This afternoon, I had the honor of being invited to the 5th Annual Education Luncheon to celebrate the artistic partnerships through the Woodruff Arts Center and Atlanta Public Schools. As I listened to the positive impact with just ONE art-rich experience for at-risk students, I began to reflect on my first student tour of the High Museum.
There was magic at Alcova Elementary. The school was a perfect combination between eccentric teacher personalities and an energetic young community in Dacula, Georgia. It was the first school that captured my heart. I worked with them for seven years and NEVER taught the same project twice. We changed light blubs in the ceiling to create black art light, explored digital photography, and worked in collaborative groups to design surfboards. I wanted to change the students’ experiences and show them the fun of art! In my last year, I wanted to challenge myself! ArtAccess, a free program for Title I school to visit the High Museum became my next hurdle.
If you know anything about Gwinnett County Schools, they build MASSIVE schools! Alcova at my highest enrollment has nearly 1,300 students. So applying for the free museum trip proposed a logistical problem with each grade level having more than the two hundred-student cap. I filled out two separate applications for half of my second grade team one day and then the other half the following day. I made color-coded nametags and divided students into groups with teachers and chaperons. I designed a shirt for our students to be identical for safety. I created an activity extension mini-sketchbook, so students could connect their learning to social studies and writing. I scheduled buses, organized lunches, and was NERVOUS about taking 235 students to Atlanta, nearly 27 miles away from home!!! The first day arrived and with a small bus delay, we missed our check-in by thirty minutes, but the staff was amazing. The kids were set-up with individual guided tours and lunch on the lawn. And day two was smooth sailing!
Looking back on the stress of this field trip was nothing compared to the smiles from our two-day journey! Allowing my students to see a slice of art life outside of the art room of Alcova Elementary was remarkable as an observer. The smiles, laughter, and sleeping children on the way home, STILL warms my heart today! These amazingly creative students would be in 7th grade and I hope they remember the awesome adventure to the High as Alcova "Goes West"!
Art is a powerful medium! I was so grateful to hear powerful woman like Dr. Meria Carstarphen and Ann Cramer attest the power of arts have on the heart! And so fortunate, I get a first hand view in my classroom everyday!!! Thank you the Woodruff Arts Center for being partners in art education and supporting me and my students during my 14 year career!
As February draws to an end, I was reflecting on the amazing event celebrating wellness, literacy, and art! Our first LOVE Garden Hills event was hosted on one of the coldest days in February, but was thankfully all in doors. Families had an opportunity to explore the wellness center in the media center with local doctors, yoga specialist, and massage therapist. Teachers volunteered with art making stations, literacy games, and self-stations. And lastly, in the gym we had two guest readers to entertain us while gazing at the tremendous art show with 524 masterpieces on display. The theme of LOVE was evident with the smiling faces of both students and parents. Check out the pictures from the amazing night!!!
We are excited to host the first annual LOVE Garden Hills event on Tuesday, February 12th from 6 to 8! Coach Johnson, the literacy committee, and myself are each presenting activities and fun for the whole family that celebrates the LOVE of art, the LOVE of health, and the LOVE of literacy.
Families will have an opportunity to travel in the gymnasium, the art room, the focus room, the media center, and the third grade hallway exploring art, literacy, and health! Come chat with local doctors to explore healthy cooking alternatives for kids while sampling a kale salad from our local garden with Food Corps. Head into classrooms and make Valentine's Day cards, string beads for a necklace, or experiment with wooden sculpture with hammer and yarn! North Atlanta High School students will have 30 portraits on display along with our students' art work! Every Garden Hill's artists will have one picture on display with the help of Artome (a framing company and art fundraiser).
Check out the invitation or contact Dr. Erickson for more information!
We had nearly 350 students enter the Race to Read Bookmark contest and the winners were selected Wednesday by our Media Center expert, Mr. Jolly. Thank you to everyone's hard work and congratulations to the winners: Reese (PK), Mateo (K), Tatum (1), Amirah (2), KayLeigh (3), Mia (4), and Ava (5). The bookmarks will be printed in January so be on the look out for these Garden Hills collectables!
I am super excited to collaborate with Mr. Jolly and the new Race 2 Read initiative. The goal for Atlanta Public Schools is to collective read for 2 million minutes, which is 20 minutes a day! We can totally reach our goal Garden Hills! And to create even more excitement, I thought a friendly art competion for a bookmark design would be fun. Check out the link below for PDF design form. CLICK HERE!!!
For more information about Race 2 Read, check out the video from Dr. Carstarphen.
The submissions for the bookmark competition are due December 14th! Good luck creating and making something special to share with our reading community!
It has been an amazing start to our awesome 2018-2019 school year and my 14th year of teaching (second at Garden Hills)! Our students are settling into new routines and new behavior plan in the art room. Today Ms. Carlson's 4th grade class was recognized with an "I See IB" award for earning the most flowers in the school. Every art class, students are recognized for being amazing artist, following directions, being nice and kind, keeping their space clean, staying focused on art task, and completing assignments by the deadline. Check out Ms. Carlson's tweet about their win today! The flowers are a great way to recognize positive behaviors. Mr. Willougby's 2nd grade class is just four flowers behind in second place! I will keep you posted on each class' progress.
We have been busy artists. All students, from Pre-Kindergarten to 5th grade, constructed sketchbooks. As artists, we track our learning with drawings and notes. The sketchbooks keep us organized throughout the year and is a great reflection tool at the end of the year. After we made our sketchbooks, we all began different units inspired by the dream theme. Pre-Kindergarten, Kindergarten, and 1st grade are all exploring paint in different ways. They are finishing their projects this week, and OMG they are sooooo cute! 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grade are working on illustrations inspired by surreal artists, and 5th grade is starting surreal paper mache sculptures. Students are thinking about their art supplies super sized! I can't wait to share pictures of these amazing creations! Sneak peak below!
Calling all artist!!!! If you are interested in making art at home, check out this opportunity from our Superintendent, Dr. Meria Carstarphen. She is asking students to decorate a holiday card. It is still steamy and humid, but put on some holiday music, channel your inner snowman, and design a card! CLICK THIS LINK for the rules and information!
I can't tell you HOW amazed I am with the 5th graders self-portraits. It was an extreme leap for students to jump into a realistic subject, but they were eager to learn and excited to see their work on display! Students used small mirrors to study each feature and proportions of their face. Starting with pencil with a sketch, they outlined details with sharpie and then added pops of color with CRAYOLA class pack of washable markers.
In the kindergarten general education class, students were learning about times of day and the complexity of the solar system. We decided in art to tag along with these themes and create a paper plate weaving inspired by day and night!
Students compared colors to different times of day and we noticed that they were equally divided on the color wheel, just like hot and cool colors. After the color study, students initially painted the paper plate using tempera cakes. These amazing low cost material are a staple in my classroom for little hands learning how to paint. If a student accidentally mix paints, they wash clean with one pass under the sink. I can use one tempera cake almost a FULL school year for nearly 200 students! I buy the cakes individually without the plastic organization bin. I've used styrofoam trays, left over microwavable meal plastic trays, or even a simple plastic picnic plate to keep the paint on. If I am using them for a long duration, two or three weeks, the plates slide perfectly on my drying rack! They store perfectly and again a GREAT way to teach little people about painting. Check out Blick for tempera cakes!
On the next return to art, students began to learn the terms warp and loom in relation to their paper plate weaving. After a student mastered the over-under technique, I would get them to teach or assist struggling students. With fall holiday interrupting our weaving flow, we worked on the yarn for three weeks! The development of fine motor skills is important with Elementary age students. The dexterity of their hands is important to handwriting and their spacial and visual reasoning.
The final addition to the weaving was a sharpie face depicting day and night! Check out these awesome works of art from our Kindergarten artists! We used the plates on our nonfunctioning school clocks, which will be fixed in February!
Art Room Blog