|December 12, 2014||Posted by Cristy under All Grades, Teacher Concerns|
Sometimes I feel like my life as a teacher has been 15 years of searching for ways to not make such a huge mess.
Art is messy, but after hours at the sink, chapped hands and paint everywhere I dream of ways to streamline. I won’t tell you I have it all figured out, but with tempera I do have a system that works pretty. I thought I’d take the next few posts to share my strategy.
To begin with – here’s the “lay of the land”:
Sinks are closed. “What??” You say… “No sinks during tempera????” I find that kids take SO MUCH time washing hands, brushes, standing in line, dribbling wet sponges all over, flicking water, you’ve seen it. Everything can be accomplished without the sinks. How? Hang with me.
Pre-moistened (by me) sponges. Rags for drying. Kids can use these anytime for spot cleaning and hand wiping. When full of paint, I rinse and wring them myself so I know they aren’t drippy.
Wash buckets: One per table half filled with water and a glug of fabric softener. Half filled so they don’t slop, fabric softener because it makes the bristles nice. (No kidding! Try it!) Used only at the end of the class. (Bossy old hide, aren’t I? I’ll show you why.)
Newsprint “Placemats” that stay at the table and are re-used by each class forever. Or as long as I can.
Paint table: This is my exclusive domain. Paint lives on this table to be dispensed by Yours Truly. (I hide the colors that are not in play so kids don’t beg.) Palettes come and go from here according to what grade level is working. Everything in quarts except white – I buy that in gallons, but refill it into quart size squeezers.
Drying system: I couldn’t live without this baby. Actually, I have lived without it – you can get creative with clothes lines, strips of floor around the perimeter of the room etc. But the rack is a Godsend.
Storage totes: These came with a cubby system we bought and they seal pretty tightly when stacked. If I didn’t have those I’d get some flat Rubbermaid boxes. Or open tubs with Press-n-Seal.
The “Job Wheel”: Letters correspond to letters drawn on tables with permanent marker. I re-write the letters every couple of weeks as they wear off, but it’s better than tape, and our super-strict fire marshal won’t let me hang anything from the ceiling.
Okay – that was a lot of setup! It’s worth it, though. Now for the action:
Skill #1. Paint until the brush is “thirsty: This is the key! This is the skill that will make your tempera unit a pleasure to teach. Show kids how to lay down a color and spread until the brush scumbles. I teach kids that the brush is now thirsty. Now you can dip into another color without contaminating it. The colors will blend from what’s left in the brush, but that’s fine, because blending is the skill we’re working on. Kids practice changing color only when the brush is thirsty and blending wet into wet. I have everybody work on blending for a week or so. You’ll be amazed at how clean the colors stay once kids get it. (Except Kindergarten. They’ll get their own post. Stay tuned.) Only when kids have mastered this color change do I introduce brush washing between colors for the older kids. The blending all happens on the paper, and not in the palette or paint cup. It’s great!
Now for cleanup!
Skill #2. Cleanup according to the Job Wheel:
Paper Chief puts art in drying rack and stacks the placemats.
Tool Master washes all brushes in the bucket at the table and returns them to the cup “hairdos up!” I can’t remember what blogger I learned “Sweep in the deep, swish like a fish.. wipe, wipe, squeeeeze.” from, but that’s how I teach cleaning. “Sweep in the deep” means to rub the bristles on the bumpy bottom of the bucket.
Social Directer puts palettes in the tubs and does any errands I put them up to. (Generally I say the Social Directer is in charge of helping others and keeping positive energy flowing, but sometimes they have a job too.
That seems like a lot (and it is the first time you introduce it.) but I think it’s worth it. My kids LOVE tempera, and now I look forward to getting it out. Later I’ll show you how I differentiate for the various grade levels and how I build up the skills over the years.
Go forth and paint!
|December 5, 2014||Posted by Cristy under Kindergarten|
Here’s something new I tried with my kinders. I ran across a third grade Dhurrie Dug “Magic Carpet” lesson on the fabulous “The Elementary Art Room!” by Megan Swartz and thought it might be a good intro to cutting and gluing paper with my littlest artists. Turns out – it’s perfect. Granted, these little guys haven’t developed the polish that an older artist might bring to the project, but we spent one session cutting stripes (The wavy/ziggy stripes were hard – next time I’ll just ask for straight stripes) the next session I showed them how to cut squares and triangles from stripes and how to use a folded piece of paper as a paintbrush and a puddle of glue on a scrap to manage teeny pieces of paper. They loved making their patterns. Finally I taught them how to make holes and attach the fringe. They LOVED it. The classroom was dead silent with intense focus as they applied their new skill to the edges of their paper. I made the fringe-making optional so that if a kid found it too hard he/she could go back to making the patterns on the stripes. The project was time-consuming (Next year I’ll allow four half-hour sessions) but the progression through skills was perfect and the enthusiasm was super high from my little rug makers! We found a keeper! (Love the blogosphere! – thanks Megan!)
|December 3, 2014||Posted by Cristy under Third Grade|
|November 25, 2014||Posted by Cristy under Fifth grade|
|November 24, 2014||Posted by Cristy under Fifth grade|
|November 19, 2014||Posted by Cristy under Fifth grade|
Notan (according to Wiki) is is a Japanese design concept involving the play and placement of light and dark as they are placed next to the other in art and imagery.
|November 14, 2014||Posted by Cristy under Third Grade, Uncategorized|
|November 13, 2014||Posted by Cristy under Fifth grade|
Maddox is one of our favorite fifth graders around here, and he’s pretty excited about the winter drawing he made on the iPad today. Complete with a Christmas tree and two cannons – one firing out snow and the other launching his puppy Goodgirl – wearing a cape, no less! I’m pretty excited too, because Maddox sometimes struggles with the dexterity it takes to create artwork, but using the drawing app allowed him to use his fingers to draw, and to “undo” his mistakes until he had what he wanted. Thanks for sharing, Maddox!