Showing posts with label art blog. Show all posts
Showing posts with label art blog. Show all posts

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Best Books for Art Teachers!

Summertime is my favorite time to reflect on the past school year. I often find myself uprooting all of my favorite art teacherin' books during this time. Sometimes, I'll just flip through them, look over my cryptic notes (I really gotta become a better note keeper!) and rethink my life choices, er, strategies in the art room. Other times, I'll dig deep into a book, really opening my mind up to new possibilities for the new year. I love this part of teaching: that we get the chance to hit the reset button every school year, throw out the old and bring in the new. I feel like Bill Murray in Ground Hog Day every August! 

In case you missed, during our last Facebook LIVE art teacherin' chat, we were talking about our favorite art teacher books. You can find that chat archived on my page. Be sure to peruse the comments to see what other folks are reading. We agreed that a book club would be super fun so, during the month of July during FB LIVE, that's what we'll be up to! 
How to join the book club? First, get you a copy of the book. We won't be starting until Wednesday, July 5th so plenty of time to get a copy and start flipping through it. Our chats our held here. In order for you to view the chat, you'll need to like my page. At 8pm CST on Wednesday, July 5th, I'll pop up in your feed! We usually chat for about an hour...but you can come and go any time. 
I'm very excited about sharing ideas with one another on how we can infuse art education and growth mindsets in our art room! Until then, I thought I'd share with you some of my very favorite books as an art teacher. Some of these books, I've had since my first year teaching and they truly helped me so much. One book I discovered during my first years teaching was Drawing with Children by Mona Brooks
 Wow, did this book teach me more than I learned in college about working with children! It's such a comprehensive book that explains child development; showcases lessons and examples; recommends supplies and teaching strategies. I followed this book to a T when first started out and it was like having a friend guide me. It is very heavy on the side of guided drawing which I know some folks feel very much against. But, for me, I believe that there is a place for guided drawing in the art room as long as it is balanced with open-ended projects. You would never expect a music teacher to teach a student how to play an instrument without first showing them how to do it. Why is art thought to be different? I also have Mona's book on teaching older children which is also very helpful. She dives into teaching more from observational drawing in that book. 
Ah, a classic, right? Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain is currently in either it's fourth or fifth addition. I love the concepts in the book...but it is hard to use with children because it is so dry. Trust me, I know, I've tried. As an elementary art teacher, I really do want to use the concepts from this book, but change it up and make it more geared toward my fun and funny little audience. This is something I'm thinking about this summer. 
What I really like about Hooked on Drawing is that the author, Sandy Brooke, does a great job of sharing lessons that go beyond pencil and paper. She has her students work with chalk, charcoal, kneaded erasers; all that stuff I never used until college. My kids LOVE working with those supplies. Observational Drawing with Children is a great read. What I like about it is that it really explains the developmental stages of drawing. It also provides conversations between student and teacher to give you a peak into an art teacher's classroom. Open-ended lessons and ideas are provided in this small book. 
It's hard to teach what you don't know...and I definitely did not know color when walking into the art room. I used this book as a crash course for myself to become a better teacher. If you are a teacher of older students, you could use the concepts from this book with your kiddos. 
My first year was also helped out greatly by Cathy Topal's book Children and Painting. This book is beautiful with full color photos and great lessons that scaffold. Another beautiful book is You Can Weave! I was so fearful of introducing weaving to my students...this book was a game changer. Again, lots of full color photos and easy to follow steps. 
 I love art history. LOVE it! But how to teach it all? One of my favorite ways to teach is by telling a story. Another teacher who is gifted at this is Marianne Saccardi. Her book Art in Story provides inspiring, well-researched and fascinating stories of artists or art history. You can read them aloud to your students or memorize them and add sound effects, lighting, music and amateur acting skills as I like to do. My very favorite art history book is The Annotated Mona Lisa. Y'all, this is one of my top five. I use this when creating my Hot Minute of History lessons for my kids. It's snippets of art history are short, concise and to the point. 
 A fun and inspirational read is Educating Esme. This is the diary of a first year fifth grade teacher in an inner city school. She struggles with the kiddos, her administration and just finding herself as a teacher. It's a quick read that will leave you inspired. Speaking of inspire, Ron Clark, anyone?! Holy mary, the Godfather of Teacher, can I get an amen? I love all of his books. 
 Need more inspo? Teach like a Pirate is beyond awesome. Dave Burgess is the teacher we all wanna be. But Meena Srinivasan shows us that teaching isn't just about being as wild, crazy and energetic as you can. In Teach, Breathe, Learn, she shares her methods of inspiring mindfulness in her students both in and out of the classroom. 

The key is to discover who YOU are in your art room...reading these books should inspire you, not make you feel the need to conform to any one else's methods or styles of teaching. Your passion is what is going to drive you as an educator and make you  your very best. Just keep that in mind as you flip through the pages of these books and happy reading! 



 photo signature_zpsd10b3273.png
Read more »

Sunday, June 18, 2017

In the Art Room: Fiber Arts for Kids

When I first started teaching, weaving was in our curriculum and I was scared outta my mind. The only knowledge I had of weaving came in the form of the fiber arts class I took in college...where I got a C due to my crappy weaving project. I remember warping one of those giant floor looms for what felt like hours (prob only took 15 minutes but it was dreadfully dull) and skipping a warp strand. "Eh," I thought, "what's one warp strand, the professor will never know." Well, that one strand created a huge runner throughout my weaving and dropped my GPA down...along with the C I also acquired in Karate. Turns out Indiana University takes weaving and martial arts super seriously.

Fast forward to the present and weaving, sewing and all things fiber-artsy is one of my favorite things to teach...and the kid's fave thing to learn! Since I'll be joining in on Trixi Symond's Sew a Softie in July, I thought I'd share this video I created for the Art of Education's online conference. This video is from several conferences ago...but I still use the ideas and methods in my art room. 
Are y'all signed up for this summer's conference? I'll be leading a hands-on clay and printmaking session and I'm so excited! 
My students love fiber arts...and it's a skill that just isn't taught as much any more. All the more reason it is so fascinating to them. You can find a list of my very favorite fiber art projects here. I mentioned a ton of lessons and videos in that clip...you can find them all in that link! You are ALWAYS welcome to use my videos in your art room. I just appreciate a shout out when projects are shared via social media. 

And don't forget to join the fun of Trixi's Sew a Softie in the month of July! 
 photo signature_zpsd10b3273.png
Read more »

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Spotlight on Talk of the Town

Yesterday was a really fun and exciting day: I was on News Channel 5's midday show Talk of the Town! You can catch my four minute segment here. I was featured on the show to chat about my book which is now available for purchase. I had such a great time that I thought I'd share the experience with you. 
Talk of the Town is a midday show that airs each day of the week and features authors, artists, chefs, gardeners (you name it!) who happen to be local. I received an email from the host Meryl Rose not too long ago (via the marketing director of my book) asking if I'd be up for a segment. Of course I happily agreed! During the summer, Talk of the Town is a fave midday show of mine. 

I was asked to go on the show the day after the art show. I have been so busy with this mural and the art show (big ole blog post to come!) that I readily agreed to be on the show...and then promptly put it out of my mind. I had too many other items on my plate to take care of first! But on Tuesday evening, when the art show was over, I had to start wrapping my brain around being on the telly the following day.
I gathered up my examples, a couple copies of my book, a project for us to make on air and my buddy Tamara and arrived about an hour before going live. The news station is in downtown Nashville which is always an adventure to drive around (ahem). With the big Nashville growth boom, there is construction EVERYWHERE and parking NO WHERE. I'm so glad I had Tamara with me as I woulda been in panic attack mode. 

When we arrived to the very unassuming building, we were so surprised to walk in to this. It was amazing! So big, quiet and magical. I was also surprised how few folks were working. There were the hosts of the show, the guests (I was on with a chef and a florist) and two camera guys. The cameras now operate by computer and move around on their own. So there just isn't a need for a room full of camera folks. 
When I arrived, I unpacked my projects. A table on wheels was waiting for me to prepare. The hosts were so super nice. Meryl was to interview me. She spent a lot of time chatting with me and getting to know me so that our conversation would flow on television. 

We did run into one small hiccup though. My clay demonstration called for me to step on the clay. Because of the way the cameras were set up, I was not able to place the clay on the floor and step on it. Instead I was to do it on the table. Meryl went in search of a pair of shoes but didn't come up with one that would work. It was then decided that I would go LIVE barefoot so that I could use my shoes for the demo. That's right! I was barefoot during my segment. You can take the hillbilly art teacher outta the art room but...well, you know the rest. 
The show is a half hour long and my segment was the first of three. With only four minutes to talk, Meryl mentioned that we might not have time to get to the turtle demonstration. I was determined we would squeeze everything in. I mean, I teach 30 minute art classes, I can talk fast when I need to. 
I cannot say enough about what a wonderful experience it was being on the show. Everyone was so sweet, kind and made me feel completely at ease. Thank you to the crew at Talk of the Town for a fun experience! 

 photo signature_zpsd10b3273.png
Read more »

Friday, April 14, 2017

Chalked Folk Art Fish

Need a happy and colorful project for your kiddos that reviews the elements of art, introduces the artist Sandra Silberzweig and allows them to explore the messy and fun medium of chalk? Well have I got a project for you! Here's the lesson video...
Please forgive the quality. I filmed this video at school using my iPad (I normally use my camera) and the iMovie app. I really love filming short clips this way as it's lightning fast! However, when I watched the video back on my laptop, I noticed the quality was not what I had hoped. 
I get asked often about making a video for the art room. I created this video last year at about this time when I was just starting to get my feet wet with filming. I use almost all of these techniques still so if you are interested in creating filmed content for your kids, you might find this helpful!
Back to the lesson: I'm doing this project with my second grade kiddos. This will probably be the last project for the year as they still have a couple of their clay projects, hot outta the kiln, to paint. We are going with a Pet Shop theme and my students created these birds:
They have all come out of the kiln so cute! I purchased some florescent paint, feathers, beads and wire for us to embellish them. I noticed on the bottle of paint I purchased that it says it works in black light...so now I'm on the hunt for a black light for the art show. How fun would that be?
 All that to say, since we are going with a Pet Shop theme, any final projects created will feature animals or fish! My students are using 12" X 18" paper (I used half that in the video) because I wanted big, bold and colorful art. On the first day, we traced the template and did the glue drawing, all in 30 minutes. 
I am going to rethink my black glue recipe for next year. I use tempera paint and Elmer's Glue All...but I think the paint is too thick as the bottles sometimes get clogged. Next year, I'm going to try using India ink as my buddy Ginger uses. That being said, I do kind of like the variety of thick and think lines that the glue produces. 

Y'all know I've caught the Black Glue Bug this year. Check out what third grade created: 

And fourth grade: 

 What I love about chalk work is how vibrant it is. 
We have a couple more days of work left on these lovelies so I'll keep you posted on what happens next. Until then, enjoy your long weekend!
 photo signature_zpsd10b3273.png
Read more »

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Art Teacherin' 101: Episode 32 CLEAN UP

Ah, yes. Clean up. You know, everyone dreads clean up: the kids because they are so into what they are creating and me because I have a different idea of clean up than my students (ahem). I've come up with some things that work and I've slapped 'em together in this here Art Teacherin' 101.

Also in this video, you'll see a clip of my students participating in something I've been calling The Clean Up Contest. This has been working fabulously with all of my classes, grades kinder thru fourth. My room is left spotless, the kids all clean, working together to make their table look the "even better than how you found it". My big rule is that they must do it silently...which really cuts down on the silly and helps them focus on tidying. 

I'll also be sharing with you how I do the Smartest Artist. This is a simple game that all of my students love.

Please share your tips and tricks on Clean Up Time! I know I'm always looking for ways to make this process more streamlined. 
 photo signature_zpsd10b3273.png
Read more »

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Art Teacherin' 101: Episode 25

Y'all can tell it's the craziest time of the year when I start multi-tasking my blog posts. Allow me to introduce to you the first ever (and hopefully the last) What the Art Teacher Wore/Art Teacherin' 101/All Sorts of Other Stuff blog post! Yay! It's kinda like when your mama has too many small portion leftovers and decides that throwin' them all into a pot, heatin' 'em up and callin' it Goulash is making dinner. Welcome to my Bloggy Goulash. Grab your Tums. 

First order of business I want to share with y'all is that Other Stuff...I'll now be sharing one-minute videos on my Instagram, Monday through Friday! 

Be sure to follow me on Instagram to keep up with this new adventure. To join me during our Facebook Live chat, follow me here. And if you miss a video, all of them will be archived on my YouTube channel

I decided to do this because I remember what it was like my very first year teaching, in a portable (aka a trailer), isolated from the other teachers and definitely out of touch with other art teachers. I had so many questions! Now that I have almost 20 years under my sparkly belt, I thought I'd give back what I have learned (and am still learning!) along the way. If there are ANY questions you have for me, please feel free to leave them in the comments or shoot me an email (my address is to the right of this post). I'd love to hear any feedback about this new adventure, y'all! 

Now, on to this week's Art Teacherin' 101...LETTING GO OF NEGATIVITY.
I know I've been sharing with you recently my feelings of stress and how I'm attempting to address it. This week things really hit the proverbial fan with an art show added to the mix. Don't get me wrong, working with Artome was A DREAM (blog post to come, y'all!). However, I was on the receiving end of some not super polite comments from colleagues and, I gotta say, I really allowed that to darken my day. 
This was compounded with some other things that have happened recently. I discovered an entire conversation about me that was happening in a private art teachers group and let's just say there were some very personal and unpleasant words spoken about me. That really wore me out. Unfortunately, I have the habit of allowing negativity to play on loop in my head. Shoot, the words typed out in this email from many moons ago by a fellow art teacher still ring in my ears: It appears your priorities of late are to make a costume a day and write your blog. That is fantastic and shows what a dynamic artist you are, but it leads me to ask, "Do you have time to be a FSSD Art teacher and honor those obligations?"
So all that to say, we are ALL going through stuff. Everyone's got negativity to deal with. The best we can do is try our hardest to let it go. The black balloon visual works really well for me. Another thing we can do is NOT BE A BLACK BALLOON. Remember what your mama taught you: if you've not got anything nice to say then shut it. 
It's also good to know that you aren't alone. Keep that in mind when things start to wear you down. This time of year, everyone is tired and irritable. Just keep your head in the art teacherin' game and focus on the little artists who make you happy. Speaking of, I love these snowfolks created in one day by my firsties!
A good cry always helps. Mine have been coming in waves, sometimes out of no where. Just go with it. You'll feel so much better, I promise!
Retail therapy always helps me...which is why I hit the thrift store so often, it's guilt free!

Seriously, y'all, happy holidays. Stay positive, let go of that negativity and know that you aren't alone. Love y'all! 
 photo signature_zpsd10b3273.png
Read more »

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

In the Art Room: Fourth Grade Faux Stained Glass

Hey, y'all! Today I saw a couple of fourth grade classes for their second day working on their Faux Stained Glass Winter Scene project. I was so impressed with their beautiful work that I thought I would share and let you take a peak at how these 12" X 18" beauties are turning out. In case you missed the demo video, here it is:
On our first day, we sketched out our ideas, enlarged our favorite onto our 12" X 18" piece of paper and drew the lines in either black glue or puffy paint. I decided to change the size of the artwork to better accommodate frames. I have had parents tell me that when we do odd shaped artwork, it is difficult for them to frame. I really love the idea of them framing their child's work so of course I'm going to make some changes to have that happen!
Today we watched the second half of the video and dove right into chalkin' it up. I stressed the following: no more than three colors per shape; colors had to be analogous; keep your fingers clean by washing and drying regularly. 
 About 1/3 of the kids finished today, some used glue today (because they were absent last time) and others are still in the middle of creating. Yay! That should be real fun to coordinate all those finishers/almost finishers/no where near finisheders. Such is art teacherin' life. I plan to provide some open ended projects for those wrapping things up as that will be our last class before break. 
 This project was inspired by the success of this third grade project!
One of the half dozen freshly-glued designs from today. We dry these on our messy mats on the floor. I found that placing them on the tilted drying racks causes the glue to run.
The partially finished pieces really stole my heart. These kids were serious about taking their time and doing their best. I love this Hershey Kiss tree!
 This one is really so stained-glass-esque.
 This artist got a big warm hug from me. So stunning!
And this artist, ah! I was so concerned when I saw his glued design as I thought, that is gonna take him forever! I was worried that he wouldn't have the patience to fill it in the best he could but he really is rockin' it!
And this one says Paul Klee to me! 

Please feel free to give this project a go in your art room! I'd love to see the results if you do.

 photo signature_zpsd10b3273.png
Read more »