Thursday, January 30, 2014

5th grades Monochromatic Paintings and a Chameleon...

My desk... all day... all week...  It's been busy in the art room this week!  Kindergarten has been painting/stamping hearts, 1st and 2nd grades have been designing snowflakes with shapes and lines in oil pastel and painting them with liquid water colors, 1st is adding some glitter to their finished pieces and 2nd is doing salt water color with theirs.  Third is working on 1 point perspective, 4th is finishing up their landscapes and moving into perspective and 3-D form, 5th is working on monochromatic night scenes. 

See this little guy? He's on my desk in the first picture. I needed a new tape dispenser for this year and found these guys at Staples this summer.  The kids LOVE him! They think it's hysterical that his tongue is the tape and he is licking a bug with it! ( the gray thing is a bug with white wings, you can't see his face from this angle but he has a freaked out expression on his face!) I have one at both schools... the kids say he needs a name... hhmmmm.....

My supply table "over flowith " with paints this morning. Paints and supplies for 5th grade to finish working on their monochromatic night skies this morning. Tomorrow's 5th's are just starting them tomorrow, they are so behind because of snow days, an assembly and a half-day for a teacher in-service. This will be the second time I have seen them this month! This afternoon i cleared the table and set it up so the 4th's that were still painting could come back and finish up and the kids that were done could practice their buildings at the tables with out having to navigate around the paints! 

These are some of the finished night scenes 5th grade has been working on. The kids are really happy with their finished pieces. 

Notice the difference in the two blues? These last two pictures with the brilliant blues are made with blue sax versa Temp. ( LOVE that tempera! The colors mix so nicely! ) Well, I ran out of the blue Versa temp so I had go into my tempera stash and use some Sargent Art Time I had from last year. Boy! What a difference in quality and color! Even the kids commented on the differences! I was scraping paint out of the Versa Temp bottle so a few kids could fix a couple of spots! 

Lately I have not been happy with some of the free-time choices that 5th grade has been making. I feel a lot of them are just wasting paper instead creating a free-time drawing that they would want to keep...  so that changed today...  I made up Art Journals for my 5th grades. Each has a cover page for their name that they can also design, inside the cover page are tons of ideas that they can use as a starting point for drawing ideas. There are 10 blank pages for them to create on. I showed them several examples of journaling I found on Pinterest. We talked about how an Art Journal is a visual record of their thoughts, ideas, interests... I compared them to writing journals they keep in their classrooms.  They are to fill each page and they should not be wasting their pages.  So far the two classes that have started using them are taking them seriously. I was happy to see them being much more thoughtful in their drawing choices! We'll see how it goes.  I saved them in the plastic ziploc with their Art Passports and told them they are to use them when they are done early.  

I hope every one has a great weekend!
Mrs. "C"  :)

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Is It Spring Yet?

It's been snowing here again... it's still sub-zero cold here also... I came home from work yesterday to find the house chilly ( never a good sign in the winter during a major cold snap ).
I went to look at the thermostat and found it said that although I had it set on 62 degrees F it was actually only 56 degrees F in the house and the furnace was blowing cold air! Way to end my Friday! Thought we had run out of oil!( I had a delivery set up to come on Saturday already) I called my heating and oil company and they sent someone over. Turns out the fuel filter was clogged and needed to be replaced.( I still had oil )

While waiting for the furnace guy I started a fire in the fireplace.  I'm thinking about getting a wood stove insert for my fireplace. One of my neighbors have one and they love it! It really saves them on their heating oil and boy does it heat up their downstairs!

pin from Wise Words Board

So this week was a little nuts...  Monday was a holiday for Martin Luther King's Birthday, that was all good, things went downhill from there...(ha!) Tuesday I stayed home with a horrible cold and it snowed ( again...) Wednesday we ( it was a family snow shoveling party( at 6;30 a.m.), much joy(not) was had shoveling in the below zero wind chills) had to shovel driveway so we could get out for work(7in) had a delayed opening,( still didn't feel great) all day the kids ( 3d-5th grade) kept asking," Why does your voice sound funny?" ( I have a cold, lol).  Go home Wednesday with all intentions to finish loading my SGO data I didn't get done but went right to bed.

pin from Wise Words Board

 Got up Thursday feeling much better but still had a stuffy nose, re-organized room after sub on Tuesday, one of my colleagues told me they helped her get started( new sub) she couldn't find my desk,( I share a room with the music teacher, his desk is barren, mine is colorful and has a big sign with my name on it!) She couldn't figure out my sub plan binder( super organized with everything you need, all sections tabbed and there are even photos showing locations of items in the room a sub might need, many lessons to choose from and the option of letting kids use the activity center if they are not comfortable with the lessons) she told my colleague she didn't realize it was this much work ( Ha! Did you think we play all day?!) The kids liked her though, said she was nice.

pin from Wise Words Board

A lot of the week was like this...  the weather has been gross and cold, the kids have not been able to get out for recess in forever ( never, ever a good thing...) all month we have all been doing mid-assessments with them and everybody is "assessed out" and even though we had a three day weekend last week I think what we really need is some warmer, sunny days! A lot of the kids are sick with various ailments, colds, flu, stomach virus. I have had more kids putting supplies ( markers, pencils,erasers) in their mouths this year! Yuck! Hello, germs everybody... Yesterday I had a first grader chewing on his dollar bill he had with him for lunch! Ewww! it's the older kids too! 

pin from Wise Words Board

We are working on several color projects and some perspective in class right now.  The landscapes in 4th grade are coming out amazing! The are mixing all their colors and I told them they could paint their landscape any colors that made them happy! The results and satisfaction with their pieces is so much better than if I had given them specific parameters to follow. I should have some good pictures for you next week ( I forgot to bring my camera to school yesterday )

pin from Wise Words Board

I am done freaking out about all the new teaching regulations...  I will comply with all my new regulations and paper work but we are are going to be creating as much as possible for creativity's sake, because we really need it! My second observation is done and it all turned out well, one more left next marking period ( unannounced, which means I have to be ready to perform my 16 different components in the observation framework at any given 20 minute period of time... ha!ha!) My SGO data is going well and I am learning some good things from it all even though it is SO MUCH paperwork for the district and State dept. of Education!

It is what it is people... that's what I keep saying this year... complaining will only make you miserable...
I'm off to do some errands and then I am going to spend the rest of the day doing what I want...
maybe I will get to finish up the shawl I have been working on... definitely making up pot of stew for later (yum...)
Stay warm if you are in the deep freeze like us ( single-digits and below zero wind chills!) Although cold is relative to what you are used to so I'm sure that for some of you 30 degrees F is pretty cold. At this point when we break 30 F again we are going to be telling the kids they have to zipper up their coats even though it feels warm compared to what it's been like! I had kids coming to school with shorts on this week(boys 3d-5th) REALLY! I swear people don't look or care what their kids put on their bodies before they leave in the morning! Some were only coming in with sweatshirts, no coats!( and these are the kids that own nice coats and clothing!) Ok, off my soap box...
Have a great weekend all!!!
Mrs. "C"  :)
(UPDATE: Just looked out the window and "oh yea! It's snowing again...")

Monday, January 20, 2014

Ok, So Maybe I do Procrastinate...

Since Saturday I have gotten very little school work done! ( I am going to finish today sometime, I swear! )  I did take down my winter bunting and decorated the fireplace for Valentines Day...

I did finish this WIP yesterday...  I started this piece this Fall and never got very far.  It was supposed to be a large infinity scarf. It has been re-born as a medium sized very tall cowl. It came out really cute! ( sorry, no finished pic, my daughter instantly adopted it and is wearing it at school today)  I have more of the yarn and I may have to make another for myself...

So in my procrastination on Saturday I decided to give this pattern a go! If you go to the site through my pin there is a link to the pattern, on the right, in the comments on the page. 

At first when I saw the pattern I thought, " What? "  The pattern is a graph. I have become pretty good at reading graphs, but usually they are accompanied by directions, in English...

The directions are written in what looks like Russian or something like it...  I thought what the heck and gave it a go after looking it over and translating the stitch symbols in my head...

 I really LOVE how its turning out! The picture doesn't do the colors justice, they are pretty shades of steely, blue-gray. ( it's really cloudy and dark here today so the light was not good for photos ) If you give it a go it is definitely more than the 14 rows it shows in the graph, I have kinda deciphered that you are to repeat rows 6-13, 9 times... I think,  it says 9x rz 6-13 amongst the Russian. I'm going with that...  I just found the 4 row repeat in the pattern and keep repeating it! I'll keep going until it's a size I like. 

I only had two balls of the color so I went off armed with my 40% off coupons and my Teacher Discount and went to Joann's Fabric to get more...  mind you it takes about a half-hour to get to this store, it's about 4 towns over from me...

I get there to find the yarn isles ( which are normally very well stocked ) greatly depleted! Just about all of the Amazing yarn colors were gone! Of course, the color I needed was gone! I found myself saying out loud," Really! I just drove all the way over here! "  The woman in the isle with me said, " I feel your pain, the colors I need are gone also."  There must have been some huge yarn sale this weekend I didn't know about... :(

Three stores and an hour and a half later I found what I needed 15 minutes from my house!  Seriously?!?! I paid more ( no 40% off coupons for this store ) but I grabbed them so I could finish up the shawl.  

I'm trying to stay warm... it's a bit chilly here in NJ right now and we are supposed to get more snow Tuesday night into Wednesday ( I have already jumped off the snow train, I'm done with snow, hit my quota for the Winter and would like Spring to come, NOW! )  I'm loving my tie-dye leggings! Found them at the mall while my daughter was shopping for jeans Sunday.  They're a knit and really cozy, Oh, and they only cost $5 bucks! Marked down from $20.00, only one pair and in my size! Pays to look around while your teenage daughter takes forever in the dressing room! :)

Well, I'm done sharing what I have been doing this weekend ( instead of the work I'm supposed to be doing...) I'm off to heat up a bowl of soup and see how much more of the shawl I can get in before I need to stop and finish loading my SGO data onto spread sheets ( Oh, joy...)

                                                       Mrs."C"  :)

UPDATE: as of 3:52 p.m. I have finally finished my paper work for school ( Yeah! )  I'm back to crocheting my shawl!  :)  Now they are saying the snow will start tomorrow morning now... oh,yeah...

Saturday, January 18, 2014

I'm Not a Procrastinator...

This pretty much sums up my Saturday! It was a hectic week, I'm on a 3-day weekend and I have much work to do for school! All my data for SGO mid-assessments have to be in on Tuesday, fill out a form that goes with the forms for grades 4and 5 and do 2nd Marking Period grades for 1st-5th grades( 6 classes of 1 and 4    7 classes of 2,3 and 5 ). I have next week to work on the MP grades at least...   so, did I get any of it done today?  NAH!!!  I did some dishes, putzted around the house removing forgotten Christmas decorations, shoveled unexpected snow from driveway, made lunch, made a cake, did some laundry, crocheted a little bit, more laundry, looked around Pinterest for too long, more laundry, now blogging...  zero work done for school...

Oh well... there's always tomorrow...  ( unless I find something more fun to do...)
                                                 Mrs."C"  :)

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Assessments to the Left, Projects to the Right....

What a wacky week!!!  I've been trying to finish up mid-assessments with my SGO groups and my K-2 have been working on their giant class Hearts of Kindness for our school's Kindness and justice week for Martin Luther King's birthday.  I was inspired by this pin and this pin. More on what we did with these when we are done with it next week.  

On Deep Space Sparkle Patty recently offered a free download of a 2014 calendar she made up.  It's a great calendar for school or home to keep track of your daily happenings! I printed it up , stapled it together and attached it to a background. It's hanging behind my desk on my window at school. Sorry for the darkish picture... it was snowing again yesterday and it was dark outside. 
It was FREEZING out this week! Monday evening through Wednesday saw below zero temperatures and 15- 20 below zero F wind chills here in Northern NJ!  My school and many more had delayed openings on both days.  I was getting used to school starting at 10:00 a.m. everyday! 

I have my 2nd round observation coming up on Tuesday next week. This one is an announced observation so I had some pre-observation questions I had to answer and upload to my account on Teachscape for my administrator to view before Thursday a.m. so we could have a pre-conference meeting on Thursday.

Here are the questions I had to answer: ( ready for this? )

1.)  To which part of your curriculum does this lesson relate?
2.)  How does this learning "fit" in the sequence of learning for this lesson?
3.)  Briefly describe the students in this class, including those with special needs.
4.)  What are your learning outcomes for this lesson? What do you want the students to understand?
5.)  How will you engage the students in the learning? What will you do? What will the students do? Will the students work in groups, or individually, or as a group? Provide any worksheets the students will be using.
6.)  How will you differentiate instruction for different individuals and groups of students in the class?
7.)  How and when will you know whether the students have learned what you intend?
8.)  Is there anything that you would like me to specifically observe during this lesson?

Yeah, all that...  I felt like I was back in college working on an assignment for a class! I was at my PLC Monday afternoon when I was reading all the questions, my other administrator happened to be present and I was like... OMG!!! They smiled in what I took as agreement and told me to keep it brief. So I did, but in a way that I feel was very professionally written, siting curriculum standards and specific IEP modifications where needed. Seeing that everything I upload to this site can be viewed by any administrator in the district including the superintendent, I am making sure I am keeping any "snarkyness" to myself...  there's a time and a place for everything...

This so looks like a beautiful abstract sunset to me! It's one of the 4th graders mixing plate from the landscapes they have been working on.  I have had them mixing all the colors for their paintings and they are creating the most incredible color values!!! How I wish we had so much longer than 30 minutes for class because they were so involved I hated stopping them to clean up!

The lesson was inspired by the beautiful paintings that Laura, from Painted Paper had her students create earlier this year.  If you have never been to her site go visit! Her students create gorgeous pieces!  More on what my 4th grades did with this lesson when they are complete!

I do love Crayola tempera but due to the fact that I can no longer afford it in my budget I have tried the Sax Versa Temp this year and I am very, very satisfied with it's texture and mixing properties!  

The paints are looking a little nasty at the moment!  :)  They show that great creativity and involvement in the objective that was going on! :)

The students loved trying different combinations of colors to get different values of brown! As I was circulating the room I could hear them all saying things like," Wow! Look at the color I just got! " and sharing with each other what colors they combined to create their loved colors! Boring assessments became a thing of the past and creativity was alive in the art room once more! ( I know that the purpose of these assessments are to be able to track my students learning ( and how well I am teaching them ) but seriously from a creative standpoint, they really are boring...  :(  The kids keep asking WHY? This is ART! We are supposed to be creating, not taking tests! 4th and 5th grade can be very insightful at times...) 

My 5th grades are finishing up their mid-assessments and a surrealism project this week. Next week they also begin their journey into everything color! They are going to be working with monochromatic values. This project is always a favorite! I have done it with 2nd to 5th grade and it's always a hit! The finished pieces are always stunning! 5th grade saw the beginning example on the board this week and is anxious to start! :)  

Happy to see the drying racks again filled with drying paintings! All is good in the art room once again! 

It's actually rainy ( very rainy ) and 50 degrees F here in NJ today! A stark difference to the past week! I'm off to go put on a pot of sauce for supper tonight and work on some creative projects that have been sitting in limbo all week...  tomorrow I have to get my lesson plan and all my documents for the lesson together to up load onto Teachscape before Monday for my observation Tuesday.  Hope you all have a creative weekend! 
Mrs. "C"  :)

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Back to School ...

Don't you wish sometimes you could just curl up in any cozy spot and fall asleep like that?  Tomorrow I go back to school with no snow days in the forecast so I need to get my brain in gear and figure out what I've got going tomorrow...

I spent yesterday working on my new school bag...  cutting, sewing, looking, changing, sewing again...

I'm at the point where I am putting together the lining...  The bag itself is coming out larger than I thought it would ( I am making it up as I go ) I have a couple of belts that match that I am going to make into the straps. They came with some capris I bought last summer and I never used them. I think they will look cool as the straps and they are very strong, which is good since I over load my school bag. I will have to sew them on by hand since they are too thick for me to sew over with the sewing machine. I used some old jeans for the sides and bottom panels. Never throw out a pair of jeans that you can cut up and sew into a project!

I so love this print! I don't want to cover any of the birds with pockets on the front so I will be doing some creative pocket placement...

                               Finally a pattern I am happy with! I'm feeling the yarn love again! :)

Hoping to finish it up tonight/tomorrow.  I will be crocheting as I watch the first episode of Season 4 of Downton Abbey tonight! I got my husband hooked last year... he never thought he would be interested but the characters pulled him in! His favorite show is The Walking Dead... (dead zombies are not my favorite) enough said.

It's dreary and rainy here this afternoon, it felt like a heat wave! The temperature got up to 36 degrees F! The snow finally melted off my driveway! It was so cold the past two days that even with the rock salt on the driveway nothing was melting!

This corner looks so bare without the Christmas tree...

Debating on lighting a fire in the fireplace...  finishing up some laundry,
deciding what to make for supper...  spent the afternoon cleaning.

 Quiet day... tomorrow will not be so quiet!

I will be back to running around and working with the kids. Hectic, but I actually miss the chaos of the kids! Ha! Remind me I said that at 3:30 tomorrow when I'm sitting in my faculty meeting wiped out and thinking to myself that I can't wait to get home and collapse!

Hope everyone had a great break! Until I can find the time to talk again...

                                                           Mrs.C  :)

Friday, January 3, 2014

Snow Day!

(photo of real snowflake by Russian photographer, Andrey Osokin)
So I went back to school on Thursday for one day and then, SNOW DAY today ( Friday ).
Yesterday included giving my Thursday 4th and 5th grades their mid-assessment ( as per my SGO requirements ) and getting my Thursday 3d's to finish up their abstracts. 

I spent a couple of hours shoveling 6-7 inches off my enormous driveway ( with the help of my son, yeah he didn't have to go to work until later so he was around to help. My husband was already at work.) The remainder of the day involved NOTHING... seriously, nothing.  I kept picking up different things to do and then putting them down because I just didn't have the energy/interest.

I'm just starting to come back to life, made a pot of Pasta Fagioli for supper ( YUM ) and I may start crocheting...  I am in-between projects and I keep starting, stopping and ripping things out because I am not feeling the love! I need to go through my pins and see if I can get any inspiration...

I'm hoping to get some sewing done this weekend also...  Hope you are all staying warm if you are in the deep freeze like we are in my area right now ( it's 7 degrees F at the moment with a wind chill of below zero! )  If you are somewhere warm I'm completely jealous! Enjoy your weekend!