Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Still-Life Solution!

I teach 1-5 grades and only see my students once a week.  I love to set up still lifes for the students to draw because I feel that drawing from life is SO important!  I've often set my still life up on the side of my room so that I could leave it up for a couple of weeks to give the students time to finish.  One drawback to this setup is that the students are cramped and it's hard for everyone to be able to see (not to mention...things get moved!).

I think I've finally come up with my solution.  This year, I have all of my 5th grade classes back-to-back, so this worked great. I set up a large still-life in the middle of the room so that students could view it from all around and the kids were able to spread out more.  Because I obviously can't leave it up all day (or until next week) I took pictures from all sides and printed them out for students to use as reference next week to finish their drawings.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Practical Printmaking

Printmaking can be a messy disaster with Elementary students! Trying to reinforce the concept of white borders used to be nearly impossible for me. And forget any sort of even borders! I've discovered that having an orderly printing station is the key! Now my students prints turn out beautifully!

TIP 1 :: Put out one tube of ink at a time and have it contained. Have the students roll the ink on a small tray with sides (this old acrylic frame works great!).

TIP 2 :: Old catalogs or phone books work great for ink application! Once you've printed your plate, turn the page, and you have a clean page ready for the next person to come through!

TIP 3 ::  Create a laminated template for the kids to use to help them register their prints. I create mine by tracing around the paper that you will be printing on, then laying the printing plate down in the center and trace around that. This enables students to get their prints in the center without being able to see the plate and since it's laminated, you can wipe it off easily and keep it clean for the next person.

TIP 4 :: If possible, keep a box of baby wipes close by to keep hands, templates, and brayers clean.

I'd love to hear any printmaking tips that other people have as well!

Friday, April 30, 2010

Mrs. Poindexter!!! Where do I put my painting???

That's a question I used to hear a LOT! Here's an easy solution that's helped me tremendously in not only collecting student's wet paintings, but also in distribution during the next class.

Each table has a table number (you probably already have a similar system in place).
I put tabs on my drying rack that corresponds to the table numbers (colors, whatever...) over the tables. This way, the paintings are in order for a quick distribution the next time the kids come to art!

I also keep a drawer of clips close by with the class codes on them. They are placed on the top of the drying rack so that the kids can confirm that they are putting their paintings in the right spot.

Hope this helps someone! :)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day Idea: Use OLD DISHWASHER RACKS for storage!

Art teachers are well known for using recyclable materials, aren't we?  We use plastic containers of all sorts to hold art supplies or water and old clothing as smocks. We even use recyclable materials to create art!

One material that I recycle in the art room is OLD DISHWASHER RACKS!  Their non-stick coating makes them so handy as drying racks for paper mache projects.  I first had this idea when I bought a new dishwasher and just couldn't let them take the old racks away...I knew there would be a good use for them.  They worked so well for drying paper mache projects, that I've since gone to an appliance store and picked up extras that were being sent to the dump so that I  have enough for each class.

What do YOU recycle in the art room?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Save the Glaze!

After feeling like I've wasted half-jars of glaze just on the paint brush handles alone (not to mention the jars getting knocked over by little hands), I had to come up with a solution!

I started pouring small amounts into paper/styrofoam cups and putting a brush into each one.  This technique works wonders for me!  Some of the benefits are:
  • The glaze isn't wasted on the brush handle.
  • If the cup tips over, not much is wasted.
  • The cups are non-stick which makes it easy to pour back into the jars.
  • The students don't have to wash brushes in between which helps the glaze and is time efficient.
  • Many students can use the same color at one time.
The other thing that you may notice about my set-up is that I place the cups on colored construction paper so that the students know what color the glaze will eventually turn out.  I also have placed a small ceramic token that has been glazed with that color so they can see the true color.

Hope this helps! :)

Organized Chaos in the Art Room

I find myself constantly working on ways to organize my art room so that life is easier for myself and my students.  I sometimes feel like my experience as an art teacher is preparing me to become an industrial engineer.  My hope for this blog is that other art teachers may find some of my techniques useful.  As a lifelong learner, I would also love to hear other peoples ideas on what works for them.

Many art teachers are faced with the dilemma of teaching different grade levels back-to-back. Just organizing supplies for the day can consume your entire planning period. (That, of course, coupled with the extra responsibilities of being an art teacher.  You know, "can you make this poster really quickly", "you have such better handwriting than I do, would you mind...", --you get the idea.

SO...for what it's worth, you'll soon know what works for me! :)