Inclusion in the Art Room

With the monies I received from the Target Arts, Culture & Design in Schools Grant I purchased 5 iPads for my Art classroom to teach digital art.   One of the lessons that I taught was how to make stop motion videos. The students loved this project. Since there are only 5 iPads and approximately 30 students in each classroom, they obviously have to work collaboratively on the project. I was concerned as to how different ability levels and personalities would work together and be creative. One of my favorite videos was produced by a group that consisted of two non-verbal students. It was amazing to watch how the other students in the group worked with them and help them communicate what and how they wanted to add to the project. They were extremely patient and sincerely concerned about how the learning support students wanted to express their creativity. This was a true success in digital art in the art room, but more importantly, in life skills for all.

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It’s official we are using technology in the Art room!

Last year our school implemented a new behavior plan for our building.  SWPBSI, School Wide Positive Behavior Support is a state led initiative that reinforces positive behaviors based upon respect; yourself, respect others, and respect property.    The students have created a key to their classroom. All keys are formed from student hand prints which become their pledge to follow.  Classroom teachers, itinerants, aides and office staff were all asked to add their hand print to the keys pledging to follow the codes of respect.

A technology link was added to this project by using an iPad and the app HT Recorder.  The question, “What does respect mean to you?” was posed to each student and recorded in a short clip.  The recordings were then converted into QR codes using QR Stuff, a free web site.  When the code is read with a hand-held device and QR reader students can hear their individual recordings of their classroom and the meaning of respect.

QR Code

QR Code

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Art and the Common Core

One of my favorite lessons is teaching my 6th grade students how to create a landscape silhouette.  The students love this lesson because for many it is their first opportunity to use X-acto knives. I love it because of the book we read at the beginning of the lesson.

                                         The Day the Babies Crawled Away

by Peggy Bathmann and Kara Walker is a delightful children’s book done completely in silhouettes.  Students love looking at the pictures and trying to find the most mischievous baby.  It is an excellent resource for teaching positive/negative space as well as silhouette drawing and cutting. 

Children’s literature can lead to many fascinating art projects.  Don’t be afraid to read aloud to your students.  No one is too old to enjoy a good picture book.

Do you collect trading cards?

With the start of baseball season this an excellent time to talk to your students about trading cards…..artist trading cards.   ATC’s are miniature pieces of art.  They can be composed of a variety of materials with multiple themes.   Students love the versatility of the cards as well as the size. ATC’s measure 2.5 X 3.5 inches making them easy to handle and even easier for trading and collecting.

After brainstorming a list of different themes for their cards students were given a graphic organizer that defined the three basic parts of an ATC .  The art room became a smorgasbord of materials giving students multiple choices to create their cards.  The most popular station was for embellishment where they could decorate with buttons, sequins, and glitter!

Students were required to make 5 different cards but many of them chose to make more.  The variety of techniques as well as ideas was endless. At the end of the lesson students gathered together to share their art work as well as trade their ATC’s.

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The art of cartography….

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The Art of Cartography…..

Essential Questions:  How is cartography considered art?

Sixth grade students spend the first few weeks of school learning about maps in Global Studies classes, transition words in Language Arts, and contour line in Visual Arts.  Creating a lesson that uses all of these skills is called interdisciplinary learning.

In Art class students begin by utilizing contour line to draw several different inanimate objects; i.e., vase, jar, bottle, scissors, cup, etc.   This is presented merely as a practice exercise and emphasis is put on the actual drawing process, concentrating on the outside edges of the objects.  These simple drawings later become the land masses on their map.

Utilizing the skills of Global Studies and mapmaking, students incorporate a key, compass rose, and latitude/ longitude lines onto their maps. Symbols are used representing topography as well as the route to the buried treasure.

Once maps are colored with oil pastels and aged with brown tempera, the students write a description of where to find the Pirate chest. Their story must include the use of transitions words learned in Language Arts.   QR codes are attached to the finished works before they are displayed.  Other students in the building can then use their hand-held-devices to listen to the  stories.

By letting students use their imagination and creativity you increase retention and make learning fun.  This is one of their favorite lessons.