Monday, December 22, 2008

Friday, December 12, 2008

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Getting Centered In The Art Room

This year the Kindergarten and first Graders are enjoying a center based Art Room. I am using A Treasury of Art, by Rosie Dickens as the base for their curriculum. Each lesson introduces the students to a new artist and teaches the students a new skill with hands on projects that are connected to the artist.
In a center based art room the students are encouraged to pursue areas of art that appeal to them. Every lesson begins at the main table, where the children receive a “post card” of the art work to be discussed. We look at the post card, talk about the work and learn an interesting fact or two about the artist that created it. Then I give them instructions about the project and we begin to work. Those who finish the project early are allowed to visit any of the other centers that are set up in the room.
THE MUSEUM CENTER: The Museum center features a doll size museum that displays miniature prints of the artist’s work and two small dolls that act as the museum guides. (The prints change every time we learn about a new artist.) There are also books available to look at that are connected to the lesson of the week.
THE DRAWING CENTER: The Drawing Center is set up with blank paper, markers and coloring sheets related to the topic.
THE ARCHITECT CENTER: The Architect Center is available for children to design their own buildings. Sometimes they are given “blue prints” to try and copy but often they are just given the building materials. I rotate the building materials every week. Sometimes there are blocks, sometimes legos, sometimes Lincoln logs and sometimes random pieces of wood.
THE POST CARDS: The post cards that we look at at the beginning of class are pasted to the back of the portfolios that they made at the beginning of the year. This portfolio will be sent home at the end of the year and will be full of all the wonderful things that they are creating as they experience their adventure in art.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The 7th & 8th Grade Girls Visit The Center For Southern Folklore

When we entered the Center for Southern Folklore the first thing that we noticed is that there is constant visual stimulation. Every surface is covered with exciting colors and patterns.
We were met by Judy Peiser who spoke to us about what the center does to preserve the Memories of Folk Art and Music in Memphis. She then showed us a film about local Folk Music and Art. Frank Lilly, ( a local artist), then met with us to explain that Folk Art is created using ordinary objects to create extraordinary things. It was great to see the examples of both his art and other Folk artists from Memphis; and to hear the stories behind the work. He told about an artist that painted on bottles and then we painted our own bottles. To finish off this creative experience we ate our lunch in the club and then got a tour of the center from Frank Lilly. We all enjoyed this creative experience very much. To get a taste of what we saw, watch the slide shows above. If you want to find out more about the Center for Southern Folklore follow the link below.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Student Volunteers for ASBEE

Rabbi Roth and I would like to thank all the students who showed up on Sunday to hep us paint the set for the ASBEE Chanukah play. Way to go! You guys are awesome!

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Crayon Cookies

A few students have asked me how to make the crayon cookies at home. Here are the directions:
GET AN ADULT TO HELP YOU. First, gather all the old crayons that you have laying around the house. You will also need a muffin tin, muffin liners and vanilla extract (optional). Preheat your oven to 250o Peel all the paper off the crayons and break them into small pieces. Fill the muffin tin about ¾ of the way full. Put the tray in the oven for 10 minutes. Then freeze them for an hour. Remove the paper muffin liners and get ready to color! Have fun.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Today we had an amazing experience.
Miss Sarah from the Dixon Gallery & Gardens came to visit us. She met first with the 1st – 3rd graders to discuss butterflies. After explaining the life cycle of the butterfly with puppets, she then showed us some photos and we examined the patterns of the scales on their wings. We noticed two things. Butterflies are symmetrical and some butterflies have patterns that resemble things that we see around us. Sarah even showed us a special book about butterflies that have the letters of the alphabet on their wings! Then we created our own larger than life butterflies out of paper, paint and pipe cleaners. If you want to see us at work, check out the video below.
Next Sarah met with the 4th and 5th graders to discuss the concept of sculptures. Sculptures are three dimensional and can be created out of anything! That’s right ANYTHING. She passed around several examples of sculptures for us to explore hands on and then the we created our own sculptures using model magic and paint. Beads and other collage materials were available for those of us who chose to use them. It was great fun to see how different each sculpture turned out. Check out the video below to see us in action!
(even though the panel cover reads 1st – 2nd Grade it actually shows both sessions and panel cover reading 4th and 5th grade appears later on in the video.)
The Dixon Gallery and Gardens is located at 4339 Park Avenue. It offers several acres of lovely gardens and wonderful galleries of fine art. If you would like to find out more about the Dixon you can follow this link to their web site. http://dixon.org/
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Wednesday, November 19, 2008


I want to let you in on the best kept secret of the art world. Etsy. Anyone who loves art will love this web site. It's a cyber artist colony where you can look at artwork, chat with other artists, watch videos, shop, set up your own shop, learn new things and have a great time. Here is the link http://www.etsy.com/. Have fun!

The Art Beat


Picasso said “Every child is an artist” and working with my students that becomes even more evident every day. The students have all displayed incredible amounts of creativity and enthusiasm. I often feel that giving an art assignment is like spilling a jar of colored marbles. Each one starts from the same location, but they all take off in their own direction. We began the year with an exercise that I often use to get the creativity flowing. Every child received a sketch book and created an original complicated paper cover design. The diversity of this assignment was outstanding! The children’s personalities really stood out as they chose what to put into their collage. The students who were visual learners, went after photos and images found in old books and magazines, while the more academic minded hunted for words and phrases in passages of text. Some students preferred to cover their collage with rubber stamp images, while others enjoyed embellishing their cover with paint. So while everyone had the same torn paper based cover for their sketchbook, I can honestly say that no two sketch books are alike. I am working with two different curriculums this year. A Treasury of Art, for the Kindergarten and First Graders and Art Everywhere (levels 1, 3 &5) for the 2nd through 8th grades. These curriculums are very exciting and will be described in detail on my future posts. A Treasury of Art offers a look at famous pieces of art work, while teaching new basic and important art skills with each lesson. Art Everywhere explores the elements of art and design. Each level is a 2 year curriculum that offers exploration of the elements in new and interesting ways. The assignments enhance lessons, offer new skills and provide a way for students to reinforce the lessons, use self expression, interact with each other and explore their inner ego.

Aside from teaching, another part of my job that I love is facilitating other projects for the teachers in our school. Sometimes that can be as easy as providing a space for the students to work on creative assignments, but more often it means offering help, advice, supplies and general guidance. I really enjoy interacting and collaborating with other teachers and getting involved with other programs that are going on in school. (The most interesting request that I had been to appear on stage as an extra in one of the school plays - No one knew it was me because I was underneath a prayer shawl.)

We have three fantastic art experiences coming up at MHA.
On November 20th the 1st & 2nd graders will be treated to a visitor from the Dixon Gallery & Gardens. Sarah will do a project with them that will explore the concept of Butterflies and Symmetry Design. The 3rd, 4th & 5th graders will also meet with Sarah later that day to explore sculpture and mixed media.
On December 2nd the 7th & 8th grade girls will be traveling downtown to the Center For Southern Folklore where they will get a chance to explore the center, meet with a local artist, create a project that involves recycling and eat lunch in the multi sensational dining room.
On January 28th the 6th grade will be going to the Brooks Museum of Art. There they will receive a guided tour about people, places and things and then create a hands on project in the museum studio.

I am looking forward to a fun filled exciting year of creativity. I hope to post more about our creative experiences soon.