Monday, October 23, 2017

Royal Self-Portraits with 1st Grade

This is the 2nd time I've done this project with my Firsts and it is just getting better. Check out the first time I did this project here.
Image result for paper bag princess bookEach day I like to start with a book but wanted to stay away from classic Princess stories and read ones that had a little more empowering messages or were outside the box. The first day of we started with the book The Paper Bag Princess. Then with an awesome activity to kick off this lesson--I put a variety of pictures of royal people real and cartoon on the smartboard and paired off kiddos with dry erase boards. They had to work together to draw or write the details they saw that made the people look royal. I did this same activity last year and it really gets the idea generation going for them when they start to draw. After this activity, they watched my demo of drawing my royal portrait and got busy drawing and outlining in black sharpie.

Image result for princess justina albertinaThe second day we started with the book Princess Justina Albertina. A few had to finish outlining in sharpie and then they spent the rest of the time coloring in crayon.

Related image
The next day we started with the book Princess Smartypants and talked about creating different backgrounds that would work well with the rest of our artworks like colors connected to their clothing or dragons if they made a knight. They used tempera cakes to paint their backgrounds.

Image result for mousterpieceOn the last day we wrapped up the project by doing their first critique. Whenever First through Fourth graders finish a project I have them do a gallery walk, hamburger critique, and fill out a rubric. I read them the book Mousterpiece as an introduction to talking about museums and art galleries and how we act when visiting them.
For our gallery walk we lay the artwork on the tables and walk around looking at everyone's work. I put up this slide and pop in one of their artworks for a little excitement.
Then I pick three kiddos to share their work. They can say anything they want to about it before we do the "Hamburger". Whoever is sharing their work gets to pick three different friends to say the three statements "I Like (something they like about their art), "Maybe you could have (something they would have done different), and another "I like (something they like about their art).
Rubrics for 1st are pretty basic and we do them together the first few times. When they finished rubrics, if they wanted to do glitter, I showed that small group how to draw with glue where they wanted glitter to be.

I am so in love with these! Until next time!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

"I Ain't Gonna Paint No More" Self-Portraits (2017)

These self-portraits are inspired by one of my favorite books "I Ain't Gonna Paint No More!" written by Karen Beaumont, Illustrated by David Catrow, an Art Teacher book must have!
There are a lot of different versions of projects based on this book out there, I love doing it this way because they really get to play with the watercolors, and it is a great intake of drawing, painting, cutting, and writing skills.
I've done this project many times in the past and it's made transformations over the years. Here are older posts if you are looking to see what I've done in the past and the project broken down a little more. Here is November 2016, October 2015, June 2015, and my first attempt in June 2014.

The only change this year was a little cutting practice before we cut out the portraits, mostly formative assessment to see what I was working with and so I could make scissor-hold corrections right away. I drew up this sheet and we sat on the floor together and cut each part while I told a story about "my friend Joe who wanted to get to the kitchen to eat all the triangle foods he was thinking about" but first he had to "weave through the forest", "climb the very sharp hills", "climb across the thick wall", and "swim across the pond". We finished with a bubble cut around him and his thoughts so he "wouldn't forget what he wanted to eat when he got to the kitchen". It was so successful one of my Kindergarten teachers asked me to draw up some other cutting sheets for her kiddos. 

Right: "Can I draw what's on our insides?"

Monday, October 2, 2017

Building Prints

This was a project that I did with my 4th graders at the end of the year last year for something quick, fun, engaging and collaborative.

This project was inspired by contemporary illustrator James Gulliver Hancock and his book All The Buildings In New York that was lent to me by one of my Elementary Art team memebers. 

Take a minute to explore his website. He is incredibly talented and does a large variety of work. I scrolled through a bit of his work with students and they loved it. I ended up buying another book of his which isn't appropriate for young students but is seriously amazing called Artists, Writers, Thinkers, Dreamers: Portraits of 50 Famous Folk & All Their Weird Stuff and I fell in love with it. You can get both books on Amazon.

So here is how the project went down, and it went fast and quick because it was their last 4 art classes of the year.
I Can illustrate a building and print it to be a part of a collaborative installation art work.
Day 1:
First we looked at crazy architecture with this video:
Then, looked at his website and listened to illustrator James Gulliver Hancock:

All the Buildings in Melbourne from James Gulliver Hancock on Vimeo.

They had to finish drawing a building that filled most of a 6X9 piece of paper, without too much detail (because it won't print), and had to remember to flip any words like a stamp. I encouraged drawing directly with pen like our inspiration but didn't require it.
Day 2:
A quick demo of transferring to a printing plate that was cut the same size as their paper (6x9) and then they had the rest of the time to complete it so they could print next class. I just use the generic packs of foam printing sheets from School Specialty and cut them down to smaller sizes. We taped a hinge to keep drawings lined up when transferring. They traced once over/on the paper to get the initial lines then flipped up the paper and did it again to make it deeper with a dull pencil.
Day 3:
Printing! A quick demo of printing from the plates and then they had to find a printing buddy to work with and to assist. I cut sheets of every color construction paper I had, black and white tempera paint, and brayers for students to use. They had to print until they had AT LEAST 3 good prints, but could keep printing the entire time if they wanted. 
Day 4: 
We passed out prints, filled out the rubric and handed in the print that they wanted up in the the farewell 4th grade village and in artsonia. If they finished that, they could trade prints with friends and make mini villages. They took extra prints and mini villages with because it was the last day of art for most!

A lot of success across the board in each step so I will likely be doing some version of this again in the future!

Monday, September 25, 2017

Collaborative Dot Paintings

FINALLY did a dot project and finished it in time for Dot Day! I've wanted to do one the last few years but just never jumped on it or was inspired by something else first. This year, right before the start of the year a post on the Art Teacher facebook page caught my eye and I ran with it! This was the post by Art Educator Nichole Sitler Gates on the Art Teacher Facebook group that inspired our paintings:
I've got to give her credit because I ran it the same way based on what I saw in her pictures. Each table had a big sheet of bulletin board paper as well as a tray of paint cups with equal number of brushes so we didn't need to wash. Classes earlier in the day laid the base for classes that came after and when one paper was full I laid out another. So they started looking like the one below...

And ended up looking like this when all finished and hung together in the hallway! There are about 10 more not pictured because we ended up with so many! Very thankful for our giant empty hallway by the front of the building....

Here are some close ups.

With Kindergarten in the middle of the day, I was a little nervous about letting them paint for the first time EVER on these already started dot paintings. So instead they painted on 24x36 papers (two at a table) and I turned those paintings into the lettering. I also put out less paint to keep the stimuli a little lower for their eagar hands.

I've gotten so many comments and compliments from students and staff about how much they brighten our school and I cannot wait to look at them all year!

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Back in Action!

I've been MIA on the blog since February (sorry 'bout that). I instagram daily by the same name-- follow me on the sidebar of my blog or search TheArtsyFartsyArtRoom on Instagram.

I wanted to kick the new school year off on the blog with a look into my room and some new things I am trying this year as well as a re-vamp of some others!

Welcome to the Art Room at Yahara Elementary (K-4) in DeForest, Wisconsin!
I am so grateful to have such an incredible space for my students. A spot to gather, two large sinks, technology, plenty of space to work, and storage! 
I am even lucky enough to have my own little nook where students are restricted from. I also got rid of my big clunky desk (that I never sat at) to open up more space for early finishers and to add a book rack for the kids.

This is will be my third year in the district and I am always inspired by other art educators to try new things with my students. So here is a look into some of the new and revamped old things happening in my room this year.

Traveling Classroom Sketchbooks

This idea came to me from a classroom teacher in my building. Her daughter attends elementary school in the McFarland School District with art teacher Bonnie Tuttle. Thank you Bonnie for this awesome idea!

When it was her daughter's turn with the sketchbook she was so excited that she brought it to school and showed it to me. I knew I had to do it! I took some quick pictures of the sketchbook and worked from there to put together my own system for our school.

Below is what is attached to the inside front covers for families and each time a student takes it home I put a label with their name on their pages they can use and the date it needs to come back to school.
I started these with 1st-4th the second time they came to art this year. I tried choosing responsible students from each class to take it home but I have had two students already forget it. Hopefully there is enough days of art and it won't happen very often and everyone will get a turn. I am contemplating sending out a parent e-mail so they can be more aware of it when it comes home with their student.

I made it a point to communicate with classroom teachers that I was doing this so they can encourage the responsibility of it and let me know of students that may have an issue with getting it back to school. I also communicated with students that it doesn't have to be done at home either, they could do it with after school care, another teacher, or our principal.

I save about 3 minutes after clean up for the artist to sit on my teacher stool and share what they did in the sketchbook. They they are not talking much, I prompt them with questions about materials and inspiration sources.


Our district and the surrounding Madison area are doing a lot of work with mindfulness in the schools. UW Madison in particular does a lot of research on Mindfulness and it is trickling into the  entire public school system in the area. Training for staff and working in the classroom with students is on the rise and it is pretty incredible.

Last year I dabbled in mindfulness with a bell at the start of class and a deep breath followed by us reading together...

"Artists are kind with our bodies, Artists are kind with our words, Artists are kind with our minds, Artists are kind with our hands"

Image result for imaginations fun relaxationI saw a poster similar to the one I created a above and started to rethink our start of class. I still ring the bell but now just ask students to listen to me read the poster and do the deep slow breath.

We also have this bizarre extra time built into our schedules every day called Plus Time where every grade gets two extra specials during our 12 day rotation BUT we can't do curriculum with them during that time.

At a mindfulness training I took over the summer I got my hands on this incredible book and it inspired an awesome idea. During that plus time with 1st-4th I have them participate in mindful visualizations and drawings. I find some sort of youtube visual that goes with the visualization I am reading for those kiddos that can't just lay there and need something a little more to focus on.  It is going off incredible and I can't wait to share the art coming out of it on a later post. For the time being, I do not do it with Kindergarten but probably will start to mid-year.

I purchased the first book from this series, there are two more that my other elementary art team members purchased. You can find them all on amazon.

Look What We Learned Board

I started a "Look What We Learned" board outside of the art room. I believe this idea came from the ever incredible Cassie Stephens. The way I presented this to my students was a place to share their "Aha!" moments and things they were really proud of in the art room. I think as long as I am reminding and encouraging students they can add to it, I think it will get used on a regular basis. Two weeks in, and there is already a handful up on the board (this was taken before school started).
I keep a stack of post-its on a small table inside my classroom and they can add to it after showing me what they wrote during any work time. 


"Hello my wonderful artists!"
"Hello my wonderful art teacher!"
"How are you today?"
"Ready to create!"

Sound familiar? This new greeting I do with my students when they come into the room and get seated on the carpet-- I can also thank Cassie Stephens for. The kids match my voice and it lets them say something and be loud before we settle in with the mindfulness bell. It has been working AWESOME. 

Stay tuned for more inside my art room and be sure to follow on instagram for daily updates!