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

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Second Semester

Mid-Term, second semester is almost upon us.  While the rest of the (north) east coast is still digging out from a record amount of snow fall, we in the south east are preparing for what might be the only snow that we have this winter.  Last night, it was windier than I can ever remember it being since I've lived here.  I am pretty sure that something flew into the side of my house but I have been afraid to venture out too far to inspect any damage.  My garbage can blew over, several large clay pots are now fodder for mosaics and the little things that I had hanging on my house are now on the front porch floor.  It's sunny and 31° here in North Carolina today but the weather is supposed to turn blustery late tomorrow afternoon.  Further south in Atlanta, they have already closed schools, I am assuming to avoid last years disaster where students and teachers ended up spending the night at school because of road conditions.  Me?  I am hoping for an early release and a 2-3 hour delay, the holy grail of teacher (and student) days.  I enjoy the chaos, the change in schedule and the excitement that snow brings to the south.  And the no-make-up-days.  Which around here, are Saturdays when we are fresh out of teacher workdays.  I think that we have one or two left this year. 

I've been doing this art teacher thing for a while now and honestly, it should be easy.  I should have a stockpile of lessons so fabulous that I never have to find another lesson plan or project again. Whether I am teaching classes that are one quarter or one semester long, I ought to be able to pull out a file that says something like "Year 3 Rotation" and have my whole year planned.  I'm just not that kind of teacher.  I get bored easily.  Every year, my classes are different, even the grade levels that I have taught before.  My access to supplies changes from year to year and my motivation for doing certain projects ebbs and flows. Some kids are really into painting, some are into 3D, some would rather draw in pencil all day.  Some of my classes like those big crafty projects like paper making or print making or papier mache'.  This year, I bought some of these Straws and Connectors for the kids to use when they are done with their projects. I have been thinking of doing a STEAM oriented type project in the spring and thought that they might be a good exploration activity before doing one of those newspaper tower projects. I may have some engineers on my hands.  They can't wait to use them and some of the conversations that they have had when building towers that touch the art room ceiling (14') have been intriguing.  I am looking forward to spring when I can put them in groups, have them work together in teams and take them outside where the sky is the limit. Literally.
Lee and Adam hit the ceiling.

Zachary and Sa'Vion and their tower.  I apologize for the picture quality but apparently there was a filter on my iPhone camera and I didn't realize it until it was too late.
My point is that I am trying to come up with projects that spark the interest of my students.  That can be easier said than done when you teach middle school and everything is lame. (Is that even a word anymore?  Ratchet?  Sucks? [mizzsmiff frowns on this synonym] Lamesauce? I dunno.  Whatever.) Interest + curriculum + integration + materials = no easy feat. 

So far this semester, I did the same two projects that I did last semester but I am thinking that I am done with the rest of the stuff that I did the first half of the year.  It's not that the projects weren't good or successful, I am itching to do something different.  I tend to feel more "arty" (painting, drawing, teaching technique and methods) in the fall and more "crafty" in the spring (bookmaking, papier mache', experimenting with materials).  We have tomorrow off for a teacher workday...President's Day.  I'm still not sure what we will be doing on Tuesday.  Something will come to me, it always does.

But I'm kind of hoping for a snow day.

In the meantime, here is a short iMovie of the last project my first semester students did. We talked about line and movement and planning.  It was a quick art project that took just a couple of days but I think that the results were nice.  The project itself is all over Pinterest, but I found it here. 

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