Saturday, October 31, 2015

Fall Still Life 2015

At the end of our first 9 weeks, we spend some time finishing the work in our portfolios, uploading some pieces to Artsonia with our iPads, and reviewing our vocab and media usage. Students complete these tasks at different speeds, so I keep a fall themed still life set up for kids to observe and draw during their extra time. The only real instruction is to fill the space! They choose their own points of view and they choose which items to include or crop out. Some even invent settings. All levels participate and it is fun to see each interpretation. It is also good to see how they use some of the things we have learned in other lessons, like overlapping, placement, size relationships, and texture.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Popular Purple Pencil Sharpener - it's here!

Classroom Friendly Supplies has released its classic pencil sharpener in a fantastic new shade of purple - if you haven't tried this sharpener before, it will amaze you. Seriously, the sharpest pencils you've ever seen.
I tried this sharpener in blue last year and it took me a few tries to figure it out. Once I did, I was hooked! It is easy, quiet, and built to last. I was really excited to get one of the new purple models and double up on sharpeners in my classroom. 
There are a few steps involved in using the sharpener: pull out the front, squeeze the cubes, insert the pencil and grind the handle. When the grinding becomes loose, the pencil is ready, so squeeze the cubes again to release. At the beginning of the year, I had my students watch a demo and then called them over one table at a time to try it out. Since then, they have been pros.
One of the most mind-blowing things I've noticed about using the sharpener is that because there are steps involved and a wonderfully sharp result, the students are treating both the pencils and the sharpener much more respectfully - no more jamming them into those loud electric models, creating broken tips. They seem much more aware of their role in the pencil sharpening - sounds a bit silly, but I am all about being respectful of our art materials and never wasting.

Get your own sharpener at ! You will love it :)

Student reviews:
"It's not electric, so you can use it anywhere!" - Charlotte
"Fast and sharpens quickly!" - Laurel Mae and Hermon
"I like using the cubes on top to get my pencil straight." - Hendrix
"No batteries, and you can take it from classroom to classroom." -  Phoebe
"It is very quiet - I don't like loud noises" - Cooper
"It is easy to remove the shavings container" - Hermon

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Fall still life underway

The annual fall still life is one of my favorite things each year - all grades do their take on observational drawing, focusing on filling the space, overlapping, high and low placement, shapes, textures, on and on. It's a great thing to work on at the end of our first unit as kids take turns with the ipads and Artsonia uploading. Here are some shots: 

Sunday, October 11, 2015

1st 9 weeks in the books, early October

Our ninth week of school was a great week for reflecting and catching up. Most classes did final touch-ups, began Artsonia uploads, and critiqued their works and those of peers. The annual fall still life is also up and ready for drawing! 

On Friday, I totaled our Class Dojo points to see who had earned their Art Star (10 points) and which classes get the treat for top points per grade level. Those lucky art stars will get a handmade star crayon as a reward :).

First and second graders have been learning about the "Nouns of Art" - people/portraits, places/landscapes, and things/still lifes. We made family portraits and goldfish still lifes and then critiqued them using The Art Stack - both of these sheets can be found on my Teachers pay Teachers page.

Third graders began assembling their "Not Dots" pieces inspired by the book The Dot, when the main character Vashti "paints a dot by not painting a dot" using negative space. Using scissors and hole punchers, we filled a page with holes and layered it over a brightly painted background.

Fourth graders also used The Art Stack critique with a buddy and completed their ASL hand contours.

Fifth graders began using viewfinders and creating thumbnail sketches which were enlarged to create a cropped composition in watercolor. They chose bicycles or animals for a complex subject.

I am also working on a mural in the main hallway for our character education program called 7 Mindsets - each month we focus on a positive thinking concept, and the mural is filled in for that portion. I designed it to be fun and colorful like the things that inspired me when I was a kid, like Schoolhouse Rock and PBS shows from the 70's. Here is how it looks after the first two mindsets: 
Thanks for stopping by, and all the resources here can be found on my Teachers pay Teachers page:

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Dolvin parents: Art News you can use!

News from the Art Room

It’s the end of the first nine weeks and students are excited to begin sharing the artworks they have created in art class. Although the actual works of art are being collected in student portfolios until the end of the year, there are several ways parents can enjoy and share the artworks all year! The first way is through Artsonia, our online gallery and digital portfolio. Artsonia allows families to share artworks online, leave comments for the artist, become fan club members, and even purchase products printed with the artwork all year long. It is a fantastic resource and the students are learning to use our class iPads to photograph and edit their art, as well as create artists statements, all online. We are beginning uploads this week as students select their favorite piece from the first nine weeks, and all should be available online in the next few weeks.

Another great way to stay up to date with our art learning is through  the art class Instagram and Twitter pages. Instagram is my current favorite social media - so quick and easy and really shows a lot of the great things we do daily. I post pics here almost daily, as I enjoy reflecting on the day in the evening while posting. Mrs. Knight’s students also get updates through Class Dojo using the Class Story feature – an Instagram-like feed of pics and updates. All student portfolios will go home with the students by the year’s end after all art shows and special displays are complete for the year – we love showing off our accomplishments!

Here are all the links you need, and thank you for your support of our art program at Dolvin:

Instagram - @smartestartists

Twitter - @MKSAfaf

Class Dojo – parent codes for signing on were sent home with students. Here is what Class Story looks like: