Saturday, 21 September 2013

Art - Calendar Art Update #6

Hi everyone,

I haven't forgotten about the calendar art but it has been a very interesting week in my little corner of the world. Apart from a very busy time preparing my kiddies for their IB Learning Exhibition, I have had a mammoth task of catching up on mountains of writing conferences after being away ill last week. A lot of it is done late into the night with the use of student Google Drive accounts. While technology might make tasks easier and clearer, and open the walls of the classroom, it can also make for more of it and longer hours, late into the night for both students and teachers.

We spent a little bit of our time on our calendars, just to have a change from editing, conferencing and publishing, so here are a couple of progress photos for you to enjoy :)

 I love how each kiddie's personality is coming through :)

Thank you for visiting,

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Out of this world Art

School Art Shows
Recently I had the pleasure of being invited back to my previous school to view their biannual student art exhibit.

One class display stood out particularly as it was work from a Y4 class of 8-9 year old. I can't post any images out of respect for that teacher but suffice to say - it stopped people in their tracks. A2 sized spray painted galaxies.

However  I have found the motivation on Youtube and linked them in here for you. Simply too good not to share. I wish my year group were looking at the solar system so that I could try this. However that unit belongs to the year group below me so will see if they're brave enough to attempt it.
Otherwise it will be definitely on the agenda next year :) Enjoy the videos

Wow - right!?

Thank you for visiting,

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Art - School Calendar Time #5

Digital fun with photos

Oh dear the dreaded flu bug has struck and the doctor has booked me off til next week. I am itching to get back to our awesome artwork but that will simply have to wait now until Monday.

In the meantime I wanted to share a digital option for playing around with photo images. This was something we did for calendar art, 2 years ago. Here is a sample:

 The kiddies (Y4) went out and about the school and took photos of each other during one of our photography units (see links below). They were require to meet certain criteria and this resulted in great variety and creativity. The students uploaded their favourite image to a site called PICNIC which  no longer exists, for modification, finally saving to their desktop. They then overlaid this modified photo on a scan of tessellating patterns that they had created in Maths.

But luckily there are many other free sites for photo editing and this year I had a play with beFunky to achieve the washed-out look for the portraits. Click the image for the link.

Here are my samples with 3 different options.
Charcoal option

Cartoonizer option

Sketcher option

As you can see, they all remove the detail and you can control the extent of that too. For kiddies who find it difficult to ignore the detail and only select the main elements from their photo, this option may help them even more that the photocopier option.
The new image can be saved to your desktop for printing.

In the meantime I have continued with the patterns on my teacher model. Here is a peek:

Links to the Digital Photography Teaching Unit referred to in this post are below.
Internationally available at:
and in New Zealand:

Have a great week everybody :)

Thank you for visiting,

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Art - School calendar time #4

Referencing the Artist Model
After years of creating School Calendar Art with my classes, a few years ago I went on to creating the art on A3 paper as opposed to the paper provided by the company - which is tiny. This was because the calendar is something that parents pay money to buy and sometimes they buy several copies for grandparents etc. They hang up on display for a year so I felt they needed to be of good quality. Working on A3 also meant that students then had the artwork to keep as well.

I scan the finished work in on our school copier and email the folder to the company. It sure saved them a lot of time too. But you need to carefully label each PDF so that there is no confusion on the other end. And of course only email the ordered artwork, not the whole class. As I already scan the work anyway, to share with parents on line before they order, this is not a big deal.

Now moving on to day 4.
With the students, we viewed examples of Eden's work and then began testing and experimenting with these on the back of the photocopy print, in pencil.

Kids never cease to amaze me with their risk taking and creativity. I felt they did a great job.

Next I asked them to start playing with colours, while I called them to dye is the under-colour for large sections of their good copy. We started with dying the skin.

Here are some photos of dye work on my Teacher Model:

I think you'll agree - they look promising so far :) The students were also asked to locate a motto or quote that they strongly relate to. I asked them to research font styles and play with variations of how they would represent their motto on their picture. They have really come up with some gems.
On the other hand I am still waiting for my daughter to give me one to insert into my teacher model. Ha ha - teacher's kids hey :)

As the students resolved their patterns on their draft (photo print) they transfer these over to their good copy. We also talked about how they could show the 'magic' or 'energy' that exudes from their prop.

Hopefully we can move onto the marker patterns next.

Thank you for stopping by. I hope you are getting lots of ideas for teaching art within your classes too.

Thank you for visiting,

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Art - School Calendar Time #3

Time to Start

Today the students received their photo prints. After I took them through the teacher model, they started their 'Sharpie' work. The Sharpie or Vivid is the brand name for the black markers that we use in New Zealand.
The students drew the main outlines for the elements in the photos

They were excited by the images appearing on the back.
Once all the elements had been inked in, we made our way to an empty classroom where we taped the photos up onto the windows white side facing in. Then we taped our wet grade cartridge over our photo and traced our image through. This was to replicate a light table.

Loved seeing this group of mostly 10 year old boys all totally focused on the task, just had to take the photo  :)
Tomorrow we will start designing our patterns based on Eden's body of work so please pop back again.

Thank you for visiting,

Monday, 9 September 2013

Art - School Calendar Time #2

Welcome students :)

So today it was the students turn. First we reviewed the principals in my Digital photography unit to help them think about composing their pictures.
(I had previously taught the unit when both the students and I were in Y4 - 2 years ago)

Next they went outside in pairs with an iPad and took photos of each other. Once I downloaded these and deleted the unusable shots, they made their final choices.
I love the variety. They had a mandate to use one prop and to tell a story about themselves through their pose. Some students went through home photos which they emailed in - like the student on his dirt bike.
I printed them off as described in my previous post.

Awesome group I thought. Tomorrow we will start inking in the outlines :) Be sure to check back again!

Thank you for visiting,

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Art - School Calendar Time

We started a new art unit this week:

The tricky thing with teaching in the final year  of primary, is that these students have 'been there, done that' at some point through their previous 5 years of schooling and as Y6 teachers, we always needs to be inventing new ways, new ideas and fresh approaches.  This was the case with our approach to the annual school calendar art this week.

Each year we create artwork with every student in the school, which is then scanned and inserted into a calendar for the following year. This is one way our school carries out valuable fundraising.

I usually look for artist models that speak to me at the time and explore this with the students. Pinterest is a great place to start. Here is a link to my art ideas board which you are welcome to follow :).
That is where I came across this inspirational lady.

Eden Gasior writes a blog  called Draw, Doodle, Decorate. Her blog is filled with many of her amasing creations for you to explore. My students were truly gobsmacked.

So I started an exploratory teacher model of my ideas and worked on it a little bit each day. One by one they all got drawn in. I started with this early morning photo of my baby girl, before she left for school.

I printed it in greyscale, then enlarged it to A3 but lightened up the density to  eliminate the finer details.
Then I drew the main outlines on the printed side with a black marker. This was the result on the back, when turned over.
I wanted to show the flow of music so I googled some images of music notes on guitars to inspire this part.

Next I reverse-taped the print to a classroom window and covered it with wet grade cartridge paper. I traced the main elements that I wanted, through with an art pencil.
I am using the reverse of the print as my draft to try out doodle patterns before I use them on my good copy.

Lets see how the kiddies go with theirs, tomorrow :)

Thank you for visiting,

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Teaching Digital Photography

Art Options Day

Over the last 4 years I have organised an Art Options Day each year for our Year 4 team during our Inquiry - How We Express Ourselves.

The Central Idea: People use many different forms of expression to convey their uniqueness as human beings.   
Lines Of Inquiry (with focus key concepts)
The diverse ways in which artists express themselves (form).
How people become artists (change).
How we can express our uniqueness through the Arts (perspective).

This has always been one of my favourite Transdisciplinary Themes for IB, and this unit in particular. It has lead to the development of many of my art units available at TPT and TNB.

The organisation for Art Options Day always starts weeks earlier. I would implore the parent body to offer up their time and skills, for a day, to run 4 mini workshop of an hour each, for up to 8 students at a time. The 3 teachers in my planning team would also run workshops.

Usually we would end up with up to 12 options on offer, ranging from pebble painting to digital animation, flax weaving to carpentry. We have had some great workshops over the years. The kids get to rank their wish-list from 1-12 (1 being their first choice). Once all the wish-lists are in, I spend 2-3 days putting them into options and trying to ensure that they all got most of what they asked for. I also had to consider any unfavourable student combinations, brief parents, organise art resources and materials, book out work spaces around the school, oversee set up and pack up, and run my own workshops on the day. Phew!

This is a big job but a massive highlight for the students. One student told me last year that with each theme we worked through,  he would think "that was my favourite inquiry", but each time, the next one would trump it! Yay :) Job done!
This resource cover was created by my very talented daughter when she was 12. She is now 18 and an artist in her own right. I just love this self-portrait! Her art can be Googled under JessLouiseArt.

In my first year I ran a workshop for - Build your own digital avatar - being the Digital Classroom teacher for the year group. Most of the material for that came from the inspirational Jacqui Sharp.
Then for 2 years I ran Van Gogh's Sunflowers (Which I am yet to write up into a lesson plan (watch this space), and for one year I ran a Digital Photography Workshop.

The Digital Photography was an interesting one because during the Art Day of the previous year, I had a parent (photographer) offer to run this workshop and he did - but with mixed results. The students had fun playing with manual settings but didn't come back with any usable photographs at the end of their hour. Mostly blurred or random shots.

So, after much research, I wrote up an Art Unit to ensure that the kiddies got the best aspect of this workshop. It was so successful that I have also since run it as a self exploratory unit for small groups within my own class on a weekly basis, for an eight week stint.

Each week they take an aspect of the unit and explore this in pairs. We used to pool the digital cameras from our team for this so that a group of 6 would be out on a photographic walk at a time.

Now a days, we can also use the iPads for most of it.

This 46 page resource covers 7 aspects of digital photography. Each aspect has two teacher lesson slides, then a student challenge, followed by student exemplars.  Once you run this a couple of times, you can collect your own bank of student exemplars. The photos in this resource were mainly taken by students aged 8-9 but the unit can be leveled up or down.

You can get yourself a copy now from my TPT and TNB stores (links below).

Thank you for visiting,