Saturday, December 10, 2011

All I want for Christmas is...

...well, I think I already received it... and I didn't even know that I wanted it.

A bunch of my 2nd grade girls came into class yesterday and said something like this, "Ms. Dudley, we have something to give you, but we don't want to do it until the end of class." I think I was pretty much like yeah, okay, sit down, time to start class! Which is not how I'd like to be, but when it's 2:25 on a Friday afternoon in December of your first year if teaching, I'm finding it difficult to be any other way.

So the end of class arrived, they lined up, and... sang the whole beginning of Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas is You", complete with finger snaps and synchronized finger-points at ME at the end! What the cuteness?!?!? I died, and I'm still dying over my little cutiepies!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Heyyyyyy... Macaroni!

There was an assembly today. Spencer "Spinny" Johnson, formerly of the Harlem Globetrotters, entertained the kiddos with basketball tricks and tips on getting the most out of their education. The assembly called for a lot of viewer participation, with students volunteering and volunteered staff. At one point I was called up to lead a group of students in some dance moves. For lack of any better idea, I busted out a '90s dance that some of us might fondly recall.

Conversation with two students, post-assembly:

Student 1: "Ms. Dudley, I loved that you did the Macaroni dance!"

Student 2: "If I were a teacher, I would've done the Macaroni, too."

I must say, I bust out a mean (and inspirational!) Macaroni.

Feeling less than inspired? Here ya go, thank me later:

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Having too much fun with juxtapositions.

Am working on a wearable folk art unit with my fourth graders, and in an attempt to define folk art, here's two samples of juxtapositions that I'm going to share with students:

Kehinde Wiley - After Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres' The Virgin with the Host, 2009

Mary Proctor - Mercy Mercy

Andrew Wyeth - Winter, 1946, 1946

Esther Pearl Watson - Superman, 1957, 2008

I have the best job in the whole wide world.
Now if only I could spend all night looking for more interesting comparisons... instead of doing what I have to do. Sleep, for example.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Sick day.

Lo and behold... I did get sick. Head cold, stuffed-up nose, scratchy throat, losing my voice. Seems that my chugging Emergen-C, using the Neti Pot, and constant hand-washing was in vain. Sigh. Trying to just rest and relax, but it's so hard when there's so much to catch up on. I feel like blogging is somewhere between relaxation and productivity, so maybe this post will give me some sense of accomplishment without stressing me out too much, heh.

First Marking Period, Revisited
Can't really believe that we're already in the third week of the second marking period. Progress report grades are already due, Thanksgiving is next week. And I didn't post half of what I did with the kiddos. Consider this a recap, of sorts.

...and after.
Bulletin boards (not boreds) got a revamp. And now they're due for another revamp. This one probably won't change, considering most of the content is mandatory. I had it all scrunched on my whiteboard before, but now it looks a lot more attractive and neat on the front bulletin board. Students are still discovering that the photo below "Art is..." is me. They'll interrupt my lesson intro with, "Ms. Dudley, who is that? Is that you?!" The traffic light with the clips is our schoolwide PBIS system. Every student is assigned a number (usually based on alphabetical order), and the clips are numbered. It's good to be on green, excellent to be on gold (gold lion, for we are the Lions), yellow is like a warning, and it's bad to be on red. Similarly, I have my green, yellow, red A-R-T to manage classroom behavior, not individual behavior. Behind the A-- "Reminder", behind the R-- "Warning", and behind the T-- "Silent art". The letters come down as need be. This works well when the noise volume reaches an uncomfortable decibel.

Kandinsky in the Elementary Art Classroom

Didn't my kinders do a great job with these paintings? I'll be really sad to take them down. We explored lines by painting them on the sidewalk with water, making lines with our bodies by dancing around to Greg Percy's  songs "Kandinsky" and "I Draw the Line", and pointing out all kinds of lines in Kandinsky paintings, such as this:

Composition VIII, 1923
Painted our black lines one week, then we worked with mixing primary colors to make secondary colors the next week, and filled in the space around the black lines. I described mixing colors as "magical" and the kids really took to that idea! Also used this really cool "music video" by a Spanish band called Labuat, check it:

My first graders also looked to Kandinsky for inspiration, but this time, we looked at his circle paintings.

Squares with Concentric Circles, 1913.
Next time, they'll be able to choose however many circles they want to go into each square. I asked that they paint one circle within a circle, to keep it simple, but because of this they came out kind of cookie cutter. Not my intention.

First grade unit inspiration from Deep Space Sparkle. Thank you!

Brace Yourself... MORE Sugar Skulls!

Sick of them yet? Because I'm not!

See that empty space? A description was supposed to go there... erm.

In total, I explored Dia de los Muertos and sugar skulls with four grades: first, second, third, and fourth. Here are the third grade results:

I just love all the different personalities coming through. And yeah, that's glitter. One of the worst art teacher sins... but it made them so happy! Glitter happy :)

Unit inspiration from Deep Space Sparkle. Thank you!

Layered Urban Landscapes
with Third Grade

But before third graders made their sugar skulls, they made these layered urban landscapes. Took five weeks, which was two weeks longer than expected. I reinforced and talked a lot about artist and architect dispositions with this one... you can be creative and precise at the same time, who knew?! This, like the Luck of the Draw unit mentioned in a previous post, was also a unit I taught this summer at YPS. And like that unit, those art star kids only needed about three hours to achieve the product, whereas my current students needed more like five. By the end I was definitely tired of reminding students to use rulers for every line and make precise measurements, but when I checked in... "are you tired of this unit?" They were still pumped, even for week five. It's always rewarding to see something you've worked so hard on, for so long, come into existence... and I think they were feeling that.

So it's hard to tell from these pics, but these are actually three layers of different types of paper, one on top of the other. The background is a watercolor on white drawing paper:

Then it's another watercolor on tracing paper:

And finally, it's a clear acetate layer with a Sharpie drawing. (Note: didn't buy real acetate. Asked that teachers dig through their closets for old overhead projector copy sheets. They delivered! The kids loved drawing on those clear sheets.) The layers are taped together with clear Scotch tape.

Can you tell that I had just graded the glittery sugar skulls when I was taking those pics?

First Successful Pre-K Unit

So my Pre-K lessons had been bombing. Due to scheduling conflicts, holidays, half-days, etc. I've only seen them five times so far! This has led to a lack of continuity. And because I only have one Pre-K class, one time a week, and I didn't teach Pre-K in student teaching... I've had a very slow learning curve. Needless to say, the first three times I taught them they were either bored, confused, lost, or all three. FINALLY, I read them Oh, the Places You'll Go (which was over their heads and too long... not saying that I've perfected teaching those little guys) and then they created the "place" that they would "go", haha. They dipped tp tubes, random recyclables, etc, in glue and then glued it down to cardstock. Then the next week they painted it (I only have Pre-K for twenty-five minute classes). Results:


Future Post Preview

In closing, I leave you with a snarky Frederick the mouse, made by one of my Kindergarteners. Thanks for reading! Don't be a stranger... follow me!

More on Frederick to come!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

True story:

Kindergartener walks in this morning, gives me a huge hug, looks up at me and says,

"I'm sick."

Thanks, sweetie. Now I will be, too.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Happy Dia de los Muertos!

 To celebrate the Mexican holiday, I give you my student's work:

Sugar Skulls 
with First Grade

Dia de los Muertos Figures
with Second Grade

The Art of the Cross-Out?
These would have been great figures without the insecurity scribbles and start-overs.
I refuse to give out extra sheets of paper, so maybe these are my just desserts?

And in closing...
my sugar skull jammie pants.

Remember that there can be joy in remembering loved ones who have passed.

Happy Tuesday!

Lesson inspiration from Deep Space Sparkle. Thank you!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Highly recommended.

"Unshared knowledge goes to the grave. If I share this, somebody will learn it. Somebody will pass it on to somebody else." 
--Charles M. Carrillo, from Craft in America (Episode IV. Messages)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Meet Jonesie!

We are proud to announce the long-awaited arrival of the newest member of the Dudley-Forman household. Jonesie comes to us via the Baltimore Animal Rescue & Shelter (BARCS). He is two, he was a stray, he's a very handsome Domestic Shorthair (all bowleggedness aside), and he's a sweet, big boy at 11+ lbs. He's named after a movie cat, do you know which one? And apparently we've been spelling his name wrong... all websites spell it with the -ey ending. Oops. Well, Jonesie or Jonesey, he's all ours and we couldn't be happier!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Luck of the Draw.

Q: "In a few sentences, tell me about the playing card you created. What symbols of luck did you include? What do those symbols mean to you? What can someone learn about you by looking at this piece of art?"

A: "I drew a heart, a peace sign, and that's it. I drew a heart because it's inside your body and the heart pumps slow and fast. Someone could learn to be fantastic, be proud."

I acted as a scribe for one of my Learning Center students and this answer on his self-assessment was unexpected. I want to learn to be fantastic and proud... and shouldn't we all? It would be awesome if my art could teach that... or maybe more awesome if my teaching could teach that.

*   *   *

I ran into so many challenges with this fourth grade unit. I'm not sure that it was developmentally appropriate. If I try it again, I will try it with fifth graders. If it's still not successful, I'll prob nix it, or at least do some major editing before I ever teach it again. I taught it successfully this summer at MICA's Young People's Studio to students entering 3rd-5th grade, but that was a very different population. Those kiddos were the art stars of top private schools in the area, and there were only eight in my class. Yesterday I taught the final lesson of the unit to one of my fourth grades... during my first formal observation from my consulting teacher. There were thirty students, seven of which have IEPs. With the help of my para, I survived... and even received glowing compliments! Somehow? Whew.

So this four-lesson unit goes like this:

Day 1 - Defining Luck, Risk, and Chance
Day 2 - Collage Collaboration Rotation
Day 3 - Drawing on Luck
Day 4 - Analyzing the Deck: Self-Assessment and Critique

Students will:
  • ·     Collaborate to create collages
  • ·      Randomly select a card
  • ·      Randomly select a collage
  • ·      Draw a design that represents their drawn card and personal symbols of luck with oil pastel on top of a collaged surface

Students will know that:
  • ·      Their belief in luck is unique
  • ·      In art as in life, you can’t always predict the outcome
  • ·      They can do their best with the hand they’ve been dealt

      We discuss and write about luck, risk, and chance. Then we collage as a group-- students begin a collage while listening to music. When the song changes, they pass the collage to their right at their table. When the song changes again, they pass again, etc. Ultimately, we end up a collaborative collage for each student. They can collage whatever they want. Once collages are done, they are covered with a layer of Mod Podge, they are collected, then randomly redistributed. This is where luck and chance comes in (in a big way)-- you lose control over which collage you're going to get. Then students draw a card, also at random. They then use oil pastel to create a playing card based on the card they draw, personal symbols of luck, and working with the collage they were given.

It takes some higher level thinking to negotiate your oil pastel drawing with the background of the collage, all demonstrations aside. Perhaps too high for fourth grade. Also, once I inquired with the other art teacher at the school I found out the students have had little to no experience with both collaging and oil pastel. Whoops. That's where a pre-assessment would have come in handy.

Oh and the kids hated having to collaborate on the collage. They equally hated having to receive a random collage. They told me this much when reading their reflections on their self-assessments. Gotta appreciate that honesty.

The majority of the results were less than satisfactory-- but this was a good lesson for me to learn in that... it's really about the process and not the product. Anyway, even though I'm not so proud of the teaching mistakes I made, here are the visual productions:

This unit was inspired by Olivia Gude's Spiral Workshop unit titled Life's Deal: Deck of Cards and a commissioned show by Printworks Gallery in Chicago, titled A Game of Chance.