How I bribed my students with presents the week before winter break!

Yep! Your read that title correctly. My middle schoolers were ready for winter break waaaaay before winter break was even close. I needed to get creative when it came to ways to keeping them engaged. Besides just an engaging lesson, I really needed something to keep them on task. Positive rewards were the first thing that came to mind to me!

Around this time, my classes were working on Perspective. They had practiced and expanded off of a room drawing, with the vanishing point in the middle of the square paper, a wall in the back, two walls, a ceiling and a floor. We talked about how the lines go to the vanishing points and then many of the lines stay parallel, for example windows, doors, etc.

I ran out to Five & Below and only spent about $20 on a variety of different things:

Winter socks, Watercolor Paint Sets, Gel Pens, Pencils, Color by Number, Paint by Number, Dry Erase Boards for Lockers, etc.

Obviously buy things that would relate to the age group you teach! My middle schoolers were super excited about these. I also grabbed boxes, wrapping paper, and bows. I wrapped up all the presents and arranged them in two different areas throughout our classroom.

These presents served two purposes in my classroom during the last two weeks of school. The first purpose was that my early finishers were able to choose a seat near either still life and create a still life composition of the presents and the bows. This really helped me to give extra help to those students who were still working on their assignment.

The behavior aspect of this is really what helped me though. When the students came in and asked about the presents, I took some time to explain what I planned to do with them. I told students that there were 12 presents. I had a roll of tickets to hand out during the last days before break. When I noticed good behavior, good effort in class, etc, I would give a student a raffle ticket. Students put the raffle tickets in their binders if they received anyway. There was no limit to how many raffle tickets a student could get but each one would increase their chances of being picked.

 

On the last day before break, we had a half day. I selected 6 names from each of my 2 classes. When a student’s name was selected, they were able to pick a present and open it.

So yes, the title is read correctly, I totally bribed my students with presents the week before winter break. Would I do it again? You bet! It was highly effective in not only keeping my students engaged but also keeping them on their best behavior, as they knew a positive reward could come from it.

Do you do anything similar in your classroom before a break?! I would love to hear about it!

Screen Printing our Art Club shirts!

So a few years back, when I was living in Nashville, I was really interested in screen printing. It was a new process to me and I wanted to learn it! I worked with an independent printmaker and also a printmaking company, taking classes, learning new things, etc.

This year, with my Middle School Art Club, I decided to teach my kids how to screen print. I like the connection that it brings to the real world. Kids go, Wow! I can actually make my own t-shirts, clothing, etc! I had a bunch of kids asking about the screen while it was sitting in my room, but my Art Club kids were the ones who actually got to make them.

I purchased an 18×24 exposure table a few years ago for about 200 dollars. I get my money’s worth out of it. The exposure table makes it really easy for me to burn the screen.

My art club kids were asked to come up with designs. Then, we voted on what we liked best out of all the designs. We combined them into one design that everyone was happy with. I then went home and created it on Photoshop, printed it as a transparency, and then burned the transparency onto the screen.

I took the screen into school for Art Club. I explained the process that I did at home to the students so that they could be aware of the process too, they were extremely interested! I had students working on various low maintenance projects during this particular art club, and as they were working, I pulled students aside to screen print in small groups of 3, 4, or 5.

I showed them how to place the screen wherever they wanted the design to print. I explain to them what happens if they go too far over, if they don’t press hard enough, if they don’t have enough ink, if they lift up the shirt too quickly, etc. I monitored how much ink was going on the screen at a time and I offered them individual suggestions as they printed.

Although I have ton various printmaking techniques in the past, this was my first time screen printing with my middle school students! I would love to hear what printmaking techniques are used in your classroom!

Expressive Self Portraits

Quite possibly one of my favorite lesson plans that I do all year. When students hear that I am making them do ANOTHER self portraits, after we just finished up a realistic one, they ask WHY. Once we start working on these, their attitudes typically change and they are a lot more excited.

I like giving the students the option to explore symbolism a little bit further and consider what imagery they can use to show the world more about themselves, rather than just their appearances. The PowerPoint that I created for this lesson can be found here, https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Expressive-Self-Portrait-PowerPoint-3161112

I can thank the wonders of Pinterest for many of those photo examples, but I also chose to incorporate Frida Kahlo into this lesson. Frida has so many amazing examples of symbolism and she is truly such an inspiring artist and person, that I wanted my students to learn more about her. We had discussions about The Two Fridas, and also about one of her self portraits. We discussed the symbolism and imagery in her artwork and how it reflects her personality and mood.

Students found this to be very interesting. We also discussed more in depth realism, abstract, and non objective. I told students to consider how realistic they wanted this to be. They had the option to be more symbolism and do a silhouette rather than a realistic approach that would require them to do eyes, nose, mouth, etc. This allowed my students of all different skill levels to choose a way that would be successful for them.

I also gave them an option in what art mediums they wanted to use. They had the options of graphite, colored pencil, pastel, watercolor, or mixed media. After the presentation, I had students write 5-10 things about themselves in their sketchbooks. These could be interests, personality, mood, appearance, home life, friends, etc. We then broke those down and considered how to interpret them into a symbol or some sort of imagery.

Students brainstormed with the others at their tables and came up with some ideas. When they had enough ideas, they began a sketch of what their portrait would look like. I offered suggestions to make sure that students were challenging themselves enough, and were not doing things too hard. I told students that if they chose not to draw a realistic face, that they needed to put extra details somewhere else, to ensure that all students were still working the same amount.

I graded these using four main components. Subject Matter & Creativity, Use of Symbolism and Details, Craftsmanship, and Effort.

I was SO happy with how these turned out. Here are some of the great examples from my classes!

 

Realistic Self Portraits

Ahhh self portraits! Some kids love em, some kids absolutely hate em.

I start out by teaching basic cartooning. I feel like this loosens kids up a bit, and it also allows them to consider showing emotions. Cartoons have such exaggerated emotions and I feel like it is great practice for students to consider how to show emotions within their own portraits.

After cartooning, we spend some time focusing on each facial feature. We spent a day on eyes, a day on noses, a day on mouths, and a day on ears/hair. I graded these as progress, so I told students that as long as I saw effort, they would get full points. I took off points if they did not consider value or shading, or if they were misusing their cell phones.

I collected the facial features sketches and we moved on to proportion. To switch things up a bit, I decided to have my students do group drawings. Each group started with a face outline. They set up all of the proportions- we looked at an example on the board of where the lines should be. Where the eyes sit on, the noses, how far apart the eyes go, and where the ears go, etc. These can be found online.

I had students set up the face and then draw one realistic eye. After drawing, they were asked to switch with someone else. The second student drew the second realistic eye. Each time they switched, the student had to consider where each facial feature would go. These ending up looking like really creepy mugshots and my kids absolutely loved them!

This took about two days, because we wanted to make them look realistic and shade well. At the end, we did a critique. Students were asked to go around and identify anything that looked proportionally “off”. Comments included things such as “eyes are too far apart,” “ears are too high”, “mouth is too close to nose” etc. Students got the sketch that they had originally started with and they held onto it for reference.

Lastly, I introduced the final assessment. Students drew a realistic photo of themselves. I asked them to bring in a picture of themselves. I opted to do it this way rather than looking at mirrors because I wanted them to be able to compare and contrast the values and progress of their drawings with the actual picture.

Students had two options for this- they could choose to freehand their portrait or use a grid. We had used a grid earlier in the year for realistic animal eyes, the link for that lesson can be found here. http://www.makemesanguine.com/index.php/2016/12/12/animal-eye-value-drawings/

If students wanted to grid, they could either do an outline first, or go square by square and shade everything completely. As a beginning Drawing & Painting and class, I felt that this approach really helped my students understand and be able to take their time throughout this assignment.

Here are the results!

Realistic Self Portraits High School Lesson Plan

10 Amazing Musician Murals

  1. The Johnny Cash Mural, Nashville, TN.

    Artists: Bryan Deese, Audie Adams, and Ryan Shrader.  

Location: 300 4th Avenue South at the corner of 4th and Molloy Street

  • Image result for johnny cash mural nashville

Image result for johnny cash mural nashvilleImage result for johnny cash mural nashville

2. Carlos Santana Mural, San Francisco, California 

Artist: Mel Waters 

Location: 19th and Mission Street, San Francisco, CA, 94110.

This mural took about a month to complete, although the artist worked on it along with also working at a tattoo shop.

Image result for carlos santana mural

Image result for carlos santana mural

3. David Bowie Mural in Jersey City, NJ

Artist: Eduardo Kobra

Location: The Cast Iron Lofts Luxury Apartment Building on Jersey Avenue. 

This 180 foot mural took about two weeks to complete. It is part of the Jersey City Mural Arts Program. 

4. Beastie Boys Mural- Charleston South Carolina

Artist: Sergio Odeith

Location: On the side wall of Home Team BBQ in Charleston, South Carolina. 

This Beastie Boys mural is painted on the side of one of the Home Team BBQ buildings.  The artist is Sérgio Odeith.

5. Willie Nelson Mural in Austin, Texas

Artists: Wiley Ross and Adam Brewer

Location: East Seventh Street at Neches Street in Austin, Texas. 

Image result for willie nelson mural austin

 

6. The Roots Mural in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 

Artist: Philadelphia Mural Arts Program 

Location: On the back of the World Communications Charter School, located near the Philadelphia High School for Creative and Performing Arts. 

Image result for the roots mural philadelphia

 

7. John Lennon & Yoko Ono Mural in Miami, Florida

Artist: Eduardo Kobra

Location: Wynwood, Miami, Florida 

 

 “@KobraStreetArt in Wynwood | Miami #Kobra #Mural #Wall #JohnLennon #YokoOno…:

 

8. Muddy Waters Mural in Chicago, Illinois

Artist: Eduardo Kobra

Location: part of the Wabash Arts Corridor project to showcase street art, replaces the “Go Do Good” mural at 17 N. State StP.

Image result for muddy waters mural chicago

 

9. Bob Dylan Mural in Minneapolis, Minnesota

Artist: Eduardo Kobra 

5th and Hennepin in downtown Minneapolis 

The finished mural of Bob Dylan

 

10. Compilation Mural of Amy Winehouse, Biggie Smalls, Kurt Cobain, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and Jerry Garcia.

Artist: Delton Demarest

Location: 4902 Smith Road 

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Altered Books

This lesson was something NEW for my classes, and here’s why-

  • This was the first project that I allowed them to work in groups for. They were in groups of two, three, or four, depending on class size, etc. I wanted them to work in groups because I did not want them spending A TON of time on this project, and also because I have two really quiet classes and I wanted them to get to know each other a bit better.
  • The name of my class is Drawing & Painting, which mainly focuses on two dimensional artworks. I wanted my kids to expand past that and consider how to use their knowledge of drawing and painting to create a three dimensional work of art.

My kids were very excited about this project, being that it was so different. I selected their groups for them, so that I could differentiate between skill levels. For example, I put a girl who definitely knows what she’s doing, able to draw well, could probably be in AP if she wanted to be, I put her with a girl whose drawing skills are not nearly as creative or developed, hoping that they would be able to work alongside each other and offer suggestions.

This was the final project in a Unit I created on Words in Art. We began the unit by discussing how words can enhance or strengthen the quality of an artwork. Students worked and created blackout poetry, along with illustrations that supported their poems. They did this individually for a few days to get them thinking and experimenting with different options.

When I introduced this altered books assignment, I began with A TON of visual examples. I scanned Pinterest and various websites in order to come up with as many great examples as I could find. (If you follow my Pinterest Boards, you will see my “Altered Books” Board, which has a ton of great ideas!

I focused on additive and subtractive techniques, which meant they were either sculpting or carving into their books. I also talked to them about the possibility of leaving the books open versus having them closed and creating a cover page.

After me talking for what seemed like a very long time, I read out the names of the groups and I had my groups get together. I let them select a book and then they began sketching out ideas. Their sketches had to show me:

  • Will anything stand out? Will you create three dimensional works of art from pages?
  • Will anything be carved into? If so, what will you be carving?
  • Will your book be open or closed as a final product?
  • How will you incorporate drawing and painting into your altered book?

(Sidenote) When students were finished with these, I found that it was a great time to introduce Critique. Until this point, my students hadn’t really spent a great deal of time practicing the correct way to critique. I gave them a handout that introduced the 4 Steps to Critique, and we also viewed Starry Night as an example of how to answer each step of critique.

Along with an individual rubric for each student, I also had them write up a 4 Step Critique on another group’s altered book project.

Overall, I really enjoyed this project. It was something different that allowed my students to let loose a bit and bounce their own ideas off of each other.

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Shape Vs. Form Legos

One of the questions on my Benchmark exam asks the students to identify the difference between Shape and Form. While this is something that I felt is simple, I noticed many of my kids struggled with it!

I wanted to do a project that focused on shape versus form to really help students understand how the two differ. We had done some observational drawings already but I wanted to do something that allowed them to focus on WHY we were shading. I wanted to focus on the illusion of form that is created when you are shading, using highlights, shadows, etc.

As a sketchbook warmup, I had students create themselves as if they were a lego character. We discussed how legos are three dimensional, they can be picked up, held, etc. So I told them to consider that as they were sketching (I didn’t want to see any flat lego people)! Students personalized them according to their physical features, character traits, interests, hobbies, etc.

I then showed students some examples of lego drawings. We talked about two different approaches to this. The first was for the students to construct a composition that was more structured and orderly. I then demonstrated how to set up a composition using two point perspective techniques to create realistic legos. The second option was for students to create a more hap hazard composition, where the legos were not lined up perfectly and were instead kind of thrown onto the surface. If they chose this, they did not need to use perspective techniques and could free hand the legos, as long as the legos were still three dimensional.

I felt that this project was challenging, but as the drawings were finished, I could tell my students were really proud of the hard work they had put into this. I also had them do an exit slip and nearly everyone was able to distinguish the difference between shape versus form, hooray!

Overall, I found this lesson to be really engaging- the students were definitely concentrated and focused throughout the entire time, and also rewarding- I was able to get my classes to identify shape vs. form, and they also ended up being very proud of themselves for completing this assignment!

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Blackout Poetry

Blackout Poetry is one of those lessons that I’ve always been intrigued by, but I’ve never tried it. I have some pretty cool classes this year and decided to give it a try. I must say, I really enjoyed this lesson. We began this as a sort of introduction to a Unit on Words and Art. Following this lesson, students created Altered Books (blog post on that to follow later on)!

I introduced my classes to the idea of Words and Art and we discussed how words can be used to further get the point across. I showed them examples of both Blackout Poetry and Blackout Poetry with Illustrations. They were required to create a poem or phrase of their choice and then come up with an illustration that fit their idea.

We incorporated a few different concepts into this including:

Emphasis: How can you emphasize your poem and make it stand out from the rest of the words? How can you emphasize your illustration?

Movement: Is your poem easy to read or is it jumbled and somewhat confusing?

Contrast: Is there a strong contrast between your illustrations and words versus the actual page of the book?

Etc.

I would love to hear some other examples and perhaps how this lesson has been taken a step further! Like I said, I used this as an introduction to a Unit on Words and Art. I am very pleased with these results!

 

Megan

 

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Ceramic Tripod Mugs

After the first project on Pinch Pots, the second project on Coil Building, the third project ended up being a Slab Building project. Tripods were refreshing to do, especially after coil building, since many of the students were tired after the tedious process of layering and slipping and scoring coils. They were so surprised how quickly they could create a simple cup form by using the slab methods!

They were introduced to the word “template” and asked to create an original design that they could create with a basic tripod base. Students used rolling pins to create their slabs. The second day, once clay was leather hard, students were able to shape their slabs into a cylindrical shape. Then, I instructed students to create a triangle shape with their two hands, and they push one side of the cylinder together. They created a triangular bottom, and as long as they did it evenly, the form was able to be flipped over and supported on its own.

I encouraged students to create extra coils to reinforce the bottom, and to also smooth out the inside. They then got to work in creating their original designs. I found that these were extremely successful and it also allowed the students to focus on their own designs and glazing, rather than creating the form itself!

Have you done something similar to this? What other templates have you used? I’d love to hear! 🙂 IMG_2608 IMG_2607 IMG_2606 IMG_2605

High School Tripod Mugs Ceramic Project
High School Tripod Mugs Ceramic Project

Ceramic Coil Pots

First off, super excited with how these turned out. Secondly, incredibly proud at how hard my high schoolers worked on these!

This was their second ceramic project. After just finishing up pinch pot techniques, I had them focus on coil building. I had them sketch out ideas of what they wanted to make. They learned about the coil building process, and I also introduced them to the Elements of Art and Principles of Design.

They had to create a coil pot form (we talked about the difference between shape and form) that include either geometric or organic shapes. One great advantage to doing this, besides them learning about the Elements and Principles, is that I felt it helped them relax a bit with the smoothness of their form.

This was their first time working with red clay, because I wanted to show them a different option besides the gray clay. I also used this project to discuss more glazes with them. In the first project, they only used underglaze and clear. Now, I introduced them to matte glazes versus glossy. I discussed jungle gems. I also talked about the Stroke & Coat glazes (if you haven’t used them, they are great)! They are like if an underglaze and a regular gloss glaze had a baby. They are true to color and shiny!

With almost all coil projects I’ve ever done, I felt like this project did take quite some time. However, the kids stuck with it and really created some good stuff!

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