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Saturday, January 31, 2009

Sleeping Over with the First Graders

That's right! All day long we had a "sleepover" with our first grade students. It really is a lot of fun. First of all, we get to go to school in our pajamas! For that reason alone, it's fun. Then, we get to parade around the school, infront of about 1000 kids, with those cute little first graders, to show off our pajamas. Too exciting! Next, all the resource teachers set up exciting stations through which the different classes rotate during the day.

In the art lab, we did book covers , illustrating the stories the students had been (or will be )writing about their "sleepover" experience. We discussed the role of the illustrator and how they did artwork that actually told the same story in pictures that the text told in words. We learned that, many times, it is the picture on the cover of the book that first attracted us and sparked our attention to the look at and examine the book further. Then, the students went about taking on the new position as illustrator of their story. They really seemed to get into their designs, coming up with some beautiful covers.

I wish that when I was in elementary school, I had gone to a school like Chets Creek, that designed these fun days for students and teachers. I might have liked school better, maybe even tried harder. "Sleepover" is like the PLAY in Daniel Pink's book A Whole New Mind. So get your PLAY on.....and do some art while your at it!!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

"Green" Baskets

The buzz these days is "going green." It is all about recycling our wastes so as not to fill our landfills with all that stuff that doesn't break down (or at least doesn't for a million years or so). Well, art labs across the world has always been "green" as we recycle just about anything we can get our hands on. My storerooms are full of "garbage" that parents and students drop off on a regular basis. Some of the items I get I can't even identify BUT they come in real useful for certain projects. Some items may even sit there for a year or two before I get a brainstorm about how to incorporate them into a project, but I am glad it's there when I need it.
This particular project has been a little challenging for my 4th graders at first because it takes some coordination to get it started. But once it clicks, they are off to the races. (Make sure to watch for a future entry showing the finished products as these are NOT finished yet.) It simply uses old newspaper, string or yarn and tapestry needles. The product is a functional basket, ready to hold silk flowers, yarn, or decorative balls or any other dry, non-edible item(s). Obviously, there are tons of ways to use newspaper to build projects. What ways can you think of?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

An Art Lab in Action

I really think it is so cool when students come into the Art Lab during their recesses, before school, and/or after school to work on their art projects. It make this room feel like a REAL art lab; a working art lab; a place where students can come put in a little extra time to improve their craftsmanship or catch up on their project, getting their artwork to to level they want it, instead of to the point that regular class time allows. It is exciting to have so many students WANT to spend their extra time doing art! To me, that is the ultimate goal -> to have students excited about what they are creating and desiring to do it well.

Lately, it seems we have had a stream of students in and out at all hours of the day, starting at 8:30 until 4:00 or 4:30. These are students that come to the lab OUTSIDE their normally scheduled art class. I might have as many as 7 or 8 students working in the back of the room on their various projects, sparking interests from the assigned class. Questions start flying..."What are they working on?," " That is really cool, can we do that too?" and so on. I guess a real art LAB is when students feel that they have access to it whenever needed, to put in the extra time,desired, to complete their artwork.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Kids Art Fair to Exhibit in April

Our students are working on projects that will be part of a special art exhibition to be set up on three different nights in April during our Cultural Arts week. Kids Art Fair company will take the students' works of art and put them in a double mat and black metal frame and have them displayed for parents and family to enjoy. The really wonderful part of this is that families can purchase these works of art for around $30, ready to be hung on the wall of their homes. A portion from each sale, will go to Chets Creek to suppliment the Cultural Arts fund, which helps to bring in quality presentations for all of our students as well as helps supply the resources with special materials used with students during resource classes.

Be on the lookout for an invitation for this event and be ready to RSVP, so your child's artwork will be ready. If desired, additional frames and mats can be purchased on the evening of the event, just in case you want to have your child's artwork copied for another family member.

We can't wait to see you their. If you have any questions, leave a comment and we will publish answers as we get closer to the event.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Mrs. Snead Has an Intern

Hello to all! My name is Tina Fravel and I am Mrs. Snead’s intern for the next 14 weeks! I am an art education major at UNF, after completing my internship I will be graduating in April (finally!). At UNF I took several fine art classes in addition to taking education classes, I really enjoyed taking a ceramics class because I love working with clay. I also enjoy working with oil pastels and painting. This past summer I took my first photography class and found I had a natural talent for it; this class had us working with manual cameras and darkroom development.

I have most recently decided that I want to learn more about digital photography because I know how in tune kids these days are with technology. After expressing this interest to the only other artist in my family, my 89 year old pop pop (who was an engineer, musician, painter, photographer, and singer!), he decided to let me have one of his digital cameras he no longer uses. So I will be trying to figure out how to use it and digital editing software in the coming weeks I hope.

So far I have really enjoyed working at the school and observing Mrs. Snead teaching the students. I noticed right away the students were working at much higher levels than I anticipated. This week I started working with the 3rd grade and 1st grade classes. The lesson plans had a similar theme of outer space, the 3rd graders were working on ‘Spacescapes’ and the 1st graders were working on paper collage aliens. I enjoyed working with the students and hope to continue to challenge them to perform at high levels. I have already noticed a lot of very talented artistic students and look forward making some fantastic art projects!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Who do the budget cuts hurt?

You know, I have always wondered .... when the money gets tight, why is education one of the first places they look to cut????? Actually, why do they go there at all? You'd think it would be one of the MOST IMPORTANT areas to keep in tact, even in which to actually INCREASE funding. I mean, aren't kids, the future leaders and workers of America, important enough to make sure they get the education needed to keep our country alive and competitive?? How are we to do it with less and less. With TECHNOLOGY ever increasing by the day, how are we supposed to keep the students up to date if we dont' have the tools? Lots of questions with not very many answers.

Of course, often withen that arena, the resources are looked at pretty early on, meaning art, music and PE, as an area, supposedly, "expendable". I will have to admit, though, in my county, the School Board seems pretty supportive of these areas, but, never the less, I know that some of the positions are going to disappear. As important as the arts are to "educating the whole child" ( the new buzz word) why would they end up on the chopping block first? For that matter, why would any teacher end up there?

I guess it is time to let our legislators know what we want them to do with the budget as we are the people they are representing. My prayer is that they would be given MUCH WISDOM as they deal with these budget cuts, and that they would deal with them from a proactive, instead of reactive, stand point. After all the quote "Children are our Future" is a real life FACT. We just hope they are ready to take it on!