Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The EVERLASTING.... Bulletin Board!!!

Now this, is a post for all my fellow teachers out there; art teachers, general education teachers, music teachers, all of you!!!

One of the things which seem to make a school a much more vibrant, exciting, happy, and aesthetically pleasing place... is the hallways... and what helps turn a hallway from "blah" to "hoorah!"?   

Now, typically the bulletin board can be a nightmare to manage- constantly changing the paper due to fading, ripping, and such can be a lot of work that is hard to find time for in a teachers day.  I had the opportunity to try out some Pacon bulletin board paper, and while it may be a tad more expensive than the typical industrial roles- it is fadeless, vibrant, and catches the eye of students, parents, teachers, and leaders within the building.  Finally, I finished off my board with some metallic bordette for detail from Pacon as well.  And my board was ready for work to be displayed!!
Then there's the question of what to display? 
                        Tests? Let's be honest, They're not really fun to look at....  
                                          Worksheets? Who wants to see 25 of the same worksheet?.......
                                                           Data? Okay, we ALL see enough of that in our daily lives......

How about... student artwork,  class projects,  photos of field trips, information for parents/families!?
The key I've found to a great bulletin board is one which isn't too text heavy, uses a lot of bright colors, shapes, and different fonts!  Also- changing your bulletin board monthly always keeps parents, students, administration, and colleagues informed of the amazing things happening in your room, or reinforces school wide themes/concepts being emphasized.

  For my summer art board(pictured above) I also used the Pacon Bulletin Board Self Adhesive Letters.

 This bulletin board has had the same paper and border on it for months!  It still shines brightly, remains in one piece, and you can't even notice where push pins and staples have been in it!  We are getting ready for ANOTHER bulletin board change and I know this paper will hold up through the rest of this year!  Stay tuned for bulletin board updates throughout the year!  My goal: change the bulletin board MONTHLY! 

Monday, November 9, 2015

Symbolic Self-Portraits Inspired by Maria Fabrizio!

Recently I had the amazing opportunity to plan a lesson based off of artist Maria Fabrizio.  Maria is an incredible artist who is a graphic designer by day, and by morning, the creator of Wordless News which is  a blog, which illustrates "One headline per day, vowel and consonant free" The following is a description of her blog and it's concept:

"Wordless News is a weekday creative ritual starting at 4:45am. Maria gets up, reads the news, sketches, digitizes, and posts an editorial illustration for a selected headline. " *

Learning Targets, Maria's headline/work, and teacher exemplars.
 I took Maria's process of turning words into a visual which everyone can understand and developed a lesson of symbolic self portraits.  I've been stressing to students the importance of their visual reading level, and that everyone has a high visual reading level, because EVERYONE can READ a PICTURE!!

Students began by completing an "I am..." poem format to truly begin to identify and discover what makes them each so unique and different from one another.  This ranged from cultural beliefs and heritage, to adjectives, hopes and dreams for themselves.

Student "I Am..." Poem and Symbol Brainstorm Page
Once students completed their poem/writing, we began to dive into the idea of symbols.  Starting with simple symbols they knew such as soccer team logos, Starbucks, and Target symbols, students began to develop symbols for their writing.  After they brainstormed, we spent a day discussing material choice and composition.  Students could choose from: crayons, markers, colored pencils, oil pastels, and collage for this project.  Students were shown multiple approaches to ways one might organize their final composition but it was left up to the student. 
Student Work in Progress, Organized Compositions

A great activity I did as a warm-up with students was printing out four pieces by Maria and asking students to write the headline which could have inspired her work of art from that day.  This challenged students because rather than working from words to pictures, they were forced to work from pictures to words to experience both approaches.

Students did a wonderful job on this project and took pride within their work.  Fifth grade is an awkward time where students are figuring out social groups, interests, strengths, and cultures/traditions which they identify themselves with.  This project seemed to help students become more confident of expressing themselves and stating their thoughts and ideas with their classmates.  It sparked many interesting conversations about different beliefs and traditions! 
Final Products (hoping to get better quality photos soon!)

During the lesson, one class was filmed as I planned this lesson to participate in the National Art Education Association's fall virtual conference in September.  At the conference I had the opportunity to meet Maria and do a brief interview/panel with fellow art teachers about her work!  It was a blast and I am so fortunate to have been offered the opportunity to participate.  To the left is an image of a instagram post while my classroom footage was rolling!!  Students really enjoyed seeing the footage as well after the conference streamed live!!

Below are some additional final products created by fifth graders, inspired by Maria Fabrizio's process!!

Thanks for sticking with me through this long post!!!
*All text and information on artist Maria Fabrizio was found from her website: www.wordlessnews.com 

Monday, October 19, 2015

Donors Choose Project Posted! Help the Bancroft Art Room!

Hello Everyone!   We're in the midst of wrapping up our first projects of the year so get ready for some incredibly creative takes on self-portraits in the next week!

As the start of the school year has come and I made it through the first 6 weeks, I've realized just how much I rely upon my library of art related books for students not only in the youngest grades, but for even the fifth graders.  The art room library is a place students go to find creative solutions and ideas for their projects, and my oldest students have let me know, they want NEW BOOKS!  So, I've created a Donors Choose project to get some amazing new inspiring, and motivating books to add to the classroom library!  If you or someone you know might be able to help raise funds for these books please share the link below!!  Check out my full project on-line by clicking HERE!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Organization... in an ART ROOM with CHOICE?! MISSION POSSIBLE!

 We all know art teachers have tons of stuff in their rooms, and I mean TONS of STUFF!  Above is a show of my room(yes during week 0 so no students had touched it yet) and how I like to keep things organized.  It's hard to see but materials are lined on the counter tops, one bin of each supply for every table.... yup, it's a lot of bins!  The challenge for me came at the end of last year when I implemented a full choice based instructional model with my 4th grade... I opened up the opportunity of clay and construction/building, and quickly found that my organization was not quite there. 

The challenge with the construction/building center, was that there were just so many different components students needed: tape(scotch, masking, and packing), cardboard, popsicle sticks, scissors, and cold flow glue guns.  That's WAY too many bins for one table.... and then I discovered this Activity Tray from Pacon.  This awesome organizer holds everthing students would need in one easy to carry tray.  Students took alot of ownership in carrying it to and from it's counter spot and really keeping it neat and organized.  Not only that, but I've used it other times when I've traveled to a classroom for various reasons.  The coolest part to me, is that each of the small sections comes out so you can move it around the way you want it!  I must admit when I first got it I wondered how durable it would be, but it doesn't have a scratch, dent, tear, or mis-shaped part yet(and it's been at the mercy of 60 4th graders!)  This is definitely something I'd like to invest in for each of my tables as I continue choice based instruction this year. 

To the right are two buildings students envisioned, planned, and constructed with the help of the organizational tray.  These were fully built/constructed in 2 classes! I'd say it was a successful first try at a full choice based implementation for my students!!

 * A huge Bancroft ROAR to Pacon for graciously donating the activity tray which made this project a well organized and well managed success!*

Sunday, September 13, 2015

We're BACK!

Hopefully everyone had a great summer!  As I began my 6th year teaching at Bancroft, I found myself more and more excited to see my students.  I've spent 5 years building relationships, earning students trust, learning about each students strengths and challenges, and the start to the year this year would be best described as calm and collected.  My students have amazed me already with their focus, ability levels, creativity, and willingness to take a risk. 

One thing I've notices is that being in a bilingual school, vocabulary is CRUCIAL for students, and it's twice as challenging because they're learning in two languages.  Even harder for me, is that I teach in English, and I realized there are students that I know would know the answer to my questions or the proper vocabulary in Spanish.  So I thought, how do I teach my English dominant students the Spanish vocab. and vice versa.  Well, of course I was told "You should make a word wall" but I just couldnt figure out how to make it an organized, and legible(from all seats) success.  Plus, my walls didn't have much space I could reach!!  So I thought about it.   The result?  My vocabulary Folder!! There is one folder per table for students to use as reference when they are working.  They are particularly popular during reflection sheets, as students use them for spelling!  I hope this sparks some ideas, or thoughts about vocabulary walls, charts, folders, etc. 

The front of the folder goes through the various types of images we typically create. 
The middle of the folder walks students through the elements of art and the crucial vocabulary they should know by the time they leave Bancroft in the 5th grade.  Now, there are always more vocabulary words we cover, but these are just the basics. 
The back of the folder lists common supplies/materials we use at Bancroft.  It also has the artistic process I use with students and appropriate questions for class discussion during all stages. 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Portrait Day at ARTventure DC!

During Session 3 of ARTventure DC we explored portraiture in a new way!  Campers filled in the background of their final pieces with symbols, colors, shapes, or anything that helped express who they are and what they love!  While campers did this, I used the clear glass door, transparencies, and a sharpie to trace their face!  We then cut out a frame out of some metallic paper, attached it all together, and the images above and below are what we got!  I am thinking about trying this with my students this year by having them place a transparency on a mirror and trace that way!

Friday, August 14, 2015

Full Choice Based: A First Attempt and SUCCESS!!

Recently I noticed a huge spike in views of my previous post about implementing choice based visual arts classes, and it reminded me... I never posted my first attempt at implementing a full choice based model within my classroom this past year!!

The image to the left is a written out version of an artistic process to students.  They use this document to guide themselves through their artistic thinking, and to prompt conversation which leads to a deeper understanding of what they're doing, and reflection upon their process. Being at a bilingual school, of course this is in English and Spanish so all students can utilize it.  Also, students use a small foam square/piece of paper throughout the class to place it on the step they're on so I know where they are in their process and can prompt with proper  questioning.

The document to the right is how we begin brainstorming what a student wants to create.  They first complete the "Art Search" where they find a piece of artwork they find unique or inspiring. This piece typically guides them and helps them Envision for the next page "Creation Brainstorming" where they begin to Plan their own project. 

What comes next?  CREATION of course!  Once students have finished their creation brainstorming page, we hold a mini-conference where we go over exactly what they have envisioned and the way they plan to execute their design.  This conversation is crucial and many times students end up revising their plan 1-2 times before moving on to the create stage.  For classroom set up, I typically have students sit within the same artistic media, or project type so they can assist one another when they encounter a challenge.  This also creates a great classroom environment as it pushes students to build friendships with classmates they might not usually choose to socialize with in another environment!
Above you can see an image of one student working on a landscape, and another is working on the interior design of a building.  The image on the right shows students in the reflection stage.  The artist of the piece chose to create a collage of various soccer items, and wanted help arranging each individual piece he made.  Rather than immediately coming to the me for help, he sought out the advice and thoughts of his classmates.  This involved 3-5 classmates, which sparked a larger conversation about composition, balance, and symmetry.... all without the assistance of the teacher!!!
(I can't lie it was one of those proud moments that made you want to cry, but also left me feeling a little useless since they could do it all themselves!!!)

Above are some final product examples from students in my first attempt at a full choice based instructional model.  Not only did it push my students to envision and create these amazing final products, but it truly increased their motivation, investment, and sense of pride in themselves and their work.  I've never had students ask, beg,  and plead for me to come pick them up during morning recess, lunch, and their average recess so they can continue working on their project.  Students also gained a sense of ownership and responsibility for their classroom.  Students did a remarkable job keeping supplies orderly and taken care of!

Notice the folder on the table in the third image?  It's the equivalent of an art vocabulary word wall in one compact file folder!  I'll be doing a blog post on it soon!  It's a great bilingual teaching resource!!