Tuesday, August 26, 2014


I missed blogging last week. I am trying to do once a week. The only reason I am able to post now is because I have a study hall. Between getting fundraisers ready to raise money for a trip to New York and National Art Honor Society invitation letters needing to go out, I am behind.

In art news, my Ceramics II students are hard at work on their NCECA projects. My Ceramics I students are almost done with their bookbinding project - they make their own sketchbooks each year.

The cover is being prepared for this sketchbook.

My Art II students are in the middle of their value scale projects. I keep remembering to take pictures on B day, so none of my A day students are on here or on Facebook. I must do better.

Edgar Allen Poe in progress, upside-down.

These look better in real life than they do in photos.

It is so quiet when they are working. Some are listening to music.

It's hard to take a photo from this end of the room.

Animation & Video Game Design I students have learned about the history of animation and made thaumatropes. They were thrilled when they were successful. Animation & Video Game Design II are working on storyboards for an animation to illustrate a concept taught in one of their core subjects.

Some of the Animation I students with their thaumatropes, and one Animation II student with his storyboards.

We are all about New York here in the art department. We are planning a five day trip through EF. Our meeting is in a week, so we will find out then if we have enough interest to pull it off!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Getting Into the Routine

This year our middle school and high school times shifted from 7:50 - 3:00 to 8:30 - 3:30. Last year, the husband drove our daughter to elementary school because it was way out of my way. This year, I will drive her to middle school. So I can leave the house at the same time as last year but still get to school on time. The students seem to like the new schedule.

We are in full swing. Animation & Video Game Design I have done thaumatropes and are about to do a strip of 12 frames for a zoetrope.  II is about to start creating an animation illustrating a concept from one of their core classes. One student has chosen the planets, one chose electricity, and one chose Napoleon.

Ceramics I is in the middle of a bookbinding unit making their sketchbooks. They each get to choose their method of binding, and we have students choosing coptic binding, Japanese stab binding, and more. Ceramics II is working on their entry to the NCECA K-12 art competition.

Art II students have done value scales in preparation for their big gridded portrait. Before they made their value scales, I had them play around with the charcoal for a little bit and see how many different values they could create.

Most of the students had never worked with charcoal.

This is the second and smaller of my two Art II classes.  They were so quiet!

And there's always the student who draws all the time and already knows what you are teaching - she is hanging out and watching everyone else because she's already done!
The only kink in my system is that normally I stay after school anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour to catch up on things. My daughter used to be dropped off at my school from the bus. This year, she gets out at the same time as our students, and I have to stay another 15 minutes before I can leave, and it's another 15 in school traffic to get to her school. So she's left sitting from 3:30 - 4:00 pm, and then we have to rush to get to drum lessons, voice lessons, art teacher meetings, and anything else. So I have lost about 3-5 hours a week in planning and paperwork time. I am still trying to figure that out!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

First Two Days

The first two days of school went great. I have been feeling unprepared but I am not sure why - there is no reason. It may be because I have so many new faces. My classes are bigger than last year, but still a good size for art. They range from 13 - 21 students. I have a half size classroom, with seating for 18 if we are crammed shoulder-to-shoulder at the tables. I do have some counter space to spread out my large Art II class, so that will be good. I also have a study hall with 24, but I have made arrangements to send students who need quiet to work to another teacher's room, so that I can fit the rest in my room.

Since we are on a modified block schedule, I meet with each class every other day. I have first block planning, second is Art II both days, third is Ceramics I & II both days, and fourth block is Animation & Video Game Design on A days and Study Hall on B days. We do team building and getting to know each other activities on the first day, so I have done that for two days nonstop!

Our school is starting its second year of a mentoring program. We call it Connect. It is similar to what some schools call Advisory. I have 15 sophomores that will be mine for the year. Only one is an art student (last year I lucked out with three). Since we meet every day, I needed a different activity for day two.  I pulled out bamboo skewers, string, tin foil, aluminum pans, and scissors. With three tables of kids, I told each table to build the tallest tower they could in 15 minutes.

This team (with the Boy Scout who had experience) eventually won.
All but two of the 15 kids participated, and the two that didn't participate made lots of comments (mostly negative or funny, but at least they were a little involved).
This group used the tin foil to add height once their structure was stable.
We gave a round of applause to the winner, but they were all taller than I expected, so they all earned a prize. Now I just have to figure out what to get them - I had better think fast, because I'm supposed to give them their prize tomorrow. Unfortunately, it has to come from my pocketbook.
This team did well despite having two of their group not participate.
Now to spend the rest of the afternoon planning and gathering some supplies from home.  One week down, 38 (I think) to go!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Back to School!

Mr. Mac and I before ziplining at our faculty retreat.
Well, it's almost 2 pm on the day before students arrive, and instead of working on syllabi, I'm dredging up this blog from the depths of neglected social media.  I have such good intentions, but so little time!  I am hoping to have more time this year because I have so much to share.  I should have a little more time since I did not have enough students to teach AP Art History this year, despite the fact that my students all scored a 4 or a 5 on the AP Art History exam!!!

The picture above is from our faculty retreat this summer - Camp Black Bear.  We did some great planning for the year but also had time for some fun and some bonding.  Two of our three art teachers went.

I am planning to do some posting about how we are handling some lower numbers since losing the MYP program and since the state no longer requires 1/2 credit of fine art to graduate.  I also want to share some of my summer learning experiences.  Finally, I want to share some of the big plans we have for visual arts this year at my school.  How are you planning to make this year the best ever?