Starting off With a Bang!

What could motivate kids to spend four weeks on the same drawing? A big contest! I have the kids doing a local contest in which their artwork would be hung up in our bank, published in a calendar, and could win $100 for both the child in the school!

The contest is through the teachers credit union. The kids have to draw what makes them happy. I have added that whatever makes them happy cannot be something trademarked or with a logo.

During the first two weeks on a project my students work on the in pencil. Now they’re trying to add color with crayons and markers. I really pushed the idea of adding details by introducing MC Escher’s work. I also require that the stains out of background, foreground, and middle ground. I shared with my students my rubric to make my directions clear.

I’m really excited about how the project is going! It’s a great way for me to learn more about my students and their interests. Especially as a new teacher coming to a new school, these personal projects really help us start to build a rapport.

Van Gogh Sunflowers

For the beginning of the school year I like to choose a project that is communal, and small for each child to participate in. This leaves a lot of time for them to learn all of my procedures and rules during the class period. any good teacher and as of the first two weeks of school it’s all about rules and procedures so that the rest of the school year can run smoothly. This year I created a new lesson based on Van Gogh’s Sunflowers. Each child was responsible for creating a sunflower in two class periods. Also, during these two class periods we would go over all of my procedures, safety, and rules for the art room. We also reviewed the fire drill.

To start the project I presented the students the Sunflowers painting. We talked about what they saw. They told me about circles, I taught them by geometric shapes. They told me about cylinders and the shape of the vase. We talked about warm colors, analogous colors, I showed them the color wheel. I asked them What the subject of the paining wise: self portrait, portrait, landscape, or still life? I was actually pleasantly surprised to find that all of my kids knew that it was a still life! This is one of my school districts objectives: to teach the subjects in art. Kids should learn the four subjects in art upfront, so that way they are familiar with them throughout the school year.

The students also mentioned to me that there was blue in the background of the painting, this was a cool color. This also gave me a moment to explain to them that I expect to always see a background in their artwork. I don’t want them just to draw the main idea of their project and leave a lot of empty white space.

I passed out 6″ x 6″ white sheets of paper to each student and a pencil on the first day. Each student to their sunflower. On the second day we read Camille and the Sunflowers, to get a better idea about the artist life, and his intent and painting this work of art. This is a really great book to introduce students to life and art of Vincent van Gogh, however it keeps out some of the darker parts of his life. At the very end of the book if your students are older there is a very straightforward biography about him. However with my students being kindergarten through fifth grade I want to keep it a little bit lighter.

On the second day of class we also colored in and cut out our sunflowers. Kindergarten needed some assistance, however I was pleasantly surprised most of them could cut out your sunflowers relatively well. I did remind students of the work of art is a pretty realistic work of art, therefore I expected them to use the warm colors we talked about in class. Afterwards, I used butcher paper to create the background and vases for each of my five murals in the hallway of our school. All together there are 800 sunflowers in these murals. I spent one prep every day for a week stapling up my sunflowers. Luckily they were up in time for open house!

My other lucky little bit during all of this was that our school’s brand new community garden had two large blooming sunflowers while we were creating our works of art! They definitely inspired my students!

Welcome Back!

Welcome back to a new school year! I took off the whole summer to focus on the renovation in my home and transitioning my kids into their new preschool. I also spent some time setting up my new classroom and getting ready for the new school year. I am back to being a full-time art teacher at an elementary school in Las Vegas. The blog is gonna take a little bit of a different turn now, it’s gonna be directed towards what I’m doing in my classroom and less what I’m doing in my personal life. My Petite Picassos are going to be my students, and there’ll be a lot less about my own children.

My classroom is pretty large and we have a computer, laptop, a smart projector, a kiln, and a storage room. The kiln has its own separate storage area. I have lots of storage in my classroom with cabinets under my two sinks and two cabinets that roll.

I found this idea of dripping paint on Pinterest for my bulletin board. Took about an hour to cut it out perfectly, but I’m really pleased with the results. I have one bulletin board set up to be the one that I present our new lesson plans on. The other bulletin board I’m using for our art vocabulary word wall. With the art vocabulary word wall I simply printed out the vocabulary words such as diagonal, bright, photography, portrait, etc. on computer paper and cut them out and laminated them. They’re stuck to the word wall with sticky tack so I can easily remove them from the word wall and attach them to a reproduction that we are learning about.

I also like the way I set up all of our tables this year. I continued the drippy paint idea and cut out blobs of paint from construction paper in different colors and tape them to each table to signify each table, and better organize the kids. I also have the tables set up in sort of a C-shape. This allows for a lot of community discussion, however I can going to the center and pass out materials or teach from the center of the C.

For our first project back to school I like to do something very small, easy, and communal. At our school we have a community garden that I’m tying into a Vincent van Gogh’s Sunflower’s art project. I’ll be posting more about that next month.

Also in the beginning two weeks of school I really like to lay out all of my procedures, rules, and expectations for the students. I use CHAMPS in my classroom for laying out my expectations as we move through transitions. I only have three rules in my classroom which is to respect me, each other, and the materials in the art room. I go through what that means, as I walk around the classroom and show the students how to safely use the art room. We practice drills, we practice passing out materials, we practice cleanup.

I’ll be posting every two weeks during the school year. You can also follow my classroom on Instagram @mypetitepicassos. Happy New School Year!