Monday, January 2, 2012

"It's been a long December..."

...and now it's January?! And winter break is over and I'm teaching tomorrow? And instead of lesson planning for January I am blogging about the past month? Hm, sounds about right. I will type until the crock pot jambalaya is ready. Blog post starts now, GO!


As promised from a few posts ago, here are our Frederick murals! Frederick is a charming little story by Leo Lionni, perfect length and pacing for wiggly kinders. Frederick is a dreamy little mouse who does not appear to help his fellow mice prepare for the winter. But as they're gathering food for the long, cold months ahead, Frederick is gathering words, colors, and imagery. Once the food has run out, his mice brethren turn to him for his contribution to winter prep. At first I was reluctant to teach this unit because I wasn't sure about the "big idea" behind the resulting artwork. While I was doing some research  on the story (one that I am surprised that I didn't read as a kid), I came across pages that tied Frederick to potential age-appropriate philosophical discussions. It was very interesting to hear their take on whether or not Frederick was working as hard as the other mice (we had opinions on both sides of the fence).

We are the unfortunate mice who made the poor decision to live in an active volcano! KABOOM!

Here's the first mural I did with my Tuesday class. Can you tell I was fairly hands-off? So we have exploding mice in a rock storm. The mice live in a stone wall in the story. These mice and stones are anti-gravity. Check out the upside-down mouse in the upper right corner. He's my fave :)

The following murals were a little more teacher-directed...

...with the one immediately above being the most successful. They asked for paper to make a sun, clouds, and flowers!

Here's the description I placed next to each of the murals. It reads:

"In art class we read Frederick, the story of a little mouse that appears to waste the summer away daydreaming, while the other mice gather food and prepare for the harsh winter. When food stores run out, Frederick warms the other mice with his unexpected poetry. Frederick’s words carry them through a difficult time.

After discussing Frederick’s role in mouse society, kindergarteners mixed black, white, and brown paint to make stones for the stone wall the mice live in. Then they created their Fredericks by cutting and gluing construction paper. Look at their hard work! Finally, they worked together to assemble the Frederick mural for your enjoyment!"

Final comments: The kids LOVED working big. They were so proud of this collaborative work, and couldn't wait to show their teachers when they came to pick them up on the day they finished. Their enthusiasm was catching, their teachers seemed to love having their work displayed outside their classrooms, and I'll definitely do this one again next year.

Beautiful Water, Beautiful Boats

In our county we have an integrated curriculum, so when I read that the kindergartners were learning about bodies of water, I decided to do a water-inspired unit (in hopes of utilizing the TONS of donated toilet paper rolls we seem to accumulate). All kinds of discussion resulted from this three-day unit: How many different bodies of water do you know about? Why do you think water looks blue? What does water feel like? What are uses for water? Why is it important to save water? What kinds of boats do you know about? Have you ever been on a boat? What kind of boats are we making? What is the purpose of a sail on a sailboat? And on and on.

The base is a watercolor/crayon resist, and the boats are made from painted cut-up tp rolls. Sails are cut paper triangles, folded along one edge, dipped in glue, and glued down. Lots of opportunities to discuss pattern (we made AB patterns when drawing the waves), 2D vs. 3D, shapes, and painting/gluing 3D surfaces.

A book I came across while teaching this unit is called Atlantic, by G. Brian Karas. Gorgeous, charming illustrations and told from the perspective of the Atlantic Ocean, so if you want to get into narrative voice a little, here's your opportunity. Great find!

Highly recommended.

Spirit Week

School spirit kind of rocks. I spent a lot of energy in high school trying to NOT have school spirit (went to a sports-obsessed school, and future art teachers aren't necessarily known for their sports enthusiasm), but looking back, that was kind of lame. Especially now that I'm a teacher, I definitely support anything (anything) that will make kids excited about attending school, even if it's not related to academics. If that means wearing something ridiculous and potentially uncomfortable for teaching, sign me up! It's my duty!

Spirit week was the week preceding break and it looked like this:

Monday - School Spirit Wear
Tuesday - Twins Day
Wednesday - Wacky Wednesday
Thursday - Crazy Hat Day
Friday - PJ Day

I only documented two days out of five, but hey! For someone who never takes pictures, that's an improvement! These are a little blurry... taken by students, nonetheless!

Why be twins when you can be quadruplets?
Yup, our school is so large and awesome that we have two art teachers and two music teachers, who wore a total of eight flashy Christmas light-up earrings (which the kids were obsessed with). Our closets were not very cohesive, so we weren't too adventurous with black on top, blue on bottom, but we made up the difference with fun, festive jewelry. The students were very impressed with our quadruplet effort, I must say.

Wacky Wednesday or just typical art teacher attire? You be the judge.
And here's my last-minute attempt at "wackiness". I had meant to put something together the night before, but never got around to it. A lot of students actually complimented this look and I honestly couldn't tell if they were complimenting the wackiness or just literally liked the ensemble. My necklace has a weevil in it (purchased from the very cool Evolution in NYC, back when I lived there and strange purchases were good purchases), so I managed to creep out quite a few younger students. Sorry, loves!

A Very Fordley Christmas
"Fordley" is Dudley + Forman = A very good name, indeed.

Nate and I had an excellent Christmas spread throughout Baltimore, Detroit, and Pittsburgh, with just the right mix of presents, food, and both of our families. Am still detoxing and might need a vacation from the vacation, but the return to school is imminent, regardless of how I feel about it, haha.

The tree in our reading nook.

Jonesie is SO tuckered out from wrapping so many presents!

At my first professional hockey game!
We look a little weird. But you get the idea.

In closing...

I leave you with one of those moments that makes your heart swell as a teacher, and as a first year teacher, lets me know that I'm in the right profession. My kindergartners are working on snow scenes with snowmen in them. Day one of the unit is drawing the snowmen and cutting them out. We ran out of time for a thorough clean up, so I told the students to just leave their snowmen at their tables and I would collect them.

We snowmen, we are friends!

Most left them in little piles, or scattered about, but not L., who lined hers up, holding hands. Commence heart swelling... now.

1 comment:

  1. Hm, vote 1 for typical art teacher/student attire.