The New Year

So far I’m not impressed with 2011… I’ve been out sick for a week and now I’m so behind and trying my best to get caught up!  Thank goodness I don’t have to do grading like the other classroom teachers or I’d have to be committed!  However, there are PILES of artwork on every available surface in my art room.  It’s getting a bit crazy.  I need to hand back work, but before I do that, I have to go through them and glue labels on the back that details the project’s skills and process/ inspiration.  I want to let parents know what I am teaching in the artroom and that it’s not just all fun and games (though it almost always is FUN!).  I don’t get to talk to each parent individually throughout the year, so this is the closest I get to relaying the information.  So far, parents are thrilled to get more details on each project (as we all know kids don’t always give lots of information when asked) and it is a nice way to keep the work labeled with school, year, and project.

I am also needing to take photos of the work to upload to Artsonia, sort by class, and choose artworks that I will be keeping for the BIG district wide art exhibit for Elementary art in March.  I have to pick 15 per grade level and have them labeled and matted.  See where I’m getting buried?  It’s a bit overwhelming. I do have older kids help me label but occasionally I have to double check them or they might glue the wrong labels on and not sort correctly.  A headache for me later when passing back work.

On top of all this, we changed schedules for the 5th and 6th graders so that our rotation includes Chorus.  It was becoming a problem for the classroom teachers to have an extra planning period (really???) .  So instead I have them LESS… kind of sucks for me!  I was the only special area teacher to complain about the change.  I actually WANT the kids more instead of the extra planning periods built in.  Here’s why…

1) I will see them every 5 days instead of 4.  THat means 2 LESS projects a year.  Less often = longer projects.

2) Clay is going to be a PAIN due to long periods in between classes.  MOre work for me to keep them moist until the come back to art.

3) Snow days will affect the cycle.  I did talk the principal into having it Day 1-5 rather than Mon-Friday labels.  So that we can continue on the cycle if there is a delay or snowday.  So, a day 1 class that has me on Friday and there’s a snowday will see me on Monday so I am not missing them for 2 weeks!  That would seriously affect my program.

4) I feel like this devalues my program and puts the emphasis on music.  She gets them twice as much.  I am bummed about this and don’t want to feel like I’m competing but I do.

5) I do the most challenging projects with these groups and now I see them the least!  Not exactly realistic.

So, as you can see, I’m a bit bitter about the change but what can I do except voice my concerns, which I have to every one I can think of, and suck it up and just do the best I can.

On a positive note, I have a fun project to share here.  While I’m not too impressed with 2011, I AM very impressed with my 6th graders on this project.


Starting a Zendala

Zen is a word that describes a state of peace, calm, and meditation.   In this world of crazy, fast-paced schedules, we often don’t achieve a zen state.  As students viewed a video of an artist creating a Zentangle, they reflected what it means to just go with the flow and not stress about mistakes or planning!  A Zentangle or Zendoodle is an artwork that starts with a shape, but flows from the artist’s mind and hand in a free manner.  Patterns and lines are used randomly and if the artist makes a “mistake” they just turn it into another pattern or hide it with another shape.  It’s a very fun, relaxing, and beautiful form of art.  You do not need to be an “artist” to do a Zentangle, but once you do create one, you will want to do more!

Students enjoyed creating a Zendala (hybrid Zentangle and Mandala – an artwork made in a circle) using marker only. The high contrast is bold and complex. They enjoyed not having to plan ahead for this project and some liked that mistakes were not possible!  Others had a hard time letting go of control and planning.  All of them were very relaxed and liked the end results!  I had them view this video clip before we did it in class.  The artist is a friend of mine. It pretty much shows how to do one from start to finish.

How to Draw a Zendala with Milliande

Her website is pretty awesome too with lots of tips and ideas!

Here are some of my kids finished Zendalas:











Aren’t they awesome???  Each one different and they loved this lesson so much that they kept bringing me more that they had done outside of class!  It was a success!!  We touched on line, pattern, shape, composition, contrast, rhythm, and balance all in one project!  I even have teachers who are doing it now on their own time for stress relief!  WOW!  Awesome!

I hope you enjoyed your day off from school!  Tomorrow will be a busy day!


2 responses to “The New Year

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