Art is the only way to run away without leaving home. ~Twyla Tharp

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Things That Break My Heart

Last week, I made these Lorax clay pots with my EC self-contained class.

I know that they are not particularly arty but I like to do things with this class that are in the moment.  I try to plan things that go along with what they are doing in their classroom or revolve around holidays and happenings, which I almost never do with my other classes.  Since Earth Day is tomorrow, I thought these would be fun to make. Tomorrow, we will fill them with soil and plant zinnia seeds while we watch The Lorax (the original, animated short one).  They will take them back to their classroom, put them in a sunny window, already prepared by their amazing teacher and hopefully, will have some truffula flowers growing shortly.

Why does this break my heart?  Because in the past week, students from my 'regular' classes have been looking at these little clay pots asking me, 'Are we gonna make these?' to which I have had to say 'No' which always gets met by a 'Why not?' I hate to tell them that I can't afford to buy already made clay pots (or clay to use in my kiln or glaze or so many other things) for my 100+ students that I am teaching this quarter or felt and googly eyeballs and pom poms so that they can make the Lorax pots, but I can afford it for the 12 or so kids in Mrs. P's class.  Sigh.  It makes me feel guilty but most of all it breaks my heart.  To tell them no.  Even though it's not my job to do cutesy stuff with them, it's not in my standards for sure, I know they like to to do craftsy stuff.  They probably don't ever get a chance to do things like this.  Budgets, or the lack thereof really stink.  Art is consumable.  And we consume a lot.  I recycle, I beg borrow and steal.  Well, I don't steal but you know what I mean.  It's rough to be an art teacher with about $1.50 a kid to spend on supplies. 

Which means, I guess, that maybe we will do some origami these next few weeks (only about 4 before we start testing) and that I will be breaking out the solar beads and cotton kitchen string to make solar bead bracelets (always popular) again this year.  And I'll be trying desperately to justify this with the common core, somehow.  Of course, I will just be wishing that I could afford to buy a bunch of para-cord and clippies for those bracelets as well.  Sigh.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Gallery Crawls

I feel so techy.  I know, it's not much but please click on the links below to view 2 very short 'Gallery Crawl' videos of my students recent work.  Zentangle Landscapes and Mandalas.  They have worked so hard and their work needs a little bit of recognition.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.


Zentangle Landscapes

Thursday, April 11, 2013

What Are the Biggest Misconceptions About Teaching Art?

This is a great post from The Art of Education site.  Please read all the comments.   I've heard them all plus some other doozies.  My favorites this year:  When an EC teacher was asked for the modifications that were needed for her students so that the elective teachers could modify the work we do in our classes for her students (it's not just us art folk that don't get taken seriously) she wanted to know why, since all we do is 'play' on the exploratory hallway anyway.  This sounds horrible, but I do my best to avoid her in the hallway now and rarely look her in the face.  (Lesson #1 Don't cheese off the art teacher) Just recently, we found out that during fourth quarter, our 8th grade students would be pulled from our classes, a week at a time by homerooms for career counseling.  So, during any given week I could be missing 2 or 3 kids or maybe more from my class who I will either need to catch up the following week or give extra time to complete their projects.  Like I don't have to give them a grade and what I do in my class is not valid. No one consulted us or asked our opinion about this and it was just sprung on us at the last minute. That's just from people that I work with.  Fellow teachers and colleagues.  I guess that is the frustrating part.  I would HOPE that they might understand a little bit more of what I do in my classroom every day.  If they don't get it, how can I have any hope that my students and their parents will?

Sigh.  It's not easy being green.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Back to Reality

I hope that everyone has had a wonderful Spring Break.  It is Sunday morning and I am finding myself in Back-to-School mode after spending the last week cruising to Nassau and Freeport, The Bahamas with my BFF.  It was a wonderful, relaxing week but everywhere that we went, I found myself thinking about my students and what I could share with them.  Does everyone else do that?  Yeah, don't answer that.  I know you do.

This is Winston, who sat outside the Straw Market in Nassau carving the most amazing figures out of wood.  He was truly an artist. Below is his almost finished Grouper.

I bought this little guitar made out of soda cans.  So many of the stalls in the Straw Market were selling these little recycled sculptures and I wish that I had taken pictures of them all.  There were cameras, airplanes, cars, motor cycles, trucks and animals.  I am wondering if there would be a way for my students to do this as a project but I am worried about their safety cutting the metal.  I may have to give this some more thought. Isn't it the cutest thing? 

Those of you who have been on a cruise are familiar with these towel creations.  Sculpture, right?  Admit it, you took pictures of your towel friends every night when you came back to your cabin, too.  Right?

 I won these trophies playing trivia on the Promenade deck.  Apparently, they are '24 Karat Gold Plastic'.  They will be displayed on my desk, at least for a little while.  I hope that my students will be proud of me.

I am glad that I was able to get away and have some fun because the most busy, hectic time of the year is about to begin.  As all my teacher friends know, fourth quarter can be a crazy time filled with field trips, testing and all kinds of activities that we don't normally do the rest of the year.  I generally see my students for about 6 out of the 9 weeks this last quarter and I try to cram as many fun and relevant projects as I can in that short time.  I have lots of ideas and as usual, am not sure how we are going to get it all done.  Never the less, I will be dreaming of floating, knowing that summertime is not far away.  Today, in the meantime, I still have laundry to do and I have to go to the grocery store since there does not appear to be a 24 hour buffet set up on my deck.

Back to reality.