Saturday, August 23, 2014

We've Crossed Over...And There's No Going Back!

        I made the jump, I took the leap...I switched to a Choice-Based classroom. We're only 3 weeks in but I can say...there is NO GOING BACK!
It was very scary for me, and took me some time to wrap my head around all the changes that I had to make. I also had to figure out how to make it work since I was not going to do a full choice-based setting with my Art 1 class. My Art 1 kids come to me having never had an art class and have no foundation. So I made the choice to do a modified choice with my Art 1 and full choice with my Art 2, 3, and 4. I can say that just with the first couple of projects I am super excited to see what they are coming up with.
I had the Art 2 classes come up with a list of 15 different Themes. Then the classes voted on what theme they wanted to do first. I knew that they all had a working knowledge of drawing and sculpture. So the first two centers that are open for this theme is the Drawing Center and the 3D Sculpture Center. The theme that they picked was Vintage. Here is what they are working on:
First project was a 3D Name sculpture.
 Each student used foam board, the letters of their name, and the Elements and Principles of Art to create their sculpture. This is a great project for the students to review some of the skills that they used in Art 1.

For the Vintage themed project I have one that made a paper doll and is now designing her vintage clothes. She even made the baby doll today haha! Funny enough this student has never had a paper doll or really knew what they were LOL...I felt old!!!

Another is working on a Zentangle designed vintage record player. 

Now this may not look like a project but it's the beginning of what will be the backdrop for a vintage King Kong and Godzilla sculpture. It's going to have a 3D sculpture of the Empire State building and the student is going to draw Godzilla and King Kong on poster board with a cityscape and skyline in the background. I also foresee a short video when she is done :)

This is by far one of my favorites and I can't wait to see it when it's all done! 
Pop Art style, old school Chuck Taylor in paper-mache.

To give you some idea of the scale! haha Love it!

   These are just a few of the projects there are all working on something different and I have to say it's been fun!

Now I also have a couple of Art 3 students. They don't have to stick to the Theme. It's no holds barred.
I have to say that I was very impressed with what one of my students came in wanting to do. I asked her what she wanted to do for a project and her reply, "I want to build a city!" She comes back the next day with a sketching showing me an amazing rough draft of a city with all these different sections.
She's going to use all types of materials, and its going to have a city, suburb area, forest, seaport, mountain area, a lighthouse, castle, and even a tunnel. She's going to be painting, collaging, making 3D sculptures, and we've even busted out the Spray Foam!!

Using Spay Foam to make her mountain cliff area...See her tunnel in there?? 
Oh yeah, it's big! It's 4ft x 4ft

This is also the kid who when I asked her what she did over the summer and if she made any art brings these in to show me:
I showed a video in art class on spray paint street art. 
Over the summer she watched some Youtube videos and taught herself how to create these amazing spray paint artworks. 

To say that I was Amazed and awed is an understatement...oh and kind of felt like a proud parent haha!

And to top off all of the amazingness...she tells me she made me one!
She even made her own stencil to make the unicorns. I was so proud of her and love my new artwork!!!

So I've got a new Exit Ticket board. Each of my Art 2 and 3 students are required to post an exit ticket each day as a way to communicate to me what they worked on, what they learned, what they have questions about, and what additional help they need from me. So far it's working good. I did make each ticket worth a point.

Here's another Art 3 student working on a Picasso inspired button project.

I was super excited to find out that I won the Gelliarts give away. One of the soon to be opened centers in my classroom is going to be the Printing Center and I love all of the ways that you can use the Gelli Arts Printing Plate. I enter contest all the time but never win and then out of the blue I get an email saying that I won!!! Yay!!! Then they wanted to know a little about me, if I had a blog, and how I planned to use the plates. I emailed them back and told them about my classroom, the change to Choice-Based and my blog. This is what they posted on their Facebook page. I had over 150 hits that day on my blog. 

So now I'm waiting on my package to show up so I can start playing with all these awesome things!!!
Check out the Amazing Gelli Art blog here for all types of projects, videos, and beautiful inspirations.
You can get your own Gelli Printing plate Here (this is not a sponsored ad...just showing some love!)

So lots of changes to the art room and one of the best has to be that this baby is up and running! The Clay Center will be opening soon!!! And I know how blessed I am to have a kiln room with storage for clay in progress, and claying waiting to be fired. It's a dream art classroom!!!

So far a good first couple of weeks of school, everyone seems to be liking the art room changes, and only one more week till we get our long Labor Day Weekend. 

I will post a more soon since this has been all about school and I have been up to more then just work. 

~Till Next Time :) 

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The Choice To Go Choice-Based

“If you get 25 of the same thing from students, it's not a project, it's a recipe.”
     So I read the above quote over on one of my favorite art blogs  and it seriously messed with made me stop and go, "Oh WOW!...Geezz (hand-smack to face)." 
Seriously this blog, the teachers, and the projects blow my mind. I will admit that a dream of mine would be to spend a week just hanging out with Ian Sands and observe him in his classroom. 
     But anyway back to what this post is really about... I'm trying to wrap my head around a teaching concept called TAB: Teaching for Artistic Behavior; otherwise known as Choice-based art education. TAB classrooms treats students as artists and allows the students to decide what kind of art they want to make based on their interests and their own ideas. Most TAB teachers have their rooms set up with centers for different materials that students can use freely to create their artwork. 

     I experimented a little with this the last few weeks of school when the seniors left and I had smaller classes. I let my students pick their projects and medium and I was beyond surprised at what they completed. Here are just are just a few of what they created when I just let them loose:

     Now I'm reading books and trying to figure all this out for the new school year. I read this great article if you're interested in checking it out
     I know that I need to rearrange my classroom and figure out how I'm going to tackle things like grading and lesson plans. So for now I'm researching, reading, pinning, and planning while trying to wrap my head around all of this and how it will all play out in my classroom.  But I feel that I have to move into this direction and start teaching my kids how to be artists and not just produce "art recipes" that I assign them.  I'm a little freaked out about all the changes, releasing control, things failing terribly, looking like I don't know what I'm doing to my students, and just the extra work I know I will have to do initially. But I'm also looking forward to this new adventure, pushing myself to be a better teacher, providing an environment that fosters creativity in all students, and  helping to create students that are better artist...I mean, really isn't that what its all about anyway??

~Till Next Time :)

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Enjoying My Summer Break With Some DIY

     I may have mentioned previously that I was moving. It's not a big move by any means, just next door. I moved out of my tiny trailer to the cottage my parents were living in till they got their house done. Its like twice the size of my old place. Now it didn't have a kitchen and needed some fixing up. So since I am giving my passport a rest this summer (first time in 8 years I haven't left the country) I thought this would be the perfect time to do some DIY and Pinterest projects. The first project was to build a cabinet and some open shelves for the kitchenette I wanted to add. 
I had some help from my Awesome Dad to install the heavy countertop. Now I know that many of you think your Dad is awesome but well...mine is not only Awesome but I'm pretty sure he can do anything! 

So I built simple open shelves for the bottom cabinets. In this picture you can see that I still need to get my sink drains and water hooked up. I also decided that I wanted to go with open shelves instead of cabinets. I love how they turned out! I was even more excited that all of this was very cheap since my Dad donated the wood for the bottom cabinets and I got the shelves and brackets all on sale. I found the brackets for the shelves at Target on clearance and got them for around $1 each!! A little white spray paint and Wow! I love how all the colors of my dishes really POP on the white open shelves. Makes me Smile :)

I also got this cube storage on Sale at Target and it fit perfect under my counter. I added some cute colored scrap paper to the backs and some baskets and Love the outcome! 
The baskets are from Wal-Mart and the cute tins are from Tuesday Morning 

Now my kitchen area is really small and I wanted to find a small kitchen cart/island for it. I looked at a lot of them online and most were running somewhere between $150-200. So then I looked through Pinterest to see what ideas I would come across. There were some cute ideas but I hit gold when me and my friend Sammie went shopping at Treasure Hunts in MS. and found this great little treasure.
This is a cart that Target sells for $149 and I got for just $39!!

Now I wasn't a fan of the color or the hardware but I loved that it offered a great spine to build on.
So I used the vaseline method to distress the cart, some spray paint, some washi tape, and some old antique pulls I had for the drawer and door hardware. Love the completed project!

I was also able to snag this awesome orange stool at Garden Ridge for only $20 and super happy with my little island and breakfast spot!

Here are some other pictures of little things around my new cozy little cottage:
Love this sign to go by my coffee pot!

My coffee mug pallet shelf that one of my students made for me in shop class. Love how it displays my mug collection...well some of my collection haha!

An old clock that I decided needed a little bit of a facelift

Working on a gallery wall above my bed...its not done yet, and Yes, that is a Unicorn above my bed, and Yep, I sleep just fine :)

Still got a lot left to get done and I'm sure I will be posting more soon. This was all I had pics of right now. I'm pretty excited to get my wall done with all of my art that I have picked up on my travels. I'm doing a travel gallery wall and using this quote to go with all the beautiful paintings and art that I've collected. 
Love this quote!!!

It's always one of my favorite things to do is buy art from the local street artists. One of my favorite is from my trip to China and I bought it while walking the Great Wall. I even got to watch the artist finish painting it and that made it even more special to me to watch her create art right in front of me while I was taking in all the was around me. Just one of the many reasons I love to travel!!!


~Till Next Time 

Friday, May 30, 2014

Hello Summer!!!

     Well, I wrapped up another year and looks like that good old summer break has finally arrived...I'm still not feeling it. A friend told me that it would sink in once I sunk into my bed and didn't have to wake up to an alarm...well did that this morning and all it did was screw me up and make me think it was Sat. 
Anyways...this summer is a little bitter sweet. I was so happy for the break (I mean really what teacher isn't counting down the days!?!) but knowing that this would be the first summer in 8 years that I have not traveled at all...well that was a hard blow! I'm trying to be mature. I know, I know.... Yes, me the girl that wore a Magical Unicorn Mask the last day of school has a mature bone. Well, its a very small one but hey give me a break... I'm trying to use it. I decided that I would not travel this year and focus on paying some of the bills that I have managed to run up living the "Life."

     So I will be chilling around the house this summer, maybe trying to finish some unfinished projects, work on my little cottage and do some fun cheap stuff. Maybe I'll get back to blogging and working on my One Little Word...I don't know? I do know that I am going to enjoy that fact that when its summer I don't know the day or the time for the most part and the actual date is really reaching. I don't eat and pee based on a bell, and lesson plans are things I pin about! 
So I hope that you are enjoying what we teachers call summer freedom and embrace the summer full force...I know I plan to, even if I won't be getting a stamp in my passport :(
Here are a few of my Fav summer laughs

~Till Next Time

Sunday, March 23, 2014

What I've Been Up To

   So I haven't really felt like blogging lately...I haven't really felt like journaling, picture taking, or working in my Smash Book. I feel like I'm in a bit of a slump. But the best way to get out of a slump is just get out by doing it.
 But I have been doing good at getting in my gym time and I'm making A's in my pottery class, so I guess there that. haha!

Our first project was to do a Slab Tile Puzzle 

Here it is finished. 

Next we had to create a rattle that we would burnish instead of glazing. We had to have some areas that were carved out and then use a smooth river stone to burnish it. We are going to fire it in the kiln once on a low fire then fire it in a outdoor fire pit with paper, cow manure, and hair to give it a pretty shiny black look.
Here is what it looks like right now unfired with just the top of him burnished so far.

This is the whole back burnished.

This was the inspiration. One of my students did this for their grid project and I thought it was a cat. Come to find out after I made my rattle I showed a picture to my kid and she was like, "Ms Latham...he's not a cat!" Seems he's some type of cross between a cat and a raccoon or something. Anyway, while I was working on it my pottery teacher was giving me a hard time about it, he likes to give me a hard time since I'm an art teacher taking his class (it's all in good fun), and so I named him Mr Johnson :) 

We just finished up our first 9 weeks. I can't believe how fast this school year is going by. I do have to say that I am counting down till the summer break. 
So I decided to add a little "something" to my exam 
Here was me and my lil friend wishing them luck.
Someone thought he was cute! haha
Here is my half way point...Mr. Bingley cheering them on. 

haha!!! So there was an arrow with the words "Invisible Leprechaun." Haha...some of my students decided to make him visible.
 These cracked me up!!

 I've been working on getting everything together for our Arts Fest which will be May 8th. A student and I worked together to create the image below to use to create flyers, postcards, and t-shirts for the Arts Fest. It's going to be an art show and spring concert put on by our kids. I'm pretty excited about it. I'm trying to have some interactive art display, an art make and take, we will be selling concessions, possible selling some artwork, raising money for Convent House by selling Houses of Hope, and then enjoying a band concert by the SPHS band. I think it's going to be a great night for our school and community!

Work has been going good. I have to say that this has been my best semester for me. Every semester is different just like every class and student is so different. I have had more creative classes, and smaller classes, but this year my attitude is different and that is making the biggest difference!! I have really been working on making sure that my priorities are in the right place, that I'm using my planning period more productive, and I'm learning that I can't do everything and I'm more productive if I choose to focus on just a few things then try and divide my time and energy across a lot of different things. I'm not as stressed and so I'm enjoying teaching and the job more. I have made myself leave the grading at home, not do lesson plans on the weekend, and not overload my plate. I have been making sure that I'm going to the gym and taking time for me, and yes this all is helping me to be a better teacher. I think that we are better teachers when we like what we do, when our students think we are happy to be there, and when we are not spread so thin that we are meeting ourselves coming and going. 

As a part of my word Flourish I've really been working on being healthier and I've been doing a few things to do that. 
I've been going to the gym at least 3 times a week, I've been using my Mom's dehydrator to make my own fruit snacks, and I'm about to join my cousin and some friends for the AdvoCare 24 Day Challenge. I'm doing it more as a cleanse and hoping to maybe lose a few pounds in the process. 

Hope that you all have a very Happy Week!!!

~Till Next Time