Saturday, July 12, 2014

Summer Vacation

Ah, summertime. Nothing but sleeping in and lazing around by the pool, amiright?

Curriculum mapping is currently taking over an entire room in my house. For once, I'm trying to plan things by month as to not need to use the drying rack for more than one grade level at a time. Emptying fourth grade paintings during my lunch so I can reload with second grade paintings the same afternoon is getting a bit old. I also like to do printmaking with each grade, so that's another wet storage issue. I did order an over the door drying rack for one of my rooms but that only gets me 20 extra spots.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Posting Your Objectives

A few years back my high school began asking for teachers to write their daily objectives on the board. Those of us who taught 7 classes and may have had to share rooms tried to think of creative ways to handle this with the limited board space we already have.
At the high school level I used mini dry erase boards to cover an existing bulletin board. I could write the studio objective up and leave it up for as long as the project might take without having to worry the custodian might erase it each night and keeping my other boards free. I still use four of the boards at one of my buildings to display daily objectives even though it is not required there (yet). I modified the system at my other building using 4x6 magnetic photo frames and love it.

I can fit an index card inside each photo frame. I save them and can reuse them when the standard is taught to another grade level. I love the structured look and how easy it is for anyone to find out what we're learning.

Getting Ready for Your Sub

Nothing makes me cringe more than the thought of being absent from school. We are currently having a terrible shortage of subs (made the front page of the news today in fact) and so instead of having one person in my room all day, there might be other teachers or administrators covering my classes. EEK! All the more reason to tidy up and make sure ANYONE can walk in and deliver a 40 minute lesson.
This year I started a sub shelf. It is eye level behind my desk directly above the printer. There is a note to the sub that is under the clear desk mat directing them to self-select from that area in the event they can't follow the art lesson for the day.

I've included the "Getting to know the world's Greatest Artist" series, How to Draw books and sub-friendly lessons (inside the binder).

Art Teacher's Guide to Organization

It there is something that Charlotte has made abundantly clear this spring, it's that my strengths as a teacher lie in organization and planning. If that's your weakness, one of the easiest things to jump start your organization is color coding. One of the worst things to do is spend four hours looking through pinterest. It's kryptonite, I know.  Here is something you can do TODAY that will yield time savings TODAY.

Place your important stuff, notes to your sub, your schedule, etc on your desk. Place a piece of plexiglass (or if you can afford it, a see-through desk mat on top). Use colored markers and color code grade level (or course, if teaching high school). Every day before you leave, make sure that area is clear so a sub can jump in if needed.

Under my mat I have: Color coded schedule, A note to the sub, The district, what to do in case of emergency card and my class counts (the number of kids in each grade level or by each day - so helpful when counting out supplies or making photocopies).

I have the rest of the steps posted for free over at Teachers Pay Teachers. Enjoy!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Curb Alert

At the end of the year some of us may find ourselves packing up our room. Maybe you're preparing to change classrooms (I know I am!) In my nine years of teaching I have taught in ten rooms and a cart. These are some things that I normally do that make this process easier.

1. Measure the new space. I measure the room, the desks and empty wall space. I make a blueprint for each room. This is not to be confused with a seating chart (which I also do). This is for me so that if I am wondering if that free bookshelf someone wants to get rid of will fit in my room, I can figure it out. I also keep photos of each room in my laptop or smartphone. I also shoot a video from the center while rotating.

2. Inventory the new room. Be sure to find out if anything is going with the old teacher or has been promised to someone else. Consider all wall space. What can be hung, mounted on the surface?

3. Be open to moving desks around. I know some people don't like to move the kids once the year starts and I am not one of those people. They are in the space for 40 minutes. I am there for 40+ hours per week. It has to work for everyone.

4. Plan storage for Wet and 3D items before setting up student desks. Room flow and easy access to sinks make for better clean up and happier teachers.

5. Label things as you unpack. It's frustrating to open 10 cabinets looking for a glue gun. Even if it's just painter's tape until you can make something pretty. I label my sinks (Sink 1, 2 and 3 or Sink A, B & C). Students are divided and informed of their sink assignment during first class where a sink is needed. Yes. Even with high school kids.

6. Use the change of room as a reason to purge. You know all the people who send kids to your classroom for a paintbrush, some colored pencils or other art tools? As you're weeding things out, make a curb alert pile outside your room. Even when I'm not changing rooms I've done this. People DO want your sloppy brush and your tiny nub of a colored pencil. I send a notice to the entire building and most of my "junk" is gone in less than 30 minutes and I didn't have to move it.


So proud of my 4th graders who rocked out their landscape paintings in 3 classes. Due to field trips and other fun end of year activities I was concerned that the quality wouldn't be there and they did an amazing job.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Chihuly Revisited

Last year using the Crayola Art Education Grant, I was able to purchase the resources and materials to do a lesson with 3rd and 4th grade on Dale Chihuly. The transparent seashell paintings were so beautiful that I had to do that lesson again. I showed portions of the video that related to stained glass and transparency to the students. They we sketched seashells from my collection and each student traced their best onto clear acetate with a black sharpie. We used marker and white acrylic paint on the back to create these beautiful shells.

I am lucky enough to have a gorgeous display case which is accessible from my room. This was after the first class. The case is now filled with dozens of shells. This helps students understand art as an installation and as a collaborative process.

Unit plans for this lesson are available here.