Sunday, August 23, 2015

iBooks for the win

Traveling between schools is never fun. Last year I experimented with an iBook for a lesson that I was planning for 3rd grade. It was a relief not having to worry about packing the book up to lug from school to school, but what I wasn't prepared for was the student reaction. By projecting the book with the LCD projector all of the kids could the pictures easily. I saved so much time by not having to move them to another location or reading and then turning the book around to show the picture. There's always that one kid who swears he can't see the picture, right?

So if all of this wasn't enough to make me giddy, tonight I downloaded sky color by peter reynolds and there is an audio component to the book. With auto-page turning. So....

iBooks for the WIN!

This is my current roster of books. Some of them were a great savings, especially when you consider how pricey the hardcover books can be.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

First Day Lesson for Kindergarten

We will read and discuss the book "Art Is" during the first kindergarten class this year. I love this book for many reasons. The balance of old and modern, the simple one-sentence-per-page text and the fun, questioning look at art it provides for students. Plus? Rhymes! I read this book to five different classes last year and every single time someone raised their hand to let me know the words rhymed. Gotta love kindergarten.

The lesson plan is available over on TpT if interested.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Guess who's going to Kindergarten

Well, actually, kindergarten will be coming to me.

Another year, another change. I will be leaving one of my elementary schools and starting at another new school next year. This school has a full-day kindergarten, so the students will have art. My first step to preparing for this big change was to take a closer look at the new visual art standards, specifically the kindergarten performance standards. We have also been informed that after this year, our fifth graders will be coming back to elementary from the middle school, so the following year I will have K-5. I figured while I'm updating my checklists, I'd just start planning everything with the K-5 mindset.

If a free K-5 checklist and condensed at-a-glance printable is helpful to you, feel free to download it over on TpP. There are four different versions with varying degrees of info included. Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Scavenger Hunt

The last week of class. Kind of a mixed bag. Passing back work, wrapping things up. I usually reserve the last week as a "free choice" day for classes that earn the reward and a catch up day for those that don't. In talking to my classes this year, the older students asked if there would be an art contest. Last year, they played the circle game and they wanted to do it again. I told them I would come up with something, but it would not be a circle game.

And so it began. The art room scavenger hunt. They had to find examples of colors, shapes and textures and draw them. Great way to review what they've learned and keep them quiet. Yes, I bribed the winner with something from the prize box to discourage them from working (talking loudly) together. The prizes? My extra samples from clay demonstrations. Yes. Crafty and cheap.

I'm selling the worksheet for $1 on Teachers Pay Teachers. All you really need to do is write 8 things on the board and yell go. It kind of works itself out. Will upload lesson plan soon.


Monday, May 18, 2015


This week my students will be starting koinobori. This is a brand new lesson for me and was inspired by the book "Pattern Fish" that I recently ordered. It got me excited for doing a fish lesson other than gyotaku. Since it is spring time in the Northeast I decided on the Japanese Carp Kites.

As I was writing the lesson plan I was excited to see all the amazing connections with the new visual arts standards. Specifically, the presenting category. My previous thinking was mired down with thinking "elementary kids aren't going to mat and frame work" but on closer review there were some more realistic applications. For instance:

  • 1st grade: Ask and answer questions such as where, when, why, and how artwork should be prepared for presentation or preservation. 
  • 2nd grade: Distinguish between different materials
 or artistic techniques for preparing artwork for presentation.

And also these two:

  • Compare and contrast how art exhibited
 in and outside of school in museums, galleries and other venues, including virtual spaces, contributes to the community.
  • Identify times, places and reasons when students make art outside of school.

So. Definitely looking forward to this. Was originally thinking it would be a "filler" lesson for those classes that are way ahead, but now I'm hoping I can squeeze it in with all sections because there's so much good stuff happening here.

Oh, and how about some Haiku to wrap it up? You know, because the pattern 5-7-5 also mimics the half drop repeat pattern of fish scales. Yeah. I'm kind of loving this lesson right now.

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.