Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Sub Way, Nas, and Connecting the Dots

Despite the mishaps (I actually lost a student, briefly, this week), and the irritation (I was called to a school that asked that I reshelve library books?) and the constant problem solving (how DO you find 3/8 of 40?) I REALLY enjoy subbing.  It has been truly educational.  I see into what goes on outside of art education and I see into the microcosms of individual classrooms.  I learn from good examples of teaching- using current song lyrics to teach language arts; so real and engaging! and from poor examples of teaching- no classroom rules, no classroom management plan?  
So, I find these truths to be self-evident: 

1)  Subbing for a teacher who is firm, fair, and consistent with their class is much easier than for one who is  not.
2)  Relationship building is essential.  The students need to know they matter to adults.
3)  Being serious is ok.  So is laughing when something is funny.

After a recently frustrating day in which I COULD NOT quickly, quietly get the students' attention for directions and transitions I remembered an idea that I had awhile ago and never tried...
By the way I HATE clapping at kids (kinda demeaning, no?) or flashing the lights (I am NEVER by the switch!)
SO, for a student population which enjoys being participatory...
I use the chorus from Nas' song, I know I can.  It goes like this:

I call-                     I know I can
Students answer-   Be what I wanna be
I call-                     If I work hard at it
Students answer-   I'll be where I wanna be
Then, in theory, students get quiet and get ready to listen.

I'm anxious to see how it works!

AND I found an AMAZING resource for challenging puzzles, connect the dot sheets, coloring pages, etc for free! Mindware Sample Puzzles
My plan is to pass them out at the beginning of the day and offer a small prize for whoever finishes first.  Like an as-needed time filler:)  No need to finagle extra time or rush slower paced students...We'll see how it goes!  Wish me luck.

Monday, February 20, 2012

An Artist A Day Keeps The Blues Away.

Like many folks these days, I have a customized google homepage with news, weather, blog updates etc. While searching through the 'gadgets' Google has available, I found Artist A Day.  A cool site that updates daily:) with contemporary artists and their typically unusual artwork.  As a recent long term high school art sub I FINALLY got to put this site to even better use than my own edification...
Artist: David Peterson
Student Questions: 
 What elements of art stand out most in this artwork?
What do you think the artist was thinking when he/she made this work of art?

Each day, I projected the site onto the SmartBoard at the beginning of the period.  Students had a standard two questions to answer which I changed according to what was relevant to our class.  Each day's response was worth just five points.  Some students earned more based on the sophistication of their answer. I chose not to dock points if a student was absent for a day or two.  However, for absences of 3+ days, students had to write a paragraph response when they returned.

It was a happy time when students came in, had a quick doable task, and mentally switched over to art while I got organized and took attendance.  Hope this is of use!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Why Art Matters...To Teenagers.

Well, one of the aspects of art that I really enjoy is that it is for EVERYONE.  well at least it should be.  Sometimes I feel like the Statue of Liberty..."Give me your tired your poor Your huddled masses yearning to breath free."  Don't get me wrong, working with students who love art, create amazing artwork, and are going to art school is great.  But part of me loves teaching everyone else about the POWER OF ART! (insert thunderbolts here)
As I am currently teaching a high school general art type of class, I decided to put it all into a PowerPoint.  Cuz that's what I do:)  Why Art Matters  enjoy!  tell me whatcha think...

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Whatcha Mean, what's a zine?!

Ok this is by far one of my favorite fall back, never fail lesson plans for any grade level.  ZINES are simply mini magazines for those of you new to the medium.  They can be folded many ways and incorporate collage, written stories, poems, drawings, cartoons, etc.  Often they are made to be cheaply reproduced and sold.  Zines are for sale in record stores, comic book stores, indy book stores, etc.   and are usually written by someone with a message to share.

This book is a great resource for learning more and to have on hand in the classroom.  If possible I like to show  this video of a teen girl talking about making zines...she's so much cooler than me!

When we make zines I usually use it as an introductory lesson for students to share a topic that relates to their identity (middle and high school).  Students are put ease because it's not an intimidating project and they LOVE to talk about themselves:)

As a long term art sub I recently used this lesson with the following results:

These were made on a simple piece of 8 and 1/2" 11" copy paper that's folded into fourths.
This lesson is a good indicator of student ability and creativity.

Thanks to Meri for introducing me to the world of zines in the first place:)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

cue whitesnake..."here I am again..."

i hope my 80's musical reference wasn't too random:) 

Well friends, it has been some TIME!!   Anywho, let me explain my absence and where i am... again.

SUBBING!? Yeah i won't get into the nitty gritty of how and why...
But, here I am.  I subbed for three years after getting my bachelor's degree before working as an instructional assistant and before I had my teaching degree.  It's a little weird to return to subbing in regular classrooms after five years!  BUT let me tell you, I LOVE subbing. For real, it's a great gig.  I have freedom from planning, grading, and real/prolonged discipline problems.  I get the chance to work with a daily variety of ages and learners and the opportunity to watch great teachers do their thing and learn from them!  It's rewarding each day to get to know new students, problem solve, present unfamiliar material and take each day as it comes.  Now if only subs were paid accordingly...

Which has kept me from blogging...where do i go from here?  My rough plan is to change format temporairily (until I get a full time art teaching job- cross your fingers!)  and blog about my own current art projects which I FINALLY have time/energy for, art lesson plans, and tips, pointers, observations on subbing both for classroom teachers and subs:)

For all my teaching friends who continue to fight the fine fight in inner city teaching, my hat goes off to you.

Monday, May 16, 2011

A few of my favorite things...

While looking for a new 3-D project for my eighth graders, I came across this lesson plan on the Incredible Art Department... I knew I had PLENTY of cardboard and my students love working in groups (despite my reservations) so I thought we'd give it a shot!  Our Frank Stella-inspired relief sculptures turned out a bit differently than planned, BUT the students LOVED this project!
I am proud of their ability to work together  and "think outside the box". 
Originally, this project was meant to be a bit more abstract, but that was tricky to conceptualize and we were a tad tied to the literal...but that's ok, we have to start somewhere! First, we completed the National Gallery of Art online guessing game (with a worksheet to ensure participation and understanding)
Then students chose an activity and answered some questions about the activity that helped them turn movement, equipment, etc. into shapes and colors.  I really wish we had a display case for these!

Does the bowling ball look like 'The Scream' to anyone else?

Below are some 7th grade examples working with value.  After tracing 3-5 shapes (so the focus was on the shading) we drew 3 lines from one side of the paper to the other.  Next, we chose 2 pairs of oil pastel light/dark color combos.  One pair was outside the shapes and one pair was the inside.  To incorporate writing skills, we wrote 3-5 sentences about what we VALUE.  I like when students can interject a little bit of their identity into a project which is otherwise strictly art-skills based.

I try to include an "explanation" when I display art so that our learning is made apparent to passers-by and other educators see the value (lol) of what art teaches and the relevance of the artwork on display.

Things are winding down now that we're so close to the end of the year...BUT I find that classroom management is as important as ever, I don't have the luxury of letting up or the last couple weeks/days will be a HOT MESS.  I want to communicate that in the art room it is business as usual and we are there to learn, EVERY DAY.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The VALUE of Tints and Shades

I hope you laughed at my art joke!  I started teaching this lesson plan last year...this semester I made some major changes...with pleasing results, finally!  Students in the past painted half the background and where we mixed 5 tints and 5 shades of any color, this time we mixed only 3 of each and used only pre-mixed secondary colors.   I really like the collage-only background, it pulls the composition together nicely:)
 This project was only 2-3 50 minutes sessions!  Each task- cutting shapes, mixing tints and shades, collaging the background, was doable for all but the most distracted IS spring after all!  Students seem to like projects with a "right or wrong" outcome like color mixing.  I think the concrete-ness is comfortable.
We used phonetics to help us remember what a tint was and what a shade was... tint and white both have "i" as the vowel, shade and black both have "a".

I originally adapted this from a dick blick lesson plan but eliminated/substituted the fancy-dancy materials for what I had...small pieces of cardstock donated by a local print shop (for the background) and tempera paint instead of acrylic!