enjoyed designing the inside the most. 

First we folded our paper so that we would have to parts of the front that would open at the center revealing the inside. Next, students drew the exterior of their buildings. I had to really emphasize that the sides of the building had to be the sides of the paper. Some students did not get that and we had to do a bit of taping, but hey, we role with it. After drawing the exterior of their building, we cut the negative space at the top off so that the inside of our buildings would have the same shape as the outside. The previous processes actually took two class periods of 50 minutes, given time talking about architecture and so forth.
After students had finished designing the exteriors of their homes, came the interiors. We discussed what kinds of things we would have inside of a dream house. All sorts of ideas came up. Some of the best ideas were rooms of trampolines or filled with balls, underwater rooms, you name it. students then colored the inside of their houses. 
Materials for this one were simple; construction paper crayons, scissors, and 9x12" construction paper. When they were all completed we lined them up like row houses, creating a little neighborhood.