Wednesday, August 26, 2015

First Day!

 It's a new school year. How can I tell? My floors are like mirrors. It's my favorite part of the beginning of each year. The custodial staff at my school is awesome and I greatly appreciate the work they put in over the summer to get the building ready for a new school year. 

For me, it's back to waking up early, trying to remember my routine, and not getting to hang out with my little girl nearly as much. The new year also brings excitement about new ideas, art, and a district emphasis on creativity and critical thinking. I'm super excited about that last part. 

I also re-arranged my tables this year. I've had the same setup for seven years in a row and I needed a change. I'm hopeful that the new setup will work well. Even if it doesn't, I burned at least 500 calories moving them around over and over until I finally figured out something that I hope will work! 

There are some new posters hanging in the art room this year. I took inspiration from quotes from such greats as Albert Einstein, Bob Ross, and Adam Savage. I also grabbed some from The Art of Education who was kind enough to put together a couple of helpful art room signs. 

I hope everyone has a great 15-16 school year!
Two greats. Einstein and Ross. 

AOE has these signs available as free downloads!
Teaching that failure is not a negative experience this year. Adam Savage said it best. 

Monday, August 3, 2015

5th Grade Nature-Based Block Prints

Woohoo! Another printmaking project! This is a new lesson I wrote this past school year when a student teaching project wasn't working out so well. 

The basis of this project was patterns found in nature. We started out by looking at a bunch of photographs of naturally occurring patterns. If you look for it, there are some pretty astounding patterns and designs on plants and animals. I even brought in some math (gasp!) and talked about the Fibonacci sequence and how it is related to the golden ratio that can often be found in nature. 

An example of the golden ratio in plant form!
Each student then used some reference material to sketch out a few different zoomed in views of natural patterns. The best drawing was then transferred to a piece of EZ-Kut block printing material that I had pre-cut as equilateral triangles. The triangular shape was a definite departure from other printmaking lessons in the past. 

Before they printed, students lightly sketched out where they wanted to print. Most students chose to do a random kind of layout. If I were to change anything about the project next year, I would at least want students to make a symmetrical layout of their final prints - the work that turned out the best used symmetry this year.