Sunday, April 14, 2019

2019 Flint Public Library Art Exhibit: Our BIGGEST Yet!

A few years ago my colleague and I made the switch from doing an art show 
in our school to hosting one in the community at the Flint Library. 
I love that the greater Middleton community gets to see our student's amazing art work. 
The hardest part of this was only having a smaller select group of students on display.

We make a conscious effort to have as many different students as we can from previous years. This year's show did not disappoint! It was our biggest yet with 229 pieces of student artwork on display. 
That is almost 100 MORE pieces than we had last year.
I am always amazed how wonderful the student work looks when matted and mounted 
and displayed on the walls of the community room at the library.
 I love grouping Kindergarten artwork next to 5th and 6th grade work with similar colors or styles.

We had an incredible turn out at our opening reception for the 2019 art show.  
I was blown away by the number of  proud artists and families who came!
If you didn't get to see your child's work last week, There's still time! The exhibit will be up at the library for the whole month.  Please note, that some of the 3D works have been moved to the children's room for safe viewing. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Youth Art Month 2019

This month I joined art teachers from across the state to highlight a group of 
talented student artists in a statewide art exhibit.

"Students, grades K through - 12, from across Massachusetts have been selected to have their artwork displayed at the State Transportation Building in Boston. This exhibit, sponsored by the Massachusetts Art Education Association (MAEA), is part of Youth Art Month (YAM), a national celebration held each year during March, that emphasizes the value of art education for all children and encourages support for quality art programs in schools."  - MAEA

The Exhibit will be on display and open to the public weekdays 9-5, 
February 11, 2019 - March 27, 2019. It is closed weekends.
Admission is free. Parking is available in the building for a fee.

Congratulations to these Fuller Meadow and Howe Manning Artists!

Top Row: Sarah C. (K), Lavinia L. (Gr. 2), Michael M. (Gr. 1)
2nd Row: Caden M. (Gr. 5), Massimo M. (Gr. 6)

In addition to my 5 students.  Students from Mrs. Smullin's Howe Manning art classes were also represented at the YAM art exhibit, making the count 11 in all!  I was able to celebrate all of these young artists at the family celebration on March 3.  It was a true display of talent and creativity.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

NAEA19 Boston: "Unpacking the Learning"

Sessions and Lessons and Swag, Oh My!

Last weekend I attended my first National Art Education Conference in Boston, right in my back yard. I took away so many things from the weekend and I'm about to share them all with you!

There were conference sessions, so many sessions. Here's a few of my highlights.
First, I had the amazing opportunity to present on my Art in Dark curriculum
Thank you to everyone who came out to see me, the house was packed! 
I learned a valuable lesson - always bring your own computer cables!

By far the best session on Thursday was Lessons with Maker-Tech Integration,
with Landa Ruen, HS educator from Massachusetts.
   At 5:30 I talked myself into staying attending one more session.
Even though I was so drained, I'm so glad I did.
I participated in a "Top Chef" style clay challenge, learned about using sound as an element in art, 
and learned about the London Empathy Museum's "Mile in My Shoes Exhibit".
What an incredible way to teach children to connect to others.
Thank you Landa!

My Friday highlight was definitely from Tricia Fuglestad and Janine Campbell and their session: Transdigital Art: Transforming Art Experiences Across Physical and Digital Spaces.
If you don't know about Tricia's blog, Fugleblog - you need to check it out. 
I walked away from her session with so many ideas that I can't wait to try using the DoInk Apps. 
And that was just from her half of the session!
Janine showed me so many ways to create "blended learning" experiences. especially using google forms for self-assessment.  Janine also inspired me to start using Artsonia to create digital portfolios for my students! I can't believe I haven't done it sooner.
If you don't already, you MUST follow both of these amazing women: 
Thank you Ladies!

Finally my Saturday highlight was the Someone Who Looks Like Me Session
with South Carolina art teachers Brenda Estella Reyes and Cindy Jesup.
This session was filled with resources to help every student find role models who look just like them.
I loved how these teachers strived to show each and every one of their students how important they are by giving them to tools to feel special and important.
Thank you Brenda and Cindy!

In addition to these wonderful sessions, I tried out a few new materials and techniques!
Activa Air Dry Clay - I am now a convert.
It feels just like earthenware clay but has a drying agent.
This is perfect for my Fuller Meadow K-2s, where I have no kiln.
I also tried out 2 new printmaking techniques.
The first was a reflection monoprint print using Lyra water soluble crayons.
I love the rich and smooth quality of the colors.

I also tried out a new monoprint technique at the Sargent Art booth.
This technique uses a glue stick on transparency paper or plastic paper sleeves
followed by liquid water colors. I can't wait to try this out with students, they are going to love it!

This was truly an incredible conference.  I left inspired and ready to go back to school
and inspire every one of my students.

Peter Reynolds said, "teaching art is not a job, but a mission."
I am so honored to be on this mission!

Monday, March 11, 2019

Animated Swing Scenes with Stop Motion Studio

Second grade artists learned to take their art to the next level with this digital extension of their Swing Scenes.  Learn all about how they created these whimsical self-portraits here!

Second grade artists used this project to become young animators - and they LOVED seeing their art literally come to life.  For this animation we used Stop Motion Studio.  They have a free and paid version.  I have had success teaching students to animate from Kindergarten through upper elementary with this app - it is very user friendly!
Image result for stop motion studio app
After much trial and error, I figured out how to have each students box set up for them like a mini movie set.  This required ALOT of prep!

First I attached a wire to each swing that ran through the back of the box.  This would allow each animator to move their swing to one of 3 positions.
Next, I created a set for each swing scene.  We needed to be able to hide the student animator standing behind the box and block out the background environment around the box. The box is also taped to the base paper so that it can't be moved.  Finally, I also tape the base paper to the table so that can't move!  We took many precautionary steps so that all students could be successful!
Best case scenario is to have the tables set up before the class walks in the door. However, there are days that I have back to back classes and this isn't possible. 
In the cases where I can't have the tables set, I pre-tape the boxes as in the picture above and then set up the iPads and iPad stands on trays to quickly distribute.
Students worked in pairs and each student had one of two jobs, director or animator.  
The director controls the iPad, and the animator is in charge of moving the swing.
Before any animating took place - all students took an oath: 
"I will not move my box, I will not pick up my iPad"
(disclaimer: even though we took that oath - their were definitely boxes and iPads moved!)

The director now opens up the Stop Motion App, and sets up their iPad and iPad stand. Once their camera was centered in the correct position, the used the 2 strips of take to secure their iPad stand. Again a good precaution!
Ok, students were now ready to animate.
We took the first pictures step by step as a group. 

These movies are made up of a rotation of 3 swing positions.  First step, animators marked position 1 by making making sharpie mark on their wire when the swing is in position 1 or the base position. After marking position 1, the director takes 1 picture. Animators now move the swing to position 2 by pushing the wire into the box about 1-2 inches and again marking the wire with sharpie. Once swings where in position, the director takes 1 picture.  The same process for position 3.  Then animators come back down following these steps for position 2 and then back to 1. 
After completing this cycle as a group, I let student teams go on and finish by themselves. 
They needed to repeat the process 2 more times.  At the end, movies will be made up of approximately 14-16 pictures.  
These young animators were so excited to see their movies finished!  
Take a look at each classes' finished animations.  

Mrs. Begin and Mrs. Frey's Class

Mrs. Kennedy's Class

Mrs. LeVangie's Class

Mrs. Mulligan's Class

Mrs. Polom's Class

Do these movies bring you as much joy as they do me?!

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Swinging in Grade 2

I have been looking forward to sharing this project since we started it .... in NOVEMBER! 
 It was a long one with many many steps, but these Fuller Meadow Grade 2 artists 
persevered and finished their projects with gusto.

A while ago, I pinned these swing scenes from Krokotak to one of my Pinterest boards.  Since I love anything whimsy, I immediately feel in love with these boxes and I have been waiting for the chance to develop them into my own lesson ever since! 
Box self portrait diorama craft
If you are like me, you probably cringe when ever you hear the word diorama.  I think it brings me back to the cliche projects of my youth. Everything I learned seemed to end with a diorama.  
I wanted to make sure these boxes had much more depth to them and
 that students would love making them....and they did!

These Swing Scenes can be broken up into 2 main parts, the figure and the box scene.

First step, collecting the boxes.  You are going to need to search high low for boxes for this lesson as each student will need one.  I also wanted to make sure they weren't too big, as they would over power the size of their figure self-portraits.  I requested children's size shoe boxes.  Bigger ones definitely came in but I only used them if I was running very low.  Start collecting boxes while students are working on their figures so you can be sure you have them in plenty of time.

Part 1: Figure Self -Portraits

Day 1: Gesture Drawings: I wanted to make sure that students were truly learning skill as they developed their figure selfies.  We started out with a day of warm ups, capturing gestures with different poses.  2nd graders did a great job with this and especially loved it when they got to be the subjects! (you could skip this step to save time - but it was a very fun day.)
Day 2: Guided Drawings:  This is where the meat of the drawing came in.  
As first graders, we studied the proportions in the face so it seemed fitting that in grade 2 they learn about the rules for drawing the figure.  I pre-lined paper for them into 8 sections and we learned how to fit the proportions of a child into 6 of those sections.  
They took their drawings from stick figures to shape figures. 
Day 2-3: Final Copy Transfer:  Once students had their shape figures on their paper it was time to transfer their drawings to final paper.  Rough drafts were outlined in sharpie, but it still became difficult to see through the paper.  We got creative in order for every student to successfully trace their drawing.  Students used light boxes, windows in hall,and outside windows.  Basically, any surface that would allow more light to shine behind their papers worked as a transfer spot.  Once drawings where transferred, they added clothes, faces, and color!

Part 2: Box Scenes
Day 1: Time of Day: Students were asked to envision what time of day their swing scene would take place.  We brainstormed all different times of day and discussed how we can use different hues to represent that time of day. 
Day 2-3: Perspective using Foreground, Middleground, Background: Next step was to choose a place for their scenes. 2nd graders examined how to use 3 layers of a landscape to show depth in their boxes.  Students were tasked to create 3 layers using oil pastel and cut paper.  They showed such creativity as they brought their scenes to life. Each box represented a unique time and place!
Day 4: Assemble Swing: Finally these 2nd graders were ready to put their finished boxes together.  They could choose between a flat seat swing and a tire swing.  Students used twisteez as their swing wire.  Figures were cut out glued to their swings and they were finished!

Phew!! That was a huuuuge undertaking.  

But we actually weren't done yet....each student had the chance to bring their swings to life using stop motion animation.  Check out my next post to learn how we did it!

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Artovation Circuit Challenge

5th grade Artovation students have just finished a new challenge.
How can you integrate lights into a work of art using simple paper circuits?
I designed this challenge to use Chibitronics circuit kits and a WHOLE lot of creative thinking!
Do you know about Chibitronics yet?  If not, you have to check them out.  Not only do they have all the materials you need to create a successful project but they have tons of tutorials and project examples.

Artovators started out by learning about how circuits work and the different styles of circuits available to them for this project.  They did an internet search using the key words such as Chibitronics, paper circuits and art, and LED lights and art to generate ideas for their project. They recorded all of their ideas on a planning sheet and then had a conference with me to talk through their ideas.  I was overwhelmed with their ideas and creativity. Students brought so many different approaches, 2D and 3D, to their conferences, it was so exciting to see where they wanted to go with their project.

This was a true student driven and student choice project.

Once they got the ok, they were ready to get to work!
First step, make a strong piece of art.  We discussed the importance of have strong craftsmanship for this project in order to best show off the lights.  Some students created larger sketches before moving onto their final project and some moved right into final paper.  This process was totally up to them!
Now comes the hard part.

Once their artwork was finished students needed to create a circuit template based on the type of circuit they were using in their work.  They could use one already designed by Chibitronics or they needed to design their own.  If it worked, I encouraged them to use a Chibitronics template, like the one below.  Click here to find many more options!

However, those templates often didn't fit their art work designs.
After much trial and error, here is our template design process

1. Lay a paper, roughly the size of the artwork, overtop of your artwork and mark where you want the lights to go with a small pencil dot.
2. Place/Trace the battery ports.
3. Draw the circuit tape lines from the batteries to each light dot.  Make sure lines are 1/4 in apart.
4. Play circuit tape on pencil lines.
4. Hook up the battery 
5. Place LED stickers on template


The best of this process is hearing all of the oohs and ahhs and each student gets their circuit to work.

Don't get me wrong, there was ALOT of trial and error and trouble shooting, 
but we managing to get each student's circuit working!

Students then attached their circuit to the back of their work see the 
magic of creating a LED enhanced work of art!