Friday, September 24, 2021

Photography Nametags: My Aesthetic

 This year our 7th and 8th graders can choose electives for the Integrated Arts. This year I'm offering Photography. We don't have a dark room, so we'll be using digital cameras and our cell phone cameras and there is still SO MUCH to learn just focusing on that!

Usually I start my art classes with a nametag project. It's a great way for me to get to know the kids and their names and chitchat with them. 

It didn't seem appropriate to have the students in Photo draw their names and tell me about themselves in a traditional way, so I decided to have them create a photo collage using Google Slides and the fair use photos Google's search feature in Slides uses.

Our school uses the Google Suite and has for 18 months or so, so the students are somewhat familiar with it. This would be a good opportunity for them to brush up on their skills. 

PART 1: See what Google Slides Can Do With Photos

Students were asked to create a Google Slide and use the Insert/Image/From the Web search feature to import an image of their choice. They then had to duplicate the image so that there were 9 total on the slide. 

Then they need to learn about the adjustments you can make within Google slides. They needed to do the following:

  • Enlarge a photo
  • Shrink a photo
  • Crop a photo
  • Invert or flip a photo
  • Change the transparency
  • Adjust the brightness
  • Adjust the contrast
  • Recolor the image
PART 2: Create your Aesthetic

Students were asked to create a Google Slide and use the Insert/Image/From the Web search feature to import multiple images. If students search this way, these images are fair use and we can use them in class for personal use. We looked at several aesthetic compositions and how the images, color and arrangement of images told us about the artist. Students were encouraged to search for "[their favorite color] aesthetic" in the image search. I then had them expand to include hobbies and activities such as "camping purple aesthetic" or "reading purple aesthetic." Searching this way helped them to find images that had a similar color scheme.

We looked at the finished aesthetic compositions by class and then my student teacher created this display in our hallway. It's nice to have such colorful art to look at right away. I've also had students say "I think I'd like this person" when they looked at the work. So interesting!

Lots of fun and a great low pressure refresher on Google Slides.


Sneak Peek: Tooled metal Line and Pattern Designs

 We've started our first art project in grade 5 and it's one that the kids always love! We use tooling foil and create lines and patterns. We then attach them to mat board and extend the lines and patterns all over the board. 

I tie the work into our ARTifact of the week: Metal Ornaments from Mexico

Here's a sneak peek of what the kids are doing. I have them make three designs with pencil and paper before they start, but once they tool that first design, they have freedom to create three more of their choosing (I don't make them go back and plan--they can just go). 

I'm excited to see how these turn out and I'll post final pictures and a more complete write-up about the process later.


5th Grade Experiments (LINE with Kwikstix)

This year calls for some outside of the box thinking! 

Don't they always?

I started out the year as I always do with a nametag project for the 5th graders art folders. This is a good way for me to:
  1. Get to know their names
  2. See what they can do
  3. Chat and connect with them in a low stress way
As I was doing this, I was noticing that some of my expectations needed to be adjusted. Our district had a remote option last year and some of the students hadn't been in school for 18 months. I did dive into our first "real project" but we have 90 minute blocks twice a week and those blocks can be looooooooong if you are a fifth grader (or their teacher) and it's been hot and sticky in the art room. 

So sweaty guys. So sweaty.

So once I got my bearings and had about two weekends in there to catch my breath and see this situation from some distance, I decided I needed to shake it up a bit. So things I'm doing this year:
  • Going outside for a walk during the 90 minute blocks (or a trip to the baseball field with the directions to "just run around for five minutes!")
  • Consciously incorporating movement into my lessons--having the kids come up to the board, have them act out directions, doing activities where they move instead of listen to me yap (like "four corners" activities for art room rules).
  • Doing big "experiments" with art supplies--even ones that seem a little "young" for middle school
  • When we have mask breaks, showing videos on youtube that are about different artists and non traditional art (they also like stop motion by PES, domino challenges and how things are made videos). 
  • Creating an outdoor classroom area right outside my door (so I don't have to schlep supplies and am more likely to go outside with them)
  • Going back to my Responsive Classroom training and asking LOTS of questions, modeling pretty much everything and stopping and retrying things if we need more practice with a procedure or task.
The kids don't know it yet, but our experiments are going to be used in these large scale animal collages (I'll post about those more later). Right now, we are relaxing, moving our bodies, playing with art supplies, working together and learning art room rules and procedures.

Here's our first "experiment." We were learning about line and pattern and making these great tooled metal creations but they started to lose steam during the 90 minute classes. I grabbed some large paper we have hanging around the room, taped it down and had the kids at each table take turns ("like you are playing aboard game") making different lines all over the paper. Once they'd filled up the paper from side to side, they could start to make more lines going perpendicular (and by this time all teammates were drawing together).

I LOVE kwikstix!! Like, a lot. They are so fun to use and the colors are vibrant. We also used the neon tempera sticks from Sargent Arts and those worked awesome too!

Yes, some students decided to go scribble-wild and I believe that is what they needed. I find that kids who tend to get into "the zone" and go scribble-wild or glue-wild or cutting-wild and just zone out and goooooooooo tend to need it. How do we know how much is too much if we never find out what too much is?

Anyway, high hopes for these changes in 5th grade and can't wait to see how our experiments become something AMAZING!!


Tuesday, September 7, 2021

"Think You're Done?" Poster

Created this poster right before school started this year. I had seen it on Pinterest and thought it would be good for the room. I usually remind students what it looks like if they are done, but this helps them to think for themselves.

At first, I ended up just copying the poster--I had created a few posters this summer, and wanted to get this done and al the wall. 
This is the image I saw on Pinterest, but the link is broken,
so I don't know who the original owner.

But...I wasn't happy with it. So, I showed it to my friend Jess and she texted back, "It isn't you." She was right (as usual). So I redesigned and like this SOOOOOO much more! Now to find some empty wall space!

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