Tuesday, March 13, 2018

STEAM & Art Integration

A few years back, I wrote an article about STEAM for Arts and Activities magazine. I would like to revisit a few points from the article and share some awesome things our school has done that reflects the STEAM approach. I'm also very excited that our school is in the process of creating a maker's space connected to our new STEAM supply room, which we've been using quite a bit!
Many educators have been pushing for changing STEM to STEAM (including the A for arts) to truly meet the standards of 21st century skills. According to Susan Riley from Education Closet*, “STEM alone misses several key components that many employers, educators, and parents have voiced as critical for our children to thrive in the present and rapidly approaching future.”

To implement the STEAM approach, be sure to include standards from different disciplines, which create interdisciplinary connections.
S We teach science in art. When introducing lessons about landscapes, living forms, or the human body, we identify and describe elements in artworks reflecting these subjects. My students can tell you what fins are for on a fish when creating an ocean-themed project, or what animals can camouflage to hide from predators in a pattern project. Every Spring, we hatch eggs in my art room so students can document the process in drawing, with a final quick sketch of baby chicks chirping in the room!  
We are also tapping into science standards when working with materials. Through the use of artistic materials, we are performing experiments and manipulating the ingredients to create something new. Clay is a prime example. When you first work with ceramic clay, it is soft and damp, but once dried after your project is created, the clay is hardened and ready for firing or painting.

T We teach technology in art. Even if your school has little to no resources for hands-on technology in the classroom, you still have some form of modern day conveniences within your room. Currently chrome books and iPads are the next wave in digital arts. Our school now has 1+1 chrome books for the students.  At the end of every project, students bring their chrome books for writing artist statements in Artsonia and learning new art games I gathered together using Symbaloo.  February also featured a Digital Learning Day, which students used technology throughout the day.

E We teach engineering in art. We know of engineering as a branch of science and technology that focuses on the design, construction, and use of machines and structures, but it is also the action of working artfully to bring something about. It does sound like the arts can fit into this category, but when STEM is talked about in a curriculum, many times the “creating” part of engineering focuses on the mechanical aspect. In art, we design, construct and many times use our artworks from our imagination or from subjects that inspire us. We can be architects designing drawings of buildings, fabricators constructing mechanical artworks, or mini scientists designing robots.  I admit, I haven't gone as far as designing robots or Rube Goldburg performances as of yet, but I have some pretty awesome little architects in my classroom!

A We advocate for the arts in education. We are the glue that holds the bridge between subjects together. When advocating for the arts in your schools, share how you tap into core subjects in your lessons, reinforcing what students learn. This can be done while you show how you keep the integrity of the art standards. Display your students’ work around the school, share it in the community, and show your administration the importance of the arts in STEAM.

M We teach Math to the students. We use geometry, symmetry, perspective, measurements, and more, all while scaffolding these skills as the grade levels advance. Are you gridding to create larger scale projects? You’re including mathematic standards within your lessons!  While you are assessing student work that requires the use of shapes, symmetry, and measurements, we are also assessing on the math standards.  One of the first lessons I teach to kindergarten is identification of shapes and creating an image out of shapes, which is one of the kindergarten math standards!

In the beginning of the school year, our school designed a STEAM room for all the teachers to use with classroom lessons and projects. Even I shop the space for items to use for my lessons! Microscopes, magnifying glasses, spray bottles, styrofoam shapes, and so much more!

This month, The Art Ed Blogger's Network is writing about STEAM/Art Integration. Join us on the first Tuesday each month for new projects, ideas, and inspiration.

Participating Art Teacher Blogs:


Thursday, March 8, 2018

Preparing for Seattle's NAEA Convention: March's Stepping Stones

Get ready, because this year’s NAEA convention is taking place in Seattle, Washington from March 22nd-24th! I remember visiting Seattle for NAEA’s convention back in 2011. With living in the midwest, the two-hour time difference had me up and ready at 5am! I enjoyed walking around the city in the early morning, viewing the outdoor sculptures, and watching the set up at Pike’s Place Market. There’s so many hidden gems in Seattle to visit outside of the convention and so much to do while at the center! I’d like to offer some tips in preparing for the national convention and visiting the city of Seattle.

Be prepared for the weather! Seattle has been known for its rainy weather patterns, so keep a close eye on the forecast! Prepare to dress warm and bring a travel umbrella in case of rainfalls in March, but hope for the light cardigan weather. The average weather last March in Seattle was in the 50s, so hope for decent weather this year! The waterfront (which is walking distance to the hotel and convention center) is also the best place for morning strolls.

Don’t forget your walking shoes! Even if you’re not a morning runner, there’s a lot to do within the city! Straight down Pike Street is the Pike Place Market on the waterfront, the a short walk to the left will lead you to the Seattle Art Museum and SAM Gallery. There’s also a beautiful sculpture garden along the waterfront leading up to more galleries, coffee shops, and shopping! You can also make the hike to the Space Needle observation deck and Seattle Center, and if you get tired, you can take the monorail back toward the convention center.

Utilize the NAEA Seattle convention app! Since NAEA created their convention app a few years back, it became a valuable resource for planning sessions to attend (broken down by topics, presenters, and divisions), hands-on workshops to enjoy, connecting with friends, and learning more about super session and guest speakers. The app is available for free for your phones and tablets. You can also use the app to write and store notes while attending presentations, plus handouts can be uploaded for specific sessions.

Make room in your luggage for the vendors! It’s highly recommended not to over pack before you head to the conference! Save some room for those samples and goodies you want to take back to your classroom, generously given by vendors in attendance! The vendors consist of companies that supply your art materials, magazine subscriptions, art fundraisers, books and posters, and much more! You can also order supplies while at the convention to be shipped to your school.

Print labels with your address for raffles and giveaways! I describe the vendor area like an art teacher’s toy store: multiple vendor giveaways, mailing list sign-ups, and prizes. Labels make it much easier for you to place a sticker and go instead of spending time hand writing your entire address and phone number from booth to booth.

Plan some time to visit Seattle! There’s plenty to do off site from the convention. You will be close to plenty of attractions, such as the Seattle Art Museum, SAM Gallery, Seattle Center, Museum of Pop Culture, and other various galleries filled with contemporary artworks in various media. The Olympic Sculpture Park is an offshoot of the Seattle Art Museum that features various sculptures spread over a spacious park. There’s also Bill Speidel’s Underground Tour, Gum Wall (near Pike’s Place Market), The Seattle Aquarium, and if you travel further west, the Seattle Japanese Garden, featuring a cherry orchard, water features, and a teahouse.

Make a stop at the information booth! The volunteer committee will be available to help direct you to where you need to go! From local restaurants, workshop locations, cultural attractions, and more, members are around to help you with any assistance you need!

Attend the social media “meet-ups.” If you’re on Twitter (#artsed #pln), Facebook (Art Teachers Group and sub groups), or any other social media outlet, there will be plenty of meet-ups, brunches, and events around the convention. Keep an eye out on your preferred social media network for extra gatherings to meet people face to face!

Follow the #NAEA18 Tagboard.  NAEA's tagboard is the quickest way to gather all the #NAEA18 tags from different sites. Just go to https://tagboard.com/naea18 to view all the posts and follow what's happening!

If this is your first convention, I hope you have a wonderful experience! There’s so much to do and see on and off site, you will leave will a head full of ideas and inspiration for your classroom, curriculum, and art department. The convention is one of the best professional development opportunities available for art teachers! Have fun and be inspired!

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Elementary Projects for Valentine's Day

Looking for projects inspired by Valentine's Day?  Check out the lessons I created with K-3!  Some projects were inspired by other lessons I have found over the years, so I tried to share the blog posts from other teachers who inspired my lessons.

Romero Britto Heart Paintings with Kindergarten

Materials: Pencil, Paper, Black Marker, Tempura Cake Paints

Duration: 1-40 minute class period

Directions: Start by sharing pictures of Britto's art with your kindergarteners!  Share how he created designs in each space of his art, such as dots, lines, colors, etc...now's the fun part!  Have your binders practice drawing hearts!  Some may struggle at first, but once they get the loop and points, they'll go crazy with their hearts!  Using pencils, have students create one or more hearts to fill their paper, then draw in lines and shapes.  Once done, use a black marker to trace, then tempura cakes to paint in the spaces!

Contour Hearts with 1st Grade

Materials: Heart Templates, Pencils, Paper, Oil Pastels, Tempura Cake Paints

Duration: 2-40 minute class periods

Directions: For Day 1, start by talking about how the hearts can overlap (one in front of the other).  Have the students use heart stencils to trace out about 10 hearts (overlapping to fit them in the paper).  Once traced, have students use oil pastels to trace, color in, or add patterns to each heart.  On day 2, have students finish filling in the hearts with oil pastels and fill in the rest of teh paper with tempura cake paint!

Symmetry Hearts with 2nd Grade

Materials: 9 x 12 colored paper, 12 x 18 colored paper, pencils, scissors, glue

Duration: 1-40 unite class period

Directions: As a one class project, the object is to have students achieve the illusion of symmetry with the heart design.  Using the 9 x 12 paper, draw half of a heart, cut the shape out, then glue the outer piece to the edge of the 12 x 18 paper.  Draw another heart inside of the already-cut heart, cut it out, and glue on the opposite side.  Draw, cut out, and glue down about 3 more heart shapes and you have a finished piece!

Positive/Negative Space Hearts with 3rd Grade

Materials: 9 x 12 colored paper, 12 x 18 colored paper, small baggies, pencils, scissors, glue

Duration: 2-40 minute class periods

Directions: On day 1, talk about positive/negative space in art.  Using the 9 x 12 colored paper, draw and cut out a heart shape.  On each side of the heart, draw and cut out shaped that will be reflected in the finished artwork.  Please Note:  Use the baggies to store the pieces once they are cut out.  This prevents any lost pieces, plus it's 100% easier with clean up.  Once all pieces are cut out, glue down the big heart.  On day 2, show the students how to glue the pieces down to reflect the empty space.  Not all students will finish right away, you will see that it may take the entire time for many students.

This project was also achieved by many other schools and can be found here for 5th grade and here for 6th grade.

Love Paintings (Inspired by Robert Indiana) with 3rd Grade
Image result for robert indiana love

Materials: LOVE Stencils, 10.5 x 10.5 white paper, Pencils, Black Markers, Tempura Paint

Duration: 2-40 minute class periods

Directions: On day 1, we discussed the artwork of Robert Indiana, then folded the white paper to make 4 squares.  We then began tracing stencils to spell out L-O-V-E in each square.  Students then began painting colors in the letters and in the backgrounds.  On Day 2, students finished up on painting.  If they finished on the first day, each letter was traced with marker to cover any loose paint lines.

Heart-Shaped Coil Pottery with 3rd Grade

Materials: Ceramic Clay (or air dry clay), Water, Canvas, Desired Paint (Glaze or Acrylic)

Duration: 2 40-minute class periods

Directions: On Day 1, discuss how to create a coil pot using ceramic clay.  Start with rolling a small amount of clay into a ball, flattening it down then rolling coils to wrap around the flat base.  Use the water for the slip process to make the coils stay together once dry.  Once the pot is completed, pinch the top and bottom of the top of the pot to form the heart shape.  On your own, fire the pottery for your next step.  On Day 2, (depending on your resources) paint the pots using either glaze (if kiln is easily accessible) or acrylic paint (if you can't fire again).  


Thursday, February 8, 2018

Artists That Inspire Us: Clay Vessels (Inspired by Ceramic Artist Melissa Monroe)

Meet Melissa Monroe. Melissa is a lifelong Illinoisan, having been raised in Galesburg and now living in the Chicago suburbs with her family. She sells her ceramic art at shows in the Chicago area and at fine stores and works with chefs to create custom dishware for their restaurants.

“When I started working in clay in college it was impossible to predict the places it would take me. It has been fun journey of farm dinners where I provide dishes, the art show circuit in Chicago, and gallery shows. As I have grown in my work I find my creativity divided into two camps: the functional and the sculptural. My functional work has become focused on working directly with customers creating custom plate ware for their homes and businesses. I love to sit down to a day of throwing and trimming all of these commissions and getting the satisfaction of the matching sets of bowls and plates. The second part of my art is the creative sculptural side - making wild abstracted flowers and sculptural vases, bottles and jars. These are the objects of imagination and whimsy. I hope that both of my camps of artwork provide a connection with each person either in daily use or visual connection.”

Melissa is a friend and artist colleague from my home town. I've had the joy of working with her for our local artist guild and is this year's featured artist for our Illinois Art Education Association's Mosaic Magazine. Melissa is an artist that inspires me, so I decided to share her work with my 4th grade students.

The Project

Inspired by Melissa’s style of ceramics, students will create their own clay vessel displaying a face. This will be done by using the slab technique for ceramics.


Ceramic Clay, Water, Glaze, Canvas, Clay Tools, Rolling Pins

This project will take about three 40 minute classes for creating and glazing, and one 40 minute class for assessment and artist statements.

Day 1: Introduction and vessel design. Students are shown a slideshow featuring the artist Melissa Monroe, as well as the artworks she created. After a group discussion about her style of work, the teacher demonstrates how to create a vessel using the slab technique. Students are given a portion of clay and instructed to take ¼ of the portion to roll into a ball and press down to make the base. With the remaining clay, students use a rolling pin to roll the clay out to a slab that’s ¼” thick. Next they are to draw a long rectangle in the slab, cut the remaining clay away, and wrap the slab around the base. Once the slab was wrapped, students marked the bottom of their vessels with their initials and wrapped their projects for the following week.

Day 2: Details and finishing touches. Prior to students receiving their projects to finish, they are shown how to attach facial expressions using the slip/score process. Similar to Melissa’s designs, students add eyes, nose, mouth, eyebrows, and any designs that show expression. Once completed, students handed in their projects to dry over the week. A week or two is needed between days 2-3 for clay to dry and fire in the kiln.

Day 3: After clay is fired, students are shown how to apply glaze to their pieces. Projects will go through a second firing

Day 4: Chromebooks needed to visit Artsonia to write artist statements (or create your own method of writing artist statements with students)

Here are the finished art pieces!  The lesson plan with standards will be available in this year's printed Mosaic Magazine for IAEA members.

Art Teacher Blogs

This post is a part of The Art Ed Blogger's Network: Monthly Tips and Inspiration from Art Teacher Blogs. On the first Tuesday each month, each of these art teacher blogs will post their best ideas on the same topic.

Participating Art Teacher Blogs: