Monday, November 17, 2014

Yearbook Cover Vote at Thomas Elementary

Even though the yearbook won't come out until May, students at Thomas are hard at work creating cover art. The yearbook cover contest is an optional out of class project for all students PK-5th grade. I got a ton of entries and narrowed it down to the top 8 for students, teachers, and blog readers to vote on. The link below will take you to a Google form to vote. It will take you 30 seconds even if you haven't had your morning coffee. 

*The voting is now over. Thanks to everyone who participated!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

2nd Grade Egyptian Cats & Dogs

Here are a few images from a recent 2nd grade project. If you're a long-term reader, you'll know that we've been doing this project for the last several years in 2nd grade. Students are absolutely intrigued by Ancient Egypt and really enjoy the project. 

Not too much was different this year in terms of technique for this lesson. I swapped out oil pastels for colored pencils. My students have better control with the colored pencils, but they just don't have the nice pop of color the pastels provide. I'll probably give them a choice next year. Enjoy!

Students use a rough hieroglyphic translation
 to write their name on their work.
They think that part is super cool!
 Check out my lesson plan here!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Writing about Art

A couple of people have recently asked me about my use of artist statements in my classroom. This post is for you!

We all know that art classes aren't only about making art. As teachers, we want to help our students grow into thoughtful adults. I think using a little writing at the end of a project is a great way to have students practice their writing skills and also inject some self reflection into the lesson. 

Let me tell you how I feel about assessment. Meh. There. I said it. I'm not a big fan of it, although I understand why we use it. I originally started using a little self assessment form that students attached to the back of their artwork. They would circle different areas depending on how they thought they did. I would then circle what I thought. I didn't like that system because too many kids circled only the highest or lowest grades even if they didn't really apply to their work. 

I have slowly developed artist statements that are different for each project. The format is pretty similar across all projects, but the content is different on each artist statement form. I include a combination of fill-in vocab as well as open ended questions for students to answer. It makes assessing vocab-based and reflection standards much easier and efficient. Here is an example from a recent 5th grade personal logo project.--->
Simply including a space for a name and teacher save me from so much nameless artwork. (I have no idea how some students manage not to have their name on their work after 3-4 classes of a project.) The artist statements are taped to the back of the finished artwork. In this particular case, it's taped on the back in such a way that it hangs down below the artwork allowing viewers to read what the students have written. I'll make these 2-3 per page so I can quickly photocopy them and not use too much paper. 

The big question is this. What do you do to include student writing or reflection in your classroom? I'd love to hear all about what you do. I'm sure there are a ton of you doing something way better and far more rad than this.