Monthly Archives: March 2008

Spring break

Since it’s spring break and I’m out of town visiting colleges and art museums, I thought I’d post a few links to recent articles where art education is in the news.
Here you go!

The State of the Arts
We know this, now let’s DO it!

Coloring Outside Curriculum Lines To Depict the Drop in Arts Education

Learning, Arts, and the Brain

Educators Should Embrace Standards for Assessing the Arts
(not sure about this one- California has standards- and LBUSD still doesn’t have an art program for elementary. What is the point of having standards if you can choose to ignore them?)

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up to my elbows in 4th graders

Penny and I had planned out a new lesson for printmaking on Sunday that involved cutting out stencils from overhead projector sheets and printing several “screens” to give the kids a little understanding of graphic screenprinting.

When Penny called me Monday morning to announce she had succombed to the flu I rearranged the lesson in my head so I could manage it alone. Off to Home Depot before class to purchase some small foam paint rollers (about $2 each), grabbed some cover stock (for stencils in case I couldn’t get overhead sheet projector sheets in the supply room) and an exacto blade.

The class had a jog-a-thon out on the playground that brought them into class a little late but that gave me the time I needed to set up and get prepped.

Set Up
my set up: tempera paint, projector sheets, paint rollers, scissors, paper
and cafeteria trays to ink the rollers.

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-made a quickie sample stencil and printed it in two colors to give the kids
an idea of what they would be doing and how overlapping the colors
produces a third color
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here I used some design markers to draw and color in a sample stencil
in the first color

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on a second projector sheet I drew out another design
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-and finally a third. I showed the class they could arrange the stencils any
way they wanted using three different colors. the areas to be cut out are
colored in here to illustrate what happens when you overlap the stencils.
They were told to draw out a simple design/shape and after I cut a slit in the plastic
with the exacto they cut out their design with scissors. At this point Gail showed up
(one of the moms from the class) to help out. Lucky me!!
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some kids insisted on drawing out very involved or picture like designs
only to discover that they wouldn’t work as stencils…back to the drawing board for them!
Fortunately, you can just wipe off the design and start over. This student discovered that
big and bold worked best.
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they came to the print table in the back of the room in threes and each
student started with printing their own screen first in the color of their choice.
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printing their screen stencils as many times as they wanted across the
page in the first color.
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next, they traded stencils and colors within the group. after using all three
stencils and colors it was time to bring up the next group.
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prints drying in the hall

If I had more time, it would be ideal to give each student 3 projector sheets
and do a more planned out overlay individually. This gave them the basic idea
though and they really loved changing the stencils and seeing what happened
when they overprinted certain areas. They would happily do this project again.
Not sure how much projector sheets cost but they come in boxes of 100- one box
should do it for a class of 30.

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Portraits finished

Today we finished the portraits that were started in the workshop at the Long Beach Museum of Art. The kids wrote a few lines about their piece, or the field trip and gave their portrait a title. We mounted them and hung them in the hall. I think the kids were very satisfied with the outcomes of their pieces. They all enjoyed working with the oil pastels which can give very intense and vivid colors in comparison to crayons which they have used more regularly. A bit messier but worth it. I always enjoy reading what kids write about their art. Often it can be very surprising and enlightening!

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some were self portraits and some were portraits of others..
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some were realistic, some abstract, and some more cartoon-like
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the oil pastels here are very solid and vivid
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a more mono chromatic approach- this student must have an older sibling at the local HS- there are Poly High’s
colors and he incised the word poly into the pastels
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this was entitled “The Good Field Trip”

They also wrote a brief statement to go with their mono prints from last week. I am mounting them for display as well.
I’ll share a few of them next time.

We are planning on having a gallery show for the students at the local library in June if all goes well. We’ll have an opening and invite the parents, friends and families.

Hope to get a new post up over at Shibori Girl. Working on new things and not enough time for everything!

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Museum Trip!

There was a last minute cancellation by another school and we were able to pull together the trip to the Long Beach Museum of Art to see the current show “About Face”, and exhibit featuring portraits by California artists.

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we walked about 12 blocks to meet a public bus

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we pre-purchased bus tickets to avoid handling money on the bus- .90 each way

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The kids really enjoyed the bus ride! It was a bit of a challenge to keep them in line though-
they were just having too much fun!

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The other passengers on the bus were surprised to see us get on board with 30 kids but I think they enjoyed
the experience as well!

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Off the bus and now a several block walk to the museum.

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Yes, we live at the beach here. That is the Queen Mary in the background behind the palm trees.
We were treated with a beautiful day and about 75 degrees.

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Established in 1885 with fewer than a dozen students meeting in a borrowed tent, LBUSD now educates nearly 90,000 students in 93 public schools in the cities of Long Beach, Lakewood, Signal Hill, and Avalon on Catalina Island. The third largest school district in California, it serves the most diverse large city in the United States, with dozens of different languages spoken by local students. The district employs more than 8,000 people, making it the largest employer in Long Beach. ( but no art program in any of it’s 50 elementary schools)
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Here we are in the museum lobby going over rules for visiting a museum.
We knew all the right answers and the docents were surprised at how much our students knew!
They wondered if we had an art program at our school. They told us that most of the other classes they take through
were not as well versed as we were. I guess it must be sinking in.
No photography in the museum but the kids had a great time and enjoyed seeing the artwork up close and personal.

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After the exhibit, we were treated to a hands on workshop on portraiture.
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Using pastels, we drew a portrait and laid out the basic features.

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working…..

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Coloring in our portraits

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Some finished their portraits and some we will finish up on Monday in class.
The bus ride home was equally exciting! I think they liked the bus ride as much as the museum!
All in all- a good day! We arrived back at school in time for lunch, in one piece and all accounted for!

Thank you Long Beach Museum of Art!

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Mundo Lindo- beautiful world

Jane LaFazio in San Diego creates and teaches art to children through her program Mundo Lindo, free weekly 2-hour creative classes for fourth and fifth grade children in the low-income population of Escondido.

Her blog details the weekly classes and is an inspiration to me as she is also a full time artist in the textile fiber world. Go look at some of the things she is doing with kids and then jump to her personal website and blog for a peek at her own work. I came across her through the newly formed yahoo group for online teachers (sorry-invites only) but she also teaches online classes.

Well today is an exciting day here! We just found out we can take the kids to the museum! The bad news is that it’s THIS Friday! So we’re scrambling to get everything in order. The museum had a cancellation and we need to get the MTA stuff together for the ride on the public bus. Should be fun.

Yesterday was Monday and we did more printmaking. This time we did monoprints by floating oil based inks on water and printing onto heavy watercolor paper. The kids thought it was magic. While waiting their turn with me at the back table, Penny kept them busy making monoprints at their desks. We taped an overhead projector sheet to a piece of newspaper and had them paint onto it using tempera paints. They then pulled several prints from the design and kept repeating until the class ended.

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just for fun….

I thought I’d add a video slideshow done last year since there are so many new visits to this blog-you may not have seen it back then before I gave this topic it’s own site.

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