Sunday, July 6, 2014

Today I met Kristy Patterson

Today I met dictionary artist and fellow art educator, Kristy Patterson from Oklahoma.  I don't remember where I first discovered her work, maybe pinterest or her etsy shop.  I instantly connected to it and have purchased several of her prints for gifts for family members and friends.  I love her work but had never bought anything for myself. She, along with her husband traveled to the Berkshires this holiday weekend for the Berkshire Arts Festival where I had the opportunity of chatting with her for a period of time and purchased the original of the work above.  I am really excited to own this piece and especially excited to own a Kristy Patterson original.  I plan to share it with my students to demonstrate that anything is possible with their art and then to proudly display it in my home.  You can see more of Kristy's wonderful work at Flying Shoes Art Studio and she has a etsy shop.  

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Children writing children's books - Connecting Art and Writing

The Boy Who Met Aliens by Sabrina, Caitlyn and Michael

Planet Wheeee by Paige, Rachel, Jordyn, and Elisalyn

Ultimate Cheer by Chloe, Kacie and Taylee

The Butler Gets Fired

Party at Pig's House by Alyssa, Kassidy and Tatumn

Planet Wheeee

Jenny's Flute Lesson by Julia, Kileigh and Tori
All of my fifth grade students worked to create an illustrated children's book this past school year.  Out of the approximately 25 books being written, only about four were successfully completed.  I had taken a course on writing children's books last summer and thought it would be a wonderful project idea for my oldest students when school began last fall.  In many ways, it was a wonderful project idea.  Students studied the work of published authors and illustrators, learned about writing manuscripts and how to create a storyboard.  They worked in collaborative groups of their own choosing to write the manuscripts and to create the illustrations.  The downfall, it took all but about eight weeks of the school year and as I previously mentioned, only a small percentage of the books were completed.  If I were forced to measure growth for this project; I would have several measurements to qualify the learning that was taking place.  I was most impressed by the engagement in the project.  The last month had many groups "checking out" their work so they could add illustrations at home and during rainy recess times. I think this was a success and good project but I am disappointed that I wasn't able to cover some of the other projects that I normally complete with 5th graders.  So, my take away, I will do this project in a much more concise way next fall.  I'm thinking I will make the books smaller, they had concentrated on a standard 32 page book.  I'm also thinking books will be an individual project instead of collaborative group work.  I loved the enthusiasm my students showed for this project so I am sharing some of the successful illustration with you here.
The Butler Gets Fired by Jeremy, Jacob and Jeffry
Niecko by Amira
The Butler Gets Fired

The Butler Gets Fired

The Butler Gets Fired

Rex and the Rainbow Mountain by Oliva, Sadie & Jenna

Rex and the Rainbow Mountain

Rex and the Rainbow Mountain

Sunday, June 29, 2014

I've been learning

Final days of my AOE class "Showing Student Growth in Art".  It has not been a disappointment.   I have been challenged to extend my thinking and definitely stepped outside of my comfort zone.  The discussions have been enlightening and thought provoking.  I will begin school in a few weeks fully armed to face the discussions of DDMs (District Determined Measures) and feel like I can make an worthwhile contribution.  I was most surprised to learn how far ahead other districts seem to be in this new phase of teacher evaluation.  I was thankful to be able to view some of the materials other educations are using and to gain deeper understanding as they shared previous experiences.  
And now....summer vacation!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Art is everywhere

I have come to realization that I am undoubtedly suppose to be an art teacher.  Yes, it must be true.  After having owned a couple of businesses, and done a wide variety of different type of jobs in my longggg lifetime I came to this surprising revelation today while calmly eating some cutesy sugary candies.  Whatttt?  I can hear you say.  So here is what happened. I was slaving away at straightening up the homestead a bit and cleaning the kitchen when I stumbled upon a container of flower shaped little candies that I had bought on a whim a while back when I was craving a sugar high.  Since I had worked through lunch and the tummy was a little rumbley, I cracked those candies open and began to much away.  In the process, the candies developed a life of their own and I felt drawn to creating patterns with the fun colors.  Before you knew it I was down to just a few of the enticing and tasty little guys and Ta Da...I had created a Tessellation!!!!  But, being that my mind is now obsessed with being an art teacher what was I next drawn to do.  Of course,  I grabbed the camera, you can't let that terrific visual get away!  Candy is now gone but the Tessellation will live forever!

Friday, May 30, 2014

Back to Class with AOE!

                 Showing Student Growth in Art
I just joined the community and gave my introduction bio. Off and running for AOE class #2.  I took the Assessment course a couple of months back.  It really challenged me to think about my teaching in a new way and also to analyze my feelings about assessment.  With the Common Core in place and the new teacher evaluation expectations, Student Growth is something I need to know more about.  I'll try to post as much as I can this month, especially since it is our final weeks of school and I will have lessons I want to share but please bear with me if I seem to disappear as the ever studious student.  I'll let you know how the course goes but I know I will walk away with new information for the fall and how I will document Student Growth with my students.

Kindergarten End of Year Weaving

Who ever thought of teaching weaving using these materials...Brilliant!  I wish I knew who to credit and I'm sure I found it on pinterest so if you read this, let me know and I will give your the credit due.  The white fabric is that shelf liner that Contact puts out.  It has really big holes which makes it idea for a Kindergarten weaving project.  I pre cut the fabric into 6" squares and the gimp into pieces about 8" long.  I started the lesson by gathering all the students on my rug in a circle and demonstrated the concept of weaving.  Some students had done some weaving but others had never seen this before.  For the novice students, we imagined the gimp was a snake darting in and out of the fabric.  First the snake pops his head up from underneath the fabric and then he pokes his head back down to hide.  I reminded them to not skip any holes and t
o try to weave in a straight line.  They were to work in a pattern of their own choice.  The above example was one 45 minute class period by a student who was comfortable with the process.  I could see this taking several weeks to complete.  It is a perfect project for the end of the year when students are getting antsy and unfocused.  You could have heard a pin drop for most of the class time.  Watching the students work and helping one another was fabulous.  I plan to trim off the edges of the gimp next to the fabric when finished and maybe add a line of elmers around all four sides to keep everything in tact.
This went so well with my Kinders, I handed out materials to early finishers in 1st grade and let them begin one, too.  Off to the store this weekend to buy more shelf liner and into my basement storage to scrounge for more gimp!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

The thrill of the kiln

This is the best work this student created all year.  I was so proud!
Let me just say that I Love being surprised by the creativity of my students.  As I've shared with you before, clay is the unit I enjoy teaching most each year.  Clay has always been my personal favorite medium so sharing it with my students is the ultimate excitement for me.  The best time of the year is opening the kiln after the glaze firing and discovering all the wonderful treasures.  There were so many amazing works this year that I decided to just share them all with you.  So this lengthy post will be photo heavy.  When my students came into class this week their projects were waiting with a rubric to be used for self assessment of their work.

 After completing the rubric, they flipped the paper and wrote an artist statement about their work that was to be posted on Artsonia along with the picture of their clay project.  This was a very enlightening process for students and myself.  I really appreciated reading their own reflections about their work and the writing stimulated many private conversations concerning what might be done differently the next time they worked with clay.  This was especially helpful for me as I worked with the fourth grade students that I will work with again next year.  I also found that most of the students were much harder on their work that I would be when I grade it.  I was thrilled to read most of their comments and to learn more about the motivation behind their choices.  These are some of the standout pieces for me.  They were all created by 4th and 5th grade students and are representations from the two schools I am assigned to.

Not your average turtle, a sea turtle

An elephant with a basket on his back

I'm not sure what this is from but he really focused on detail

An Eagle

This little bird is removeable from the nest

We added some twistee wire for the antenna 

Nice coiled snake

These giraffe necks are challenging

Don't you love the shades

Bunny with basket and carrot


Cute bird with really long legs

Bird with outstretched wings

Another removable bird in the nest

Amazing balance with this one

Great texture

The detail in this face is fabulous

A standing unicorn


This seahorse was only about 3" tall

Amazing detail and texture

Another fabulous dog

Wonderful standing rabbit

cute face and bow tie on this unicorn

This elephant is about 7" tall

wonderful squirrel

nicely personalized owl. 

Another elephant

original platypus

A person

Coiled snake

Another rabbit

This boy spent so much time and effort on this
spiked creature

Another interesting elephant

waddling penguin

Ready to pounce

very detailed duck

sweet face kitty

penguin with ice cube


bird with nest

amazing antlered deer

dog waiting for a hug


great bird