Tuesday, November 10, 2015

We're at it again...mural painting with art club!

I'm super excited to say that we painting another mural this year...and it's HUGE!!  We are painting the entire wall in our cafeteria to look like a Paris city street.  I have a high school art club this year (with a few 7th and 8th graders mixed in) and we meet after school on Wednesdays for about an hour.  It's a super short period of time and I  feel like our progress is crawling, but I'm just excited to get to paint on a wall!!  Here's our progress so far!
We made sure to tape everything off so we didn't get in trouble for painting on the kick boards or the ceiling. ;)

The fountain is a work in progress...and the students decided that the sky needs some work.  They aren't happy with the clouds, and I fully support their decision.  I'm trying to be as hands off as possible for this, showing students some basic techniques to paint and letting them do most of the work.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Studio Art: Unit 1 Projects with Zentangles

This year I decided to start off my Studio Art students with zentangles.  Yes, I know it's up for debate among art teachers because it's technically doodling, but I like the word!  And, I have quite a few high strung students this year, so using the term "zen" and getting them to relax a bit worked perfectly for them.  Whether you prefer to call it doodling, these zentangled alphabets turned out great.  I love using these kinds of projects at the beginning of the year because (1) it's an easy way to cover the elements and principles in a way that's easy for students to understand and (2) it's very easy for students to be successful!  

We started out by creating zentangled alphabets.  We spent a day in the computer lab finding a font to use that would be wide enough to doodle in.  Students were required to do at least 9 letters.  Some simply chose alphabet letters whereas some did their names.  I've done this project in the past and the students loved it as well...you can see our results here.

For the final project in the first unit of Studio Art, students had to incorporate zentangles into a bigger picture.  Now, I'm trying this year to really give students more choices.  I don't know a lot about TAB but I'm slowly trying to incorporate more and more TAB techniques.  Last year, I attempted a completely TAB assignment and it flopped big time in my Studio classes, so I came to the assumption that I can't just do TAB cold turkey, especially when a majority of the students in that class are there because they have to take it.  So, each unit I do this year will have a final project that incorporates more choices.

The final zentangle project allowed students to choose a subject matter of choice, and I was quite pleased with most of the results!
The student who did the zentangled Darth Vater did a lot of little composition thinking...he played around with the patterns he used on each side of the face.  I was quite impressed with the thought he put into it!  The student who did the flaming skull...well let me tell you he brought tears to my eyes with this project.  When he was in 7th grade, he did absolutely nothing.  He hated art.  He struggled a bit during the first week or two of school to get into the swing of things in Studio Art, but once he made the decision to remove himself from the negative Nancy's in the class, he began to excel!  He did such an awesome job blending and shading his colors, and he did it all on his own!

The portrait on the left was created by one of our exchange students from Denmark.  I find it fascinating that they don't get art in the upper grades (she hasn't had it since grade school), and yet she is so willing to learn and soak up the information I have to give! 

This is another artwork from an exchange student.  She is from South Korea.

This student is going to Boces for criminal justice.  She wishes to be a dispatcher.  Despite her nature to complain and be negative, we figured out something she could do for her final project that actually meant something to her and she somewhat enjoyed doing!  Score one for Mrs. Impey. ;)

Here is my rubric and project sheet from the final zentangle project.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Sixth Grade Cave Paintings

My sixth graders have just finished up their first project, which was, of course, cave art!  When talking about curriculum for my elementary grade levels, sixth grade and kindergarten are really the only two levels where my projects tend to remain the same each year, and it really doesn't bother me either!  (Ask me about my high school curriculum?  It's ALWAYS changing!)

Don't get me wrong, I have yet to do cave paintings the same way more than once, but the premise is there.  This year, students received a huge piece of brown kraft paper.  We tore off the edges, crinkled up the paper, and then took it outside to create our rocks.  We used neutral chalk pastels to rub over the crinkled paper, and then used a paper towel to rub and blend the pastels together.
I HIGHLY suggest doing this process outside, as the chalk pastels tend to get really dusty.  Interested in seeing a previous years technique for creating our rocks?  We have used tempera on tag board in the past as well.

Now, here comes the fun part, where I kind of changed it up for my students a bit.  Once again, we did make our own egg yolk tempera paint.  If you're interested in seeing specifically how I do it with them, you can check out one of my blog posts from a previous year here.  Here's the adaption for this project from this year!  I did the best I could to turn my room into a cave!!  I pulled the blinds, covered up the cracks with black paper, and did my best to turn it into complete darkness.  Then?  I put a bon fire on my smartboard as their light source for painting!
These pictures aren't that great at showing how dark it was, but it was dark enough!  It was a bit comical too, as students started complaining that there was too much light coming through the windows and that this wouldn't work, but once all the lights were off and they had to work with just the fire out the smartboard, they found it was pretty difficult to see to paint accurately.

This was a super great experience for them and I definitely plan on incorporating the bon fire next year as well!  There was a lot of conversation about the actual project and the way they were painting.  Many noticed that their paintings got a bit better as their eyes adjusted to the darkness.

As for the bon fire video, it's pretty easy to find them on YouTube!  The video I used was actually an 8 hour video of a bonfire.  This is the specific video I used below.  It's nice and quiet, nothing distracting in the background...just the calming sounds of a bon fire crackling away!

 My goal next year is to actually use real charcoal, dirt and berries to create the paint.  I never seem to plan well enough in advance but I will next year!!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Back to school...three weeks late!!!

I'm still here!!! I promise!!!  The start of this year has been extremely hectic and I'm only now getting my feet under me!!  We are in the midst of a building project and I was unable to access either of my classrooms ALL SUMMER!!  We also didn't have power, lights or electricity for our first day back of staff development!!  It was horrible for my organized "OCD" to have to do everything on the first two days of staff development.  Not to mention, I wasn't able to get much lesson planning done at home with an almost two-year-old toddler!

Ironically, at the end of the last school year, I tore EVERYTHING down off of my walls in both rooms.  I guess I anticipated that the construction project would be a bit more organized...I guessed wrong. ;)  None the less, my No-No Board is gone this year and it has been replaced with my rules (in the elementary room).  I kind of stole some of the wording from Mr. E. :-D

My supply bin organization looks a bit differently this year.  I found these cute, mini-supply totes at Target in the dollar section, plus some pencil pails and rainbow pails.  I decided to use smaller bins to hold the supplies so that students don't have everything at their tables all at once.  In particular, I was thinking of those 1st graders and Kindergartners who tend to be distracted by the markers and want to use them, even though they aren't supposed to be.  I also made some simple, laminated place mats and taped them down to the counters, and I included a picture on the window for how the supplies should look like when they are returned.

My go-to bulletin boards for the first two weeks of school are minions.  Yup, straight from the art teacher's Facebook group.  The kids loved it!

For K-2, we traced, colored and cut out our hand prints for the first day of art class and I created this bulletin board.  We, of course, returned to school BEFORE Labor Day this year, so we had school on Thursday and Friday, no school on Monday, and then resumed classes on Tuesday.  Essentially, my first week and a half was just rules and hand prints with the younger students and we have only now really started to dive into our projects.

Last year I shared a bit about using sketchbooks in 6th grade, as well as my high school classes, and this year I'm increasing that usage a lot more.  We are using sketchbooks in grades 3-6, as well as in Art 7, Studio Art, my Printmaking elective and my Ceramics elective.  All is going well so far!

Speaking of my classes, I'd like to give you a glance at my ridiculous schedule this year.  I sort of did this to myself a bit this year by taking on an extra class.  My union contract states we teach for 6 periods, have a prep, a lunch, and a duty.  Well, at the end of the year last year, things got changed around and classes shortened a bit to add a 9th period into the schedule to create a common study hall time in the high school.  

I was beginning to have such high requests for electives that I wanted to offer two.  (Secretly, I'm hoping that they will be willing to hire a part-time, elementary teacher for next year to free me up for more high school classes...we shall see how that pans out!)  My numbers have increased drastically in the high school classes since I started teaching them two years ago, so fingers crossed!!
You'll also notice that I have THREE 12:1:1 classes this year...we added another teacher in our district.  AND, we added a third Kindergarten and third 1st grade teacher...those classes come combined to special, which really stinks for numbers and the amount of space I have in my room.

Needless to say, with the increase in numbers in our district, this is another reason I think hiring a party time teacher will be feasible for next year...hopefully!  Oh, and I'm doing art club this year AND I'm the VP for our teacher's union!!  That's it...I stop the ball there.  I'm not putting myself out there anymore this year.  If I do, remind me to say, "No!"  I'm still working my Jamberry business at home, and I plan on posting here once a week.  I know I won't be able to afford more then that, so one post a week is my goal!!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Sculpture Elective: Stop-Animation / Claymation

My sculpture class has been up to some extremely in-depth projects lately.  We recently completed some stop-animation projects that took FOREVER to complete...but they were totally worth it! Students designed their productions from start to finish, planning the characters, backdrop, props, camera angles, and story-line.  They worked in groups as small as 2 and as large as 5, with one person acting as the "director".

The students sculpted their figures using aluminum wire as a skeleton.  They wrapped tin foil around the skeletons to create more bulk on the body, and then used Crayola modeling clay to cover the body.  Modeling clay doesn't dry out, so it's perfect for this project!

Next, they had to design their backdrop and props.  I allowed the students to use anything from the classroom, including cardboard, foam, modeling clay, glitter, paint, oil pastels, tissue paper, etc.  I had an iPad, Kindle Fire HDX, and my Canon Rebel camera on hand for students to take photographs with.  We uploaded them into Windows Movie Maker, added an appropriate title page and credits page, and then shortened all of the photos to be approximately .3 seconds in length.

I love how these students incorporated the words with their project.  

These students made two different sets for their project...outside of the cave, and then inside the cave!


Monday, March 23, 2015

Studio Art: White Charcoal Sketch

On the bulletin board in front of my computer, I have some art works hanging that I did when I was in high school.  I've been noticing that my supply of mat board scraps has been on the rise since we've been mating more artwork this year, and I hate to waste them. They're usually too small to use to frame an artwork but I hate throwing them out.  So, I decided to give students a bit of a challenging assignment for a sketchbook assignment...reverse value drawings, or highlight drawings, as some call them!  

I have two drawings on display that I did in high school and the students have always complimented them, so I decided to give them the assignment for homework.  I gave each student a piece of scrap black mat board and a charcoal pencil.  I told them that they could use a black and white photograph to help them do the drawing, but the photo could not be a logo.  Since this concept is sometimes hard for people to grasp, I eased up on my normal "no copying" rule.

These two students created these images without copying!  I was so excited to get these two!  The first one that says "Camden", was done all on her own, and the second artist drew his own guitar.  Such a great perception of depth with his!

This student didn't exactly follow the "no logo" rule...but she did have amazing gradation.

I'm actually thinking that next year, I may incorporate this project as one of the drawing unit projects instead of a sketchbook assignment.  Most of the students really enjoyed the challenge of having to think backwards!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Studio Art: Cubist Superheroes

Well, I can officially say that this 5-year teacher has made a rookie mistake...she has spread herself too thin this year.  Between the business of being a K-12 teacher in one building, being on a scheduling committee, the negotiations team for our new contract, being on a report card committee to revamp report card comments, working the extended day program after school, AND starting a new business venture this year, I have reached a point where I have taken on too much.  Unfortunately, my blog has suffered because of it. :(

These are some of the cubist superheroes that my Studio Art classes completed this year.  We finished these in the middle of February, and since done a printmaking project, soon to come.  You can check out the objectives of this project, which are the same as last year, on this previous post.  Again, we used the coarse pumice and modeling mediums to create actual texture on our canvas. 

Similar to last year, the students that were extremely successful at this project were the students who had a hard time with the realist projects, and the students who favor the realism projects, struggled with this project.  Next year, I'm going to change up the subject matter for this project...I just haven't figured out what it will be yet.