Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Wabi Sabi Christmas Ornaments

Wabi-sabi- another Japanese mindset of embracing imperfections, struggle and growth as something beautiful. Child art is my favorite example of this- as the nature of their work is free from the adult idea of "perfection". Their work feels alive, like the spirit of the children themselves. Keep your inner child alive.   

The previous post included details of our current simple ceramic project. The simplicity of these ornaments highlights the beauty of the glaze, and is giving our artists confidence in working with ceramics. I so look forward to our first open clay session...most likely some time in February when we really need a break from the norm. 

This is what the ornaments look like before being fired. This is third grade work. 
Some of our artists happily glazing today. 
Here are the ornaments after firing! The reds are still dark from the heat of the kiln. The colors lighten and brighten as they cool down. 
Happy Holidays:) This first grade star just makes me smile. 

Friday, November 18, 2016

Whole class ceramics

Panther's Palette is beginning to become a pretty well-oiled machine in our big three centers: collage, painting and drawing! Up next will be the sculpture center, which will include found objects and cardboard construction. Ceramics is one of my favorite things to teach, but because of our school body size and specific steps that need to take place in its creation, a designated center for such a material would not work. When clay comes out-- all things come to a holt.

The past week, Kindergarten to 5th is "unlocking" the clay my creating a whole-class, one period (40 minutes) project. I wanted them to get as much exposure to clay as possible so that when clay comes back out in the future, they'll be more successful with free-choice creation. So to keep it quick and simple, we used cookie cutters in slabs to create holiday ornaments. K-3rd focused on carving and printing in the clay. Fourth grade learned how to attach by scoring/slipping, and fifth did the same in addition to having the ability to combine shapes to make new pieces.

Here is how I was able to organize teaching 200-some students a day with GLAZING! Even our Kinders were successful in the new routine, keeping the glaze bottles organized and in good condition. I am so proud of them and I cannot wait for them to bring something home for the holidays.
I have a "special center" rolling table which the students stamped their clay pieces out on, and today I turned it into the glaze center. Students chose one glaze bottle at a time, and went to the designated table for that color. They retrieved a new brush for each new color of glaze. Dirty brushes go in the "brush bath" and I quickly rinse them off and return them to the cups during studio time. 

Each cap is labeled the color family it belongs in, and is organized in the box by color. The menu on the board features the tile sample of that glaze with the name of the color underneath for the students to refer to. 

The tables had place cards which indicated which table they should bring their glazes to! If they could not find it in the box, they went to that table and shared with the person that already had it. It worked perfectly- even for Kinders! 

Friday, September 30, 2016

Autonomy begins

Two students naturally began collaborating on an idea: collecting data of the opinions of specific scent combinations of the Mr. Sketch markers. I am looking forward to seeing what they do with their data.  
In Panther's Palette studio, students are beginning to learn the routine of the drawing and painting centers. Second - fifth grade have "unlocked" all the mediums that are available by taking the time to practice techniques of each medium on a skill builder "key". Next, sketchbooks are being designed to hold the keys and sketches/plans of each student's artwork.  Like the scientific method, artists create in a rhythm of idea generation, planning, executing (creating), and reviewing (reflecting). This is the next step for our artists at SVES!
The student at the edge of the table has moved on from sketchbook design to idea generation--
practicing observational skills on sketch paper. 

This artist chose to utilize a photo reference to paint a rhino on her sketchbook. I encouraged her to draw with a pencil first before she painted, but she was excited to get right in with paint. 

The front and back (rainbow, upside down in photo) of a student's sketchbook design

 Kinders and First grade artists are working on a modified TAB. They stay at their home base tables for a more structured environment. Like the older artists, the students must "unlock" the tools by having a day to experiment and practice important techniques and skills before making an artwork. These grades have experimented with several drawing tools, practiced with scissors and glue, and have created collage artwork. (Next up: painting!) 
We discussed layering and detail. 

The action in this collage/drawing is all boy. 

This artist was very proud of the design she created with several stencils. 

This artwork (sideways) shows an apt toward building and sculpture concepts. 

This artist found an interesting texture (broken rubbing plate)

Fabulous blend of layering, detail and arrangement. 

The extraordinary skill levels of this first grade class had to be our first artist spotlight!!

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Introduction to TAB at SVES

Pana-view of the Drawing Center

Already I see I change in my students' morale. Already I see that I am reaching students who I have not reached before in art class. Cycle one was all about introducing the idea of choice-based artwork, and how it would work in our crazy-fast 40 minute period with so many of us in the room. It will take time for us to learn the routine- and today, we just focused on the idea of an IDEA. It is all about the children, right? I know their names, but I do not know much else about them, and am so excited to get to know more about each child as I help bring their ideas to fruition. Today, our artists filled out an idea bank- a place to write about interests and think about what is important to them.

Around the perimeter of the room, centers of various media will be opened throughout the year. Currently, we are at "Level 1", the foundation of our visual language- drawing. The students are working to "unlock" the drawing tools by practicing various skill builders, which relate to the demo videos I tape and show them at the beginning of class that introduce various techniques with an art tool. For cycle one, we unlocked the tool that we are all most familiar with: crayons. I wanted the students to get a feel for the "unlocking" process, as well as use an old tool in a new way. Students created value with shading, texture with rubbing plates, and experimented with blending two or more colors together.

Next week, students will begin to gain access to more choice: they'll choose to unlock several other drawing tools and begin designing their sketchbook covers. Students will learn about portfolios (where they store their finished art projects) as well as another important addition to this year's program: share time. (Looking at art and talking about it is such an important process of observation, discussion, description and reflection!)

I can't wait to start filling the spotlight with little artists' work!
Even our trash can got an upgrade ;)

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Saucon Valley Elementary's transition to TAB...

I've done a lot of thinking this summer. A lot of research, reading and very late late nights. (Some of that has to do with baby #2 ensuring my nighttime sleep is just a series of naps!)

Teaching for Artistic Behavior is a method of art education that allows for student-led discoveries. So many things have led me to this place. Each factor has to do with the student as the individual, as the artist. It is time for my student's ideas to fully shine. Beginning this school year, we will focus on IDEAS, and how to think and behave like an artist. Look for much much more to come!!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Symmetrical leaves

Van Gogh's favorite season
The colors of autumn will never cease to inspire artists. With the warm crisp leaves and cool winter wind creeping in... it sure is a great way to review warm and cool colors. This lesson utilizes printmaking and integrates the math concept of symmetry as an element of design! 

Our first day, we reviewed warm colors and how to make a print with a leaf, thinking about symmetry with our arrangement.

The following day, I set up stations: one to finish printing and one to begin backgrounds. We embellished our backgrounds with oil pastels, using line to create pattern. Then we reviewed cool colors, and painted our background with those. This project took a total of three 40 minute periods to complete.

Here are just a few finished examples. Absolutely beautiful.

This project certainly brightened up our front lobby! 

Friday, November 13, 2015

Veterans/Armistice Day Poppies

In Flanders fields the poppies blow...Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

                                  -Col. John McCrae, 1919
Throughout Europe, Canada and America, poppies have become a symbol of life, death and remembrance. 11/11 is a day to honor those who serve for us. It began as Armistice day, or the day World War I ended (on the eleventh day of the eleventh month at the eleventh hour).

Third and fourth grade created large poppies to color our hallways and honor the Veterans in our lives. 
We hung the display at the end of October. By Veteran's Day--this flag was full of images of Veterans from our students and staff. Quite a powerful sight.