Monday, February 28, 2011

Please Vote for the Fugleflick!

I just saw on Art with Mr.E that Mrs.Fuglestad, art teacher extraordnaire, needs our help!  I know I have mentioned the videos that Mrs. Fuglestad and her classes make before... (Be Kind to Your Eraser, Young Sloppy Brush, etc.)  I know you can find her videos, or fugleflicks, on teachertube.

Please take a minute to help out a fellow Art teacher.  Here is the information I got from Art With Mr.E:
"One of our Fugleflicks (student created art related movies) is a finalist in the National Geographic Find Your Footprint contest.We're trying to win a $36K prize package for our school and we need votes."

There is no login or email sharing or anything time consuming.

All you do is click vote for "Let's Be Green When its Time to Clean"

You can vote only once per browser per computer or mobile device.

Voting goes until March 16th and we're in LAST place right now:(

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Youth Art Month

These are the two student works that I selected to be displayed in the YAM exhibit, one from each school. 

 My YAM bulletin board at school.  I may have gone a little overboard but the students think it looks cool!  It has photos of student work, the winning entry from my YAM contest, and some advocacy materials.

I had fun blowing paint around!

My YAM Writing Contest Winner

I made cards with student artwork on them to send to my principals, the other art teachers, the superintendent, the board of education members, and pretty much everybody at the district office.  The inside says "Happy Youth Art Month!  Thank you for supporting Art Education.  Please enjoy the artwork by _________.  Sincerely, Katie Morris and Pauline Central and South students."  I also put in a lesson description to show them what we teach, that it's more than making something "pretty."  Here are some of the cards:

 The Kansas YAM Exhibit was today.  We had a great turnout!  Lots of students and families showed up, even a state senator talked about the importance of Art Education.  You may or may not have heard that we are in danger of losing the Kansas Arts Commission... hoping that doesn't happen!

Sargent Art partnered with us this year and one student, a parent, and her Art teacher won a trip to New York!

It's a Mr.YAM head, get it?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Name Doodles

Inspired by Doodle 4 Google, the students made name "doodles" that show their interests and personality.  One class for planning and drawing with pencil, one class with colored pencils.  Some classes started with me but most completed the whole project with my sub.  My main tip is to have students who "don't know what to draw" make a list of things they like on the back of their papers and think how they could turn objects associated with their lists into letters.

Marissa (it was December)
My Example

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Preparing for Leave

I thought I would share some things that I did to prepare for maternity leave in case it might help out someone else in the same situation.  I think I nested at school more than at home so it is possible that I went a little overboard!  I did everything I could think of to make the transition easier on my students and the sub.  I left simple lesson plans for every project.  If I had an Art teacher as a sub I probably still would have planned everything to make sure that my goals for the year would be met... I'm not the most laid back person!  Anyway, read on if you wish!

This was a test step-by-step visual.  I made some for the lessons my sub taught.

Make a Plan- The first thing I did was map out my lessons so I could organize everything I needed to do to get ready for my substitute.  The earlier you can find out who your substitute will be, the better.  I had asked the other Art teachers in my district for suggestions on substitutes who had Art experience and gave the list to my principal.  None of those subs worked out and since there are not a lot of people with Art backgrounds, I made sure that my sub would be comfortable with the lessons I had planned.  Since I teach K-6 students, I reassured my substitute that they could handle anything the students could handle.

Gather Materials- After I had the lessons mapped out, I wrote my plans and made sure to point out which terms needed to be explained to the students.  I made an example to go along with each lesson plan, showing the steps whenever possible.  For some projects, I made step-by-step illustrations.  For others, I photographed each step of the process as I worked on the project and either put the pictures into a handout or a PowerPoint presentation.  For a more complicated project with my 4-6h grade students, I photographed the creation of my example, step-by-step, and recorded my voice explaining the process on a PowerPoint so the sub can press play and it will be like I am there demonstrating.  I put together any PowerPoints or images that the substitute would need to show and burned them on a cd for easy access.  I made sure that all the lesson plans and examples were easy to find.  On my last day at school, I had everything else done so I ended up with time to get paper cut down for every project.

Labels- I realized that my substitute would be someone who was not familiar with the Art room so I typed labels for all of my cabinets and storage areas with a list of the contents.  (I also noted in my lesson plans where the supplies for that project are stored.)   I made sure that my sub would know where to store projects that were in progress and where to store completed projects so that I could photograph them for Artsonia when I returned to school.

User Manual- I also typed out a “user manual” that includes an explanation of my Art Expectations, classroom management information, beginning and end of class procedures, fire/tornado/lockdown drill procedures, seating chart explanation, and names of people to ask for help in case a question comes up.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

School Logo Paper Mural

Some people who see this in person can't find the picture!  I think it's easier to make out when viewed from the center and at a distance.

Yesterday I wanted to do one-day projects to try and get my classes back on the same schedule after snow days.  I got the idea for the mural from my friend Amy's blog but adapted the project for my students.  Her students had more variety of media but I stuck to my brand new Mr.Sketch markers.  I knew that I wanted to give each student a small section of the logo and show them how to create a grid to enlarge it.  I opened the logo up in Photoshop because that is always the easiest way for me to find the right size to scale the image and to add even lines.  Also, I have the file saved so I don't have to do the work again to use the project in future years.  I printed the logo in black and white so there were pretty much three values of black, gray, and white.  I haven't really done a project focused on value before so this was kind of an experiment.  I asked the students to make the black areas (pretty much just outlines) solidly colored in, fill the gray areas with line and shape designs, and either leave the white areas white or add sparse designs.  I also asked the students to use an analogous color scheme.

This project was completed by two 4th grade classes, a 6th grade class, and me.  There should have been enough students to complete every section.  But the power was out for an hour yesterday morning so the 4th class that I had planned to have work on this had to do a different project.  I figured I would complete a section in each class to demonstrate but I think I ended up finishing 16/72 pieces.  If I hadn't done that, the day would have been kind of a waste.  You can't put up a half-finished mural!  We had conferences today (and last night) so I finished my sections and one of our social workers helped me hang it.

When I do this project in the future...

I will probably stick with 6th grade.  It was tricky for some of them, the 4th graders needed LOTS of help.

I will probably tell the students what they are making.  I didn't tell the 4th grade classes what the "big picture" was going to be.  I wasn't going to tell my 6th grade class but decided to on a whim and they instantly were more interested and motivated!  I forget how much they are into anything with our school logo and it made a big difference!

I will try to figure out how to handle the REALLY simple sections.  Some pieces only had a little line down one side or a small shape in the corner.  One of my students with SUPER low motivation chose a section that was almost empty so when he finished that, I had him take over another section for a student who had to leave early.  And for once, he actually did the work!  (And with little more than a half-hearted protest!)  I was so happy!

I will have the students fold their paper "hotdog" and then "hamburger" style to make a simple grid with the creases instead of measuring.  I had the 4th grade classes use rulers to make their grids and you'd think they've never used one before!  I have vented about ruler issues before and had lots of the same problems again. I showed the students how to find the middle.  I told them that the paper was 9x12 inches.  This is what followed with the first 4th grade class.
Me: What is 9 divided by 2?
Students: 18!
Me: No, that's 9 times 2.  What is half of 9?
Students: 3!  No, 2!
I decide to draw it on the board and show the students that 9 divided by 2 is 4 and a half.  I asked them what half of 12 was and thankfully they figured that one out a little quicker.  I marked the measurements on both sides and connected them with the ruler.  Simple, right?  Haha, that's what I thought.  Several used the wrong measurement, one even blamed it on me, several used the right measurement but just marked it once in the middle of the paper so it wasn't straight, several even measured correctly but tried to draw the grid lines free hand instead of with the straight edge of the ruler.

I feel a little like a quitter to give up on using rulers (I mean it's a simple but important skill the students should know) but I don't feel like I get enough class time with them to spend as much time as it would take for them to get it...

Another issue was students turning one of their pieces (either the small section or their drawing paper) horizontal and the other vertical which of course doesn't match up.  I don't think a lot of them had the visual-spatial skills yet to take on the more complicated sections.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Kansas Artists Bulletin Board

Kansas recently celebrated 150 years of statehood!  I need to finish photographing the Kansas Birthday Cake lesson I had planned and left with my sub during my maternity leave.  The cakes turned out awesome!  I had started planning a Kansas Artists bulletin board back in November and was planning to get all the materials ready before my leave but Turner showed up a couple of weeks early.  Anyway, I got everything finished my first week back so it was up just in time for Kansas Day on January 29th.  I have really enjoyed being in charge of the bulletin board, I'm glad I asked my principal for it!  Some of the classes end up waiting in the hallway near it to go to lunch and I've seen several teachers referencing the print and using it to review Kansas history.  My next bulletin board will be for Youth Art Month!
Man, I really need to paint that frame!

John Steuart Curry, Tornado Over Kansas

Yeah! It "stuck"!

I have 6 student tables in my 4-6th classroom, which is much more decorated now then when I took this photo,

and each table is labeled wit a color.  Of course I arranged them in the proper order.  Today at the end of class one of my 5th grade students came up to me and said,
"I just realized, the tables on this side of the room (gestures to her left) are warm colors and the tables on the other side of the room (gestures to her right) are cool colors!"


We spent a LOT of time last year talking about color theory.

Also, I can't remember the last time a student called me by the previous art teacher's name!  SCORE!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Attention Kansas Teachers!

Kansas Youth ART Month Celebration
Sponsored by Sargent Art

Every art teacher in the state of KS is invited to enter one piece of art work from each of the schools that they teach at into the YAM show. If you teach at several different schools every school can be represented. If you teach at a K-12 school you may enter work at every level: 1 elementary, 1 middle school, & 1 high school.

• The exhibit is at the state capital on Feb. 26, 2011.

• The reception for students, teachers, administrators, parents, and guests is Feb. 26 from 2pm to 4pm.

• Sargent Art Winners will be awarded prizes at 1:30 pm on Feb. 26, 2011.

• The Sargent Art YAM contest is open to all students of teachers that are current members of KAEA.

• If you are not a KAEA member you may still send work, it is just not eligible to win the Sargent Art prizes.

• It’s never too late to become a KAEA member. Join us @

• Sargent Art will award prizes of art supplies to the winning artists and teachers in each category: Elementary, Middle, and High School.

• ONE Grand Prize Winner will receive an all-expense paid trip to NYC for the artist, teacher and one parent!

• Art work can be sent with a YAM Area Representative in your area. A list and contact information can be found at

• For additional details, entry forms, and delivery deadlines, see the KAEA web site YAM page.

• For additional information you can contact Shawny Montgomery, KS YAM chair @

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

"This isn't my project..." (Oh, Kindergarten...)

I'm doing a project based on each basic geometric shape with my Kindergarten students this year.  For "triangle," I put together a PPT with images of Egyptian art, architecture, plants, animals, etc.  Here are some things that have happened with this project so far.  The youngest students are usually the most entertaining.  

Monday, Week 1-
During the introduction, one of my little friends kept interrupting me with questions.  Sometimes simple questions are hard to answer!

Student: "What's a river?"
Me (no one has ever asked me what a river is before... if he has to ask I should keep this super simple): "Um, it's a big stream of water."         

Student: "What's a camel?"
Me: "Look at the picture, it's that animal.  They do really good in deserts."

Friday, Week 1-
Gave several reminders about not touching supplies, listening, keeping eyes on the screen.  Found out after my presentation that two students decided to scribble and practice their "ABC's" on the table with crayon instead of paying attention.  Talked to them about choices, took picture to show their teacher, told their sub.  Students came up to apologize to me.  Told them they should really be apologizing to our custodians.

We talked about the shape of the pyramids.  Each student drew a big triangle and turned it into a pyramid.  Next, they used their imaginations to create a landscape.  Some added the Nile, crocodiles, camels, palm trees, even pottery with heiroglyphs like I showed a picture of!  Drew in pencil, traced with black crayon to be painted over in class 2 for a wax-resist project.

Monday, Week 2-
Students who drew on the table were sent to my room with "I am sorry" drawings in the morning.  Teacher wants them to scrub tables sometime.

During one of the Kindergarten classes that afternoon, I rearrange a few seats to make sharing paint easier.  I pass out drawings from week 1.  Made a deal with the students that if they did a really good job cleaning their brushes before switching colors, I'll let them use the nice, new watercolor trays.  Students do a good job!  As I'm collecting wet paintings to put on the drying rack, I compliment a little girl on her artwork.  She looks up at me and says,

"This isn't my project."

Seriously?  I hadn't learned all the Kindergarten students' names yet before maternity leave and I've just gotten back from missing 6 weeks of school.  I accidentally gave her a drawing by an absent student with a very similar name.  Wish she would have told me before she painted it so I could have given her the correct drawing!

During my plan period, I go pick up my graffiti artists from their classroom and make them clean the art room from floor to ceiling.  Just kidding.  They spend 5 minutes of their indoor recess cleaning tabletops with clorox wipes.

Student: "Wow, this is hard!"
Me: "Will it help you remember to make better choices?"
Student: "Yes!"
Me: "Good!"

5 more classes still have to finish the project.  2 will finish this Friday, 3 will be rescheduled for a later date because of snow days.  I'm sure the other classes will keep me on my toes as much as the first two to finish!

Oh, Kindergarten...