Last day of school...the perfect time to get the studio ready for next year! We didn't spend as much time cleaning this year because we were busy sorting the artwork for 200+ kids and getting it all home (I say 'we' because the students did that, I just directed) so...I usually like to dedicate two full days to tending to the random art clean-ups that help make life easier for next year...this year, we just worked on these items for about 2.5 class periods. I had a list of things that needed to to done...and, well, they did them. Amazing.
Thank you to all of my students for helping me get the classroom studio ready for next year!
...so day one of operation 'pack yer bags' went well. Actually, I think it went GREAT! I had the class sit in the cafeteria, one student per table. About 3-6 students were designated as 'project passer outers', depending on the amount of work to be distributed. The students that were not distributing work decorated their bags with their names and designs...but the key direction was that they were to stay in their seats. Once all the work was passed out the students were allowed to move around from table to table and 'sign' eachother's bags.
Now, I don't know if it would work for every grade level or teaching situation, but this works for me. The work goes home, the students get a chance to do all the fun 'end of the year' note-writing...and I just got to sit back and do some directing. They literally 'packed' their own bags for summer!
My 8th graders just finished their Character Counts paintings! Yay! Thanks so TQueen for coming out to my school and sharing your expertise...and THANK YOU to the folks at the Martin County United Way that funded this grant. My students will never forget this experience, I have no doubt about that!! Below is a slideshow with just a few pics from TQueen's presentation (what I was able to show on the internet) along with some of the pieces created, ENJOY!
For my 6th grade art curriculum, I focus on art across culture, time and place. The lessons picture below include Egypt (Canopic Jars), Japan (Daruma), China (Lanterns and Dragons), India (Mehndi Designs) and Mexico (Black light Dia de los Muertos paintings). With the exception of the last project metioned, these pieces were all created during the second half of the year.
Looking back on the work, I hope that I can collaborate more with the 6th grade Social Studies teacher so that maybe I can teach some my art lessons at the same time the students are learning the material in class. Also, I did not cover Ancient Greece as much as I wanted to. While I am thinking about it, I think I would like to use a 'travel' theme for 6th grade, maybe stamp passports, send postcards...link up with classrooms in some other countries...maybe through Artist Trading Cards...just a few ideas I am thinking about.
I definitely think that the Peace Mural project that I did my first year at IMS would tie in with my 6th grade curriculum, as well as the Lions Club Peace poster contest, and the Pinwheels for Peace project...would like to revisit these next year.
Just some thoughts...
One thing that is on my mind this evening is how tough it is to get all of the artwork taken down, sorted and sent home with the students. One thing that I do that helps me is...well, I let my students do it all. No, really!
Today my 6th graders and I went all around campus 'de-arting' the walls. We took everything down, carefully took the tape or staples off, placed in our travelling boxes and kept moving. Then, my AMAZING 7th graders took on the task of sorting all of the work. Now, I teach about 230 students, and some classes had over 10 projects still on-site...so that is a ton of work. I set up a table for each class period, left a roster out in case they needed to see certain names, divided the group up so that they each had a grade level they were responsible for and...just watched them tackle the challenge. One class period...all the work sorted. Well, except for one box of odds and ends...but I'll take that any day over doing all of this by myself! Next step...my 5th graders came in and boxed everything up.
On Wednesday and Thursday students will sit one person to a cafeteria table in each class and designated students will pass out the work. This is the third year that Whole Foods has been kind enough to donate paper bags so the students have a way to carry the work home. I love these bags...they are sturdy, the handles can go on a bike or are easy to carry for my walkers, and the kids can sign them with markers. The 2D and 3D works make it home safely. I can't say enough good things about these bags.
Another end of the year tradition...studio clean up! I create lists of things that need to be done in the classroom...from cleaning and sorting paintbrushes, to sharpening colored pencils, peeling crayons, testing markers...everything needed to keep the art going! This is also a great way to see what I need to order, which is something I will be working on this week.
Back to taking the artwork down...everyone, students, staff...they all commented on how bare and sad the walls are now. I must say- I agree! See for yourself! Check out the panaramic view below. Scroll down and compare it to my previous post on art displays...holy moly! What a difference ART makes!!! (Note: The checkered area is set up for Action Painting...more on that later!)
In progress graffiti painting
Right now my 8th graders are working on graffiti-style paintings on canvas board using the Six Pillars of Character from Characer Counts as the inspiration. I received a grant for this earlier this year which including bring a graffiti artist to my school for two days and buying materials and resources for the project. Can I just tell you that MIDDLE SCHOOL STUDENTS LOVE GRAFFITI STYLE. If you have stumbled upon this blog, please read that sentence again- I speak the truth. When TQueen came to my school, you would have thought a rock star was in the art room. (Coincidentally, she does in fact ROCK!) I had students lined up outside my classroom in between classes and at the end of the day that I don't even teach. It was quite the event!
The kids spent time sketching out their designs on the canvas ans started painting the other week. I bought table easels with the grant and the first time I looked around my classroom and saw my students working at easels- I felt a little teary-eyed. Lame? Yeah, maybe. But not every student gets to paint at an easel, it just takes the project to another level. And to see them so engaged in the style...done. They love it. If you are anywhere in the Palm Beach area and you are interested in bringing TQueen to your school, please contact me (email@example.com). I would be happy to share her contact info as well as my grant to help you get started.
I will post pics of some of the finished pieces. We have about another week of 'regular painting'...then we will have a experimental paint week where we use spray bottles, sponges and straws to give the canvases some more life. I am going to be brave and let my 8th graders 'action paint' alla Jackson Pollock and the Abstract Expressionists...on their canvases and on a PARENT APPROVED t-shirt....stay tuned!
Another project that is a 'fan favorite' would be creating Egyptian Canopic Jars. I am working on these right now with my 6th graders and they love it. The way that I set my program up, 6th grade is the year that the students focus on art across culture, time and place. We travel the world in our art time machine without ever leaving the art room. After spending some time in Mexico, China, Japan and India...we are kickin' it old skool, Ancient Egyptian-style! I found a great lesson of the Princetonol web site from a teacher in NV (click here to view to lesson) and I modified it. Last year I did this lesson and we used paper mache for the whole piece, which worked fine. Since the school year is quickly ending I did not want to have to worry about dry time, so I opted for model magic heads atop their Pringles cans. We covered the cans with brown tape, it was so easy for the kids to just draw their hieroglyphs right on the tape. They are painting these now, pictures soon!