Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Foam Reduction Shoe Prints With Grade 5

Before I got all caught up graduatin' and getting an art teacherin' job, I posted a WHOLE BUNCH about the long-term art sub gig I had at Fairgrounds Elementary School in Nashua. If you didn't see the posts, I did a series of them by grade level (Kinder and grades 1-4). I also taught grade 5 while I was there and did some fabulous projects with them. I thought that I'd break those projects out into individual posts, though, since they require a bit more detail to explain, etc. Here goes...

Sassy boots! This print was done on white paper.
First printing: red ink, second print: black ink.
The yellow you see is a piece of paper I matted the print on,
the red is the mat board.
The first day I met the fifth graders, I decided to do a simple winter-themed foam printmaking project with them to catch their attention and size 'em up. I had them create snowman images on foam and them print with one color (white) onto their choice of background paper--you can see this post here.
This print was done on white paper.
First printing: blue ink, second print: black ink.
The yellow you see is a piece of paper I matted the print on,
the red is the mat board.
It went so well, that I thought I would continue on with printmaking and do a 2-color printmaking project inspired by the “Killer Heels” exhibit currently at the Currier Museum of Art (actually, I don't think this is currently on exhibit anymore, but it WAS at the time).

This print was done on purple paper.
First printing: yellow ink, second print: blue ink.
The navy blue is the mat board.
Students created their own printing plate by using pencil to “carve” a picture of their shoe into a foam “plate.” Students then used brayers to apply ink to their plates and print 1 print. Week two, students added a ground line and background, chose a contrasting color of ink and reprinted their designs. These prints were mounted on mat board and displayed at the Currier Museum of Art during the New Hampshire Art Educator’s Association Annual Members Reception in March. 

All prints were mounted onto mat board to look fancy.
I think added little paper hinges to groups of three to four
and ribbon ties so that the pieces could be displayed accordion-style
or create triangular displays such as this
(I didn't know how they were going to be used exactly).

WOW! What place of honor--the buffet table,
right where everyone can see these fabulous prints--
although I think people were too busy looking at the awesome food
they were piling on their plates--YUM!

The final week, students worked as a class to create an assessment rubric that contained the important vocabulary words from the Shoe Reduction Print project. They also determined four attributes that should be found in their finished work. Now, having students create their own rubric was something I had only done with high school, but I really wanted the students to be able to see the value in their work and begin to see that assessment isn't something we teachers pull out of thin air. Was walking the students through the rubric creation difficult. Not really. Was it work to keep them focused? Yep. Did it take a lot of time? Nope--we had it done in about 15 minutes. Was it worth it (really)? You bet. They did a great job and I think it lent credibility to me, the art process and what they do in the art room. Creating rubrics with your students is also a great way to review vocabulary and objectives! Win/win! ENJOY!!

Here's the rubric the grade 5 students created.
Normally, I would type up my rubrics to look all fancy,
but I wanted the students to see that this was the one we
created as a class. Pretty good for a first try.
Detail of the top of the rubric--the vocab section.
They needed to think of three vocab words from the lesson
and decide as a class what a good definition would be. 
Detail of the bottom of the rubric--they needed to come up with
four objectives of the assignment. This was fun walking them through
being objective instead of saying "it looks cool!" I put #5 on there. :-)

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Whoo-hoo! My graduation!

This weekend was a big one for me--I graduated with my Masters of Arts in Teaching from Plymouth State University in New Hampshire!! Whoo-hoo! I've been diligently working on my Masters for the past couple of years and, I ain't gonna lie--it wasn't always easy with four kiddos and working part time. The hardest part, I think, was having to stop teaching the after school art classes I loved so that I could devote more time to my studies. Having to stop teaching so that I could eventually be able to teach was a hard thing for my brain (and heart) to rationalize. This degree is really significant to me since it unlocks the door to becoming an art teacher--a dream I have had since I was around 9 or 10. I cannot believe it!
Here I am with two of my four kiddos.  That would be #1 and #3.
And, of course, I could not have tackled any of this without the love and support of my family, especially:
  • My husband (who, among other things, patiently listened to educational theory on our "date nights," was awoken countless times at night while I taught art lessons in my sleep, and encouraged me when I hysterically sobbed in our driveway because I just didn't think I could make it through finals and get my second portfolio done). 
Here's that good-looking guy! Twenty-six years together, what a wild ride!
  • My children (who patiently--pretty much--endured mom at the computer in her p.j.'s mumbling about art at all hours of the day and night and who told me they were proud of me for working so hard instead of pointing out that we were having frozen pizza for dinner (again).
  • My mom (who always said yes to watching my kids and who is my original cheerleader, and I think, the President of my fan club. I think this may have been a bigger deal for her than for me, and that's saying something!).
And here I am with my mom who was going to go to my graduation. No. Matter. What.
I'm surprised she isn't wearing her "Brandie Pettus Fan Club" t-shirt...
  • My sister (my behind-the-scenes gal, who watched my children--even when she wasn't expecting it, fed them healthy meals and played countless board games with them, played outside and went bike riding--all with a smile on her face).
And the amazing people who taught me so well! Namely, Jason Swift, my advisor at PSU who put up with my lengthy phone calls and my enthusiastic, quirkiness! Marianne True, for giving me a chance as a Program Associate at PSU. That job was the reason I was able to attend PSU and her guidance was truly amazing. Trish Lindberg, for your positive attitude and belief that I am "a star." For my cooperating teachers, Meagan Read and Martha Rives--every day I learn from you and you are both such patient teachers. To Porter Dodge and Rachel Rouillard for believing in me and giving me the opportunity to be the long-term art sub at AMS. You opened doors for me.

All of my friends and family, thank you for encouraging me to follow my dreams, letting me be myself and encouraging such high standards of excellence.

There are a WHOLE BUNCH of other family members, friends and colleagues not mentioned here and that doesn't mean I am not thankful for their help and love and support along the way. It really has taken a village for me to be able to reach this milestone in my life and I am humbled by the kindness of those I am surrounded by. Truly, thank you.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

My memories from Chicago: The 2016 NAEA Conference

OK, so this trip of mine was taken in March, but I thought I'd post some picts anyway...what a great time I had! I hadn't flown in 15 years and this was my first trip (over 24 hours) away from my kiddos. My hubby also decided to get me a new phone on the way to the airport. That may not seem significant to you, but my old phone was probably 10 years old and wasn't smart at all! ;-) Anyhow, I took TONS of photos, but here are the highlights:

This COOL-age was made using be funky--I just LOVE it!
Starting at the top left:
  • Getting to see some inspiring contemporary art at the Chicago Cultural Center
  • Meeting one of my favorite bloggers, Cassie Stephens--and her friend Jennifer Alvarado (both ladies were so sweet and gracious).
  • Finding a Chihuly piece by accident
  • Finding a Calder piece by accident (actually they weren't technically by accident since I had checked out this site before going).
  • Finding TWO cows! You know I love them!
  • Falling in love with a new-to-me painting by van Gogh at the Art Institute.
  • Seeing van Gogh's palette.
  • Getting up close and personal with A TON of wonderful artists (again, at the Institute).
  • Having a Chicago Dog!!
  • Talking to Cloud Gate on the phone (
  • Getting up close and person with Straandbeasts and taking one for a walk at the Chicago Cultural Center (see link above).
  • Seeing all sorts of neat signs and window displays
  • Making discoveries and exploring (window in the Cultural Center)
And the larger, central image is the view from the bar at the Chicago Athletic Hotel. I should have taken a photo of the bar--it was GORGEOUS!

Oh, and there was a conference, too! I had a great time at the conference chatting with other educators, checking out the vendors, and learning all sorts of great things--some of which I began using THE DAY I GOT BACK. I've made a little "scrapbook"-type thing that hold images, notes, etc. from the trip and I have referred to it many times since my return to access handouts and notes from the sessions I attended. 

What a great experience!

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