Saturday, May 31, 2014

Art show, part 2

In my last post, I showed off some pictures of our Spring Concert and Art Show.  In this post, I'm going to explain a few of the project and talk about the inspiration behind them.

In this picture you can see the ceramic houses that one of my studio one classes created.  They were suppose to look like Ndebele houses.  This was my first ceramic project that I developed from my head.  (Although since we made them, I have seen other Ndebele ceramic huts on the internet.)  I had never touch clay until I was hired at my school--a school with a giant kiln and a ceramic studio.  Talk about pressure!  I'm slowly getting acquainted with clay.  The houses turned out ok.  My idea for them was to make them into little jewelry like boxes, but some students added a door and not all of their roofs sit on the houses correctly.  I don't think we will be making these again in the future.  It was to fit in with the theme of the concert and art show. Behind the Ndebele huts you can see the 3D Ndebele huts that a different studio one class made.  They drew the huts on paper, cut them out, painted a background, and then used cardboard to make the houses come out a bit.  For a final touch, they glued straw to thatched roof.

What you are looking at here is a giant paper mache pair of shoes, complete with wings.  Now why ever would we make flying shoes in art class?  Well, I'll tell ya!  These shoes were made by a sixth grade class that was reading the book Percy Jackson and the Lightening Thief.  One of my biggest goals teaching art is to connect to other classroom teachers.  I find students really like it and it makes our students have a productive and cohesive experience.  Each student made one shoe and had to work together to design the shoes.  This pair was my favorite.  Behind the shoes you can see another Ndebele 3D drawing and a watercolor based off a Klimt painting. 

Here is an oil pastel based off the book, Why the Sun and the Moon live in the Sky.  It is a traditional African folk tale and was one of the books we gave away.  Originally I found the story on line and read it to the students.  This was a lesson that I started, but let the students finish with a sub.  Sometimes that can be iffy, but this time turned out fine.  I did this with both sixth graders and seventh graders.  It was based off this pin

And here is this little guy.  My seventh graders made traditional Mexican pinatas.  They are fully functional.  For the art show, I hug them up and down the hallway.  People thought they were so cute.  I did too.  Unfortunately, they were up for less than 24 hours.  Our cafeteria is right across from where we hold the art show and I didn't want to tempt anybody into hitting them.  I was tempted, even though I knew there was no candy in them.  They went along with foreign language week.  We didn't quite make that deadline, but they were still wonderful for the Art Show. 

Here are the "choice paintings" my advanced students painted and hung up.  Due to having scheduling conflicts, sometimes I teach studio one, two and three all at the same time.  I let my older, advanced students do a choice based program.  I guess you could say I flirting with TAB.  I love all these paintings.  The advanced students hung them themselves, which was nice for me because by the time we got to this place in the hallway I was about ready to go off the deep end!

And here is my last set of projects I will be showing you.  The first one is a Klimt cat, made by seventh graders.  I found the lesson on the Internet here.  Although it was done with first graders, I modified it so it would be at a seventh grade level.  We finished it right before the semester switch, so it was a nice art history based wrap up.  The project next to it was a flower box.  We made some egg carton flowers and then glued them on to a painted background.  To finish it, we glued Popsicle sticks and then stained them with brown watercolors.  The final project I'm going to talk about is the Mondrian duct tape "painting."  I got this idea out of Dick Blick or United Art and Education, I can't remember which one.  Basically, you take a square of cardboard and cover it with duct tape in the style of Mondrian.  Not surprisingly, this project was a hit!  I enjoyed it, but there were a few surprises to go along with it.  It only took my high school students a day to finish.  Second, it took a lot of duct tape.  Not a very cost effective project.  I'll probably wait a few years to attempt to do it again. 

Lastly, here is me wearing my "Starry Night" dress from modcloth.  It was perfect for the night and I got a ton of compliments on it.  Behind it, of course, was our hut.  Until next time!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Spring Art Show, 2014

Our district art show and music concert was held the previous Tuesday, almost one week ago from tonight.  Last week at this time I was still trying to get everything ready, frantically ordering students around and sticking projects to the walls.  The high school students always say I’m so pleasant the days before a show.  Hey, they have break ups and regents.  I have art shows.  We all have drama in our lives.  Mine is just brightly colored and comes the same night as our district budget vote. 
Tonight, I’m a million years away from all that stress.  I am calm after a relaxing long weekend.  I can actually look at the pictures and not shutter or blame myself for all of the stuff we could have done. I think most art teachers are perfectionist.  I know I am.  I know my elementary counterpart, Mrs. B, is.  We spent Monday and Tuesday calling each other up, talking about all these wonderful last minute ideas we wanted to do.  Some we got to.  Some were pipe dreams.

A small sampling of what we did. 

Our art show and music concert had an African theme to it.  We did this for a variety of reasons.  One, our 7th graders read the book A Long Walk to Water.   I’m guessing many of you have heard about it because it is required reading for common core.  Another reason we had the themed that we did is that everyone in our school, grades 6th through 12th, got to hear Gabriel Bol Deng speak this spring during his presentation, Hope for Ariang.  If you haven’t heard about this, I highly recommend listening to his story.  He is located on the Internet, here. 

Notice the hanging pinatas?  Yeah, so did the 9th graders on their way to lunch.  Grrrr.
Our chorus and bands did a wonderful job, but I’m here to tell you about the art.  All of my classes learned a little about South Africa this semester, focusing on the Ndebele tribe.  We especially took time to learn about the highly decorative houses the tribe is famous for.  Several classes did projects featuring these houses, but our main one was our hut. 

An adult could stand up in the middle.  I know, I tried to hide in there. 

We displayed that in the front lobby.  The rain sticks inside were a last minute addition and were made by 5th graders. 

Missing from the picture: three African folk tale story books.  Also, cookies and water. 

The table next to the hut was for cookies and water.  It also held our door prizes.  The art department always sponsors some giveaways.  Mostly we hand out student ceramic work and picture books to go along with the theme of our show.  This year we gave away a bowl set and a coffee cup (both made by students) and a set of three story books, all African folk tales.  In addition, we also gave away a piƱata shaped like a giraffe.  You can see it in the picture. 

The sign was painted on cardboard pallets.  I wish I could get my hands on more of them!


Students also made the sign that explained the significance of the hut.  We encouraged people to go into the little cardboard building.  If it’s on display, people will want to touch it.  I say, go ahead!  It’s not like I’m seriously considering moving in. 


Across from the hut we displayed giant drawings of animals.  The elementary students did the small ones and my high schools made the elephant and the giraffe.  It turned out amazing!


All in all, our show turned out far better than I could ever imagine.  Sometime this week I am going to post a little bit more about the actual projects featured in the displays.  Until then, happy art making!


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Well, hello there!

Hello.  Can anyone hear me? 

Look Mom!  I match my art lesson!
Probably not.  But here I am, starting a blog.  What inspired me to create this little space on the interwebs?  I’ve been kicking the thought around in my mind for awhile.  I’ve blogged before, but never about doing the one thing I’m truly passionate about—my job.  I am an art teacher and I love what I do.  Love is not even the right word.  Crazy, super amazing enthralled with my profession is more like it.  I’ve always want to share what I’ve done, but usually only do with my Facebook friends, who in turn “like” the pictures and move on.  Which is great, but I’m looking for community.  I’m looking to explain my process and get critiqued and start conversations.  But I’ve always been too scared to jump in. 
Until today.

This morning I had my “post observation conference” with my principal.  That worked out wonderfully for me, because last night we had our district Spring Art Show and Music Concert to go along with the budget vote.  Our show was amazing, and I will be posting about it soon.  But as I was talking to my administrator earlier today, she said one thing that stood out for me: “You could teach a class on this.”

The “this” that she was talking about was intergrading art into other subjects.  It’s the thing that I do.  I’m always working with someone at my school on a joint art/science/English/social studies/ whatever project.  So, with that boost of confidence, I’m starting this blog.  I’m going to introduce myself with ten “facts” about me; five dealing with my professional life and then five dealing with my personal life. 
Doing what I do best.  Painting monkeys.
Let’s start with the professional:

1.       I work in a farming community in New York, near the Adirondack Mountains.  I love where I live. 

2.        I teach middle and high school, grades 6 to 12.  My dirty secret is that I prefer middle school.

3.       I am advisor to the High School Drama club (along with a teacher friend) and CFES (along with another teacher friend). 

4.       I am located in the F wing.  I’m pretty sure the F stands for fabulous.  This is the hallway that is all the other side of the school from the “normal” classrooms.  I am located with Home and Careers and the Agricultural teacher.   Oh, yeah, and ISS.  At least nobody complains when we play our music loudly. 

5.       I worked part time for four years as a middle school art teacher. I shared a room with a full time high school teacher, Mr. S.  Two years ago, we switched.  Now, I’m the full time teacher and he’s part time.  Mr. S is amazing because he lets me be as messy as I want.  Plus, we get along fabulously. 

Now the personal:

1.       Besides teaching art, I am also a published author.  I have been published in many small run literary magazines for my short fiction. 

2.       I am big time into fashion, which I believe comes from my love of art.  I get excited to get dressed in the morning.  When I wear jeans to school though, students know something fun is going to happen!

3.       I love to do stuff.  I garden, grow pumpkins, cook, paint, write, sew clothes for myself and my daughter, scrapbook, alter book, swim, take walks, and a million and one other projects that are stuffed into the attic right now.  I’ll get to it all someday.  Or I’ll add a blog to the “to do” list. 

4.       I have 2.5 kids (step-son, son, & daughter) and a wonderful, supportive husband who has helped me hang more than one art show.

5.       I’m a night owl, married to a night owl, with two night owl kids.  I think that explains itself.
Until next time. 

           And now I have wrapped up my intro blog post.  It is almost the end of the school year for me, so I won’t have much new stuff to talk about.  Instead, what I’m going to do is go back through all my pictures and write about the past.  I have six years worth of projects to post about, so I’ll be busy all summer.  In the fall, I can post about all the new and crazy art we will be doing.  Stay tuned!!!