NYSATA Conference bound!

I’m in Albany, NY at the Desmond for our Annual New York State Art Teachers Association conference!  I’m presenting 2 workshops this weekend and hope you can join us!    I’ll link my presentations here and will be updating the blog with new photos soon!!!  I am such a bad blogger… I hope to update more frequently soon!

Check back later!

One more week…

It’s the final summer countdown… one week to go.  Actually it’s less for me.  I go back Tuesday… the kids on Thursday.  However, for all intensive purposes, my mind is in the final preparation stages.  I have created my scope & sequence (or what I call it… as it may not be a proper model for a scope & sequence in stuffy academia).  Some readers asked if I would share it with them, especially those that are starting new in a different grade or level.  I am happy to share!  I will even link you up to a copy on Google Drive and also a blank version for you to download and create your own!  Happy to help!  That is what I love about art teacher, well , teachers in general. We are a sharing bunch!

Scope & Sequence 2014

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Blank Version

I like to see my year laid out in front of me.  I need to see my plan.. I guess I’m a bit of a planner.  However, it is always a work in progress.  I created it in Pages and can go in and change things if I need to.  You know how it is… snow days, field trips, concerts, assemblies, and just off days could change my plans.   Sometimes I have extra days and need a bit more and sometimes I don’t get to everything.   Last year, we had 6 snow/cold days that required we change things a bit to accommodate the most important stuff.   I use this as a guide.  I included some links to some of the blogs/pins that I got the idea from.  As you can see, I am inspired by a lot of other teachers.  We are a community of sharing here ya know!

I also have a database of projects form my district and my past lessons that I draw from too.  Planning is half the battle.  Now, I am in the process of prepping the September projects, creating presentations, pulling examples, and planning my strategy of inspiration! 

I know other art teachers who plan in a similar way.  Whatever works for you!  

I hope to keep this blog up to share more of my projects along the way!  i have some very exciting school-wide projects coming up.  I’m also fundraising for my art club and 6th grade Legacy mural.  My budget is just not big enough to accommodate these too.  So, I’m creating Art to Remember projects in October and have the orders ready before holiday break!  I hope all the hard work pays off!  I’d also like to purchase an iPad for the artroom, in addition to the ones I have to borrow but don’t get to keep if others need them.  I want one that stays solely in the art room for our use every year!   That would be awesome!

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 I will be back to share my room when I get it set up and photographed!  I love seeing all my art teacher bloggers sharing their rooms and management ideas, so I will share mine when I get it done!

 

Back to School Ideas

KeepCalmTeachArt

It’s a little over 1 week left of summer before my kids and I head back to school.  Where did this summer go?  It’s been a very short and busy one!  I don’t know about you but the older my kids get, the busier we are.  How does that happen?  Summer camps, karate, band lessons, golf lessons, and family vacations took over the summer.  Not a lot of time to just relax. Soooo… while I was waiting for my son to finish golf or karate or whatever the heck we were sitting around waiting for him for, I had my trusty friend, Pinterest!  Lots of ideas to be found!  I pinned my little heart out!  Here are a few of them that I plan to introduce into my routine/ classroom!

Lake and Hartville Elementary Art blog

This is brilliant!  I have a box with a slot cut out of it from Valentine’s day sales at Target!  I am going to decorate the heck out of that box and place it just inside my door for a little weekly or monthly contest.  I will give away some art supplies for the winners (from my stash of conference goodies). Great way to get kids researching, learning about artist/ artwork, and get a little fun art advocacy out there!

Kinder-craze blog

ADORABLE classroom rules

I love these colorful frames!  I couldn’t find these exact ones (from Michael’s) but I found some colorful rectangular metal frames from Christmas Tree Shoppes!  I am making my rules and procedures to frame and hang above my sink area (procedures) and under my white board (rules).  Just get some spray paint and transform some frames into fun colors!  Of course you can also make your own frames with foam core or cardboard.  We all know that we have an overabundance of cardboard right now with all those supply boxes being unpacked!  I think I’ll make some more like these shapes and spray paint them for my student art wall.  When kids bring me artwork, I’ll put it up in one of those fun frames on my bulletin board!

cardboard frames with chalkboard paint

I made these cardboard frames to easily display student work. I used chalk spray paint to write student names.

I also love this idea of labeling the doorway with vinyl letters for vertical and horizontal… so simple and easy!

The Teaching Palette blog

ART Flip sign. Do this one next year!

I’ve seen this one before but I love how this teacher made these and attached them vertically!  I’m running to the craft store to find small wooden palettes! Just love the way she labeled them!  Along this this idea and my Class Dojo management plan, here are some ways I plan on tweaking my classroom management plan.

artwithmsgram blog

I love this blog!  She has some very cute ideas for her classroom too.  I love this idea though.  Why didn’t I think of this?  I use ClassDojo (I’m actually a Mentor with Class Dojo) for individual points but am always giving points for tables who clean up first, are the quietest and most focused, and for working together… I also take points from tables that are too noisy, unfocused, arguing or not working together.  So when I saw this, I added table colors to my rosters.  I just labeled them and put a creature that matches the color.  Now I have both individuals and tables.  I wish I could arrange kids into tables but for now, I am going to give student points for their participation/effort grade and table points for privileges or small fun rewards.  Not sure what those will be but they might include some free draw time, special leaders, treats or material helpers.  They love that kind of stuff! I also plan to paint some old wooden chairs in the style of artists so maybe I will do 4 of them and that table gets to sit in the special art chairs for the day.  Here’s a photo of that:

Pop Art Chair Lichtenstein

I would totally feel so cool sitting in a special painted chair.   Of course, I have to find time to paint these chairs!  Yikes!

inspirelovelearn blog

So, I have 2 iPads to use (i hope!) in my art classroom.  I love this idea to keep them stored and charged.  I got a 3 drawer  one to do just this!  I plan on putting it on my table in the back for photographing artwork to upload to Artsonia.com.  Kids will go there to photograph and upload with instructions placed above the table.  I also got a small power strip too!

Okay so here are a few ideas that I’m working on right now…

Cassie Stevens started a couple things that got me excited!  She started an art teacher book club.  The two books that we picked were:  Teach Like a Pirate by Dave Burgess and Printmaking Unleashed!

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This book has gotten me thinking about how I present material to my classes.  It’s high energy ideas are amazing!  I am going to implement some of them this year, but it would take me years to build up the kind of repertoire he has.  I am going to start with some units and really “sell” it this year.  Starting with adding some fun props, music,  and new aprons to set the mood!

Cassie Stevens also started the Apron Sew-a-long (see my lead in here?).  I went a bit crazy buying fabric at JoAnn’s the other day!  OMG… I think I bought 10 different patterns!  Thinking about units or projects I teach, I want an apron that goes with each.  LOL!  So, I limited it to 6.  Asian, Pop Art, Fun Owls, Sugar Skulls, Monet’s waterlilies and a fun modern zig zag pattern.  I also bought a few matching patterns to make pockets out of.  Now, I think I need to go back and get the peace sign one that I forgot!  LOL!  Getting my sewing machine ready to go now!

Hope that inspired you a bit and I’ll be back with my room tour as soon as I can get into my building!  It’s been a crazy summer and they had summer schools at our building so we are banned until the custodians get it cleaned and ready!  This week looks like a good one to find a day to work there.  Hope I can sneak away from the kiddos and hubby for a while!

6th Grade Legacy Mural

I started a new tradition in our school this year.  I want our 6th graders to leave something artistic behind for other’s to enjoy as they move on to the middle school next year.  So, this year, I hired an artist friend and retired art teacher to help me out with this endeavor.  I planned to have the 6th graders paint a mural in the cafeteria/ auditorium.  It’s a blank canvas waiting to have artwork adorn the walls. I knew I wanted something colorful,positive and nature related.  Deb Dahlin, our visiting artist, came up with an idea based on my needs.  She made a sketch of the wall and created a gorgeous mural based on the four seasons of our area.  We decided whimsical trees would be the focus.  Lots of details were added to each tree.  She sketched the mural out on the wall and then the kids painted it!  They really did most of the painting but Deb added animals, words (from lists that the kids brainstormed in class), and other shading details.  It was so exciting to see the progress.

We used acrylic paint and I bought little cups with lids and foam brushes (Thank you Hobby Lobby- 50 pack for $5.99).  I also had smaller brushes available. The little cups allowed us to mix colors and kids could hold on to them while painting to avoid drips from too much paint on a brush.  We did have a little incident of spillage but it wasn’t the kids that did it!  YIKES!  Deb got splattered when a cup fell just right and paint came straight up  onto her face!

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ImageWe took photos as we went and I put together a time-lapse of the mural.  I set up a camera on a tripod on the opposite side of the room and had a student snap photos every 30-40 seconds. Unfortunately, there were a few times that the battery died or we just forgot to click photos and so the changes just jump in. Oops… still cool!

Here are a few in-progress photos.ImageImage

ImageImageImageImageBuddy the cat makes an appearance chasing butterflies!

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I’ll have the finished panoramic photos later when I get the tables moved back to photograph!!

 

One month in…

ImageIt has been a fast and furious start to school.  We opened seemingly early this year (at least if felt like it) and I started right off with Pinwheels for Peace.  It’s our 4th  year participating in this collaborative project.  It’s always satisfying to have to whole school making pinwheels to plant outside in celebration of the International Day of Peace on September 21st.  Since that fell on a Saturday this year, we planted them on Monday, September 23rd.  It also falls right before our Curriculum Night so I wanted to leave them outside for a couple nights.

I decided that  I would have them laminated at our district’s lamination dept.  I sent our first batch and waiting, as I finished the second batch (I have 20 classes that I had to finish them with), I thought I’d call and let them know the next batch was coming and check on the first one.  Well… Apparently she was 2 weeks behind!  WHAT???!!!  I needed them in 1 week!  So, I talked to my Principal and researched outside costs on lamination.  WHOA… I was shocked at how expensive that can be!  Finally, my Principal called them and got us pushed to the front due to time limits!  I was so relieved and bless her, we got them in time, but I had to take them home to cut, punch holes, and assemble most of them.  It was exhausting!  Next year, I will have them completed in ONE class by keeping it simple and using colored paper instead and call ahead to let them know ahead of time.

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Anyway, it was a wonderful day full of togetherness, tolerance, and Peace.  I delivered buckets of pinwheels to all the classrooms except those that have special area at the end of the day.  We all went outside with our Pinwheels at 2:30pm and marched to a peace song around the parking lot and front circle.  Then we planted our pinwheels and sat around the peace sign.  My Principal spoke of peace, understanding, respect and responsibility.  I then spoke of our community and read a poem of peace that was written by a student in Nepal.  It was a beautiful day!  There were news cameras there and I got on 2 channels that night and have 2 newspapers there to write articles!  YAY!

Here are some photos of the day…

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CIMG3591We even presented a check to the area food bank from last year’s Empty Bowls event!  It was awesome to have a representative be able to come out to accept the check and celebrate with us.

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CIMG3595This is a great project and a way to get your whole school involved!  It’s become tradition in our school and one that everyone looks forward to!

Getting Ready!

ImageI stopping into school last week for a summer School Excellence Team meeting (we set scheduling, make building decisions, talk about new initiatives for the year, and make decisions about professional development funds usage) and had to fire up my kiln with all my summer class clay artwork because the high school kiln was not working.  I was stressed but I think it worked out great.  My kiln is awesome and the pieces came out great!  But in the time I was there, after the meeting, I checked out my room.  I left the above plan for my custodians to follow.  Mostly they arranged my furniture the way I planned. I might make a few changes but the bones of the room are set. I have a ton to do in regards to “prettying” up the place!  In the final 2 weeks of summer break, I am putting some of Pinterest ideas into action!  I will share some when I finish them!

In our SET meeting, we discussed a universal matrix for behavior expectations throughout the school.  I found a post on The Art of Education site that mirrored what we discussed!  I used this general matrix to design my classroom expectations.

ImageIf you go to The Art of Education link, you can download a blank matrix.  I am excited that the whole school will have a similar language and expectation set.  We liked the PBIS language but agreed that it is overwhelming to follow as they prescribe.  Not everyone likes the reward system, myself included.  I use ClassDojo in my classroom and can tie positive behaviors with this expectation list.  I used to do tickets, bucks, and reward charts, but they were hard to manage and I got lax in them. I use this on my iPad and laptop/ overhead projector every single day with every class!  It’s gotten to be habit and easy & fun to use!

I’m working on my Scope and Sequence for the year too.  Here is a peek on my projects/ grade levels.  They are not complete yet and of course, I adjust based on timing and unexpected things that pop up.  I arranged it by grade level and month.  Some projects spill into longer time period blocks due to complexity and amount of time I see them.

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Here is a blank one for you to use!  BlankSS

If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment and I’ll get back to you!

Summer, Summer Time! Reflecting…

I don’t know about you but this has been a crazy, stressful school year!  For the first time I couldn’t wait for the year to be over!  I usually dread the end of the year… I do LOVE my job but this year was different.  I loved the kids, the art, the exciting projects, but the requirements that the State and district put on all the teachers this year (all at once) was overwhelming!  We had no idea what to expect, how these things would change our teaching, and the challenges that were ahead of us.  The kids were stressed and anxious and so were we.  It was an exhausting year!  So with that being said, I looked back on my year and learned some things:

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Of course, I’m being sarcastic here!

1) This was a growing and learning year in regards to APPR and SLOs… those darn abbreviations for “Teacher Evaluations”.  My department created rubrics and pre-assessments based on what our Professional Organization, NYSATA did.  I was on both committees.  I thought we did a great job with some adjustments, it could be really good!  We learned that our rubrics were either too easy or too vague in parts.  It made it hard to score when we were second guessing what to look for.  So, we need to work on language on those.  We also decided that we should mix up our focus each year so that kids don’t get bored with drawing self-portraits.  So, we’ll keep the format but adjust the instructions/ rubric language. All in all, i think most of us did very well.  Those art teachers that struggled did so because their principal’s made it difficult for them with higher goals and extra requirements…our union is looking at that closely!

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2) Assessment is not a one size fits all! I had to grade kids grades 3-6th this year…we were put on the report card. I wanted to find some way to assess without a lot of fuss.  I had to grade around 300 kids! Multiply 300 by however many projects we do and that equals a WHOLE LOT OF WORK! I adapted this rubric:

ImageI made it a half sheet and got rid of the comments part because I wasn’t planning on giving it back to the kids but rather use it as a way to grade and keep as a record.  It was pictorial so all grades could use it and it would be a quick score sheet.  Overall, it was quick and easy but I found that it really didn’t measure exactly what I wanted for each project.  I don’t want to have to make a new one for each project as that is overwhelming! However, I think I need to adjust the categories and I do want some other way for kids to reflect on their work.  I would love to find a way to digitally have them reflect and compile the data that way.  I have 3 computers in my room that they could go to when they are finished. It might take a bit longer to do. Wish I had access to iPads more frequently.  We only have one class set for the WHOLE building and they are used by the classroom teachers most of the time!  I’d love any ideas that you use in your classroom to assess projects!

Image3) Each year I get a little more organized.  I find ways to cut down on clutter and organize materials so that kids can access them easier and faster.  This year I started out strong and kept it organized until after the spring break… once spring break came and went, the materials piled up, artwork was everywhere and scraps were threatening to take over!  I was drowning in paper!  So, I need a better system.  Here I come Pinterest!

I have found a few great ideas to employ next year.  I ended the year with a clear out of a closet and moving furniture around… I moved a set of metal shelves (with the help of my custodian!) into my kiln room to house my kiln furniture and a place to put clay pieces that need help drying out faster or to put pieces that are a bit warm out of the kiln on.   YAY!  I also moved a rolling shelving unit that was under clutter and moved that into the closet as a place to put finished clay projects for firing! That will cut down on my shelves being used in the classroom for clay storage!

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I plan to use those shelves for housing artwork for each class.  I need to clear the clutter and stop having piles of work everywhere!  I did make portfolios last year, but they were big, heavy and took up too much room!  I want kids to have easier access to them and put their finished work.  Hope this works better!

Here’s a link to my Pinterest boards for Art classroom Management:  http://pinterest.com/nysata3/art-room-management/

Image4) Finally, I learned that the grass is not always greener on the other side.  I really thought I wanted to go back to the high school to teach when there was an opening (I had been bumped when budget cuts happened 4 years ago) but after having that opportunity present itself and really looking at what I have at my wonderful elementary school and talking with others about what is happening at the HS, I decided I wanted to stay where I was!  It was a lengthy and agonizing decision but I really feel it’s the best one for me right now.  I may decided differently in a few years when another opportunity comes around but for now, I am happy where I am!  I have the full support of my Principal and staff and what more could I want?  So glad I didn’t have to pack up my room to move!]

So, what did you learn this year?