Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Comment Gifts!

The Crayon Lab is probably the third or fourth blog I have started over the years. It is hands down the one that sees the most traffic and is therefore most successful ?????? What makes a blog successful?

I am honestly not sure. I know my audience for this blog is other art teachers. I can tell from looking at my statistics that over 5,000 people come to my blog each month. FIVE THOUSAND! That seems like a lot to me since I am just over here chugging along doing what I do.

I am sure that is nothing compared to some of the very popular art teacher blogs we know that are out there! Yet - I still go back to wondering why I write it and if it is successful?!?!?! It seems like a burden sometimes - why keep doing it?????????  Well - In the end I know it's because I enjoy sharing and I love how technology helps to make that possible. I think the one thing that is missing for me is the joy of getting to know more art teachers through blogging! So - in the spirit of the holiday season I ask you to leave me a gift if you are here :)  Please leave me a comment and tell me something! Who are you? Where do you teach? Just say "hi!" so I know you are out there! Leave me the link to your blog while you are at it so that some of these 5,000 visitors can visit you too! I would love to create more of a community of sharing so let's get to know each other!  Happy Holidays - Jenn

Art Room Bulletin Boards

It's that time again! Time to change my bulletin board. Oh! many hours I have spent looking for some fun and inspiring ideas! I used to love doing boards when I first started teaching but for awhile the excitment has waned. Last year started off with a bang when my team art teacher and I made our Facebook board.

The excitiment continued this year with two new ones....Ms. Elfers has been busy! What does this remind you of??????????????????????????????????????????
A little video look at some of the current artists we are both studying with our students!

I think a Pinterest board is in order next....if anyone has done it successfully yet I have not been able to find pictures other than this one:

So....stay tuned! Maybe some QR codes will make it onto the board as well! What do you think we should pin????????????  Have any other fun board ideas? Please share!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Georgia O'Keeffe Flower Bowls

I still vividly remember the Georgia O'Keeffe show I went to at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC in 1988. I remember it so profoundly because O'Keeffe was someone who's paintings I had admired for years but had never seen in real life. They were always so big, grand, and bold to me that I imagined they would be the same when I saw them in person. Taken back by their demure size and the intimacy that came with some of her smaller pieces, the memory remains with me.

Although she is not the first woman artist I think of these days when I begin lesson planning I still find myself teaching about her life and work on occasion. As I began to plan for clay lessons with my 4th graders I decided to use her flower paintings as our inspiration.

Wow! Wow! Wow! I had no idea how fabulous they would come out and how much my students would enjoy making them. Our standards require us to teach many parts of hand building with the 4th graders so they used pinch, coil, bonding techniques and surface techniques to create these masterpieces!

Here is a brief tutorial on how we made them!

Roll a slab (I use PVC pipe that I cut up - cheap!)

Pick from an assortment of round bowls to create a slump mold.

Cut around your mold.

Place your slab in your mold and gently let it slump!

Start subracting and adding to create the details of your flower bowl.

Don't forget to score, slip, and bond!

Keep going until you get a form that you are happy with.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Sculpture Hats

Non-clay sculpture is one of the objectives that we cover in every grade level. As I am planning for future Kindergarten units I always come back to one of my favorites - Sculpture Hats!

Students start out with an 12 x 18 sheet of construction paper.  They cut on the lines to create the base of the hat. The side points are staples together to create the front and back of the hats. The middle points are used as a part of the sculpture. There are lots of different solutions for "the wings" on your hat and the students LOVE coming up with ideas.

Art students use 1 X 12 strips of colored construction paper to create the lines in their sculputure hats. It is a great review of the different kinds of lines we used at the beginning of the year.  We focus on looking at ALL sides of the sculpture as we create our new forms.

Little hands glue, pinch, fold and hold!

Polka-dot Pumpkins

My first graders and I have really been enjoying exploring the work of Yayoi Kusama again this year. While we wait for our pumpkins to dry and be fired we decided to make some Kusama inspired polka-dot pumpkin paintings!

Painting away carefully and trying to keep our paintbrushes vertical!


Terracotta Pumpkins????

As I set out our clay pumpkins to dry I cannot help but think they look just like little terracotta soldiers pumpkins all lined up just waiting to be excavated! I know....I know....but it makes me giggle!

Happy Pumpkin Day!

I hope the Great Pumpkin was extra special good to you this year!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Celebrating 50 Years!

Does this make you as giddy as it made me?

For the 50th anniversary of the first time Andy Warhol used the Campbell’s Soup can in his paintings and screenprints the soup manufacturer has released a limited edition set of soup cans!

This is the opposite reaction the famous soup manufacturer once took to Warhol’s work: when the work first appeared the company considered taking legal action, before deciding to wait to see how they were perceived. I don't know why this fact makes me laugh but it does. Warhol's work has probably single handedly improved their business more than anything else!!!!

I could not let this auspicious occasion go by without doing a project to commemorate with my own students. Last year my 3rd graders got to go see many of the soup cans in person at our local museum. So they seemed like an obvious choice to keep the excitment alive!

One of our visual arts education standards here in Georgia is to use direct observation to draw. Fourth graders tend to shut down over this. What happens to them between 3rd and 4th grade that makes them so self conscious of their art work all of a sudden? We also used this project as a major color study unit. Here are some of our finished projects:

 There are many more but this is just a taste for now. I found this handout that helps students draw the can shape itself. We worked hard on the hand lettering and I think they did a great job. Although I did not share this with my students I think this is fun:

Friday, October 19, 2012

Frida and Diego

Like many I have always been fascinated by Frida Kahlo. Her life intrigues me. Her relationship with her husband is fascinating. (I often wish my husband and I could have separate houses separated by a bridge! Tee hee.) When I heard she was coming to the High Museum of Art I was thrilled! I have seen some of her work (and Diego's) when I was in Mexico but it has been too long. My excitement for the show and my joy of bringing that to my students made an obvious need for a Frida Kahlo/Diego Rivera lesson. The students really focused on symbols that represented themselves. I love them!

Here is a close-up!

Real art? Real artists?

My favorite part of the Woodruff Salutes Arts in Education event was the student art show I had as part of the event. My students often tell me "I am going to be an artist when I grow up!" My standard answer is that they are ALREADY artists and they don't have to wait until the grow up! Having a show of their work at the Woodruff Arts Center - which is a major visual and performing arts center located in Atlanta - is VERY exciting! I could not be more proud of their work and how very professional the show was! Is it real art? You bet and it was made by real artists!
Lots and lots of planning before hand. I thought I was going to have one small wall so we were working on a salon style hanging. The toes belong to The Lake Forest Louvre.
I had a lot of great help to make it a reality! Isn't the space pretty?
Fifth grader self-portraits in the style of Howard Finster. Their personal poems are as interesting as their art!

Where oh where??????????

Where oh where did The Crayon Lab go????? I could regale you with fun stories of how the school year started and all the changes in my personal life and professional life. I could wax poetic about what an incredible honor it was to be a finalist for the Woodruff Salutes. All this would take pages and pages and pages....I always have a lot to say! In the interest of time, however, I will just say that I have missed being here and I am back!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Modern Moments Summer Teacher Institute

I have had a great time this week teaching at the High Museum of Art at their Modern Moments Summer Teacher Institute. I always meet so many wonderful teachers and have the best time. This year was no exception and we had lots of fun! Check out the paper slide videos we made in class today here.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

10 More Tech Tips

Simple Technology Integration

iPod People

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Up Close Chuck Close!

Portraits are hands down my favorite subject to teach in elementary school art. I am not sure why other than they really make me happy. As the end of the school year approaches (and I cannot believe I just typed that) we are getting ready for our school wide art show. Spring Arts is a school wide event where every student has a framed piece of art on display for the entire day in addition to the musical performances. With almost 1,000 students the task can be daunting. One of my personal goals this year as an art teacher was for every student to have at least two pieces of art to choose from for the art show.

"Two pieces of art in one year - that's easy," you say! Yes - that is easy in theory. Many art teachers in my district make art that is the same size all year so that there are several choices for the art show. I just cannot make myself do that. I like to make BIG art and art that is different sizes. I like to make seasonal art that would not be appropriate for the spring art show. I also display art work throughout the building all year long and that equals the need for a lot of art as well. Since I want the Spring Arts show to be special I don't want to use something that has been "seen" before.

That said, (yes, I realize I have gone off on a tangent) I love to do portraits as one of our choices for the art show. I have my son's kindergarten portrait that he did still hanging in my living room and it makes me happy every time I see it. This year we are studying Chuck Close with my 1st grade students for Spring Arts.

I could spend all day just looking at the noses! If we had more time I originally planned on having them go back over their monochromatic paintings with oil pastels to make the circles and shaped that Chuck Close is so famous for. I love them anyway!

Here are some links to the resources I used:

Teacher Resource Packet

Brief Chuck Close YouTube

Chuck Close & Big Bird