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.