Thursday, September 29, 2011

Holley Portraits

I did these Holley portraits a few years ago with my kids (before we had a classroom blog) and never took pictures of them. My fifth graders loathed the writing process and there were a LOT of groans and frustrated, blank faces during the project. Writing in Art? Oh the horror.

I recently dug this project back up because I needed an adaptive lesson to teach at a MagnetEd Conference this past weekend. I've also seen them popping up on Pinterest quite often and thought that maybe I should revisit the whole thing. So here ya go, I'm digging it back up.

I think one reason that this project is so difficult is because it's immensely personal. What do I write about? Give me some ideas. Are they thoughts or traits? What if someone laughs? Do I want someone to know THAT about ME? While teaching this at the conference this weekend I think I had only one person actually finish it. The rest of my participants were doing what I love most about conferences: adapting it to their grade level or coming up with different ideas with similar results.

Some of them?

  • Having students write personality traits around a picture frame with a photo of themselves in it.

  • Using your child's fingerprint and writing personal traits about them--a great gift for grandparents or a beautiful keepsake.

  • Giving students prompts for ideas (such as: I like, I adore, I am, I want to, I long for, I don't understand, I live for, I eat, My family is, etc.) This way, students as young as fifth grade can use the prompts from which to dive off.

I personally love the idea of using this for my own children. What a wonderful keepsake for yourself or a gift for grandparents (thanks, Tammy!)

There are a ton more examples of Holley portraits, as well as a history behind them which can be found here.

Good luck and happy thumbprinting!

*yes, for these I photocopied ALL of my students' thumbprints. I first enlarged them to 400% and then used that 400% copy and enlarged it 200% more. This is the perfect size for a 9x12 sheet of paper.

organic shape MONSTERS!

This is a great lesson I do every year with my Kindergartners and I never get tired of it! It is a great lesson to teach about geometric-vs-organic shape. First, I read them the book "Jeremy Draws a Monster" by Peter McCarty. It is an excellent book about a boy who draws a monster who is not a very good friend. The students then decide that if they were to draw a monster they would make a nice monster, even if they looked mean. I just love the answers they have for everything!

I give each of them a piece of string and we practice making ORGANIC shapes with it. They usually call them blobs, but by the end of the class, they've got it down pat: ORGANIC.

Then they take a black crayon and trace around the string. This will be the basic shape of the monster.

We then discuss the elements that will make up our monster: will he be mean, nice, silly, scary, or happy? How do we make a scary mouth? What do silly eyes look like? I also have each student make up a pattern on the monster's skin. This is good because I can't tell you how many of them just scribble over the whole thing green (we do this in the beginning of the school year---so yes, there is a lot of scribbling still occuring).

I just love these guys! They are all so unique and colorful...and the students are incredibly proud of them! It's a win-win lesson plan because there are no defining shapes or characteristics...monsters can look weird because they're not real!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

tap cap

Be still my beating heart. My NEW favorite invention EVER! This is the "Tap-N-Glue" cap. We have had some serious problems with lids breaking off glue bottles, pencil leads being trapped in glue bottles (from kids trying to unclog the opening), glue holes cut by rogue scissors "I was jussss trying to help, Mrs. Davis"! Not to mention the sheer amount of glue squashing out from under tiny pieces of paper. Oy.

With this super-fantastical invention, all the kids have to do is press the bottle down on their paper and the perfect tiny amount of glue comes out. My older kids are annoyed by them, but whatever. It is MY classroom after all!

I believe they are in the neighborhood of $1.87 each. It is definitely worth the investment. One of our Kindergarten teachers told me she's had hers for 5 years. I'm sure they take less of a beating in her room, but still...

Lid, I love you. Welcome to Art!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Hands Across NYC - a 9/11 Tribute Project

Every year it gets harder and harder to talk about September 11, 2001. My fourth graders who just finished these projects couldn't quite grasp what happened that horrible day, but the memory in my mind is still so fresh and vivid. They weren't even born when it happened, and only know of the Twin Towers. So bizarre.

I think like all of you I can remember the who, what, when, and where's of that day. It was especially bizarre for us here in Venice (FL) because President Bush was reading in a classroom in our school district that morning and most of the county was tuned in via CCTV and had no idea what was going on. Only the teachers who had had their kiddos in Specials at the time came blowing through my door and told me to turn on the tv. At that moment, I witnessed in horror(with my class of third graders) as Tower 2 collapsed.

To make matters even worse the hijackers had learned to fly right here in Venice. They lived on a street in my school's population. We were put on a limited lockdown that day, no unnecessary movement of students, because of those links to Sarasota/Venice. No more Specials. I had nothing to do that day but sit and watch the news coverage.

Horrifying. And yet, these students don't really know about it. I had to teach them about 9/11 and instill in them the importance of creating artistic tributes. I love the way they turned out...

I hope they realize the significance of the work they just made and that sometimes art isn't created just to decorate a room. Sometimes you have to make art that makes a statement!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Max-inspired Liberties

For my Fifth-grade September 11 "Tribute" projects, we made a Peter Max-esque Liberty! I showed the students a quick video of him working (from YouTube) and we dry-brushed our backgrounds with primary colors. This took an entire day.

On Day 2 we used black ink and paintbrushes (no erasing!!! These students KILL me with their endless erasing...time to teach them to "own" their mistakes!) to make our Liberty busts.

I absolutely ADORE these! In some of the paintings you can also see how the students incorporated their names into the artwork like Peter Max did.