Saturday, December 22, 2012

Postcards to Yianna & Helios

This is just one of the 70-something postcards for our two travelling friends. 
True inspiration comes from imagination and just a little bit of magic.....

See you soon in the SMocKroom!

Friday, December 21, 2012

showing respect, responsibility and safety

Posters with Messages
Second grade students have been working on their posters, inspired by artist Toulouse Lautrec, demonstrating the school's "Tiger Traits".  With good penmanship and 'smelly markers', each student expressed their interpretation of one trait. 

See you soon in the

Thursday, December 20, 2012

sweet sweet me....

Sixth grade students are completing their amazing candy drawings. 

Each student 'researched' candy towards finding one that reflects their own character.  While reflecting on the basic attributes of the candy, they explored on how words can have a double meaning.  This was a fun and creative way to throw in a little literacy into their art making.  Each student had to think....I am like a __________because like a ____________ I am_____________ when__________________________.
We began by simple but challenging contour line drawings of our candy.  Continued with value study and practicing controlling the pressure of our pencils and finished off with a third drawing, recoloring our candy with a new and creative design.
In the end their drawings, paragraphs and pictures, showed one complete sixth grade student.

See you back in the

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Japanese Tea Ceremony and a Sayonara to Japan...

It's a wonderfully sad day for the third grade travellers.....
we are leaving Japan.
But not before a tea ceremony!

The past few weeks fly by as we landed in the great city of Yokyo and delved in to the art and culture of the Land of the Rising Sun.  Although our adventure was short, we really learned a lot!

In preparation, we used the pinch pot method to form our simple and fragile little tea cups. 
 And glazed them with colors that exploded into a wonderful surprise!

Along the way, we set goals for ourselves and filled in the eye of the great Daruma!  We are going to try really hard to read 30 minutes everyday, and make art everyday and clean our rooms at least once a week. 

The simple utencils of chopsticks became a canvas of design and inspiration.

The final ceremony would not have been complete without some green tea, mochi and "arigato"postcards to our friends, Yianna and Helios.

Gyotaku: Fish Print

See you soon in the

Monday, December 17, 2012

YEAH!!!! access through school!!!!

This is sooooo great!  We finally have access to .....stuff at school.  This is going to make updating so much easier...phew. 
So here's a quick post to see if it actually works.
The week before winter break is always a bit hectic and off the normal schedule.  So, we did a quick one day project in first grade, following along the Anna's Art Adventure story.  Anna enters the straight lines and colors of Piet Mondrian, imagining strawberry and blueberry fields.  Along with recognizing and demonstrating vertical and horizontal lines, using rulers made the practice lessons and final project more challenging.  Those crazy rulers always seem to slip.

See you next week in the

Sunday, December 2, 2012

special delivery, the science of color, school rules....

Highlight:  Towards the end of one of  the 4th grade classes, the conversation of which class they like best, amongst the kids. One young boy states, "She's so strict"!  Listening to this conversation and recognizing the voice, I chuckle to myself knowing very well I am strict because I encourage all my students to work, especially those that wish not to.  Well, then I hear...."Mrs. Angelopoulos is strict because she loves us!", from his friend.  "I do love you," I respond.
inflatable Scream

First Grade:  Expressing our fears....
We first big first graders know that it is just fine to be a little scared sometimes.  This week, began creating their haunting wallpaper by using something that makes them scream.  The 'wallpaper' is created using a resist method with oil pastels and watercolor paints.  After finishing their repeated patterns, each student needed to complete the sentence "I scream when I see ___________________".  
using our adventure books to guide our drawings
Henri Toulouse Lautrec example
First/Second Bilingual AND Second Grade:  Expanding our scope of community....
2nd grades plan for the year

I decided to use the same lesson for these grade levels because it seemed to fit their over all themes for the year.  First/Second Grade continues to focus on the skills and ideas of working within a community and Second grade's sequential theme is "school".   In order to connect the students' learning to something in their own world, we focused on the three repeated 'rules' of the school:  

The Tiger Traits.
Be Respectful
Be Responsible 
Be Safe
final practice sketch
We looked at posters from Henri deToulouse-Lautrec.  Although we sometimes could not read the words, we definitely were able to interpret their meanings.  Combining the stylistic characteristics of Mr. Toulouse (as we like to call him) and our Tiger Traits, we began by practicing our lettering and sketching our poster ideas.

Practicing our lettering

Third Grade:  Entering the Land of the Rising Sun....
special delivery
Mt. Fuji, Sakura and a pagoda
history box
YEAH!!! for special deliveries!  We received two very heavy suitcases from our friends Yianna and Helios this week.  With a big Konichiwa we entered the amazing country of Japan.  The most difficult aspect of designing this unit was designing a unit that afforded my students to learn as much as they can in a very short amount of time.  As I was working on the lessons, the projects, the overall activities, I surrendered to the fact that we can not cover everything. :(  Seriously, we can stay in Japan the rest of the year....So, we have 6 weeks and that's it!
art box
With incredible excitement, we opened the History Box and the Art box to find numerous treasures and of course some wonderful Japanese sweet treats of mochi.  We just looked, we just listened and we for 45 minutes, we filled our passports (and extra paper) with the history and culture of Japan.... we took notes.  It's so great to see these students 100% invested in this journey around the world.  Maybe next week, we'll make something. :)  Our goal is to make our own tea cups and participate in a Tea Ceremony while enjoying our mochi with chopsticks....we'll see if we fill the second pupil of Daruma.
"Although it fall over, it always stands up"
complimentary colors

Fourth Grade:  Seeing colors....
When you throw in a little magic everything looks different.  
Andy Warhol print
As we continue to investigate Andy Warhol and his mischievous ways, we have to consider how color played an important role in his artwork.  This is probably one of my most favorite lessons to explore: color theory and how color can play tricks with your eyes.  I think I love this lesson because I love color and understanding how it works in art.  And the students just love it!  Why do some colors appear to float?  Why do some colors appear to glow?  Why do some colors appear to move back or forward?
exploring red on different backgrounds
Students used fadeless flat squares and rectangles to explore how color combinations change the outcome of a painting or print.  Our next step is preparing our screens for some screen printing!
using the most intense combinations on a Warhol soupcan

inspiration for screen printing


Fifth Grade:  the writing is on the wall....
Unfortunately, I did not capture any recently completed graffiti words!!!!  Oof.  What can I say.  Currently, the fifth graders are explaining their word choice through a descriptive paragraph...  Pics next week :( Click HERE for a PBS documentary.

sixth grade contour drawing: 3 Musketeers

Sixth Grade:  All wrapped up....
Ferro Rocher
Well, it was time for the Wimpy Art Kids to show me their drawing skills, once again.  They are amazing!!! I mean, just look at the intensity in the photo.  These drawings will be photocopied and will be used in additional value and color study drawings.  CAN'T WAIT!  
being a potter...
Of course, mini-pottery lessons are still in full swing!  The students who threw in the past 12 weeks will be glazing. 
rolling out a slab
Busy little hands made for great results!  These great students worked really hard on rolling out clay slabs, pressing a cookie cutter circle and glazing.  One last clear coat and they will be ready to re-fire.  Each student made a set of 4 coasters with their own unique squiggles and wiggles.  Just in time for gift giving! :)   Walking through a trendy store, I saw these wonderful coasters in sets of 4.  It gave me a wonderful idea to create our own with our own special touches.
perfect little paintings

 See you next week in the SMocKroom!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

leaving France, family trees, monsters, graffiti and the IAEA Conference....3 weeks later.

HIGHLIGHTS:'s a bit hard to try and think back to all the wonderful things that happened in the past 3 weeks but there is a moment, just recently, that I will treasure forever.  Along with every other activity, event and surprise at school, we had parent-teacher conferences this week.  As I was sitting at my desk, working on a new unit, Gracie, her mom and sister walk in.  Gracie (Grace-really) was holding a rolled up heavy piece of paper with a big bow around it.  Gracie is in 2nd grade and has been working on her Klimt "MY Tree of Life"---painting and swirling and adding her family snap shots.  Well, Gracie hands me this big rolled up canvas and says, "I made you a gold tree so you can have one for your family."  Christmas came really early....                                        sorry Mr. Turkey.

I presented at the annual IAEA Conference, which was super!  Back in the spring I was asked to create a lesson based on the photography of June Farley, targeting middle school students and curriculum.  I have to say, I can create lessons all day.  I love it.  So, I presented what I cam up with using the concept of identity as a platform and collage, image transfer and text as the process.  The lesson was called Layers of Me: Exploring Identity and it encouraged the students to reflect on who they are....and then who they REALLY are;-)

This was the painting in the book
The Scream by Edvard Munch
First Grade: Always SCREAMing about something....                                                                                                    Continuing with Anna's Art Adventure...little Anna slips on a mysterious red dress only to discover that everything had changed....  She meets a mysterious man waiting for his model, Mr. Edvard Munch.  Munch is a great artist to engage students in conversation.  Although his paintings are a bit on the spooky side, these first graders spent about 45 minutes (that's right--45 minutes) looking and talking about various paintings by Munch.  One of his most famous and popular is "The Scream" painted in 1893.  It is thought that Mr. Munch seemed to always have bad dreams, but instead of telling someone about them he created paintings to make him feel better.  We started with sharing something that make us scream....
student screaming about something
Tar Beach quilt
First/Second Bilingual: Dreaming of going places on Tar Beach After drawing and creating our grand cities, we explored the New York City through the eyes of Cassy Louise Lightfoot as she magically flew around Tar Beach, a story by Faith Ringgold. HIGHLIGHT: After reading the story, I had my students close their eyes and dream of a place they wanted to go.  Of course, we had the classics:  Burger King, China Buffet, Walmart, but there was one young girl who brought tears to my eyes....literally.  "I want to go to Mexico to go to my grandma's grave".....choked up is an understatement.  
We started our drawing exploration by first finding our middle....the belly button.  We folded our drawing paper to emulate our bodies folding at our belly buttons (yes, we actually did some forward bends) and drew ourselves with square-ish/oval-ish bodies.  We tried very hard to draw what we were wearing and not to forget our noses ;-)

finishing off the our outfit
Second Grade putting the family in our "Trees of Life" This project about a swirly tree became an extra special lesson on the people that make  Amongst the swirls of gold, the sequined patterns and the midnight blue skies, we discovered our families, nestled in the branches.  From moms to dads, to sisters and brothers, to grandmas and grandpas, to our loyal dogs, fish and hamsters....they all had their place.

Third Grade:  Au revoir Pari.....
It was time to send off the suitcases to Yianna and Helios and wait to see where we land next!  After finishing off the amazing Cezanne-ish paintings, each student wrote a thank you postcard to the wonderful kids roaming around world, sending them suitcases.  The postcards were the most enlightening part to this unit because they really expressed honest reactions, questions and sentiments about what they learned.  

Highlight:  "Bon jour Yianna and Helios, Thank you for the stuff you brout us to use to do art whork. Thank you also for the cookies.  We learned about Paul Cezzane, that he gave some apples to his friend cause they were bulling him."---from a postcard.
Of course, Helios had to respond to a couple of postcards which will probably cause some sort of commotion this week.  And if you are really reading this blog....extra points and a great big SMocK if you know where the postcards were sent.....;-)

Fourth Grade:  Popping in with Andy Warhol

Our next suspect is the most famous artist Andy Warhol.  Apparently, he has been going around New York City, taking pictures of popular people and re-coloring them all in the name of art.  Andy Warhol is really a great artist to introduce color theory and screen printing!!!  Super fun.  We first took the day to investigate Andy Warhol, his style and his process, followed by an activity that involved snippets of music and his Camouflage.

In the following weeks, we will be preparing our screens, learning the science of seeing color and manipulating the photographs of some popular people.... all in the name of Pop Art.

Fifth Grade:  old school remixes....

These old school graffiti writers are really doing a great job with their lettering and designs.  To add the incredible fun we are having, I threw in a bit of old school 80's hip hop music....I should be honest and really was because I'm a Fly Girl at heart ;-)
Highlight:  "Mrs. Angelopoulos, can you play that song you like again...."----of course I can.
Sixth Grade:  Practicing Contour Drawing....
It was really awesome....but no pictures :-(  The highlight for the sixth graders is the quiet that falls over the room as they sit concentrating on every bend and fold in their drawings of candy wrappers.  Snap shots in the next update!!!

See back in the SMocKroom!