Thursday, March 20, 2014

Justifying ART and Art Education

SIGH. Challenging day today. I can't be frank because I will offend. Let's just say I am feeling like I am having to "sell" arts education and that is frustrating. So, I'm not going to grumble, or complain, or yell...I am going to advocate.

Here's a poster I made that talks about the benefits that art has on a child...

And here are some close-up images of the poster so you can read the info. The images aren't the best, but if I make them too "nice" then blogger grumbles about the file sizes.

Great references. Thank you to them for their info. This poster is not for money-making purposes, it was intended as an arts advocacy project for my grad school. Thanks!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Surrealist Collages with Scouts

Today I had a great time talking to Webelos Den 5 in Amherst! I gave a talk on being an artist, showed them my graphic design & illustration portfolio and we did some art! 

One requirement for the day was to create a collage. I immediately thought of a project I had seen on the blog Mrs. Knight's Smartest Artists! She had students use photos of famous places as backgrounds and collage magazine pictures on top. The results were pretty awesome and easy! I thought a bunch of 10-year-old boys on a Sunday may want to try it out.

We only had 1/2 hour for the project because they had 4 or 5 other projects to do in the two hour period, but this was fun, fast, and I loved that they were learning about art. But, SHHHHH! Don't tell them that!

Here are some of the results:

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Integrating the Arts: Art, Science & The Persistence of Vision

Monday night I had the pleasure of volunteering at Amherst PTA's Math & Science Night at Wilkin's Elementary School in Amherst, NH. The Math & Science night is a free non-commercial event where families can come together and enjoy playing with math and science concepts. There were all sorts of good things there: games, voting & graphing, fishing for fractions, using microscopes, learning about sound waves and more--all in a fun & relaxed setting.

I asked if I could come and set up a table where art and science were used together. Combining science and art is probably one of the most fun things to do (I often tell my husband that if this art teacher thing doesn't work out I am becoming an earth science teacher. To which he replies with raised eyebrows!).

Anyhow, I needed to create a project that would entice children to stop at my table, stay a couple minutes, have a high success rate, and be cheap (hey, I'm paying for this and I didn't know if I was going to have 100 or 300 kids at this event!). So, I chose a basic animation "machine" called the Thaumatrope. Here's my original post here with the "how to."I used plastic drinking straws instead of skewers because they were safer.

Here are some of the examples of Thaumatropes I brought to the event.
Compare the two images to see the front and the back of each...

Here are some photos from the event...
My display explaining lenticular animation & optical illusions (top portion)
and animation and the persistence of vision (bottom portion).
The work area before the kids arrived. I had all the supplies they needed
in each tray and directions in case I wasn't able to get to the right away.
These Thaumatropes cost about 2 cents each to make (not including the colored pencils).
And just to prove I actually had children visit me, here's a photo of a few
girls working at my table. This was at the end of the night. At one point it was
standing room only at my table! Visitors ended up making 100 Thaumatropes that night!

How it went:

Great! I tried to think of some great hook to get children to stop and do my project—I was worried it would seem like too much work. So I would say—“Hey, do you want to make a magic picture?—It only takes a minute!” and then I’d show them a couple of examples. My favorite was one that I created that has an image of a top hat on one side. I showed this to the children and said “I can make a rabbit come out of this hat—want to see?” And then, when I spun it, the rabbit (image from the other side) appears. It was really fun seeing the look of awe on some of the kids’ faces when they saw the two images come together!

The Lesson:
Because I had about 30 seconds per child to explain the concept, I tried to be pretty descriptive when showing them the examples. I’d say the following:
  • See how there is one picture on this side and one on the other side?
  • When you draw your two pictures, they will come together when you spin your thaumatrope—so think about that when you draw—use pencil first so we can try it out.
  • Don’t worry if it doesn’t work at first—this is tricky! I made mistakes too (I had one of my mistakes on hand to show them)—if you make a mistake, you can erase, or make another one—I have more!
I had all sorts of creative Thaumatropes made: a cheetah leaping into a tree, a sugar glider leaping from a tree, a Star Wars light saber battle, all sorts of sports balls going into goals, hoops, nets, etc., kittens lounging in cat beds or eating food, and so much more! Students of all ages were successful with this craft—K-4th, I’d say. 

I noticed the older they were, the more complicated they tried to make their animations and therefore the more thought needed to go into them (and then they sometimes needed to make some adjustments). But I tried to work with the students so that everyone went away with a successful Thaumatrope.

Monday, March 10, 2014

I Didn't Need To Do This Today...

I didn't need to wash the floor was washed yesterday!

I didn't need to look for paint and paper for a an impromptu art project...I had a to-do list a mile long!

But I DID need to spend time with my daughter. And I DID need to see her smile! And it made me smile, and slow down, and relax for a minute. And I needed that too!

Yes, painting with your feet is messy, but it is fun!

"I feel like I am ice skating for real, with you mama!"

And little toes make the best paintings!

Painting with your toes is messy! I suggest sitting down, though--it is also slippery!

And eventually, it led to painting with the fingers!
"Hey, mom, red and blue mixed together makes PURPLE!"
...Yes, purple footprints all over the floor! ;-) 

Friday, March 7, 2014

My SEUSS-ical Bulletin Board

Here's a bulletin board I created for the PTA at the local Middle School. It's my first bulletin board ever (given my art-on-a-cart status), and I'm pleased. I tried to choose Dr. Seuss quotes that would inspire middle school students and catch their eye. Hopefully it works and we drum up some interest in the PTA play coming in April and the cake decorating competition the PTA will be having--so fun!

Lenticular Animation Tutorial

As I've said in previous posts, I am trying to use technology in my teaching a bit more. I've been working with the Educreations App for the iPad a bit and really love it (along with Screen Chomp). Both Apps just make explaining things so easy. 
Educreations is free in the App Store
So when I decided to make two lenticular animations for a display I am doing, I thought..."wait a minute, this would be great to explain how to make these!" I've posted about Lenticular Animation before, but it was way back when I first started blogging and my project was pretty complicated. I even had a student get super-frustrated with the whole technical aspect of the project as I had designed in. It had to be easier, and I found a way!

I attended an awesome conference session at the Integrated Arts Conference in Plymouth, NH held by Timm Judas and he explained how to make a Lenticular animation and his way was just....easier.

So here's how it works: Students need to create two images that are on the same size paper but VERY different (that way the transformation is the best). Cutting and gluing needs to be pretty precise, so this is best done with students in grade 5 or above, I think (unless you are working in small groups or one-on-one).

In the video I made, I show you how to make simple Lenticular Animations at home. I'm making two pieces for a display I'll be using at the PTA Math and Science fair I'm attending on Monday night. I'm Integrating art with Science and my Lenticular animations are "One Fish, Two Fish" and "Red Fish, Blue Fish."

Lenticular animation is fun and really has a great "WOW!" factor--even grown-ups are wondering how it's done! So watch my Educreations video and try it out--and please send me an email or post below letting me know how your Lenticular design came out--I love to see what people are creating!

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