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

Kindergarten Habitats: No Dioramas Here!

Arts integration is all about collaborating!  It heightens understanding and keeps students engaged and excited about learning. I love finding new ways to help students make critical learning connections to other content areas.This arts integrated science lesson checks off all of those boxes.

When I first started developing this lesson with the Kindergarten team, I knew I didn't want to do a shoe box diorama. Every project I created in elementary school (a looooong time ago) featured a diorama.  I needed something more current.  I discovered this new take on a diorama by
Second Grade Nest while scouring Pinterest: 

Kinders were introduced to habitats as part of their science curriculum.  Research for their habitat took place at home.  Following this, they each picked a habitat and a corresponding animal based on animals available in their science kits.
Finally we were ready to create their habitats in art class.  Although the habitats would eventually turn into a triangle, they start out as a flat 2D paper.  Each student gets a piece of cardstock folded into 4 triangles.

This year I placed a post it note on each side triangle to help them focus on the base or ground of their habitat first. Once the grounds were underway, I walked around a removed the post-its so they could work on the walls.  Kinders had a hard time understanding that the entire bottom triangle was the ground.  It helped to fold up the sides as they worked to show them how that part would form the base of the habitat.  We visualized what you would find if you were crawling around the ground of your habitat.
We also talked about how this was a resist lesson and that they should focus on drawing and coloring small details in oil pastel but to save the larger areas for painting.  That was all day one, phew!

Day 2 is when the 2D papers become their 3D habitats.  Kinders fold up the the sides and tuck and glue the back panel.  We then discussed which elements of their habitat might pop up and created those details out of paper. 

I loved seeing these settings come together.  This year one Kinder said the habitat was kind of like a stage.  What a perfect description because each habitat would become a stage for their very first stop motion animation. That is a whole post on its own but in the meantime check it this picture of how I set up their sets for easy animating!
This project is adorable and these young artists are so excited and proud of what they create.  
Take a look!

Miss Balfe/Mrs. Pacini's Class
Mrs. Halligan's Class
Mrs. Libby's Class
Mrs. Murphy's
Mrs. Newton's Class
Mrs. Ochoa's Class