Thursday, February 23, 2017

In the Art Room: Folk Art Still Life Inspired by Kerri Ambrosino

 Next week, I'll be heading to the Big Apple for the NAEA convention (you can check out the dates/times/topics I'll be presenting and co-presenting here). In preparation, I've been working on my sub plans which, as you know, is always a really good time. Because I'll be presenting on folk art, I decided to base my sub plans around that theme. In particular, my students will be learning about the Mexican folk artist Kerri Ambrosino
I'm a sucker for color and pattern. I am using her work to also reteach the elements of art and introduce the principals of art. While I am gone, my students will tackle the first half of the sub plan video and we'll do the rest together when I return. Cuz there ain't no way those kids are using puffy paint without me! I'll be doing this lesson with all grades. When I create sub plan videos, I often do this because it is so much easier for the sub. They become experts at the lesson and don't feel flustered going from one lesson to the next, switching out visuals and supplies. A Happy Sub means Fewer Flubs! Here's the sub video. Feel free to use in your art teacherin' adventures:
Supplies needed:

* Popsicle sticks. I have ONE TRIZILLION popsicle sticks. I always get them donated and I never know what to do with them...until now. Of course, they aren't necessary for this project but they do add a fun three-dimensional element. 

* Matte board/cardboard. This will hold the weight of the sticks. I have a surplus of card and matte board as well so this was a good way to use that up. I cut it 4" X 7".

* Construction paper.  In various colors, also cut to 4" X 7" to serve as the background.

* Scrap papers. For the vase and flowers.

* Foam flowers. Again, another art room surplus. Let's use 'em up! They'll also add that fun third dimention.

* Puffy Paint!
 While I'm away, I hope that the students will get all of their sticks decorated and glued to their background. For my 30 minute classes, they might only get the sticks complete. For my hour long classes, they should have no problem knocking that out. We are also creating large scale flower still lives for teacher appreciation...so my early finishers start on that with their decorated strip for the table. 
 Kerri's work is just wonderful! I love everything about it and I think my students will as well. I'm excited about these small masterpieces. They'll make a great addition to our art show and the perfect presents for Mother's Day...which I know is far off but I always procrastinate. Not this time!
 I will be certain to share a follow-up blog post.
If you give this lesson a go, I'd love to know! Special thanks to my P.E. buddy Ali for working out the kinks of this project with me. 
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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

In the Art Room: NAEA in NYC 2017

Don't forget to join me LIVE tonight over Facebook at 8pm CST. We'll be chatting about the following: NAEA in NYC! I'll share when I'm presenting and would love to hear from other presenters and attendees. The topic of organization came up as well as clean up routines. So we'll have a mixed bag! My favorite kind of chats. See you soon!

I'm so excited for the NAEA in NYC next week! I'll be presenting three times and doing a fun little meet and greet with my fellow Art Scouts. If you are attending, I'd love hear from you. If you are presenting, please feel free to share your date and time in the comments so other folks can hear about it. Here's when I'll be presenting:

Friday, 3/3/2017, 11:00 AM - 11:50 AM
Elementary Fabulous, Fun Folk Art! Energize Your Students With Contemporary Folk Artists
Laura Lohmann, Cassie Stephens, Ginger Pacer, Jennifer Alvarado

Four art teachers collaboratively created thematic units based on folk art, exciting their elementary students to create fun works of art. Leave inspired to ignite your art program and your student‘s imaginations! Lecture Sheraton/Riverside Suite/3rd Floor

 
Saturday, 3/4/2017    12:00 PM - 12:25 PM
Creating Engaging Art Videos to Change the Way You Teach
Cassie Stephens
Social media has changed how our students absorb information. We need to follow suit. Learn to create video content that engages, educates and captures the imagination using an easy method with on hand.
Hilton/Concourse B/Lower Level

Saturday, 3/4/2017   2:00 PM - 2:50 PM
Advocacy Using Social Media to Advocate the Arts

Cassie Stephens, Laura Lohmann 
There are so many social media outlets available that it can be confusing for an art teacher. Learn how to navigate and utilize them to advocate the arts and your program, and connect with others worldwide. 
Lecture Sheraton/Gramercy/Lower Level

Immediately following Laura and I's presentation, the Art Scouts will be having a meet and greet. We'll be releasing our summer Art Scouts date for Tennessee. Even if you don't plan to attend our Scouts this summer, we'd still love to have the chance to grab a cup of coffee and chat with you. Link Cafe is at the Sheraton. Laura and I plan to leave straight from our session, join Ginger and Jennifer and meet with y'all then. We're so excited!

See you in NYC, friends!

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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

In the Art Room: Introducing the Principles of Art

My first grade students are currently learning about the folk artist Kerri Ambrosino. Here's a sneak peak at their works in progress. As they moved on to the next phase of this project today, I thought it would be a great time to introduce the Principles of Art. We already know the Elements. Here's a video of the simple hand jive I taught the students as well as a sneak peak inside this first grade lesson:
As I've mentioned, I do a lot of call and response, almost too much. But it really helps my ELL students, reinforces vocabulary and, frankly, it's just plain fun. I love hearing my students voices in that video, you can hear each of their fun little personalities. 
Here's a little more on the Elements of Art hand jive. 
My first graders used a similar method to painting and preparing their papers for this collage. You can see more of that process here
Love to hear what fun songs and dances y'all use to reinforce vocabulary in your art room! 
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Monday, February 20, 2017

DIY: Patterned Planters

So my new project of late has been painting what I've dubbed my Patterned Planters. I found these three wooden planters up at Target recently in their arts and crafts isle. YES, they now have an arts and crafts isle...and YES you will buy silly little somethings that you don't need but must have. Please tell me I'm not alone in my thinking that Target pumps some sort of magical air into their stores that acts as a shopping aphrodisiac. I see you Target! I know what you are up to and yet I just can't quit you! 

Refocus. Planters. 
I mean, look at them. How could I turn away from their mid-century mod adorableness? It would be like leaving behind a platter of puppies at a buffet (I have no idea...I saw a Golden Corral commercial today at the dentist and now I'm obsessed with the idea of unlimited proportions). When I saw these, it was like a knee-jerk reaction, immediately grabbing them and tossing them into my cart (fun Southern fact: shopping carts are often referred to as buggies. As in, "Ima fixin to go on down to The Pig {that would be the Piggly Wiggly} and fill my buggie up with Pabst. Ya need anythang?")
I had no idea what I was going to do with these planters and so they sat for a good month doing a bang up job collecting dust and taking up space. After painting this wooden jewelry and really enjoying it, I decided to attack one of the planters one evening.  
I dunno if you are like me, but sometimes I will talk myself out of creating because of the following excuses:

* I don't have time. Which is usually true...but c'mon, those dirty dishes, lesson plans (hahahahaha, what lesson plans?!) and laundry can wait!

* I don't have the right supplies. Then use what you got!

* I don't have an idea. Which, I have found, can often lead to THE BEST ideas. It's having an idea that can be crippling. Letting go is the best way to open your mind.

...and, this one's THE WORST...

* I might mess up. Ugh! Who cares?! I remember one time I had this unpleasant teacher who produced the plays at my high school. When she was trying to decide who to give the lead role in the play to, me or my friend, she wrote us each a "heartfelt" letter. In it she told us both, "it really doesn't matter who I pick. It's not like either of you are going to end up doing anything with your talent." Side note: my friend is an EXTREMELY talented artist, art teacher and public speaker. Thank you very much. I don't know what that has to do with "messing up" but it just came to me and I felt like sharing. You're welcome!
To start each planter, I kinda grabbed a handful of paints from my stash and established that as the planter's color palette. I then painted each flat surface a color, allowed to dry and then attacked each with a variety of pattern. 
 I love to create "after hours"... I usually start around 8pm while watching some mindless something on Netflix that I only half need to pay attention to (I kinda love The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmitt right now) and work until, well, way past my bad time. This creative outlet is a great way for me to unwind unlike something like sewing...where I have to focus or my relaxing time becomes a marathon of seam ripping and creative cussing. It's an Olympic sport.
Because I happen to be a serial plant killer, I decided to opt out of the real deal and use these fun beaded flowers I recently scored at an estate sale. They are handmade. The woman had a beautiful window sill full of them and how-to books in her basement. Y'all better believe I scooped up both.
I went with a more retro colored palette for this planter. Of course, I am always heavily influenced by Mary Blair. I have a couple books of her work and I was constantly flipping through them for ideas. 
Nothing says 1970's Tupperware like this color scheme. Hello, avocado green!
This isn't my first time down pattern planter road. 'Member these cat liter container planters? (okay...trust me, follow the link. They are much cuter than they sound, y'all).

So now I kinda wanna attack everything with patterns. I mean, I even wanna glue these three together, run some wires through them and make it into the stand for a lamp. I know, right?!
 Then again, I also wanna frame my palette. So there's that. 
Awright. Thanks for letting me share. Now if you'll excuse me, that buggie of Pabst ain't gonna drink itself. 
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Sunday, February 19, 2017

In the Art Room: Art Buddies

Once a month, we have half days in my school district. You'd think a half day would be an easy day but it's actually more like a normal day condensed into half the amount of time. Read: it's crazy. On these days, I have four classes, four different grade levels for 30 minutes each back to back before we dismiss. Our half days are almost always on Fridays and the kindergarten classes I would normally see on that day miss art. If you do the math (which, gross, why would you) that means I end up missing my kindergarten classes seven times over the course of a school year. Yikes!

This time around, I decided to do something about it: invite my kindergarten classes in during the time scheduled for my third and fourth grade classes. See if you can follow me on this journey: when I see my third and fourth graders on their normal art day, the classes are doubled up (meaning I see two third/fourth grade classes at a time. This was the only way I was able to get an hour with these students). However, on half days, I only see one of those third/fourth grade classes. Which means that if we did our normal art lesson, when I saw the kids next, half of them would be ahead. So usually on those days, we do something completely different. That means more work and planning for me.

When I got the schedule for our half day, I approached the kindergarten teachers and asked if they'd be willing to give up some of their time to allow their students to have art. I let them know that they'd have Big Buddies to help them in art today. I let the third and fourth grade teachers know that their students would be giving up their art time to act as role models to the kindergarten kiddos. Here's a glimpse of how our very busy 30 minutes went!
I have to say, the Big Buddies ROCKED it and the Little Buddies were THRILLED to have them. I saw my older students step up, speak kindly, be gentle and guide their new friends. I saw my younger students tell them what they knew, sit up tall and follow directions to make their new friends proud. It was a big ego boost for both sides and a lot of fun to watch. 
How did this go down? I met both grade levels at the entrance of my room. I told the younger students to go in and take a seat on the floor in the first and second row. We were seated under the large television screen you can see in the video. I asked the older students to sit behind so that the younger kids could see. I explained to both parties that they'd have to play close attention to be a good student and a good teacher. I explained that were were creating paintings that would later act as a sky in a collage landscape. We learned about TEXTURE and TINTS with texture being our Word of the Day (whenever I say the WotD, the kids know to give me a WHOOP-WHOOP!). I let the younger friends know that TEXTURE is one of the elements of art. At that point, I had all of the kindergarten kids turn around and face the big kids as they did this little hand-jive to explain what the Elements of Art are...
I told the kids that they were to use white paint first and put big blobs of white onto their paper. I said to "scoop, plop, flip the brush over" at which point the kids repeated with me "scoop, plop, flip". I didn't want cups of water on the tables with this many kids and because it would put holes in the construction paper. So the kids were instructed to clean their brush either on their paper or on their messy mats. From there, they were to add "baby blobs of blue". Once complete, they were to use the texture tool of their choice to blend the colors together creating a TEXTURE TINTS of blue.
As a reminder of the directions for EVERYONE, we did a call and response...my favorite thing in the world. 
We got through all the directions, painted and even did a bit of book reading all in 30 minutes flat. With the help of the older students, I was able to have a much more relaxing teaching experience...and drink my coffee! 
I will admit, we were loud and proud! But with 35-ish big and littles in the room, I was willing to go with the flow. All kids were on task, all kids were having fun and all kids completed their painting. We did neglect to wash hands as I just couldn't see having that many friends at the sinks. Thankfully, I work with classroom teachers that totally understand and were fine with taking care of hand washing. 

I really cannot wait for another half day to do this again. I think this will be a fun new routine for my students. My favorite part was when a third grader, who was the last to walk out of my art room stop, lean against the wall and let out a big WHEW! When asked if she was alright, she said, "teaching kindergarteners is TOUGH! I'm exhausted!" Ha! 
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