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!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Inspiring a School

I believe the art room is a great place to inspire other people.  For the past two years on our end of the year activity day I have invited students to come to the art room and paint pieces that will be installed around our school.  This past spring I decided to paint core subject artworks for their individual wings at our school.  At the end of the 2011-2012 school year the administration decided to change the 6th, 7th, and 8th grade wings or hallways of our school into Language Arts, Math, and Social Studies, with Science having a lab located midway down each wing.  This involved massive moving of many teachers' classrooms.  The plan was to allow core teachers to work with each other to plan curriculum across grade levels to teach the common core.  When we first got back to school a fellow teacher and friend asked me if I could have my students paint paintings to designate each new wing.  I was extremely busy and just didn't have the time to do it but it stayed in my head, like most things do, festering, until I decided I would indeed do something about it.  I had some of my advanced students work on these at the end of the school year.  They came in for a couple of weekends before the end of the school year and some came in on the activity day.  In addition to this, I decided I couldn't leave out the exploratory teachers.  We worked on a piece for the music wing and just before school started, I called a few of my students and they came in and worked on a piece for the art, technology, wood, and metal wing.  I probably should create two more paintings to make everyone happy, but I am out of time.  They would be for physical education and one for the home economics and life skills teacher.  I need to let them know that I haven't forgotten about them. They are included on a special piece which I will share at the end of this post.  Here is the result of our effort.

My students were so proud of their artwork.  We went online and got inspiration from images we saw and combined those with other ideas we had.  Then the students painted these on their own asking for advice as needed.  I think my students are awesome.  These were 7th and 8th grade students.  They painted on large 24 inch by 30 inch stretched canvas with acrylic paint.

During the school year, teachers have PLC (Professional Learning Community) meetings every Thursday morning from 7:00 until 8:30.  Students have a delayed start at this time.  During my meeting time one morning, I had a great idea and so I sketched out a plan for my students to make a large painting at the end of the school year to motivate our school.  We are the "Trojans".  I took our Trojan symbol and put it with puzzle pieces.  Into the puzzle pieces are all of our classes and sports.  I decided to ask everyone who looks at it a question?  How do you show your Trojan Pride?  Of course this is symbolic and we are all part of the puzzle that makes up our wonderful school.  My students made all color decisions with help from me to make sure the colors were balanced and on the activity day many students came in to paint.  After the activity day, my advanced students that had been working on the painting, took ownership and fixed anything they didn't like, and added all of the lettering.  I think this turned out fantastic and I know they are so proud of it.  This was made up of four stretched canvas paintings that are 20 inches by 30 inches.  We also painted with acrylic paint.  Check it out and I hope it inspires everyone that sees it!  This was put at the top of the stairs and I have received wonderful comments from people that have seen it.