Sunday, January 9, 2011


Two or three years ago, as I embarked on a "technology infusion" for my teaching, I became a member of Art Ed 2.0 and became virtual friends with amazing educators. From that virtual connection, came real friendships with two amazing teachers, Theresa McGee and Tricia Fuglestad. I was fortunate to be able to schedule a visit to their classrooms (who gets to do that when we teach full-time?) It was a great visit. Since then we have collaborated with each other on many projects. We get to do so again as we prepare for our presentation at NAEA's Seattle convention. Dynamic Collaborations II is the name of our session. I do believe that any opportunity we have to showcase our teaching and lessons causes us to think about other perspectives. It also causes us to re-evaluate our systems in order to make them more efficient--which we should be doing for our students in the first place.
Something I learned from Tricia which I just applied for an upcoming project is the use of Keynote and instant alpha--what magic!
If you use a Mac--the Keynote program has a special button that allows you to apply "green screen" technology to an image with 1 color around the object --the alpha button allows one to erase that color (by dragging the cursor over the area) and make it transparent. That allows the image beneath to be revealed... just like this one inspired by R. Magritte.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

I am a Masterpiece!

Anything is possible with art!

One's mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions. ~Oliver Wendell Holmes

It is remarkable to watch the development of 4th graders as they conquer self-doubt and lack of experience with a medium to create magnificent works of art. My slogan is "Turn your mistake into a Masterpiece!" It is posted all over the studio. Students at the start of the year are so willing to give up. That is simply not allowed in the Fine Arts Studio! Instead, we have to look at what we have accomplished and keep going. Mistakes happen but they can be the springboard for turning our work into a masterpiece. We overcome our frustrations, transform our work and experience a new way of expressing ourselves.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

More than a Virtual Trip to Greece?

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Inspired by Athletes, Myths, and Poets

I heard just a few weeks ago that I didn't get the funding from Target Field Trip Grants for our field trip to the Blanton Museum of Art for the lesson I published in School Arts in December. I can't complain as they had generously funded our art field trips for two years in a row. So, I am working hard to rally support so that this group of 5th graders can get there too! We are going to be hosting a Fine Arts and PE event in late February where KidsArt Fairs will be a part--Frames for the artwork are the fundraiser! Such a great idea, I can't wait to see if it helps us get where we want to go! At least I know we can get there... virtually.

What is Art?

As I prepared my classroom yesterday for the start of school and 2011, I set a group of prints around the easel for our Art of the Day discussion. The big question will be "what is Art?" As we explore the different approaches by individual artists, the cultural, spiritual, emotional, and intellectual implications of their works will hopefully shine through in the conversation. The constant evaluation of the students' personal connections to art and art-making, informed by a growing understanding of media and technique, will engage these 4th and 5th graders in what will be, no doubt, an interesting debate. I can't wait for 2011 to start in the Studio!

As I explored over the break, I found this awesome video that begs the question: What is Art? It is great for the laugh, and for the (edited) shortened clip to share with students in a discussion. The video is by Creature Comforts, and I found it on Art Matters. It is also a great example of claymation: