Saturday, September 15, 2012

Anti-Bullying Self-Portraits!

I may not have mentioned it previously, but I am not considered a "full time" art teacher...I am 84%!  That means I go into school 5 out 6 six days in the 6 day cycle.  All of the other teachers are jealous of my illustrious "day 6" that I get to stay home (unless I tell the district that I can substitute teach that day, make copies, etc.).  So, this last Thursday I was able to stay home and get some work done around the house.  Guess what next week will be for me??? A 3-day weekend already!  In all honesty, I do enjoy having day 6 off, but I would really enjoy to become full time too!  Either way, I'm just happy to have a job teaching art in NYS!

As for what we've been doing in class, the Elementary counselor has been team teaching with me to present and kick off the anti-bullying campaign our school does every year with OLWEUS.  We are doing a little variety of projects. 

First, with K-2, we are talking about differences.  First she had them pick a single crayon out of my massive crayon box bin and they talked about how the crayons were similar and different.  Then they compared that to people.  Bless his little heart, one little boy said, "Well, um, you can use people like a pencil maybe and we can turn them upside down and use their hair to erase on their paper?  That could be how people can be like crayons!"  He said it with the utmost sincerity...those are the moments that keep me teaching elementary art!

Anyways, after the crayon talk, we read the poem "The Crayon Box That Talked" and then let the kids watch the video.  For the art project portion, each student received one crayon from a crayon box to draw a self-portrait with.  Let me just tell you, I was very impressed with some of the self-portraits one of my kinder classes drew!  I gave them a mirror to observe their facial features and I was SHOCKED at the number of students who drew their eye lashes, freckles, eye brows, etc. WITHOUT any prompting!  Not what I expected!  Definitely have some advanced little artists this year in kindergarten, I can't wait to see this group grow up and progress through art!

After all of the students create their portraits, we will display them in the order of the rainbow on our anti-bullying bulletin board in school!

So the other project we are working on currently is with 5th and 6th grade.  They are pretty similar.  The 5th graders broke into groups and brainstormed anti-bullying slogans.  After choosing their best one, they are creating photo alphabets to piece their slogans together to hang in the hall.  This is the FIRST time I am doing this with younger kids, so we will see how this turns out!  This weekend it's my homework to make sure all the pictures they took will work and to get them printed out in black and white so they can trim them and mount them neatly.  This particular group decided to all use art supplies to create their letters, which was a little disappointing.  My other group of 5th graders, however, is going to be a little more creative.  About half of them want to go outside to find letters and the others will be using their bodies/hands to create their letters. Once completed, these slogans will line the hallways at school...we will have 12 different slogans to display!

As for the 6th graders, they also brainstormed slogans that incorperated our school name/mascot into them.  One group decided on, "Bullies beware...the cougars are everywhere!"  Then, I had all the letters of the slogan cut out in large letters using a Cricut.  Then, each student gets 2 letters to decorate with an anti-bullying theme.  Some of them are doing a really nice job being creative with the theme, but others are sticking to the same old peace signs, hearts, etc.  Once finished, the two slogans will be displayed for the school year at the prominent school entrances.  More pictures to come after the slogans are complete!


  1. Excellent project- love the rainbow self-portraits your kindy kids have done a wonderful job! They will make a great group display! Also impressed with your anti-bullying slogans - maybe the message will get through!

  2. My school also participates in the Olweus program.

    I wonder - since you are not full-time, but are in NY state like me, does that mean you are not tenure track? Seems like a way to cheat you out I'd that! Are your contract benefits like those of a full-time person?

    1. Even though I'm only 84%, the state still considers me full time. This is what I get: I get my full health insurance benefits, though our district requires teachers to pay something like 5%. I am still tenure track: this year is my tenure year, hoorah! It also won't count against me when it comes to getting my professional certification in NY. My provisional is up in September 2013, so I will have completed three years of teaching as of this year. On the Teach website, it says that in order to get your professional, you need to have taught for three years at at least 70%, so I'm good! Also, instead of getting 12 sick days, I only get 10. There are two of us at my district that are 84% (a music teacher and myself) and one of us that is 50% (the librarian). Ironically, I am at my percentage not by choice, but the other two are! I was hired at 83%. Once the high school teacher retires, I will have the opportunity to become full time or stay part time, as our contract says there cannot be more than one person at part time in a department.

      I had always wanted to teach high school, but I'm a little stuck on the younger kids now after two years of teaching them. Therefore, I think that I will keep my K-6 students and I will take on some high school electives so we can try to expand our art department and get more enrollment in classes.

  3. Darn that autocorrect. I meant: a way to cheat you out of that.