Monday, March 23, 2015

Minion Self Portraits--The Best Sub Plan EVER!

In my three years of teaching I'm yet to have a sick day (now that I've written that I will probably be bound to my bed with some sort of ailment tomorrow or next week during Spring Break).  Sure, I've had subs, but conveniently for me I've always been able to plan out lessons in advance.  As all teachers know--SUB PLANS WILL BE THE DEATH OF YOU.  When I start to write them I always ask myself, "Do I really have to be gone, this is just too much work!"  And then I have to think about "will my sub actually be an 'art' person?" Not knowing this I don't always want to continue on with our projects because you know...I don't want them to be destroyed!  Ye of little faith, I suppose.

Anywho, I try to simplify it as best I can for the sanity of the sub and myself.  This lesson here was awesome.  I was doing mono printing with 4th and 5th graders and no way was I about to continue that with a sub (my head hurts just thinking about it).  The only resource they used was this handout to draw, otherwise the rest was up to them.  


My favorite resource to inspire sub lessons is Art for Kids Hub.  The "how to" drawing instructions ROCK, plus the videos are pretty cool too.  We all know how I feel about erasers and the drawing how to's don't even require erasing lines!  

What are some of your go to resources when planning for a sub?

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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Complement Color Cityscapes

If you're a regular visitor by now you already know or have probably guessed that I LOVE COLOR. Color is my jam.  I love teaching colors, I love to look a colors, and I love wearing colors!  (sidenote: you know that whole business about seasonal colors "what colors to wear during winter?"  Let's just say that neon, rainbow, and tie dye colors are acceptable all year round.)

Here's a very simple lesson loaded with content.  Here are some of the concepts 4th graders explored in our moonlit cityscapes. Value and how value affects form and creates the illusion of three dimension.  We touched on tints and shades and lastly using my friend, the color wheel, we reviewed complement colors.   As a final touch I had some puff paint where students could add some details.

Speaking of colors, I hope you're wearing your green today!  It just so happens that I'm Irish (shout out to my mom for being an O'Brien) and green is my favorite color.  Enjoy your St. Patrick's Day, I've got a birthday to celebrate later.

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Friday, March 13, 2015

If Kindergarten Portraits Could Talk

Let me begin by saying Kindergarten self portraits are the best.  Not only is it fun and funny to see what the kids make, but I'm always super impressed with the final product.  If you want to know more about the process go here or here.  

While kindergarteners are drawing their self portraits the most common comment I hear behind the giggles is "Ugh, this looks creepy!"  But isn't it funny how their drawings always seem to resemble them in some way?

So in this edition of portraits I present to you: 
If Kindergarten Self Portraits Could Talk

The Mom's and Dad's:

These are pretty amazing for kindergarteners, right??! But I mean this is a sophisticated looking group. They are so put together, hair groomed, make-up faces on, and I think we might even have some freshly pressed shirts.  I know I'm only 25, but geesh these guys look like they've surpassed me in years!

The "I Have Bugs for Eyes" Kindergarteners:
Am I the only one who sees creepy, crawly insect legs coming from around their eyes?

The "Please I'm Still a Kid" Kindergarteners

These guys here are the kiddos I've come to know and probably just think I'm crazy.  But whatevs, if you're still going to be a kid, why can't I? I WANT TO BE A KID TOO (insert whiny voice here).

The Outakes:
I like to call this group the "things that don't quite go as planned."  I know we all have some bad hair days, but the top two are making me think I need to start providing combs in the art room.  And yo bro, lay off the candy...oh those are just baby teeth? Well then eat way.  Rainbow lips--where can I get me some of those?

He's Picasso and he doesn't even know it.

Hey girl, what kind of eyeliner do you use?  That looks like the good stuff.  You know the kind that looks like a sharpie marker and you never have to re-apply. Oh, it is sharpie--well then, just do your thing girl.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The Answer to Our Pencil Sharpening Woes

This pretty much goes without saying, but me (like most of you) hate sharpening pencils!!!!  You can read more about my loathe for colored pencils here.  But I mean really, sharpening pencils is noisy, distracting, and there's always that kid who has to get up and sharpen their pencil right as you are giving instructions.  I. Can't. Even. Handle. It.

Fear no more, I've solved the problem.  Or rather Classroom Friendly Supplies has. 

Have you seen these pencil sharpeners?  They come in pretty colors AND, I kid you not, within 5 minutes of having it in my room for the first time every single student noticed.  

It can be mobile or you cant mount it.  Both ways work well and I even tried it with my 1st graders, and it was easy to use.

It does make a little noise, but it seems silent compared to your traditional wall mounted pencil sharpener or an electric one.

And you know how sometimes you sharpen a pencil to just have the lead fall out immediately?  I'm yet to have this happen with the Classroom Friendly Supply pencil sharpener.  In fact, I'm impressed with how sharp the pencils get every time I use it, and my students are certainly noticing as well.

(Yeah I know I might look tired, that's because I am...parent teacher conferences make for some long days!)

Here's a little visual comparison for you.  I tested a regular no. 2 pencil, a prismacolor drawing pencil, and a crayola colored pencil in three different pencil sharpeners. 

X-ACTO School Pro Electric Sharpener:

X-ACTO Standard wall mounted sharpener:

I'd say we have a clear winner.  Go check out Classroom Friendly Supplies, they've got some great products.  I'm hoping to get a class set...maybe just maybe, I'll do a few more colored pencil projects.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Clay Mania

To preface this, you might need to know a little bit more about me.  See I'm the type of person who doesn't take the time to match my socks, I mean I don't mind if they're different colors as long as they're on my feet what's the big deal?  I'm guilty of wearing socks and sandals, not just a casual 'I got done at the gym so I'm going to slip my sandals on.'  In fact, I LOVE wearing socks and sandals, there's no shame here, besides how else would you see my mismatched socks?  I'm also the type of person that loves the cold.  Don't get me wrong, I live for summer, but there's something so refreshing about cold crisp air, ya know the kind that makes your nose hairs freeze?  I'm always surprised when I'm out on a run in sub zero temperatures and I don't see anybody HELLO where are you?! 

So now you think I'm crazy, besides the fact that I am on day 12 of 21 of not having coffee (guys, caffeine withdrawal is real, I repeat caffeine withdrawal is real)...well I guess I am crazy, but aren't all the best art teachers?

Well my craziness transferred over into the art room because I decided it would be a grand idea to have 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 6th grade all do clay projects at the same time!  I mean it does make set up a whole lot easier and we all know how messy that clay is so for the sake of cleanliness I just wanted to make one big mess at once and be done with it..ya dig?  When I'm at my other two buildings on my cart it also makes it so much easier to have all the classes doing clay at the same time otherwise I simply don't have space!  

I live in a no kiln world, so air dry is my method.  My room is filled with clay projects, It was almost like magic--I kept finding more and more places to put clay!  So now I've got all these projects sitting in brown paper sacks for the classroom teachers to send home at conferences next week, so it actually worked out quite nicely.

Because I do work with air dry clay and am only with each group once every eight school days clay has to be one day lessons.  No way can we save it for the next class.

2nd grade made these precious little flower plaques.  Texture was key in this lesson and students did such a nice job slipping and scoring that not a single one broke! Seriously?! That's a first.

I gave them the base, that I had rolled out.  But for a couple classes I forgot my rolling pin at my other building so this is me being resourceful.  But honestly it was awesome.

1st grade embarked on these little clay hearts and stars.  (I guess I didn't get any images of the stars, most students went for the heart)

I gave them a piece of paper like this and students filled in the shape with "snails" and circles, smoothed it all out, flipped over the clay piece and revealed all of the patterns.  Before students added oil pastels on top I dipped them in a watered down black acrylic bath.

Can you tell this student loves Ireland?

3rd grade made these coil pots with red Amaco air dry clay.  I'm trying to be more of a "yes [wo]man" so I let students use whatever color oil pastels they choice, but I'm thinking the method I tried last year worked a little better.

Well now I'm going to go into my classroom and drown in my piles of clay.  If you don't hear from me for a while you'll know where to find me.