Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Let all the celebrations begin!!!

Happy Hanukkah everyone!  I just lit the first candle on my menorah but this time I had a little help from my new "friend" Mensch on a Bench!  After watching Shark Tank the other night, I shared that I thought my family needed one of these little guys to add to our family celebration and a friend showed up Saturday night to gift us with one.  Hymie, his name, has visited both of my buildings this week to both delight and curiosity.  Most students wanted to know what he was and if he was an elf.  They immediately connected him to "Elf on a Shelf".  Hymie was a busy guy assisting in the art room in any capacity I would allow him to.  Here are a few photos from his visit.
Testing out my new pencil sharpener 
Measuring up to the Primary Colors



Attempting to gain some attention

Finally, taking some time to participate in a project.


Thursday, December 11, 2014

Charley Harper Cardinals in the Evergreens

This year second grades placed their cardinals in evergreens.  Connections were made to science as the discussion was opened up about what an evergreen was and where we might see them.  The birds were drawn with black crayon and the evergreens were made with shades of green.  If you haven't purchased liquid watercolors for your classroom, they are wonderful.  Younger students can use them much more easily that the semi-wet watercolors in a tray.   I can better focus the lesson on technique and brush use rather than concentrating on the water/paint ratio.




Wednesday, December 10, 2014

American Artist Charley Harper Bluebirds



Last year I introduced my students to the work of American Artist Charley Harper.  They created some wonderful cardinal paintings.  This year I decided to try his bluebird with second grade students.  First off I need to share, this bluebird was pretty hard.  I only did this lesson with one class and returned to the cardinal for the others.  This was our first day back after Thanksgiving break.  We had a huge snow storm that took down a lot of trees and one of my favorite trees outside of the Art room suffered a huge loss.  I stepped outside the room during my prep and picked up one of the fallen branches and brought it inside of the room.  It is still hanging on my whiteboard.  I decided to have the second graders observe the branch and attept to see it like a scientist.  They started the lesson by first practicing on a small sheet of paper and then they drew a larger second drawing.  To this one they added the Charley Harper bluebird.   All the drawing was done with black crayon and they painted with watercolors.  Students chose to make the night sky a dark purple or to make an orange early morning sky.




Friday, December 5, 2014

Monoprints - City Lights

As a part of my November Month of Printmaking, 2nd grades created these really cool mono prints.  I loved their reactions when they discovered the image appear as if it were reflected in water.  A few students grabbed paper and continued to do their own additional compositions with more of a seasonal theme.  It's so much fun as well as rewarding when a lesson really goes over well.  This one will stay in my list of curriculum regulars.












Printing a winter scene

I found this project on Kid Artist along with several other wonderful winter projects.  I was winding down with printing projects late last month and had one class that was ahead of all the others.  I needed one more lesson to keep this group on track and not too far ahead of everyone else.  My November focus was printmaking and this definitely filled the bill.  The tree is printed using cardboard and the owls were fingerprints.  Week one, students colored in the full moon, printed the tree overlapping and added the fingerprints that would become the owls.  Week two, they added details to the owls using drawing pens and stamped snowflakes using commercial stampers from the dollar store.  Really cute, don't you think???





The Quietest Classroom Pencil Sharpener....GIVE AWAY!

Yep, you read that correct.  I have the pleasure of giving away one of these amazing pencil sharpeners to one lucky follower from the Continental U.S.  But first, a follow-up to my first post.  I've enjoyed the use of this pencil sharpener for a week.  I even bravely mounted it, on a bookcase quite successfully, and allowed a few of my fifth grade students to give it a run.  I wasn't sure I would allow the students to operate it.   It worked great, they loved it.    Everytime I place a pencil into the sharpener, give it 2-3 turns of the handle then remove it, I marvel at that amazingly sharp point.  It's not quite as fast as my trusty electric sharpener BUT that electric sharpener can not create such a fine point and often it eats my pencils.  So,  jump down the page and enter to win.  Don't forget to visit Classroom Friendly Supplies over on Facebook and LIKE to enter to win.



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Monday, December 1, 2014

The Quietest Pencil Sharpener and mine is Pink!!!


My new pink sharpener ready for action
A few weeks ago, the teacher from across the hall came into my room with her newest purchase.  She was very pumped to show it to me. She taught abroad last year and had experience the "perfect" pencil sharpener.  The sharpener she was demonstrating, she had found online and immediately ordered.  I was extremely impressed by the quality, ease of use, and the most amazing tip I had ever seen on a pencil.  I went home that evening and began to research, looking for my own amazing pencil sharpener.  My research led me to Classroom Friendly Supplies where I discovered exactly what I had been searching for.  The best part was I did not have to wait for it to arrive by international mail during a busy shipping season.  It arrived in less than a week, right after Thanksgiving.  This is a small company run by a teacher and she was willing to send me a free sharpener to test if I agreed to share with all of you about my experiences.  Let me tell you, my beautiful pink sharpener arrived today.  I was busily sharpening pencils as soon as I took it out of the package and it's true, it is terrific.  It's easy to use, is quiet, and sharpens a drawing pencil to a fine point with only one or two cranks.  I LOVE THIS PENCIL SHARPENER.  Sorry for shouting but I wanted to make sure you truly experienced my enthusiasm.  The only thing I'm not thrilled about is the mount.  I don't think I will be using it but it is equally easy to use without the mount.  I just place the pencil in the sharpener, put my left hand across the top of the sharpener and turn the crank with my right.  I'm not sure if I will share with my students, yet, or keep this all to myself! : }  I had been having trouble with my electric pencil sharpener with my drawing pencils, they would sharpen, break, I'd try again and a break.  Sometimes I feel like I am just sharpening away the pencil.  I sharpened about a dozen with this machine and not one of the pencils broke.  Yes, the same pencils that my electric sharpener keeps eating up.
Pencil in place, ready for a few cranks



Check out these points!!! 
Here is a link to a few videos on the Classroom Friendly Supplies site.  I'll follow-up in a week or so and let you know how its going with my sharpener.    You can replace the blades when they dull so I think I've found a lifetime friend!!!