Thursday, July 21, 2016

Guess who's baaaaack!!!???



Ok folks...I'm baaaaacck!!!  It seems like it's been FOREVER since I've last posted...though it's only been since February.  Let me tell you, this last school year has been a whirlwind!  There was so much that happened, and for the most part, it was ALL positive!!!  I apologize profusely for the lack of posts over the school year.  Being the only teacher and taking on all that I did really took all of my time.  Between taking care of two classrooms, running my Jamberry business, and spending time with my family, blogging took to the back burner.  I have received so many wonderful e-mails from fellow art teachers and advocates asking if I am done.  I assure you I am not!,

However, I can tell you that my blog is going to shift in the age level that it is geared for.  Yes...that's right.  I said a SHIFT IN AGE LEVEL!  This girl is now officially 7th-12th grade ONLY!  Well, aside form getting to have two of the 12:1:1 classes from elementary (the 3rd-6th grade students...my favorites!).

How in the world did this happen?  I still ask myself this on a daily basis and feel like it could be snatched from me in an instant.  This year, we had a new superintendent.  While we all tried to figure him out and went through our ups and downs with feeling out his views on everything, the state came in and let us know that we needed to spend a little of our reserve fund because guess what...whoops!  We have too much!  On top of our school receive more aid this year than in the past, it meant that we get to enjoy some growth in supplies and faculty!

A fellow teacher who is certified in special education is also art certified in my district, and she is coming back this year as part time elementary art and part time high school special ed.  I am SOOOO excited to have someone to plan across the grade levels with and *GASP* align curriculum with!!!  I haven't spoken those words within my own district in years!!  This means only ONE CLASSROOM...one set of requisitions from here on out...one principal to report to...ahhhh!!!

Other amazing things that happened?  I have FOUR electives next year (Photo 1, Fashion Design, Art History, and Drawing & Painting...on top of my Art 7 and Studio Art classes)...and three of which my students will be able to receive college credit from my alma mater, SUNY Potsdam, for a small fee.  Oh, and you are also looking at the new adviser for the school yearbook!  Eeek!  I've been wanting to get into yearbook once I truly became vested in the high school and this year is the year!  I will actually be co-adviser with another teacher who is elementary, so we will hopefully be able to balance everything beautifully.  Plus, I know I am going to have a lot of cross-over with yearbook members and photography students in my Photo 1 class!

Let's see, what else?  My district received a huge technology grant and the ART DEPARTMENT (eeek!  I don't get tired of saying this!) is receiving 25 iPad Airs (64 GB) to share between the two classrooms!  OMG you have no idea how excited I am about this!  So excited that I am using internet shorthand...LOL!!! ;)

I know, I feel like I'm bragging!  But seriously, after the last few years of doom and gloom in my district, I can't help it!  Plus, I busted my butt last year to prove my worth and prove that I needed another art department member so I could push my high school students to achieve great things. (Did I mention that we may actually have 3 or 4 students who graduate next year that will pursue higher education in the visual arts???  That hasn't happened in YEARS!  Like, seriously before my time at my district!)  Thus the reason my lack of posting this last school year.

So, the point of all of this is, don't give up!  I honestly was ready to change professions two years ago, when my posts on here started dwindling.  I wasn't liking where my district was going, where the NYS was going with things, and I was very pessimistic that year.  I trudged through, kept my thoughts optimistic, and kept my wits about me to prove that I am a valuable asset to my school, and guess what? It paid off!!

With that in mind, I may be changing the name of my blog in the future, since I am no longer teaching out of Room 104!  I'm not Room 309..haha!  But, I might try to go with a more generic name because let's face it.  At any time, I could revert back to being K-12 and being the only art teacher in my small district again.  But for now, the focus of this blog will be on middle school, high school, yearbook fun, art club fun, and my adventures into using TAB at the upper levels!

Ta ta for now!!  

Monday, February 1, 2016

Ceramics: Tea Sets and Masks

It's taken us a while, but our first three projects in my ceramics electives have finally been finished up.  We started off the year with pinch pot tea cups, moved to coil tea pots (to make a set), and then we did slab masks.  This covered the three basic hand-building skills and of course, wedging and scoring and slipping.

I am doing my best to make my assignments as open ended as possible.  I mentioned in my previous post that I am moving towards TAB in my elementary room, and I'm also experimenting with it a bit in the high school room.  Now, the electives are a bit harder to leave open ended in terms of choice of material, so I am doing my best to make the assignments as open ended as possible.  In the beginning, it was sort of hard to think up assignments that are open-ended, but it's getting easier and easier as we go.

To make our slab masks, I gave students a variety of mask forms to choose from to slump their slabs over.  They were required to give their mask a theme, and to think about texture.  The lion mask above?  That right there is the first 100 I've ever given on an assignment!  The pictures literally give it no justice.  I'm loving that my students are thinking outside the box, too, with their surface decoration.  Our district's mascot is a cougar, so one of my volleyball players made a cougar mask and meticulously glued in fishing twine to the whisker holes she made.  It literally took her 2 1/2 class periods to hot glue those babies into the holes.  So awesome!

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The tea cups and tea pots were two separate assignments but they had to go together.  Students were required to make four identical shaped tea cups (though surface decoration could vary a bit based on the theme).


I've got more to come after this!  Our current two projects that are being finished up are ceramic shoes (life size!) and chia pets. :)

Friday, January 29, 2016

Studio Art: Grid Portraits

I promise I haven't left you!  I've just been doing a little soul searching, if you want to call it that.  In other words, I have been feeling like I'm in a rut and I'm not happy with the way I'm teaching, particularly in my elementary grade levels.  So, with that being said, my next few posts are going to be about my adventures in TAB!!  Yep, that's right.  I'm working on transitioning a few elementary classes into choice based learning.

At the high school level, I feel as if the choice based learning comes a bit more naturally, though I still feel as if I need to loosen the reigns a bit.  So, as I share some of our high school projects that we have completed this year so far, you'll hopefully notice me loosening up on requirements.  

But, enough of that for now.  These oil pastel self-portrait projects were completed by my Studio Art students (9th-12 graders), and it was something that really pushed the boundaries for them.  We looked at artwork by various portrait artists, including VanGogh, Frida Kahlo, Kehinde Wiley, and Chuck Close, discussing how each artist used the self-portrait for a different reason.  Using the grid method, I had students draw a "selfie" they had taken of themselves onto 16"x 20" paper.

Initially, I left the choice of material open ended for students, as long as they used color.  I decided to use oil pastels to do my self portrait, something I've never done with oil pastels before.  Many of the students decided to follow suite, seeing how I was challenging myself to do something new.  I have to say I'm extremely happy with how these turned out!

The 10 Looks of Mrs. Impey: "I left my sketchbook in my locker...can I go get it?"


Done by our two exchange students...fabulous work for two ladies who haven't hard art classes in years!



These students used colored pencils, or a combination of colored pencils and oil pastels.


I also used these drawing projects as my interim assessment for DDI.  I don't know if any of you have to do Data Driven Instruction, but my fellow art teachers and I have been getting creative with how we give our assessments.  Instead of doing tests or quizzes, like we had to do last year, we are making the artwork the assessment.  Since we have been stressing observational drawing, this fit in perfectly as it fell in line with my curriculum but it also worked for our DDI rubric for the 2nd quarter.  Less work for me and less work for my students!