Friday, January 30, 2015

Art Club is the Greatest

Art Club might be my best decision in many years. I decided to start it this year and, so far, we've had three meetings. Art Club meets on Thursdays right after school until 5:00. I have 20 4th and 5th graders who all had to apply to join. Of course I got all kids who are in love with art. 20 super talented students and no behavior issues. It's like art teacher heaven. 
1/4 of Art Club in their sweet shirts we screen printed last week. One of these
days I'll remember to take a picture before we get busy making awesome art. 
A big reason for starting Art Club was to give my students some extra opportunities to continue to improve their art skills. I'm able to have them work on projects that would either be too difficult for a whole grade level or impossible to store with 120 kids working on large projects. 

Our first project is animal head sculptures made out of paper mâché. They'll eventually be mounted to boards I cut out of MDF. They'll look similar to taxidermy mounts. The pictures below are a few in-process works. 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

There's always something going on in the art room.

One of my goals this year is to post more often. So far, I've not done so well with that goal. (Or as the kids would say, EPIC FAIL!) I think I figured out the problem, though. I tend to only post about finished projects. Between photographing work, writing the post, and attaching the lesson plan, it takes quite a bit of time. During the course of a day, I only have so much time, and the blog often gets pushed to the back of the list of priorities. My new plan is to update more often with random things that are going on in the art room, much like I do with my Instagram feed. These posts will be quick and easy.
One of my favorite third grade projects is going on right now. Collagraph quote prints. My 3rd graders are working really hard to get their printing plate ready to go. We'll start printing this week. As I was unloading the drying rack, I just noticed that every single piece I saw was outstanding. 
I also have a student teacher from The Ohio State University who started recently. He has taken over a couple grade levels so far and is working on self portraits with 2nd grade. Day one of his lesson involved some practice and one girl totally knocked it out of the park. She is supremely talented and is a very, very sweet girl on top of it. Great work Zoie!

Monday, January 19, 2015

It's Voting Time!

It's that time of the year again, folks! The fine people over at The Art of Education have just announced their finalists for blog of the year. There are a whole lot of super amazing blogs that you can vote for, but I sure hope you'll vote for Thomas Elementary Art. Somehow I won last year, so I now feel like I'm defending a professional sports title. (It's the same, right?) Let's go for the repeat win! You can even vote once per day!

Click here to vote!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Cardinals - Charley Harper Style

If you're reading this, you likely know that I don't do holiday art. It's not my style. Winter art works just fine, though. This is the second year I've done this project with my students. It is based off of a few topics and comes together very nicely. 

The project focuses on the state bird of Ohio, the cardinal. Cardinals are a type of bird that stays around in the winter, so they make for a good subject of a winter themed project. We also study Ohio artist Charley Harper. If you're not familiar with Harper, his career focused on graphic artwork about animals. If you haven't ever seen any of his work, you should definitely check it out. 
The coolest part of this entire project had to do with my Instagram feed. I try to post something every couple of days on my classroom Instagram account. It's a quick and easy way of sharing when I don't have time to sit down and write a whole blog post. I posted the picture above during the school day. When I got home that night, I realized that the official Charley Harper Art Studio had commented on the post! Huzzah! At their request, I wound up sending them several more examples that were then posted on their Facebook fan page. My students were amazed that their work was being recognized by the studio of a famous artist! 

Monday, January 5, 2015

New Counters, Happy Art Teacher

It's not often that the art room gets something new other than art supplies. A short time before break, I learned that, to my complete surprise, the counters, shelves, and sinks in the back of my room would be torn out and replaced over winter break. Huzzah! I then realized that I would need to move EVERYTHING out of the old one- including 900lbs of clay. 

A job that could have been a big hassle wound up being beneficial. I went through all of the materials that had been sitting on those shelves for years and wound up being able to give away, recycle, and throw away several items that I hadn't used the entire time I've taught at Thomas. (Hamster bedding…really?) I came in over break to put everything back. I ACTUALLY HAD EMPTY SHELVES. Yeah, you read that correctly. Holy cow. 

In all, I'm super happy with the new shelves and counters. The arrangement stayed exactly the same as it had been and I'm hoping to get some doors on a couple of the shelves to keep it neat. I'm psyched! Hopefully everyone else has an exciting start to 2015 as well!