Friday, November 11, 2005

Hey, I made brown!

I have semi-opaque biggie cake tempera paints. In each set there is white, black, green, blue, red, and yellow. A student discovered how to make brown out of these colors and shared her excitement for her accomplishment with the rest of the class. "Hey, I made brown!" she shouted. Students gathered around the painting table to watch her make it again. She was so thrilled to have discovered this on her own. There is no doubt in my mind that this student understands color theory and will be able to apply it to a variety of self-directed projects.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Can you do an art project that connects with our social studies curricullum?

Because students express their own interests in a choice based curriculum, they are free to make connections to all parts of the curriculum. They make connections that are meaningful to them. Inspired by an odd, geometric shaped piece of cardboard 2 boys made a sculpture replica of the Mayan ruins. They thought it would be fun to build pyramids and stone structures out of cardboard and then paint them to look like real stones. These students really understood not only the social studies lessons they learned in their classroom, but how to use that information to build a strong, interesting, and neatly made sculpture in art class. What a connection!

Monday, November 07, 2005

The 6 painter limit

For some time I have been frustrated with the mess left in the painting center and sink area when each class leaves. Instead of taking the paitning center away entirely I decided to limit the number of painters per class to 6 at a time. What a difference. This little change accomplished several things. It keeps all painters at one table, in one area of the room. At clean up I can tell who is supposed to be in the sink area and who is just hanging around. I have 3 sinks, so each only has to have 1 person waiting in line. with a very tight budget I don't have to put out as many paint trays (less wasted paint). Clean up has gone from complete insanity to a reasonable calm.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Out of control

A quote from a 1st grader. "I started cutting the eyes and my scissors just went all out of control!" This boy was cutting 2 holes in a paper plate mask. Not really knowing when to stop cutting, he ended up with 2 holes the size of small mangos and 2 long spirals. His enthusiasm was uncontrollable.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

I got a 5 too!

I have to grade students in art. I have a 3 part grading system based on Behavior/Conduct, Artwork/Work Habits, and Attendance. The main grade I put on artwork each week is a 1-5 behavior score. After passing back artwork today in a 2nd grade class I listened to the children's reactions to their grades. "5 means exccellent!", "Oh, I got a 5 too." They were so excited to have the feedback on their work. They were proud of the work they had created and invested not only in the art process, but also in the behaviors that they exhibited in order to create this artwork.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Preschool Patience

I have 5 special needs preschool classes. Each class has several students, each with various abilities and disabilities. Every student in these classes is so unique I find it very hard to come up with a simple lesson that each can interpret to his or her own abiliy level. It can be very frustrating to try to meet the needs of every student without losing my mind. Today, as one of the assistant teaachers was exiting my classroom after a particularly loud and trying 30 minutes, she said to me, "You are so patient with them." This was so nice to hear. It was just a simple comment but at that moment I realized that someone noticed my effort.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Under Over Under Over

Every morning I have one particular 5th grade girl who comes to my room and asks "Is the painting center open yet?" I reply, "sorry, not yet, soon though, soon." Last year was a struggle for her, the only thing she enjoyed and felt somewhat successful at was painting. She is a student who has trouble reading and has lots of academic difficulties. Last week when I introduced weaving shetook a risk and decided to try it. To my surprise she worked a complicated pattern and had not one mistake. She took it with her and I hooked her up with a weaving partner in her class so she could have him check it throughout the week. By lunchtime she had already come back to replenish her yarn supply. I am so happy that she has now found another success in the art room. Painting will open soon, I hope she continues to take risks even with her old standby around.