Friday, September 26, 2014

Friday, September 26, 2014

We are still continuing portraits.  It's been a long process because I keep using the Ron Berger method of draw-critique-new draft until I feel like they've demonstrated sufficient growth and progress.

Here are two examples of this.  These students were not here last year.  With practice and patience, they were able to see the lines and shapes in their facial features and really gain an understanding of realistic color.

103 Pre-K-  I gave the students pens and watercolor paint and let them continue their work on the animals we saw on our first nature walk. One student, L, is phenomenal at observational drawing already!  I let him look at photos of the Wooly Bear Caterpillar, the Monarch butterfly and the garter snake online and he added details to his watercolor paintings.  This piece just amazes me. 

101 Pre-k- I took the class outside for the same sensory nature walk experience we took with 103. Unfortunately, we didn't see snakes. We did see grasshoppers. 

118 second grade-  We went outside for an observational drawing/focus session.  The kids had ten minutes to sit quietly and draw something from nature around us. 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

We saw a snake. We made a snake.

Mr. Medina saw this packing material and thought of us.  We love to repurpose trash in the studio and create art from it.  When I arrived from dropping off a class, I saw it laying in my room like a giant garter snake. 

I think it would also make great material for giant roses. I have more
so it could come up as we study plants of the Valley Nature Trail.
I wondered if the students would think the same thing, so I wrapped the "snake" around myself and went into 103.  

Kids- It's a snake!  Mrs. Rose has a snake! 
Me- Do you think it looks like a snake?  Could we paint it to make it look more like a snake? 
Kids- YES!

Teacher - Does anyone want to tell me about the snake?
Ryan- The snake needs eyes!
Teacher- The other students picked them out- we will add them.You are going to make up a story about the snake.
Ryan- The snake is a boy.
Aniya- It scares the butterflies away.
Teacher- Maybe we need to make butterflies. We can think about that. Where did the snake come from?
Aniya- The grass.
Ryan- He comes from the driveway.
Aniya- And he goes to the grass.
Josiah- And he flies away.
Aniya- Snakes don't fly.
Josiah- The butterfly.
Ellis- The snake came from the sticks.
Aniya- He lives in the grass.
Elias- Not no more.  He lives in the sticks.
Teacher- Why did he move to the sticks?
Josiah- He maybe goes in the grass and in the trees. Where there's grass, he goes far up the tree.
Elias- He didn't bump his head.  He was paying attention. He tried to find his mom under the tree to find a home.
Cidmarie- No, he's not a baby.
Ryan- The big one is named the daddy snake.
Teacher- Is this the daddy snake?  What is his name?
Ryan- Daddy Snake.
Teacher- What should we do with daddy snake when he dries?
Elias- Put him in the grass.
Teacher- What will he do out there?
Elias- He can look for the snake
Aniya- He can look for Fuzzy
Elias- No, he can't because fuzzy is in the house, the room.
Cidmarie- He's already in his cocoon.
Ryan- I think he's getting out right now.
Teacher- What else could we do with a giant paper snake?
 Josiah- We could run around.
Teacher- Could one person carry him?
Aniya- We will carry him.
Teacher- Where should we go?
Aniya- Chase the snake outside.
Teacher- Should be take Daddy Snake to your room?
Ellis- Yes. If we take him outside and it rains, the rain will ruin him. If it rains, all the paint could get off him.
Aniya- We can walk him inside.
Ryan- I want to walk him down to see my mom! <She is a teacher in the building.> 

We ended up carrying him back to class, for now, with the intention of adding more detail to his scaley skin later.  This will be our special project that we work on during open studio on D days.

102- Kindergarten-  One student showed so much progress in his portraiture over the last four classes that even I was amazed.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

I started the day working with some first grade students who needed some extra time in the studio, as they hadn't been here last year. 

I let them have time to make a painting of their choice, to get them comfortable with the supplies and the studio, and when they said they were finished, I asked them to paint feathers.  I let them choose their colors and showed them where the metallic paints and glitter is located, hoping they'd take me up on the slight suggestion and use them, as the feathers have a sheen to them. 

I used a combination of my limited Spanish vocabulary and the translation of the one student who speaks limited English to communicate.  Art is pretty awesome because it transcends spoken language and I live that here at the beginning of the year or when we get new students. 

She used only purple at first and I pointed out that you could see gold and blue-green.  She was able to find the colors and put them in the correct spots. You can see an attempt at the shape, too.  This is her first observational painting with me EVER, and she has never done an observational drawing either, so I'm really happy with this.

He couldn't quite get the thin lines, so he used a sharpie instead of a paintbrush
for the pieces on the bottom. 

He added glitter to create the sheen on the feathers.


We continued our portraits.  I noticed one little girl staring at her eyes, examining the inside of them. Then I noticed she added the red rim around her eyes in her portrait. This isn't even the class that talked about bleeding eyeballs, so I don't know what it is with kindergarteners and the inner eyelid, but it might be something we need to explore.  The result of this eyelid drawing is pretty anatomic.

Some of the students from last year are really great at coloring.

103- We reviewed the nature experience, then practiced our watercolor skills drawing the things we saw outside (and some portraits) 

In 118, we went outside to start our nature walks and we saw a few living things. 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The third grade class that used to be 112 last year- my oceanographers- is missing their WELL art time with me.  Since they are in the room next door, I set up the tiny hallway between our rooms with a provocation. If they have free time, they will be able to come out into the quiet area and work on a drawing.  It says, "Can you draw how it feels?" and I've placed seashells and the cattails and thistle plants out there.

Today was a day of mostly portraits. We are nearly finished with most of the portraits at each grade level.

103 had a special experience. We went for a walk in the back lot of our school, to prepare them for nature walks over to the nature trail. We talked about using our senses and tried to sit for ten seconds in silence to see what we could hear. We will increase this time as the year progresses, hoping for a full minute or two of silence by the end of the year. Today, we heard wind, a train, cars, and the rustling of leaves. We thought we heard mermaids, unicorns, and whales, but we talked about our role as scientists and sometimes it's fun to hear things in stories, but sometimes we have to only talk about what we really see and hear.

 Then, we walked around to see what our eyes could see.  And we saw a LOT!

We saw flowers.  The students collected "flowers" which were mostly dandelions and other pretty weeds.

 Then we saw a butterfly. This was very exciting because the butterfly allowed us to get really close to it before flying away. When it started flying, we chased it!

After the butterfly excitement, a child shouted, "I see a snake!!!" I thought the child was kidding because we heard unicorns earlier and it's the middle of a busy, urban city.  Lo and behold, there was a real snake in the parking lot.  I believe fifty percent of us (including myself) screamed, but then curiosity overtook fear and we watched the snake slither (from a safe distance) until it went into the grass. Ms. Cich promised us that it was only a "baby garden snake" so we were in no danger. 

I see a snake! 

The snake in its snakely glory.

You'd think that was it for our encounters with living things, but we had one more surprise.  A fuzzy little caterpillar was crawling across our path!  The students decided to keep him in their bug box as a pet. They named him Fuzzy.

At this time I thought our first experience in nature was complete, but as we shared out about the experience, the students noticed the beautiful shadows that came from the flowers were were holding. This led us to "put" shadows on different things- the sidewalk, our hands, the buildling. 

In summary, in just a half-hour outdoors, we were able to see three examples of living things in our environment, play with shadows, take a relaxing break to listen to sounds and feel emotions ranging from excitement to surprise to happiness (and for a few of us, fear, with the snake!)  This half-hour is proof that taking kids outside is not a waste of time during the school day, but rather an experience to spur provocations and ideas for inquiry investigations.  We will have to review this day with the students and see what leads we can pick up on to take this and make it part of their curriculum.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Yesterday, we had our first skype session of the year with Ashley Cadwell. It was nice to sit with the team and discuss our progress so far this year.  We have a long way to go, but it feels good to have a better grasp on what we need to do, as opposed to last year when we were trying to blaze the trail.

After skyping, I pushed into 104. Two of the kindergarteners, Kierra and Sebastian, called me over to hear a song they learned in Spanish. I recorded them on my audionote app, then quickly put their self-portraits into a video with the song.  I can't wait to show it to them!

103- I let the students continue to explore the idea of portraiture by having them paint portraits in watercolor.  We are going to let the students experiment with this material all week, so they can become comfortable with it. Mrs. Bennett and Ms. Cich even sat with the students and painted.

We have a student in this class who does not speak English or Spanish. He has been very nervous and withdrawn as a result and we're doing all we can to reach out to him.  On a whim, we decided to try Google Translate. It didn't have the language he speaks, but Swahili is spoken in the country he came from, so we tried that.  I typed, "Hello" in the translator and let the speaker read the word.  He was painting and his head jumped up.  A small half-smile appeared on his face. "Do you understand?" was the next words we tried, and he gave us a huge smile.

This is one of those moments in teaching that I will never forget.  We tried a few more phrases and I don't think he understood all of them, but he definitely appeared to have heard the language before and seemed more at ease with us.

101 finished up their portraits so their identity wall can start to be assembled.  I'm going to do the same thing I'm doing with 103- allow them to explore portraits through watercolor as a reinforcement for portraits and an introduction to watercolor.

118- I brought a new small group into the studio to start their portraits.  We are nearly through this class. I enjoy working on the self-portraits, but it will be fun and exciting to start whatever next project we head into.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Kindergarten- I tried to revisit the blood, bones, eyes conversation from the last class, but they weren't interested. Instead, they wanted to talk about mustaches and beards. I tested out an app called, "Audionote" and recorded a conversation about who has beards and who doesn't. I like the app because we can hear the conversation in their voices, but transcription takes longer than when I just type the conversation. Plus, one of the students noticed the blinking recording button on the iPad and started making ghost noises into the speaker.

A- I have a beard.
Teacher- I don't think any of us have beards.
B- Grown-ups have beards.
Y- Excuse me. My dad has a beard. My dad has a long beard like this.
B- My dad has a beard.
A- My dad has a mustache.
Y- My mustache is this little.
Teacher- You do not have a mustache.
A- That's not my mustache. That's my chin.
Teacher- Is your chin a different color than your face?
A looks at his work.
A- I don't think so.
T- If he's a baker, he has a mustache.
Teacher- A baker?
Y- Yes. Bakers have mustaches.
Teacher- Why do you think men have mustaches or beards?
B- My brother didn't have one and then he got to high school and now he has one.  Grown ups have mustaches.
Y- But only men have mustaches.
Teacher- Not women?
B- No! That would be weird. Moms can't get a mustache or a beard.
X- OOOOOooooooooooo.  Woooooooooooooo. <ghost noises>
Y, looking in the mirror- None of us have a beard or a mustache. Oh!  I drawed my hair wrong!  My hair isn't like this.  It's like... I don't know.

Teachers' note: I am not sure if he said, "Banker" or "Baker" for the people who "always have mustaches." I couldn't understand, even after asking questions for clarification. I think I might need him to draw or identify pictures to find out more about this concept.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Thursday, September 18, 2014

First grade- continued their portraits. We had a critique and the students wanted to create another draft to see if they could improve.

116- I brought a group in to finish. I was able to mount the finished portraits and presented them to Ms. Passino, all ready to go.

104- The students continued their portraits.

103 had a fun class. I wanted to continue the provocation of "Can we make a face?" but introduce the students to wire, so we made faces out of pipe cleaners.  Mrs. Bennett and I discussed doing an introduction to materials series of provocations, so we may continue to explore faces using the theme of shapes and introduce a new material each class or every two classes to get the students used to being in the studio and using the materials, while reinforcing the curriculum (shapes.)

101 continued their portraits.

118- I brought a new group in to begin portraits and presented Ms. Chowaniec with sixteen mounted portraits.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Exciting morning thus far!

First grade came in and continued to work on their portraits.  We did a compare and contrast with master artists' portraits that went very well.

I have a new block this year called, "Open Studio."  This enables me to work with students on either special projects or catching up students who need some extra time in the studio. Today, the pre-k in 103 signed up for extra time.

The five students who came in had previously struggled with drawing their faces in a representational manner.  I couldn't be sure if the students didn't understand the assignment, were choosing to do their own thing, or just needed extra time.  Today was a success.  With the extra attention, we were able to stop the students from overdrawing on their portraits. I gave a demonstration on coloring technique and showed them why drawing designs over their faces made it difficult to see their faces. 

Two students showed a HUGE improvement. L had been creating portraits with added abstract designs surrounding them.  Working with her today showed me that she was making the choice to add those designs.  With very small group instruction, she demonstrated observational drawing skills. She looked at her face in the mirror and described her eyes.  She told me that her upper lip is more tan while her lower lip has more pink.  She noticed that her original sketch had a circular nose, but, in reality, her nose was made up of "two holes" so she added a second circle for the other nostril. I think she progressed extremely quickly, which, combined with her superior fine motor skills, will make it exciting to work with her in the future.

B also made progress, going from scribbles on the first day to a recognizable portrait today.

I worked with kindergarten at the end of the day and recorded this little bit of dialogue:

The students were looking closely at their faces while drawing their portraits.
X- Look! There's blood in my eyes!
Y- Tell your mom! 
M- It's not blood. It's just red.
X- It's blood. There's blood under my skin. You want me to take it off and show you? When I fell, it was blood coming out.
M- We call them "eyes" but they're really "eyeballs."
C- One time I got a shot and there was blood right here!
Y- I had a shot at the doctor.
B- Me, too. They gave me stickers.
Y- I thought I'd get stickers, but I got crayons.
X- You should have told them you want stickers.
Y- No way! I wanted crayons so I could make something for my dad. 
Teacher- I wonder what else is under our skin.
M- Bones!
N- Blood!
M- Bones and blood!
Teacher- Why? 
M- Bones make us walk.
B- If we don't have no bones, we can't walk. If your bones are sideways, you would fall apart.