1.28.2012

Personal Logos -- 5th Grade

I would love to say that I came up with this lesson - however, it isn't true.  I did this lesson back when I was doing my first placement for student teaching.  I was in a rougher school in the area, with a room full of 8th graders that were one of the worst groups the school had seen.  I was 5'2" and not really super confident in my ability to teach a crammed room of rough 8th grade students that were taller than me -- so instead of making my own lesson I taught a lesson my cooperating teacher had already set up.  Logos.

I have since morphed her lesson into a unit for my 5th grade students.

Day 1:
I start out with a slideshow of logos that have no words.  I tell students I want them to keep track WITHOUT talking of how many of these logos they know.  We go through the slideshow a second time and then students whisper what each company is.

We briefly talk about what a logo is, why it is important to a company and consumer.  I then explain they will be creating their own personal logo.

:Insert gasps, and whispered feelings of 'cool':

I explain they will be brainstorming today to find their logo.  (I am super against worksheets in the art room - but for this I needed a way to help and guide their brainstorming).  I pass out a worksheet in which they have to write their first initial 10 different ways.  Some students groan at this point, because apparently 10 is a lot -- I quickly show them on the board that simply writing their letter lower case, upper case, and then the same in bubble is already 4, and they all relax.

After 10 of their first initial they do 10 of their second initial.  Last but not least they do 10 different ways to combine the letters they have done.  I of course don't keep them confined to the letter they have done, but it gives them an out if they can't or won't think of anything past what they have already done.

At this point hopefully they find a combination they REALLY like, though sometimes they need a little help to think past the letters themselves.  If they find one they like I have them turn over the paper and try that design slightly different 4-6 times -- ie. changing the thickness of the lines, the angle of the lines, how long certain lines are.  When they are confident in what they want we move to the next step.

Day 2 -- Formatting

The next class time we talk about formatting.  My students have already had practice at formatting in the beginning of the year - so a quick reminder of formatting and away they go. I, again, have created a sheet to help guide their exploration for a final logo.   The worksheet has a circle, triangle, square, rectangle and oval on it.  The students must take their favorite design from the previous class and mold/bend it into each shape.  Most students claimed they liked it in a square until they got to the oval or circle.  Once they did this and decided which shape they liked best they flipped their paper over and drew it 4 more times.  The students then started to work on color combinations for their logos.

Day 3 --  Final Logos


The final day!!!  I printed out large shapes: square, circle, oval, rectangle, and triangle.  The students picked their shape, drew their logo, colored, cut it out, glued it onto a piece of choice construction paper.  I made a HUGE deal out of how awesome these should be.  I told them that a marker that was drying out was not an acceptable reason for why it wasn't colored well.  Poor cutting and glue bulging out the sides was not acceptable.  To really drive home my expectation if there was poor coloring, cutting, or glueing they would need to START OVER.


Their logos are AMAZING!!!  Not only do they look fantastic but the kids are super proud of them!




















Okay, so I haven't figured out how to attach word documents or PDF files for download - but for now here are pictures of my brainstorming worksheets:






1.26.2012

Star Gallery

I have been wanting to make a small gallery at one of my schools since I was hired a couple months back (has it been that long already?!)  I wasn't sure where I wanted it or how I wanted it to look.

After I got the room mostly organized the way I needed/wanted it - I thought about making the gallery on one of the walls in my room.  The wall is huge and ALL the students would see it.  I decided I wasn't happy with this idea for a couple of reasons: 1) The 5th grade production backdrop has now been hung over that wall so we can start working on it. 2) All students would see it but no one else -- no parents, visitors, or staff would get to enjoy it.  So, all in all I decided to make one fo the front big bulletin boards, complete with track lighting, into the Star Gallery.   (The funky yellow star is our schools logo - it is based off of Matisse)

The gallery has somewhat amiable lighting (though there aren't enough lights for the board/far enough away - but it's better than nothing), good traffic, a sparkly gold frame and artwork already on it.  I have yet to complete the boarder - but in due time. 

I will be posting student work in/on the Gallery that goes above and beyond the project expectations - or even if a student goes above and beyond their personal level.  At this point there are no awards or certificates, just the honor of seeing their work there.  I am thinking about doing a picture of them with their art on the wall, but frankly I'm not sure I have the time.  I am at this school 3 days and those 3 days are PACKED!  Classes are pretty much back to back and there is little time for much else.  Perhaps I can get some parent volunteers to help me out with this?!

1st Graders vs. Clean up vs. Mean Teacher

Okay it was one of those days with one of my 1st grade classes - I don't know what happened but MEAN  teacher appeared....  It is not a moment I am proud of, and I actually intend to make it right with the kids I had today, it was one of those moments that was just not pretty.

My 1st graders had a GREAT class - they worked really hard on their projects and when they were done they went to the 'done' station as normal.  They were busy and having fun - doing their thing.  I gave them warnings about clean up, as normal..... then it was time to clean up and it happend... no one cleaned up.  They walked around talking to friends, getting out MORE materials..... I stopped our song and told them it was time to stop and clean up - if not they would not be taking their 'free draw/builds would be recycled'.  It didn't phase them... I could have been speaking Greek for how many of them followed my warning.

Sure enough the song was over and kids were out of their seats, pencils all over, paper all over, glue bottles on tables toppled over..... I have no idea what happened.  We have been cleaning up with the song since fall - more often than not they stop what they are doing and put everything away. Often times they race to see what table can be done first.  However, not today.  Today I was shocked, frustrated, and honestly a little upset.  I had 3rd graders standing in the hall waiting to come in and they were goofing around after our song was over.  I had reminded multiple kids with personal reminders during clean up with things like, "Put away the clay please" "Check your table.  Is it clean?" "Where should your body be?" "Put away the glue please." Greek I tell ya, I learned and was speaking Greek.

That is when it happened - MEAN teacher broke out - I haven't seen mean teacher in years and BAM there she was.

Mean teacher had all of them place their free made projects in the recycling bin as I had warned them.  At the time this felt appropriate based on how they were playing/building them instead of cleaning -- but when I got home tonight and thought about it -- it just wasn't necessary.  In my mind those 5 minute projects they made with left over papers were nothing overly special - but perhaps to my kids they were the Mona Lisa and a gift for someone... I was an adult in that moment and decided those scraps were nothing more than scraps -- which wasn't my call.

I made a mistake today - I over reacted.  I am human.  I plan to talk that class and apologize for my actions and explain why I made them and why they were wrong.

Next time they come we will be practicing how to clean up (which is a far more appropriate consequence) and while we do that I will let them re-build what I asked them to toss.

This will be a lesson for me as it will be for them -- that even teachers make mistakes, teachers/adults can apologize when they are wrong.

I don't know what came over me in that moment.  I am not normally so rash about things - but I think the combination of surprise, frustration, and the need to get them out so my 3rd graders could come in was just a bad combination.

So, to my 1st graders I see on Thursdays -- I am sorry.

1.21.2012

4th Art Ed Blog of the Year!

I am super excited to announce that Organized Chaos has been voted the 4th Art Ed Blog of the year through The Art of Education.  Thanks to all who voted and those who have shared my site with new people.  I am excited to not only have found many more wonderful blogs through this experience, but I've been connected with so many wonderful people!

Please head to The Art of Education and visit some of the blogs listed - truly amazing community.

1.17.2012

Black Book of Colors - 3rd Grade


I did a "Black Book of Colors" lesson a few years ago, and decided that my current group of 3rd graders could handle the whole concept/idea.

I started out the first day of the unit with the question, "Can people who are blind understand color?".  I had the students vote, with their heads down, to see what they thought.  In MOST of my classes it was an overwhelming thought that no a blind person couldn't understand understand colors.  A couple of students always said yes.  I then asked for volunteers to explain their thoughts.  As expected the kids that say no can't wrap their heads around how to explain a color without sight and the kids who think yes - say you just have to explain it enough.

As this point I change the question to "Can a person who is deaf able to understand music?"  Immediately I have students saying yes!  I ask how.  They immediately tell me that the person could watch people play instruments, or someone could sign the words, or read music.  At this point they are so close to opening up their way of thinking that you can feel it in the room.  Next, I ask how many of them have sat at a red light and they can feel the bass of a car 3 places back?!  Almost all of them raise their hand -- I ask them how they could hear a car so far away..... tick... tick.. HANDS SHOOT IN THE AIR.  There are gasps as students get it.  I call on someone and they say they could feel it.  So I summarize - if people who are deaf can understand music through sight and sound - how could someone who is blind understand colors?!

Slowly, so slowly the gears are turning as students start to transfer their new thoughts - and BAM.  Hands go up.

Now, instead of calling on someone I tell them we are going to do an experiment.   I explain that I am going to blindfold a volunteer, hand them an object and their job is to tell the class what color it is.

I am always surprised on how many students volunteer for this role.  I pick my first volunteer and blindfold them.  I stress that if they cheat by looking under the blindfold it won't really help our experiment.  I then stress to the class that they can't make a single comment because even if they don't mean anything by it, it might give the color away!

I hand my first blindfolded student an orange making sure I puncture the skin with my nail.  After a few seconds the student tells me it's an orange.  I of course then ask what is the color?!  The student generally giggles and says, 'orange'.  I ask the class if this is true and they say YES!

I repeat this with a variety of things: a piece of chocolate (making sure my volunteer has no food allergies), a banana, the sunlight, a smelly marker, a cup of water.

After this is over we re-vote on the original questions "Can people who are blind understand color?".  Most students switch over to 'yes' though there are always still a couple of 'no'.  Now, I explain to them that they are both right.  People who are blind can understand color through their other sense though we don't know if they understand it the same way we do.  (I don't normally like to have 'trick' questions but this time it seemed appropriate).

I then read the best book ever, the book that inspired the unit - "The Black Book of Colors".  This book is written from Thomas's point of view.  He describes different colors using his senses: taste, smell, feel,  and even sound.  The pages are black, type in white - the book is also complete with brail and the pictures are all meant to be touched as they are raised off the paper.  The pictures have no color.

Next, I explain that we are going to make our own black book of colors.  (Pause for excitement and whispers).  As a class we complete the paper I am about to hand out to them.  It is a simple paper, but the thoughts the students have to create are new and stretch their current ways of thinking.  I have found that this paper helps them organize their thoughts.

Their paper says:
COLOR:

SMELLS LIKE:
TASTES LIKE:
SOUNDS LIKE:
FEELS LIKE:

So to complete this together I have a student volunteer a color, then other students to volunteer a way to use smell, taste, sound, or feel.

Example:
COLOR: green

SMELLS LIKE: sweet spring.
TASTES LIKE: mushy, gross, peas.
SOUNDS LIKE: summer breezes through the trees.
FEELS LIKE: sharp, pokey grass

After we create the example I pass out the papers and they make up their own colors and examples.  I stress that each one should be different, because otherwise they pick the first one they come up with and describe it for rest of the paper.  I remind them they are describing a color and not 'grass'.  This is a little tough for some students and they need some extra examples.  When they answer these they draw a  SIMPLE thumbnail sketch for each one.

DAY 2:

Students finish their white brainstorming sheets, pick their favorite drawing and draw it BIG on 9x12 black construction paper.  Next, they trace their lines with good ol' school glue.  We talk a lot about making their lines too skinny or too thick -- getting them just right.  I tell them to hold the bottle like a pencil with one hand, tilt the point, put the point on the paper, and always PULL the glue bottle -- turn the paper if needed.

When their picture is on the drying rack they are to write what they drew in a FULL COMPLETE sentence on their white paper... "Green tastes like mushy, gross peas".

DAY 3:

I tell students that we are going to test their papers.  I pass out random pictures FACEDOWN to students.  I ask them to keep their eyes closed, flip over the papers and try and figure out the picture using their fingers.  When they think they know they are to raise their hands.  When most students raise their hands I have them look to see if they were right - flip them back over, shuffle the papers in the middle of their table and pick a new one!  I did this for about 3-4 rounds.

Next, students take WHITE colored pencils and write their sentence somewhere that makes sense on their paper and in a size of lettering that also makes sense.

I then had them pick out a piece of colored construction paper that goes with the color they chose to represent.

1.15.2012

Nomination for Art Education Blog of the Year!

I just found out from Jessica over at The Art of Education that my blog has been selected as one of the finalists to win "Art Ed Blog of the Year!" 


I am both excited and honored to be apart of their final 20 nominations!  There have been many truly amazing art blogs that were nominated on her site - please take time to check them all out.  I have found many new ones that I really like, and a couple more I have re-found.  


If you enjoy my blog please head to The Art of Education and vote for my blog.  The voting is open this ENTIRE week until January 20, 2012.  The 10 blogs with the most votes will get a permanent spot on The Art of Education's site, as well as a banner to post on their site proclaiming it an Art Ed Blog of the Year!  Very cool.


So please, head to the Art of Education and vote for your favorite Art blog, even if it's not mine.  (It sounds like you can vote for as many as you would like but you can only vote once!)



1.06.2012

This Week in Organized Chaos

The break was wonderful, and it's nice to be back.  This weeks was a week full of new beginnings in the art room - lots of painting, drawing, brainstorming, and critical thinking!
Picture
Kindergarten students were introduced to "printmaking" this week.  We broke the word down into "print" and "make".  The students agreed they know how to "make" things without a problem.  I then asked them about "print".  Students told me that they print things off the computer and they print with stamps.  We talked a little bit more about how both those things are used to create the same image over and over again!  I explained that is exactly what printmaking is - making the same print or picture over and over!

I did a quick demonstration on how to load the brayer with paint, roll it on pre-cut pieces of bubble warp, and 'print' the bubble wrap on their paper.  You would think I was performing magic the way they responded to the print!  I then explained a few more things including procedures for clean up and sent them off to their seats!

These turned out beautiful!  I have no idea what we are going to do with them, if anything.  I had originally thought to use them in a collage next class, but I am also thinking of leaving them the way they are.  I will have this all figured out by next class.
Picture



1st Graders learned about "profile portraits".  We started out by looking a short slideshow filled with examples of profile portraits.  I asked the students to raise their hand when they could tell me something ALL the pictures had in common.  The students then told me that all the people were facing off to the side.  So, next I asked how they knew they were facing sideways.  You could almost hear the gears turning in their heads with quizzical looks on their faces trying to figure out both how they knew that and how to explain it.  Sure enough, they needed a little help.  I asked them to show me on their fingers how many eyes they SEE.  I told them to count the eyes they SEE.  Most kids had one little finger up, a couple of two.  We then counted the eye together - sure enough there was one!  I asked them if the person was real and they turned to face the class how many eyes would they see? -- TWO!  an Ah-ha moment for sure.

We talked a little longer about profiles - I traced one of the faces on the board to show that the nose points off the face in the direction it is facing, along with only seeing half the mouth.  I had the students do some guided practice by drawing a series of pictures on the board and the students showed me on their fingers which one picture,out of three, had a correct profile.

There was a lot of excitement when the students learned their profile portrait was going on a tooth fairy!  I will post the whole lesson after the pictures are done!
Picture


2nd Graders are working on using visual texture in their artwork.

We started out by reading the book "Where the Wild Things Are".  I told the students that their job during the story was to pay close attention to the wild things!  At the end of the book I had the students share what they noticed - quickly they share that each wild thing is made up of different types of animals!  We then discussed how the scaly body looked bumpy, but the page didn't feel bumpy.  Ah-hah - visual texture!

This book was the inspiration for their own "Wild Thing" - more to come.
3rd Graders did some serious critical thinking this week.  As soon as they walked in I told them I was going to write a question on the board and I wanted them to think about it - not talk, but think.  They needed to decide yes or no as their current answer.

I wrote on the board, "Can people who are blind understand color?"

I asked them to think about if they had never, ever seen any type of color - could they understand that an orange was orange, or that the sky was blue, or their favorite color was green?

I let them mull it over, had them put down their heads and we took a quick poll.  In most of my classes it was overwhelming "No".  Students that wanted to share their reasons were allowed (well at least for a while - we only get 50 minutes!).  Next, I asked them if someone was deaf could they understand music?!  Students jumped all over using other sense to understand music - reading it, watching it, feeling it.  Slowly they started to connect that maybe if a deaf person could use other senses to understand music - maybe, just maybe someone who was blind could use other senses to understand colors.

Next, my favorite part, we conducted a little experiment.  I told students I would need a volunteer that would be willing to be blindfolded, then handed an object that they needed to report the color on.  It always amazes me how many kids want to try this infront of the class!  I do my best to pick equal numbers of boys and girls, though not everyone gets a chance.