Friday, September 28, 2012

berets, fake mustaches, bubbles, bowls and when you gotta go....

Week highlight...or highlights 
(because I think there were two)

So, we have been on a world journey in 3rd grade arriving just last week in France.  As we are gathered around the 'back table', a young girl leans in and asks me "Mrs. Angelopoulos, did the young boy give you his suitcase yet?"  
My response was, "no, not yet".
Seriously....THEY BELIEVE in these two characters taking them around the world.

Second:  "Mrs. Angelopoulos, when I was in 1st grade I wondered what will I learn in gym, you know, PE.  What will I learn in music, in art?  Now I know.  I learn about different places in the world." 3rd grade boy.


First Grade: When you gotta go....
We have started our adventure with Anna in Anna's Art Adventure!  Anna has one big problem.  Even though her uncle Harold specifically mentioned, "and no going to the bathroom".  But when you gotta go, you gotta go and all the first graders agreed that we must inch away and find the bathroom. But first, of course, we have to discuss the work of Ellsworth Kelly and Red, Yellow Blue II.

Second Grade: Skin...because we were invincible
In the progression of our self-portraits, the students had to study their own tone of skin.  With an assortment of skin tones of paint (but we 2nd graders know we are not made of paint) thoughtfully discerned the most appropriate skin tone for themselves.  I have to say...these little buggers are blowing me away!

First/ Second Bilingual:  Sharing, Cooperating and making projects together
These students were a bit surprised this week.  For the past couple of weeks they have been molding, painting and designing their necklaces.  Well, in the spirit of the theme, all of the beads, they worked soooo hard to make....were thrown in a bucket.  "Blindfolded" they reached in and grabbed a bead.  Some were happy.  Some...not so much. :)  In an effort to emphasize listening, following directions and doing your best, always, we discussed what happened?  Continuing the notion with thoughtful reflection of what we need to do as a group to create a good community.  Paper plates will become the 'beads' for their class 'community necklace'.  Each 'bead' expresses one thing, each student can do to be part of a good community:  Share:  I will share markers.  It may not sound like much, but it demonstrates oodles.

 Third Grade:  Berets and Fake Mustaches
I mean else will we embody a French artist?  With passports in hand, they entered the art room, reviewed all the wonderful historical sites of France and began work on becoming French artists... ..... mademoiselles and monsieurs...of course.  We are now ready for Cezanne and his astonishing apples.

 Fourth Grade:  Sketching the Crime Scene
This week they were given their "assignment":
Recreate the 'crime scene' from your home, using the style and characteristics of Henri Matisse!  
You must have: one window with a view, one table with a vase and fruit, one curtain, wallpaper and carpet.....

Fifth Grade:  Documenting 'Pre-historic Palatine"
 As groups of pre-historic, Paleolithic peoples, the fifth grade students explored the idea of what would be important to leave as an image of life fifth grade students, living in Palatine, in 2012.  Needless to say, we had a discussion about whether Ben n' Jerries was really something important enough to leave as a message for when the 'cave' is discovered 50,000 years from now.....the debate continues.

 Sixth Grade:  Precisely, Popular Me and spinning a bowls
The intensity in their faces is just amazing!  I mean, they are set on perfecting these logos.  Along with their art project, everyday one 6th grader sits behind a potter's wheel and spins.  With a bit of my guidance and some really steady hands, they are coming out marvelously.  It will takes us a while, but by the end of the year, every 6th grade student will have thrown, spun and glazed some sort of vessel. 


 MILE: bubble prints and the beginning of scarecrows
This was fun.  These students really need tactile experiences and what better what but with some soap, paint and straws!  We only had one major spill and one take a sip....NOT BAD!  Super easy and super great....fill a bucket with some water, squirt some dish soap, squirt some paint and start blowing through a straw.  Once it's bubbly and overflowing, set a piece of paper on top.  Remove and....Bubble prints!
From the snapshots, we (the adults) did most of the bubbling.  But it really did not matter....each student loved the experience.  
We also started our scarecrows....The students cut the hats, tore the patches for the hats and glued on the yarn for hair.  All was attached to a paper plate.  Seriously, some googly eyes, raffia and a smile....we will be done.  And those nasty crows won't know which way to go!  Beware blackbirds.....beware......

Check back next week:

First Grade: will meet a man that hasn't been to the bathroom in over 400 years!
Second Grade: will complete their self-portraits and reflect on "who am I"
First/ Second: will begin a mural and set goals
Third Grade: will open the ARTbox and explore shading the form of an apple
Fourth Grade: will get ridiculous with pattern
Fifth Grade: will create the walls of a cave
Sixth Grade: will days are good!
MILE: will scare crows away from the school

Comments, Concerns, Ideas, Follow....or just hang out in the SMocKroom.

xoxo, SMocK you.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

passports, wigs and fabulous fish....week 4


 Week Highlight.... Teacher-ish
One of my young first grade students decided to use me as inspiration for a little drawing....  
the likeness is uncanning!
We are delving into pretty exciting lessons!  It's really great to see my students excited and really engaged in what they are doing :-) 
First Grade:  test-ish
Part of being a first grader in art is knowing steps, the routine of the art room and figuring out 'what's next'.  These little ladies and gentlemen had their first 'test', demonstrating the knowledge and skills they have adsorbed in the past 4 weeks.  Following the book from last week, they drew 'ish'- drawings that kinda look like something (ice cream-ish, teacher-ish, etc) Also, this quick activity showed me a little more of their skill, ability to follow a sequence and fine motor skills. 
initialing the pendant
   First and Second Bilingual: Jewelry Design
The second stage to our "Community Necklace" unit is using some paint and markers to gussy up our designs. 

Second Grade: Me with a wig
I can not believe how awesome my second grade students are doing on their self-portraits!  This week we slowly finished our facial features and added a 'wig'.  Obviously, we were bald and need something quick! The students' observation skills have improved so much that these wonderful 'wigs' make their pencil drawings come to life.  
outlining the 'wig'

Third Grade: Passport to France
putting together the passport
Finding France
You know what's great?  When you know, you got'em.  When you spend an entire art class not making anything, but rather looking, discussing and taking notes.  You got'em.  We arrived in Paris, France this week and came across some wonderful sites: Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame de Pari; and even met a with a friend from the past, Jean Petit and even met some new ones: Yianna and Helios.  Imagination can take you just about anywhere...
Fourth Grade:  Matisse Struck Again
bold patterns
Seriously, this man is out of control!  My private investigators are having a hard time capturing this art culprit.  But we are getting close.  This week we practiced our observation skills with a memory activity.  After spending an art class studying and analyzing the details of The Red Room, the students had to provide a quick sketch from memory.  We discovered that we were not paying close enough attention to the details of the work to recreate it.  Hence, Matisse is still on the loose and has broken into the students' homes and redesigned one of their rooms.  The students had to document what the crazy patterns looked like.  These sketches will be the foundation for their paintings :) 
exploring materials
Fifth Grade: Limited Available Resources
The primary focus of this week was to try to understand how prehistoric peoples used limited resources to create amazing drawings in a cave.  I gave them a limited pool of resources, comprised of soft charcoal, ink, white charcoal, medium charcoal and charcoal pencils.  The students had to explore these materials, what results they achieved with each material and note their properties as a team of anthropologists.

Sixth Grade:  Label Me
First I have to give credit to my wonderful colleague, Sarah, for introducing me to the art of Heidi Cody a few years ago.  Her art is fun, original and really engages students because of its relatable subject.  In their first exploration of identity, each student brought in letters for their names, found in everyday products.  In class, they practiced sketching each letter.  Precision and attention to detail is key in this lesson.

sketching letters

 MILE:  Fabulous Fish
Our school's MILE program focuses on the needs of students with special needs.  After 12 years, I have seen these wonderful students grow up and really become more and more independent.  Their art curriculum is primarily based on motor skills and simple tactile functions.  These students surprise me everyday.

scales of the fish made from pony beads,sequin and some squishy shapes

Check back for continuations of these projects 
and the start of new ones.  

First grade will be starting their art adventure with Anna, 
Second grade will be making their self portraits come to life
Third grade will be wearing berets in preparation to meet Paul Cezanne
Fourth grade will be sketching their 'crime scene'
Fifth grade will be unearthing prehistoric Palatine
Sixth grade will be working on their final name labels
MILE will be making themselves into scarecrows......

Leave me comments, give me suggestions or just hang out in the 

xoxo, SMocK you

Saturday, September 15, 2012

International Dot Day, Ish, Wimpy Kids and more....week 3?

International Dot Day at the Palatine Public Library 
was a great success!

It was a great celebration of mark making on Thursday night at the Palatine Public Library.  Students from Sanborn School dropped by with their families to check out the "Dot" Exhibition, listen to the story and make their mark on a large mural. 

The excitement and energy in the room and around the library was really amazing!  The "Dot" Exhibition will be on display until September 27.  Drop on by (if you are in the area) and check it out.

Also, many thanks to the Palatine Public Library staff who welcomed the idea and really went out of their way to make this event a great success.  In my opinion...they made their mark ;-) highlights

It was a really busy week for all grade levels.  Big units and projects have started and I think the year is going to be exciting for them.  (cross your fingers)

First Grade:   Vase-ish.....
As the first graders start getting used to coming to art, I try to loosen up their creative senses and make them feel comfortable with their own abilities.  "ish" is another book by Peter H. Reynolds
First Grade students' Vase-ish
that encourages young students to do their best and not to worry so much about if something looks "right".  The book follows the story of a young boy, Ramon, who begins to look at his accomplishments in a very different way, unlocking the door of his imagination.  My students followed his adventure and participated in some role playing.  The 'crumpled gallery' mimics part of the story, in which Ramon's sister collects all his crumpled 'mistakes' and tapes them to her wall.  After's VASE-ISH...

First/ Second Bilingual:  Developing a Community 
This year we are faced with a challenge of teaching two grades together.  After hours and hours of contemplation and "trying to figure out" how to help these students progress in art class, I got.  I think.  I can't teach them first grade curriculum because half the class already has completed it.  I can't teach them second grade curriculum because the other half is new to the art class world.  So....what do you do?  Create something new :)  Our first 'community' effort is creating necklaces in which we learn that sharing is a key component to working together.  

Second Grade: Me in a picture
Second grade students were showing off a bit this week.  In our journey to see how we connect to our world, we began with a bit of self-observation and creating self-portraits.  I was really amazed to see how far these little guys have come from first grade.  We are only half way through the drawing process, stay tuned for pics!

Third Grade: Just say "hello"
"Yia Sou"---'Hello' in Greek
In part of introducing my third grade students to the world....they need to at least be able to greet me in another language ;-)  Just a simple "hello" could mean so much and open the door of communication and ideas to soooo many more people.  We explored 20 different ways to say "hello" and found the country on the globe, followed by creating a "hello" to post in the school.  Before entering the art room this week, all students had to greet me in a different language. 

Fouth Grade: CSI: ART ROOM
Investigative packet
You's all about getting kids excited to learn.  This theme has shown to be a hit!  Pretending to be private investigators, fourth grade students embraced studying, analyzing and investigating the biography and art of Henri Matisse.  They studied the "crime scene" of  The Red Room (Harmony in Red).  The story is, Henri Matisse has been breaking into homes throughout France and 're-designing' them with his bright colors and a ridiculous amount of patterns.  And somehow....we have to put a stop this.  

Fifth Grade:  Four kids and their dog in the Lascaux Cave
caption from the inside of Lascaux Cave
These students traveled down to the depths of the Lascaux Cave in France to immerse themselves in a prehistoric expedition of cave art!  Aside from their wonderment from an interactive video, these group of fifth graders really came up with thoughtful and interesting inquisitions.  As groups themselves, they will travel down the depths of Palatine, to preserve and communicate their own life.  Stay tuned for pics and the evolution of the unit.
Sixth Grade: Wimping yourself 
In a school with big shot 6th graders, it's great to be a wimp!  It's great to see 6th graders excited about working!!! on anything!  All the 6th graders have really embraced their composition books and hold them with an incredible amount of value.  More so, walking around the school and calling them 'wimps' makes teaching them even more fun!  

Check back next week for updates, leave your comments or just hang in the SMocKroom.

xoxo, SMocK you.

Friday, September 7, 2012

SMocKroom: It all starts with a bit of inspiration and imagin...

SMocKroom: It all starts with a bit of inspiration and imagin...: It all starts with a bit of inspiration and imagination... First grade student painting her dot Throughout the first couple of weeks...
It all starts with a bit of inspiration and imagination...

First grade student painting her dot
Throughout the first couple of weeks of schools, I like to get to know my students all over again.  All the students seem to have really loved just painting a dot and were inspired by Vasht's story.  From the little guys to the big guys, there was nothing better than to see them loosen up a bit and just paint.  I am really excited for next week and the big art show at the public library.

 I, also, began designing and creating the art lessons for the.....trimester (or more so...the next 4-6 weeks).  One of my most favorite things to do, as an art teacher, is thinking up new ways to teach something...and new lessons for my students to be enthusiastic about.  So, I create themes for every grade level.  I know!  It sounds nuts and crazy, but in the end it's all worth it when the students retain what they have learned and are excited to come to class.

First Grade:  First Grade's Art Adventure with Anna
Because when you gotta go...
All first grade students journey through a wonderful picture book, in search of something very important...a toilet.  Along the way, they meet artists like Picasso, Matisse and the one that makes a big mess....Pollock.

Exploring the globe

Second Grade:  Me in my world 
Second grade will explore how they fit into this big, big world.  Starting with themselves they will slowly grow their understanding and appreciation for their identity, their family, community, their city, their state and their country.....and if we have time...a little bit of the world.

Third Grade: Around the ART World with 
The little sketch is of me and my husband

Yianna and Helios
Extending their knowledge from second grade, third grade will travel around the continents, through some cities and around the globe learning a bit of history and lots of art.  First stop France for some ratatouille and a basket of apples from Cezanne.  Commentary and audio recordings from Yianna and Helios will make their adventure even better!  and pretty funny.:)

Fouth Grade:  CSI: ARTROOM
This is my effort to encourage my students to stop and look (more so: study, interpret and analyze) artwork.  Master artists will cause some sort of mayhem and the students will be investigating the 'crime scene'.  First suspect...Henri Matisse...there is speculation that he has been renovating homes in France with bright colors and a ridiculous amount of mismatched patterns.  Crazy guy...
Fifth Grade:  From Ancient to Modern-connecting our past to the present
This theme really emphasizes the influences and inspirations that are past down throughout time.  Call me a romantic or a just a dork, but I really appreciate a pinhole camera and the smell of oil paints in a not so elementary world.  And I think even though we advance forward, it's important to know an understand the evolution of ideas and objects.  So, fifth graders do just that...the connect past to present.  We start with the caves at Lascaux, France and graffiti, emphasizing communication and storytelling.

Sixth Grade:  The Identity of a Wimpy 6th Grader 
Mrs. Angelopoulos as a Wimpy Kid
Identity, the one thing that 6th graders strive to find, even if they are not looking.  Throughout the year we explore, investigate and analyze ourselves, in hopes of building a bit a character in pre-teens.  To make this self-reflective journey fun and engaging, I have declared them 'Wimps' (yes, I do say it out loud) and they have to find their strengths.

Let me know your thoughts!
Check back for pics, stick around for our adventures or just hang out in the SMocKroom.

xoxo, SMocK you.


Monday, September 3, 2012

 "Just make a mark and see where it takes you."

My name is Mrs. Angelopoulos and I am the art teacher at Sanborn Elementary School in Palatine.  We survived our first week of classes and, was a tough one!  The first day of school doesn't usually start on a Monday, but it did...and we, teachers, had a full hectic week ahead of us.

But the week went really well....:)

Every year I set a theme for the school.  We have been "goonies", "brutes", "samuris" and "blue dogs", just to name a few.  This year, we are "making our mark" with the idea of a simple dot.  Inspired by the book, The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds, all students will focus on even the little things that make them special.  

The student's goal throughout each trimester is to collect 48 marks, from the "make your mark" board and watch a movie.  Hopefully, by June they will watch the end of it.

This idea of mark making and The Dot is the focus for the first all school art show at the Palatine Public Library on September 13, in celebration of International Dot Day!  Over 500 'dots' will be on display from my students. 

This wonderful, short but inspiring story tells the journey of one little girl who "just can't draw" and her art teacher her encouraged her to "sign it".

Watch the story here The Dot.
Teachers join the movement here International Dot Day 


Sunday, September 2, 2012

Hello and welcome to the SMocKroom!

I am a bit of a novice, when it comes to 'blogging'.  In all honesty, I don't even like the sound of the word BUT I am attempting to document my year as an art teacher.  My goal for this blog is to share my lessons, my ideas, my resources and my philosophies on art, art history and art education.  

In a quick summary about my teaching, I teach grades 1st through 6th and tend to create themes for my students journey through art.  Each grade level has their own set of adventures and explorations, often leading to a culminating explosive end of the year surprise.  Our focus throughout the year may not, necessarily, be to create pretty artwork but learn the skills necessary to know how to create, design and build artwork.  Pretty or not....

So, stay tuned...check back...hang around the SMocKroom.