Sunday, July 19, 2015

Reflection Statements Using Artsonia

I just want to give a shout out to for providing a good place for students to write reflection statements.  I teach sixth through eighth grade students.  I have uploaded student work to Artsonia for many years now.  It was always a tremendous amount of extra work for me.  Artsonia has made this easier by allowing students to upload their own work and even write reflections statements about their artwork.  I still have to set it up for the students and approve their selections but it has saved me so much time and it has been good for the students to learn the process.  Within this process, I can give writing prompts to students so they can hopefully think deeper about what they are doing when they are creating art.  Some students will continue to do the minimum amount of writing and some will not even get their uploads completed, so I may not have as many pieces on Artsonia as I would if I did my own uploads.  However, I think this ties in beautifully with the new standards and the ideas of thinking about thinking.  Here are some examples from my students this past year.  I have not corrected any errors in their writing and have simply copied and pasted their artwork and reflection statements, so you can see how they are thinking about their artwork.  I highly recommend this to any teacher working with middle school students that has access to computers, iPads, Chromebooks, or student phones.  More can be found at our Artsonia link.

tomeaka's chinese brushwork
Tomeaka1 said this about his/her artwork ...
my favorite part about this project would be the blue pedals.My lease favorite part about this would be the pink pedals.It was hard to paint with out drawing first that's why my painting looks like that.I like working with brushes like the ones we used.If i created this art work again i would use a thin and tiny brush for the out lines then color in the inside why because big brushes don't work very well for the out lines.Things i learned about this project was using big brush's don't work very well.One thing i learned about this art work would be not to use so much paint.
About Me
Stephanie5007 said this about his/her artwork ...
I think that the most difficult part at doing this assignment is putting on the Duck Tape because it was always hard to cut and it was always sticking to me. To be truthful I actually wasn't successful because I made it like you do in the Fashion Angles Portfolio. But other than that, yes, I was successful. Also I would not change a thing if I had a magic wand or something. I think it unified from page to page because, starting with the picture of me, I did it like what is my favorite thing to my least favorite thing. If I was working with collage material again I think I would create something about my favorite brother Derrick Freske. The thing that I learned while doing this project is that I love art.
Hannah10582 said this about his/her artwork ...
I liked drawing the peacock first then tracing it on the scratch paper. I chose to do a peacock because they are colorful. I learned how to use a tool . I didn't like how white showed up when I pushed to hard.

Pastel Fox
Emily13174 said this about his/her artwork ...
I absolutely love how this came out. If you cant tell i love foxes, this is the 2nd project I've done with a fox. It looks really cool,with how there looks like there's movement in the fur. It was actually very simple to create.

The zentangle tiger
Giselle412 said this about his/her artwork ...
My favorite part was the background. my inspiration was that I like tigers. if i created a tiger again i would change the ears and add more details.what I learn from doing this artwork was to be creative. I use lots of colors and shapes.
Manga Guy Drawing
Allen829 said this about his/her artwork ...
I liked doing this project because it turned out great similar to my manga computer one. I changed the color of his shirt just a little bit and I added a great background to this drawing instead of a plain blue background. This must have been the best similar drawing I have ever drew. I really liked it.
Haly3 said this about his/her artwork ...
The watercolor project was a new and interesting project. I liked my turtle design but I don't like the color for it. I thought It was gonna be harder. I would of changed the color of the turtle.
My Painting
Myah97 said this about his/her artwork ...
I chose to paint expressionism because I liked that style of art the best over all the other styles and because it expresses your feelings. The most difficult part of this project was coming up with an idea and trying to paint all the small spots in. If I were to change something I would probably change the grey color at the bottom and make it a brighter color. I think I was successful using this style because it expresses my feelings. I'm very satisfied with my final artwork.

Matisse Style Painting
Carma7 said this about his/her artwork ...
Drawing from a model was actually pretty easy except for getting the facial features. What I did with my earlier project made it easier to do this one. I chose the pattern for my painting because I wanted to keep it sort of like the model and her background. If I were to make this project again, I would definitely give it some more detail and put more effort into it. Honestly, I don't like painting like Matisse. I like to do expressionism art and painting in an art style.
random room
Jade1157 said this about his/her artwork ...
This is my first time drawing from a model and I think it look good. I used bright colors to express happiness in this painting. I think using acrylic paint made it easier because you can paint over it. If I could do it over I would use more patters in it. I already knew about color theory but this is a good project for teaching it. I like painting with expressively but my favoret stile is fanticy

Saturday, June 28, 2014

2014 Sturgis Middle School Art Show

Now that school is out I have more time to post some of the things I haven't had time to do in the past.  The annual art show was held two weeks in May at the Sturgis Young Civic Auditorium.  I took pictures of each board and finally have the time put them into a video to share.  This is the result.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Paper Cranes

This spring I learned that our ESL aide recently found out that her sister has cancer.  Many of us at Sturgis Middle School were very concerned.  Money was collected, pop was sold, and all of this really helped as the aide's sister lives in Texas.  I wanted to do something with my students that would be special, involve art, and teach a lesson about working for a larger, greater good.  I lost my sister, Colleen, to cancer and this touched me personally.

Over the past year, many people in Sturgis have become familiar with Lily, our school secretary's granddaughter and the 1000 Cranes for Lily Facebook page.  Many of us have followed her on Facebook and learned more about Fanconi Anemia as we have witnessed her struggles and triumphs.  Last year a friend of hers folded 1000 cranes for Lily and sold them at  a fund raiser.  Over spring break, I started folding cranes to see if maybe I could do some kind of project with my students.  I first had to figure out how I could teach it to all of my sixth through eighth grade students, regardless of ability.  Folding cranes, like anything else, gets easier once you fold one.  As you fold more, they become easier to do. Once I had my planning figured out, I came up with the idea to have the students make the cranes into mobiles.  Some students worked in groups but most worked on their own.  The goal was for each student to make at least 10 cranes for their project.  I sent out an email for broken jewelry and twigs. Our school interventionist brought me jewelry and one of my teacher friends supplied me with twigs.  I had some basket rings, some plastic light fixtures, as well as general junk that students used to develop their mobiles. Two eight grade girls told me they wanted to do something different.  I gave them a canvas and a very original project was born.  The cranes they used on the canvas had been made with paper some of my students had marbled.  

When this project was originally began in the spring, I was thinking of it as a general fund raiser for cancer awareness.  It became more personal when we found out there was a need in our own school.  It was at this point that I dedicated the project to our ESL aide's sister.  I talked with her and made sure she understood why we wanted to do this for her sister.  She is a very private person or I would share her name here.  Most people that know her will know who I am speaking about.  I know that she was touched and since all of this we have shared stories with each other about our sisters.  We raised a little over $400 for here sister.  We also gave her, her sister, and her mother each a crane mobile. This way they can think about each other whenever they look at their cranes.

When I set up the display I had each mobile numbered.  This way I could post which students created them.  These are the numbers you see on the ceiling next to each crane mobile.  The larger mobiles were made by groups of students.  The mobiles sold for fifty cents a crane or best bid.  Some of the larger crane mobiles were real bargains as they had many cranes on them.  I also posted the story about how the idea for the cranes came about.

As the cranes were put up on display, the space became magical.  I wondered if the students would leave them alone and for the most part they did.  We actually had the cranes up for a whole month with very feel problems.  We put them up on Friday, May 16th.  I told our school secretary that it would be nice if Lily could see them.  I knew she couldn't be around people, so she would have to come in when the building is empty on the weekend.  Lily came in and her mother took this awesome picture.  She is looking at a large branch full of cranes made by several girls in my advanced art class.  When they saw this picture, they were tickled to see her looking at their mobile!
Finally, since school is out, I have had the time to put together a video showing the cranes.  I hope they can help spread some additional joy.  It was a magical time walking down this hallway for a good month.  I will never forget how beautiful the cranes looked and what a peaceful feeling I got every time I went out into the hallway.  I know other people felt the same.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

2013 Partners in Art

I am always amazed at the end of the year when I have to make selections for the annual middle school art show, the St. Joseph ISD, and Partners in Art.  My students are so talented and truthfully the art program at Sturgis Public Schools is top notch.  All of the art teachers, at every level, are so dedicated to their profession and craft.  The other night I had the pleasure of attending the Partners in Art celebration held at the Sturges Young Civic Auditorium.  I hadn't been to the party for three years because we had parent teacher conferences on the same night, so being able to attend the exhibit was just wonderful.

Partners in Art is a program put on by the Sturgis Arts Council.  Area art teachers select artwork from their students.  These are matted and framed and then area businesses can rent them for a year.  The rental cost is basically to pay for the framing.  Students get their artwork back with the frame a year later.  It is a wonderful program and a huge honor for any student that is fortunate enough to get selected.

I have put together a little video of the event so I hope you enjoy it.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Creating Art for My Art Classroom

I am always trying to get my students motivated to create art.  I think the best way to do this is by creating art myself.  Over the summer I created some artworks to hopefully inspire them in some way.  I have always used these to decorate my classroom to try and dispel the cold, ugly look of the painted walls.  So here are some artworks that can be found in my room that are used to inpsire my students.

I am always trying to motivate students to be their best.  I feel they have the power to become whatever they choose, hopefully someone that is productive and positive.
This poster was created a couple of years ago at vistaprint.  I highly recommend the website for their prices and usability.

With this little drawing, I am just trying to get students to think about their compostions.  How are they using the space?
 This came out after a college student that I used to have in art at the middle school posted on her Facebook page, "Earth without art is just "Eh."  I had never read that before but I thought it was cute and so true.  When I looked online to find art that had that statement I didn't find much so I created my own on a canvas  because I knew my students would enjoy it.
The color on this upload is a bit off but this was just for fun.
 This was created to inspire students to focus on their behavior while in art class.
 This was to help students think about developing their skills in art class.
 I find that many middle school girls love fairies so I wanted to inspire them to create.
 Even the "chill out zone" can be a place to find inspiration in my classroom.
 I created this painting to showcase our mission statement.  After it was created I had my students paint one for every classroom at my school.  They are all different and inspirational.
 Clustered here is an eclectic grouping made from a friend, a student, and myself.  All of course can hopefully inspire some of my students.
 This summer I decided to create an art class bill of rights because in our maddening, testing, world I think artists need to unite and know that being creative is a wonderful thing.
 Enough said,  I want my students' imaginations to go wild and lead them wherever they can find a place to be creative.
 Art can be simple but say a lot and I want my students to always look for the bright spots in their art.
 This was made by a student of mine.  It was an idea of course pilfered from the Internet and Pinterest.
 Imagination is where it is at.  If you cannot use your imagination, you are probably doomed to be very boring.
 I always find inspiration from other artists including Laurel Burch.  I love the shimmer of metallic paints as well. I just wanted my students to understand blending and layering with this one.
 This was purchased at a family reunion to help raise money for the next family reunion.  I bought it to inspire my students.  It is large and very fun.
This is what greets my students when they come into my artroom.  I believe it takes a village to raise a child and I am an important part of the village of Sturgis.
 Learning is what it is all about.  I teach and hope my students learn something from me.  I am always learning from my students.
Hopefully, seeing some of the artworks in my room will inspire someone else to create art.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Say, "Hello" to My Little Friends

It's time to get serious about classroom management.  This past summer I spent a lot of time trying to create a new plan for my classroom.  I wanted to create a special environment that any student would want to be in.  I started by creating art for my classroom, searching Pinterest for ideas, and brainstorming by myself.  I worked really hard to come up with a plan for the school year.  I wanted my room to stand out as a place where excellent things happen.  I wanted a new plan for my classroom that would motivate my students to behave and want to create art.

I ended up with two new friends.  They are Class Dojo and the "No Yell" bell.  Seriously, if you don't have these, get them.
I absolutely love Class Dojo.  I am using it two ways.  I use it to monitor student individual behavior but I also have each class set up as table behavior.  I have two classes on Class DoJo for each of my classes.  I did this because I wanted to create a reward system that was fun for my students and would force the ones that don't like to clean up to clean up.  When my students come into my classroom they know that they must be seated when the bell rings in order to get a point.  I have very few tardies anymore.  There is less wasted time getting students to settle down because they know I am giving them points if they are quiet.  Class Dojo is so easy to set up but what is really nice is I can constantly change the positive and negative behaviors.  I have added things like "turning in quality artwork" to "volunteering".  Students know that I am looking at them and thinking about their behavior and it keeps them on their toes.  Luckily, my sixth grade students already knew about Class Dojo because a couple of their exploratory teachers had been using it last year.  My seventh and eighth grade students were unfamiliar with it but loved the cute little avatars.

At first, some of my 8th grade students thought it was silly and they were going to get many negative points.  I told them that this was going to be their behavior grade.  In reality, after they saw some of the rewards the students were getting they started to take it more seriously.  I have a class of 31 8th grade students with only 6 girls in it.  Many of the boys are students that aren't really into school and have many behavior issues in most of their classes.  I discovered that Class Dojo is really working for them.  One day Class Dojo was down and the difference in attitude and behavior was amazing.  I was so happy when the Internet was back to normal.  I display Class Dojo on my projector so students know which tables are getting points and even which students are getting points.

My reward system is interesting.  I told students they could negotiate what their reward would be with me.  I have a giant bucket of Dum Dum suckers, Little Debbie type cookies bought at the Dollar store, trinkets from Smile Makers, and any combination of those.  Students can also bring their music for a week or go make a movie together and replace one of their projects.  Students can replace a project with a different type of art project.  I am open to negotiate with them and make them feel like they really got something great!
Some 6th and 7th grade students decided it would be fun to learn about pixelation.  They got to create a stop motion animation of people.  I also let them work with Sam Animation and One True Media.  So, while they were having fun, they were still learning!  Here are two videos made this week from students who chose this as their reward:
This first one was made by sixth grade students.

 This one was made by seventh grade students.

When a table of students win an award for getting points on Class DoJo, I allow them to have these trophies on their table for a week if they want to kind of "show off" that they are special.

If a student wants to have their music for a week, I have them put the trophy in front of them so I am reminded that they earned the privilege.  Class Dojo is so much fun for my students and even me.  It makes my classroom run smoothly and my "No Yell" bell alerts students to listen or clean up.

The NO Yell bell is digital.  It has 7 sounds on it.  I use two of the sounds.  Number 4 sounds like some alien ship.  I use it to alert students to the fact that I need to say something.  It is highly effective.  Often times students don't pay attention to their teachers which causes teachers to escalate their voice.  I am no stranger to that one.  The No Yell bell stops that behavior.  The students settle right down because they know I need to talk with them.  I use number 6 as our clean up bell.  It is like a clicking sound and then a buzzer like you are running out of time.  When that bell goes off my students get right to work on their clean up jobs.  I have color coded the tables and I have a chart on my white board that I rotate the colors on so that each week students have different jobs.

I have even more things to share about how I set up my room this year but I will save that for the coming weeks.  I hope this helps anyone out there reading my blog.  Your two best friends could be Class Dojo and the No Yell bell.  I know they are mine!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

New School Year

I have been meaning to post pictures of my classroom and explain what I did to get ready for the school year.  However, I have been so busy that I haven't had time.  Tonight I'm going to share some of the things that I have done to get ready for the new school year.  I'll follow up with more over the next week or so.  My focus has been on classroom management and creating an environment that is fun and organized.  I spent quite a bit of time this summer stealing ideas from Pinterest and creating my own ideas to make my classroom a wonderful place to be.  You might like to know that I had the opportunity to help design my classroom several years ago when we were building our new middle school.  Most of the design of the room is mine.  There were some changes made with placement of the storage, kiln, and office rooms, and electricity hook up for the pottery wheels.  However, for the most part, it is largely my design, minus the color choices.  They didn't go for my colors, but I can't complain as I'm happy with my room.

As you enter my art classroom this is what will greet you.
The painting says it all for me.  I created this painting several years ago to showcase the concept that it takes a village to raise a child.  I believe in this 100%.  We all must do whatever it takes to help get students to become positive, intelligent, caring people that are our future.  Over the years it has been damaged by students that lack self esteem and hurt.  I don't take it personally.  I just repair it and put it back up.  In the painting I have included my little MSU (Michigan State University) person to represent my alma mater.  When you walk into my room there is a bank of computers.
The door is actually to the left of these computers.  As you look at the pictures to follow remember that the trash hasn't been dumped and you might see a knife out because I was unpacking a lot of things.  I don't normally have a knife sitting around my room.  Here are some pictures from around the room.

The next pictures are of some display boards that I am using this year for bulletin boards and also to block out my pottery wheels.  These display boards I purchased for my advanced art class to put up their annal art show.  I have 15 of these that are shared by two students to create their own special display.  I had never thought of using these to block out an area in my art room.  However, when the administration took them and used them in our in school suspension room I thought it might be a good idea for my own classroom.  Over the years, I have discovered that middle school boys like to fool around with pottery wheels at any time.  They are fascinated by them.  The electicty hoses hang down from the ceiling which are also fun to play with, so I decided to hide these this year.  (This was not my choice but it was a safety issue.)  When we use the wheels, I can wheel my display boards out of the way easily and put them back when we are finished.  That whole back area is off limits to my students.  I have a sink back there that I am keeping for my prep area.  My room is quite large.  I wanted to make it smaller because middle school students need to be confined a bit or they will run through the room.  There is plenty of room for them to work and I have actually taken over about a third of the room with my computer area, prep area, and "chill zone" area.

The next pictures are of the area I created for my computer, projector, document camera, and other some other organizational features.

Here are a few more pictures.  In my next post, I will explain some of the organizational things I did this year to create a better managed classroom.  I am excited about this new school year and I am loving how my room is working out.  The kids are enjoying it and all of the new paintings and posters I put up this year.  They aren't even missing the sink as I have three other ones in my room!

I will close with a picture of my old, ugly stool.  I should say it is cute now as I painted it this summer!  I put the words, "Be creative and inspire others." just to remind me of why I am a teacher.  I am not here to make some kid miserable.  My goals are to help kids reach for the stars and discover how art has made the world a better place, and can have a great impact on their own lives.  Have a great school year!