February 28, 2014

Simple Watercolor Organization

I use watercolors a few times a year and am currently favoring them over acrylics for their easy cleanup. Here are a few ways I keep my my watercolors organized for easy access and re-ordering. 
I splurged a few years ago and ordered a few sets of Prang Glitter and Metallics for some special sparkle in projects. I prefer the metallics, they have a smaller glitter in them and add a gentle sparkly sheen once dry. The glitter, while it looks nice in the container, does not end up very glittery on paper. As my students discovered, most of the glitter ends up in the water cup.

February 22, 2014

Life Size Kindergarten Portraits!

I do self portrait projects with all my students and I truly love this kindergarten one! I have done it every year with a few tweaks to improve it.
This year instead of assessing students ability to trace, I traced the students over 2 classes and had them do an alternate tracing project instead. I use 2 pieces of tagboard-24x18 and 24x36 taped together with 2 inch masking tape. Where they are taped I can fold them so they take up less space. In the past, I used to match up their tracing abilities and have them trace a partner. While this saved time, sometimes students traced bodies came out a little funny which made coloring difficult.

Winter Break Recap and Teacher Mode!

Like many teachers, I am enjoying a relaxing midwinter break. Despite the number of delays and snow days between Christmas and mid-winter break the winter season still flew by!
As expected this break, I had high hopes of preparing tons of materials and lessons during break and failed miserably. No matter how hard I try I can't seem to get myself in 'teacher mode' during break. You know 'teacher mode' that hyper productive mentality where you get a million things accomplished in a short amount of time and multi-task like its your job...wait a minute...
When I get home and am overwhelmed by 'home mode'- friend, wife, daughter, artist and homeowner. I love being on break and am always amazed at how instantly I can de-stress from a few days off of 'teacher mode'. I sleep better, eat better and know I am generally more pleasant to be around.
So every break I now fully accept 'home mode' because I know  'teacher mode' isn't happening. That teacher bag will sit exactly where I put it when the vacation began. There is simply too much to be done at home and it has been put off because of teaching.
Halfway up to the ski jump-beautiful views!

February 16, 2014

Visiting Artist and Cake Boss Project!

My 4th graders have been spending the past month working on their cake boss project. Students had to 'interview' a famous artist and design a cake for the artist's upcoming birthday. Students learned how to create cylinders, add depth by placing cake on a table and making a background and creating wax resist with oil pastels and watercolors.
We also looked at Wayne Thiebaud and Buddy Valastros from Cake Boss. We drew inspiration from their artwork and used a sorting game reinforce their particular styles.

We used the Mike Venzia Getting to Know the World's Greatest Artists Series for our research and a client interview form. Click here to download a FREE copy of the biography handout!
For all the handouts for this project visit my teacher pay teacher store:
Click here to get the cake boss interview form, sorting game, how to make a cylinder guide, and biography handout.

February 9, 2014

Art Room Celebration!

A few times a year we have a PBIS celebration for our students. To explain, PBIS is a positive behavior system we have in place for our school, the celebration is part of this. Faculty offer activities for the students in 50 minute sessions or a double session. 

February 8, 2014

From Dot Day to Planet Project

One of my students proudly showed off her 5th grade planet project from her classroom to me  this week.

Emily's Planet Project- Oil Pastels on Black Foam Core

February 3, 2014

Halfway There! 15 Minute Portrait Assessments!

As much as I dread putting in grades and comments for my students, it does mean we are halfway through the school year! And its time for some of my Mid Year Assessment.

When I first began teaching I wanted to quickly assess my students abilities and learn a bit about what they like, what they did this summer and what their family situation is like. I used manila paper (eek) and had the students draw a picture of them and their family and write a few sentences describing what they were doing.

Planbook.com Giveaway! No more planbook problems!

Raise your hand if you have been effected by the polar vortex and had a snow day or delay this winter! Raise your hand if you crossed out, highlighted, drew arrows, erased, 'x'-ed out and rearranged your plan book only to have another snow day later that week!
Pre-made plan books are not designed for art teachers. We have bizarre schedules, rotations, class periods and our often asked to rearrange our day to accommodate all types of school events. When I began teaching,  I designed my own plan book with excel which worked for my school and our 4 day rotation. It always worked real nice for the first few weeks of the year and then came the assemblies,  concerts and  half days followed by arrows, highlighting and lots of rewriting and moving of plans. Classes were behind, ahead and no grade level was doing the same thing in a single rotation. It was like having 20 preps instead of 7! 

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