Please Don't Eat the Artwork

ART WITH MS K


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Fine Arts Night 2016

Last week we had Fine Arts Night at school. It was sensational!

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We used a company called Artome. They were absolutely phenomenal to work with. Several weeks before the art show they sent out their formatting paper. I had my students pick their favorite project to glue to the paper. Everything got labeled and put in a big box which was then shipped back to Artome. They framed everything in their warehouse and came and set it up in the gym. It was all very professional and super easy!

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Parents and students came and strolled through the gallery. They could purchase the artwork and some of the funds come right back into the Northwood art room! We had an exceptional turn out and everyone also enjoyed the chorus concert that happened that night too.

The best part of the night was schmoozing with parents and meeting my student’s families. I heard from so many parents/guardians how much their child is enjoying art and how excited they are to create stuff. It makes my lil’ art teacherin’ heart glow!

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I also made a couple of fun backdrops for “selfie stations.” Next year I plan on incorporating more interactive displays/activities.

Special thank-you to all of the staff who stayed to help with money! And of course to my art teacher pal Alex!

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❤ Ms. K


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Hello Northwood!

 

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Leaving Mimosa at the end of last school year was bittersweet. I was excited to be offered the opportunity to be at a school for five days a week but I will definitely miss the kids I have grown to know and love over the past four years. It is hard to say good-bye to students you are watching grow up before your very eyes. Students you have created relationships with and care deeply about. Ultimately, I am thankful for the experience and will always remember my Mimosa artists. ❤

After a heartfelt end of the school year, this summer was full of adventure, more endings, and new beginnings. I traveled  to Ireland and Portland, Maine. I taught clay camp at a local art center for the 10th summer. I finally finished writing my thesis and completed my graduate degree from Georgia State University (YAY!!!!!!!!). All in all, it was an incredibly fulfilling and exciting summer! I feel reinvigorated and inspired for this school year.

Now I am at a school called Northwood Elementary and I am absolutely thrilled. I have an art classroom that is a dream come true – fully stocked with everything I could ever need. This space is so full of good energy and I can’t wait to meet the kiddos that will learn and grow within these walls.

So, without further ado – check out my new classroom!

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I have two doors to my room, this one will be used for entering. This is the view from my desk. You might spy a lovely Doc Cam which I am just itching to use. Currently on my desk are piles of papers that need to be copied or laminated – I am very excited about a Mystery Drawing activity from Mrs. Knight’s Smartest Artists which will go in my sub folder. (If you haven’t visited her Teachers Pay Teachers store you ought to hurry over — it is chock full of amazing resources and currently having a  sale!)

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Here is the view looking towards my desk corner. All of my tchotchke magnets are on the filing cabinet. My kindergarten self-portrait and a second grade seascape hang on the wall. I like to display these to encourage students to pursue art as a lifelong appreciation. Students often ask, “How did you get so good at art!?” to which I always point to my own childhood artwork and tell them to keep practicing.

The shelf holds books, files, and handouts. On the bulletin board there is a poster of my daily schedule, an Artwork Checklist poster, and the rules. Above the bulletin board are the words “Try Your Best.” I find myself constantly telling my students to try their best so I finally made a visual for the wall. I think it is one of the most important expectations of the art room and studio experience.

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Next is the whiteboard, projector, and chalkboard. I have a large, beautiful rug that adds some pops of color to the room.

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Here is the example board with standards listed by grade. (Don’t you just love the fabric and borders that the previous art teacher left for me? I adore it! Thanks Gina)

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This is the door students will use to exit the art room. The crayons and cute little signs were purchased from the Target dollar section this summer. They had some super sweet teacher goodies!

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The wall next to the doors has plenty of storage space. Artwork and supplies will be stored here.

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The entrance door and huge sink in the back corner:

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Another wall of supplies and storage:

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I am incredibly thankful for this enormous, beautiful, bright space but in every art room I have had the pleasure of setting up (this is #4!) there always seems to be just-quite-not-enough space. That is certainly true here for the giant drying rack which is currently awkwardly residing in front of shelves:

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The door next to it leads to a little courtyard with a garden and a pond; it’s so stinkin’ cute! I can’t wait to take kids out here to draw and get some fresh air.

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The wall with the windows has even more shelves with some pretty neat-o things.

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I found a whole bunch of awesome materials/resources that I can’t wait to use with my new students. First of all, a class set of color wheels:

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These are going to be soooooo handy for mixing colors and choosing color schemes! Speaking of color, check out these little color paddles. They will be another great resource to talk about color mixing.

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I also came across packs of batik paper, shrinky-dinks, scratch paper, and cyanotype paper (the one in the envelope). I have never done any of these with kids so if you know of a good activity or lesson you would be willing to share I would truly appreciate it!

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Perhaps the most exciting treasure I found in this room of magical abundance is the class set of 3D glasses! They make everything look really colorful and bright with swirly-trippy-magical awesomeness. I keep putting them on to look at artwork and the sky and down the hall and pretty much everything. I am pretty stoked to use these with the kids.

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Woah, Dude!

I am attempting to keep my centers activities very organized this year. I don’t know about you but I feel like these items tend to get destroyed pretty efficiently by the end of the year so I am really trying to stress the importance of treating all art room materials with respect. I’ll let you know how that turns out lol. Do you have any tips or tricks on avoiding the destruction of materials?
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And that brings us back around to the front of the room. BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE. Not only have I been #blessed with all of this shelving,  there is an entire closet full of cupboards and shelves and EVEN MORE art supplies. 

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Oh yeah, AND four throwing wheels! I am going to have to watch a YouTube or two to refresh my wheel throwing skills before I attempt to teach it. I might try to get a guest artist in here to demonstrate one day or maybe even break these babies out for Art Club (more on that soon).

Next to this supply room is the kiln room which also comes fully-stocked with all the glaze my heart could ever desire and a beautiful, clean, not-sketchy kiln!

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It will require hulk-strength to turn so that the control panel can be accessed. Or Tinkerbell-like nimbleness to squeeze on over to the other side. . . . 

So, there you have it! My new art room where you can find me five days a week 🙂 

Next week it will be filled with budding young artists ready to learn!

I think the word that best describes the feeling that has been building up for the past few weeks is gratitude. I am so incredibly thankful that the stars have aligned and I have this dream job. I am deeply appreciative to all of the people who helped me on my journey to get to this place in my life and I am so excited to see what comes next.

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photo cred: Instagram (@mal_wingostarrjewelry)

Here’s to another back-to-school flurry of excitement and energy. Here’s to bittersweet endings and exhilarating new beginnings. Here’s to trying your best all day, every day. Here’s to the new backpacks filled with bright and happy school supplies on the backs of bright and happy eager students. I can’t wait to meet you, welcome to art!

❤ ❤ ❤

–Ms. K.

 


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Ode to the Doc Cam

 

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This post is an ode to my document camera. I love this thing so much and have become quite dependant on it to deliver instruction. Anyone who knew me in college knows that I have always been somewhat anti-technology. I had a flip phone way longer than it was socially acceptable to do so. When I first started teaching 4 years ago doc cams were still a technological novelty, one that I refused to participate in and pretty much despised. I thought that having students watch the demo on a screen instead of looking at my hands directly took away the personal aspect of the class. Eventually (as you will learn in the following poem) I finally caved in and learned how to use and eventually adore my document camera. I am so thankful that I have access to such a great resource and was struck with the inspiration to rhyme about it. Please enjoy the following, it is to the tune of Fresh Prince of Bel Air*

Now this is the story all about how
My art teachin’ ways got flipped all around
and I’d like to take a minute, with some poetry slam
I’ll tell you how I fell in love with my doc cam.

In Mimosa Elementary my career was born and raised,
In the art room is where I spent most of my days
Chillin’ out, maxin’, relaxin’ all cool
Doin close-up demos for all the kids in school 

When a couple of kids who had some yucky germs
sat too close to me and made me squirm
I got one little cold and then went bananas
I knew it was time to use the document camera

I begged and pleaded with my METI every day
and she checked out a cam to me and sent me on my way
Set-up was easy and so quick that it
was simple
and I knew that this is the way to kick it

First class, yo this is a great start
No coughing, sneezing, or too-near farts
Is this what techy people are livin like? 
Hmmm this might be alright

But wait the best part
the kids could all see all of that

This is the best type of tech for this cool Kat
I know they get it, right now and right here
All of their confusion, pushing and squinting disappeared

When the end of my demo finally came near
I pressed “freeze” and the picture still remained there
If anything I could say this feature was neat
And I thought, hey it’s awesome and pretty sweet

I now use the doc cam about seven or eight
times a day for each class that I teach
its great
and to my old ways

I say “Yo homes, smell ya later” 
and I look at my art kingdom, I am finally in an era
of perfection with my document camera

*I was recently asked if I like Will Smith by a 5th grader. I not only expressed my absolute adoration for the actor/rapper/father/positivity inspirationist but then proceeded to explain the show Fresh Prince of Bel Air to the entire class. When they confessed that they had never seen it we stopped everything and all enjoyed the opening credits together. They were for the most part impressed that I knew every single word. At least – I think the looks on their faces said they were impressed. It might have just been pure disbelief at how weird their art teacher is.


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SFO to PDX

Last summer, I went to Chicago to see the Braves play and experience the city. This summer I continued the tradition of following my team out of town to San Francisco and Portland. A few days after school was finished back in May I headed out west.

I got off the plane and headed straight to Chinatown for lunch. That place is crazy and the food is crazy good.

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Then from Chinatown it was off to Pier 39. We took a boat tour under the Golden Gate Bridge and got to see the seals too!

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The next day was a visit to Haight Ashbury and Japantown.

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That tie dye is the largest framed artwork in the city, on the ceiling of a shop in Haight Ashbury! The cool looking building is a monument in Japantown. We walked around and saw the famous Painted Lady houses:

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And watched vehicles try and traverse through Russian Hill:

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San Francisco is serious business about it’s hills — there are some mighty steep streets! Here are some other cool things:

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Unlike last summer’s trip to Chicago, the Braves won against the Giants this time around! At the end of the game the stadium swarmed with seagulls.

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One of my favorite parts of this trip were the amazing hikes. San Francisco is such a cool city — one moment you can be in the middle of a busy city and the next you can be on a hike in nature by the sea.

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This is me running on a hillside:

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Here is a labyrinth made of stones on the edge of the world:

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One of the hikes was on a trail that had old army bunkers. . . now covered in graffiti!

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After a few days in San Fran, it was time to jet off to Portland.

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(hahah get it? time to jet off!)

The first thing I did in Portland was visit an exquisite Japanese garden. It was so peaceful and quite stunning in its beauty.

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Then of course I had to try some local food at the food carts downtown. Noms!!

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And a trip to the famous and delicious doughnut shop was of course in order:

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The evening ended with a trip to an awesome arcade:

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Overall it was a fantastic trip. Special thanks to Erika & Jeremy for their hospitality! I am really excited to continue my year of crazy travelling and jetsetting with my trip to Italy and Greece in a couple of weeks. Stay tuned for more adventures!

❤ Ms. K

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Summertime and the Livin’s Easy

Hello Readers! How are you enjoying your summer? I am enjoying mine very much which is why I have been m.i.a. around here. It’s not all fun and games though, I have been quite busy with schoolwork for my M.A.E.D. program at Georgia State University! I will be posting another Art By Ms. K post soon so stay tuned for that!

Anyhow, I wanted to share some of the stuff I have been up to this summer. If you follow me on twitter (@artwithmsk) you have seen many of the following photos already. If you do not follow me on Twitter please do so and I shall follow you back!

I spent a couple of weeks instructing summer clay camp at Johns Creek Arts Center (my 8th year as an instructor!) Here are some highlights from the weeks. . .

Owl always love you:

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Slab houses drying in the sun:

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Slab houses painted with acrylic:

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Ms. K’s house:

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Rolling slabs (like a boss) and explaining why you should never stick your fingers in the slab roller:

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Glaze Rainbow!!:

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I have also been participating in The Everyday Renaissance Project on Twitter. It is a fun challenge to create art based around daily themes!

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And I have of course been thoroughly enjoying the great Georgia outdoors with hiking/biking/and river adventures:

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Any good summer is incomplete without a baseball game (or several) GO BRAVES!

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I can tell you that while I absolutely LOVE the heat I do not love all of the construction that is going on. But sometimes the materials are interesting for example this giant pile of foam spaghetti:

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I hope that you are having a fun summer wherever you are with giant and/or regular sized spaghetti. In about 2 weeks I am jetting off to Italy and Greece so I will be m.i.a. once again but when I get back you can bet your bottom dollar I will have another Ms. K Around the World post detailing the art, adventures, and probably mostly food I experience. 🙂

So long and until next time,

❤ Ms. K


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Arts in Atlanta – Elementary School Arts in Education: A WonderRoot Podcast Starring Ms. K!

In December I was contacted by one of Atlanta’s quintessential non-profit art organizations WonderRoot to be a part of their podcast about arts education in Atlanta.

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It was a chilly-bleary-dreary morning when I arrived and met up with my art teacher homie Ms. Traynor and we sat down for a conversation about life, the universe, and everything but mostly teaching art.

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 ^ The dynamic duo being cool in the studio ^ 

I am so excited to announce that it is now complete and ready for your auditory enjoyment! You can check it out here:

http://wonderroot.podomatic.com/entry/2015-01-12T12_10_18-08_00

😀


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DIY: How to Learn How to Sew Your Own Clothes

This post is very overdue. Like, if this was a school project I would have all kinds of points knocked off for being so darn late. It is now January-o’clock and these projects were started back in November during Thanksgiving break.

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For my birthday, my S.O. gave me a sewing machine. I have always been interested in fashion and clothing making and I watch Project Runway religiously. I had been looking wistfully at sewing machines for a while and never got myself one because I thought any attempt at making something would ultimately end up in disaster. But my ever-supportive guy believed enough for the both of us and surprised me with this beauty of a machine. The manual of course is complete gibberish and quite indecipherable so I learned how to use it from Youtube.

So on a sunny November weekday morning, I went to a local fabric store and completely splurged on fabric, notions, and patterns. When I say I spent a few hours in there I am not exaggerating. It was just such a luxury to be in a place on a weekday morning when everybody else is working. I felt like a Real Housewife!

Anyway I left the shop with a million ideas and all the motivation that I could muster up. I had purchased 6 different fabrics and 3 different patterns and had no idea how to begin or make something. The first project I embarked on will not be shown here because it was so dreadful that it will probably never be shown anywhere. I tried to make a tunic top out of ikat upholstery fabric and it was a complete and utter #fail (and of course the most expensive fabric) I think this is probably because I did not follow a pattern and just basically disregarded basic rules of measuring and planning. This is a lesson I have been taught the hard way over and over throughout my life: you have to know the rules before you can break them. This is true in art and creating especially.

I was not to be discouraged. I decided to try out a pattern and make a dress. With darts. And a zipper. Because how better to learn something than to jump right in! The pattern is this:

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I did the racerback style with example A.

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^ Front View ^

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^ Obligatory Spin! ^

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^ Crooked Wacky Yellow Zipper ^ 

Not pictured: the messy and uneven hemline, the atrocity that is the connection of the bodice to the skirt, and the white thread (why oh why didn’t I match the thread?!) It really is a learning experience and I am quite proud that I created something slightly wearable on my first attempt!

Project two is also from a pattern:

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I made option B and improvised with some pockets. (Once again a little over-ambitious!)  I was really excited about this fabric and wanted to play around with the bold graphics of it.

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^ Front View. This this is super wide and ended up being kind of circus-tenty. ^

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^ Do your pockets hang low, do the wobble too and fro? ^

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^ Back detail with racing stripe inside of the hood. ^ 

The hood was sooooooo tough. I originally lined it with the zig-zag fabric but it turned out to be too heavy and bulky so I covered the middle seam with a “racing stripe” of zig zags. The way it is attached is a little wonky but it kind of works!

Project three is from this pattern:

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I made this amazing pizza skirt from pattern A.

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PIZZAAAAAAAAA!

This “simple” circle skirt with elastic waistband ended up being pretty tricky. I messed up the waistband by pulling the elastic taut before sewing it (thus negating the entire point of having it!) and the back is a little poofy and messy. But I just love the fabric because pizza is of course the best food on this good green Earth.

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What I learned from trying to sew my own clothes: 

1. Using a pattern is hard. Not using a pattern is way harder. I still don’t really understand all of the symbols and instructions on patterns and maybe I never will – after all some things will always remain a mystery like how magnets work and the meaning of life. But after trying my hand at creating clothing my hat goes off to people who can create their own pattern or even drape fabric without a pattern.

2. Pockets are amazing and amazingly confusing. If it was up to me, every garment made for a female would have functional pockets already in it. Dudes aren’t the only ones who need to carry stuff around! Figuring out how to make something that is symmetrical and inside-out-upside down is really tricky but worth it.

3. Like every skill, sewing takes patience and practice to become proficient. I am just a beginner and even though the stuff I made is, in my humble opinion, a hot mess – I am going to keep at it until I am better. It’s like what I tell my students when they ask how they can be better artists: you have to practice, practice, practice! I am excited about some fabrics I have stashed away and ready to go. It might be a while again before I find the time/energy/focus to sit down and create clothing (especially because I am about to start a master’s program for Art Ed) but stay tuned . . . there will be more!


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Data in the Art Room

Attention Art Teachers! Are you being asked to show “data” of your teaching and learning in your classroom? Is the mere notion of tracking 500+ students making your brain addled with logistical riddles? Well. . . me too. Most of the home room teachers at my school keep Data Notebooks for their students to show growth and evidence of learning. However, I do not believe there is an  art room in the whole entire ‘Verse that is big enough for all those 3 ring binders. Sooooo I adapted an idea that a good friend gave me which I started last year and am just now getting around to using and implementing. It is a Data Wall and it is pretty neat.

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On the left are the different standards and topics covered by the curriculum. The top part is the grade labels (k-5) and each column has a sticky note which corresponds to the color of one of the standards. Each time we complete a project or lesson that covers the standard or topic, a sticker will be put next to the class. If we cover it more than once — more than one sticker.

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Each sticky note has the day of the week for the class that is taught. For example, under the “K” column each sticky note says M for Monday, T for Tuesday, TH for Thursday, and F for Friday. (There is no W because I am at another school on Wednesdays) Some classes have more stickers because some are further ahead on projects and lessons.

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This is in the rudimentary stages but it is the best system I could come up with for now. I am happy with it for several reasons the main one is that it is so rainbowy! (I declare that to now officially be a word.) The awesome visual of it got the kids really excited when they saw it today and they were stoked that they have already learned some stuff and pumped up about filling up all the sticky notes with stickers by the end of the year.

I have always struggled with a way to make data meaningful for my students, I always thought  that it was something I have to do with the sole purpose of appeasing evaluators. After seeing my student’s reactions to it I was pleasantly surprised and might even use it once in a while.

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I am really happy to have a creative, quick, and easy way to display data. Hopefully I will be able to fine tune it to be even better!


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Peace Day

 

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Around this time last year I was well into my second year of teaching and trying to hold on to the momentum I gained in my first year. Most people will tell you that the first year of teaching is the toughest year ever but my experience has proven my toughest year to be my second. I think it was the combination of a really challenging batch of kids and me agreeing to take on everything I possibly could (ESOL endorsement, Critical Friends Training, and Math Club to name a few.)

Any teacher can tell you that it is right around October when the “Honey Moon Period” ends and behaviors begin to show. Last October the Honey Moon Period ended and in came a tremendous amount of craziness. I was overwhelmed in every sense of the word and I could feel that other teachers at my school were too. I saw that my school had a problem and I wanted to fix it. I felt that many students (especially those with behavior problems) were not being supported enough emotionally.

Now here at Mimosa we have 2 counselors who do a terrific amount of work and I cannot imagine two people who offer any more support anywhere else. But in the classrooms I noticed that time that used to be spent on Morning Meetings and collaborative or team building experiences was now being spent frantically cramming Common Core Curriculum into student’s brains before the CRCT.

This frenzy of academia and lack of community goes against everything I stand for as an educator and more specifically — an art educator. I believe that the purpose of education is to create decent human beings who can be successful in the world. How can we expect our students to be good adults if we are not taking the time to teach them how to make the community a better place and how to appreciate the human experience here on Earth? School should not be all about grades and data and standards — there is so much more to it just as there is so much more to life.

So during a run one sunny autumn afternoon last year I conceptualized the idea for Peace Day. It was to be a day where traditional classroom learning was put on hold and the focus shifted to community, collaboration, and emotional needs. With the help of the school counselors, we planned (and planned and planned and planned and planned and. . . .) our event. We had our initial run in February and it was a whirlwind and a success.

Fast forward to this school year and we did it again! This time we didn’t start from scratch (which really helped!) and we had a dedicated team of teachers who joined our committee. Together we executed another amazing event.

From the  packet given to the teachers:

The purpose of this day is to promote character growth and development through team building activities and community service projects. Today is a day where Mimosa staff and students can come together and experience something great. The success of this day depends on the dynamic of your group and it all starts with you. What are you looking to get out of this day and how can you encourage your group to make the most of it? This is a chance to bond, learn, and grow together in an incredibly unique and meaningful learning experience!

So how does it work?

Well, Mimosa students and staff are split up into 6 houses (kinda like in Harry Potter.) On Peace Day, 2 adults and about 20 kids from each house split into groups and travelled around the school to participate in team building and community learning activities. Each group included students ranging from pre-K all the way to 5th grade. It was a great bonding experience and a great chance for the older kids to be leaders and role models for the younger ones.

The activities were designed to engage students in a meaningful and impactful way through working together to help the community. The activities included:

  • Creating care packages (with supplies brought in by students and donated by Target) to help homeless people (benefiting United Way and the Regional Commission on Homelessness.)
  • Creating artwork (also benefiting United Way)
  • Making a Peace Ring
  • Writing thank-you letters to service men and women (benefiting Bert’s Big Thank You at Q100)
  • Buddy Reading with a book buddy
  • Creating a Banner for your house
  • Team Building / Icebreaker activities
  • Exploring career paths with an Ipad QR code scavenger hunt
  • Nature Scavenger Hunt / School Beautification and Clean Up
  • Planting around the school (flowers and supplies donated by Home Depot)

Each group followed a schedule which included recess and lunch. The groups travelled to different classrooms which were set up with the materials and supplies needed to complete an activity.

Care Packages:

The care packages were simply Ziploc bags filled with toiletry items such as toothbrushes and soap. Most of the items were brought in by students during the weeks leading up to Peace Day.

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Creating Artwork for Formerly Homeless People

United Way works with many local organizations to place formerly homeless people in housing. However once these individuals have a home it is often empty and lonely. The goal of this activity was to create artwork to brighten up someone’s home.

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Making a Peace Ring

The base of the Peace Rings are hula hoops. Students wrote peaceful messages or reflected about Peace Day and added their flag to the ring. They were then hung in the cafeteria on display.

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A Big Thank You 

The letters will be sent to local radio show Q100. Their goal is to send a “thank you” to every service man or woman in the armed forces for thanksgiving.

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Book Buddies

This activity was a huge hit! The team in the media center graciously lent us books about peace and kindness for students to read to one another.

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House Banner

Each house is a word in another language that stands for a character trait we wish our students to have (for example I am in Heshima which means “respect.” Other houses are Arlighet, Chen Xin, Ubuntu, Wajibu, and Tookindel.) Each House created a banner where the students decorated peace signs and wrote what their house trait means and how they show it.

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Team Building

These activities were super fun and silly and great icebreakers. Students had to work as a team to pass a hula hoop around in a circle and line up from shortest to tallest without talking.

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Photo Oct 10, 11 44 16 AM (2)

Photo Oct 10, 11 12 44 AM (2)

Career Scavenger Hunt

Students learned all about careers and contemplated their own career path with a QR code scavenger hunt. They scanned the QR codes and explored different fields. They talked about jobs and careers with their groups.

Photo Oct 10, 9 19 25 AM (2)

Nature Scavenger Hunt and School Clean Up

Groups went outside and cleaned up trash around the school campus. They also participated in a nature scavenger hunt and talked about what it means to respect nature and the environment.

 

Planting

We were fortunate enough to receive a generous donation of planting seeds and supplies from Home Depot. Students made the front of the school beautiful and learned they had a “green thumb” in this activity.

IMG_20141010_105428 Photo Oct 10, 1 10 46 PM (2)

Overall, Peace Day was amazing. I heard so many examples of students becoming shining stars and leading their group – students who normally fade into the background or are prone to misbehavior. It was so wonderful to see the school come together and participate in something bigger than ourselves, making an impact on the community and the world. My hope is that this idea takes off and ultimately Peace Day is a nationwide or even worldwide event that all students and schools can participate in. I truly believe that this day is something special and meaningful and will provide students with an empathy and sensitivity to each other and the world.

 

 


2 Comments

Teachers Pay Teachers (a.k.a. a shameless plug)

artwithmsk

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