Thursday, October 31, 2013

Primary Colors and Mondrian-Kindergarten and 1st Grade

This is what my white board looked like for several weeks in September! It was all about the primary colors in 1st Grade and Kindergarten! Let me tell you those kids are blowing my mind with their brain skills! They can recite the Primary colors from here to Sunday and tell you why they are the most important colors on the color wheel! One of the Kindergarten teachers told me the other day that she has heard her students talking about and using what we have studying in art class about color theory! ( we are now mixing the secondaries, we are finishing up orange and Warm colors and will be moving on to purple and green with cool colors starting tomorrow.

To start we looked at Mondrian's painting, Boogie Woogie Broadway. We discussed the colors, shapes and lines we saw. We even watched a video clip I found on You Tube where an animator created a 3-D animation based on the painting. The kid's loved it!

1st Grade proceeded by painting their square paper in using rectangles and squares using only the Primary Colors. 

We used the tempera paint cakes for this.

My Kinders got Primary colored construction paper that I cut into medium size rectangles and I demonstrated how to cut them into squares and rectangles of many sizes. They glued their shapes down onto their backgrounds. This was to reinforce their cutting and gluing skills.  They got black paper strips that they were able to cut to whatever size they wished when we added the black horizontal and vertical lines.

First grade stamped their horizontal and vertical lines onto their abstarcts using black tempera paint and cardboard scraps.

Some of these pictures have a reflection on them because they are part of an amazingly beautiful display in the front hallway at school.

We have moved into the Secondary colors in K-2 can't wait to show you what they have been doing!  I will take pictures and share soon! 3d grade is finishing up some patterned leaves that they had to write reflections on today, 4th is creating some abstract art from realistic beginnings and 5th grade is working with Forms and Visual texture.  Will share soon! I'm so proud of the kids and how hard they are working this year!

Well, it's Halloween here in N.J. The first one the kids in these parts have been able to celebrate in 2 years!!! No blizzard or hurricane this year! YEAH!!! I'm off to go watch the original Halloween and The Shining with my daughter! Trick or Treat!!!

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend and takes time to relax and re-charge!
                                                       Mrs. "C"

Friday, October 25, 2013

Prang Product Reviews From Myself and the Kids

This summer Dixon/Prang generously sent me a box of art making goodies to try out and review.  Since so many bloggers were reviewing them at the time ( August-ish ) I decided to wait and bring them to school and let my K-2 students loose on them and give their own opinions of the products.

Two of the products were huge hits with the kids:  the Prang Bullet Tip Classic Markers and...

The large Triangular Colored Pencils...
I put the the colored pencils in a can on my desk and offered them to random students while they were coloring during a free draw. "What's that?" several of the students asked. "Are there more I can use?" became the question among the other students. "No, you will have to share them with each other." I said ( insert me thinking how can I get more of these for this year! ) These colored pencils have quickly become my new favorite colored pencil for my students! The triangle shape keeps them from rolling off the table, the larger body is easier for my younger classes to grip and they color very smoothly! I'm thinking of writing up a product request on Donors Choose to get more for the art room ( budget is spent for this year ). These are my favorite item from the box of goodies.  The students LOVE these colored pencils! 

I put the pack of classic bullet tip markers in our free draw marker buckets and let the kids discover them on their own to see what they would say. 

"Are we allowed to use these?" "Yes, they are a marker like the Crayola ones but these are made by a company called Prang."  The markers, like the colored pencils, again quickly became the 
fascination among the kids. As they were drawing, coloring and sharing them from table to table I went around and asked the kids how they liked them.  The majority of the students expressed that they liked how they colored. They liked how the color didn't "run out" as they put it. The ink in these markers is very... how do I describe it... wet. They don't seem to stop working even when the kids are coloring a lot. The colors are bright, the kids like the turquoise blue that comes with the set.  They don't dry out if the cap is left off for extended periods of time. The Prang markers are the searched for markers in the free draw buckets!

I also received an 8 color set of Prang semi-moist watercolors in the box.  These I personally used several times for posters I made for the classroom before school started. The set comes with 8 colors and a paint brush. The paints are a high quality and flow very nicely on paper. Let me say that I am used to the Crayola brand that I use with the kids. The brush that came with the set is fine but a lot of bristles fell out while I was painting with it. The colors are all very bright but I didn't care for the red in the set.  I felt it looked more like a red-orange than a red. My daughter said I was crazy, that it looked like red to her. 

Here is one of the signs I painted with the Prang watercolors. Ok, so maybe I am a little crazy because it does look red in this photo... but any way, you can see how nice the colors are in the circles. The splatters are also from the Prang watercolors. 

There was also a pack of my already favorite pencils.  They are worth every penny! They sharpen well, the graphite lays done smooth even color and the eraser is very good quality. I highly recommend them for your classroom.
All in all I found the Dixon/Prang products to be of very high quality! I will be buying the triangular colored pencils for my classes next school year. I really love them! 
I will definitely consider buying their classic markers for next year also. I always buy the Dixon-Ticonderoga pencils as they truly are " The World's Best Pencil "

Thanks Dixon/Prang for the opportunity to try your products! 

Mrs.C  :)

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Pumpkin Forms and Value - 5th Grade

My 5th grades have been hard at work! We have been working on form and value for the past few classes.   They drew overlapping pumpkin shaped forms that we traced in oil pastel, orange at the bottom, yellow in the middle and peach at the top.

We used watercolor to paint in the pumpkins using different values of orange, red-orange at the bottom, orange in the middle and yellow-orange at the top.

One class was spent on painting the backgrounds. The kids used tints and shades of blue to paint them in.  One of the students asked why we were painting them blue and not some other color...I asked the class to think about what we have learned about color in 4th grade... One of the students raised their hand and said I must have picked blue because it is the compliment of orange (yeah!)

After they were glued onto the blue background we all agreed that they looked like they were floating in a sea...I had the students brainstorm...what could we do to/add that would finish their pictures?  The majority agreed that it was necessary to add something to ground their pumpkins.
Construction paper crayons in dark and light green were used to create grass, brown for the vines. As the students were working I grabbed some gold paint and had them use it to trace the vines, the brown was hard to see.  They also used it to add some gold to the grass and highlights to the pumpkins, Tah Dah! The finished pieces are stunning! The kids are really proud of their hard work!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

How Writing my Visual Arts SGO's Have Been like the Five Stages of Grief... a realization at the end of it all...

(picture taken by my husband during Caribbean cruise in July)

I know, I know, I apologize to those of you who have been waiting to see all the awesome art work my students have been working on these past couple of weeks... but if you are from New Jersey or any other state that has/is implementing SGO's( student growth objectives ) into the public school educational system you know how overwhelming and consuming it has has been so far this school year.

I have gotten to the point where I am now teaching and implementing my SGO's in all the lesson's I am teaching ( the kids are doing a beautiful job! I swear I will be sharing pic's soon! ) I have found myself thinking about my SGO's all the time( I know it's crazy) Now that I am past all the process of developing and pre-assessing I came to a realization this morning while doing dishes( again SGO's creeped into my mind! I have been working on a Power Point presentation for an in-service with regional art educators on Monday)...  getting myself to this point has been like the Five Stages of Grief!(not kidding!)

( another picture from the cruise)

I am calling them the Five Stages of Writing My Visual Art SGO's ( inspired by the uncanny similarity to the Five Stages of Grief ).  All these changes have been "the Death" of how we have always done what we do, but where there is death there is also life....

1.)  DENIAL:  "Oh, In the end we won't have to do this..." " if they don't tell me I have to do it I am not"  I think in the beginning last year we kept thinking this won't happen... we denied that we would have to go down this path that we have never travelled.

2.)  ANGER: Yeah this one has gotten a lot of mileage and a lot of people still have not moved past this one. ( I know a few who are still on #1) " I can't believe they think I can possibly do all this!" " What are they thinking! This is impossible?! "  " There is no time to do all of this! They are asking WAY too much of us now!!!" ( yeah, there are times I am still back here! )

3.)  BARGAINING:  " If I do this instead, can I do this and then I can bypass all this other paper work that has nothing to do with the creative teaching of Visual Art? " ( yeah, not happening...)

4.)  DEPRESSION:  Overwhelming anxiety and sadness for having to do all these assessments and think in a completely different way.  Feel like I have been wasting several weeks of studio working time in the art room( still feel that way on this one ). 

5.) ACCEPTANCE:  I think I am here now, although I do travel back and forth to #2, #3 and #4 from time to time.  I think that several, if not all of my special subject colleagues will want to have me checked into a psychiatric unit for observation after this statement...  as much as I have hated this journey I find that I have profoundly grown as an educator.  There I said it. There has been some value in all of this SGO insanity that I have found myself wrapped up in this Fall.  I have learned that there are things that I took for granted that my students knew and understood about art but in reality didn't. By doing my pre-assessments I have found and accepted flaws in the way I was teaching and am now working on fixing them so that I may get my students to gain a better understanding of what they are learning. This is not something that is going away, it will be here for some time... Right now it is soooo hard... we are developing that which has not existed... we have nothing to review and get ideas from...  we are the ones laying the ground work...we are the ones getting it all together so that in the future others will have something to look at to get ideas... we are the ones making the mistakes and the revelations... we are the beginning of the future of the way we will teach...

Is it good or bad? I don't know for sure... I do know that if learning new things grows your brain capacity my brain has grown about 300% ( that may explain my constant headache lately, I was blaming it on stress! ) I actually had a mini break down the other morning because I thought I lost data from my third grades! I freaked out! I was like a crazy woman tearing apart everything in my school bag, tears were forming, I was yelling at the top of my lungs," How could I have lost it?! " After my husband calmed me down and I thought maybe I accidentally took it out with the data for my other school I realized...Duhhhh! I am not assessing third grade for my SGO! Hello, McFly! There is no data for third grade! ( insert ok I'm an overwhelmed idiot face )

Monday I have an in-service with other regional art educators from my area. We will be spending the morning discussing our SGO's and what we are doing to implement them. I created a Power Point to show them ( another new thing I have learned during all this. That and Excel spread sheets, yuck! ) In the afternoon we will be talking about STEM to STEAM. I did some work with this last year so I have been asked to share what I have with everyone before the keynote speaker. I'm excited to be able to sit down with my fellow art educators and collaborate.

Check out what Leslie from(the way cool) Donald Art Room has to say in her recent post about having to face changes as art educators!

How do all you feel about all this change? Let it loose, tell me what you think! What has your journey been like if you are on this crazy ride? What stage are you on?

 Hope you all have a great weekend! I have my progress report grades to load into the computer and then it is going to be all about relaxing! No SGO's!!!
                                                         Mrs.C  :)

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Elementary Visual Art SGO's - A Reflection...

Beware the following is kinda wordy...
I will try to break it up with pictures for those of us that need visual breaks!  :)

The above picture is kind of how my brain feels at this point...

I am officially in the home stretch of getting all my SGO Baseline Data onto Excel spreadsheets!  I am finished with 1st and 2nd grade and will hand those in on Friday.  Have 4th and 5th grade left...  I only have to load my data onto the Excel spreadsheets and finished putting together last night while I was waiting for my daughter at dance class.  I will start doing that when I am done with this post (can you say procrastination?).

As stressful as it has been, I do have to say that my eyes have been opened to several things...

1.  I have a much clearer picture of what my students know and don't know about the Elements of Art.  Although I am still searching for a better way to collect my data than having to display multiple choice questions on the Smartboard and read each one and all the multiple choice answers to each and every class I am assessing!  My assessment has to be data driven to show concrete assessment for the Dept. of Ed for the State of NJ and my district.  I chose to do it this way (after talking to and taking the advice of my regular ed colleagues) because I have so many students with IEP's that I needed to cover allowances/modifications for those students that have material read to them and those that get extra time. 

The whole assessment took about 20-30 minutes depending on how we moved through each question.  I would take time and give everyone the time they needed to answer.  A few of my kids were not able to keep up so I copied the Powerpoint and had their para-professional go through it with them at their own pace so they didn't feel pressured to keep up with us.

I still had a handful of students that I re-assessed because I knew they knew more than what the assessment showed.  I took them aside while the kids were working on their projects and had them go over it with again one-on-one.  The majority scored higher.

2.  I don't enjoy giving data driven assessments and my students didn't enjoy having to do them as well.  We have only started our art projects within the past two weeks.  We're now a month into school and usually have at least one/two projects done.  :(

3.  I find that I am REALLY drilling our lesson objectives in each and every class.  My SGO's are based on their knowledge of the Elements of Art.  For my little guys it's shape, line and color, for 4th and 5th, it's all the elements.  I am definitely teaching to my SGO's...  Hence, the reason I chose something we use all the time in all our projects.  I've been making up rhymes to help them remember...  (it's working though)

4.  As much as the whole process from last March to now has been confusing, frustrating and utterly maddening at times I have survived.  I learned a lot...  About a lot of things... Now I can actually work in Powerpoint and create an Excel spreadsheet!  Some of you may laugh but for me it's a major technological break through!  I did not grow up in the era of computers and have been gradually dragged into it kicking and screaming!

I have been stopping to breath a lot and I have been playing a lot of George Winston in both of my art rooms...  Very soothing.

I knew that I could not follow this mantra if I wanted to rescue any of my sanity this school year.  I have been very pro-active getting everything done (God knows how but I have) I think this explains the lack of sleep.

This is hanging by my desk...  One of my older students read it the other day and asked: "Where is the blanket fort?"  I had to break it to him that there really isn't one in the room and he gave me a confused look.  Student: "Then why does it say you will be in it?" (breathing again...)

Now that we have some projects up and going, I can finally post some of the good stuff! Taking photos this week and will be sharing them soon. 

To all my fellow New Jersey teachers...  I feel and share your pain...  We are all in the same confusing, exasperating boat.  Hold on to the life raft, this too shall pass and all will be well.

At least that's what I keep saying to myself when I start to feel like this picture of Lucy... 

Mrs.C  :)