Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The Teachers and the Kids GET Schooled!

Our two 5th Grade teachers, Shelley Greer, and Donna Kelham, will never be "Schooled" by any other teachers on Planet Earth.  They did "GET" the book Schooled by Gordon Korman, and made awesome tie dye shirts to bring art and literature together at The Westfield School in Perry, GA.  Check out these amazing shirts and how the story evolved, well, from a story by Gordon Korman.
So what is the story?  Shelley and Donna read the book, Schooled by Gordon Korman.  Cute cover, huh?  The cover just draws me in and makes me want to read this book!
Click here for Gordon Korman Website.  From the website, I copied a brief summary of the book.  If I were in 5th grade, I would REALLY love this book!
Capricorn Anderson has never watched television. He’s never tasted pizza. Never heard of a wedgie. Since he was a little boy, his only experience has been living on a farm commune and being home-schooled by his hippie grandmother, Rain. But when Rain in unexpectedly hospitalized, Cap has to move in with a guidance counselor and attend the local middle school. He knows a lot about the Beatles, tie-dying, and Zen Buddism, nothing could prepare him for the dog-eat-dog world of C Average Middle School.
While the teachers were reading the book to the 5th graders, Mrs. Greer and Mrs. Kelham approached me about tie dying with 5th grade in art.  Apparently, there is some tie dye action in book and they decided to attempt to "tie together" (ha) art and literature.  Hey, I really love these teachers and I love this idea, but there was no way that I could make 5th grade art class tie dye happen during the month of May.  I had already shot some other teachers down about tie dying class shirts for them in art.  So, it was a NO.  Honestly, it was a sad no.  I love tie dye.  I love these teachers.  I love them doing something extra for the kids, but I do not love having high blood pressure and stress, so I had to pass.  Now art teacher friends, you know how this story goes...If you say YES to all the requests, you are a very loved person.  But, if you say NO, you will face the "hate eyes" for several months. 

Guess what?  I said no, but the 5th grade teachers still loved me.  They still gave me their "happy eyes" and all was good.  Then, one day I see them on the playground and I noticed their cool shirts.  I was like, Wow, I LOVE THEM!  Then, the teachers explained to me that they found a process that would work for them.  Are these not cool? 

 Yes, these handsome and very talented guys are twins!

Here is a great video that explains the process that Shelley and Donna used to get the tie dye effect on these fun shirts.  In reality, you are tying together art, science, and literature.

The 5th grade kids liked the shirts.  How do I know?  I know because I live in a small town and I see the kids at the grocery store, the drugstore, and the neighborhood.  If a 5th grader wears a shirt in public, they like it.
What about these two teachers?  Honestly, they are great!  This was their first year as a team and boy, did they make a dynamic duo!   5th grade is a hard grade to teach because the kids are still elementary, but so close to the middle school madness.  As any teacher knows, middle school years are tough.  In my opinion, 5th grade (especially the end of 5th grade) is more difficult because the kids are so anxious about middle school and its unknowns.  These two teachers made the life of 5th graders less stressful and more fun. 
Will the kids always remember reading the book Schooled by Gordon Korman and tie dying shirts?  My guess would be yes.  Also, they will also remember these teachers doing a little extra to make these difficult "growing up" years a little less stressful.

In a few months, the teachers will be back in the classroom pouring out knowledge in a 1,000 different ways.  Hopefully, the teachers have had lots of rest and relaxation.  They will be excited and highly motivated to impart information to classes and to individuals.
A motivated teacher transfers this energy and motivates students.  It is education, folks.  If we lack ability to motivate students in 2016 with all the bells and whistles that we have available, it may be time to retire or change professions.  The last thing we want kids to feel is... 
like another brick in the wall.

Closing out with "Another Brick In the Wall" by Pink Floyd.


Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Empty Bowl Project

Are you familiar with the Empty Bowl Project? If you want to learn more click the links below:

I did this project several years ago and just thought about it last night. I wanted to blog on it to help raise awareness. I am going to really try this year to reach out into the community to give back and be a part of this type of awareness in education in our community. Check out the links for more information. It is amazing just how much we take for granted with just one bowl. Think about it...

Monday, June 27, 2016

What Can Daddy's Little Girl Give Dad? 2 Blue Doggies!

Callie's dad got 2 Blue Doggies for Father's Day.  Was it a George Rodrigue influence?  Was it Angela Alexander influence?  Who and What inspired Callie?  Read below to find out the doggone truth!

You see, Daddy's little doggies have always liked Callie.  As you notice in the photo below, Callie has not always felt the same way towards Daddy's doggies.

 In early June of 2016, Callie and I took a Mother/Daughter trip to Asheville, North Carolina. During our visit, we went to the River Arts District.  The River Arts District Click here for more info is a pretty amazing place for the art lover.  Anyway, we came upon the cool work of Angela Alexander.  Have a look at her work
Callie and I both loved her fun art.  While we were there, I told Callie that Dad would love a painting of our dogs, Blue and Barley.  I told Callie she should attempt the painting and give it to Dad for Father's Day.  And so, Callie was inspired by Angela Alexander's Art in the River Arts District.
Callie is Daddy's little girl.  In the pictures below, you can see the love of a daddy for his little girl.  He is one of those men that looks ahead, clears the way, and helps make a path for his girl.  Over the past 22 years, he has held her, ran ahead of her, and walked with her to get Callie to a happy and safe place.    
Once we returned from our mother/daughter trip (fun trip), Callie began the Father's Day painting. 
 Step One:
I suggest choosing a canvas that will fit into your car.  I purchased the large canvas at the local Hobby Lobby.  After making the purchase, I realized the canvas would not fit in my car. I do recall my very dear friend mentioning a concern about the canvas size before I pulled out the cash for payment.  As always, I ignored such negative thought to be a possibility because it just had to fit.  I do not recall hearing stories of Jackson Pollock or Pablo Picasso encountering problems with artwork transport.  Why should I?  Fortunately, I relied on that same very dear friend to hold the canvas on the right side as I held it on the left side on the top of my car, as we cruised about 10 miles down a very busy road at no more than 40 miles per hour.  Sorry, no picture because my hands were totally occupied!  I can assure you, we got some looks!
Step Two:
Getting a picture of the dogs was about as bad as getting the canvas transported.  Finally, we gave up.  Callie took about 200 pictures and used the program Paint to get a complete picture.
Step Three:
We were pushed for time.  Callie used a projector and got the details drawn on a 4 ft x 4 ft canvas.  She drew them with a pencil and went over with a sharpie.

Step Four:
Callie began the painting process.  She relied on the picture to carve in the details with paint.  A big thanks to her high school art teacher, Laura Harrison, for teaching her "how to" blend colors!
Why did she choose greens and blues?  Well, her dad loves the color green.  I have to think George Rodrigue's Blue Dog influenced the dog color.  George Rodrigue passed away in 2013, but his amazing Blue Dog Art and influence lives on!  Have a look
Callie started with Barley.  He is actually a chocolate lab.  A blue dog is much more interesting that a brown dog, right?
Then, she began painting our other dog, Blue.  Yep, his name is Blue.  Someone actually left Blue in a buggy in the Walmart parking lot with all his siblings.  Sad, but true story.  Blue Ray has been the best guard dog a family could ask for! 

Step Five:
Here is the unveiling for Dad!

He's a happy Dad.  He gives Callie his best hug and admires his large, Callie-made, blue dog art!
Here is the final artwork of the 2 blue dogs.  Done and Done!
The last picture is one with my two favorite dogs, the Georgia Bulldogs!  As of May 2016, they are both alums of the University of Georgia.
Friends, time flies.  Like Crosby, Stills & Nash sing, "Teach your children well.  The past really is just a good bye."

"The story of life is quicker than the blink of an eye
The story of love is hello and goodbye
Until we meet again"

-Jimi Hendrix last words in a poem found next to him on his deathbed.

For the music lover, teaching your children includes passing on respect for the great Jimi Hendrix.  On a recent family vacation to Seattle, Washington, we traveled an extra hour to see Jimi's grave in Renton, Washington.
Pass it ON!

Friday, June 24, 2016

Summer Art: Why Art Teachers Should Make Art (Make Your Artsy Bucket List)

Hello All, I recently read this article at The Art of Ed I have copied and pasted it below. It spoke to me as this is a conversation that I have with 1965 sis all the time. Check it out below:

Awakening Your Inner Artist: Why Art Teachers Should Make Art
17 hours ago
I am often surprised when I meet art teachers who don’t make art.
When I say art, I mean art that is solely for the teacher. I’m not talking about classroom examples or other art-related tasks that go along with our jobs. Of course, I don’t think that all art teachers need to be creating and showing art in galleries, but I do think it’s important for art teachers to participate in the creative process at some level outside of working with students.

One reason I feel it’s so important to make your own art is to spend time in the struggle. Creating your own art puts you at the heart of the art making process. This means when your students have difficulty, you understand. You’re better equipped to help find solutions because you get it, you’ve been there.

But Who Has the Time?
I get it. Teaching art is a full-time job, and teaching art in and of itself is an art. Helping students to become artists and find their voice requires a lot of us, and takes more time than the school day can provide. However, I still push myself to find time to create art. I started small my first few years teaching by keeping a sketchbook, and working here and there on my oil paintings. No one typically saw my work, but I was creating. This time with art led me to make art a bigger part of my life, and that change has made all the difference for me and my students.

Don’t think you have to stick to the traditional mediums of drawing and painting! For example, I am a chainsaw sculptor and spend a significant amount of time on my work. Being able to share my art with my students, my co-workers, and my community has changed the way I teach art. It has also changed the way people view me as the art teacher, and in turn has changed how people view art class.
Molly with her work

Creating an Art Making Habit
They say it takes quite a bit of time and determination to create a habit, so be gentle with yourself and start slowly.
Here are three ideas to get you started.
  1. Give yourself a small, daily goal.
    Try doing one sketch per day, or even one sketch per week. Find something that feels doable and comfortable for you.
  2. Find an art making buddy.
    Accountability can make all the difference in the world. See if any other art teachers in your district want to re-commit themselves to an art making practice and do it together!
  3. Use social media to encourage follow through.
    Sometimes telling others we are going to do something is enough to make us follow through. When people are waiting to see what you created, you are more likely to get it done. Challenge yourself to post one small artwork per week or per month.
Once you have created the habit of having art in your life again, you won’t need to force it. It will simply become part of what you do. Even things we enjoy sometimes have to be scheduled in or they won’t happen. All of this talk about habits makes me think of the Chuck Close quote, “Amateurs look for inspiration; the rest of us just get up and go to work.”
gnome sculpture by Molly

Want even more inspiration?

If you’re looking for even more inspiration to start up your personal art practice again, join me for the Summer 2016 Art Ed Now National Online Conference for art teachers. I’ll be sharing more about how making your own art can enhance your teaching practice in the After Pass. These are bonus presentations that you can view for up to one full year after the live conference ends!
In addition, check out all of these other amazing presentations that will be available in the After Pass as Well.
  • Adapting the Marzano Learning Goals & Scales for the Art Room with Ruth Post
  • Art, Dance, & Technology: Kinesthetic Learning in the Art Room with Abby Schukei
  • “The Big Three”: Encouraging Elementary Students to Analyze Works of Art with John Post
Plus, if you’re interested in hearing even more on the topic of making your own art, be sure to check out the recent episode of Art Ed Radio, where host Tim Bogatz talks to guest Andrea Slusarski about how being an artist can inform your teaching.
What are your thoughts about art teachers making art?
Do you teach art and make art? How does it change the way you teach?

Molly Wiste

Molly is an art educator from northern MN. She loves helping her students become independent artists by focusing on the creative process and offering choice in the art room.

Ok, Molly hit the nail on the head. Don't ya think? I think your level of Summer Art as an Art Teacher depends on where you are in life. You see, I am entering my daughter's senior year and I am at a stage that I want my future empty nest looking vintage artsy with a flare of Daniel-Cochran inspiration. You will see what I am talking about as I have posted my first art projects of the summer.

I wanted to add a room on the house and start making a cool back porch with lots of our inherited eclectic furniture. I took an old heart pine table and renovated it back to life with some oil and new sea glass spray paint. I took our 2 black rocking chairs and distressed them into sour apple green. I just love the color. I wanted to stain the porch for a cool Bahamian feel.

This is where I am with making art. I am not finished as the house is about to be repainted and we need to put the fans up. It is a work in progress but you get the idea. This is my stage of art for me for now. The idea is that I am making time for art. I am feeding my soul.

In the past, we have painted ceramic bowls with kids and hauled bracelet making kits all over during the summer months. We still like to make friendship bracelets. When daughter reached her teens we had several kids over to Tie Dye. I made linen Tie Dye dish towels for gifts.

One summer I just painted on canvas and it felt so good. It seems each summer I have a goal of ideas that I want to create and the best part of going back to school in the fall is that I can share my creations. This process is ever so important to your teaching "mindset" it helps keep things in perspective and always looking to grow further in the classroom and in your own studio pieces.

About 5 summers ago, we created garden boxes. I painted our tomato stands funky wild colors. Added funky garden art. This was so much fun because then we were able to share our produce in the form of homemade salsa and homemade red pepper jelly. You see art comes in all forms of gifts and talents.

I thank you Molly for your post. It inspired me to share a little with the art teacher world about how I regroup in the summer to prepare for a fall full of fantastic art teacherin'

I am creating my own coastal get away on the back porch!
I inherited these rocking chairs from MaC. Love the facelift that they got.
This table was purchased about 24 years ago in a small town in Georgia. We have had it in many places at our home from a kitchen table to an outside pool table.
Here is a detail of the distressed look that I gave the rocking chairs.
Home Depot has the best stain. This was a process of several days but I love the look.