Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Animal T-shirts

When I moved into my position six years ago, one of the first grade teachers approached me about painting T-shirts as an end-of-the-year activity. As a naive first-year teacher trying to please, I said yes. Oh, Rach.

Enough drama--it's not so bad. In fact, sometimes it's a lot of fun! The kids love it and use the T-shirts as a life-size yearbook, signing the backs of one another's shirts and wearing them as school winds down.

This year's Field Day theme was 'animals,' so I grabbed that opportunity and ran with it, turning T-shirt time into a full-fledged lesson on pattern...

White tigers!


And Dalmatians, oh my!

I couldn't be there on Field Day (I was at the other building, womp womp) but word on the street is that the first graders showed up everyone else with their rockin' tees!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Eye Spy

Before she left us, my student teacher had the fourth graders whip through a quick two-day drawing/oil pastel resist/creepy eyeball extravaganza. Both Miss Caruso and I have a thing for drawing eyes, and I doubt we're alone. Something about the details, the symbolism, and the uniqueness of eyes is really quite captivating.

Granted, for all their beauty, there is something about touching my own eyes twice a day--contact lens wearers, high five!--that is absolutely disgusting, and when we have children, my husband will be responsible for any and all child eye problems, but whatever. They're fun to draw!

After a bit o' sketching, Miss Caruso had the kids draw final copies on small (6 x 9") white paper. Kiddos could choose a human eye or an animal eye.

Oil pastels were used to color, leaving any to-be-black spaces uncolored, while white spaces must be colored with white oil pastel.

India ink was smeared across part of or the entire paper and left to dry.

And as part of our last class together, the kiddos used large popsicle sticks to scratch away as much of the India ink as desired/possible.


Some of these look SUPER neato, while others just didn't quite get there (my own example was part of the latter group!). But the kids were really into it and had some good drawing exposure. And now they have some creepy eyeballs to scare their parents with! Win!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Super-Speedy Sunflower Still Lifes

My super student teacher (now a proud graduate--congrats, LC!) started this Vincent van Gogh project with the third graders. I have done Vincent's sunflowers before, but it was nice to see how Miss Caruso approached it, particularly in a time crunch, as it was May and our classes were numbered. I like to do this project at the end of the school year 'cause sunflowers just scream SUMMER, HERE I COME!

After talking about VVG and his passion for fashion sunflowers, Miss Caruso had the kids prep their paper, drawing a border around their 9 x 12" white sheet, Phyl style! (Bless you, Phyl, you practical genius.) Then they painted the background using two colors, one on either side of their pre-drawn horizon line.

(This was great timing for our first day of this project--a few minutes were spent to introduce the project, kiddos glossed their coil pots, and then did this background portion.)

On the second day, students entered the art room to find some lovely (fake) sunflowers decorating their tables. These flowers served as inspiration for adding vases and flowers. Miss Caruso did a great demo showing how to twist and turn the brush to manipulate the paint into petals and leaves. Kiddos painted in this order:

1. Paint a vase and give it two values, VVG style:

2. Use a pencil to draw the brown centers of each flower you intend to paint:

3. Use the penciled centers as a guide to show where to paint the petals:

4. Once petals are done, go back and paint those centers (doing it in this order prevents a lot of "AHHH MY PETALS TURNED BROWN" panic attacks on the part of the 9-year-olds)

5. Go to town adding leaves, values, details, and the like!

6. Sit back and admire your work whilst telling your art teacher and student teacher how beautiful they look today amidst the field of sunflowers in the art room:

7. Clean up your mess, wash yo' hands, and tell your art teacher to stop using her iPhone to take pictures of your awesome artwork 'cause the lighting is all kinds of funky with this neon paint.

Anyway, there are 57698234 ways (I counted) to teach about van Gogh's sunflowers--for a quickie, I highly recommend this method. The timeline is fast but the results are fab!

Sayonara, Year 6!

On Wednesday, as the buses pulled out and several hundred children screamed their goodbyes from open windows, my colleagues and I stood waving goodbye, thankful that another year was over, silently saying, "thank you, God, we made it through!" And behind my Audrey Hepburn-esque oversized black sunglasses, I bawled like a little baby. Yep.

Less than 48 later, my two classrooms are packed up (for this alone we art teachers deserve medals made of precious gold), my end-of-year checklists are in, and my computer is ready to be turned in for re-imaging... you know, when I'm done posting this.

I hope you had an awesome year! For personal reasons that I'll probably get into at a later date, mine was the hardest yet. It also held some of the best days and sweetest kids. And roughly 7,500 projects (!!!). So all in all, it was another great year. Year 6! Where does the time go? (Translation: I'm getting OLD.)

I inadvertently came across this post and in truly un-Rachel fashion, actually read the entire thing word for word. And it is just beautiful. It speaks volumes to teachers and I think you must go read it now because it can be summed up in one beautiful sentence:

Your life matters so much and your legacy will go on long after you’re done teaching.

Wowsa. I plan to post some end-of-year projects in the coming weeks, and hope to share a few other quasi-related things as well, so please, don't kick me to the curb from your blog feed just yet! I've so enjoyed keeping this blog for the last 8 months and hope to kick things into high gear in the year to come. Until then, I'll be reading--FOR PLEASURE, for Pete's sake--staying up past 10:30, making art that isn't for the sole purpose of being recreated by 6-year-olds, and going to yard sales on FRIDAYS! Ahhhhhh!