Friday, May 29, 2015

Stepping Stones Installation & Reception

Camp STEM starts in 2 weeks and we are finalizing plans for displaying the works that these talented artists/scientists will be creating. 

Inspiration image from Over the Big Moon. Check them out for a full tutorial.

The installation and reception for the stepping stones we will make has been set for Saturday, June 20th at 10am at the Murfreesboro Community Garden. Come see our work, get involved, and meet the artists!

Plastic Bowl Flowers

Inevitably, no matter how well you plan your lessons, there will be unexpected extra times in class every now and then. This project was a quick filler for my 5-7 camp last summer.

My wonderful friend Quinton at Wish Upon a Paintbrush helped me out with this. It was the last day of camp and these kids were fast workers! So she brought in some plastic bowls and quickly took pictures of all the kids to print on plastic. 

They used techniques we learned in our Eric Carle lesson about working with tissue paper to create these wonderful window decorations. So happy to have dependable, creative friends around. ^_^

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

STEM Practice: Collographs

Collograph plate

Collograph print
The theme at Camp STEM's summer session for art projects is Recycled Art. I have a ton of ideas, and now I have to start making sure they will work! At home, I have paints and a roller, but no ink. 

The flowers above went okay, but I think that with real printing ink it will be better.
Here's a video of process, cat included. I'm actually impressed that he stayed to the perimeter instead of laying directly in the paint. Good boy.

I liked the flower, but I thought the white background was a bit boring. Next I tried adding a background by using a monoprint technique on a plastic bag. I found a great tutorial on Alisa Burke's website.  It's a pretty easy process and I think the kids will enjoy it.

Cardboard collograph plate

Collograph on monoprint background

Job Interview Season: Tips & Tricks

It's that stressful time of trying to find a new school for next year, and I feel pretty good about my organization and preparation for interviews. 

After I apply online to a school, I send the administration an introductory email with with links to this blog and my online portfolio. The blog is great for showing up-to-date images of my lessons and projects, while the portfolio handles those boring adult things like resumes and teaching philosophies. 

I would highly recommend setting up either a blog or a portfolio or both! Hiring administrators love to see that you are active in the art community, that you communicate to parents about student work, and that you know how to use technology. These things hit all of those points and (I think) they're a lot of fun to keep up with. I've had many positive comments about my online activity during interviews and would very much recommend it.

I also (if possible) go to the school ASAP to drop off a teaching portfolio. Like the green folder above, I use bright, attention-grabbing colors and label it with essential information. I print my labels onto "name tag" sheets so they are sticky and easy to apply. Inside the portfolio is a school-specific cover letter, resume, philosophy of teaching, license, transcripts, PRAXIS scores, and references. I no longer include examples of lessons or sample artworks, the call-back rate was not enough for that extra effort and I have seen no decline in the amount of call-backs I get since removing them. Those are best left to the Interview Portfolio. Check this guy out:

I'm using a large 3-ring binder with everything in page protectors. I also have tabs for each section. Go the extra mile and get the "pretty" tabs. I love these clear dividers with the rounded tabs. I also printed the titles instead of writing them for a few reasons: I do not have good handwriting, it's hard to center things just right the first time, I may want to use these tabs in multiple portfolios and printing allows me to do that easily, and just because it's so easy to do! Every tab set you buy comes with instructions on how to download the template and print them out, just do it!

I include sections like "Documentation", which has all of the same things the mini-portfolio has. I also have an "Awards" section for grants, awards, and PD like NAEA conferences and Tennessee Arts Academy participation. It's good to show you are active in the art-teaching community and always willing to learn!

I also have "Art Displays" as a tab. Luckily, I had kept up with photos of all of my displays and art shows. It is a pain to organize and to print in color, but again, just do it! It is the best way to show your future principal exactly what kind of displays you can offer their school!

I do include lessons (with color photos!) and student examples in the interview portfolio. Give them something they can touch and examine to better understand what you do! I also do not edit what I add here. It's a 3-ring binder, it's huge, and page protectors are cheap. I added every lesson plan I wrote up for last year's Frist Summer Camp and my entire middle school curriculum (just in case). Better to be over prepared, and I don't have to readjust my portfolio depending on what grade level I'm applying to teach.

If you can, also take an iPad with you to show off your website, blog, or online portfolio in person. I would recommend using your phone to set up a hot spot and connect your tablet prior to the interview. Most school wifi networks are password protected and you don't want to waste time or be awkward by asking for the password. 

I hope this helps, be great art teachers and go find yourselves a school!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Art Smarts 5-7 Frist Camp: Collographs

This camp was for students 5-7 years old. For many projects, we explored surrealism in these artworks to go along with the current exhibit. But others were just an exploration of techniques.

The first works are a combination of printing and painting. We discussed warm and cool colors and painted each half of our paper with one color scheme.

Then we made a collograph using foam shape stickers. We printed in black ink one way, then turned them the other way for a reflection. It wasn't until after we did this that I realized that the "reflections" wouldn't exactly line up. My example just happened to be symmetrical so I didn't noticed when I did mine! Still pretty though, right? We also used metallic pens to add details.

Art Smarts 5-7 Frist Camp: Styrofoam Prints

We also experimented with styrofoam prints. This was the first time I had done these, so I didn't know what to expect. After working in Art Quest and making 100 a day, I think I've got it now. ;)

Instead of using block printing ink, I thought it would be easier to use large ink pads. While it was easier, that doesn't mean it was best. I was worried that my 5 year olds wouldn't be able to handle ink and rollers, but now that I've seen a ton of kids do it in Art Quest, I am not scared to let them have at it. ^_^

Art Smarts 5-7 Frist Camp: Eric Carle Collages

These works are Eric Carle based projects. We used paint and foam rollers and sponges to create textured tissue paper. It is very thin and easy to break, but they are worth the effort. The campers could make any kind of real or imaginary animal out of shapes they cut from their papers.

...and some flowers too...

They could give them imaginary names too. This one is "Animacation Dog". He was very adamant about that name.

Some paper were too beautiful to destroy, we displayed them instead.

Art Smarts 5-7 Frist Camp: Tessellations

These are cut-paper tessellations based on Escher. I love the bold patterns these bright colors make.

The first week we did this camp, we made one tessellation from paper and traced it. The campers were supposed to find a picture in their tessellations to illustrate with colored pencils. This was too broad for some of the younger kids, but a few of these turned out really nice.

Art Smarts 5-7 Frist Camp: Magritte

For Magritte we used crayon resist to create cloudy paintings that we cut into shapes for animals, etc. and collaged onto painted backgrounds. Again, a bit too broad for some younger kids (what was I thinking when I set these goals?!)

Another camp instructor did the same project with her group, but she was more directed and gave them limited choices for their subject. I like hers much better and I will steal it for the future! Here are two works from her camp.

Art Smarts 5-7 Frist Camp: Miro

As a short project, we look at Miro's paintings and created similar works using Miroesque shapes. The "goal" was to use his shapes and primary colors, but how can you say no to a 5 year old who loves purple? At least they knew they weren't supposed to use it before they asked, that means they learned, right?

Art Smarts 5-7 Frist Camp: Paper Weaving

Paper weaving was one of my favorites, and it was a last-minute filler! We painted a sheet of paper and cut it into strips. Then we weaved it into bright paper. High success rate, individual looks, beautiful results!