Friday, July 23, 2010

And the Survey Says...

I had my 4th-6th grade students take a survey at the end of the school year with questions about my teaching style/habits, the mural project, and their favorite lessons of the year.  Today I finally had a chance to go through all of the surveys and count the number of votes for each lesson.  If I put an asterisk next to the lesson title, it means that only half of the classes or less got to do that lesson due to scheduling.  I also want to point out that I'm not counting the votes for the mural project in the rankings.  I had such overwhelmingly positive feedback for that project that I knew it would be the favorite so I had asked students not to write it down on their surveys.

4th Grade
Watercolor Fantasy Landscape 21
Geometric Shape Op Art 21
Continuous Line Drawings 14
*Doodle 4 Google 12
KS Critters: Bugs 5
Colored Pencil Still Life- Gourds 4
Jr. Duck Stamp 4
*Sun & Moon Folk Art 1
"Drawing" 1
Mural 6

5th Grade
Mixed Media Clothes Lines (I need to blog about this one!)28
What if _____ Grew on Trees25
*Doodle 4 Google13
Jr. Duck Stamp11
Landscapes- Mixing Primary Colors6
Kansas Critters: Bugs1
Gourd Still Life Drawing0

6th Grade
Aboriginal Inspired (will blog about this one too!)27
Complementary Landscape Painting13
Monochromatic Silhouette9
Jr. Duck Stamp8
*Doodle 4 Google8
*Raining Popcorn7
Gourd Still Life- Pencil Rendering7
Free Draw2
Kansas Critters: Bugs1

I think I want to try finding out the students' favorite projects at the end of each semester so they will be fresher in their memories.  I could just make a sign and let students put a tally mark or sticker to vote for their favorite project.  Finding out favorite projects was the most useful part of the survey I gave.  The questions about teaching were not quite as helpful because the students contradicted each other and themselves!  It amazed me how much their perceptions varied!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Goals for the Rest of the Summer

I decided to post my list of school-related goals so maybe I'll be more organized and get them done in about a month.  My time management skills kind of go out the window during the summer...

  • Read my copy of Rethinking Curriculum in Art (and record time spent reading to turn in for knowledge points!)
  • Re-read the student surveys from 4-6th grade and tally their favorite projects of the year.  This should help me see which lessons are "MUST do's" and if there were any the students were lukewarm on.
  • Make a spreadsheet of lessons for each grade level.  I am going to try a more sequential approach to the order my lessons are presented in this year- line, shape, color, etc. and see if the students and I like that better.  I want to make a spreadsheet so I can see what I already have from last year that will work and start planning my new ideas!
  • Start planning sub lessons for my maternity leave!  (Or at least getting ideas...)

6th Grade Visual Journaling- Raining Popcorn

Check out my previous post for information on my Journey into a Work of Art visual journaling project.  I used the same set up for 6th grade and just changed the work of art from Seurat's A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte to Sandy Skoglund's Raining Popcorn.  I LoOoOoOoOoVe her artwork!  She makes awesome installations, places models in the setting, and photographs.  Her artwork is great to talk about repetition, unity, texture, and color (lots of monochromatic artwork.)  One of my favorite pieces of her work is called the Cocktail Party.  (Here's a cool video showing her process:

This project was also completed in one, 40-minute class period.  I showed the students a PowerPoint and explained the project just like I described in the 4th grade visual journaling post.  To help the students be more descriptive in their writing, and to add a little fun, I popped a couple bags of microwave popcorn and put it at each table.  The students had fun thinking about how the popcorn affected their senses and getting a little snack in art class.

We talked about using interesting adjectives as I knew they had been working on it in their English class.  I gave the students tan colored construction paper, pencils, sharpies, crayons, and colored pencils.  I showed the students how white crayon worked really well to draw popcorn on the warm colored construction paper and let them get to work!

4th Grade Visual Journaling- Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte

When I wrote my first unit plan in an Art Ed class at ESU, my favorite part of the assignment was called Journey into a Work of Art.  We had to imagine being in the work of art (I chose Sandy Skoglund's Raining Popcorn) and write about what we experienced using all 5 senses.  I thought this would be a great way to encourage creative thinking and work on writing skills with my students.

I chose Seurat's A Sunday Aternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte (1884-86) for the work of art and taught this lesson in one 40 minute class period (not a regular art class, a rotation set up while the 4th grade teachers collaborate.)  First, I showed the students a PowerPoint with Seurat's stats.  Next, I showed an image I found on Wikipedia, a detail of another of Seurat's Pointilist paintings, to help the students understand the concept of Pointilism.  After learning about Pointilism, I projected a large image of La Grand Jatte and explained visual journaling to the students.

I found a really cool website,, that explains visual journaling and has reference images.  We broke the term apart: "visual" tells us that there will be something to look at (doodles, drawings, etc.), and "journaling" tells us that there will be writing.  We listed the 5 senses and the students used their imaginations to complete the visual journaling project.  I told them that visual journaling was very free form and they could write a postcard to someone about their trip, make a list of what they experienced, write a poem, or write a paragraph.  However they wanted to do their journaling was fine.  I gave the students fine point sharpies to write with and told them they could use pencil, sharpie, or colored pencils to add the visual details.

Some students were noticeably more comfortable with the project but I think almost all enjoyed it.  I like to point out the little dog and the monkey by the lady with the umbrella, as well as the man who appears to be playing a trumpet to encourage the students to look for little details to help them.  I did a visual journaling project with my 6th grade students that I will post about next.  I am looking forward to introducing this to other grades and doing more projects in the future.