Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Radial Symmetry Junk & Snowflakes

Now that I have repeated a few projects since I have started teaching it is easy to see what goes right and what goes wrong. While my 4th graders last year loved this project, I felt like the concept of radial symmetry didn't really stick so I wanted to do things differently the second time around. Here is what I originally pinned on Pinterest and here is my original post of this project.

I can statement: I can use radial symmetry when printing a snowflake with found objects.

Day 1: We started off with a discussion about radial symmetry and where it is found. We explored the below PDF and talked about some being real radial symmetry and others not, as well as, from nature vs mathematically exact radial symmetry..they also shared other examples they knew of personally...

After our discussion I introduced them to my giant bucket of junk and how we were going to make temporary radial symmetry art with this junk before printing snowflakes with different junk next class. They had a freakin' blast! Lots of questions about where my junk came from/why I had so much and I told them that most art teachers are magnets for junk. These are just a glimpse at the awesomeness of it all...

I truly believe it was this group activity that made them so much more successful this year than the previous and really ingrained in them what radial symmetry is and looks like up close and personal.

Day 2: Before I demoed printing and they got started, we had a little review of radial symmetry and I showed them these images from Russian Photographer Alexey Kljatov.

These photographs are an amazing insight into how insanely complicated and beautiful snowflakes are and I wanted it to inspire them to work a little more outside the box. After they finished one snowflake, they chose glitter to go over the wet paint. Some of them were so into it they did 3 or more snowflakes :) Check out these beauties hung with the ever-adorable snowman Kinderbeaners made that I'll share later...

McDill Elementary...

Jefferson Elementary...

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Woohoo! Honorable Mention!

So I was a little bummed that I didn't get nominated for Rising Star: Blog of the Year Award on Art of Ed but I was INCREDIBLY happy to see the girls I nominated win first and second!

Then today I scrolled through the winners and saw me on the honorable mentions!

Holy smokes that felt good to see :)

1st Grade Roller Coasters with Science Integration

I've been working a lot this year with the 1st grade classroom teachers to integrate what they are doing in the classroom into the Art room. I probably have the best relationships with them than any other level in the building which makes integrating a lot easier. The negative I am dealing with is that both of my buildings in the district don't do the same curriculum at the same time. So while I'm making awesome connections at one building, the other doesn't get quite the same impact. 

This project with first grade has probably been the most successful integration so far. The unit in science they were working on included forces, simple machines, and pushes and pulls. It was like alarms going off in my head to connect a project to this unit because of the endless possibilities. After talking to the first grade teachers and bouncing ideas around I came up with doing a roller coaster. I once upon a time pinned this and this roller coaster idea which likely gave my brain some input on the project, especially with the passengers :)

I can statement for this project: I can use different types of lines and imagination to create a roller coaster.

Day 1: Started with reading this graphically beautiful and silly book Lines that Wiggle (on amazon)

Then I started giving them clues about what we were going to be doing for our project...
"It is something made up of lines"
"It works with pushes and pulls and forces"
"You can ride it"
Pretty quickly after those three clues they figured out it was roller coasters and I put up this PDF that we searched for different lines in...
Then diving into the science part of it we figured out where all the pushes and pulls would be and what parts of a roller coaster are what simple machines. It was pretty amazing listening to 6 and 7 year olds talk about roller coasters in that context! Then the art making! I did a demo of drawing a coaster and going over it in a paint color, after they had been working for awhile we road this roller coaster :)

Day 2: Started with another roller coaster ride from a local small amusement park in Green Bay, so some of the kids have actually ridden in :)

We looked at our paintings and talked about the lines we used then I demoed cutting "riders" out of the magazines and creating the carts for the "riders". They could choose whoever or whatever they wanted to ride their roller coaster which made for some very silly results :)

McDill Elementary...

Jefferson Elementary...

Friday, January 23, 2015

Zolo-ology & Connectagons & More!

My PTOs are amazing. When I learned about the funds that set aside for Art last year I decided to use the money they give me on extra things that I can't really afford to use my budget for. This year it was enough money to pay for some awesome new activities and manipulatives in the art room! All of my new activities I ordered from the company Crystal Productions. When I compared prices on Amazon and other places it was pretty comparable and worth it because I could get it all in one place and only pay shipping one time.

Here is a look at each of my new activities:
Modern Art Memory Game

It is essentially the classic game of memory but with 36 pairs of Artworks from artists like Gustav Klimt, Paul Klee, Marcel Duchamp, Roy Lichtenstein, Bridget Riley, Andy Warhol, and many more! It comes in a really nice box but I wanted something more durable to keep on the shelf so I switched to a small plastic bin...


Beautiful wooden disks with interlocking grooves at different angles to build some pretty awesome sculptures with! Again, very nice box but switched to a shoe-box plastic bin....

Wonderboard: Make a Face

47 silly face magnets, two face templates (both Caucasian) and a magnet board to attach everything to. I will be making more face templates for a little more of a multicultural experience. Comes in a folder type deal so I switched to a shoe-box plastic bin again. Worried they will confused the magnet board with a white board but we will see...

The Piece de resistance! 


Holy smokes I'm in love with this activity. It is literally a box of silly plastic pieces that can all connect into wacky sculptures and there is eyeballs to turn them into creatures. This by far was the BIGGEST hit the first day they were out on the shelves. The box they come in isn't great so I found the perfect size plastic bin to keep them in and its clear so they can see all the pieces. I got the teacher set from Crystal for about $80 and it comes with over 100 pieces. I cannot wait to take pictures of the sculptures they make to share with you and with PTO as our thank you!

With these new fabulous activities I introduced a "new" set of rules for Art activities. Really, I said these rules at the start of the year with Legos and oil clay, but I thought this was a good time to reintroduce them and actually post them in the "free art" area.

Have any other activites/centers that are a must have for my students!?