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

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

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