Thursday, April 23, 2015

End of year portfolios: paper AND digital!

About five years ago, my students began collecting their art in personal portfolios all during the year, instead of taking each project home separately. The original reason for the change was to keep lots of art available for all of our art shows, which mostly occur in the second half of the year. I really like for the students to have their choice of art in our exhibits, rather than a teacher-selected project made just for the show. This way, the show is more interesting with a variety of lessons displayed, showing off more of our learning and more of the kids' personal voices and choices.
The reason I am now a serious portfolio devotee is not only for the reason above, but also because I have seen a huge improvement in the level of respect, care, and ownership the kids have for their work as we build these folders. In addition, they make great reflection and assessment tools because we can look back anytime and compare projects, review vocabulary, and just feel the pride of accomplishment. Here is my storage closet, full of portfolios. As you can see, not everything goes in, like 3D work or oversize work, but the majority does. Art teachers, check out my printable portfolios on Teachers pay Teachers if this looks like something you may want to try -

If you follow my Instagram (@smartestartists) you see these portfolios peeking into our work shots quite often, as seen here...

This year, we added DIGITAL portfolios to the mix, using Artsonia and our new class set of six iPads, which were purchased through fundraising the previous year with Original Works and Artome. Our goal for the first year was for every student to upload one piece of art (their choice) per nine week period. The students loved it, and it has been a great learning opportunity for them to take a proper photo of their art, upload and edit it, add a title and an artist statement. The portfolio grows with the student from year to year, and family members can share the art and write comments, which is wonderful feedback for the students. Comments must be approved by parents before they are published, which is a great feature. 

Here is the link to our Artsonia page -
We are starting our last set of uploads for the year this week - if you are a parent, make sure you check out the Mother's Day promotions they have going on right now! Artsonia offers a great variety of products printed with student art, and Dolvin's art program benefits greatly by your purchases. Also, be on the lookout for the arrival of your child's portfolio during the last couple of weeks of school - see the tab at the top of the blog for some great conversation starters to talk with your kids about their art, then maybe pick a favorite for their scrapbook. :)
I hope you enjoy looking through both portfolios this summer, Dolvin families! 

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Stencil prints: Grandpa Green

Lane Smith's award winning book Grandpa Green was the inspiration for this lesson on stencil printing. 
This beautifully illustrated book was perfect for teaching my 3rd graders about positive and negative space, among many other things. The story is told by a young boy, the great grandson of a topiary trimming master, and it shares a sweet sentiment of family history and passing on a legacy.
Here is the video trailer:

The kids and I had much fun printing our stencils and I am now looking forward to including stencils in other projects. We began, after reading the book together, by looking at some real topiaries and talking about how they were like living sculptures that required care. Next we designed our topiaries and began cutting away the positive shapes - this was a little confusing for them in the beginning but everyone figured it out. Then we used sponges to create the leafy texture, adding blue and yellow to create values and form. Lastly, we added a setting and details! A really fun project, indeed...
Find more pictures of the process here

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Sub plan: while I was away at NAEA...

Here is a sub plan that went so nicely that I am moving it up to the big leagues for next year... A sub plan no more! First of all, I had a fantastic sub, but I was just really excited by the creativity the kids put into this lesson and was so pleased when I returned to see their results. We all know that most often the kids don't give it their all with a sub, but I think they really did with this idea - "the paint puddle that comes to life." The directions included this example - artist on Flikr - and some different paint containers to draw from, like bottles, spray cans, tubes and tipping buckets. Forms and organic shapes fill out the composition, with color mixing and a creative title thrown in too. These examples are from grades 3-5.

Speaking of NAEA, my favorite parts were the Tim Gunn design challenge with my friend Mollie, and
meeting some other art teachers in real life that I have been online friends with: Donna, Lisa, Rina, and Phyl. Here we are catching a taxi after a long first day :)