Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Pandemic Selfie Portraits

I decided to end this year of middle school drawing with Portraits. I already knew several students were good at drawing them and wanted to give these artists a challenge to record themselves for this crazy year!
That left several students who needed to learn all the fun aspects of portrait drawing which proved to be quite the challenge for me! YAY! Overall, students did learn a bit about drawing more of what they see and how to record their images. I also made sure to take advantage of some of my star artists' talents and had them act as teacher's assistants and help their peers as well.

Students could choose to draw themselves with masks on or off. 
Here are just a few of the awesome pencil shaded versions:
Students could also do half portraits with personal symbols. 

Collaged Mixed Media Drawings

It was a good challenge to work with Collage and 
Drawing this semester. This is a lesson from 

Students first worked with a Symmetrical Bug Drawing 
and then chose their own subject for a second drawing.
We first collaged brown, black and dictionary 
papers onto a 5.5 by 8.5 paper. 
Then drew their drawing and finished each area in different 
media depending on which paper it  was on.
The variety of results was awesome and students 
really took to the challenge of mixed media!
You can find more Mixed Media Drawings here and here.  
More Bug Drawings can be found here and here.

Dragon Faces

Dragons are fun to draw this time of year. Since we were 
working on mostly drawing this year, I decided to try 
Dragon Faces and Colored Pencil Shading.

First we draw just half and then transfer the 
drawing to the other side for perfect symmetry. 

Many students did awesome with the color choices, blending 
and shading! Here are just a few finished student Dragon Faces:

You can find more Awesome Dragon Drawings here and here.

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Remote Learning and Art Class

My teaching style has had to change a bit this school year due to Remote Learning and Classroom Covid Precautions. YAY! Not knowing when students would be onsite and not being able to share materials put a bit of a wrench in my otherwise smooth teaching and learning routines! But I am resourceful and this CrAzY year isn't gonna get this veteran teacher down! So here are a few things that I have found useful while teaching in a pandemic.

I knew that some students' families would be having a bit of a hard time supplying their student with the usual supply kits this year. So in late July I created a Donors Choose asking for donations to fund the supplies pictured here. It was awesome when the money came pouring in and it was funded within a week! Did you know that Donors Choose will double the donations if they happen within a certain time frame after an account is created? I asked for zipper pouches, erasers, pencils and hand held pencil sharpeners. These were things I wanted to make sure to have at the beginning of the new year. I hadn't budgeted for them with my classroom money from last school year as I had turned my requests in before the Covid Lockdown started. So I had to act quick and Donors Choose came through quick! Thank you to all who donated! I and my students really appreciated it. It made the start of a tricky year easier!
I was happy knowing that my students did not have to worry about sharing any materials. These zipper pouches were filled with the shown items plus a few colored pencils, markers and also popsicle sticks that we would use for measuring instead of rulers! They have been very handy all year and I am glad I thought ahead to have these ready!
I also asked for a webcam. It is pretty awesome and (once I figured out how to use it) we have been besties ever since I made my first video! Our lessons are all uploaded onto the Canvas Learning Platform this year. After a bit of a learning curve, I have become somewhat of an Ace at managing my lessons through Canvas! Everything the students need to complete a project is available to them online. So if they are in class or at home, they have access to what they need to be successful. I write out all of the step by step procedures, create technique videos, and provide in process and finished sample pics for each assignment. During class, we go over the expectations for the day together with my in person and remote students as they access the information on their Chromebooks. If they miss a day of class or need more information, they just need to refer to the info on Canvas and they are all set! 
I also figured out a way for students to have papers that they would need to work for Art Class whether they were in person or remote. Each student received a 2 pocket folder. In the front is a worksheet set made up of 20-25 pages packed full of information they would need to reference for their lessons. These worksheets are a hodge podge of online resources (thanks fellow teachers) that I have gathered over the years. I spent a bit of time before school started and before the second semester getting these sets together to get them to the printer in time to have them for students on the first day of both semesters. 
I made sure to pack them with a lot of lesson possibilities so we do not run our of resources. It is interesting how hybrid schedule learning takes double the amount of time as in person. But I would rather have too many resources for students than not enough! 
I also wanted students to have access to sketch papers in their folder. So I folded 5 pieces of 11 by 17 paper in half and stapled them into the folder using a long reach stapler. In the back pocket of the folder, I put loose copy paper, good heavier drawing paper, and a few specialty papers like grid paper, black paper, and tracing paper. I didn't necessarily know what we would use all of those papers for, but I wanted my students to have them just in case I came up with another one of my brilliant ideas! Onsite students whether at school full time or a hybrid schedule carry these supply kits and their folders to school and class daily. That way, they have them at school or at home when they need them. Most students have been awesome about doing this and most have stayed intact!

Some other issues I needed to figure out was what to do about students not having access to the wall mounted pencil sharpeners in my room so they would need to use hand held ones. I made sure to include those in my Donors Choose, but I did not want students to make a mess with them at their tables or accidentally drop them in the big classroom trash cans. So I purchased a small bin for every table. That way students could sharpen their pencil over the bin and the shavings would not make a mess and the sharpener would not get lost. We also use these for table trash bins or to collect collage papers that can be reused if needed. This has also reduced the "getting up and in other people's spaces for no reason" issues that some middle schoolers have!
Another issue that I figured out a solution to was the possible sharing of a few classroom supplies and how to sanitize them. I purchased these inexpensive plates per table. If we need to share any items like the above, students leave them on the plates at the end of class and they get sprayed with sanitizing cleaner and dry fairly quickly for the next student's use. 
At the end of class, students gather their things and stand by their seats. I come around and spray with a sanitizing cleaner. Students then use towels to wipe up the spot for the next class. At the end of the day, we gather up the towels in a basket and my awesome Custodian Judy washes them and they are ready for use the next day!
Overall, this year has been quite the challenge! I have come through it like a champ using my resources and experience to find solutions! Would I want to continue to teach in a Pandemic or have to repeat this year? Definitely not! But I have learned a lot about perseverance in spite of difficulties and like I often tell my students, "You can do anything if you set my mind to it!"

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

My Artful Heart

I have always wanted to do an Artful Heart drawing project. This school year seemed like the perfect time to explore a bit about what is in my students' hearts. 

Students began by tracing or redrawing the below anatomical heart. We then went through the following questions to brainstorm ideas of how to create an artful heart that would represent their actual heart and what they may be feeling this school year.

What does your heart look like?

Where does your heart come from? 

Where does your heart live?

Has your heart ever been broken? 

Who or what has broken your heart? 

         What kind of treasures does your heart contain? 

What color is your heart?

What or who is taking up the most space in your heart?     

What words would your heart say or sing? 

Where does your heart want to go? 

What is your heart holding on to?

What does your heart’s future look like? 

What might be hurting your heart?

What or who is protecting your heart?

What images are tattooed on your heart?        

Would you or others consider your heart ugly or beautiful?

This is my Artful Heart that I shared with students to help them think of ideas of what to add to their drawing. We talked about adjusting the shape and parts of the heart to go with their ideas and to add sections if needed. Basic design ideas of drawing large to fill the space, and simplifying where needed were also discussed. Students were to draw a minimum of 3 ideas to represent them and could create a background if they wanted to complete their work. Students finished with shading with pencil and/or shading/blending with colored pencil to create dimension and interest. Some students also chose to add marker. 

A few awesome student samples:
I love how students really got into this project 
and showed what was really in their hearts!

Surrealist Perspective

Surrealism is creating a dream like image. Perspective is a drawing system used creating depth on a flat surface. This lesson is a bit of both! It is an oldie but a goodie that I have always wanted to try. It was also a good way to wrap up the fall semester combining several concepts we were learning, Op Art, shading forms, and creating depth in a picture plane.

We began previewing/reviewing basic one point perspective using this worksheet (source unknown).

We then added details to the forms, turning them into structures with entrances and exits.Students could then use this worksheet or a new page to add something that could be "stretched" through each of the structures. Several examples and ideas were looked at and listed to get their imaginations going!
This is my 16 year old cat Miracle with her fabulous tail traveling through the structures. I then shaded them and created a background. Students could use pencil, colored pencils or both to finish their work, showing the blending and shading techniques we have been working with.

Of course, I had to make an Among Us sample. Then I tried one without the worksheet and Dragon themed. It was quite a challenge, but several students gave it a try!

Awesome student work!