Monday, May 9, 2011

Art Around the School

We have been SO busy around these parts! End of the year programs, testing, and busy schedules rule our days. I am working hard to document and edit our incredible art units to show you (including the fourth grade dream collages!) This week, however, is TAKS week, and I have been administering tests. Testing in different parts of the building has really given me an opportunity to look around the walls of our school and see what my students have been up to in their classrooms. And I am proud to say, Briargrove teachers and students are integrating lots of art skills into their core subjects! I was so impressed by what I saw that I decided to walk around the entire school with my camera and share with you some of what I found:

The first group of work that really struck my eye was hanging in the third grade hallway, outside Ms. Ladd's classroom. These collages are AMAZING - they could have been made in our very own art room! These students recycled cardboard cereal boxes (our favorite thing to make art on in the art room) and created these mixed media collages using magazines, newspapers, oil pastels, and pencils. (By the way, "Uncle Romie" is Romare Bearden! I can't believe I have never seen this book - can't wait to read it myself!) Here's what they did:

I like the way the students combined different materials and used their whole composition to tell a story. We've been working on a collage story-telling unit in my classroom with similar materials and a different theme. It's SO COOL to see the concepts and skills we are working on in the art room being incorporated into curriculum in the classroom! What a great way to show the students that our subjects really are linked together, and that sophisticated, authentic
art-making doesn't just happen in art class!

Next on my walk, I noticed these awesome posters depicting different types of habitats. I think this was also hanging in the third grade pod. Again, another awesome mixed-media composition that relates to things we have worked on in our art assignments. It looks like the students combined magazine images with crayons or colored pencil. I love the full use of the page, the bright coloring, and especially the fact that there is a horizon line in each composition! This is a BIG visual concept we work on when doing landscapes - showing that the sky touches the ground. So great!

Here are some sweet spring-inspired acrostics decorated with beautiful, elaborate drawings. I love the way that these first graders colored their whole page (something I am CONSTANTLY drilling into their heads with every assignment.) I really feel like the students and teachers have paid attention to ways that we can really make something more visually interesting and balanced, and are working to apply those strategies to more than just the art they make in my
classroom. Yay!

These first grade ice cream sundae recipes are a really fun twist on fractions. This assignment is a fun way to incorporate some simple but pleasing art-making into a math lesson that the kids can really see and understand. I love the colors, and the attention to detail for the different flavors of ice cream. Yum!

Mrs. Robledo's first grade class applied a similar concept with this drawing assignment using fractions. Students combined different animals to make a new creature and wrote about what fraction of each animal is part of the new creature. We do something similar to this sometimes in the art room, and I love that fractions are involved here! Something to add to my made up creature units in the future!

Also outside Mrs. Robledo's room is this beautiful shape quilt. I love the different patterns, colors and shapes representing each child in the class.
Mrs. Stowe's class also did some cool designs with geometric shapes. Love the tessellations made on the computer! And I love the way they combined art and geometry to use simple shapes to construct a more complex structure - like a lighthouse or a cat!

Down in the library, the windows and walls are lined right now with homemade recycled material robots. These were made by first graders! It's so fun to see how students used different materials that they found at home to make these happy, diverse robots. All the small details and the expressions on the robots' faces are so much fun to look at!

Here are some awesome homemade bugs that I just had to track down in Mrs. Shavlan's kindergarten classroom. I saw a proud student arrive with his grasshopper at morning carpool duty and was very impressed with his use of recycled materials. I am sure that there was some adult assistance with the robots and bugs, and I love the idea of families working with their children to make something so creative and challenging. These types of scultpures would be impossible for me to teach with this age group given my current class sizes and time constraints, so it's very exciting to me to see students being given an opportunity to expore this at home.

The next project I saw combines nature and art in a really creative way. Mrs. Plaia, the science teacher, taught a unit on bugs to the second graders, which culminated in a fun art project using their knowledge of bugs to create a new species! The brainstorming worksheet of this project was really cool, and reminded me a lot of what we do for brainstorming in the art room. Mrs. Plaia had students draw different body parts from bugs in each box of the sheet, then comine all the parts in their final drawing to make a new bug! So cool!

In the fifth grade hallway, I noticed an awesome display of detailed drawings depicting figures from Greek mythology. I love the way that students show what they know about the characters and settings of the myths through detailed drawing and careful compositions. We are working on visual storytelling in the art room right now in fifth grade, but with a different theme and materials. I love it when units complement learning going on in different classrooms.

Down in the kinder hallway, I saw another example of students using drawing to share their knowledge of a subject. I love these illustrations depicting different types of transportation made by Ms. Cook's class. There's so much detail. The students used their full page and really used drawing to show what they know. Don't these drawings make travel look like so much fun? Makes me want to go on a trip somewhere - summer break, anyone?!

I also loved these kinder illustrations, made by Ms. Levy's class, depicting different ways to be more Earth-friendly! Taking care of our environment is something you know I care very deeply about!

There were lots of other writing and research projects around the school that were full of artistic detail, illustration, and decoration. I'm so glad to see my students beautifying and enriching their work with detailed drawing and bright colors that pop! In my opinion, art just makes good work even better!

One last thing I noticed on my walk: this awesome colored door! Window markers! This gives me a fun idea for next year... ;) I'm thinking some sort of behavior reward for a few star students each month. Could be fun! And pretty!
There's even more I could include, but you get the idea. We've got beautiful art-incorporated work hanging all over the place here at Briargrove. I encourage all my art teacher colleages out there to take a walk around your school and really look to see what skills from your classroom are being incorporated into your students' classrooms. If any of you feel compelled to make a similar post about art found around your school, please let me know. I'd love to see it!

Way to go Briargrove!

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