Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Art Room Theme.....A Day With No Crayons

Crayon Poem found on The Hue Studio Blog
Every year, I start the same battle in my head in thinking about a theme for the year.  It's my quirky way of managing any behavior issues that may come up throughout the year.  Fortunately, my students are always awesome.  Just kiddin'---they do have their moments but they far and in between.  I speculate this great phenomena is directly related to my students' lack of time to cause a ruckus.  Schedules are pretty full in the art room. 

I came across this wonderful book about a little girl, Liza, who draws so much that she runs out of paper.  Naturally, she finds a bigger canvas, called the wall:)  I mean who hasn't as a little kid drawn on the wall!  Just like any other kid, in her predicament, her mom is not so keen on her idea of wall drawings and takes her crayons away for the day!
The horror......obviously the story has a happy ending and little Liza realizes her favorite colors are just about everywhere. 

How does this relate to my art room??? 

Students thrive on a structured environment that encourages individuality but, also, lends to a community based setting where everyone feels safe and respected.  This year, I decided to embrace Liza's spirit and encourage my students to draw on the wall (the bulletin board, that is).

I have created a classroom management  system that helps students monitor their own behaviors and the behavior of their peers. The focal point of the art room is the "points" board in which students are remind of the three character traits (Tiger Traits) they are to demonstrate everyday: 
Be Responsible
Be Respectful
Be Safe

The art room has 4 main rules, posted at the bottom of the chart: RESPECT, LISTENING, NOISE LEVEL, and CLEAN UP.  Each day, classes are to keep their 4 points by simply following the rules and avoiding the dreaded red "X".
Throughout the year, each class works as teams to earn 48 points for each trimester for a "treat".  This "treat" is mainly decided by the class.  Usually, I pop in a movie while they are working or offer them a "free draw" day.  Most of the time we are so busy that the students do not mind working through their "treat" day.  

To highlight the successes of students, at the end of each art class I choose a student who has done a great job being responsible, respectful and safe to receive the "Crayon Award".  This lucky student, not only, gets to go home and ask for ice cream,but contributes to the school drawing wall (the bulletin board).
Unlike Liza, my students get to feel the freedom of drawing on a wall and not getting in trouble!
Along with watching a youtube video of the book being read, I found a wonderful poem that expresses how great being a crayon really is.  I hope this will inspire my students to be their best everyday and see their classmates a great "class crayons", while building an art community.

The Crayon Box that Talked
video of the poem by Shan Deolf

As a school team builder, we will all fill the "crayon box" with our favorite color.  It's a small step in creating a classroom atmosphere that affords my students the best learning environment.

xoxo, SMocK you.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Targeting Votes.....


This Robert Delaney painting expresses how differences can create unity.  Please take a moment and make a difference. Together we can reach the maximum goal and help students learn best!

Be an inspiration….it is only a click away.

Help  my school reach their goal of 10,000 votes!  Every  vote is 1 dollar.

It takes 5 seconds to pay it forward:)

xoxo, (and a big) SMocK you!

Friday, August 16, 2013

seeing spots....


Something that I have come across being an art teacher is the notion that everyone can do everything, with the notion that “My child could do that”.  This mostly relates to contemporary art and the idea that contemporary artists create such simple works that young children are capable and able to do the same.

 Take artist Damien Hirst, for example.  He is one of my contemporary favorites (and contemporary meaning that he still makes art and is alive) that draws me in with his paintings.  His “spot paintings” have been in galleries across the world and draw you in to their mesmerizing precision and color.

But they are only dots.

True, but what kind of dots.

This is where a little research about the artist and the artist’s purpose plays a big role in understanding the meaning of a work, and possibly appreciating it a little more.

Damien Hirst, Albumin, Human, Glycated,1992, household paint and polymer on canvas, 7′ x 9’8″

Damien Hirst fills galleries with his whimsical ‘spot paintings’ and to the normal eye they are fun dot paintings.  Investigating the artist and his work a little more you find a series of paintings called The Pharmaceutical Paintings” in which Hirst challenges perspectives of art, science and popular culture.  These perfectly painted, meticulously gridded, color coded ‘spots’ are used as a form of communicating a message, an idea, or in this case, controlled substances.   This not only redefines a viewers' perspective but also provides an interactive element that engages a viewer beyond just the sense of sight.

Amidst the colorful aspect of these paintings and what looks like a random effort to create these works, lies structure, order and something not so random.  Perhaps we should all take another look before we conclude a child can “make that”.

". . . In the spot paintings the grid-like structure creates the beginning of the system. On each painting no two colours are the same. This ends the system; it’s a simple system. No matter how I feel as an artist or painter, the paintings end up looking happy. I can still make all the emotional decisions about colour that I need to as an artist, but in the end they are lost. The end of painting." Hirst  

6th grade art unit....

M&M's for color study :-)
As an art teacher, my mind gravitates towards ideas and projects that will hook my students into learning.  Specifically for my 6th grade students, artists and art works that excite their senses have demonstrated to be very effective.  Much like Hirst's play and  integration of art, science and pop culture, my students can explore color theory, visual communication and identity within the structure of "spot paintings".  Now, I am not going to have my students study any sort of controlled substances, but I am will use the idea of encouraging viewer interaction with a painting by creating whimsical, colorful spot paintings with encrypted messages about their life, culture or society.
What a wonderful juxtaposition....


Check back to see how my students handled all the spots ;-)
xoxo, SMocK you.