Saturday, December 10, 2011

Name Art

I'm back tracking a bit to share with you the first lesson I did with 7th grade this year. Being new at school means that I don't know ANY of the students. I decided to start this year off with a round of name art in most of my classes. This helped me learn about my students and pick up a few names quickly. In 7th grade we took the letters in our names and changed them into objects that told something about us. It was really interesting watching students work on this assignment. This wasn't an easy lesson for everyone and I found a bunch of students get "stuck." When students had trouble coming up with ideas it was the perfect time to have conversions with them about what their interest are and brainstorm with them. Check out some of my students work below!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Picasso Guitars

Finally finished!! my 6th graders finished their Picasso Guitars just before thanksgiving.(took forever I know..I'm new at this still figuring things out as I go haha) I spent break brainstorming ideas of how to hang them up. I love the solution I came up with! The space I have to hang up my students work is small and has white concrete walls. Not very compatible with hanging 3-D art work. So I got some command hooks and dowels and made my own system for hanging up my students beautiful guitars! The picture on the left shows the hooks. They were not cheep but you can buy replacement adhesive for them so they can be reused. I would recommend this particular kind becasue the hook swings around and these hooks are very versatile. Below are some examples of student work! I htink they came out really well considering this entire project was a bit of en experiment. It's hard to tell some of the details and the 3-D element from the photos so I might take some more close up shots.

Monday, October 17, 2011

3-D Art

This post discusses a project that I introduced in previous posts :)

I'm still working on these 3-D Picasso guitars. This project is going to be trickling into
my posts as our progress keeps getting interrupted with school assemblies and picture day etc.

My students NEED structure. I knew that this project was going to be challenging becasue there were so many variables. I worked really hard to set my students up for success by giving them a very clear step by step guide of how to do the project. To the left you will see that I drew each step out for students. I also had this drawn on the board in color. In addition I demonstrated the steps and stopped between each step to check for understanding and review what came next. Would you believe some students were still saying "I don't know what I'm supposed to do next???"

I tried a new strategy today that worked out really well. I brought my Ipod and speakers into school and got some music I know my students love like drake, Beyonce, lady gaga. (I made sure they were radio edits). I gave my students the first direction and then turned the music on. After I assessed that most student had finished that step I turned the music off and gave my students step #2. Eventually the students got the hang of it. When the music goes off they stop talking and listen. It wasn't perfect I was still barking at some students to stop talking but it helped a lot. I think if I spend a little time explaining this freeze style art game it will be more successful tomorrow.

On another note storing 3D art is tricky!!!! I think I have come up with a good plan. I hate to admit this but I don't know all my students names. Its a real problem actually I'm working on it (I'm hoping its one of those teacher skills that comes with a few years of experience). It is always easiest for me to pass back work when it is pr-organized by tables. For example I pass back the Red tables work as a group. This is what I came up with. Each shelf is organized by homeroom. Then each section of shelf is organized by table. It's a little confusing to understand from the picture but it's almost like a spread sheet. Clearly I haven't put all the projects in yet. I hope this works :)

I would love to hear how you store your 3D art projects?? What do you do when they need drying time??

Can't wait to keep sharing about this project!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Tube-Free Toilet Paper

I recently saw this commercial.

Scott has come out with a tube-free toilet paper roll. My first thought was- O NO not one of my most precious art supplies!!!

In all seriousness it is a step in the right direction and I'm sure people will still buy normal rolls tube and all.

How many of your project include toilet paper rolls??

Monday, October 10, 2011

Trash Picking for Supplies

I will not let a small budget stand in the way of my students success. I have been planning a project that involves cereal boxes and toilet paper rolls. I sent a letter home last week and asked students to bring in one cereal box and one toilet paper/paper towel roll. I put a large box in each home room for students to collect these items. I took a peek in the homerooms on Thursday before I left for the week and I was disappointed by the number of boxes collected. I anticipate the project working best when each student works independently (I have been working slowly on sharing skills we are working toward a collaborative project but we're not there yet). I have been a little worried trying to collect as many cereal boxes as I can. I even hijacked some of my friends boxes but I just wasn't getting enough.

So I did what any art teacher would do. I looked up the recycling schedule and walked all around the area trash picking. HUGE SUCCESS!! I grabbed over 40 cereal boxes! and a number of assorted cracker boxes that could also work.

Now there is no excuse for my students to not be successful.

Added Bonus: I found a ton of box top for education! Not sure if my school participates but I will give them to a school that does.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Making personal connections with students

Once or twice a month teachers at my school have a meeting to discuss behavior issues. I'm really impressed with my fellow teachers. We only talk about specific behaviors and always say that when we discuss a students behavior we talk as if they are in the classroom. This really cuts down on unnecessary comments and to be honest it's much more efficient.

In particular one student was mentioned. He is very bright, very intelligent but does not always fully engage in class. One thing that teachers noticed was he is constantly doodling. He has talent and obviously really enjoys drawing. I decided I would go out and get him a little sketch book. I pulled him aside today and showed him the book. His eyes lit up! I told him he had to improve his behavior and if he did and his classroom teachers told me he had improved I would give it to him as a place to draw. I made it very clear that he had to earn this book as a reward. The classroom teachers agreed to find a time during the day he would be allowed to draw in response to class.

This might not be the perfect solution. And I know I can't fix every student by giving them gifts but it is important to find personal connections with students and find out what motivates and drives them. I will keep you posted on weather or not he earns the sketch book and if this actually had a lasting impact.

Monday, October 3, 2011

3D art and Picasso

I am developing a lesson that invlovs learning about Picasso, 3d art, and cubism. Right now students are learning about Picasso and his influence on Cubism. We are focusing on Picasso's guitars. In particular we are going to be focusing on this guitar below.

During this first lesson students are watching clips of videos that talk about Picasso and his work. They are examining a power point of many of Picasso's depictions of guitars. I brought my own guitar in and we are isolating specif shapes we see and then ultimately putting them back together to make a cubist drawing of guitars.
The next time I see the students we are going to begin to construct our 3D guitars. I have very very few supplies. I decided to ask students to bring in a empty cereal box and cardboard paper towel or toilet paper roll. I recently got a donation of yarn that we will use to make the strings. With just these materials and scissors, masking tape, and sharpie markers we are going to make a structure similar to Picasso's. This is my first example on the left. I am still fooling around with this so I might change some aspects. I also haven't added the string yet.

Finally we are then going to explore collage. Just like Picasso used newspaper, brown paper, and music sheets we are going collage our Picasso guitars. I can't wait to get students working on these.

I am going to post a step by step soon of how I made the structure. Hopefully I will have some student work to post soon!

Sunday, October 2, 2011


How do we assign grades in art? How do we assess? How do we hold our students accountable?

I wish that all of my students were intrinsically motivated and completed all of their art assignments becasue they WANTED to. That is just not the case. In the begining of every class my students know to enter the room silently and get right to work with a work sheet. The purpose of the work sheet is to get students engaged immediately with art. This is something that is school wide but works well in my classroom. Progress reports are due on the 5th and I am thinking that I will make my very own art progress report to send home. I am thinking this might SHOCK my students a bit into taking art more seriously. I am going to send a packet home with all the worksheets they have completed. If they did not turn one in then I will send home a blank one for students to complete and turn back in. I am also going to require that students get parents signatures. I also want to have students complete a rubric to grade their final art work. The class overall is pass/fail but I think keeping track of students work in this way will hold them more accountable.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


The more I learn about by students the more I realize they really need clear TANGIBLE incentives. A colleague of mine described it as "puppy training with treats." Its true. I have clearly set up my consequences in my room (still working on 100% following up on them). Now the next step is implementing a really strong incentive program. I'm thinking maybe table wars of some kind. Students working together to do well. I'm not sure yet. I'm devoting this weekend to plan something that I will be able to stick to and that will get students motivated to work.

I tried something new today that worked. I wrote post it notes on some students work encouraging them to keep working hard and pointing out areas that I thought were really successful. THIS WORKED REALLY WELL. This gave me a chance to connect with students I havent had the chance to spend much one of one time with. I didn't say ANYTHING about the notes. I just let them look at them and digest take my comments in and get to work. I am going to keep doing this in some capacity throughout the year.

alright fellow art teachers I want to here what your incentives are. What systems do you use?

Monday, September 26, 2011

beginnings are never easy

Welcome to my blog. Here I want to share what I am doing in my art classroom and learn from other art educator bloggers. My students call me Miss D. This is my first year teaching and I am splitting my time between two different schools in my city. It has been a rough start to say the least but I am trying to keep my head high. Always looking for advice and hints along way. I am looking forward to your comments and suggestions.