Last week I asked students to use the following websites to edit one of their photos. It was fun to see how one image could be manipulated in so many different ways. The great feature of most of these sites is that students do not need to register for accounts and work can be saved directly to their computer.
PicMoneky is a great site with many features. You can crop, adjust colors, add filters, as well as many "fun" special effects that middle school students tend to love.
PsykoPaint is fun and very much outside the box. Students can upload a photo and then use various brushes inspired by different artists to smudge over the photo. Editied photos look more like paintings when they are finished. However, the site will not allow images to be saved to a computer without registering for an account which is frustrating.
BeFunky is a lot like PicMonkey. There are many different edits, effects and frames that can be added. I particularly like the artsy option of turning the photo into a cartoon or painting.
Hockneyizer takes a photo and turns it into a collaged version just like David Hockney’s work. Simply upload a photo and pick how many polaroids you want the collage to have.
Pixlr is another good site, but more basic than PicMonkey or BeFunky. Students simply upload a photo and then drag different filters through the camera lens to see the change. Fine tuning a photo cannot be done on this site, but it is still fun to explore!
My second group of 7th grade art enrichment students just started using digital cameras last month. On the first day with the cameras I ask them to take photos trying out varoius modes. Here are a few student photos taken in macro mode!
This was a fun one day drawing assignment that I left for a substitute a few weeks ago. Students were asked to pick an image from the box at the middle of their table and glue it onto a new piece of paper in their sketchbook. They had the remainder of class to make the magazine photo blend into the page by imagining what the rest of the scene might have looked like and adding color. This project took some extra prep time to put together, but I enlisted the help of students who had finished early with a previous project to help me cut out the photos from magazines. I think this could be an interesting longer lesson in the future, giving students more freedom in selecting an image and using different mediums that were interested in.
A few years back our school district did several community showings of the movie Waiting for Superman. After the movie there was time for students, parents and teachers at the screening to voice their reflections on what they had just seen. There was a lot of discussion about students being consumed with homework each night. Students felt they would do better academically if they weren’t so stressed all the time. Parents felt like once their child came home, they shouldn’t be spending six hours doing homework each night as they wanted time to spend with their child too. Teachers felt conflicted as they voiced having a hard time covering all the material for the year during class time, but also wanting the best for the emotional well being of their students.
I have found a personal balance to this by asking my students to complete one "art journal page" in their sketchbook each month. This is an independent work of art that gives students an opportunity to work with subject matters and materials that are interesting to them. They can be collages, drawings or paintings and I ask that they spend a minimum of 30 minutes on the assignment. I provide a list of topics in case students needs help in thinking of an idea, but I like to give them the freedom to do anything, just like an artist would. I think it’s important at the middle school level for students to start developing some skills working independently in their sketchbook, yet I also don’t want them to be completely overwhelmed.
In general, the works of art that students turn in for homework are very impressive! Some students tell me how much they enjoy working on their journal pages and clearly spend more than the required 30 minutes. Here are some examples from grades 6,7 and 8.
Today's #ArtsEdChat is how do you manage to stay organized with the abundance of students, artwork and supplies that you need to work with in the art room? I'm really excited about this topic. It's definitely a challenge working with 500 students each year and trying to manage the mess of materials needed to create art! My biggest solution is staying super organized. Here are a few photos from my classroom. I try to label everything so kids know where to find materials and where to put them back when they are finished.
Yesterday was day #2 of my 3D art elective class. Since many students in the class had not taken art for a year, I wanted to do a quick project to get them back into a creative mindset. This soda can art project was something I had seen on Pinterest and it ended up being the perfect one day intro activity!
The vocab word of the day was "transformation." We talked about how a sculptor must transform materials into something new each time they create a three dimensional peice of work. For example, a mound of clay is transformed into a mug. Then I had each student pick out a clean soda can. I asked them to transform the can into a new piece of art by changing the form as well as embellishing it with acrylic paints, Sharpie makers and duct tape.
It was great to see the surprised look on the kids faces when I asked them to stomp on their cans. They had so much fun with this activity! And while this project is actually much harder than I imagined it would be, the results were fantastic! I was very impressed with their creativity and ability to come up with unique ideas.
What did we do on the first day of 3D art elective class for 8th graders yesterday? We played Jenga! As a first day activity it really worked well on so many levels. First of all it was a great team building activity for students to get to know one another at their tables. There was a lot of conversation and smiling going on which was fantastic! After we played for about 20 minutes I asked them how the game related to the sculpture class they were just starting. Boy did they have some great responses!
-Sometimes in art it's great to have a strategy before starting, but other times it's good to just wing it and go with what seems to be working.
-Sculptures need to be balanced. When you move one piece, it means going back to look at the whole structure to see where the next thing should go.
-Sometimes things fall apart when creating art. It's ok to fail and try a new approach next time.
-Making art is fun!
After playing the game and having a conversation about the connection to art, I asked each table to build an interesting sculpture with their blocks. One of my favorites was a kinetic sculpture that moved like dominos!
Our school has been fortunate over the past few years to host exchange students during the months of January and February. We currently have four students from Korea and another four from China that will be attending classes until the middle of February.
Today, one of the Chinese teachers helping to coordinate the program was a guest teacher in my class. It was an amazing experience for my students to learn how to do Chinese calligraphy from a person authentic to the culture! Students not only heard about the ancient traditions of Chinese calligraphy, but also were able to practice how to mix the ink using a stone and ink block, how to properly hold the brush and even how to write their name in Chinese characters!
It was interesting to see how difficult it was for students to hold the brush in proper position. The instructor said that many Chinese students have to attend martial arts courses in order to help build up their muscles to the point where they can hold the brush correctly for extended lengths of time!
Below are a few photos from the day.
For those of you on Twitter, Chelsie Meyer and I started up #ArtsEdChat this summer. It was a great time for conversation between art educators from around the country on topics such as classroom management, lesson plan ideas and technology in the art room. However, as the school year started back up, it seemed more challenging to find the time each week to be on Twitter during the designated chat time. Let’s face it, life is busy! We all have a million and one things to do at our schools each day and then a million more to do once we get home. We thought that the 4:30 ET was difficult for people not on the east coast, so we moved it to 8:30 ET. That time seemed even more challenging as the number of participants drastically dropped.
So, we decided to take a break and then scale back. Starting this month we will be running #ArtsEdChat once a month rather than each week. It will be the 2nd Thursday of each month at 4:30 ET. We are also going to try incorporating a wikispace for the first time. This will be a place for people to volunteer to help lead the discussions and also add any topics they would like to see covered. We know there will be some months that people can participate and some where prior commitments get in the way. The new wiki system will allow people to "sign-up" in a way to help keep the discussion going. We got this idea from a #libchat wiki that was amazing and hope it works well for us art teachers too.
Our next #ArtsEdChat will take place on Thursday, December 13th at 4:30 ET. Please check out the #artsedchat wiki at http://www.artsedchat.wikispaces.net/. Sign-up to help lead the discussion! As we start using this wiki, we’d like to archive discussions so that the information can be shared easily and accessed by all. If you can’t join us during the actual chat time please think about joining what Chelsie calls the "After Party!" Search the hashtag to see what was discussed. Keep the conversation going by adding your thoughts or commenting on other posts at a time that is more convenient to you. We really do love #ArtsEdChat and hope that these new changes will be improvements to get more people involved! If you have other suggestions or thoughts please add a comment below and we will try to accommodate them. Hope to see you next Thursday afternoon for our December #ArtsEdChat!
Last week I was looking for a two day mini-project that I could do with my 7th grade classes. They had just finished up their clay projects and I didn't want to start something big before the Thanksgiving break. So, I came up with an idea based on this Pinterest pin.
I photographed each student with a pair of sun glasses on and enlarged the photos on the copy machine. Students then used transfer paper to trace over the image (hence the fact we were able to complete these in only two class periods). I then asked them to draw a place that was meaningful to them inside the sunglasses which would give the illusion that it was a reflection in the lenses. They used either colored pencil or water color pencils to add color to the place and the backgrounds. It was a really fun quick project that didn't require a ton of skill. Everyone's project came out good. I also liked the fact that the place was very personal to each student and I was able to learn a little more about all of them!