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...

The Sketchbook Project

The Sketchbook Project: 2011

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