Monday, June 8, 2020

Tiny Tiny Houses: A Not So Tiny Endeavor!

Live Free Live Tiny - Tiny House - Tiny Houses - T-Shirt | TeePublic
This year 6th grade students embarked on a true Project Based Learning (PBL) unit:

6th graders worked collaboratively between Artovation and Innovation class.  Our Middleton students have the opportunity to experience TWO different innovation classes.  Innovation teacher, Mrs. Deeley, and I took advantage of that privilege by working together on this unit...
and it was a doozy! 
The first step was introducing the project to the students.  This served as the information gathering or  sustained inquiry section of the project. 6th graders researched and brainstormed together, created a google survey for their client (their family), and developed questions for tiny house experts. 

Take a look at some of our client survey results!
Every class also had the incredible experience of attending a virtual tour of a real tiny house.
During these live virtual tours, students had the opportunity to ask tiny house owners about their benefits and challenges of tiny house living!
Then it was time to truly understand the project.  6th graders were challenged to create a scale cardboard model of their design with a 1:12 ratio with no more than 200 sq. feet.   It is hard to truly imagine what living in a tiny house is truly like - but we wanted to try anyway! All classes got a chance to see first hand what a 200 sq. ft floor plan looks and feels like...take a look!
From there students started working on designs. They were able to replicate their experience creating the actual square footage of their house using the 1:12 ratio with 1 in. tiles and grid paper. 
This was definitely a trial and error process!
Students even had a chance to use 3D modeling program, Sketch Up
to see what their design would look like in 3D. 
I know, we packed ALOT in!

Finally it was time to start building! At this point we divided the project into interior design which took place in Innovation class and exterior design which took place in Artovation.

Each student was given a 40x40 in. piece of cardboard. 
They definitely needed to find creative spots to work around the room! 
All external walls were laid out on the cardboard.
Once cut, students started to plan where to place doors, windows, porches, any external feature.  This is my favorite part because it is where the creativity starts to come out!  When all the features were cut out students began adding in details like window boxes, shutters, siding, textures, and more.

Meanwhile in Innovation class 6th graders were created 1:12 scale models of furniture and all interior elements. Students began by researching tiny house features and used information from their surveys to begin planning. All furniture and interior features had to be to scale, so we had a reference list of standard measurements of common items. After the construction of interior features came placement. This is where the expert advice came in. 
We also had the amazing experience to work with nonprofit, Education Now 2.0 (EN2), who has created their own tiny house curriculum.  Carmel Viliante, executive director with EN2, helped a great deal by providing us with their curriculum to help strengthen this project, connect us with many experts, and advise us as we chartered through this project! We even had the opportunity to bring 5 students to EN2's fundraising event to show off their work. Thank you Carmel!
Part of the PBL process is to receive expert feedback.  Well, we built that into this project too.  About three quarters of the way into the project, we held 3 days of feedback sessions with experts in the field.  Community builders, EN2 staff, architects, tiny house designers, town administrators, and school administration came to offer out students guidance and advice.
 It was a rewarding experience for everyone!

Finally students reached the final steps of this project.  In the weeks following the feedback sessions they finalized their layout, finished adding details, painted, added their roofs....basically did anything they could to prepare their tiny tiny house models for the culminating event:
The Tiny Tiny House Festival!  

Unfortunately, the festival was set to be held on Friday, March 13th, the same day schools all over the state were closed due to safety concerns over COVID-19.

Even though we couldn't hold the festival, Mrs. Deeley and I wanted to acknowledge the incredible preseverance and diligence that went into this project.  6th graders were asked to bring together challenging concepts and skills as they took on this Tiny House Challenge.
These Artovators and Innovators spent 5 months or 14 classes bringing their designs to reality
and we couldn't have been prouder of them!

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Gingerbreads Back in Action

A few years ago I partnered up with one of my favorite Kindergarten teachers, Amanda Libby, to create an integrated arts ELA lessons!  You can follow Amanda on twitter @mrslibbyFM and learn all about the incredible things she does with her students!  You can learn more about Arts Integration from the Kennedy Center
Back up to 2 years ago and Amanda and I realized that we were both teaching similar topics: The Gingerbread Man.  Every December the kindergarten compares and contrasts different versions of fairy tales, including the Gingerbread Man.  Around this time I also do a gingerbread lesson with my kindergarten classes.  

This is a great lesson to teach students about outline and self-control! Student start out by tracing a gingerbread shape and then using a thin paint brush to create an outline around their shape.  They also can add in details using this thin outline technique.  

On day two, they add color, cut, and attach to a background paper.  They always come out looking bright, colorful, and adorable.  

This is when we brought the two different content areas, Art and ELA, 
together creating an arts integration lesson!  In fact this joint lesson has been so successful in Amanda's class that this year we did it with the whole grade!
In additional to bringing knowledge of different versions of the Gingerbread Man into the art room, kindergarten teachers also used this as an opportunity to teach students about verbs, action words.  Each student is assigned a verb.   Using the iPad app Puppet Pals, we helped students learn and illustrate their knowledge of verbs in a fun and creative way. 

I love showing students that they can "Connect to Tech", or bring their physical art into the digital world. In puppets pals students are able to upload their artwork into the app and can move their gingerbread across a background to show their verb's action.  The end result is wonderful and the students loved seeing how their artwork can be used in a new format.

Take a look at their finished works!

Mrs. Halligan's Class

Mrs. Libby's Class

Mrs. Murphy's Class

Mrs. Newton's Class

Mrs. Ochoa's Class

Saturday, February 1, 2020

The Year of the Podcast!

Image result for podcast clipart"
This year I had the privilege of being interviewed for not ONE but TWO podcasts! Phew!
Have you ever been on a podcast before? It was a wonderful experience!  If you haven't had a chance to listen yet...take a peek!

My first podcast was with Nic Hahn, also known as Mini Matisse, on Everyday Art Room for the Art of Education University. Nic and I talked about how important it is to be a risk taker as a teacher.  I loved talking with Nic about the crazy and sometimes overambitious things I do with my students.  I hope I inspire you to be a risk taker too!

Just this January I had the chance to do another podcast, GetaCue, with Brandon Hall and Masscue.  Brandon and I talked all about my Artovation class and all off of the ways that class has inspired what I do everyday!

Get a CUE Podcast

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Monsters Have Feelings Too!

This year I have been working to bring more SEL (Social Emotional Learning) into my art room.  Students have been using art to identify feelings and I hope on some level process what those feelings mean to them.  This year Fuller Meadow artists have already given feelings to acorns and dots too! 
Perhaps my favorite feelings lesson this year is Kindergarten's Monsters Have Feelings Too
I love doing monster collages in the fall.  We are able to touch on so many important fine motor skills; folding, cutting, drawing shapes, and more! The kinder monsters always come out adorable and are great for a not so "Halloweeny" Halloween display.
This year, we took our monsters one step further and gave them feelings, 
because monsters have feelings too!

We read The Color Monster by Anna Llenas to help us identify emotions.  
Image result for color monster
As we read the book, I gave students a chance to show me (with their me too sign language) if they have had that feeling  that day. I loved seeing students thinking this through and showing me if they had that feeling too.  Many of them saying "me too" for almost every feeling!  

It is so important to acknowledge that all feelings are ok and 
that you can cycle through many different feelings in a day!
As these young kinder artists worked on their monster collages, we talked about how to change the shape of eyes, eyebrows, mouths, etc. to show different feelings.  
They had so much fun bringing their monsters to life.

Arts Integration

We integrated this lesson with their classroom ELA lessons and students 
wrote a sentence about their monster's feelings. Kinder writers used these sentence
blanks to work on identifying color and emotion words.

Connect to Tech

I love showing students how they can take a physical piece of art and "connect to tech"! We used Chatterpix to give voice to these kinder monsters and truly express their emotions.

Mrs. Halligan's Monsters

Mrs. Murphy's Monsters

Mrs. Newton's Monsters

Mrs. Ochoa's Monsters

How do you bring SEL into your classrooms, I'd love to hear!

Sunday, October 13, 2019

MIddleton 2019 Dot Day Celebration

One of my favorite days of the year is International Dot Day.

Dot Day was first celebrated in 2009 by teacher Terry Shay.  Shay encouraged her students to harness the creativity and courage displayed by Vashti in Peter Reynold's The Dot

Image result for The Dot

Today Dot Day has become a global event, celebrated by more than 16 million people in
183 different countries! WOW!

I love Dot Day because it is the one day that both of my school communities
come together to celebrate creativity and courage.
 We start getting ready for Dot Day during the first weeks of school. 
Take a look at the different projects we worked on this year. 

Kindergarten: Dot Prints

1st Grade: Collaborative Dot Community Garden

2nd Grade: Dots Have Feelings Too!

2nd Grade: Coding Dots with BeeBot

5th/6th Grade: Augmented Reality Dots with Quiver

All of our creative exploration culminates with Dot Day.
This year celebrated on Monday September 16.

The first signs of Dot Day creativity show up first thing in the morning when a slew of dotastic outfits walk through the doors.  All of the homemade dots brought me so much joy!

I loved seeing whole school spirit!

Some students even brought dot snacks and lunch - How's that for making your mark!

Every year classrooms amaze me with the activities they plan with their students. 
Each one highlights the importance of creativity and courage.  

What's your favorite Dot Day activity?

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Welcome Back!

We are now few weeks into the new school year and I have finally met all of my young student artists! I wanted to take an opportunity to welcome you all back and share some new happenings in the Middleton Art Program.

This year I will be working hard to help students be risk takers in art and Artovation class!  I always start the year off with a class mantra to motivate and inspire.  Take a look at past mantras here.

This year's mantra is brought to you by one of my favorite teachers: Ms. Frizzle!
Image result for ms. frizzle
If you are familiar with the Magic School Bus, you know that in each episode Ms. Frizzle encourages her students to take chances, make mistakes, and get messy of course!

I can't think if a better way to help develop risk taking skills in the art room. 

I love this quote by Thomas Edison:
"I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work."

Quotes likes these give us permission to fail.
It is under these conditions that true learning can take place!

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Chatterpix for the Win with 1st Grade Self-Portraits!

Have you tried Chatterpix in your classroom yet?  No, well then you definitely need to.  It's easy to use, super fun, and helps students give voice to their artwork! This year the Fuller Meadow 1st graders used Chatterpix through one of my favorite self-portrait lessons.

1st grade artists started out by learning the basic rules for drawing the face.  They used an eye line to place the eyes right in the middle of the head.  Next, the nose line was added, followed by the mouth line.  Finally we placed in ears and a neck. We basically learned a simple version similar to this diagram shared by Expressive Monkey.

Throughout the project we examined an amazing group contemporary portrait artists like Kehinde Wiley, Amy Sherald, and many others. 1st Graders made choices to make detailed patterned backgrounds in the style of Wiley or keep the backgrounds solid to highlight the figure in the style of Sherald.  Or they choose to put their self-portraits in a background that shows them in everyday favorite situations like figurative artist Jordan Casteel. We used these examples as inspiration in creating the details on our own first grade portraits. 

Finally,1st graders brought their self-portraits to life with the help of Chatterpix.  
They used Chatterpix to describe their unique qualities and show 
how they represented those qualities in their art.

Find your favorite artist's class below and enjoy!
Mrs. Higgin's Class
Mrs. Shaffenberg's Class
Mrs. Thomson's Class
Miss Tiexeria's Class