Thursday, December 30, 2010

Get Motivated

Building on the idea that students need to be encouraged to experiment, extend their creativity, and be willing to take risks, I am posting this video. Sometimes, setbacks help us get our priorities straight, and serve as motivation.

Also, see the title link to an article on the importance of arts education (of course).

Friday, December 24, 2010

The Gift of Art

Happy Holidays & Best Wishes for 2011! I thought a good way to end my 2010 postings was to provide an art advocacy article, originally in the January 2011 SchoolArts magazine (see title). From the article, written by Rama Hughes,"Art is about making an idea into a reality. There isn't a single crafted or manufactured object that didn't pass through an artist's hands. That is art's life skill. It applies to everything from the telling of a story, to the functioning of a home, to the building of a business."
So many people tell me how lucky I am to have "the gift" IN art, but maybe, it is better to think of "the gift" OF art, of art being in the world, executed through many hands and minds...Just a thought.
I'm embedding a strong TedTalk which speaks to the education paradigms, and I think very relevant to art education:

One last site of interest, seeing as how I've been saving tons of paper towel tubes for puppets, Design Inspiration has creative ideas for that other paper tube we all usually throw away:

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Gourmet Papier Mache/Site Tabbing

Dan Reeder started out as a teacher, but his passion for papier mache developed into a whole different career. His site (see title link), replete with videos, galleries, links, is fun and informative (his specialty is creatures like monsters, and especially, dragons.) My favorite video he has posted is a 5 minute talk for “Ignite” in Seattle, which is on the main page, lower left. Most of the videos he has seem to be age-appropriate for elementary, but always preview first to be sure.My third graders are doing papier mache puppets, and we started with a cool timeline activity I developed for the SB. Who knew that they found ancient Egyptian wood puppets that could knead bread? Well, my 3rd graders do now, and I even found the picture of it (after much research)!
Also, here is a quick link to a k-12 art mix on Symbaloo (thanks, M.G.). Symbaloo is a visual way to create live tabs for apps and sites on your desktop. From the site:
"What is Symbaloo?
*Discover pages with the best links about a subject
*Create your own pages with favorites
*Share your page with the rest of the world"
...I’m still experimenting with my own tab mix, plus I'm still just a big fan of Delicious bookmarking, arranged by content, and Stumble Upon. Yet, I can see the advantage of being in a rush with a class, and having that one set of tabs just a click away. Just this last Friday, I had all my tabs, SB lessons, and sites loaded for 3 grade levels' worth of art, and my PC suddenly froze and I lost it all. I had to reboot, re-enter passwords, etc. Still, I'm "quick on the draw", and all was restored in a few minutes (luckily, I did not need to set up a lot of supplies in that 5 minute or less turn-around). (FYI-Just read an online post about maximizing your OS, which recommends minimizing your log-in dock goodies, so just be aware that lots of tabs may be OS cloggers)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Cartooning and Yupo

Third grade artists completed a shorter unit on “cartooning the Emberley way”. This involved learning about drawing with simple shapes and building up the cartoon forms (which is what cartoonists do in the real world, and is a basic drawing skill to master at this age level). The drawing alphabet is posted here, and Mr. Emberley has a wonderful site for young artists at the title link...Fifth grade artists completed a two-week project, watercolor on “Yupo”. Yupo is a synthetic paper which is reworkable because the media "floats" on top instead of soaking in. We started by doing large washes of color, then applied cling wrap to the wet paper. A day later, I took the plastic wrap off to reveal already stunning textural watercolors! The second week’s cognitive challenge, involving higher-order reasoning skills, was to “find” an overall image to unify their composition, then reinforce it with careful additions with outlining and detailing with watercolor.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Art, Design, Engineering

This was a crazy week---with snow days, delayed starts,etc. Continuity is always a concern, but I was able to use some of the time brainstorming for next year. I would like to keep on reinforcing the connectedness of the visual arts in everything, and thanks to "inDesign" online magazine (please see title link), Dr. Martin Rayala beautifully sums up the importance of including "design thinking"in the curriculum:
"Students need to learn design thinking today:
1. Ideation (Identifying, clarifying and researching a problem)
2. Visualization (brainstorming, generating potential solutions)
3. Prototyping (selecting a possible solution and testing it by making models)
4. Implementation (present the best solution, produce it, disseminate it and evaluate it.)"
Which brings us to PBL--we are starting a PBL project in fifth grade next week, and it will run for at least four weeks. I also want to revise my Yupo project a bit, to scaffold the synthesis and application components (technique-wise, all is good, but I still think this unit could be richer).

Friday, December 3, 2010

Fun With A Pencil

We've been doing a ton of drawing in art right now, cartooning (third grade), the design challenge (fourth grade), and several sketchbook pages (fifth grade). There's a long-ago author of drawing books, Andrew Loomis, and although most of his books are geared to older artists, he still has a great point about the "5 P's" of a good drawing: proportion (the three dimensions), placement (position in space), perspective, planes, and pattern. I've included a screenshot from one of his out-of-print books. Now, I just need to think about how to break this down for my younger students...

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Cut Paper

The title links to the absolutely incredible paper cut art of Peter Callesen, but I just wanted to share what my third and fifth graders have been up to: tunnel books and accordion books, respectively. I decided to really work on those small motor skills of cutting and gluing, not to mention the spatial/motor skills involved. Everybody sort of groans when they see the construction paper being pulled out (myself included), but then, as three-dimensional demonstrations with each class get underway, I've even gotten applause from the students! Yes, a lot of fun can be had with our old standby, paper, if everything in the curriculum is scaffolded and supported right. Check them out....

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Finding Stuff

Some days, you can look and look online and never find that "quick reference" for the brainstorm you just had regarding curriculum. Today was a very good day for "Googling", because I found "Teachnet" and those lessons and resources are wonderful (see title link). What was I looking for? Well, it was not in there, but I did find the puppet making resources readily enough elsewhere. Currently, grading accordion books (5th), glaze-firing the 5th sculptures, and wrapping up tunnel books (3rd). 4th is on a large colored pencil unit. I just decided to change-up a sculpture project based on today's research.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Project H

A story of "public education" and how implementing design education, even in a rural community, energizes and reinvigorates schools (see TedTalk on that topic from post link). From Dr. Martin Rayala's andDesign blog:
"Designer Emily Pilloton moved to rural Bertie County, in North Carolina, to engage in a bold experiment of design-led community transformation. She's teaching a design-build class called Studio H that engages high schoolers' minds and bodies while bringing smart design and new opportunities to the poorest county in the state.
Emily Pilloton and her Project H Design initiative are looking at:
(1) Design For Education - the physical construction of improved materials, spaces, and experiences for students and teachers;
(2) Redesigning Education - a systems level look at how education is administered, what is being offered, and to whom;
and (3) Design As Education - actually teaching design in schools by coupling design thinking with real construction and fabrication skills fulfilling an actual, useful community purpose."
cited: Tuesday, November 9, 2010,

So, in my own little way, I have been encouraging "design thinking" with our current 4th grade project (designing robots, rockets, or translation tessellations) and I have found a recurring issue: students sometimes confuse "design" with "decoration". Even after showing pinboards, having reference books of inventions/rockets/robots, drawing samples, demonstration, and discussions about DESIGNS REFLECTING THEIR FUNCTION. (I put that in caps, not to show frustration, merely emphasis). I know some students have construction/build toys, at least some of them, so this was a surprise for me. Next year, I need to extend the unit by at least two weeks to allow some scaffolding of that concept---that there is a huge difference between "design" and "decoration".

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Artful Thinking

Busy, busy, busy grading and labeling art, and processing what has been happening in the art room (hint: good stuff). Which led me down a familiar rabbit hole: assessing creative thinking. The title links to Harvard's "Project Zero" resource on the topic, but the visual (also from the PZ Artful Thinking site) conceptually sums up what I aim for with our art experiences. Today, students happily made "M" folds for their tunnel books, and most thought it was pretty fun. In one class, in particular, we came up with the phrase, "Art is like P.E. for your hands!", which I truly adore. I might just have to make a classroom poster on that...

Friday, October 29, 2010

Sketchbooks are Back!

Over the years, I've gone back and forth on the "sketchbook issue" for the elementary level. We've made them and used them, but somehow the results were not as good as I had hoped. This year, though, I resolved to give it another go, but with the fifth grade. Plus, to get them more vested in them, we made them by hand & not just the old "fold & staple". I had the students use paper punches and take their time for one, then we went through a modified "Japanese stab binding" technique. Maybe it was the novelty of using yarn, or the "safety needles", or just the idea of learning an old-fashioned bookbinding technique in a Kindle era, but the students really, really liked making their sketchbooks. I actually heard students say, "I like the idea of my own sketchbook!" YES!!! It was also kind of nice to sit myself down and do a little drawing of my own (we were drawing dragons this week) alongside the students. I found myself more relaxed afterward, wishing I could find sketch time more often during my crazy day. So, we will keep them in the flat file, to sketch in here and there, and hopefully see some nice progress (I had the students date their drawings). The title links to an extensive visual bounty of artist Jim Pollock's sketchbooks, plus I've added the "Sketchbook Project" button at the bottom of my blog (good resources there, too). Just to be fair to my third and fourth graders, their projects are turning out nicely, too (collage and printmaking, respectively), but my mind is on how cool it was to just DRAW.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Teacher Portal

I just found the "teacher portal" art teachers' blog listings----see the title link. The expertise of hundreds of teachers (not just art teachers[100+], but ALL subjects and grade levels [1,000+]). This is just about the best thing I've found to extend my PLN ("Personal Learning Network" since "TweetGrid"). And, don't forget about the incredible blogs listed at ArtEd2.0.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Pacing and Mock-ups

I had a great early morning;days like today just feed the creative juices! I spent some quality planning time mocking-up a project I decided to transform from a simple "Paper Story" to a more interesting accordion book project based on an integrative conversation I had with a fellow teacher after our staff meeting yesterday. Long story short, I believe in working out the possible kinks with a mock-up of my own, then plan the lesson (reverse designing), yet still giving some open-ends to the creative process. The title link is to Marvin Bartel's wonderful source on planning/pacing, but here's an excerpt: "(Students) need confidence to experiment with expressive approaches. They need to appreciate the learning that comes from mistakes and to see how "happy accidents" happen. Sour lemons make great lemonade with the right additions. Empower them by building their confidence...Do not be tempted to tell them that quality doesn't matter...Say, 'I often make mistakes when I am learning a new thing...'"
"Never do any of the work for the students...Good teaching is making the hard stuff easier and making the easy stuff harder, but a good teacher never does the work and never solves the problem for the student. If you must draw to illustrate a point, do it on your own paper - never on theirs."
Here's a picture of what I worked on, based on the lovely work of Beatrice Coron.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Clay Gargoyles and Dragons

We are having fun, fun, fun in 5th grade art right now! Starting with a Smartboard walk-through of some of the amazing gargoyles on the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. (see title link), and a discussion of architecture (the sculptures are actually downspouts!), we moved into making 2 pinch pots. Storing 250 pieces of wet clay is a challenge, but I've been saving those plastic grocery bags forever...Then, this week (week 2, art once a week for 50 minutes in 5th grade), we started adding gargoyle or dragon features. We will finish up next week. I told the students that we have to wait to add long tails or horns until next week so they do not get "smushed" in the bags. Also decided to stuff them with crumpled paper before we adhered the 2 pinch pots together (a good call, as some students are a little heavy-handed with their Score/Slip/Secure method). What a fun, exhausting week! It will be at least Thanksgiving before we start seeing the pieces come out of bisque-firing because I want to air-dry SLOW, fire even SLOWER. Of course, then we will glaze.

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Art Story

I just found this resource online called "The Art Story", which succinctly explains Modern Art. The title links to a section on Richard Diebenkorn. We have been comparing and contrasting two Modern art pieces all week in third grade (Rothko's "Orange and Yellow" and Pollock's "Convergence"). First, students watched & discussed the meaning of colors, using the awesome Cortes website animations. We will start painting next week. I am always impressed when we discuss artwork at the elementary level, students have intelligent insights and make the most interesting connections! I love using Socratic method to draw out the conversations, I only wish that we had more time...

Friday, October 1, 2010

Drawing Games and Data

"October 2010 is Big Draw month in twenty countries and on five continents. Launched in 2000, this annual initiative has grown from 180 events in the UK to over 1500 worldwide. The Campaign aims to use drawing to connect visitors with museum and gallery collections, urban and rural spaces – and the wider community – in new and enjoyable ways." (cited: The Big Draw website, see title link). As an extension activity to our "Line" activities in art, students who were done with their main projects could do collaborative drawing exercises (see this link for more resources to support drawing in the classroom). Based on the results, students really enjoy a one-day group activity like this!...Then, there is the data conundrum, which has cropped up in the Getty Listserv forum for art teachers. One teacher had students draw scissors from memory and label that drawing "before". Then, another day, they do a whole-group instruction on drawing from true observation (very Betty Edwards-type drawing instruction, which I've found successful at all age groups but be prepared to be on your feet the whole time). Those drawings get labeled "after". The "befores" and "afters" were the VISUAL data of efficacy. I have done similar exercises not so much for my own analysis, but to show students how much they improve with practice.

Friday, September 24, 2010


from "andDesign":
"Scott McCloud has written books about 'Understanding Comics' and 'Making Comics' but everyone has come to understand that his ideas are about much more than comics. McCloud is one of the world's top analysts of visual communication - how it is done, what it means, why it's important.
McCloud talks about three types of "vision".
1. What one can not see - the unseen and unknowable. (Humanities)
2. That which can be proven or ascertained. (Sciences)
3. A vision of something which can be, which may be, based on knowledge, but is as yet unproven. (Design)" ---citation: Dr. Martin Rayala, 2010.

Even after a rigorous week of teaching studio skills and perseverance, I still am amazed by all the connections we make in the art classroom. How I love to hear, "Now I get it!"

We are wrapping up or line units and moving on to "color" in October (fitting, as the temperature is expected to drop 30 degrees in one day, which I imagine will jump-start the leaves to unfurl their glorious hues). One thing I am doing vastly different from last year, opening up the fifth grade clay project from slab-construction to a nearly pure sculptural experience. Of course, this means that I will be storing 250 clay pieces for nearly a month & trying to keep them workable. Here's a hint to the clay concept...

Friday, September 17, 2010

Two Integrations

This past week, I reinforced curriculum in two grade levels, in two content areas. The first one was 5th grade Science, where a teacher grabbed me in the hall, excited about using paint techniques to help students understand animal camouflage. Immediately, I was able to share that as third graders, we covered many paint techniques like spatter, combing, and wash. I pulled together an original Powerpoint with the techniques explained, visualized, and the related animal camouflage, ending with science websites to explore and current artworks using camouflage as a technique. Second integration reinforcement was at the request of the fourth grade teachers, who have asked me to reinforce geometry terms, and especially things like symmetry and tessellations. I found an excellent resource, which blended seamlessly into our Smartboard-based discussions during the "flip-flop drawing unit". As "Arts in Education" week ends, I really feel like this past week exemplifies how important the arts are in learning (see title link for more on that topic, including integrative units).

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Brain Buffet & National Arts in Education Week

I am seriously toying with the idea of getting fifth graders on Illustrator & I think making "spooky skulls" might be fun---the title links to an mp4 tutorial (about halfway down the tutorial page). I also rediscovered Adobe Education, which has some excellent integrative Photoshop elements stuff. & the tech list for Art Club is growing: One Day on Earth on 10.10.10, FLOAT in Feb., plus Rotoball (start soon, due in spring 2011)...Lastly, every week is "Arts in Education Week" for me, but as part of the nationwide effort to support the arts, let me just say that you cannot promote innovation without the mindful skills creating art instills! Not to be trite, but making art is a "buffet for the brain". For more specifics, see my other posting at More Art 24/7.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Math and Art

Now that we are back at school, I've chosen to be more explicit about the connections between art & other areas, such as math. We are doing line drawings, basically, but third grade is talking about "parallel", "diagonal", & "perpendicular" lines, fourth grade is working on mirror reflections/symmetry in their composition, and fifth grade is making geodesic spheres. The photo (and title link) are about the science of art as related to origami. I also found another resource for symmetry and tessellations at:
(30 activities, with at least 3 solid links per). I say it a lot, but art is in everything!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

How Artists Use "Line"

We are talking about line and how to use it during the months of August & Sept. The title links to a page on (about "line") & this Slideshare is pretty solid, too.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Data Can Be Beautiful

We are all back at school, and the meetings have started, too. Gathering data to inform curriculum is important for the grade level teachers, and it got me thinking about how data comes at us from everywhere in our lives. Here's a TedTalk about "Data Visualization"; David McCandless explains how visualizing data can be "beautiful"

Sunday, August 22, 2010

And We Return (Yet, Never Left)

Back to school on Monday, but really, I've been back & forth doing school stuff. As an art teacher, you never really stop brainstorming, making art, thinking about your students. I think I'm going to download a free app, PENCIL, and see where that takes us on the computers and with animation...New website for my class hosted by Bluehost...Shooting a video yet also going back to sketchbooks...Title links to computer art resources megaportal...I'm including this link to Temple Grandins's TedTalk about visually thinking to problem-solve.I loved the "staycation" we had this summer, but excited to see what my students will create.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Gallery Full of Ideas

A gallery in Santa Fe called FiacobbeFritz art gallery has a beautiful website and a stable of artists that are very inspirational, both as potential art projects, and for their style. In particular, artwork based on clever homages to artists like Dali and Warhol done by a Ben Steele. Possibly, cool entry points to art history. Just brainstorming...Also, check out Shelfari.
You can create virtual bookshelves,discuss literature with like minds; go into "groups" and search "art teachers", over 560 groups there alone.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

P21=Art & Design

I started a discussion on Art Ed 2.0 relevant to our BTB 21 class, regarding P21 as it relates to art. A much-admired art teacher responded right away, "Three approaches to education are on the table right now:
Common Core - more specificity about the content of learning (history, science, etc.)
NCLB - focus on tools for learning (reading, writing, and math)
P21 (Partnership for 21st Century Skills) - developing problem-solving skills

If you expand the P21 Skills what you have is "Design Thinking" - problem solving by 1. identifying and clarifying the problem, 2. researching the problem and previous attempts to solve it, 3. Developing criteria necessary for a satisfactory resolution of the problem, 4. Generating possible solutions (brainstorming), 5. Apply the criteria developed in step 3 to possible solutions developed in step 4 to selected the most likely candidate, 6. Generate some prototypes of the selected solution, 7. Present the solution and implement it, 8. Evaluate the results by seeing if it works in the real world.

This is the standard Design Thinking process but is not really the kind of problem-solving we do in Art. I suggest we add Design to our identity - Art and Design - in order to signal our willingness to address and work to solve real world problems."
I am in complete agreement! Check out the online andDesign blog.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Ning Alternatives

I'm a big fan of Ning sites, especially Art Ed 2.0, but the formerly free service might be cost-prohibitive. An alternative is "Spruz",from the site: "Spruz is a software-as-a-service company, our websites are powered by the Spruz Social Website Platform. A cutting edge social website creation technology that makes it easy for you to build a website with fully integrated social features. Enjoy continuous updates, improvements and new features without the worries of having to install a software update again! Our websites are a complete solution with a robust website, hosting, support, and maintenance." Although the basics are free, optional features start at under ten dollars a month...For the past three days, I've been trolling the countryside, antiquing, taking pictures, and going to local arts festivals. Inspirational and a good way to get imagery for the busy months ahead, meaning once school gets started. Found an odd Russian Orthodox church in the middle of Amish country for instance, definitely an image to be explored either in a lino cut or drawing. It is the shrine and church of Mariapoch. It was quite a visual icon, seeing a small "onion dome" amidst the rolling Amish farm fields!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

ATC Animoto

Also, see link to title for "Art Through Time: A Global View examines themes connecting works of art created around the world in different eras. The thirteen-part series explores diverse cultural perspectives on shared human experiences."

Friday, July 30, 2010

P21 Arts Map for K-12 Learning

From eSchool News: "Working with national arts organizations, the Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21) has developed a first-of-its-kind Arts skills map that clearly defines how arts education promotes key 21st-century skills.

The map, the fifth in a series of core content maps from P21 (others include Geography, Science, Social Studies, and English), gives examples how critical thinking and problem solving, communication, collaboration, and creativity and innovation (P21’s “four Cs”) can be fused within arts curricula (including dance, music, theater, and visual and media arts).

The map comes at a critical time for arts education in schools, which often are the first programs to be cut when budgets are tight. Having an outline of how arts education can reinforce skills that are viewed as critical for success in the new global economy could help keep arts programs in schools.

'We think that this map will work as a motivator for administrators, as well as funders, when considering art programs in today’s schools,' said Michael Blakeslee, senior deputy executive director of MENC, in an interview with eSchool News."
get PDF here:

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Well, as part of my summer technology class, I followed a "Teacher Tuesday" #edchat on Twitter. It was a great topic, textbooks vs. online sources. I had a hard time jumping in just off of Twitter, and noticed some people were using "TweetGrid". It is a cloud program, no downloads, and I found that I could follow 3 columns of discussions pretty easily. I learned a lot from all three discussions that I followed, one art ed, one ed chat, one tech chat. Very cool and intense professional development.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Elizabeth Gilbert on Nurturing Creativity | Video on

Elizabeth Gilbert on nurturing creativity | Video on
So true & so good regarding nurturing creativity, makes me wish I had enjoyed her book more ;)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Rotoball 2010 Revisit

Since so much of our BTB class is about 21st century skills and problem-based learning, I've reposted our LES art club's animation (linked to title). One of the 225 stills is to the left.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

#BTB21: Ted Talk

As part of my tech class, I researched some "TedTalks" and found a beauty (linked to title), Benoit Mandelbrot himself ( I had assumed he was dead!) describing, in his lovely French accent, "order in the world of roughness". As I teach fractals in art, specifically designing the easiest ones--Scierpinski Triangle, I had to watch. Mandelbrot did not disappoint. He explained that, if you fill in a Brownian Motion, you get an island. The three math whizzes who took twenty years to derive the proof ended up with a Fields Medal in Mathematics. You can find fractal aspects in such widely varied things as cauliflower, ancient Japanese art, the Eiffel Tower, music, and the stock market. The Mandelbrot Set (see pictoral representation of formula) predicts all these things with the elegant equation of z->z(squared)+c...This just proves my theory that art is in everything!

Monday, July 12, 2010


The title is our "Beyond the Buzz: 21st Century Skills" class Twitter "hashtag", which I've linked to a page I added on teaching creativity (from a Newsweek article). I'm almost done with my "Tip-In" pages, which I will add a scan of later. So far, I've enjoyed my technology class, but getting interactivity when people are on summer break has not been easy. Skyped with Nancy this morning & later, tweeted, but now I'm ready to get back on the art...Here is my completed "Tip-In" (the printing ink finally dried enough for a scan) for the Getty Listserv, the theme was "A New Way of Seeing".

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Completed ATC's

I completed my first art project of the summer, the Art Ed 2.0 ATC's. Basically, I like them, although I needed to wrap some jeweler's wire around them at the end to get the funky feel I wanted. Also, if there's a next time, I plan on cutting windows into the center, add a tag, possibly joint them somehow for a kinetic feel. The limitations included the size and they needed to be flat enough to fit into a plastic trading card sleeve, though. This is going to be cool enough to show my students when we do ATC's in the fall.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Chapters 2/3 in "Powerful Learning"

The blog title links to ORC resources for metacognitive teaching: "ORC enhances teaching and learning by promoting standards-based best practices in mathematics, science, and reading for Ohio schools and universities. ORC serves as a trusted source of easily accessible, peer-reviewed, high-quality, and effective resources" Basically, both chapters about teaching for understanding, whether it is in reading (chapter two) or math (chapter three) focus on the importance of teaching not just procedural knowledge, but conceptual knowledge. Additionally, best practices research shows data supporting inquiry instruction as more cognitively powerful. Okay, sold on all counts, but where does art (my content expertise) come in? A:
Embed math/reading curriculum "throughout the curriculum and throughout the school day." The description of the "five interwoven strands of mathematical proficiency" for instance, just as easily describe my art curriculum: "conceptual understanding...procedural fluency...strategic competence...adaptive reasoning...productive disposition. (p.142)" Using reading strategies in the art room can engage students and support literate behavior, which projects like CORI and GIsML exemplify...All the more reason why the sketchbook revision to my curriculum is necessary (more on that in the fall).

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Chapter Reflection: Powerful Learning

I'm a very fast reader, but I took my time with the introduction and first chapter because I agreed with so much of the content, and saw many parallels to what I try to do in my art room. Insights from the intro: Today's worker will hold more than ten jobs before the age of forty and that new technical information is doubling every two years, and predicted to double every 72 hours by 2010. So, how can we continue to educate the same old way? We should use inquiry-based methods and a meta-cognitive approach.Insights from chapter 1 ("How Can We Teach for Meaningful Learning?"):firstly, multiple research projects prove the efficacy of meaning-oriented teaching for all students, not just for high-achievers; challenges include time, but also teachers need to carefully design scaffolds, make the tasks meaningful, and engage the students in "cognitive apprenticeship". So much of what I read was how I try to teach, or want to teach, my biggest limitation is time sequence (elementary art once a week for 45 minutes). I do find the issue of balancing "creating time" against "reflecting and discussion time" a problem, tending to give as much time as possible to creative process. Most of the projects discussed were group projects, which I love, but students want their own art to take home, too, another issue. 2 truths from pages 68, 69: "focus on process and tasks that allow students to see prowess not as a fixed trait but as a dynamic state that is primarily a function of the level of effort..." & "(PBL)practices are grounded in a conception of learning as developmental and a belief that all students will learn from experience and feedback, rather than being constrained by ability."

Monday, June 28, 2010

21st Century Skills Reflection 1

We had our introduction meeting this morning from 8 a.m. to noon, and it was nice to see a colleague who went to another building, plus meet three new people on staff at other buildings. The whole class, I was pretty much thinking, "Glory Hallelujah!"; this is a class that will extend what I already do with tech. Joined the wiki (helped that I already had an account), ditto for adding my 2 blogs to the contact list, got a Twitter account (which I had previously, erroneously, thought was for tween texters and celebs). I linked the post title to our wiki, and I'm planning on going all-in for those 30 PDU's...I think it will be tremendous fun, in fact, I anticipate getting a whole new world of resources from this. I knew things would be good when Andrew showed my favorite "TedTalk" with Sir Ken Robinson. My favorite quote: "Creativity is as important as literacy...and should be treated with equal status!"

Thursday, June 24, 2010

ATC Progress

I started on my ATC's (Artist Trading Cards) for the 2.0 group, but still thinking about my Tip-In design. So far, I cut apart 6 Altoids tins, flattened the lids and sanded them. Then, I adhered poster board to the backs and put some textural gesso on them. I'm still working on how to honor the tin design and make my own art, plus keep them visually intricate. I linked the title to a resource for things like altered books and collage at "go make something" blog. Additionally, I'm starting a technology class next week. So, I'm making good on those plans outlined earlier. Here's some Photobooth piks of the early stages of my ATC's.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Friday, June 18, 2010

Sketchcast is Back

For a while there, Sketchcast disappeared, but it is back and I plan on making several over the summer to support my curriculum. Of course, Jing also is available, and that will come in handy for the Photoshop tutorial I plan to make over the summer, too. I'm starting a "tip-in" project with 29 other art educators all over the country, where we all design an art page (10X) to mail out & share, getting 10 other pages in return, which are then inserted (tipped-in) to a discarded book. Here's a lesson plan for tip-ins. Plus, the usual summer plans of gardening, family, catching up on the house projects, and the summer is full. I'm hoping to complete a print for an upcoming art show, plus I got a cool present from a student--a sketchbook! I'd love to fill it up, then bring it back for all my students that I exhorted to draw over the summer.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Thursday, June 10, 2010

End of the Year Reflection

Last night, I wedged up that huge pile of clay left over from the last clay project--probably 200 pounds worth. I always leave it to the fall, then curse myself for doing that because I get crazy-busy almost immediately. I used the time while wedging to reflect back on the year. One of the coolest websites I found was this past week (see title link), which I used with my third graders to reinforce the concept of "pattern" while they designed their own Grecian urns. They loved it and the interactive timeline works great with the Smartboard. Other surprise successes--the shadow pastels & early in the year, zentangles. As always, students love the cartooning unit (so do I). Big change for next year--a recyclable sculpture project for third grade and more emphasis on story boarding for fifth grade; we will use a sketchbook for that, I think. Another cool end of the year find, a visual bookmarking site, called Symbaloo. I personally still love Delicious, and use Stumble-Upon to find original sites, but students would love the visuals in Symbaloo as they are very "I-Pad-ish" (nice word I just made up). Final thought: Art is at the center of the 21st century, here's the link that discusses that point. That's it for my end of the year reflection, I'll be posting over the summer--have a good one!

Friday, June 4, 2010

E-Learning Edublog

Thanks to "Artfully" who already compiled a masterly list of e-learning sites specifically for educators (main link). Then, here's "55+ Extremely Useful Online Generators for Designers" . Lastly, online instructional design resources... I have done "e-learning" for some of my graduate credits for license renewal, plus this year, my son will take an online class, yet I admit to mixed feelings on this topic. In a recent ArtEd2.0 thread, we discussed what makes a teacher "boring". I have to wonder, if students are not engaged in a classroom setting, will an online venue be any better? I've gotten a lot out of my own PLN (personal learning network), but for me, the "magic" happens in the classroom, with the students, and each day brings a different dynamic that I enjoy. I guess that I look at this as another media in the teacher's palette; I hope we can still engage learners in multiple modalities.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Timeline Creation Resources

At the end of the year, I am always revisiting that original curriculum map...What were the successes? What needs to be changed? To that end, I've been researching more art history connections, and found a mega-list of timeline resources (see title link). I've also decided to revisit sketchbooks as a learning reflection and embed sketching into more projects (which is hard to do when art is only once a week). Incredibly, the year is almost over and I'm starting a bit of prep for next year! I am so glad that every student has a piece on Artsonia as the art room is starting to look pretty bare, but there's always the online art.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Art Flarf

The art order is done, the projects are graded, shows are over, taken down, and the artwork returned. I just read about this poetry movement very similar to Dada art, which involves "Googling" words or phrases that are not normally considered together (e.g. chicken + archeology), then compiling the the results into a poem. Here is my art advocacy flarf based on the two phrases, "creative + world without":

World Without by L. Girbino ©2010
A world without imagination is like living in the past.
Experience is everything, but
I can't run a marathon without starting to run right now.
People are different and it is in these differences that
This feels like a creative world without limitations.
Without it, life would be like everything, with a silence.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Paper Airplane Time & One Day

Now that spring is here, summer just around the corner, here's a great link for paper airplane patterns from world record holder, Ken Blackburn (end of the year lesson plan incorporating engineering maybe?). Also, signed my art club for the "One Day on Earth" project next year, filming 24 hours on 10.10.10. Here's the site. Educators can get a free toolkit.

The founding principles of "One Day On Earth" (source:

1. Perspective: We are creating a time capsule for the whole world to better understand itself.
We strive to find out who we are as human beings because it is beneficial to our sustainability as a species.
2. Inclusivity: The project is free and open to all people, cultures, creeds, and nationalities.
3. Individuality: We are here to empower your voice. The individual, you, are being given a chance to put something in the world's time capsule. You have one day to document what matters most to you.
This is a celebration of individual beliefs, expression and perspective.
4. Community : We strive to connect people through both their differences and similarities. We strive to
create and support future collaborations amongst participants. We strive to create a community that fosters communication.
5. Education: The process of creating, interacting and viewing our project will have educational value for students of all ages. We will strive to support any educational institution that wishes to participate in the project with the necessary tools to do so.
6. Technology: We will always embrace any technology that better allows us to live up to our principles
We realize this project is only now possible because of the evolution of technology and we will always grow with technology to make an even better picture of the world.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Sketchbooks in Schools

I'm starting to redesign my curriculum map for next year and I am tempted to revisit sketchbooks based on the great UK website linked to the post title. If I have each student create one at the beginning of the year, put their reflections and rough drafts inside, it might just work better than a "stand-alone" sketchbook unit (I have tried these in the past in multiple grade levels with mixed results). Another sketchbook resource (there are several, so noodle around the site): ArtJunction
Since I am also trying to reinforce language arts skills, I am just about convinced this is the way to go, even with 700 students :).

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Let Out Your Creative Beast

The title post is linked to a really cute slideshare presentation about being creative: simple, short, neat for kids. I like the style of it, too, with the usage of post it notes...Right now, the "creative beast" is roaring, as students are trying their hand at several drawing challenges: one & two point perspective, and a design challenge called "Vormator". The big, messy projects are over as most of those supplies are long-gone, but we still have some colored pencils and our creativity. Over the summer, I think I need to make some slideshare post-it presentations myself. Another excellent resource is at Edubloggerz! (go to the technology/education tab, then read about "animation", for instance.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Art Education and Cognition Websites

The title links to Cybrary Man's Educational Web Sites:
The internet catalogue for students, teachers, administrators & parents.
Over 20,000 relevant links personally selected by an educator/author with over 30 years of experience.
This is very topical for me, as I have been thinking and talking about the cognitive benefits of learning through the visual arts! See this link for more regarding brain cognition and art.
Also: Milbrandt, Felts, Richards & Abghari (2004) from " Teaching to learn: A constructivist approach to shared responsibility"
Overview: "Cognitive theory has been found to support the traditional approach to teaching a comprehensive art study program using the constructivist approach...Students actively engage creatively in art production & utilize cognitive skills of analysis, interpretation, problem solving, & construction of meaning called cognitive divergence...Students integrate fragmented information into previous stored information, Efland calls flexible cognition."

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Ning Alternatives

Great PLC groups have grown via Ning-based sites (Art Ed 2.0, Smartboard ning, etc.), but sadly, the ning freebies are over (see title link for the pricing announcement). Although I do not have my own networking site, I know a lot of teachers use them for their classes. Here are some options: Spruz and WackWall. Both sites have migration and import tools for ning users. So, is this the future of cloud computing--use a beta program for free, then pay a fee down the road or find another "newbie app" that is low or no-cost? I remember being so excited about a sketchcast program, but then it suddenly disappeared..Luckily, creative problem-solving is an embedded skill for art educators and artists, so off we go into the net for free app sourcing! (I'll post what I find...)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Drawing in Perspective

In the Renaissance Connection perspective interactive, students can practice drawing the orthogonals over Renaissance paintings (very suitable for the Smartboard). The title links to the ever-useful "artsconnected" web pages, which have a cute Flash animation explaining simple one-point perspective, which I've been using with my third graders. A cool extension interactive for whiteboards is at Tate Kids (build an imaginary city)...Some elementary students "get" perspective easily, others take longer, but once they do, everyone is smiling & excited.

Thursday, April 29, 2010


Create your own video slideshow at

Inspiration and SB Animal Games

I've been working up lessons for my adaptive art class. They go through projects a lot faster as we are really focused on small-motor skills and skip the Socratic discussions, activating prior knowledge activities, and critiques. We love to tie animal art to Smartboard activities, and the title links to a mega-resource. Then, as I was noodling around, I found another art teacher's photo site, "The Painted Paper", full of wonderful inspiration.

Monday, April 26, 2010

AndreaMosaics and Sticky Urls

From the website linked to the post title, "a free project to create digital art using images and computer software. With AndreaMosaic you can create your own photographic mosaics made with your own pictures. A photo mosaic is an image composed of many tiled photos." And yes, it is available in Windows, Mac, & Linux formats (yeah!!!)...I've been culling the sticky notes from my planner; you know the ones you find and jot down, then promptly forget about. I tend to think of them as my "sticky Urls". Here's some faves:
tech & art LP's
adobe tutorials
adobe videos for educators
At you can check how to pronounce art terms.
perspective interactives
Okay, now I can dump all the sticky notes.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Tate Tools & Earth Week Cool

The Tate has six video modules that include "Looking At and Thinking About Art" and "What Happened to the Object? Conceptual Art". The Tate Tools modules are created in PowerPoint with Flash elements, and curriculum notes are also at the site...This week, our school goes all out for "Earth Week", with daily activities, pizza box sculptures, grocery bag eco-decorating, and a visit from "Mother Earth" (a fellow teacher). A favorite link for matching materials to recyclable projects is at Trashmatcher. This year I've done multiple projects using recyclables including: weaving (adaptive art), recyclable sculpture/Outsider art (fifth grade), altered books (fifth grade), collage (third & fourth grade). Also, a majority of my art club projects utilize donated materials. In fact, I think that Tate module about conceptual art (Duchamp was a recycler with his "readymades" if you think about it), might be a good one to show this week.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

U.S. Dept. of Education Portal

Educators can review ideas, grants, project submissions & leave comments or questions! This is an unprecedented approach to innovating in learning--register to participate. At the least, it is a view into nationwide concepts.

The Lego Lawyer

"New York corporate attorneys are known for working the long hours. I find myself working long hours now as well, but I'm doing something I love. ... The worst day in the art studio is still better than the best day in the law firm."(quote from CNN story on Nathan Sawaya, NY lawyer turned Lego artist). This is a cool story for hard times: someone who chose their talent over financial security, and it turned out great (see the whole story at his website, linked to title). Of course, there are other artists sculpting with "bricks" like Sean Kenney. Plus, here's an education link for Lego-based learning... We were a Lego family for a long time and I know they are "brainy toys" from personal experience. It's cool that with modern sculptors and brick films, they still inspire.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Route 21

National standards...Experiential learning...Interdisciplinary...Are these mutually exclusive? (I hope not!) Can we improve the "classroom experience" through authentic learning connected to the real world (absolutely!). Route 21 is the "21st Century Skills" resource portal & I think it is worth checking out. Additionally, there's the "Real World Design Challenge": "The Real World Design Challenge (RWDC) is an annual competition that provides high school students, grades 9 – 12, the opportunity to work on real world engineering challenges in a team environment. Each year, student teams will be asked to address a challenge that confronts our nation’s leading industries. Students will utilize professional engineering software to develop their solutions and will also generate presentations that convincingly demonstrate the value of their solutions. The RWDC provides students with opportunities to apply the lessons of the classroom to the technical problems that are being faced in the workplace.
The precise nature of the Challenge will change from year to year, but the underlying design principles will remain constant. This year’s Challenge will focus on aeronautics and energy usage."...So where does art & art instruction fit in here? Everywhere! Advocate for your students and the arts by making the connections (be the change--and pardon the "soapbox", I just believe in art being part of the national education discussion).

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Rotoball 2010

I finally got around to uploading the art club's contribution to Rotoball 2010. We ended up editing and animating in Photoshop; last year we used Flash and rotoscoped. Both techniques were equally time consuming, but only because I changed green screens, which resulted in a lot of selection tool heroics... Next year,one green screen and triple-checking that the animation media, whatever it is, does NOT have any similar colors.

Find more videos like this on Art Education 2.0

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Typography Portraits

This project could work in Illustrator or Photoshop.
In Illustrator---making type brushes (Art brushes)to paint over a photo:
File>Place the reference photo (check link and template in Place)
Make a line of type and go to Type>Create Outlines and then select the Type. Open Brushes panel from Window and click on the pop-out menu at the top right of the panel and choose "New Brush"
Make the type an Art Brush. Choose the brush tool and paint over the photo (you should have an empty layer above the template layer.
The big challenge is keeping the reference photo in the same location or go to Window>Links and embed it so it is there when the file is opened/closed.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Sand Art

Kseniya Simonova is a Ukrainian artist who just won Ukraine's version of "America's Got Talent." Her tools are a giant light box, emotional music, and "sand painting" to illustrate Germany's invasion of the Ukraine. She uses both her left and right hands!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Escher Interactive & Perspective

Very soon, we will be covering perspective in all three grades (spiraling the curriculum). Today, I found an interactive site where you can create tessellations like M.C.Escher (see link). My favorite for one point perspective is here. I discovered an even better site on advanced perspective, including the integrative connections at the TEKS Toolkit. Of course, Sketch-Up is a natural technology extension. Perspective goes beyond one & two-point, so here's a resource that goes all the way up to six-point. ..Although we have two whole months left, functionally, we are left with one big art project, then the smaller one (perspective/geometry integration).

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Science Fairs and Art

I've been attending several science fairs for my own kids lately, and just today, I found several links for art/science connections. The title link is for pinhole cameras, but many science projects are at this site. Then, for elementary kids, the photography4pintsized site is useful. Another resource for pinhole cameras from scratch here. This site leans towards engineering type projects. Also ran into an old grad school pal at one science fair (which made sense since she teaches science). All this got me thinking how much ART is in EVERYTHING: science, technology, literacy, culture, etc. Definitely this summer, I'm building & using a pinhole camera. On the other end of the tech spectrum, we're finally getting back on the Macs in the art room for Photoshop rotations. This means, of course, that I want to do a major Photoshop project this summer for an art show entry. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Tracing Shadows

The art show was a big hit and we are wrapping up our units on "composition", moving towards spring break. Right now, I'm developing a unit for fourth grade which involves tracing shadows (see title link for a NY Times article on the artist Ellis Gallagher). Ideally, we'll have lots of sunny days in April to go outside and find interesting shadows. Also, check this neat video compilation of shadow art. Our "big idea" for April across the grade levels is "Finding Inspiration", and I think finding inspiration from shadows is pretty cool.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The 2 R's (Relief & Radial)

Just in the nick of time, fifth grade is finishing their radial designs. We have our district art show early this year, and this colored pencil and math endeavor always comes out well, so I love to display them (see link for symmetry integration reference). Our second "R" has been the fourth grade relief tiles (also great fun, but everyone wants their tiles ASAP before break, so no display opportunities there).

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Puppetry, Collage, And Garden Fairies

Everything seems to be going full-circle: art club animation done, collage art unit in third grade almost done, working up a jointed puppet/collage lesson for my adaptive art class (doll template here), thinking about decorative & recyclable art for my home garden (i.e. garden fairies)and moving toward our big altered books unit after fifth grade finishes their radial designs. So then, in my research for ideas, I came across another type of collage category, "inchies" (there are also "twinchies"). It's kind of crazy how much creative stuff is going on with the category, but I'm thinking that next year, we will do inchie/zentangles and puppetry/collage somewhere in the curriculum.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Design Lessons

The Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum has a treasure trove of lessons for educators (see link), and for a nice change, a lot of good ones for art/arts integration. Here's a nice one for HS, but could be adapted to younger ages, regarding design and how it changes over time (the timeline itself is great).
Then, several sites have interesting presentation tools for portfolios, etc., but seems to be quite sleek. Recently, our tech department made a presentation on prezi, another presentation tool. Lastly, I'm also playing around with cool iris.... I remember how laborious it was to matt all my artwork for portfolio reviews---how cool it would have been to have these tools instead. For MS and HS students, I could see any of these apps being part of a project submission, too. Last--an online business card site (also prints tons of other stuff cheap, like postcards).

Friday, February 26, 2010

Colored Pencil Techniques

At all three grade levels, third/fourth/fifth, I introduce colored pencils. Students especially enjoy using the techniques of "blending" and "burnishing". My big box of Crayola colored pencils disappears pretty fast with one grade level on a colored pencil project, but the results are quite beautiful (as seen in one of the fourth grade entries from "10,000 Rockets"). Here's a link to some of last year's radial art using this technique. Many students report how much fun they have and how relaxing it is to use colored pencils. Sometimes, the "classics", like colored pencils, are perfect to put in the art program mix.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Animation Fun

Our art club Rotoball entry is almost done! Here's one frame from the 200. We decided to do a jointed puppet, and thanks to a suggestion from a fellow art teacher, I used magnetic tape to move the figure around on the whiteboard. This was so much easier than the original shots done against a green screen. Next year, I want to get a separate area set-up for consistency, hopefully with a "clean" light source. I found I had to do some extra work in dropping out the background in Photoshop because of shadows. Everything is due in Shanghai by next Friday the 26th (yikes)...The title links to a wonderful resource, "Teach Animation".

Sunday, February 14, 2010

How Much Fun Can We Have?

"Visible Thinking" is very much a part of quality art education practices, related to Harvard's "Project Zero", and very reminiscent of my old critique weeks at CIA. Making art meaningful and making art fun are not mutually exclusive, and therein lies the "art of teaching". Lately, we have been having a lot of fun in the art room, and I hope the meaning-making has been embedded with the art creation. Last week, a student told me that I was a "really nice art teacher", and on asking why, replied "Because you REALLY plan!" (I was up to my elbows in "shaving cream marbleizing" at the time)... This year has been one of the most creative and most fun yet, but I'm already thinking about next year, asking myself, "How much fun can we have?" The picture is from fifth grade, when I opened our "castle unit" up to options like "Outsider Art".'

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Free Collaborative Art Mag for HS & College

From their online magazine: "CREO's mission is to create real-world opportunities for students to explore visual culture, to give voice to their ideas, and to become active learners and citizens....'Creo' is Latin for 'to create'...a quarterly, online magazine that explores visual culture from the student perspective...on a mission to create real-world opportunities for burgeoning explore the collision of art and culture...dedicated to empowering students to interpret their world, cultivate discussions, and inspire others while sharing their own work...a venue for students to be active participants rather than passive recipients of their world." Worth checking out--the spring issue is linked to the title, the summer issue will be available in May, with student submissions due by March 31st. Additionally, I found an online interactive textbook (by Charlotte Jirousek) titled "Art, Design, & Visual Thinking", which is geared for college level, but still has useful tidbits for any art education level (please note that the textbook is copyrighted)...As for my art program, went through 500 pounds of clay in 2 weeks and am grading cartoons (also 500, two grade levels worth).We've been having a lot of fun and making a lot of mess on these wintry days. Nothing seems homier than the kiln clicking away in the background as the school day draws to a close.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Art Room Showcase

Just un-burying my art room from all the recyclable castles and outsider art sculptures fifth grade worked on collaboratively (over 50 of them), plus the 250 third grade pinch pots are still in the kiln room in various stages of firing, and also the 250 clay tiles fourth grade are working on are also in the kiln room getting air-dried before the first bisque firing. I probably need twice the storage space I currently have to adequately manage sculptures, but I make do because the students love 3D work! The title links to some interesting art rooms, but space aside, I love my art room the best (not posted online, by the way). Also wrapping up our Rotoball 2010 animation, finished the last set of pictures on Friday (225 still motion shots in total)--let the editing begin! Here's a link to emergent art technology tutorials like podcasting, iMovie, and bamboo tablets (all of which I've used :).

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Powerful Projects

Powerful projects is a list of art-based projects that are collaborative and/or raise funds/awareness. I have implemented several of these projects in the last two years and found the experiences for both my students and myself to be powerful as well as fun. Another fun collaborative art room activity is drawing (from Craig Roland): 1) The Stacking Game. Works best with roll paper. The idea is to create a drawing that involves stacking things on top of one another. Animals are a great subject, although other things can be stacked up too. One person draws say an elephant, the other draws say a zebra on top of the elephant, and so on. The drawing continues until you run out of space or interest. (2) "How many . . . .can you draw on one page?" I do this in pairs or groups of 4 and use 18 x 24 " paper or larger. You fill in the topic they fill up every inch of the paper. (for example, "How many monsters can you draw on one page?" Both of these ideas came from the Wilson's book Teaching Children to Draw.
Another collaborative item: this past week we had group critiques of our recyclable sculptures in fifth grade art, and I think the experience was fruitful for students and myself. I used "thinking questions" to elicit initial responses, but things got rolling very quickly on their own!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Embedding a Video In Your Blog

Follow the title link for a tutorial, but here's the video that inspired our art club's latest Rotoball effort.

Great Site for Royalty Free Music

After you make an animation, there's the fun of adding music. The title links to a royalty-free site...Many thanks to one of my Lake Erie students in "21st Century Skills in Art", who shared this (don't you love collaborating?).

Monday, January 18, 2010

Books For Elementary Curriculum

A post came up on Art Ed 2.0, which asked what books would be helpful for elementary teachers who might want to incorporate art into their classroom lessons. Here's my reply: "Honestly, I have yet to find a good elementary art book that is not too "crafty", or that nurtures students true creative impulses. I get my best art curriculum inspiration from children's books, magazines like "Muse" & "Cricket", and trends that kids are interested in like Anime and stop-motion animation ("Coraline", "The Fantastic Mr. Fox"). I know that many classroom teachers think that if they are doing a book report, illustrating a cover is an art integration, and to my way of thinking, it is not (but better than nothing). Additionally, many teachers are scared of messes, so maybe books on the simplest stuff, like basic watercolor, very basic clay (or Sculpey, Play-Doh, Fimo, Etc.),also on digital photography & using simple programs like "Photostory" would be a place to start. The Caldecott website has many links to great illustrators' websites, and that would also be a great shelf: illustrators and how they make their illustrations. Now that I'm thinking about it, books on making books, like pop-ups, accordion books, altered books, would also be be very classroom friendly and lend themselves to more authentic integrations. I commend you on seeing this need, and hope you post your finds." Now, a suggested book was "The Power of Pictures: Creating Pathways to Literacy through Art, Grades K-6" by Betyh Olshansky & I think I might just check it out. For those of us who need something ASAP, check the meta-link page off the posting title....

Monday, January 11, 2010


With the recent snow days and a substitute today for me, I have been thinking about the continuity of my lessons. According to my substitute, all went well and the students knew what they were doing and I am very grateful that we are on the middle-to-end of units instead of the beginning. I don't believe in swapping the art lesson for something "easy" (unless it is computers or clay) if there is a substitute. Additionally, having classes miss because of holidays, snow days, etc. causes planning issues but still, creative planning can make a unit run smoothly even if it is abbreviated or extended. The title links to "Hot Chalk", which I found as a free planning resource & then some! Also, found a blog devoted to Flash, with multiple tutorials (so, I did manage to teach myself something today).

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Thinking Animation Again

The time crunch begins--getting art club rolling for Rotoball and my mind is very much on animation. This year, we are doing a paper-based animation (last year, we did claymation). The title links to an awesome "PortaPortal". Now that we are back from break, we need to start shooting the 500 or so frames for the 15 second video ASAP. Here's a superb flip book (thanks David Gran for finding)...I'm extremely interested in the Indonesian style of puppetry, and would like to play with jointing our figures for movement. If I can figure out how to drop a background in, we'll do that too, but perhaps cast shadows are the way to go? There's a music video that uses both styles wonderfully. Still pondering our direction...On another note, took down all the art in the halls (except showcases) & everything looks empty. Perhaps absence will build anticipation?

The Sketchbook Project

The Sketchbook Project: 2011

About Me

My photo

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

Search This Blog

Blog Archive