Sunday, January 29, 2017

Fraction Quilts Complete Lesson

A couple of weeks ago, I posted about my Fraction Quilts lesson. I created a set of templates for the TpT store. I ended up teaching this lesson last week, which made me think about actually sharing the complete lesson plan on TpT. I also had a few requests for it via social media. So, here it is. I hope it is helpful. I'd love to hear feedback on this resource. I am always looking to improve. I love feedback. So, I look forward to hearing from you guys!

Example of how the lesson looks.

This resource includes
  • actual lesson plan with "The teacher will..." and "The student will..." language. This is easy to copy and paste from for your own plans
  • helpful hints and tricks from me for each step of the lesson, which will help the lesson be successful
  • Essential Questions and Essential Vocabulary, which are embedded in the plan but are also available in printable posters with images
  • template for the lesson in the photo above
  • assessment and reflection pieces 
Again, here's the link:

Blank Books- Integrating Visual Art and Writing

I learned to write grants from the teacher with whom I completed my student teaching. The idea of creating a book like this was her brainchild. Bare Books is the company that makes these books.

I don't know how many times she and I got a grant for this project. Several years, for sure. Each year, students were to complete a piece of writing and design a cover for this book. It integrated visual art and writing.

Here are my takes on this project.

One year, when I first began teaching art, fourth graders created a book based on their study of Mississippi history. So, they integrated social studies as well.

That same year, third grade wrote The ABCs of Third Grade. Second grade wrote a fairy tale. Fifth grade completely devised their own individual story.

They did the writing part in their language arts classrooms and created the covers in my art classroom. They stamped a border on their covers using rubber stamping materials that I ordered from Sax Arts and Crafts (messy and fun!).  The fourth graders traced the state of Mississippi. (Please read a little of my theory on tracing here.) They used crayons to add the rest of the color to the covers and outlined everything with a black permanent marker.

These pictures show what the blank books look like. I like the space at the top of the pages for students to add illustrations. I also like that they have to handwrite the text. Although, I have seen teachers let students type and paste the printout on top of the lines.

Here are a few images of the fourth grade books in progress (there is a finished one at the top):

The stamping was great for fine motor work!

Here are some process pics:

The Mississippi template

When they finished with their rubber stamp, they tossed it in a bucket of soapy water.

The rubber stamps from Sax

They used paintbrushes to put the paint on their stamps.

This stamping looks great.

The ABCs of Third Grade  and a Second Grade Fairy Tale in progress:

This fifth grader wrote his own story. I believe it was based on a video game. I am video game illiterate! So, I wouldn't know which one. I love this Mondrian-ish thing he had going on.

This is an example of a book from when I taught first grade regular education. They did the writing and covers with me in my first grade classroom. I was not the art teacher then. I had the kids pick a color on which to concentrate. They found things that color to cut out from magazines. I remember sitting on the carpet with them and helping them. That is a joyful memory. They glued it all on and painted over it with Mod Podge. I stapled a ribbon to the inside of the front and back covers to create a closure. They stamped the back covers with paint that matched their color choice. They used sponge stamps for that. There is a photo at the bottom that shows how I stapled the ribbons to the covers. The only thing I didn't like about these was that the title wasn't on the cover. They were very beautiful though. These were keepers for the parents. I heard many compliments. They all said they would keep them forever.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

A Poster for Pattern, Line, Shape, Repetition, Texture

I was having the HARDEST time getting my students to think of patterns and designs to use in their artwork. When left to their own devices, they went with the always- trusty dollar sign, peace sign, or smiley face! OR they would just start writing their name over and over and over! (YIKES!)

I made this poster to hang in the room that has lots of different types of designs and patterns. I used black and white so that the students could decide on their own colors.

Another project based on Logan's Dynamic Art Projects for Children.
And NO, they don't copy the poster every time they need a design or pattern for their artwork. The poster is just a visual that helps them think. They enjoy coming up with their own designs, but without a visual, they can't think of anything other than the fabulous ones mentioned above! (Sarcasm!) Most times, they look at the poster and come up with something similar, yet their own to use.

I actually refer to this poster quite often. I refer to it when I need a quick reference for line, shape, pattern, texture, or repetition. I am constantly talking to the students about how they can elaborate on or change the patterns in the poster to make them their own. For instance, what if you added a tiny heart to the tail of the spirals in the bottom left corner? Or, what if, instead of coloring the rectangles black in the pattern on the right, you drew stripes there? Over time they stop relying on the poster. They begin to think up their own things completely.

This is an example of one art project that students completed using the poster as a guide. It is Gustav Klimt's Baby (Cradle).

 Copyright 2017 Amanda Koonlaba-There's a Party in the Art Room

Monday, January 16, 2017

Top Eleven Eddie B Comedy Jokes About the Teaching Profession

Have y'all seen this guy? 

I have been seeing his short videos about teaching all over my Facebook feed lately. I know he is providing some much needed comic relief to educators. 

I am always torn about this kind of thing. Some of his videos are hilarious and on point. Some of his jokes are a bit harsh when you consider we are working with little human beings. However, I know he isn't directing those jokes at any individual. So, after a bit of reflection, I've decided its okay. After all, if we can't laugh at our lives, we might just end up being miserable. 

PLUS, and here's the kicker about this guy, I think he might be able to bring some attention to issues that are choking the profession, such as testing and the extreme need for students to have access to wraparound services. 

So, in an effort to bring some joy to myself and to ALL of the other educators out there (especially the PUBLIC SCHOOL educators, whom I LOVE dearly), I've created a top ten list of my favorite EddieBComedy jokes about the education profession. (YES, I picked 11 because I couldn't pick just 10!)

11. I'ma give more kids a chance to be restroom monitor. I'ma act like I'm cool with testing. 
(What Teachers New Years Resolutions Sound Like...) 

10. Is this seahorse? Take the hooves off the seahorse! 
(What Teachers Really Say at the Staff Holiday Pot Luck)

9. Wait! I ain't Jesus.
 (What Public School Teachers Really Say This Time of Year)

8. That's why your stomach hurts. 
(What Public School Teachers Really Say Pt. 2)

7. I might as well tell 23 lies, then. 
(What Public School Teachers Really Say Pt. 3)

6. I'm on break from explaining. 
(What Teachers Really Say When Asked About School Work During Christmas Break)

5. Lord, why did you let the substitute teacher touch the stuff on my desk? 
(The Public School Teacher's Friday Prayer)

4. I need to get me a side hustle. 
(What Teachers Really Say the Night Before the Work Week Starts)

3. I need to get a stipend for smelling this.
(What Teachers Really Say About Hygiene Issues)

2. I'ma put these scores on the sick and shut-in prayers at my church. 
(What Teachers Say About Test Scores/Report Cards)

1. Detention today-day. That's my favorite lie you done told. 
(What Teachers Say in Class)

Reflection Resources in the TpT Store

I have added a couple of reflection resources to my TpT Store. These are pretty simple reflection sheets, but my hope is that these are inexpensive and quick for you to access. You can reuse these throughout the year for multiple lessons. They can actually go with any lesson or project. I use these quite often. I know its great to have something you can access quickly. These will help in that sense.

I set a goal last year of having my students be more reflective. I have tried several different ways of doing this. I find that having them write helps them focus. However, I do like to let them discuss it with a peer before they start writing. It gives them a chance to hear their thoughts. If I don't let them write, I might miss some of the conversations even if I am on top of my monitoring game at the time. When they write, I can read their thoughts and better understand what they need from me. I also have documentation of what is working and not working. This helps me plan better lessons. Plus, the reflections look good hanging in the hallways with the artwork. (Ask permission to hang these, though. Some students will give you permission and not mind, but some just do not want their personal thoughts on display like that! If you don't ask, and you violate a trust, your students won't deeply reflect anymore. Or, at least, they won't share it with you. I've made this mistake. So, I'm issuing a warning as a kindness!)

So, after trying several different things, I have settled on a few that I like to use over and over. I think having a similar format for a few different types of reflections helps the students. They learn how to reflect in different ways, but also are familiar enough with the formats used in the classroom that they can easily complete them. I think it helps them as they work, too. If they know they are going to complete a reflection, and know there are a couple of types that are used in the class where they are working, they will be thinking about it as they work.

These are only $1 each! Woohoo!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

This Week's Party in the Art Room

This week, my students were learning about Vincent van Gogh. We are planning an Arts Festival for April.

We will partner with Artome to have each student's artwork framed and displayed in our gym. That's right, each student will have an individual piece of artwork in a wooden frame displayed at this event. Parents can buy the artwork in the frame, which serves as a fundraiser. So, students get their artwork in an art show and funds can be raised for the art program at the same time. We did this last year, and it was a hit with students, parents, teachers, and the community.

It was such a hit that we are doing it again. This year, each student will create something inspired by Vincent. We are going to call the show the Van Gogh Vault. So, we are learning about Vincent in preparation to create this artwork which will be on display at the Van Gogh Vault at our Arts Festival.

I created some videos to help me instruct the students. I wanted to tell the students about The Potato Eaters and model how to analyze a painting for line, color, texture, and space.  I think other teachers could use this in their classrooms, especially the last half where the analysis occurs. Here's that video:

This video explains a couple of early finisher centers. A teacher could put together similar centers and use this video to help explain it to the students. I do mention specific areas in my classroom, but any teacher could quickly point out the space in their own classroom where this will occur. Also, I used Magic Spells' Word Search and Panicked Teacher's Vocabulary Sheet for these. I love to create my own things, but when someone else has already created exactly what you need, why spend the time doing it yourself? That is exactly why I am sharing these videos! I hope it helps other teachers. One more tidbit about this video that is worth noting is that any books or printouts of the artwork can be used. I just happen to LOVE the How Artists See series and recent met the author. She saw a photo of Willa reading How Artists See Horses and messaged me. We have been chatting. Anyway, I LOVE those books and use the frequently. Those are a good investment! You  should do a Donors Choose for those right now!

I made a couple of How to Draw the Starry Starry Night videos. They are essentially the same but with different camera angles. 

Here is a video to show the students the drawing part of creating Wheatfield with Crows.

These videos only show the drawing parts. That is the first step to the lesson. I actually showed the Potato Eaters video. Then, I had the students analyze a painting in groups. Then, we discussed that as a whole group. All we had time for after those discussions was the drawing step in these videos. I'll be adding videos of the remaining steps as we move forward. So, watch for a post about those.

I'll update on the Van Gogh Vault as we go!

Have a great week!!

Painted Paper Flowers

Here's a super easy lesson that anyone can use in their classroom. It is appropriate for almost any grade level. I did this at my home with very young children. 

First, they painted tagboard with acrylic paint. They just free painted and covered the entire paper. Then, they drew a vase on newspaper. They drew/colored patterns with crayons on the vase. They cut out the vase and painted it with pearlescent watercolors. Then, they cut out the center and petals for the flowers from that painted tagboard. (Obviously, the tagboard had been left to dry overnight.) They used green construction paper for the stem. We chose a blue background and just used long construction paper. Another option would be to have them use cool colors to paint a piece of tagboard for the background. Then, they could use warm colors for the flowers and neutral colors for the vase. 

Friday, January 13, 2017

Flashback Friday: Talking about Student Self-Control with Larry Ferlazzo

Larry Ferlazzo is an educator and author who also hosts the Classroom Q & A blog for Education Week. I recently had the opportunity to respond to one of his questions and was able to chat with him and some other educators for his BAM! Radio Show.

The topic that we discussed was helping students develop self-control. I talked a lot about classroom management and culture. That seems to be a recurring theme in my world lately. Classroom management and the culture of schools keeps coming up in my conversations with other educators, and I've been doing a lot of writing on the topic.

From Classroom Q & A

There are so many variables within a school that we really have to think about what we can control, which isn't much. However, what we can control can help us tremendously. Plus, it is helpful to acknowledge what we can control and work with that. We can try to accept what we cannot control as being out of our control while also advocating for our students. Yes, they need wraparound services. No, many schools don't provide this. Yes, it is out of our immediate control because we don't write the laws and set the budgets. Yes, it breaks our hearts. Yes, we advocate for them. We speak up for them. We try to get them what they need. Then, we have to accept that we are doing everything in our power to help our students get what they need. We cannot let ourselves get in such deep despair over these things that we are no longer effective at doing the things that are in our control.

That comes from my heart. I've been in such deep despair over this in the past that I had to acknowledge it was killing me. It was many years ago, and I had to pick myself up off the ground from it. I am no longer in such a place thankfully, but I won't ever forget it. I don't ever want to be so depressed about the things outside my control and sphere of influence that I cannot do a good and honorable job with my students, my school, and my community. I'm just being brutally honest and open right now.

Now, that's my pep talk for the day! I hope you will check out the response to Larry's question and the radio program. I felt it was thought provoking.

Here is the radio show.
Here is the blog post.
These are also linked above.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Guitar Mirrors

My school has a partnership with Jo-Ann Fabric and Crafts where they donate unsold inventory to us from time to time. We happened to get a stack of mirrors a couple of years ago. Of course, these ended up in my art room. Some kids and parents helped me paint monkeys in the jungle on some of those mirrors.  I believe we ended up auctioning those off at one of our fundraisers.

We also painted these guitars. I drew the guitars on them with a black permanent marker. The students painted them. We used outdoor acrylic paint. It was paint leftover from an outdoor mural we'd painted on a cinderblock wall. We left the circles in the background open (without paint) for the mirror to show. These are hanging in our fourth and fifth grade hallways. They look pretty cute!

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