Saturday, September 29, 2012

Assessments Until I Can't See Straight....

OK, I am supposed to be assessing mounds of student art work for 3d - 5th grade at this moment but I am just not feeling the love.  I have to have all of my 3-5 grades posted by Wednesday at midnight for progress report grades.  That's approx. 450 grades!  Some of my students have not finished up their pieces so some will be in progress grades.  Does it sound like fun yet?

I forgot my camera on Friday to take pictures of my K-2 grades pieces that they are doing so I'll do that next week when I recover from progress report grades.  I'm sitting here with my 1/3 finished afghan I'm crocheting on my lap, watching a really bad monster movie on SyFy and drinking cold coffee.  The weather is dreary outside and I just can't get motivated.

Wednesday the sink faucet at the K-2 school decided to fall apart!  This is how the kids saw it...

A giant fountain of fun!

This is how I saw it....

Basically Old Faithful erupting!

Of course it was the beginning of my day and I had a day FULL of painting to do with all my K-2 classes!  I refused to change my plans and spent the day carefully filling water buckets so as not to flood the floor completely and made wet paper towels for the kids to wash their hands with (ALL DAY) The students thought it was cool how the water shot up out of the faucet every time I had to fill the water buckets!  So glad I was able to keep them entertained...  It didn't get fixed until the next day.

Well I think I must move myself, get dressed and start to...

Friday, September 21, 2012

Liquid Watercolor Love!

This school year I bought liquid watercolors for the first time ever.  I purchased them in my school order for my 3rd - 5th grades.  "Love Them!"  Since my district has a contract with School Specialty, I purchased the Sax brand.  I spent some time yesterday morning getting them prepped for my afternoon third grade classes.  Did I say;  "Some time?"  Okay, make that A LOT of time!  I had a class that went on a trip so luckily I was able to utilize the time to finish up!

I started by setting up my paint trays with eight of the plastic cups I use for paint.  I order them from Sax as well and made up six trays altogether (six tables, six trays).

Then I cut a hole in the middle of each of the plastic lids.  This way if the cups jiggle or tip a little, the paint won't come pouring out!  That's a trick I came up with when I was on a cart and had the students painting in their classrooms.

Okay, so cutting each one took me a bit of time since I realized that I had forgotten to bring them home with me the night before to cut while I was watching TV.  I use a really sharp pointy scissor to carefully poke a hole in the top and then use one of the student scissors to cut out the larger hole.  Notice the purple finger?  Some of the bottles didn't pour very well so I ended up wrapping a paper towel around the bottle to catch any drips! 

I ended up adding more of the concentrated watercolor to the cups.  After mixing one of the trays with water I found that the colors were too diluted.  I poured in enough watercolor to cover the bottom of the cup (more time).  See the drip of red in the yellow?  That's when I started wrapping the bottles with the paper towels.  No more drips in my colors after that!

These cups of red-orange are my "Oops!" cups.  As I was adding the extra color to each cup I soon realized that I had started to pour red into all the orange cups! (more time) I capped them to save for another project.

All the trays with lids, ready to fill with water and cap! (this photo is before I realized I needed to add more watercolor to the cups.

These are the final prepped trays.  After filling them with water and capping them, I realized that it was difficult to distinguish a few of the colors from each other!  I knew if I had trouble telling which one was which the third graders definitely would!  I grabbed a roll of masking tape, a Sharpie and my scissors and began to make little labels for each cup (more time).

I painted a color chart to hang up so the kids could see what each color looked like.  The color is more vibrant than it looks in the photo. 

This is the display I made to show the third grade students different design options for drawing out their Horizontal/Vertical designs.  They are inspired by this lesson from Fine Lines, and found the blog post from a pin on Pinterest last Spring.  I demonsrated how each design could be created and let the students choose which one they wanted to draw. Several Students even created their own versions of a Horizontal/Vertical design!  They used rulers to get the straight edges.  It was good ruler practice.  Some of them still have some difficulty holding the ruler in the right way so that it doesn't move on them while they are drawing with it.

Once the Horizontal/Vertical lines were drawn, the students designed each section using construction paper crayons.

The kids were so intrigued and excited when they saw the watercolors!  They're used to using the Crayola 16 color pan sets.  I think the liquid watercolor made them feel very grown up and professional! 

Here is a few of the finished ones together for a photo op!  They will still need one more class to finish painting all of them.  One of our classes was cut short because we went outside to see one of the Monarch butterflies that had emerged be released so it could migrate to Mexico!  Our Spanish teacher has a beautiful butterfly house in her classroom that is filled with Monarch butterflies in transition!  This one was the first to come out of it's chrysalis and needed to be set free!  These next few pictures are a sneak peak of the projects the fourth and fifth grades are working on.

These are sketches my fifth graders are working on.  The inspiration came from Shine Brite Zamorano.  The shading and shadowing of the crayon shapes is great practice for the still-life they will be doing next.  They loved the idea of the crayons drawing lines on their papers!

The fourth graders are working on leaf abstractions.  The inspiration for this lesson comes from Adventures of an Art Teacher.  We studied the vein patterns of real leaves and pictures with magnifications of leaf vein patterns from different plants.  I laminated the pictures into table posters so they could look at the pictures while working on their own leaf abstractions. The students also needed to blend at least two colors together in the sections.  The students really love blending and mixing the colors together in different combinations!

So, that's what we have been up to in third, fourth and fifth grade.  Next week I will post some Kindergarten, first and second grade pieces the students are finishing up.

I broke out the paints today for Kindergarten and first grade for the first time.  Second grade has been painting since the first class.  When my first grade class walked in this afternoon and saw the tables ready for painting they all started to squeal with excitement! Kindergarten and first grade did an excellent job following directions and are creating some beautiful pieces I can't wait to show!  I bought some tempera cakes for my K-2 classes to use this year and they are definitely an improvement on the ones I used to buy 15 years ago!  More on that in my next post!

Enjoy the first official weekend of Fall!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

School is in Session...


Well...  I'm back to school and it feels like I never left!  It's officially one week since the students returned and have finally seen all of my classes for the first time.  Today we got started on our first real projects!

Thanks to Mona and Mr. Russell who's awesome idea it is, life in the art room has been very peaceful so far.  I changed up how I am using the cue this year and it's been going really well (hope I am not jinxing myself!).  Instead of just saying;  "Show me the Mona"  as the cue to stop, look and listen, this year I say;  "Mona" and I have the students answer back with; "Lisa".  I continue to say;  "Mona" until I have everyone's attention.  I did not have to say it more than twice today in a class to get everyone looking and listening!  I love it!  I have been saying it several times during a class to get them used to it and it's paying off!



This has been the mood in my art rooms for the most part.  Don't get me wrong I do have a couple of classes/students who have the potential to make me feel like this instead...


I've learned over the years to just...


                                                  It's so much easier that way.

I had all my new Kindergarteners and First graders.  Those of you that have been following my posts know that this is the first year I have EVER taught Kindergarten.  Our district has gone to a full day Kindergarten program so they have the opportunity to come to art class this year!

Let me just say prepping for Kindergarten is time consuming and necessary!  I can't wait until all of them can write their own names!  Some of them can, a lot of them think they can and a lot can not!  I wish I had a dollar for every time one of them started to spell their name for me after I asked them what it was!  I'd say;  "You don't have to spell it, just tell me what it is" and they would start spelling it again!  I stopped asking and just started looking it up on my seating chart.  I put all their names on their papers before class to save time.  When I passed them out they would keep saying;  "That's not my name!" I'd ask them;  "Well, are you____ ?"  They would answer with;  "Yes, but that's not my name."  I would just answer with;  "Yes it is"  and move on.

I have loved having them in class though, they are the most enthusiastic, tell you what ever random thing is on their minds group of students I had ever had! I can't wait to see what the year is going to be like with them!


I'm so organized at work this year it's scary!  It's been saving my life and sanity though.  My schedule is so jam packed that a few days my only prep is 8:30AM - 9:00AM.  My only other break is lunch which I usually eat while prepping for the afternoon.  All the new classroom management strategies I have implemented have been a life saver also!

I should have some student art work to show you by next week so, until then...



Monday, September 3, 2012

And So It Begins....

Tomorrow is the first day back for teachers in my school district.  Tuesday and Wednesday are filled with meetings and professional development.  Thursday the students return...

 My sink counter will soon be filled with paints and brushes...

My hands will look like this all day long...


My desks will look like this once again...

And the Art Room will be filled with lots of this...


And this...

And this.

Here's to a great new school year for all filled with lots of Creativity and Laughter! 

Mrs. "C"   :)