Friday, April 18, 2014

3rd grade coil pots


I hope that many moms and dads are "oohing and aahing" over their third grader's clay pots that went home this week. We worked hard on these - learning about functional art, rolling coils, joining pieces of clay, and applying glazes. Students, I would love to hear how you used your pot at home in the comment section!






Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Dino Fossil Paintings



I found this idea online recently and I cannot find it again to give my props! If it is a lesson you recently posted, please leave me a comment so I can post a link, and thanks for your idea! 
I do a prehistoric unit with my kindergarteners each year, and we usually do clay fossils, but it seems I under-ordered my clay this year... oops... but it's ok because we did a similar clay thing earlier this year. So when I saw this, I thought it would fill that spot perfectly!
We began by looking at many dino illustrations and breaking them down into simplified shapes. Next, we chose the one we liked best and drew it large and added bones inside - we had fun using our imaginations with this part! We used Dino texture boards from Roylco to make more fossil rubbings in the negative spaces and colored the bones with white crayon before brushing over the whole thing with brown watercolor, revealing white bones popping up from earthy tones. The resist technique is always like magic in elementary school. 
I think they are fantastic!


Early finishers had an opportunity to do some nature drawing in the garden on a beautiful spring day, just before the cold snap returned...






Saturday, April 12, 2014

New blog for Fine Arts Night!

Our biggest night of the year, Fine Arts Night, is quickly approaching on May 1, and Mrs. Endicott and I have created a special blog with all the info you need to know to make the most of this celebration of art and music.

This year, we are hoping to share our "spotlight on the arts" using several different social media platforms, like Twitter, Instagram, and even a live feed!

Follow dolvinFANS to get prepared for the event ahead of time and get excited about all the art and music activities you can participate in with your families.

Just click the "Fine Arts Night" tab at the top for the link!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Spring Break, and Spring Work

I have been making the most of my week off with a few days at the beach and a few days resting, gardening, movie watching, and a little shopping. Today held my only stressful moment of the week, when my dogs decided to dig a hole under the backyard fence and greet me covered in red clay mud. That was awesome.

My family visited Seagrove Beach, Florida, and I dropped some Free Art pieces by some local artists during my trip. I am looking forward to our own Free Art Friday at a Dolvin coming up May 9. Interested in the Free Art Movement? More to come on that soon, and check my labels on the sidebar for previous posts and my Instagram and Twitter.

I am also thrilled to report that the microscopic sedum seeds I ordered for my 5th grade pots are sprouting nicely! I was worried about the seeds, they were so tiny they were like dust.

Before we left for break, we had a lot of good stuff going on, liiiiike...
Adding checkerboard pattern to our 5th grade weavings

Expanding our radial symmetry stitchery in 4th grade

Glaze firing the 3rd grade coil pots

Getting started on our kindergarten Prehistoric art unit with Dino fossil paintings

5th graders working on the first steps of our face jug/cups

4th grade - Ms. Townsend's class is uploading their art to the online gallery Artsonia. I am trying this out with one class to see how it works and if the pilot goes smoothly we will expand across the grades next year. Really excited about the idea of digital portfolios!

3rd graders made observational seashell drawings using contour line and magnifying glasses

And this last one really made my day. My 2nd grader Lainey told me that she had been researching Ruby Bridges for a classroom report, and she came across this painting online. She was excited to know the artist, Norman Rockwell, and she had remembered him from our recent project where we compared and combined his work with that of Jackson Pollock, which you can read about in my post "The Connoisseur." I love seeing connections made!
More posts to come about all these lessons. I hope everyone had a fantastic break! "Is having" I mean! "Is having!" :) not over yet

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Pencil Sharpener review!

Are you always looking for new and improved ways to keep your art room pencils sharpened? I have tried high-end (and low-end) electric ones which  are loud and never seem to outlast their expense, and for the last two years have been using hand-held, but those are far from perfect too. I read another blog post about this sharpener from www.classroomfriendlysupplies.com and was intrigued by the way the writer described it as "different", so I went to the site to check it out and saw that the company will send a free sharpener to bloggers who meet the criteria. I was excited to get my package and give it a try, soon to realize I had no idea how to work it. Fortunately the website has instructions and videos, and soon I had sharpened the most perfect pencil point I have ever seen!
It is a manual, portable hand-crank sharpener with a table clamp to use if you like, although it doesn't hold it super tight. Here's how it works : first, pull out the metal plate on the front and squeeze the tabs on the top and insert the pencil. Next, let go of the pencil - the tabs hold it in place perfectly centered - and crank until the resistance stops. The metal plate has pushed back to its original place now and you can squeeze the tabs again to release the pencil. If you put an already sharp pencil in, it won't engage. I haven't used it with kids yet because I'm on spring break, but I think they are going to be excited about the sharpness they can achieve with this sharpener. The only negative I have to say about it is that the table clamp is a little weak, but as long as you hold if down with your hand you are good, and I see that they are developing a permanent mount you can buy soon. 
If it works well with the kids, I will be getting another one for next year - stay tuned for a follow up! Definitely check it out! Here is a video link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I0jqUe91Ovs and here is a shot of the available colors and prices. Thank you ClassroomFriendlySupplies.com for the sharpener - I'll be back for more.



Saturday, March 29, 2014

"The Connoisseur": Rockwell and Pollock



Comparing compositions of two different artists is one of my favorite things about teaching art. I have posted before about this lesson, and it is such a good one I am happily posting again with this year's second graders. American painters Norman Rockwell and Jackson Pollock seem to have nothing in common - Rockwell was narrative with a skillful, realistic technique and Pollock, aka "Action Jackson" was an abstract expressionist bursting with energy and movement. Pollock died young and had a limited number of completed works, while Rockwell had a long career and many many works. However, they both were born in the early 1900's and lived in the northeastern part of the U.S.; they also worked in old barns converted to studios. They both painted on large canvases, although Pollock's were rolled on the floor and Rockwell's were painted on an easel.

Rockwell made a painting called The Connoisseur in 1962, showing an art critic or collector at a gallery, taking in a painting resembling the drippy, splattery style of Jackson Pollock. My second graders put themselves in the shoes of this art expert, posing in a thinking pose and shooting pics of each other for our renditions of this iconic image.

We tried out both artists' styles, first creating a Saturday Evening Post cover imitating Rockwell's Triple Self Portrait, 1960, and then working at a 4-part action painting station. Students shared their thoughts on which artist they preferred, and the majority said they liked both for their own unique qualities, making our "mash-ups" all the more meaningful.

Blue Poles, number 11, 1952