About this Site and Me

My photo
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.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

1:X-- those of us in the trenches, transforming education, one tear and chuckle at a time

In case you didn't know:

Next school year, Donald ES will be a 1:X campus. Which means every child, kinder-5th will have an iPad and/or access to various technologies. This iPad will travel with them as they grow. Can you imagine? How cool?

Transformation isn't just happening. It is here.
See guys? We have to teach THIS. 

Every child, coming to us already fluent in the language of smart phones and tablets, social media and gaming. Masters at technology and expecting to use it in the classroom. How do teachers even begin to prepare to teach these kids?

It starts here:

2 intensive days. One day at Wooten's (our amazing principal) house. Good thing she has good wifi! and 2 cute dogs...

9 teachers, 2-3 administrators. 

Subs in our rooms 9 days before the end of school. ...can I just say, those poor subs...

Lots of pizza, cookies, tears, laughter, mini therapy sessions. Gut checks, reality checks. Checking email, eating cookies, brain explosions. Rinse and repeat.

And 2 leaders charged with attempting to keep us on task. And they did an AMAZING job. (I have to give a shout out to Michelle Wooten and Alan Kohutek for planning and providing this outstanding opportunity. Holy cow people, if you only knew!)

our task:

Identify ways to facilitate this transformation from traditional educational norms into the new 21st Century expectations, with Purpose, Mastery and Self Direction at the forefront. What is this "ipads in the hands of kids all day long" going to look like? What does it look like already? That was one task, anyway. I am still reeling.

Does that sound boring? Eyeball rolling?  NO. WAY.

This was BY FAR the most exciting, soul feeding, mind blowing professional development (if we can call it that? Team building? I honestly have no idea...but I want MORE.) I have ever ever ever been a part of (pardon my poor grammar but I am PUMPED)!! PUMPED.

To our Donald Community, all I can say, AMAZING THINGS ARE HAPPENING AT OUR SCHOOL. I literally tear up when I think about the direction we are heading. I love my job. I love this staff.  I love this school. And these kids! Holy cow! I am so excited for them.

And yes, gaming was discussed. Can games like Minecraft Edu really be used effectively in education? For real? No really-with rich content and mastery of essential knowledge? What about other games? How? How how how how?

Parents, Teachers=baby steps

It is going to be a great summer working with this amazing staff. I can't wait for next year..and this one is not even over!

(and yes, iPads will be meaningfully integrated into my Art program, without losing the focus on strong studio skills. 21st Century skills ARE THE ARTS: Creativity, Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, along with Purpose, Personal Satisfaction, Collaboration, Self Direction, Mastery...seriously, it's the Arts. It's time to fully embrace that. We are not stepping backward.)

Hello. My name is Kimberly. ...and Kim Mack has the floor. ;)

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Summer is Coming.

Get me to that beach!!!
 A super fun and easy way to introduce printmaking to Kinder is with Mono Prints. We just folded the paper, how easy, how cool!

The first thing was to brainstorm and discuss the kids favorite place to hang during the summer. We have a sweet duck pond near the school, or many kids go to a lake or the Gulf.

We talked about things you might find in the water (mermaids and fish of course) and things you might see in the sky on a summer day (a blazing Texas sun of course), we reviewed reflections on water and horizon lines.

The kids used crayon resist to create their sky, water and land background. The only thing they could not draw were the trees, as those were the printing portion of this program.

The following week I had a printing station set up and we worked in small groups. They could create any kind of tree and wildflower, working quickly so the paint did not dry. Once they were happy with their work, they simply folded the paper, rubbed and pulled their print. The print became the reflection on the water.

These are so gorgeous! Summer is coming.

Friday, May 17, 2013

super close up: zentangles

I like to push my students to take a work of art as far as it can go. Who, me?

 Of course, knowing when to stop is a huge issue for artists. Case in point, check out these zentangles! I wasn't happy just letting them make a doodle, ooohhhhh nooooo, we had to blow it up!!!

This turned out to be a really cool project. I compared it to writing an essay. Imagine if you pulled one sentence or one thought from that essay and turned that into another story. Ah yeah! So that's where creativity comes from!

To teach my kids how to tell when they are finished, they are trained to look for the "strong" and "weak" areas of their piece. Once they have identified their strong areas, the parts they love, they are to leave it alone! So hard. Because we all want to keep working on that area! It's so pretty! Leave it alone.

Even harder is looking for the weak spots, the parts that we don't like. The parts that make us squirm or doubt or frustrate. You know what I am talking about! That's the part you get to work on.

When my 5th graders finished their zentangle ( my standardized testing week project), they used a viewfinder (a piece of paper with a rectangular hole) to find a strong composition. We reviewed some basics: Rule of 3, no splitting the middle, look for the strong, interesting areas that "read well". Yes, I talk this way to 10 year olds. They get it.

Using observational drawing skills, they re-drew what was in the viewfinder onto larger paper. I had Crayola Construction Paper Crayons, so many kids opted for black paper. Because those are cool! Some choose to work in marker on lighter paper. 

This is where "strong" and "weak" really came into play. Since this was so abstract, they really had to be honest with themselves about the process of their work. Very difficult concept, but they are 16 days from Middle School, sooo, yeah...

Once they finished, they attached the zentangle onto the paper, some choosing to create depth using scraps or cardboard.

The finished work is quite striking. And no two are alike in any way. 

Friday, May 10, 2013

Gyotaku and Science Integration

I love gyotaku,  Japanese fish printing. 

When I taught in NJ, I used a real fish. For the entire grade level. All week long. Take a minute and let that sink in. One fish. A hundred kids. 

Never. Again. *gag*

Thankfully, now there are rubber molds! They don't smell terrible or lose their scales in the printing process. Yay!

In Texas, our 3rd graders spend the end of the year focusing on Biomes, so this is a great way to integrate Science and Art. Couldn't be easier. I had the kids tell me what they know about underwater environments, and they created a sketch of their favorite (aquarium, ocean, stream, etc). Once they had their plan, they painted their background using watercolor.

The following week, I had the printing stations set up and they printed in small groups. It is very important to use slip sheets to ensure a clean printing surface. That is actually what I did while the kids were applying their paint (acrylic): check the coverage and change the slip sheets. 

Once they were dry, they added the final details: bubbles, extra seaweed or grass (great way to cover mistakes) and I demoed how to paint fish eyeballs. The added highlight really makes a huge difference.
it's a little blurry but I think you can see it--

Needless to say, the kids LOVED this project, the classroom teachers LOVED them (and used them to decorate the "Water Biome" room for Biome Day!) and these look awesome mounted and framed.