Friday, April 17, 2015

Onion Domes

Such a great experience collaborating with a classroom teacher on these onion domes today. I started with a powerpoint to provide context and then moved into a demonstration during their normal class. Since this is a testing week, we arranged for the class to come down again later today as a break from all that left-brained activity. When they returned she shared a word web that she did with them after my lesson. I was amazed at how much they remembered.




















When they returned in the afternoon, they were able to jump right into creating the domes.















The finished product. Not bad for 3rd grade.




Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Just say no to bad art requests

This month I had to just say no, politely, to a teacher request to do a "Rechenka's Egg Project" the day before spring break. As the class entered my room. I let the classroom teacher know that I generally am planning around several weeks in advance, we were in the middle of a perspective lesson and I just couldn't squeeze it in the same day. We've all been there, right?

Wax resist simply for the sake of it's oooh ahhh quality isn't something I had planned to use for the rest of the calendar year for that grade level. So I started thinking of what else we could do to connect to the story. Which led me to creating this adorable onion dome project using model magic. Because they DO need to get some architecture and culture in!




















Using about 1 oz of model magic per student, I have enough to accommodate this class and they will get an "Extra" art class during PSSA week as a break from all the testing.




















And, I get rid of the container of wine corks in my closet that I keep holding onto. Lesson plan here.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

One Chore Done

The biggest chore on a Monday morning is sometimes getting dressed. I don't know about anyone else, but I can't get away with wearing scrubs to work. This year I started using an app called stylebook to keep track of what I was wearing (or not wearing). Being at different schools, I had a fear that I was probably wearing the same thing every "Day 3." The second thing I did to make getting dressed less of a chore was give the job to someone else. Yes. I delegated that job to stitchfix. If you haven't heard of them, it's a personal styling service that ships you clothes to try on at home. You send back what you don't like in a pre-paid envelope. For me, dragging my 10 year old into the dressing room was half the battle so this helped. Check it out here.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Painting with bubbles

Step by step directions for painting with bubbles. Makes a nice, subtle background texture for journalling, notecards and other crafts, or add details to create imagery from the prints. I tried this with liquid watercolors over the weekend, but I think tempera or acrylic would give a richer color. I might let fourth grade experiment with this during the next free choice day before implementing this into a lesson. It was a lot of fun and supplies are cheap!


Thursday, March 5, 2015

Free Choice Day

It's that time again.





















Free Choice day (or Free Art day as they call it) is in full effect next week. Once per marking period was too frequent. Twice a year is too far apart. I'm going with every 12 weeks, so 3 times per year. I'm really excited about all the new games I purchased using some grant money and can't wait to see their faces when I unveil each center.





















Have you incorporated a "Free Choice" Day or activity into your curriculum? How has it worked out or been received? I think I've created a pretty solid lesson plan that would be accepted by our administration. I've linked it to our PBIS reward system. So I use a chart to track the progress of each class. They can earn 5 squares each day. I make the goal so that they have to average 4 squares during the time period. Every now and then they might get a 2 or 3, but it should be balanced out with 4's and 5's. In the beginning I knocked myself out with the guilt if a class didn't earn it, but I've let go and they have to receive the natural consequences (even though it would be FAR easier on me to "let" them all earn it). The last week before they "qualify" I block the chart with black paper so it's a mystery until the end of class (this solves the problem of kids giving up because they already can tell their class won't make the goal). I also block out 5 squares from the end every time their class misses for a field trip, assembly, 2 hour delay, etc.

I just posted the lesson plan and all the activities I offer here.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Post It Note Directions





















A lot of times I like to leave step by step illustrations with my sub plans. What I often find is that on step 7 out of 9 I make a silly mistake or realize I drew too big and they won't all fit on one page. I started doing the steps on mini post it notes. Then I can stick them on a sheet of copy paper in order when they are all done. You can slide them into a plastic sleeve if you're afraid they will fall off. This is also great if you decide to change it up from year to year. Or if you find less steps are necessary. I also like having the boxes the same size. This could probably be photocopied to give to students who were absent during a previous class. (Darker post it colors may not work, but yellow should be ok).



Catching Snowflakes

I tried the "catching snowflake" portrait lesson that I first saw here but wanted to make it my own. Instead of painting a jacket on their person, I had the students create a paper loom on the sweater portion and weave the sweater. This provided an authentic extension into weaving.



Luckily I had these students in first grade and they were already familiar with weaving. We used the thickness of a a ruler to make vertical stripes starting at the neck and shoulders to the bottom. Then they wove 1.5" paper strips through. I had them slide each strip to the top and glue it into place before adding another strip. At the bottom they had to glue each section to create a sturdy base.

We also did a mini-lesson on symmetry before they made their paper snowflakes. This lesson took 3 (40-minute) sessions.