Monday, June 29, 2009

First Day of School Ideas

You know, it seems like summer is just beginning, but I've been researching ideas for next year nearly every day. I just found a cool idea for a more organized form of doodling called "zentangles", follow the title link to see more, including galleries.
For the younger kids, I'm thinking about "tangrams" and found a PBS site to use with my Smartboard:

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Garage Sale Musings

Spent most of the day getting ready for the annual neighborhood garage sale. Goes without saying, we manage to have a lot of stuff, even with quarterly donations to "Purple Heart", "Goodwill", etc. I suppose part of the problem is that my whole family creates art, loves to antique, and we own way too many books... So, I got thinking about all the "recyclable" projects I do in a school year: altered books, recyclable castles, most "art club" projects (which has a budget of $0.00), wire armatures, etc. Every art teacher I know is extremely good at finding valid uses for obscure donated items (one year I got several boxes of small square & circular plastic tags, hey---we did Calder inspired stabiles with them). Anyway, I always save our myriad magazines and WSJ papers (so good because the kids aren't tempted to read them instead of covering the tables) for school use, in addition to always being "on the hunt" for garage sale finds like yarn,wire,& reference books.
Follow the title link to an amazing site featuring gorgeous art created from junk (hope your summer reveals treasures in unexpected places).

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Father's Day & Animation

Spent some time adding features to my blog (see "art sites", ArtEd2.0 badge). Took a few minutes to figure out. I've also decided to try my hand at some more animating this summer, in addition to the watercolor stuff I have yet to start. If I get brave enough, I might even think about entering either my animation or student created work (pending some tech upgrades in my art room) in the "Shorties" next year (follow the title link).
And "Happy Father's Day!" to all the dads.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

An Online App

I'm not new to "cloud computing": I've been known to use GoogleDocs, PixlR, and other applications that don't need to be downloaded. One of our district technology people recently sent me this (link directly from posting title):
It is a weird hybrid of Photoshop (less many of the more obscure filters that I prefer) and Illustrator (with less brush options). Still, I like the idea of utilizing something that marries features from both programs and does not have to be downloaded onto my school computers. I'm still on the fence about this app, but I am leaning towards using it with my whole class via Smartboard. I admit that I like it better than "ArtRage". Some of these free apps eventually become tiered fee scenarios (I ended up having to get "Voicethread Pro" for instance once I exceeded the free upload limit, and I like using "Voicethread" to describe grade level projects).
For lower grade levels that may not have access to Adobe programs, this could be a good fix. For older students, I still think that the "CreativeSuites" are important if students are preparing portfolios or need commercial art program expertise for future careers.

Friday, June 12, 2009

First Summer Break Day: Routines & Rituals

A drizzly day, so much for some much anticipated gardening time... I played scrabble with my daughter, my son had a friend over (more a tech conference than a playdate at his age), and my mother-in-law also spent the day. After checking some dribbles of school-related emails, I eventually found myself looking for lesson plan ideas for next year. Each year, I go through the same rituals that ease me into a summer frame of mind: a)file all the old paperwork that I let build up on my drafting board at home; b)shred the older paperwork to make room in the filing cabinet for the newer stuff; c)give a cursory once-over to my art curriculum map while the year is still fresh in my mind; d)plan a few replacement projects. I also wash my art room apron and put away my "Bucket Boss" briefcase I lug to school everyday.
Today, it is a bit cool, but the sun is out. As promised, we are going to the movies. Later, the garden weeds have really gotten a jump on me with our longer school calendar and the rain.I actually find weeding to be very relaxing. I'm also getting ready for an upcoming art show and have some watercolor examples to finish for a class I teach next month. I've already decided not to be a daily blogger, but perhaps weekly, let's see how I do.
P.S. the title post is linked to an art from shredded paper site :)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

End of the School Year

Well, another year draws to a close. In many ways, this was my most successful year ever. I implemented a digital gallery and got 100% of my students represented (nearly 700 images). We reached almost 10,000 hits in one calendar year. At the beginning of every class this last week, I started with a slide show of that class's art, and it was really cool to see and hear the positive feedback from each group (some classes were reverentially quiet, others whooped and applauded)!(see title link to "Artsonia")
I also had my art club involved in an international, collaborative animation ("Rotoball 2009": It was hard to pick up a program like "Flash" on the fly, but I did, and the art club students did a truly amazing job with their creative claymation, and then, turning each of the hundreds and hundreds of frames into a rotoscope.
My fourth grade made two clay bowls instead of one this year, and the donated, second pieces raised over $270 for "Empty Bowls", an international effort to fight hunger through the arts (
I am already thinking about which projects I think are "keepers", and where I'd like to see more innovation (hint: more technology). As an elementary art educator, I often feel the limitation of time & funds. Those hugs and handmade cards, those smiles and the excitement of wondering where this intriguing journey will lead keeps me psyched even though I admit, I'm tired.

The Sketchbook Project

The Sketchbook Project: 2011

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The journey of process intrigues me and I am always changing it up.

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