I am so very honored to share that I've received a nomination for my blog post happy accidents. I'm incredibly honored especially since I've been a little neglectful to this baby blog; perhaps its just the boost I need to jump back in!
Vote for me here!
Hope everyone is having a wonderful summer so far! Below, is some of the beauty I've been witnessing this summer. What beautiful things have you been seeing this summer?
I'm sure most of you already know about Artsonia, but if you don't, it's an online gallery that I post my students' artwork on. Students' families and friends can view and comment on their artworks and also purchase items with those artworks printed on them with 15% of the purchase going back to me for supplies(so awesome for me!). Students can also write artist statements about their own pieces, which has been so much fun for me to see what the kiddos have to say about the projects and their work!
This artist statement written by a first grader was posted today and it is too brilliant and hilarious not to share!
"The red hot lava was about to burn the houses down. But thanks to Christmas, it snowed day and night. Then the snow piled up really high and slowly the lava started to harden and finally the lava stopped. I love Christmas time."
What an imagination!!!
This lesson was so much fun! I decided minutes before my class came in, that I was going throw my plans out the window for something completely different! It was a gorgeous snowy day, so I just couldn't resist having the kids draw the snowy scene in the hallway(with lots of windows). We then came back to the artroom and used q-tips to paint the falling snow. It was a lovely way to celebrate such a beautiful day!
Have you ever thrown your plans out the window in place of something spontaneous?
I don't know about you, but I cannot throw a piece of paper away unless it's smaller than a jelly bean or chewed up and spit up. I think as art teachers, we art "gifted" with the ability to see possibilities in just about everything, so it feels likes a crime to throw something away if it could be used for another purpose. It might be some kind of hoarding disorder actually: everything I use, I'm always thinking, "that would be perfect for this project" or "I'm sure the kids would love that!". The other day, I was buying hummus and made my decision based not on flavor or brand, but on yes, the container!(It was a beauty, my friends... it had three deep wells!) Ok, I think you get the picture!
So, my paper scrap box was overflowing and starting a nice little trail on the floor, as if it were trying to reach up to us to beg for it's use! Something had to be done and quick! It was time for Matisse to teach these kiddos how to use scraps!
To introduce Matisse, I found this neat interactive website, that I walked through with the kids to point out how he uses color and pattern. The kids loved that Matisse made his paintings with the intention to make the viewer feel as if you were sitting in a comfortable armchair.
For this lesson, we first drew our self portraits making sure to draw everything in bolder shapes that could easily be cut out. Next, we cut apart our drawing unto three parts: hair, face and neck, and body. We then traced those three pieces onto three different colored scrap paper and reassembled to create our colorful self-portraits. I tell the kids that anything they want to add to their piece needed to be made out of paper, which is definitely a challenge! They also were instructed to consider the background of their pieces.
I just adore how the personalities of each child shines through in these self portraits!
For this upcoming year, I wanted to organize my new year's resolutions in a positive and encouraging way instead of a listless list of don't this, don't that and less of this, less of that.
My great friend at school, Beth, told me about this scrapbooker, Ali Edwards, that chooses one word a year to encompass her goals and dreams for the upcoming year. She calls this program, One Little Word. Here is a beautiful composition of her readers' word selections.
I really like this idea of choosing one meaningful word to weave my hopes and aspirations into, in a way that would be encouraging and inspiring instead of intimidating or shameful. So last week, I began my extensive word search for just the perfect word that would simply and intricately illuminate my ambitions. I'm not sure how many people know this about me, but I am an extreme perfectionist about things that are important to me; I may not notice dishes piling up in the sink, but I will spend hours organizing my classroom and writing emails(or blog posts) to make sure that it's exactly right. So finding this one meaningful and perfect word was definitely a challenge!
One day on my way to work, I was listening to some TED talks, and found one talk that seemed to reach out and vibrate inside of me, like when you know something is meant for you.
I definitely won't be able to accurately articulate how beautiful her talk is, so just watch to it! What stood out to me is that she speaks about having courage and compassion to connect. She describes, "Shame is the fear of disconnection." Isn't that so true!? Fearing vulnerability is such a natural and ingrained fear. It's something we are programmed with. That's why it's so important to be aware of that tendency and move towards that uncomfortable place to gain that connection.
There it was; my perfect word just revealed itself to me:connection.
After obsessively researching all things Brene Brown, I found that Ali Edwards(the one little word scrapbooker) reviewed her book. Connection!
"When you live your life with an appreciation of coincidences and their meanings, you connect with the underlying field of infinite possibilities."
a. The act of connecting.
b. The state of being connected.
2. One that connects; a link.
3. An association or relationship.
4. The logical or intelligible ordering of words or ideas; coherence.
5. Reference or relation to something else; context.
6. A person, especially one of influence or importance, with whom one is associated, as by kinship or common interests.
7. A conveyance or scheduled run providing continuing service between means of transportation.
8. A physical link, such as by wire or fiber-optic cable, between two or more points in a telecommunications system.
9. A means or channel of communication.
I've always been really inspired to find connections inside and around me. For me, it feels like the world is a riddle or a labyrinth for me to uncover.
For this lesson, we studied Van Gogh's sunflower paintings and used them as inspiration for a painting using toilet paper rolls for our flowers.
We first had a discussion about Vincent Van Gogh's life and art. After comparing Van Gogh's paintings with others painted in the same time period, we talked about why his artwork was not accepted by most people. The kids were shocked that he only sold one painting while he was alive, which led to a great discussion about following what you believe despite what others are saying.
During my demonstration, I showed the kids how to draw a vase to make it look like it was sitting on top of a table and open at the lip. I demonstrated drawing the sides of the vase first, then drawing a smile line at the bottom and a smile and a frown at the top(I point out that our vase must be happy since it has more smiles than frowns... SO happy I found a job where my goofy jokes are appreciated!) This technique of starting with the sides of the vase allows the kiddos to create more unique vases, and not copy mine! We then practiced Vincent Van Gogh brushstrokes in the air, so that we would feel those thick brushstrokes that show so much movement. The following week, we used oil pastels to adorn our vases with color and pattern as well as draw the centers of our flowers with connecting stems.
To make the sunflowers, we first painted a toilet paper roll with a few different shades of yellow. Once dry, we cut them in half and cut slits into the top to create petals. We used pencils to roll the petals back.
The kiddos did such an amazing job on these- they're so full of life and individuality! Seeing these everyday in the hallways makes me so happy and inspired!