Testing is an incredibly stressful time of year for both teachers and students. As an art teacher during the week of testing I try to focus on the things I can do to help students mentally and emotionally as they prepare for testing days. Whether that is a bit of calm before the storm or an outlet after hours of being silent and stressed.
This week in K-2 the focused on some abstract "one line doodle" and "watercoloring". This is a stress free activity that any student with any skill level can do. The simplicity of the assignment makes for a more therapeutic experience as does the atmosphere I create in the classroom. Some of my favorite atmospheric elements I use in the classroom all the time are "Cafe ambiences" on Youtube. Today we were in "Calm Street" Cafe, listening to smooth jazz, and admiring the sights and sounds of a waterfall right outside. The students love to "Hold on to their seats" as we "teleport to a new cafe or mythical world".
For My middle Schoolers...
I decided to go the "punny route". Something to take their brains away from the stress and in to a creative and slightly silly headspace. It all started with this meme that I found...
I put all of these phrases and this meme on the board and students must to choose one to inspire an art piece. They can use any medium and any style as long as they translate the words into something visually understandable (a practice in Visual Literacy.) Visual Literacy is a form of critical thinking and the ability to understand what you see. Here are some of my examples and student work will be posted in the next blog!
This is Art Show week for Davis and Art Show Prep for Dade Elm. Our themes are slightly different but they have the same elements (Flowers and Flower loving friends). This helps me be able to plan over the broad range of students that I teach.
This week I took inspiration from my beloved Pinterest Board and created a slug linework (I used procreate to draw it) for students to practice their watercolor skills on. Having a template allows them to focus on one skill at a time. In this case for Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd Grade are working staying inside the lines, proper use of water color (the right amount of water and paint, not mixing colors in the pallete, gentle strokes, brush care, etc.) and creativity. At Davis Elm. (2-5th) we will be working on Color Theory (Complimentary colors) on top of Craftsmanship and Creativity.
I like to call this project "Books, Blooms, and Bugs"
(Squishy the Classroom managing Squid Keeping an eye on things.)
"Art gives you fine motor skills. It also gives you the chance to be creative." -Piper (2nd Grader)
I couldn't agree more with Miss Piper's unprompted art assessment. It made my heart glow with art teacher pride.
"One of the most important skills that are developed through art is fine motor development. During art lessons, your child's small muscles in the fingers, hands, and wrists are exercised and strengthened, helping to make learning to write easier."
This assignment focuses on fine motor skills by using our hands to connect to what our brains are seeing. Students created collage work by ripping and tearing the paper into pieces instead of using scissors. We then glued the paper into the shapes of flowers and clouds. This sort of impressionistic art is a great way to experiment with creativity outside the realm of perfectionism.
These pieces will be on display at our Book Fair and Art Show Collaboration in May!
This is our second year teaming up with Mrs. Martha Baker and the Children's Advocacy Center of Lookout Mountain for their "Child Abuse Awareness" Art Contest. Now 8th Grader, Abigail Holmes was last years winner! She was presented her award at the Board of Education and her design was used to create a T-shirt for this years Child Abuse Awareness Month!
Our Essential Question for this week's assignment was "How can art reflect and create an impactful message?" I used this contest as a chance to talk to students about the importance of art, especially when it comes to making an impact and helping translate a verbal message into a visual one. We as artists can speak louder visually than with words alone.
The students were given creative freedom to choose their subject matter but encouraged to work with in the themes, symbols, and color schemes, established by the movement.
It was amazing to see these students creativity, but it was even more amazing to see real empathy poor out from their hearts. Check out the slides below to see some of their artwork and be sure to go by the Dade County Library to see their art in person.
"give Mrs. Gann a Costume" Halloween Art
One picture of my head and hundreds of adorable costumes. I've never felt so cool in my life. Hhaha. The creativity was off the charts for these K-2 Students and it was great way to get them used to working within a theme.
Faux Stained Glass
Students used markers, watercolor, and transparent paper to create Faux Stained Glass. A select few students were able to create Faux Stained Glass on my classroom windows using transparent photography sheets and golden tape. The results were absolutely stunning!
A beautiful watercolor leaf design for Thanksgiving!
This years Middle School Fine Arts Fair was a wild success and something I plan on doing year after year. Our lovely Media Specialist (Mrs. Durham) and I teamed up to create a "Arts and Book Fair". That idea grew wings to include Mrs. Haston (Chorus), Mr. Martin, (Media Arts), Mrs. Reed (English Language Arts), and Mrs. McBurnett (English Language Arts). We had magical choral performances, Fairytale Movie Trailers, Creative Writing Stories, and so much Fantastical Fairytale Art! We have the most talented kids around and I can't wait for next years event!
Paper Mache Medieval Weaponry
Clay Fairy Homes
Faux Stained Glass
Watercolor Dragon Eyes
Paper Mache 3D Book Sculptures
Dragon Mtn. Created with 3D Printed Dragons donated by Mrs. Shena Hill.
Tiny Acrylic Paintings
It all started with a class assignment about the murals by Kelsey Montague.
Students learned about how she creates murals as well as the techniques used to create such huge pieces of artwork. This inspired an awesome competition! Students throughout the entire school had an opportunity to entire their designs for a chance to have their art on our Middle School Arts Building. The theme was "Past Inspired, Flying Higher" and each set of "wings" was inspired by one of the Arts Disciplines showcased at Dade County Schools because we know the Arts give us wings! Below is a slide show of the winners and honorable mentions!
Then came time to bring the sketches to live!
Over the summer we scheduled time with the awesome artists and let them start the mural, then with the help of Mrs. Heidi Wilson, her teaching aid, Mr. Jessie, and Mrs. Gann, the murals were finished! We cannot wait to see our students showing what gives them the wings to fly! Make sure to tag our social media if you take a picture! @dade_k8_visualarts on Insta and Facebook or use the hashtags #theartsgivemewings #artgivesmewings #bandgivesmewings #chorusgivesmewings #theatregivesmewings
THe finished product! Drum roll Please....
I am so happy to announce that I will be now be at Dade Elementary Monday through Thursday from 8:30 to 11:00 teaching K-2. I will also be at Davis on Fridays teaching from 8:30-11:00 Grades 3-5. And just like last year I will be at Dade Middle School teaching grades 6 - 8! I cannot wait to start this new journey in teaching and meet so many new and amazing artists. Keep an eye out for the amazing things we have planned!
Last week our eighth graders learned about the life and artistic style of Vincent van Gogh. Through examining his life we were able to have an open discussion about mental health and how people can view the world differently based on their own life experiences. Below I have featured two “WUW’s” (Write Up Wednesday Art Critiques) that I think will express how art can inspire and affect people in varied ways. It reminds me of a video I have all my new classes watch called, “What Is Art For?” which I will link below. After reading these insightful critiques, check it out so you can have a deeper understanding of what Art is for.
Art Critique of “The Starry Night”-
Vincent van Gogh
Written by: Emily Doolittle Costa
It is a starry night and the wind is blowing. Up in the sky, there is also some clouds. Underneath the glow of the waning crescent moon is a village. In the village, there is a white church with a steeple on top of it. The village is surrounded by mountains.
The painting has a lot of texture because of the painting technique, impasto. This painting has mostly cool colors with some warm colors. The sky has a swirl pattern. The houses are painted with lines.
I think the painting is about always having light to guide you. When times seem hopeless and you feel like there is no way out of a hole, there is always a light to give you hope. Even in the darkest night you can look at the sky and know that the Creator of the heavenly lights is our ultimate Light to guide us.
I love this painting because of the painting technique. There are not many warm colors, so your attention is mostly drawn to the sky because of the warm colors. It also gives me hope.
Art Critique of "Starry, Starry Night"
by: Vincent Van Gogh
Written by: Leila Morrison
The painting is of a night view of a village. A bush covers the bottom left corner of the piece showing the dimension. A steeple stands high above the town. The night sky shows a cold, sad night with few stars and little to look up to. The moon is dim and barely lights the town. Rolling mountains are visible in the background. The patterns of the wind give the piece depth and texture. The colors show cold and depression. The swirling gives an anxious affect to this painting. The way this piece is painted with such detail reminds me of a perfectionist with anxiety and OCD. The darkness reminds me of bipolar depression and it’s ups and downs. The swirls remind me of schizophrenia and the way your days blend together within the intricate disease. This piece is good, and hints on the artist’s infatuation with Christianity and his struggle with mental illness.
Be sure to check out the "What Is Art For?" Video below.
In our Eighth Grade Art History Class, we are learning the proper way to observe and critique pieces of art. After having learned the basics of Feldman’s Art Criticism, I have challenged the class by encouraging them to write their own Art Critique with the intent to publish on this website. I am so excited for you to read about these Art Pieces from the mind of a middle school student. Below you will find the Art Piece and Critique of the Art Piece.
Enjoy, share your thoughts, and be inspired with us,
Art Critique of “Colors of My Past”-Leonid Afremov
Written by Jacob Barger
Description: The painting is of a woman walking down a sidewalk in what looks to be a park. There is a building off to the right and a bench on the sidewalk. The painting is very colorful and has a vibe of warmth and beauty. It looks like it is raining in the painting as well and the woman is using an umbrella.
Analyze: The painting uses a contrast of warm and cool colors giving a “good” feel to the painting. The artists shows space really well by making many objects far in the back of the painting. The painting also has a consistency of cool colors mainly at the top and warm at the bottom to direct your eyes to the warmer colors.
Interpret: I think the artist made the painting to show beauty in simple things. This is because the painting is of a simple sidewalk yet he made it so beautiful with the colors. He does this very well with the contrast of colors.
Judge: I really love this painting because it is very bright and gives off a feeling of warmth and hope. I enjoy it’s field of view of us seeing a regular sidewalk but it is made to look very beautiful. I also like the painting because it is a regular day-to-day thing but the artist put beauty in it to stand out.