About this Site and Me

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Flower Mound, TX, United States
Hi, I am an artist, wife, mom, gamer and the Elementary Art Educator at Donald Elementary, a sweet and wonderful school in Flower Mound, TX (outside of Dallas). This is a great place to see how we are integrating studio habits with technology and interdisciplinary connections. I also love to share my "wisdom" (Re: Experiences. From mistakes.) about teaching Elementary Art. I love what I do, and I've been doing it for a long time. Creating and teaching Art is what I live for. Enjoy.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Great tip from a Kindergarten student on how to make your art look better:
"Add ponies!"
...must remember that!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Pre-Assessment:  Kindergarten and 1st Grade
"Me and My Shadow with a Duck", by Austin, 1st grade
"Me and My Shadow", by Jared, 1st Grade

These adorable works of art are Self Portraits showing Movement by some of our 1st graders. This is the first project we do in August-September. It is actually a Pre-Assessment for me. I do the same project with Kindergarten, without the movement and shadow. These are so fun and precious!
This is a great project to start the year, as it integrates perfectly with what they are learning in Social Studies the first few weeks of school: "All About Me".  This is an important introduction/review of Self Portraits, and allows me to assess fine motor skills with drawing, coloring, gluing and cutting with scissors. Here's what I do:

1.       While they are drawing their self portrait, I am monitoring fine motor skills and self awareness. I know that if I see a lot of "potato people" I may have to scale back and introduce some basics. If I see more details, then I can introduce more complex techniques and ideas. How they hold the pencil and crayon is noted as well, as this may mean more lessons that deal with fine motor skills.
 "Self Portrait", by Ryder, Kindergarten
2.       Once the drawing in completed, then I spend some time on basic Color Theory: introducing Color Families--
a.       Red and Yellow are the parents; all the oranges are their kids. These colors mix well together.
b.      Yellow and Blue are the parents; all the greens are their kids.
c.       Red and Blue are the parents; all the purples are their kids. You get the idea!

3.       I teach them how to outline and crosshatch whenever they color. No more scribbling! This is something that I repeat many times throughout the years...

4.       I encourage them to mix family colors and use at least 5 different colors. They must color the skin and hair. I am looking for clean work here (craftsmanship). I am also looking for attention to details: did they color in their eye color? How about the patterns on their clothes? Shoes, etc...

5.       After that, we need to cut these portraits out! This is when the kids look at me bug-eyed. You know they are worried about chopping off a leg or those tiny fingers. So I teach them to draw a tight bubble around their portrait. This is a great tool and can be used forever! They cut on the bubble line; it's so much easier and no chopped off "body parts"!
"Me and My Shadow Dancing", by Megan, 1st Grade
      6.   As they are cutting, I am really monitoring their cutting skills: how they hold the scissors, how they turn the paper, how they tackle those hard corners. I've actually had kids tell me they aren't allowed to use scissors! So here's where I have to check and maybe change some lessons...snowflakes anyone? 


7.   After the cutting is finished, we glue our portraits onto a background paper. I teach them how to apply glue around the edges: using glue bottles, we keep the nib on the paper and lightly trace the edge. This way, there should be no major leakage and no edges popping off, my pet-peeves. Keeping the glue side up, we lay the background paper on top, rub gently and flip the paper over. Ta-Da! Perfectly glued down and no drips and smears.
8.     Priceless! I especially love to compare these to art they do at the end of the year.
"Self Portrait", Sarah, Kindergarten