Thursday, November 29, 2012

Unhappy with Blogger

I have used Blogger for a while now. I had a blog when I was a teenager (it was a fad then; all my friends had blogs even though we had nothing unique or interesting to say), and I've had this blog for over a year. But then this week, as I was trying to make a new post, Blogger informed me that my Picasa web album was full, so I couldn't post new pictures. I don't use Picasa, but I found my Picasa page (even though I never created it) because now that Google owns everything, everything is interconnected. So, on my Picasa page (which again, I DID NOT CREATE)  there were folders of all of the pictures I'd ever put on my blog. I thought, simple; I'll just delete them. But, then Picasa informed me that if I deleted any pictures, they would also disappear from anything else owned by Google. Which, is everything.

So, I had two options:

1) I could say, "Fine, Google! You win. I'll stop blogging."

2) I could say: "Fine, Google, you win! I'll pay $2.49 a month for more data."

I chose the latter, but now I am left wondering: if I stop paying, will my most recent blog posts disappear? I thought Google was the creator of free and amazing things, but not so anymore. Has anyone else hit the "out of space" problem? If so, did you pay, or is there another solution? I thought Blogger was free, so I haven't saved any of my student artwork photos anywhere else.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Charcoal Snowmen

My 3rd grade students recently tried charcoal for the first time, and they did a great job! We made snowmen with shading. Snowmen are wonderful for teaching students how to create light and shadows in art; they're so fun that the kids stay motivated!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Eric Carle-inspired Warm and Cool Color 2nd Grade Fish

My second grade students recently looked at the artwork of Eric Carle. He is one of the artists most of my students already know and love! The kids were very excited to learn about his career of being an author and illustrator. Then, my students emulated his style by painting a paper with cool colors and a paper with warm colors. The kids cut fish out of the warm color page, and glued them on the cool color page.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Other Great Art Education Blogs

I finally added a blogroll of all of the blogs I am following on my page (scroll down; it's on the right below my followers). I get so many great ideas from other blogs, as well as from Pinterest (which often links back to another art teacher's blog!), so I'm going to share a little bit about a few of my favorites. All of the blogs I added have been wonderful resources for me, but I'm going to take a minute to just highlight a few:

  • Wish Upon A Paintbrush by Jackie Q. is a great blog full of creative ideas. Jackie is in her second year of teaching art after graduating in May 2011, just like me.
  • Art With Mr. E by Ted Edinger is the first blog I ever started following. Mr. E is the Elementary Art Teacher of the Year in Tennessee, and is always full of great ideas, including his latest: a mixed media mural created by students in 5 different grades!
  • Fru Billedkunst by Tina Kejlberg, an art teacher in Denmark, always has beautiful ideas. Because of my Swedish heritage, I can understand almost all of her posts (Swedish and Danish are similar languages). But, even if you can't understand what she writes, her pictures speak for themselves! Also, if you open her page in Chrome, there will be a "translate" option.
  • Art Sub Lessons by Snippety Gibbet is a great resource for writing lessons for substitute teachers. Most of her posts are from other art teachers (a few from me!), so if you have a great sub lesson you'd like to share, I'm sure she will be happy to post it.
  • Being Cr8iv by Jenni Ward is my favorite resource for clay projects. She has not posted since June, but her archives are full of great ideas that I have used in my own classroom, including what my 5th graders are currently working on (I'll post about it in a few weeks).
  • Dream Painters by Elizabeth in Australia is a blog full of great ideas. Elizabeth is a self-employed after school art teacher, and her students always do beautiful work.
  • Carol Marine's Painting A Day chronicles Carol's own work, as well as some painting workshops she teaches (for adults).

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

How To Draw A Soccer Ball

Often students ask me how to draw a horse, or a basketball, or a frog, or SpongeBob. For most of these questions, I demonstrate on the chalkboard or on scrap paper. Sometimes I print a photo of the object for the student to look at while drawing. However, one things that the kids can never seem to draw, even if they have a photograph to look at, is a soccer ball! The little intersecting black pentagons and slightly larger white pentagons somehow always confuse children. So I recently developed a set of step-by-step instructions to draw a simple soccer ball that only requires the artist to draw one pentagon free-hand. I tell the kids it's like a house whose walls are leaning outward a little. I thought I would share it on here in case if anyone else needs an easy way to teach elementary kids to draw a soccer ball.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Third Grade Wayne Thiebaud Cupcakes

My 3rd grade students recently looked at some artwork by Wayne Thiebaud. The students noticed that he used light, medium, and dark values to create light and shadows in his artwork. Then, the students mixed different values of brown and a color of their choice to make cupcakes. After painting the light, medium, and dark parts of the cupcakes, I showed the students how they could blend the colors with their finger to make a smoother transition between sections.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

4th Grade "Batik" Pumpkins

My 4th grade students are currently learning about value. Right now, we are mixing different tints and shades with tempera (I'll post about it in a few weeks). Last month, I introduced the concept, and we made value pumpkins with crayons. The students used different values of orange to make the pumpkins look round. Then, we wrinkled them up (the kids loved that part!), smoothed them out, and painted over the whole picture with watered down black tempera paint. We dabbed the pumpkins clean with paper towels (it was messy!) and here are a few of the finished results. Some students colored the background as well, but I forgot to take pictures before they took them home:

Friday, November 9, 2012

3rd Grade Op Art Hands

My 3rd grade students recently studied the artwork of Bridget Riley and Julian Stañczak. After learning about those artists, my students made their own Op Art-inspired artwork. I have seen this idea on Pinterest and other websites and blogs, so I'm not sure whose idea it was originally. We began this project by tracing our hands lightly (so the pencil marks can later be erased). Then, the students drew straight lines across their paper with markers, but whenever they got to a finger, thumb, wrist, or other part of their hand, they would make a rainbow line. The trickiest part for the students was making four rainbow lines in a row at the fingers, and then switching to one large rainbow line where the fingers attach to the hand.

I love the way these all look in the hallway! As I was hanging my bulletin board today, several students stopped in the hallway and said, "wow, those are cool!" and some asked how to do it. Then, our school secretary stopped and told me that one of the 3rd graders has been in detention lately, and she has been drawing an Op Art hand on her own in detention! I'm glad to know that my students are practicing their art skills outside of my room, even if it is in the detention room :).