Monday, June 8, 2020

NEW OP ART VIDEO LESSON: Movement With Lines

Hello artists!

During distance learning I created a bunch of videos--I HAD to! Being an art teacher is sooo much easier when you can SHOW people what you are talking about! Some of the videos were just screen recordings I did in Zoom, and my philosophy, at first, was get the videos done to the best of my modest abilities so the students could connect with me and do the work. But towards the end, I started to get a little more fancy. 

Don't get me wrong. I didn't WANT TO learn how to do anything with video. OK, that's kind of a fib. I love to learn, but I had learned SO MUCH new stuff while being home for 10 weeks. So many new programs, so many new ways to get content out there to students (and did I mentione I was home with my four kids?). So many things in my brain!! I really didn't think I handle more or give more of my time.

But, I wanted the videos to be better. So I forced myself to try a video editing program. I chose to go free and online, so I tried out WeVideo. I really liked it! There was a 30 day free trial and I just sneaked this video in at the last minute. It's a how to for my most popular post ever--"Movement With Lines" this post has had almost 120,000 views since 2012.

I was looking back through the blog the other day, saw it, and noticed that in the comments someone had asked if I had a video for the lesson. Ummmm. No. BUT I COULD! I started planning the video out and, guys, I FORGOT HOW FUN THIS PROJECT IS!! Really, I ended up making a few just for fun.

I changed this up for students who were working at home--using index cards as the base for the art since I thought many people would have index cards on hand. I also scaled it down so that it could be done during one of my weekly hour-long Art-a-Long sessions I offered to students and families. If you want to go bigger (or smaller), please do! The original post has students use 8 1/2" x 11" paper and clever teachers photocopy the numbered lines on the back BEFORE having students do the work.

So, here's my quickly cobbled together video for "Movement With Lines." It's not going to win any video awards, but it's out there for the masses. I hope you can use it with your classes, your children and you try it yourself! I promise, it's fun and you can totally do it!


Friday, April 24, 2020

Distance Learning Lesson: Virtual Museum Field Trip

Hello artists!

One of the first lessons I assigned to my 6-8th grade students when we started Distance Learning was a Virtual Museum field trip. All of my students were sent home with laptops, but nothing else. So while I was figuring out how to teach art without art supplies to students I had never even met--I decided everyone was going to get out of their houses (at lease virtually) and go on a field trip!

So, there were two parts of this field trip: the Google SLIDESHOW and a FORMS the students would fill out about their trip.
Here's the intro slide--Let's go on a field trip!

I gave the students eight choices for museums to visit. My choices were, at first, based on an article I read from Travel and Leisure. When we were transitioning to at-home learning, I was overwhelmed, to say the least. We had a little but of training and then, poof! We were at home. So when I read the Travel and Leisure article, I thought I had read the answer to my dreams!

Once I started reviewing the exhibits Travel & Leisure suggested, I realized that some of the suggestions weren't gonna cut it for my middle school kids. So, I used some of their suggestions and added a few of my own. You could choose TONS of museums, I was just looking for about 8 choices total and they had to be based on Google Arts and Culture AND I needed to get this done ASAP while my four kids were home and I was setting up classes on Google Classroom (which I hadn't really used before and learning Zoom and everything else). Whew! That was 5 weeks ago and it seems like forever!

Once the students clicked on a museum choice on the slide above they were taken to a slide for that museum.
The slide for the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

I put a little write-up for the museum on the slide along with a link that will take them to the Google Arts and Culture page for that museum. 

What I like about Google Arts and Culture is that there's so much on a museum's page, like the one for the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. There's exhibits, TONS of artwork, street views of artwork, museum views and a link to the museums official site. 

What My Students Did For this Project

I made my students a VIDEO explaining what I wanted them to do with this project. Again, we're using Google Classroom, so the SLIDESHOW and the FORMS (I'll tell you about those in a minute) were uploaded and assigned to them in Google Classroom. 

Here's what I asked them to do:

  1. Look through the slideshow and choose a museum to visit.
  2. Click on the link in the slideshow to visit the Museum's page on Google Arts and Culture.
  3. Poke around. Visit an exhibit. Look at the art. Scroll all the way to the bottom of the page and click on the link for the Museum's website. Check it out!
  4. While you are looking around, set a 15 minute timer. See how many see how many items you can find from the scavenger hunt form. 
  5. Pick two pieces of artwork from your trip--one you have questions about and another that you love. Write about those on the museum response page.
I used the forms from Kitchen Table Classroom. I downloaded them (they're free!) and made them fillable forms on Google Slides. Other options would be just having students use printed versions (we aren't allowed to ask kids to print anything at home--most aren't able to) or you could create a google form where they can fill out the info as they go, etc.

How'd It Go?

Almond Blossom by Vincent van Gogh
Image courtesy of the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Pretty good! This was the first thing my students did for me and I had never had them in class before (the trimester switched as we were transitioning to online learning). There were some issues, but most of my 6-8th graders were able to complete this project successfully. What I liked about this project is that students were able to select a piece of work that was their favorite and tell me why. This was a nice way to get to know the students!

It was fun to see the work the student chose. Van Gogh was a favorite and so was Diego Rivera. The most often visited museums were The National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Korea, the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam and the Museo Frida Kahlo in Mexico. The most often-liked image out of the hundreds they could choose, was Almond Blossoms by Vincent van Gogh.

Do You Want To See What They Liked? 

Some of the surprises that my students said were their favorites.

Sure! Because the artwork was all on Google Arts and Culture, I was able to create an online Gallery of their favorite pieces.This is great because they can see what other students liked and the work can be used for a future project or reflection.

I'm so glad that I had the students "get out" and explore some museums from around the world! If you are looking for a fun lesson to get your students looking at and thinking about art--I hope you give this a try!

Monday, April 6, 2020

Distance Learning: Student Contact Log

Happy Monday!

Our district has been doing distance learning for three weeks and I wanted to share this "Student Contact Log" I created and have been using.

For our students, we need to track a couple of things:

  1. Tasks Assigned (Projects, questions, etc)
  2. Contact we've had with students (Via email, Live class sessions, Personal comments in Google Classroom, and Other)
  3. Grades (we use the online software Empower and a four point grading system)
I can track all sorts of things, such as: what I've asked from students, what they've done and when I've heard from them and there's a comment area so I can write when I've had to reach out to guidance, or a parent, etc. It's all available at a glance. 

But no matter what you are doing in your school, you may need a system for keeping track of it all. Check out this form and feel free to make a copy and make it your own.

My advice: Just keep it simple. If this is too much (or not enough), then create something even better. We are all under an enormous strain right now. We need to keep things as manageable (read: easy) as possible!

We've got this!

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Using Google Slides to Create a Distance Learning Routine

Ok, maybe it's time to get back to the blog! I've been away for a while juggling full time art teacherin' and living life with my four kids, husband and myriad of pets.

Working from home has just started for me. I'm teaching Art to grades 6-8 art and monitoring the studies of my four children who range from elementary age to high school. I'm a bit overwhelmed, but keeping a semblance of a schedule is hopefully going to help.

In my art in-school class, students are greeted with a slide projected on the whiteboard telling them what they'll be learning today. I thought doing the same for my personal children would be nice--so out came the computer and Google Slides. I've been waking my children up and we have breakfast together at 8:00. We "meet" and go over the day's slide with the plan for the day.
An example of today's slide.
Google Slides makes it easy to create
a slide with images from the internet or your computer.

For my personal children I also have a second slide. This is more of a schedule to show major meetings and appointments that we all need to be aware of. I set this slide up on an ipad in the kitchen and the kids can walk by and "swipe up" to see the slide and check in. I probably check this far more than they do, but my littlest one has enjoyed it.
Slide 2: This is the slide that is displayed during the day
to keep us on track.

Do my children like this? Well, some are tolerating it (high schoolers), and others are pushing back on having a schedule at all (middle schooler!). But my elementary kiddo and I really like it. I cannot possibly keep track of everyone without some sort of schedule. Also, this isn't vacation--at least in my district. I'm still expected to work and my kids are expected to be doing work. It cannot be a free for all.

Will this work for you? Maybe. Maybe not. But I will tell you that this is a HUGE transition and if I can create a sense of normalcy during this time, I will. Keep it simple. This is what I know. If you know someone who home schools already, reach out--home schoolers, we need you! Or find a trusted friend and ask what they are doing. Stay away from the negative people and the ones who say they aren't having their kiddos do anything--that's not going to help you feel any better or come up with solutions for how to work through this time.

Be kind to yourself.
Your house will get messy.
You will feel overwhelmed.
You may get frustrated at times.
You won't always stick to the schedule (especially if you are in the zone having fun or working on a project).

I hope you find this helpful. Please share how YOU manage work and kiddos at home to keep everyone on track--I'd love to hear from you!

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