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

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