Thursday, December 15, 2011


Basically, experimenting with another presentation app, Timeglider, & made a simple one for a core content integration in 5th grade social studies: Hint: click on "start", then "list", dates start at 1200.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Technolgy and Robotics and Art Intersect

Found these two beauties on Google+ and had to share on my blog (Ted Talk above) & 15 things teachers and students can do with Edmodo. As for tech in the art room, working through the bugs of rotating students on the art room Macs for Photoshop. This year, I'm letting students take up to 3 sessions to complete their "Typeface Face", which helps for the process, but messes up the art schedule and is a management issue only saved by major organization and lists. Some of the spatial learners struggle with PSD initially, the task is bringing everyone into the ZPD. I'm thinking of having jump drives be an art room supply, then we could do Photobooth stuff, Pencil, etc., without worrying about print cartridge costs...

Sunday, December 4, 2011

"Scoop It" Experiment

So, I saw this app in Google+ posting & tried it (see left).

Monday, November 28, 2011

Sketchbooks REdux

We are wrapping up clay in fifth grade and I had students make their own sketchbooks out of cereal boxes (great tutorials on Instructables or ScribD) while we waited for the clay to dry and get bisque-fired. Now we are glazing, and for some reason, these larger sketchbooks resonated with the students and they are into them. So, I'm adjusting my calendar and devoting a few weeks to pure SKETCHBOOKING (best resource yet here). Why did smaller sketchbooks in years past fizzle? Somehow, I think the size matters. Also, next year, I need to get a powerful stapler, because it took all of Thanksgiving break for my wrist to recuperate from helping staple, and we lost four metal staplers in the process. What else is new? The wallet project is humming along nicely as part of my drive to reinforce "Design Thinking". Lots of interesting ideas, plus having students bring in a few items for their wallets has a fun factor for everyone in the class. I think the prototyping stage really helped scaffold the unit, and student wallets needed to relate to their favorite prototype they developed (out of two). I thought we would have to keep an ongoing tutorial about folds, etc., but never needed to because students came up with great folding ideas on their own! I'm including this crazy-cool video Jeanne Bjork made using a turntable and an LED flasher. "Time interval from turning LED on and off is about 0.04s(40ms)", which I am struggling to understand, but now I've got to try it!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Technology, Teachnology

I've been busy on post-grad work, but also am in the first stages of a possible tech grant-writing team, so the topic on integrating technology is on my mind. A conversation came up about the balance of studio technique with technology on Tricia Fuglestad's lovely blog. Marc Prensky's Technology Adoption Model came up, where he claims teachers go through four steps in adopting a technological innovation in the classroom: 1. Dabbling 2. Doing old things in old ways 3. Doing old things in new ways 4. Doing new things in new ways I do think using Smartboards, iPads, cloud apps, are solidly in #3. I'm aiming for #4. Is it "reverse instruction"? Is it a hybrid of UbD/21st c/"A Whole New Mind" (Daniel Pink)? One thing I know for sure, the larger your professional palette, the more students are engaged. Random thought while driving to pick up one of my kids from a robotics team activity: "Maybe have students film their own art instruction insights." I think that's the next step, possibly addressing Prensky's step #4. You know, Steve Jobs took typography classes in college for fun (old school stuff) and that led to having font choices when we type Docs, so where would we be without his appreciation of fonts? I remember having to render fonts from memory as the graphics professor walked around the studio with menacing comments, now, my students can see typefaces dance in YouTube videos! To me, a much richer experience. In graphics, I suffered to make perfect spirals with black Plaka on carefully gessoed museum board (no brush marks or the curve could "bleed" which the professor could see when they put their magnifying glass on it). Projects were "A" or "F", and redone until they were an "A". Still, I gained a steady "hand" from the experience, but also a loathing of typography rendering. All a moot point now, and years later, we have elementary students making stop-motion animations, thanks to the balance of tech/studio, or rather, "teachnology."

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Oil Pastel Idea & Design Thinking

Ellen Sears shared just the coolest idea to help students with oil pastel composition: they outline with white chalk first, focusing on LARGE areas outlined, then do the oil pastels, then the "batik" method (wax resists the black paint). So smart and effective.
Getting ready to do a huge unit on "design thinking" and am lucky enough to have a fellow teacher taking the journey with me. Focusing on essential understandings and teaching for transfer. Some resources I have are here. From the Stanford site: "The Wallet Project is very quick overview of the entire design process. In one hour they have students: * Sketch their ideal wallet * Interview their partner to gain insights about his/her wallet use * Define a point of view based on the insights they found * Sketch some new alternatives based on the point of view * Test these new ideas with their partner to gather feedback * Act on the feedback and build a wallet in the form of a physical prototype WHY do we do it? * Fast-paced * Experiential * Project-based * Biased towards action (more doing, less talking about doing)" Much like the IDEO process of brainstorming/ideation then prototyping from found materials, revisions, market testing & finalization. Sounds like the real world, right? One last thing, in sharing my "digital footprints" research (from my UbD/CW unit plan) with "the world", I posted the TILDEcast online at ArtEd2.0. Here's a picture from that:

Saturday, October 15, 2011

TILDE cast on Digital Footprints

I was pleased to be a guest via Skype on our technology department's latest webcast (#9), on "Digital Footprints".

Episode 9: Of Footprints and Credit Cards from TILDE Netcasts on Vimeo.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

"Flipping" in Art, the Start

I've posted two videos on my school art website for instructional purposes and overall, I think the response has been very positive. In the first case, I posted a value scale video, somewhat jumpy as I was filming with my left hand and drawing with my right, but still, the students really responded to it when we played it before each fourth grade class. They were EXCITED to do value scales! My first thought was, "Don't overdo this technique", and my second thought was, "Awesome resource for students to review at home." Sometimes, there were "Cool!" and "I can't wait to try this!" type responses, and even applause. In the second case, I posted a "Typeface Face/Avatar in PSD" tutorial, which students could access for reinforcement of what they were already doing in class. The "test" group was much smaller, as only students who wanted to design avatars on the computers viewed the tutorial, but still, several students went from beginning proficiency to total mastery in one week. The "Innovative Educator" has some thoughts on reverse instruction, basically calling it "Lecture 2.0." I agree that would be a bad thing, but if reverse instruction is used as a tool, one of many, and is used as a differentiable tool (meaning, some students will love it and use it, other students will want other delivery methods), I am still very much in favor of it. I also made a Voki avatar, so easy and fun!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

10 Studies on Arts in Education & Avatar Unit

10 Studies Always an advocate for art education, I found this great page of study summaries on Google+ linking arts education to positive learning outcomes, including "in "Neuroeducation: Learning, Arts and the Brain," Johns Hopkins researchers shared findings showing that arts education can help rewire the brain in positive ways." Also, "Arts education may not just help raise test scores, but also the learning process itself, as a recent study revealed." (source: see link, "10 Salient Studies on the Arts in Education"). In my art room, 5th graders are starting our very big unit on avatar design including QR codes and investigating our digital footprints. This unit was designed using reverse design, essential understandings ("big ideas"), and connecting content to the real world. Lots of alignment and planning work on my part, but so far, the results have been overwhelmingly positive! Students are very engaged, love the idea of doing something so "cool", and just yesterday, a fifth grade teacher stopped by my room to tell me how excited the students were about this unit (making my day for sure). We'll see how it all unfolds as we move from final drafts to finished art, especially because I have 6 computers and even with media options, I'm worried that students who want to design on the computer will be waiting. I put up a QR code outside my art room door linked to my school website (in time for curriculum night) & that has been a big positive , also (practicing what I'm teaching). Here's the code:

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Drawing to Learn & Surrealists' Game

Once again, the importance of drawing and learning is being discussed outside of the art classroom (this time, in a science forum): You can also read the full text in Science magazine at In the interest of promoting community, collaboration, and experimentation in the art room, I had my fourth and fifth graders create a collaborative drawing based on the Surrealists. Overall, we had a lot of fun while the giant drawings "in the round" were rotated a quarter turn every 7-9 minutes, then added on to. The Surealists called it something else, but I decided to call the activity "360 degree Zentangle".

Exquisite Corpse Drawing from Jonathan Jarvis on Vimeo.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Flash Tutorial & 2011/12 Art Year Commences

Once again, I'm revving up for 2011/12 & the first few days in art have been delightful. Kudos to Ian Sands who posted the easiest Flash tutorial for stop-motion that I've seen yet...

Stopmotion in Flash Part 1 - Unit 4 from iansands on Vimeo.

Additionally, I'm posting my updated curriculum map, where I've really gone back to "essential understandings". Also, tried the "funny voice" technique for art routines and other than getting a bit of a sore throat, it was a really fun, easy, effective :).

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Whole Brain Teaching & 21st C. Learners

The title links to the WBT website, lots of freebies & resources there. I would like to make the first day expectations review more fun, so this elementary art video has a fun WBT take to it.

I wonder how the "funny voice" thing would go over with 5th graders?
Last thing, some thoughts on the "12 most important things to know about kids today."(my 2 favorites: #1-"They are bright and creative"; #4-"They are global learners and excellent teachers.")

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Big Month

Finished my Tip-In pages, the first 6 credit hours for new license, and starting to finalize my 2011-12 curriculum map. August is always "the big month" for teachers, where we unpack our reflections and sculpt them into the goals for the new school year ahead. I've put a lot of thought into alignment, enduring understandings, integration, and even more real-world connections. I got a lot from the post-grad curriculum & instruction classes, even more from the deep inquiry into curriculum which my team undertook. Of course, we'll be teching it up in art again & here's the link to the Adobe Education Exchange 2011 Educators' Choice contest:
Here are the inquiries I am talking about (annotated from original document by Dr. James Henderson, © 2011, KSU):
Critiquing: "Individual and collaborative critical inquiries into the strengths and limitations of curriculum actions..."
Envisioning: "This envisioning work requires sensitivity to the vital relationship between schools and society. Educators must work as cultural visionaries who can translate their imaginings into active learning experiences..."
Poetizing:"Individual and collaborative inquiries into the poetics of teaching for 3S understanding."
Deliberating: "This deliberative artistry is consistently applied through all phases of the ‘circuit’ of valuation,including designing, planning, teaching, evaluating, and organizing decisions."
Personal Journeying: "These inquiries are informed by the “currere” interpretation of curriculum, which was initially articulated by William Pinar and Madeleine Grumet and by Robert Nash’s concept of 'scholarly personal narratives.'"
Cross-Paradigm Negotiating:"Individual and collaborative inquiries into ways to create openings for constructivist best practices and, ultimately, for curriculum wisdom..."
Lead Learning: "Individual and collaborative inquiries into ways to inspire, encourage, organize, facilitate and support informal and/or formal practitioner inquiry partnerships and communities."
Peer Reviewing: "This collaborative evaluative work can be practiced in a wide range of professional learning contexts,including mentoring, coaching, and in-servicing."
Public Inspiring: "Individual and collaborative inquiries into ways to inspire curriculum stakeholders to understand and value 3S education."
I realize these sound weighty, but in practice, looking deeply into your curriculum & aims via these nine lenses really helps focus educational goals.
By the way, "currere" is Latin for "to run or to flow", making it the infinitive form of "curriculum". Basically, the "flow" of classroom learning, evolving & interactive rather than unyielding. Don't you feel smarter?

Friday, July 15, 2011

STEAM, Game Theory, & Design Thinking

So, as a result of these Teacher Leader classes I am taking, I'm re-envisioning what art education is all about (essentially, adding more clarity). First, we all know about STEM, but what about STEAM?
Check out the site for neuroscience research, brain-based reasons why we need MORE art in education, etc. Then, there is the cool but I'm still wrapping my head around the implementation curve of introducing game theory to educational praxis (better for HS?). There is also a TedTalk on this, see Then, the one I'm especially enamored of, Design Thinking. The company readily associated with this is IDEO, and ABC News did a story on them 10 years ago: "The Deep Dive". Lastly, for kicks, check out the science songs from "They Might Be Giants" on their album "Here Comes Science". Also, great shadow puppet video here--

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Generative Curriculum Leadership

We just finished our Teacher Leader self-examining forms and I admit relief at my "critical friend" review being close to how I perceive my own understandings of curriculum wisdom, which is a step beyond constructivist best practice. So now, to put it all into context, see the title link for a book resource on being a "generative leader." I will post more about how this all could relate to art education specifically...
Okay, here's the nutshell version and I am officially inviting my teaching peers to join in: Constructivist Best Practice (CBP)--you faciltate students working through the knowledge, applying, synthesizing, exploring their own tangents.
Curriculum Wisdom--Using CBP, but also using backwards design, aligning all that you do with big ideas or essential concepts so students have clarity on connections. Equally important are the 3s's: student, subject, society as the curriculum is developed and aligned.
An example of a big idea: "Does art change culture or culture change art?"
An example of 3S: "What digital footprint am I making?", another one:"Who decides what is 'art'?"
Now for the leadership component, a professional always seeks discourse & inquiry in their practice (e.g. a doctor or architect), and an educator does the same, ideally. But also, invites others to join them in the inquiry model (deep curriculum inquiry). If you use the architect's blueprint as an analogy, the curriculum is standards-based (the blueprint-the what), the contractors get it built (the how) but the aesthetics of the house are left to the artistry of the craftsmen and decorators (with the client in mind). So, I'm building more time for tangents and reflections, really attending to the alignment and clarity pieces. I'll let you know how it goes!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Delicious Resources on Digital Footprints & More

Right now, I'm doing a deep investigation into the "curriculum wisdom" paradigm, which has a large "backwards design" component with a 3S (subject, student, society) overlay. As part of the unit I am developing, I am parking lots of resources for both "reverse instruction" (also called "flip instruction") and digital footprints on my bookmarking site, Delicious. Eventually, I will post more in-depth curriculum ideas regarding both. Among other ideas, I am planning a unit around avatars and QR codes. "QR" stands for quick response, and it is a barcode that can link to multiple kinds of data, including URL links, addresses, and text. I just read an article recently about companies wanting more artistic bar codes for their products, they call them "vanity barcodes" (see Wall Street Journal). That could be a fun lesson, too, now that I think about it...

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Summer Symbaloo

I created a "Summer Symbaloo" for my students: sites we visited on the Smartboard, etc. & I tried to make sure the sites were free, age-appropriate, did not require downloads, etc. Here's a screen shot...

Friday, May 27, 2011

End of Year Teching-Up

In addition to all the artwork being taken down & returned, the last projects (700+) being graded, cleaning-up, and order organizing, I'm getting inbox messages regarding all the freebie tech apps I signed-up for expiring. So now, I'm re-upping for next year! Animoto--yes! My Bluehost (okay, I pay something, but locked-in a good rate)--yes! Both blogs--yes! Slideshare--yes! Voicethread--yes! The title links to another site highly regarded by fellow art teachers, Edmodo. I also have to do an e-portfolio this summer, so I'm sure that will entail other resources I am not even aware of yet. And yes, I am teaching an animation seminar this summer, so I'm seriously thinking about Framethief. If I had used that for Rotoball 2011, I think our animation would have been so much easier (plus, a tripod). Now, back to grading....

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Snippets of a Show

Today is our spring concert/art show for our elementary. Here's some snippets of the foyer display for parents to enjoy when they come to our vocal concert. Believe me, there's over 300 pieces of art down the halls & in showcases, too! The main display is limited by the amount of display boards available, but we also just had our huge district art show (k-12) a few weeks ago.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Art Club Kudos

Spring concert season is in full force and my LES Art Club was honored to do the bug theme decorations for the Miller concert (kindergarten/pre-K building). It was great fun and we also whipped a few decorations for our LES spring concert/art show on May 19th. We even got a mention in the Miller newsletter (see pictures below). I'm grading and reviewing all the art from April/May, and it has just been wonderful to see where we started in the fall to where we are now in the late spring.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Shows: Evidence of Learning

These past 2 weeks, lots of time has been devoted to our district art show (750+ pieces, k-12), and coming soon, the school art show (grades 3-5). I hang & label up to 200 pieces of art every 6 weeks or so anyway, but I try to glean the most creative and interesting pieces for these shows, plus mix up newer stuff as it gets completed. The title links to Dr. Marvin Bartel's show suggestions, but what really resonates with me is this comment from the website: "Philosophy: It takes extra work to make a nice looking school display of student artwork. So, why should we do it?
1)Children gain self esteem by seeing their work seen by others. 2)Art is incomplete without an audience." Agreed, and among the many reasons I make the time to honor my students' creativity and effort with ongoing displays, plus those 2 time-intensive shows.
So, during the early morning hours, I like to grade, label, hang, and photograph art (the digital photos are part of my ongoing digital gallery at ARTSONIA).
I always get happy looking at a completed "spread", which is 2 hinged boards, each board about 5 1/2 feet by 4 feet. They tell a story--not just about whatever project/media we were focusing on, but the progress that was made, the strides! I see each piece and remember a snippet of what a student told me (e.g. "those are flying ninjas in the trees"), or how we moved through a block ("I did not know I could draw/paint/etc. this good!"), and I simply forget about any other educational worries (usually along the lines of "no time").
So, spring always means extra work for a "creative" educator ( art, band, music, choir---we all do shows), but then, there is the evidence of learning--the performance, the art, the smiling face. Totally exhausting, but totally worth it!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Culture Integrations in Art

In third grade, we created original texture templates using tagboard, based on the theme of "Cultures". Currently, the third grade students are reading fiction stories about cultures in "Reading Street", and 2 of the stories, "Suki's Kimono" & "Jalapeno Bagels" served as our jumping-off point for imagery. We looked at kimono fabrics (see title link) on the Smartboard, and discussed images you might see in Mexican/Spanish designs, before careful cutting and gluing of their templates.Students were very creative with their crayon rubbings, rotating their templates, offsetting colors on the same page, creative borders, etc. Just like snowflakes, no 2 were alike!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Adobe Story

So, I just signed up for a free program, called Adobe Story (see title link). It is free until April 30th (like many Beta programs, freebies have a shelf life). From Wikipedia: "Adobe Story is a collaborative script development tool from Adobe Systems Inc. It can be used to accelerate the process of creating screenplays and turning them into finished media. Adobe Story is capable of being integrated with Adobe Production Premium Suite.

Adobe Story is available both as a web-based application, and a desktop application. The desktop application helps you work on your scripts when offline, and sync up with the online version later.

Adobe Story is currently under development and available for preview." Pretty cool, most applicable for MS/HS. But, I decided to give it a quick run anyway. The 3 tutorials are straightforward, but it is optimized to run with CS5. Something to think about before downloading and bogging down your hard-drive. I worked online, without downloading & whipped up a quick script. It seems like a video pre-production app, but I could definitely see collaborations via Smartboard and an iPad or hooked-up computer. Here's a screenshot.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Photoshop Ideas + Visual Thinking

In my quest to engage elementary art students with cool technology, I just found these great tutorials on Vimeo called "Photoshop for Kids" (see post title link). Rotoscoping, PSD “scratch art”, PSD “video art”, etc. So fab and accessible, thank-you Adobe for having Education Leaders! Also, this tech/5th grade teacher does a huge blog of tutorials for all sorts of apps (“Photoshop, iMovie, Final Cut Pro, Flash, and lots of open source “freeware.” These are tutorials and user-friendly, free or cheap resources on how to edit photos and/or videos in a creative way”). Yes!!! Bringing me to the grad class I taught last weekend on “Visual Thinking”. I am fully on-board with the integration of art processes to engage students. It is vital to keeping our students eager to learn in this digital era. I had the honor of facilitating that very concept with a P.E. teacher, Science teacher, Special Education Interventionist, French/Art Teacher, 4th Grade Teacher, & 3 Art Teachers. This diverse group GOT IT, meaning that everyone moved into the synthesis/creativity mode and embraced the value of learning THROUGH the arts. I had so much fun and was impressed with all the integration processes. More integrative resources at
Geometric Concepts (ages 8–10)
Graph Plotting (ages 8–11)
Marine World Digital Encyclopedia (ages 8–13)
Patterns (ages 6–8)
Plant Growth (ages 9–13)
Visualization of the Atom (ages 11–17)
Volcano Eruption (ages 9–13)

To that end, here’s a quote from one of my favorite “TED talkers”: “My contention is that creativity is now as important in education as literacy, and we should treat it with the same status.”
—Sir Ken Robinson
Almost forgot the Photojojo geniuses came up with a fun kaleidoscope/photo project, HERE.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Hexagon Project

"High school and junior high school/middle school students (grades 5-12) respond creatively to the many themes of global interdependence - real-world issues - and become a part of an international movement to create a more civil, peace-minded and just world.

This project is a meaningful vehicle for allowing young people to think and respond about issues of personal and global importance. There were more than 250 pieces exhibited at an exciting, participatory event in 2008 and more are expected in 2009!" from Hexagon Project, Flickr gallery,
What a great way to integrate art/culture/social studies/math for the upper levels! I also think, the main project, available here, could be adapted for elementary grade levels. Always a great idea to make multiple connections to the real world.See the title link for 250 art images from this project on Flickr.

Also, the resources at Kathy Schrock's site are abundant & full of rubrics, content integrations, etc.:

Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Golden Mean

There are a multitude of projects that can integrate math & art framed by the concept of "The Golden Mean", here's a brief video (converted from a Powerpoint, Copyright 2010 The Incredible Art Department), that can be shown/paused as needed. Additional resources at this site.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

2D Design: It's Not Just A Poster

From Art Ed 2.0, Dr. Martin Rayala has some suggestions for those "poster contests" we get requests for:
"2D Graphic Design should be part of a complete visual literacy program. A poster design involves students in doing a variety of jobs:

1. Art Direction - the whole thing has to be managed and pulled together.

2. Writing - the main concept for the poster - headline and body copy - need to be written.

3. Type designing - the poster is going to need special lettering for the main theme.

4. Illustration - a well executed illustration or photo will be needed to anchor the poster.

5. Layout - All of the above needs to be laid out.

6. Production - The final poster needs to be printed or produced (adding credits, etc.).

Run the students through the typical design process:

A. Ideation - what will the theme of the poster be? What do we really want to say? What is more unusual, effective, unexpected?

B. Visualization - everyone do a bunch of sketches to show some possibilities. Brainstorm - build on each others ideas.

C. Prototype - mock up some possibilities to see which are most promising.

D. Implementation - produce the final posters."

I have used similar structure in an advertising unit I've done with 5th graders in the past, and it has been quite successful. Right now, I'm reworking my curriculum map for next year, and possibly, this could be a huge literacy/technology integration.
Check the title link for 27 design tips structured by the elements & principles of art.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Origami Math & Soundsuits

The journey for relevant integration is never-ending, but several nuggets of gold were unearthed today in my continual search: 1) possibly the best origami artist, whose website totally covers engineering/technology connection, Robert J. Lang (see title link). You can even download origami simulation code (not on Intel Macs, though)! Then, Nick Cave the sculptor/dancer, and his amazing "soundsuits". I think a lot of Chihuly's glass sculptures when I just see the suits, but the videos show how much the experience of hearing them is important. So, beautiful things, from humble materials, with incredible potential for integrative connections.
(image from Creative Commons of a Nick Cave soundsuit made from spinning tops)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Smartboard Figure Drawing/Cartooning Reflections

Just found a very helpful online site called “Figure It Out”, which really lends itself to drawing figures proportionally. I wish I had it when we did our cartooning unit, but better late than never. Basically, you just pose the figure, draw over it, then drop the figure out. Perfect for the Smartboard. Okay, so this year, we really focused on trying to come up with good story lines for the 4th grade cartooning unit as a Language Arts integration: Comics in the Classroom as an Introduction to Narrative Structure. Students got the proportions right, the process of drawing simple shapes first, etc., but I felt like the writing support needed took away some instructional time on the drawing end. I’m reconceptualizing the whole unit for next year, starting with doing “Figure It Out” first, then possibly making a game out of the pre-writing component. Then, maybe students can choose a narrative layout sheet, flipbooks, or collaborative brick films for cartooning. Just seems like a new “hook” is needed. I’m also including a link to a portal for digital portfolios, possibly a way to tie all my technology ideas together…

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


We've been talking a lot about assessments in our school, and I've always used rubrics to assess artwork. The title links to a great resource for them, "Rubistar". You can click on a project-based content area, and customize a template really quickly. Other good resources, some repeats from earlier posts:
Thinkfinity (does not seem to work in Firefox browser)
Teachnology (also has rubrics)
Cybraryman (has everything!)

Sunday, March 6, 2011

LES Art Club Rotoball 2011

This took a ton of time, 225 stills without a "real" tripod, so a little jumpy, but I'm still very proud of our entry for the 2011 Shanghai Student Film Festival.

Digital Natives and Design Thinking

Recently, I've been thinking deeply about "design thinking" and how structuring more lessons around real-world applications is important. A book has been recommended to me, "Teaching Digital Natives Partnering for Real Learning", by Marc Prensky, and it is on my next-to-read list.I'd like to make the ideation and prototyping stages more important, and even pull-in architectural thinking, game design thinking, technology skills---all of it spiraled in with the hand-skills. Much of what we are already doing is so good; having just hung art for the annual spaghetti dinner, I was really proud of our k-12 art program.
Some ideas Dr. Martin Rayala suggested to me through an education forum: "Look at what Ideation and visualization look like - post-it notes, sketches, mind-maps, photos, notes, etc. - show the process the students go through. Make the thinking the display. Parents will love it. Teach the students to think visually - with designed text (different hand-drawn type faces), sketches (of people, places and things), photos, frames around topics (thought balloons, boxes, explosion boxes, etc.), connectors between related ideas (arrows, lines, dashes, etc.), bullets of various design to show ideas on a topic (stars, black dots, open circles, squares, etc.), and shadows to make these things pop out from the wall.
Everyone will love to see for their own eyes the process of thinking the students go through to come up with ideas and to solve problems. Show them 10 sketches the students did beforehand that show how they were thinking through the problem."

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Snakes & Graphs

This video is a hilarious depiction of math/art integration, featuring a doodler "par excellence."

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Books of Beautiful Trash

Thoughts on some units thus far: definitely adding a "Purple Hands/Palaces" project (see prior post (3rd grade integration with guidance); wishing the cartooning unit (4th grade) was "jazzier" and I'm looking at the artwork of Rama Hughes for inspiration (collaborative comics or comic anthologies or comic "jams")--to make the project more collaborative/"Passion-Driven"; puppets---possibly a performance component? Then, I'm also thinking "Girbino Strands", which align with state standards of course, but connect to at least one of four main organizing media categories (I'll post more on that later, but suffice to say, one category is "animation/technology", plus I want to get a sketchbooking component in there). So,having lots of interesting discussions in class about leaving your marks/not erasing, or at the very least, not giving up on your art. Found this great idea from Rama, who pulled items out of the trash all year and bound them into books which he called "The Books of Beautiful Trash"---brilliant! Right now, we are investigating "pattern" in art, and so far, students seem to love the initial project stages. The French curves that fourth graders are using have been a particular hit, I just wish I had more since sharing the six sets (18 curves) I squeaked out of the budget were not nearly enough for 28 students, but they all shared pretty well. The "old school" art tools might be making a comeback! Here are some oldies at "The Museum of Forgotten Art Supplies". If you know what "pick-up" or a "Lucy" is, then you know what I'm talking about :).

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Purple Hands

Find more photos like this on Art Education 2.0

Integrating this art idea with the "hands project" (see title link) is one idea I'm considering for 2011/12 :)

Friday, February 11, 2011

Creativity Pedagogy & Drawing Practice

We wrapped up a lot of big, messy, fun, time-consuming projects and are now transitioning with some drawing practice and formative assessments/scaffolding activities to get ready for working with "pattern" in all grade levels. Since 4th grade did so much work on cartooning, and many students had to be encouraged to "leave their marks" instead of erasing as they designed their cartoon layouts, I'm including the link (to title) of Monet's sketchbooks. A beautiful resource that illuminates how building a drawing requires lots of lines, even ones that may be less than great are still part of the process.
Now, I've compiled some pedagogical resources on how using some guidelines (or limitations) actually fosters creative growth:
"Creativity is often misunderstood. People often think of it in terms of artistic work -- unbridled, unguided effort that leads to beautiful effect. If you look deeper, however, you'll find that some of the most inspiring art forms -- haikus, sonatas, religious paintings -- are fraught with constraints. They're beautiful because creativity triumphed over the rules. Constraints shape and focus problems, and provide clear challenges to overcome as well as inspiration. Creativity, in fact, thrives best when constrained" (FEBRUARY 1, 2006, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Insight by Marissa Ann Mayer:"Turning Limitations into Innovation").
"The enemy of art is the absence of limitations." (Orson Welles)
"In fact, the worst thing a designer can hear is an offhand 'Just do whatever you want.' That's because designers understand the power of limits. Constraint offers an unparalleled opportunity for growth and innovation" (Wired Magazine, "Design Under Constraint: How Limits Boost Creativity" by Scott Dadich, 02.23.09)
“When forced to work within a strict framework the imagination is taxed to its utmost – and will produce its richest ideas. Given total freedom the work is likely to sprawl."— T.S. Eliot
"If I ask students to do whatever they want to do, they often avoid risk by doing something they already have learned in the past. The amount of creative thinking may be zero. When there are limits, there is a better chance of having a challenging task. Limits can encourage new and creative problem solving." Prof. Marvin Bartel - © 2001 to 2011
"Lessons without limitations are not very effective. Without limitations, students are prone to fall back on easy left brain habits and fail to practice new or difficult skills. We naturally avoid the risk of doing the unknown unless a good teacher assures us that the new way can help us grow. Well planned lesson limitations make it harder for the left brain to dominate while encouraging the right brain to practice." Prof. Marvin Bartel - © 2001 to 2011

So, there you have it, and it is an ongoing practice to balance limits and expression to promote artistic growth.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Great Lino Demo

Anatomy of a Linocut by Bill Fick from Jim Haverkamp on Vimeo.

Since I love linoleum block printing so much and teach graduate seminars in it, thought I would post (thanks Craig Roland for posting originally on Art Ed 2.0).

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Myth of the Solo Scientist

This weekend, I read a great piece by Jonah Lehrer in The Wall Street Journal (link to title). Essentially, Mr. Lehrer posits that scientific discoveries are no longer happening in isolation, by young geniuses. Rather, "If America is going to "out-innovate" the world, it's not because we have more youthful geniuses, toiling away alone in a lab. The age of the great scientific thinker is over" (WSJ, Feb.5,2011). He refers to Da Vinci, who made vital contributions to broad areas like medicine, civil engineering and geology. In today's academic world, future scientists will spend years in graduate school developing a specific expertise. In the real world, teams work together now, with integrative connections powering innovation. Hmmm---doesn't that sound like how teaching and classrooms should be? Of course, students need to learn their content (math/science/LA), etc., but how do they learn to collaborate? Much eduspeak is involving PBL, "problem-based learning", but the testing/data drive takes up much of the day. We just finished a big collaborative unit in fifth grade, and students answered questions as a reflection component. Three of the questions: "What did you like about this project?"; "What didn't you like about the project?"; "How would you improve the project?". An overwhelming majority of the answers sounded like the following (in order of the questions): "I liked everything!"; "Nothing, this was fun!"; and "Let's do more stuff like this." In our tech-savvy students' world, it is all about collaboration, and I just think we need to put more PBL into our curriculum for our future innovators. CMS Wire has an interesting article defining 3 types of collaborations:1)"Peas in a pod", 2)"New partners in crime", and 3)"Challengers".

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

New Animoto: A Day in the Art Room

Third grade completed puppets in January and fifth grade made huge sculptures from recyclable materials. Fourth grade completed a large cartooning unit, which worked out well because I was running out of room to store sculptures. Here's a new Animoto documenting a day in the art room.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A-Z Websites Starting with A & B

The tech and learning advisor of Tech & Learning magazine has just posted the first page of great websites A-Z. I'm already looking into "Animasher" & "Animata", but there's plenty for non-art types like an automatic citation website, and online reading forum called "Bookglutton". See the title link for these & more! We are deep into our cartooning unit in fourth grade, which has a huge pre-writing component, and art club is firing up the stop-motion this week for "Rotoball 2011", so I am totally immersed in cartoons and sculptures (3rd/4th) this month. Soon, I'll post some thoughts on that and how crazy the art room looks right now, stay tuned!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Passion-Driven Classroom

Just finished reading a book from our curriculum director, The Passion Driven Classroom.From the Eyes on Education website (see title link):"This book presents ideas for planning and implementing a Clubhouse Classroom, where passion meets practice every day. In the Clubhouse Classroom, students learn new skills and explore their talents with the help of educators who are invigorated by the subjects they teach." I've always felt that I could never be an art teacher unless I was totally passionate about the subject, facilitating creativity, hence the name of my blogs, "Art24/7" & "More Art 24/7". What really resonated was the list of student comments about how you know if students are vested, too. Things like, "WOW!", "When do we get to do that?", "Can I come in to work on this?", etc. I hear these types of comments a lot in my art room! I revisit the curriculum and my teaching when I don't. From the preface:
"Unbridled enthusiasm, engagement, and passion gradually fade. By the time they reach secondary school, these have nearly disappeared...As teachers, our role is challenging. We operate in a standards-based,data-driven educational era (Hargreaves, 1994). In subtle and in not-so subtle ways, we are asked to ignore the creative, critical, and powerful force of passion in teaching and learning. Fidelity to the curriculum and preparation for the test have become the priority...We have teacher-proofed the curriculum and a result, we have passion-proofed the learning" [p.xviii, preface, Maiers and Sandvold, The Passion-Driven Classroom: A Framework for Teaching & Learning, copyright 2011 Eye On Education, Inc. Larchmont, NY. All rights reserved.]
One last thought, about the word origin of "passion"; it comes from Latin,"passus" which literally means "suffering". So, passion is not just about having fun "projects", but working hard, wanting to work hard in your learning. That's when you know the learning experience is rich.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Cybraryman

More snowy days messing with everything! Yet, the puppets are getting painted, the fifth grade sculptures are starting to look like the design sketches, and we have had a lot of good discussions in fourth grade on how to create a cartoon narrative (nice planning sheet at Read/Write/Think). About the writing integration for fourth cartooning: "A strong plot is a basic requirement of any narrative. Students are sometimes confused, however, by the difference between a series of events that happen in a story and the plot elements, or the events that are significant to the story. In this lesson, students select a topic for a personal narrative and then do the prewriting in comic-strip format to reinforce the plot structure. Finally, they write their own original narratives based on the comic strip prewriting activity, keeping the elements of narrative writing in mind" (source: Read/Write/Think). Even better, the cartooning part is all about proportions (yes-math integration, too :). So, why am I titling this post, "The Cybraryman"? Well, I've found him to be a superb resource portal, and was sharing with our Spanish teacher. The online repository he has compiled has, indeed, made order out of discord (to paraphrase Einstein).

Saturday, January 8, 2011

First Week Back

You never really leave your art room, but the two weeks of winter break helped me catch up on planning while relaxing. This first week back was full of sculptural units (puppet making in 3rd grade and recyclable sculptures in 5th). I've gotten pretty good at managing all the messes we make, and the pre-mix papier mache powder was quite the mess. Loved seeing students dragging in all the boxes and tubes from the holidays as the basis for their sculptures, and you know the project is a success already when so many students remember over break! I actually prefer old-fashioned newspaper strips /wallpaper paste for sculpture units, but I had two boxes of the pre-mix to use up (no waste here ;), so 3rd grade has nice, puffy puppet heads layered over their newspaper/paper towel tube armatures.
Next year, I'm going with plaster strips for third, I think. The puppet unit is new, and I researched the history of puppets, creating a SB interactive time line for us to sort through. Quite interesting, and I'm glad I took the time to do that. We are behind on the Mon./Tues. people, so the mess continues for a few more days, then on to painting and embellishments. Management-wise, fourth grade is on a large cartooning unit (all about proportions, nice math tie-in), so there is a break in the media management. I always thought a stop-motion video of "a day in the art room" would be hilarious---studio clean-up by the students is top notch by second semester, but we really mess/clean-up the room six times a day, every day. Talking about motion, the title links to a compare/contrast of a static magazine cover featuring Emma Watson, and the "moving" version for iPad. Now, that would make an interesting HS composition project, "design a cover for both static and dynamic media."

The Sketchbook Project

The Sketchbook Project: 2011

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