End of the year highlights

This has been a year full of positivity and surprises.  The biggest surprise for me has been how much I enjoy blogging and tweeting. I never thought I would gain as much as I have from these two modes of social media.  Through this blog, I have been able to journal about my experiences with lessons, workshops, and art shows, creating a visual diary for me as well as a method for sharing these experiences with anyone who wants a window into my art classes.

Twitter has honestly opened up a whole new professional world for me.  By building a professional learning network on Twitter (honestly, I have no idea how I became connected initially with these wonderful, creative people, but I am so happy that I did!), I have art educators that I can share ideas with, ask questions of, and chat with about best practices and a variety of topics important to our community.  Art teachers can often be the only one of their kind in a building, so it is often hard to have a team of art educators to connect with.  Also, and equally importantly, I have found like-minded educators in my district and around the world who are not necessarily art teachers, but who embrace creativity and approach teaching in a creative way.  We all have things to learn from one another, and we all can improve our practice by sharing what we know.

So those are the positive surprises that I am grateful for this June! Now, onto some eye candy!

I love how these pressed tin sugar skulls turned out.  They were the perfect combo of simple and beautiful.  We used tooling foil, drew our skulls on paper first before pressing them into the tin, and colored them with Sharpie.  These were made as a unit on autumn in Mexico, with monarch butterfly migration (science connection) and bilateral symmetry (common core math) discussed as we made monarch butterfly paintings.  Below you can see them displayed together at the art show.

More art show highlights...

My 4th graders loved making these totem poles. I wish I could recall the blog that gave me this idea, but thanks to that art teacher!  This project introduced more concepts than I initially expected, including principles of design (contrast, emphasis, balance/symmetry) and would be a wonderful ELA connection for students to write folktales about their "spirit animals."  It can be challenging for classroom teachers and art teachers to coordinate collaborative projects, but with both of my schools departmentalizing subject areas next year for 4th and 5th grades, purposefully integrating art into other subject areas is a goal of mine.  

Grade 3 rocked it this year! Here are a group of their amazing clay animal sculptures.

Below are highlights from our 1st grade Paul Klee/math unit...

Grade 1 students learned about 2-D and 3-D shapes in many ways; with blocks for building three dimensional structures, and then drawing their structures using corresponding 2-D shapes in the style of Paul Klee, and also by moving and arranging shapes on the smart board.

Finished Paul Klee oil pastel resist art.  I loved using art concepts to support what first graders were learning in math...I was a little early in their math curriculum so I hope to coordinate the project better with the classroom teachers next year.  Either way, making connections is one way to make concepts stick across subject areas.

Cool color display of 2nd grade Henri Matisse sea collages done with me, and peacocks, made by Mrs. Leimbach's 2nd grade art class.

Owl relief sculptures, also by grade 2 artists...this one just blows me away!

The 4th grade unit on Keith Haring worked so well! Students loved drawing each other in action poses, drawing their poses in Haring's graffiti style, and creating a sculpture inspired by their favorite pose.  We learned about proportion, movement, and balance in a composition.  

Kindergarten artists explored symmetry in their butterflies.  Amazing! We read Butterfly Park by Elly Mackay for inspiration, which is a beautifully illustrated book with a science connection (butterfly habitats, what butterflies eat) that linked perfectly to an exciting event coming up for the kindergarten classes...releasing their hatched butterflies into the school garden!  The book is also about making friends and living in a community where everyone is connected.  Lovely!

Winding up the year with beautiful butterflies is a perfect metaphor! Time to release, let go, and hope that everything we learned and created inspires them to create art over the summer and look at their world in a new way.  


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