Friday, August 29, 2014

Teaching Art Like a Child

I hate it when people call me artsy. I'm not artsy. I'm not the type of teacher who gets pumped up by sweet borders and cute posters- not that there is anything wrong with that. It's just not my style. My art and design education is too ingrained to allow me to put up something in my room that I consider to be poorly designed or executed. When I decorate my room, I want to keep it simple and clean. 

Early this year, I invested heavily in some time, construction paper, and x-acto blades. My inner 9 year old was screaming to make something cool. I did an 8-bit portrait project with my 4th grade students last year. As part of my demonstration piece, I drew myself as an 8-bit character. I thought it would be cool to combine that with some old school Mario elements to use as a door decoration for my room. I've got to say that I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. 
The next thing I decided to do is swap out a piece that I use for classroom management. On my board, I have the letters A-R-T on separate cards. The goal is to have it still spell ART at the end of class. The letters can be flipped to reflect poor choices being made by the class. The A is a warning and can be earned back with good choices. The R being flipped results in some silent working time (because it usually gets flipped for too much noise), and the T being flipped results in a screeching halt to the art class. Of course that happens so rarely that I really don't worry about it. 

The A-R-T letters I have been using for the past few years were starting to fade and the lamination was coming undone. To go along with my door decorations, I used the Mario theme again to make the letters look like the question mark blocks from the game. When a letter is flipped, Boo, the ghost from Mario Bros, is on the back. Making these made me very happy. All of the decorations and ART letters were made from cut construction paper. I think I earned my black belt in x-act cutting. 
I couldn't help but have a little fun with the ghosts I made- mostly because I'm a pretty big dork! 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Back to school, back to school….

It's impossible for me to begin the year without having the back to school song from "Billy Madison" go through my head at least 50 times. It is just a fact of life in my world. I've found that going back to school is significantly more difficult after spending the entire summer with my daughter. The summer days of walks, parks, lots of books, and zoo trips were fun and exciting. I consider it a true gift that I'm able to spend so much time with her during the summer. 
Today is the second day of school, but the first time I'll have students in my room. The first day of school we always have full grade level groups watch the playground rules video and our principal goes over a few news items and reminders. It gets a little boring, so I'm excited to get started with students today.

I'm excited to try a few new things this year. I'm currently most excited about starting an art club this year. The music teacher at Thomas started a running club a couple years ago that has sessions in the fall and spring. I'm planning to have art club fill the gap during the winter in order to give students additional and advanced art opportunities. I've got some really cool ideas for art club!

Another big change this year is that Thomas Elementary is an official "Leader in Me" school. Leader in Me is a program developed around the "7 habits of highly effective people." I'm hoping it is effective and helps develop leadership and responsibility in our students. Does anyone else work at a Leader in Me school?