Saturday, August 26, 2017

New ways to be "ready for art"

For many years, one of the first things I have said to my classes is "Show me you are ready for art," and I wait for all eyes to look at me, talking to stop, and still seated bodies. I am changing it up a bit this year and trying to broaden the concept of being ready for art - I still greet them with that same request, but then right after I have their attention we do a short relaxation exercise. A few shoulder rolls, a few hand stretches, and a few slow deep breaths - and our bodies are calmer, our minds are clearer and we are ready to be creative. It only takes about 30 seconds but it really does create a nice mood in the room and the kids seem to be enjoying it! Once we get into the routine I will start calling up a student to lead us in the relaxation and choose a few new techniques we can do in our seats.
Image from

Another practice I have been doing absolutely regularly is our Five Minute Focus, where we listen to low volume music and think about our work without distraction. Once the lesson has been introduced or reviewed and all materials are passed out, we work without talking and listen to our own artist voice in our heads. After the five minutes is up, we use our table talk voices and take a vote on continuing the music (it's usually a yes) - mostly Vince Guaraldi and movie soundtracks like Wall-e (my fave) and Monsters Inc with a few Beatles classics and such. I use a Spotify playlist.

I have a new chart posted in my room that shows how our 45 minutes is broken down - it is the same schedule as it has always been, but having the chart up for students to see seems to be helping us to use our time more wisely. Art room time is a terrible thing to waste :) .

Contour drawing with a twist!

My 2nd and 3rd graders learned about observation and contour drawing in our first project. We observed, or looked closely, at a variety of differently shaped art supplies, and practiced our contour line drawing - a slow and smooth line that defines outlines and details. Once we  had a few objects drawn, I threw in a twist - we imagined the art supplies coming to life! Making something look like it is alive is called animation - we looked at examples like those in the book The Day the Crayons Quit and added features like faces, expressions, and even word or thought bubbles. We had a class discussion about the poor art supplies that were so bored over the summer while we were gone and how happy they were to see us :)! It was quite a fun time in the old art room.
Illustration from Drew Daywalt's fantastic book

Solar eclipse illustrations in 4/5

The solar eclipse was a great opportunity for us to talk about our theme Art & Life, and the way many artists use life experiences to inspire their art. I still remember the solar eclipse that occurred when I was about their age. We also talked about illustration as a special kind of art that helps to describe an idea or tell a story.

Alma Thomas's The Eclipse,1970
Fourth and fifth graders looked at examples of eclipse art and illustrations and made their own using a scientific approach based on facts, or a more artistic approach using expression and feelings. Students were given media options of drawing, collage, or a combo. Here are some of our fantastic results.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

My favorite new resources in the weekend sale!

Today starts the weekend sale in my Teachers pay Teachers store, so I thought I'd tell you a little more about some of my top sellers AND new things for art teachers as well as classroom teachers who want more art-infused lessons and activities. Everything is 15% off, and some are always free.

New for the art teacher:
Very Fancy Vocabulary - a set of 10 important art words that deserve the fanciest treatment. I like to feature one per month - this month we are showcasing "inspiration" - you will also find portfolio, figure, critique, silhouette, composition, illustration, thumbnails, observation, and craftsmanship.

New portfolio design! I have a set of different portfolios from over the years, and I just added this new one to the set that I will use with all my grades this year. I print them on 11x17" paper and it is a great way for students to keep important words and concepts right at their fingertips while storing their art inside. The portfolio bundle has many options for the art room at all different levels - students really take pride in their collection of work each year.

New for the elementary classroom teacher:
My Goal Plan: for setting project or learning goals

Finish Line self-assessment - a fun way to reflect at the end of a unit or project, with illustrations to keep the student engaged.

Drawing My Future self- portrait activity

Writing exercises that use art as inspiration:

Some best-sellers:
These handouts are perfect for student sketchbooks or enlarged and displayed at centers.

So much more at my store!
Please stop by and shop the sale this weekend - I hope you find something to enhance your classroom!

We're back and we're #makingasplash !

#DiveInDolvin is our school wide theme this year, and we are doing just that in the art room. PBIS and 7 Mindsets are our motivations for making it the best year ever - when we dive in, of course we "make a splash!"
In art class, we can make a splash with teamwork at the beginning and ending of class, resulting in a splash sticker in our class paint bucket. We can also make individual splashes by answering questions, being creative, or showing accountability - students will sign the splash sheet for these, which goes with their teacher at the end of art to coordinate with their class reward system.

In these first two weeks, we have been practicing routines and procedures as well as doing some prep work for the rest of the year by creating lists of our own interests and ideas to be used to personalize our art products this year.
K's are getting hooked on art by trying out the always magical process of watercolor paint over crayon - we call it resist and it is so much fun to do! First graders are beginning their family portraits using size and shape relationships, and 2/3's have jumped into contour drawing - with a twist! More on this very soon.
Fourth and fifth graders are getting ready for the big solar eclipse by designing an illustration and choosing their media - some are choosing a scientific approach to their illustration and some are taking a more artistic approach. I cant wait to show these off next week.
We will get out new portfolios started next week - for those of you new to Dolvin, we keep all our student work in the portfolio until our end of year art show, Fine Arts Night, then everything comes home. But not to worry - we will be sharing all of our completed projects with you through Artsonia, our online gallery of digital portfolios. Be on the lookout for more info on that in the next month or so.

Looking forward to diving in with my Smartest Artists and making a splash this year!