Wednesday, August 9, 2017
Thursday, May 25, 2017
This Spring, we took on a new adventure in our school's art room: hatching baby chicks! Every year, our school takes part in a project to teach about the process of the egg to the bird. Many classes from Kindergarten through 6th grade take part in the project. With this being my 3rd year at my school, I was interested to see if a specials teacher could participate as well! I was very excited to receive approval and begin the journey of hatching chicks in the art room! Even with student allergies and sensitivities, this project was checked with parents prior to beginning the process.
Our Baby Chick Story
It all started with an incubator. The box contains a space for water (to keep the eggs humid for the 21 day incubation period), a metal rack, and a turner for the. We needed to keep the temperature at 99.5 degrees during the 21 day incubation.
Throughout the 21 days, students would take quick peaks inside the incubator to see how they were doing. I was giving a link to a Powerpoint containing pictures of the egg development over each day. You can find the Powerpoint at this link.
On around Day 19, we transferred the eggs from the turner right onto the metal rack (covered with a thin mesh to prevent egg pieces from falling through). This was the exciting part!
And when we walked in on a Tuesday morning, we had our first batch of baby chicks!!!
Students were invited to peak at the new babies while working on their art projects. They were so excited to see them, they were on their best behavior waiting for their tables to be called up!
That afternoon and the next day, I moved the hatch-lings from the incubator to the box prepared with the heat lamp.
In the end, we had over 15 hatch out of two dozen eggs!
Now that the eggs were hatched, I discovered that I had limited time with the babies. I only had them for one week before they were collected for a local farm. So why did I want chicks in the art room? I wanted students to document and quick sketch what they observed. I was able to have a few kindergartners draw the eggs in development, but my 3rd graders were the lucky winners to work with the chicks!
Students were to create a drawing of a chick. The challenge was how to draw a moving model. My students are familiar with drawing still life or pictures for inspiration, but this was their first time drawing a live animal!
On each table, I set up a bin with white paper at the bottom. Two chicks were carefully placed in each bin to be observed while drawing. The chicks were properly taken care of and students were given specific instructions prior to starting on handling the chicks.
Warning: If you attempt this in your room, chicks poop...a lot. Be prepared for students to laugh or comment on droppings while working on their drawings.
Students were given one class period (about 30 minutes) to create a drawing of a chick (or chicks). Once their drawing was completed, they were able to place their chick in any background they wished. The drawing was to be traced and colored using either crayon, colored pencil, or markers. After day 1, students were only able to complete their draw and begin tracing.
I couldn't help it, I wanted to draw a chick too!
After one week, we had to say goodbye to the chicks as they were adopted by a local farm. The following week, students completed their drawings with crayons, colored pencils, or markers.
Here are some of the finished examples from the experiment! The first drawing was made by a kindergarten student, and the rest are from my 3rd graders.
Overall, I loved having the experience of hatching baby chicks in the art room! Since this was my first time (and new to the time frame), the project was limited to drawing materials. Now that I'm familiar with the steps, the ideas are flowing for next year! thank you so much to my colleague, Mrs. Perino, for making this happen!
Wednesday, May 24, 2017
Sunday, May 7, 2017
Some of the best opportunities we can use in art classes are collaborations. A collaboration occurs when your students actively work with another student or set of students to produce or create something. This can be done to complete individual projects, group murals, develop ideas, or share art experiences.
There are many ways to have a successful collaboration without worrying about the students who do all the hard work while other sit back.
Choosing partners to work together. While in class, you can pair up students to work together on drawings, paintings, sculptures, or prints. I pair students up to share materials, and I find that with the students working closer together, they bounce ideas off of each other. The ideas shared help in many ways to enhance the products because they are self-critiquing each other’s artworks.
Group Projects. Group projects work when there are big ideas to be made into reality. Take care in working with groups to make sure that one student doesn’t take on the entire load. It is also in the group setting where you’ll find students developing their teamwork abilities. I enjoy walking down the school halls watching groups work together to design posters, create stories and research facts needed for reports and presentations. If well organized, students can create amazing larger than average projects that can awe and inspire others.
Classroom “Buddies.” This collaboration happens when you combine two grade levels to achieve a goal (for example, kindergarten students with 6th graders). Buddies can be used throughout the school year or with specific projects you assign. Our school promotes this because younger students look up to the older students, and the older students take pride in handling the responsibility. I like to use this system to not only assist with craftsmanship practice, but to encourage ideas and inspiration.
Art Pen Pals. Writing buddies have been a popular collaboration since I was in elementary school. It was always exciting on the day our letters from our pen pals would arrive and we were able to write back. With having art class pen pals, you can create ways for students to combine their efforts in creating artworks for students to enjoy sending back and forth! If you’re attempting to work with pen pals and you’re worried about which student would be able to keep their projects, try to have students create two artworks that can be shared and added to, which will alleviate the challenge of which student keeps the artwork.
Cross-School Project Collaborations. This year, the Jr. High art teacher and I worked together to plan a joint project between my 3rd graders and her students. My 3rd graders created a drawing of an alien creature inspired by the surreal artworks of Joan Miro. Students had to create the alien, give it a name and special abilities, and create an environment for the alien. One the students were finished, the drawing were sent to the Jr. High. From there, the students create sculpture prototypes of the aliens in a box, as if they were making an actual toy. The purpose was to learn how to market the aliens with the specifications given. The completed sculptures were sent back to the 3rd grade students as gifts. Our students were in love with the overall results! If you have multiple schools within your district, or already have art pen pals, this would be a great way to combine artistic efforts to create amazing artworks.
All School Collaboration. There have been some amazing murals created at our school. Once you have a theme, every one of your classes can work together to create visual masterpieces. My favorite collaboration is for International Dot Day. Each student creates their own “dot” project that can decorate the walls of your school. Another successful mural was using self-portraits to promote our diverse community. There was also a year where each of my classes created a large scale artwork representing Earth Day. We had over twenty-five 6 foot artworks hanging around the school for students to view during an all-school exhibit.
Working with the Community. There are many ways to work with your local community to create amazing artworks. One popular idea is the Dale Chihuly-inspired plastic bottle sculptures that can decorate gardens and parks near the school. Students and local residents can work together to build pubic artworks that share pride in their neighborhoods! Students can also work together with the community to create interactive murals at their local village halls, public libraries, or local businesses and galleries!
Consider having your students collaborate to bounce ideas, share input, and grow in their imagination. Opportunities like this help students develop their team building skills and provide experiences the students will never forget when they grow up!
Saturday, April 8, 2017
Tuesday, February 28, 2017
I wanted to share a collaboration between my 3rd grade students and my colleague's jr. high students!
Previously, I shared a project called Joan Miro Monsters with 3rd grade. Students were to create their own alien or monster creature using only 12 different shapes. The details for the project can be found in this link.
This year, the jr. high art teacher, Elizabeth Farnesi, and I joined forces. Liz's eighth grade students were paired up with a few of my third graders to participate in a collaborative art project.
It began with my 3rd grade students designing their own aliens inspired by the art of surrealist artist Joan Miro. Students created their alien creatures in their own environments, gave them a name, and imagined what special abilities the aliens would have (this was included in the students' artist statement about their artwork). Once they were finished, the drawings were sent over to the junior high where the eighth graders were able to pick the drawing of their choice.
Mrs. Farnesi worked with the eighth grade students to design a plan for their alien. They figured out what colors they would need, how it would look from certain angles and how the monster was going to be portrayed. The junior high students were also to choose whether they wanted to recreate the monster using clay, felt or render the alien as a realistic drawing.
After creating their alien, the 8th grade students had to design the packaging for the alien to be transported in back to our school and to the 3rd grade student. All of the junior high students were generous enough to donate their project to their elementary partners. The students were so excited and loved every single one!
Here are a few examples of drawings my 3rd grade students had created:
And here are a few finished creations!
Once the artworks were complete, the 3rd graders received a nice surprise! These images were used on our publicity within our school district.