Monday, December 31, 2012

Let it Snow!

I have family in the Buffalo area, so we usually spend a majority of our Christmas break down there. Usually we stay through New Years, but I'm glad we didn't this year!

For once, the amount of snow Buffalo received over break was minuscule compared to what the North Country received. Luckily, some nice person plowed one of our driveways so we we're able to pull into our driveway, but if definitely took us (or should I say my husband) 45 minutes to dig a path to the front door! ( And get rid of the 3-foot pile I'm front of the door!)

I do still love the snow!!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Recap: Last Week of School Before Christmas Break!

I figured it would just be easier to recap what I accomplished on the last week of school before Christmas break...I already shared my Living Christmas Tree group game/project that I did with a few's what else we did!

During one of my free periods, I had three 5th grade girls come down during their study hall to work more on the mural.  It was calling to me!

I'm going to have them add some darker red to the coral on the right to give it more depth, and then we need to paint the details on the star fish and finish the seaweed on the left.

All of our poinsettia bowls made it through the bisque fire!  Woohoo!  Unfortunately, we weren't able to get them glazed in time to take home for Christmas, but that's means the kids will be more likely to let me hold onto them for the art show at the end of the year!

3rd graders started their second birch tree project...this time we are doing winter birch trees.  We reviewed how to create depth in a landscape using a great power point I found on the SmART Teacher website.  They drew their details in, and when we come back from break, I will show them another power point about painting snowy landscapes with watercolor paint.
Finally, for a filler project with my kindergartners, we did Santa drawings for their last art class before break.  We drew Santa using shapes.  I drew one step, and then had them draw it, and so on and so forth.

My Santa drawing is on the right...

And last but not least, we finished our checkerboard game boards.  If the boards were cracked, I had the kids glue them to cardboard first, and then onto felt.  If they weren't broken, they just glued them to the felt.  I sprayed them with a glossy fixative spray afterwards, since it would be difficult to clear glaze them with all the broken boards.

When we get back, I'll give the students two class periods to paint their checker pieces, and then I'll give them one day to play their games in pairs!

Premio Dardos Award Nomination!

Well, I'm excited to say that I've been nominated for my first blogging award by fellow blogger Phyl!  Thank you so much for the recognition!  As per her directions, here is what the Premio Dardos award is: 

premios_dardo1Premio Dardos award  is a virtual award sent as a ‘gift’ from one blogger to another as “recognition for the creativity, effort and dedication” we each put  into our blog. The award originated in Spain around 2008-2009 and has been sent from blogger to blogger ever since.

To accept the award, you simply:
  1. Link back to the person who nominated you.
  2. Display the award icon.
  3. Nominate others whose blogs you admire for these qualities.

Well, in actuality, I would nominate Phyl as her blog was one of the first blogs I started following faithfully, and, well, we all know her blog is amazing!  But alas... I know she has already been nominated at least twice with this award, so I shall share the wealth! ;)  

Jen at Draw The Line At Jen always has the best photographs on her blog!  She's also a great writer...which makes her posts interesting to read!  Even the way she formats her writing looks artistic!

Mrs. C at Rainbow Skies & Dragonflies  Just like Phyl's blog, Mrs. C's blog was one of the first blogs I started following!  She has great lesson ideas and shares lots of examples of her student's artwork, which is always appreciated!

Both of these bloggers have great information to share and they also take the time to comment on other's posts, mine included...and as a new blogger, I can tell you that it is much appreciated!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Egyptian Pyramids

Not to brag or anything...but today happens to be a Day 6 and our school didn't have a snow day...which means I get to stay at home while everyone else goes to school! ;)

I've been taking lots of photos of what's been happening in my art classes so I'll try to stretch everything over the Christmas break.

A handful of my 6th graders have finished their paper pyramid sculptures that they started.  I really only wanted to devote three class periods to this, but they are stretching it out!  I don't know if I just have unrealistic expectations of what they should be able to finish or if this group is just this slow!  We're never going to be able to make it through everything I have planned to do by the end of the year! Do you have groups that take longer to finish than expected?  What do you do about it?  Give them the extra time, have them come in during a free period, mark them off for being late?  They try to tell me that you "can't rush art," which I know, but at the same time, I tell them to think like an artist who has been commissioned to create this art work...if you don't turn it in by the deadline, you'll lose out on the money you're supposed to get!

Here are their pyramids...inside and out!  Somehow, quite a few missed the requirement that they had to draw a diagram of the rooms/passageways on the inside of their pyramid, but they're good none the less!  I'll share more after the break when the other class finally finishes...there are some really great ones in that class!


Here is the rubric I am using to grade these as well. The students must fill out the rubric on their own first, and then answer the questions on the back.  Pyramid rubric is taken for a unit project grade and the questions on the back are taken for a quiz grade.

The way I have my grade book set up right now is that unit projects (like the pyramid) are worth 45%.  Participation in class is worth 25%.  Quizzes/mini projects/worksheets are worth 30%.  I struggled trying to make a decent and fair grading set-up with School Tool this year (I may tweak it and have participation worth 30% and quizzes worth 25%...not sure yet!  Or maybe everything should just be an equal weight..ugh!)  The great thing, though, is that students are learning about Ancient Egypt in Social Studies too, so they SHOULD be able to ace this quiz...especially since their teacher told me they just learned about the Rosetta Stone (which I touched on in their note packet).

It's with hopes that my good art students will shine with their projects.  Anyone who doesn't do well in art can hopefully make up for it with participation and worksheet/quiz grades.  Luckily, I can adjust grades on their report cards if I don't feel they deserve what they got from the average.  Our principal this year made the change on report cards so that special areas count towards final averages for 3rd-6th grade!  (Weighted of course, but I'll take that any day over having to assign a letter grade!)  

I know this could start a huge debate, but I feel like giving a number grade gives my class more importance to the parents.  It shows that the administration feel I'm important as an art teacher and that the kids should understand that art is important.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Spreading the Christmas Cheer!

Whew!  These last few days have been SO busy at school!  Yesterday I was a chaperone for the Extended Day program.  We went to one of the local nursing homes to take cookies and small crafts the kids made during after school.  Part of the requirement of the grant for the Extended Day Program is that we must do a community service project.  It went really well! The people living there loved seeing all the kids, and a few even gave them candy in return!  I think one of the high lights was for a group of students who received artwork made by one of the patients!


This lady loved her present so much she hung it outside her room right away!

The students showing off their artwork that the received from a resident artist!

In the last section, we sang carols because the people living there could not have cookies, nor would they be able to physically handle the presents the kids were handing out.


I also did the living Christmas tree "sculptures" one more time today with my special education class.  They loved it and they did SOOO well!

These guys even wanted to put a present under the tree!  We found some boxes and they fashioned some pipe cleaner bows for them.