Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Art: Art Links

A few links to check out if you need some great art projects for kids:






Social Studies: Decades project

For our class's decades project, my group chose to research the 1940's. We divided up the responsibilities, with some of us looking into the fashions of the decade, others looking into scandals or inventions. My contributions to the group included creating a dimensional image of Mount Rushmore, which was completed in 1941, and bringing in a victory garden. During WWII, food was rationed and planting  a victory garden helped make sure that there was enough food for our soldiers fighting around the world. Because canned vegetables were rationed, Victory Gardens also helped people stretch their ration coupons (the amount of certain foods they were allowed to buy at the store).  So, I decided a fun way to represent a victory garden would be to make a victory garden cake! Love how it turned out!         


Friday, April 11, 2014

Art: Assessing Creativity

Today in class we talked about how you assess art, more specifically, how you assess creativity. Creativity fosters deeper learning and builds confidence. It provides students the opportunity to express themselves in ways that other forms of expression can't. But, when it comes to assessing, how do we place judgment on someone's creativity? What one person considers beautiful may or may not be another persons idea of beautiful. So, what do we do? Our class talked about the importance of setting specific objectives. We decided this would be one way to assess students. Another way is through improvement and growth. As a teacher you keep a portfolio of the students work and watch it throughout the semester or year. 

Social Studies: Paper Clips

This week we watched a documentary about a small school in Tennessee that did something amazing. In 1998 while the students were learning about the holocaust, they became overwhelmed trying to understand the massive amount of human lives lost during the war, specifically people who died in concentration camps and similar situations. They decided they wanted to try to collect something that could signify what 6,000,000 looked like, since 6,000,000 lives were lost under the authority of Adolf Hitler.
So, with their teachers support, they decided to collect paper clips. 6 million paper clips. As it turned out, paper clips were chosen in part because during the war, people in Norway wore them on their lapels as a symbol of resistance against Nazi occupation.

The project ended up taking about 3 years to complete. The students received paper clips from people all over the world, and many from people whose lives had been affected by the holocaust. It was an amazing movie and an amazing project.

Art: Integrating Art

This week we had to take a basal and integrate art into a weeks worth of lessons. This was a fun, but challenging, project. The basal we selected was for 2nd grade and the theme was animals and their homes. This was a pretty easy enough theme but we really had to stretch to fill in an entire weeks worth of art lessons.
One of the projects we decided to integrate was an illustration the students would do, after their reading, that helped to explain what they had just read. Because we think it is very important to expose children to different types of mediums, we included in the lesson that the children would use pastels for this project.
Another project we included requires students to act out their vocabulary words. we thought this was a good activity that would help our students to have a deep understanding of new words.
We also included collage projects, poetry, and dioramas in our unit. Here is a picture of a sample diorama we created:

Social Studies: 1940's

Our class has been working on projects that focus on a particular decade in history. Our group's decade is the 1940's. I have loved doing this project. We have had to research many aspects of life in the 1940's, from fashion and music to inventions and scandals. This week I started working on a war rations stamp-book. We plan on using these to hand out portions of m&m's (invented in the 40's)during our presentations.

Social Studies: Geography

Today we talked about teaching geography to our students. Teaching geography is more than just memorizing states and cities on a map. Geography includes things like land formations, how people and goods and information get places, how humans have changed particular locations, how humans adapt to the environment around them, and language and culture. Our teacher engaged us in another fun activity that we could do in our own classroom someday. We had to draw four images that symbolized a location on a map, each location being within the same state. Then, after looking at our drawings, our classmates had to try to figure out the cities we had drawn. If they were unable to figure out the cities we drew, we could give them the coordinates on a map and they could locate them using that tool.
Can you guess our cities?


Art: My Mural

This project has been my favorite so far. I put so much time and love into this project and I plan on somehow getting it mounted, maybe on foam board, so I can hang it in my classroom someday. I had a difficult time deciding what I wanted to make my mural about. I have always told my daughter that if you have an opportunity to shine, then shine.
With that in mind, I didn't want to just settle on a simple mural or something that has been overdone. I again spent a lot of time pouring through images on Google, searching for inspiration. I finally tried to figure out what I've seen in my life that I loved. One of the many things I thought of was Yellowstone National Park. I took my daughters there this summer, it had been my fourth time visiting. I love everything about this place, so I decided that would be the inspiration for my mural.
I looked online to see if anyone had ever posted a mural of Yellowstone and I came across the most awesome website; They Draw And Travel. I love maps...I love vintage maps...and this website had the most amazing drawings!!! I found the inspiration I was looking for and...here's what I made:

Social Studies: Our Shoebox

Wow. So today's class was awesome...and really difficult to prepare for. Our professor told us that for class today we needed to pack a shoebox with whatever it is we would take with us, assuming our family and pets are already with us, if we suddenly needed to leave town and the only things we were allowed to take were what we put in those boxes. What was most special to us...
In my box I put:
a favorite photo of each of my daughters
a favorite drawing from each of my daughters (when they were toddlers)
a set of nesting dolls passed on to me from my great grandma
my Bible
the necklace my husband gave me when we got married
I think this would be an amazing project to do in conjunction with a unit on WWII and how the Jews were forced from their homes and into ghettos. This could really be an eye-opening experience for a lot of children.

Art: Salt Painting

My art project for this week was salt painting. I had no idea what that was so I began a search on Google.
I found some amazing pieces:

I found some messy pieces:

And I found some pieces I will definitely do in my classroom someday:

It turns out there were a couple different ways you can do salt painting. One way was to do a watercolor and then sprinkle with salt. The other way was to draw/paint with glue, cover in salt, then paint the salt. I chose the last one.
It took me quite a few tries to get the look I wanted. I decided I would try to simply draw a picture with school glue, just squeezing it out as I go. The next thing I did was dump salt all over the glue, got out my water colors and started to paint. The problem was that the glue had not dried yet when I began painting so the salt got really clumpy. After a few miserable attempts, I decided to let the salt and glue dry for a couple of days. Then I painted it...and here's what I got:

Social Studies: Trade Fair

Today we had a trade fair in social studies. It was so much fun! We each brought in some stuff from home that we could trade for others peoples stuff. I brought in an American Doll paper punch kit, a LIFE magazine book about infamous killers, some new puzzles, and a bunch of dry-erase kits for pre-school age kids. I traded for some awesome American Revolution bookmarks that I love and some YUMMY cookies Amanda brought in.

I thought this was a great activity that can help connect students to the past, before our country had a monetary system and the people would trade for goods. This was great fun and I can't wait to use it in my classroom.

Art: Learning Through Drama

A couple weeks ago our professor had us work in groups to put on a play for our class. This week we performed that play. It was an interesting experience and while I was not completely comfortable during this task, I can see it's usefulness in a classroom.

Performing dramas connects students with content in a unique way and requires them to have a good understanding of that content in order to recount it for their audience. There are so many different ways to use drama in a classroom. I would begin by reading through a small play with the students. I would discuss any new vocabulary terms with them and new cultural traditions within the play. I would also have the students do any research necessary to gain any background knowledge they would need to better understand the context of the play. Then, I would let them perform it however they wanted, if they wanted to get creative with it fine, if not that's fine too. I would then build on that process throughout the semester, ultimately having them create and act out their own plays. 

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Art: Building a Creative Classroom

  Today we discussed different things we could do to build a creative classroom. We talked about possible design features of a creative classroom: colorful, eclectic, untidy, lots of movement. We also talked about what it means to each of us to have a creative classroom.
  I think having a creative classroom means allowing kids the opportunity to express themselves without fear of being laughed at or ridiculed. I think you should provide students with plenty of opportunities to make mistakes and grow. I also think a creative classroom should provide lots of ways for kids to express their creativity with things like clay, watercolors, sand, sticks, paper, scissors, glue, fabric, photography, hammers and nails (being always aware of safety), boxes, books, pencils, and journals. 

Feed and nourish both sides of the brain

Social Studies: Civic Awareness

  Today our class talked about classroom rules. Our professor asked us to bring in a list of the classroom rules that are (or should be) posted within each of our field classrooms. I brought in the school rules that hang in my classroom:

  I think these are great rules, as long as they are frequently and clearly defined.
  Our class had a great discussion on some non-negotiable rules we would likely have in our own classrooms. We discussed things like no tolerance of physical, emotional, or sexual violence or inappropriateness. We also had no stealing, no bullying, no lying, no cheating, and one that I personally think is important...always taking responsibility for your actions and the choices you make and saying your sorry.

Art: A Walk Around

  Today our class took a walk around our new building to find beauty in places you wouldn't normally look for beauty. Then we went into the Art Departments beautiful studio. There was amazing art from local high schools hanging around the perimeter of the room. I was shocked that the pieces we saw were made by such young people. So many of them were really amazing. And we got to see ways of making art I never would have thought of, or even know existed. It was nice to have the opportunity to see the talent we have in our own community.

IUSB Arts Education photo

Social Studies: Civic Responsibility

   In class today we discussed the important topic of civic awareness and how to teach it in the classroom. We discussed the different aspects of civic awareness such as tolerance, patriotism, and respect for authority. We also discussed ways citizens can demonstrate awareness. Our class came up with a great list including things like supporting the arts, volunteering, buying local, supporting community events, voting, recycling, and donating.
   We also had an assignment due that required us to take a picture of what we thought was the most important civic duty. I submitted a picture of a stack of newspapers because one of my biggest pet-peeves is people telling others "you have to vote; it's your responsibility." No, I say if someone has to be commanded to go vote then they probably don't know enough about the issues to make an educated decision. So I say, if you don't understand or keep yourself abreast of the issues then PLEASE don't vote!!!