Friday, September 16, 2016

Break out the sketchbooks!

My team teacher and I decided to have the students use sketchbooks this year and we are really excited about them. We ordered basic two pocket paper folders with tabs (1 for each 7th and 8th grader) because we felt this was a good option. Using folders is inexpensive and flexible--we were able to use the stacks of newsprint, copy paper, lined paper and graph paper that were in the room already and the folders also have a place for handouts to be three-hole punched and inserted.

We started the first day having students hand letter their names and draw at least three things into the design that told us something about them. I showed them illuminated manuscripts and graffiti for inspiration. I had them use 4x6 index cards and ink and colored pencil. They worked on these for a couple of days and then affixed them to their sketchbooks with glue stick.

We also gave them handouts to keep in their sketchbooks. So far, they have the copy of the art contract we have the students bring home for the parents to sign as well as the "What Will I Learn in 7th (or 8th) Grade?" handout inspired by the Art of Education. See their version here.

We also wanted to have them jump right into drawing in these sketchbooks, so I thought this would be a great time to do Danny Gregory's AWESOME sketchbook activity I learned about during the Art of Education's Summer 2016 Online Conference. Basically, students grab a Sharpie (I know! How permanent!!) and move about the room drawing different things for two minutes a drawing. It was awesome and a very good way to get them to loosen up! Here are some of their pages from the day:

Students were asked to star their most successful piece and explain
in the margin why they thought it was the best.
This was a great activity to break in the sketchbooks. This week students are working on a graphic design piece, so they are adding notes to their sketchbooks, but more sketchbook activities will be coming soon! ENJOY!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Getting Ready for MY First Day!

I'm sorry I haven't posted in a while, but I've been enjoying life! I've been having a wonderful summer with my husband and four kids, reorganizing and renovating our home (yay! new bathroom!) camping, attending an online art conference and reading all sorts of non-scholarly books.

But, it's time to get serious. It's time to get ready for MY FIRST CLASSROOM! Yippee!! I'll be teaching 7th and 8th grade part-time at Amherst Middle School. I have a very large classroom and I am taking over for an art teacher that was VERY neat. The room was like a blank canvas and many of us know what it is like to sit staring a blank canvas: Blink. Blink. What am I going to DO?

Well. I just took a step and began. I decided the pressure was off to get my room 100% "DONE" (as if it ever would be!) for the first day of school. I feel as though the classroom is a very organic space where there are certain things that are constant (signs for where materials are located, the elements and principles bulletin board, the standards/competencies board), but I need to be able to have places to display student work and visuals and inspiration that pertain to what they are working on. So, I got a couple of the constants done and today I'm labeling my supply cabinets.

Here's are some of the highlights:
My Teacher Zone
Teacher Zone: I covered the old metal desk with contact paper. I think it needs a little something in the center or some inspirational art quotes on it...I'll work on that. My computer hasn't been set up, but will be soon. In the bookcase to the side, I have a couple of gallons of water (I try to drink a lot of water during the day) and a teacher toolbox for my supplies. I got the printables for the teacher toolbox on TeachersPayTeahcers--love the imagery!

Labels by Teach Create Motivate
The banner above the desk was done using the freebies I got at the Art of Ed Online Teacher Conference I attended this summer. This is NOT my idea, but rather a copy of an image I saw on Pinterest. I loved it and knew it would be perfect for the students at my school since we are using the Courage to Care Program and I believe that courage can come in many forms and I truly believe that it takes an amazing amount of courage to be yourself and take chances (i.e. be creative in middle school). 

Standards/Competencies Area: I am a BIG proponent of the standards/competencies in the classroom. I want EVERYONE to know what they are--parents, students, community members, etc. So, here's the place that I have them for everyone to see. I have the NH State Standards, the National Visual Arts Standards, and the strategic plan that our district is working on (this is an important document for our district and really relates to everything we do in our classrooms and as a district).
Those little art images are postcards I got a while back from IKEA. I plan to keep this up all year.

Standards/Competencies Board
Elements/Principles Bulletin Board: OK, as a graphic designer, I love the elements and principles and feel they need to be displayed and referred often. I saw this great bulletin board idea on the interweb and then saw these great posters on Teachers Pay Teachers by Mrs. Nguyen and knew they would work perfectly! The painting in the center is from Goodwill--I just really liked the colors and the op-art look of it. I just pinned these up and haven't committed to the arrangement yet. But I will need to soon! I plan to keep this up all year.

Elements/Principles Board
I'll post more pictures of the room soon, I'm going in today (with some of my kids!!), so we'll see what we get done. This is probably my last classroom-focused day and the rest of my prep I'll do at home on my computer...

Have a wonderful start to YOUR school year!!
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