Monday, March 31, 2014

Monday, March 31, 2014

The faculty at School #33 has been participating in a lot of professional development this year. We've been holding professional learning opportunities on Saturdays.  Last Saturday,we held a gallery walk around the building to share our student work with the rest of the staff. After that, I was able to lead a presentation in the studio on observational drawing and watercolor painting.  It was great!

120- I pushed in as Mrs. Wagner introduced our next project.  The students will be learning about habitats and studying one particular animal in depth.  The students saw the animal toys they could choose from today and we talked about types of animals and habitats. 
I loved the way the kids lined the animals up as they were introduced.

116- With 116, 118 and 112, we've been talking about pollution and solutions that community helpers can work with. I invited the Niagara Riverkeepers in to visit our students and do a clean-up in the park with them. The Riverkeepers are a volunteer organization that keeps our rivers and beaches clean. In addition to the map lesson and the Riverkeepers, I invited the students to create a poster for the New York Recycles Poster Contest because one of the themes is "Litter- Let's pick it up, New York!" and it goes along perfectly with what we're doing. So we'll be taking a break from maps to work on this contest. Normally, I'm not a big fan of poster contests, but this fits in so well and I can teach horizon line and overlapping while teaching the students that art can be used to bring awareness to a problem and offer solutions.  It's a win all around.  Plus, their work will be displayed in public and maybe one of my talented students will win!

108- I pushed in as Ms. Boyd introduced the same lesson to the first graders that Mrs. Wagner introduced this morning! We took a walk to see 112's ocean mural with the many drafts the students created in order to perfect their final drawings.  The students were inspired by this.  They created a first draft of their animal sight-unseen so we can see what their prior knowledge is and use it to make a comparison at the end of the project.  The students will next get the realistic animal toys or photographs so that they can improve their ability to draw their animal by becoming familiar with how it really looks.  They will research the animal and its habitat, as well. This will be a long-term project. 

112- The same as 116, above.

103- I pushed in and asked the students to explain their block stories to me, one at a time. 

102- One group of students started drawing the background of their nocturnal landscapes. They look really cool. 

Friday, March 28, 2014

Friday, March 28, 2014

120- The students have been studying their senses.  I pushed in for the last day of this to take documentation. 

Teacher- what sense are you exploring?
Esmerada- olfato
Jose- olfato is smell
Teacher- tell me about the smells.
Esmeralda- that smells like cheese.
Teacher- what do you think it is?
Esmeralda- I think it's a type of cheese
Joel- this one smells like coffee
Jose- mmmmmm, coffee! I drank coffee at my home. It's yummy.
Teacher- what smells the best?
Esmeralda- the cheese!
Jose- none of them
Joel- the coffee
Esmeralda- this one smells good
She is referring to the tea.
Nayelis- I like this one [the tea]
Esmeralda writes with the body oil on the tea bag. It soaks in and reveals the tea grounds through the bag. She gasps with delight and shows Nayelis. Nayelis also tries to write on a tea bag. They've discovered something interesting.
Esmeralda- it broke! When I got it too wet, it broke!
She shows me a few tea grounds in her palm.
Nayelis applies the body oil to the tea grounds on her hand.
They grab a magnifying glass to study the effects of the oil on the grounds.
Esmeralda wants to put the oil on everything.
She and Nayelis put some of the other scents on the candle.
They predict it will still smell the same.
Teacher- Does it still smell like a candle?
Esmeralda- no. It smells like the coffee now, I think.
Esmeralda- this looks like a flower now.
Jose stacks the cups like a block tower.
They are always tying in artistic concepts to their science experiments.  

112- We FINISHED the ocean mural and now the wall documentation is complete!  This is such an incredible display of hard work and accomplishment for this class!  

108- I pushed in to teach watercolor tips and technique.  I let the students paint their Burchfield journals to practice. It was fun to teach whole group art for a change. 

118- I was going to pull a small group, but I noticed that they were working on an art project in their reading time.  It was on character traits.  I saw the opportunity to teach simple ways to show space, as most of the drawings had the character on a baseline.  Since I want their drawings to be more mature than the standard for their age group, it was an opportunity I took advantage of. 

I realize the tree on the correct side is "see-through"- I was making a point.

I popped my head back in that room later and saw that the students were experimenting with this new information and I suspect we're going to move quickly away from the baseline stage! 

101- They continued their identity wall portraits and I had a breakthrough with a student who'd been struggling with the tracing concept.  I'm really pleased with his portrait now, but he's a student who doesn't have a media release form signed, so I have to respect his parents' wishes and not show that artwork. 

103- Right before coming to the studio, the students in 103 decided to build a community in their room.  They'd been working on dwellings and structures for weeks now and the outcome of today's exploration was pretty impressive.

The symmetry and color choices were by design. 

This car is pretty awesome! 

After their community building exploration, they came into the studio.  I asked the students to think about the stories they've been working on in the block area.  I really want them to get practice using the watercolors so when we do our Burchfield watercolor paintings based on the nature walks we'll be taking, they will be used to using them and they can focus on the technique instead of the novelty of using watercolor paint.
The blocks are a realistic color and the repetition of his lines is pretty great.

This student struggled with the shapes forming houses concept
only a few months ago.  Now he clearly understands it. 

This shows an alligator and dinosaur toy- he fetched them from the
 room to have a more realistic drawing. :) 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

We've been so busy working on timelines of documentation for our projects.  Both of these timelines are almost finished and there's a sense of accomplishment for us and we're generating interest from staff and students alike.

116- The students have been studying maps, so I'm teaching a map-making lesson that I used to do in middle school to teach parts of the map, but to really hit the standards, we're drawing our community around the school.  I put the map of our school on the smartboard and the students did their best to draw the map.

118- The last group of second graders were drawing symmetric designs for their balance lesson and they started talking about art. I grabbed the iPad as quickly as I could and typed their conversation as they spoke.

X- Art is about thinking. When you're trying to draw, you have to think. Copying someone else's work is not about thinking.

L- Art is also about being careful.

X- but it's really about thinking. Thinking in your head is where you do your art. You think your art through first.

L- It's about focusing.

S- And it's practice.

S- You have to try and try again to make it perfect.

L- But no one's perfect.

X- Art can be hard at first, but when you practice at doing your art, you will get better and make it more realistic. It's about your thinking and practice.

L- And you have to stay calm to do it.

Teacher- Tell me about the Burchfield-Penney.

A- I liked seeing the sculpture we're doing these after.
[She means the Nancy Rubins' sculpture at the Albright-Knox. We saw it from the Burchfield windows.]

L- I saw the printing press.
Teacher- What was that?
L- I saw houses and it felt cold. And I saw that room where when you go in it, the water comes down. If you go slow, it goes slow and if you go fast, it goes fast. That will go to another art museum soon. They will have to disassemble it, put it in a van and take it to another art gallery and assemble it again.

L- I saw a painting of a big fish. It was a big, dead fish.
Teacher- Is it the painting on the magazine over there?
L- Yes, that dead fish.
Teacher- I have a secret about that painting.
S- Did you see the video with that snake thing? It's so mean.
Teacher- What's mean?
S- It's so mean that people keep throwing garbage and stuff into the water and it makes pollution and it's really bad for the animals.
X- If you throw bad things in the water, it's not good for the fish and it creates pollution. Pollution is something that makes the water dirty. It makes the fish not survive that long. Pollution is kind-of like poison.
Teacher- what can the community do to help the polluted creek?
L- We should clean the water.
Teacher- how?
A- people need to stop throwing nasty things into the water.
X- the fish will get mad at you...
S- the fish won't get mad at you- they will get sad and die.
X- here's an example- if I throw a garbage can in the water, what will it make? Pollution. That's an example.
Teacher- what could we do, school #33, to help?
A- we could get nets and clean the water out.
S- we could use the nets like we're going to grab fish, but we'll grab garbage instead. Maybe we could put the fish in a big tank or a pool.
X- I have an idea- what if we had a big fish tank and we put them in the tank. They won't die, then, they will survive longer.
L- And then we can feed them!
Teacher- do you think we should take fish out of their natural environment? Would they want that?
S- Maybe we could just take them out to clean it and then put them back after it's clean.
Teacher- Did you see the jars of dirty water? It's unsafe for humans to go in it.
L- Maybe we could get suits to wear over our clothes.
S- We could use nets to take out the garbage and put it in a garbage can. Maybe we could use our hoses to fill the creek with clean water.
X- Or figure out a way to get the ocean water here.
A- You can't use ocean water because it's salt water.
X- It's too salty to drink it.
S- no one can drink it.
A- You would get sick if you drank it. Though I do put salt in my soup sometimes! 

108- We reflected on the Burchfield Penney experiences, learned how to properly use watercolor, and painted in our journals. 

112- The students are almost finished with the mural!  I'm so excited about it! 

101- The students continued their portraits for the identity wall. 

104- The students began drawing the habitat for their nocturnal animals on their nighttime paintings.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

I'm trying to keep up with daily blog updates, but it's sometimes difficult when there are so many wonderful projects pulling me in different directions.

120- I pushed into their class while they explored their senses with fabrics, different things to taste, things that make music/noise, things to see, and things to smell.  This will pave the way for their description of what they feel with their senses using our Burchfield nature walks.

We went to the Burchfield-Penney Art Center again, this time with the Pre-K.

A drawing in the "Shiver" exhibit, with water pouring down the walls.
Experiencing the Shiver exhibit

103- I wanted the students to have time to reflect on their Burchfield experiences and also get practice with watercolors, so I let them choose a favorite page from their journals and they used the watercolor on that. I also let them decorate the cover if they finished early.  They take their journals on all four of the Burchfield exhibits and the nature walks with me.  These will be an amazing record of their year at School #33.

102- I brought a group in to paint their nocturnal landscapes.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Thursday, March 20, 2014

120- We pushed in and worked on aboriginal dot paintings.

We went to the Burchfield-Penney with the first grades.

101- We continued our identity wall portraits.

103- We finger-painted to gain awareness of our sense of touch, in preparation for the focus on our senses on the Burchfield walk.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

120- We pushed in and worked with the aboriginal dot paintings and the light table again.

116- I took a group to finish their balance provocation!  It's done for 116!  We're going to move onto the subject of maps next, which is the current provocation in their room.  The cool thing about the group I took today is that a student who has been really quiet all year finally opened up and asked me questions about the ocean mural 112 is doing.  He wanted me to show him images of jellyfish and told me about Rockfish, which are really scary fish in Puerto Rico.  He told me more about Puerto Rico and then the other students chimed in.  They were really concerned with my safety if I go to the beach in Puerto Rico and wanted to warn me about all of the dangerous animals I might encounter should I travel there.

108- We took a large group to work on their Andy Warhol identity wall portraits. 

118- We took another group in for the asymmetric balance sculptures. 

I loved how this kid set up his work area.

102- We did observational drawings of nocturnal animals.  Did I mention how awesome our kindergarteners are getting at this?

101- The students continued to work on their identity wall portraits.