Friday, December 21, 2012

a little personal.

Home with the boy today. Sick on his last day of school before winter break.

Watching the Empire Strikes Back.

Thought I would share a few photos of some of the things I have seen around:)

Hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season!

Friday, December 14, 2012


 The 5th graders wrapped up their Don Pendleton inspired unity skateboard decks this week.

The start of each class saw students at different levels of project completion. After they finished I give them the opportunity to design a different deck any way they please. The students really enjoyed this aspect of their time this week. It was interesting to see how some students stuck with the unity theme and how some really broke out from the whole repetition concept.

After all the students were done with their first deck I passed out the assessments and reflection sheets/rubrics. Generally, this was around the 50 minute mark of a 70 minute lesson.

We walked through the evaluation process together. I told them the most important aspect of this process is to be able to be honest with themselves. The assessment process is a time to identify strengths and weaknesses of how they handle the language of art. 

We looked at three things in the assessment. How they created unity, how well crafted they made their design, and how respectful they were in class. They evaluated their own work and then I evaluated theirs. So many of the kids were spot on with their assessments of their work.

Over winter break my plan is to cut plywood decks for 2 students in each class. The student designs that are selected will be based on creativity, craftsmanship, and respect.

The winners will be announced after winter break:)

Thursday, December 13, 2012

did you vote yet?

Time is running out in voting process for the Art Education blog of the year competition!

If you have not yet voted, please head over to the Art of Education and cast your ballot:)

The deadline is tomorrow at midnight. Don't miss out. Recognize the wonderful blog/s that you draw inspiration from!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

symmetry skate.

Well, I couldn't let the 5th graders have all the fun with skateboards this week, could I?


I found these fly designs by Samuel Murdoch online last week. Samuel was born, raised, and schooled in England, but now resides in Vietnam. He did a series of deck designs for the LB Skateshop. Each of the animals he chose is native to Vietnam/Asia. I loved the tie in to native animals. The designs, themselves, are super clean and bold.

The added bonus is that the designs are a showcase for symmetry, which is what I am focusing on with the second graders this go around. Perfect:)

The classes did 3d symmetrical paper snowflakes last week, so I revisited the concept of symmetry with them when they arrived. I also did the same thing with using collage to make art. I told them we would be revisiting both things this lesson, but the end result would look a lot different than what they made last week.

Before starting the hands on activity, I told the class that we would not focus on an animal native to Vietnam, but one that was native to California. I also told them this animal was on the state flag. Yes, we would be using the grizzly bear as our focus.

1. we shaped the board
2. we folded and cut the head shape
3. we folded and cut the face shape
4. we glued both parts on to the paper decks
5. we then used leftover cuttings of the dark paper to use for locating the eyes
6. we folded, cut, and glued the mouth and nostrils
7. we folded, cut and glued the teeth and eyes
8. we added symmetrical designs to the top and bottom spaces of the deck, using leftover paper and colorsticks
9. we cleaned up
10. we let out a big growl!

I'd say the teeth were the hardest part for most of the classes. The small zigzag cuts were a bit tricky for them. Even though everybody followed the same steps, there were many interesting variations of bears and background designs. When students were adding background elements I emphasized that would be how their designs would look a lot different than their classmates'.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

shine some light on shine brite!

Hey y'all!

 I just found out from Jessica over at The Art of Education that my art education blog has been selected as one of the finalists to win "Art Ed Blog of the Year!" Very cool. This is such a great idea. I have already discovered a lot of great new Art Ed Blogs just through the nomination page. Seriously, there are so many incredible educators out there relfecting on their practice and celebrating student achievement.

Here's the thing though...Shine Brite Zamorano needs your help to win! Voting is open this whole week from today through Friday the 14th. 

Could I ask you to take 30 seconds, follow this linkand vote for my blog?! All you have to do is click on the name of my blog in the poll, and click vote! It's that easy. 

We've got the best fans out there, so I'm confident that if you all take just a second to vote, we’ll be promoted to one of the Top 10 Art Ed Blogs of 2012! 

This will make so many more people aware of  the great things going on at Zamorano Fine Arts Academy.

Shine brite:)

Friday, December 7, 2012

decked out.

I got to revisit one of my favorite designers with the 5th graders this week. We looked at the work of Don Pendleton. He is know mostly for his skateboard graphics, but he also does other design work, paintings, and murals, to name a few. I love his figuarative abstract style, his use of color, and how he has kept his work fresh throughout his career by making sometimes bold, sometimes subtle changes in his style and work.

The 5th graders are actually familiar with his work because we did a project together when they were in third grade that was also inspired by his work. I thought it would be interesting to see how they treated their designs this time around. I am going to see if I can match up pics of student's work from then with what they are doing now...

The focus of the project was creating unity. We talked about how you can do it by repeating shapes, lines, and colors. I asked them if they knew what graph paper was. Everybody did, so I asked them if it was exciting to look at. The vast majority of kids said no. I talked about how too much unity could be a visually "bad" thing. I then asked them what they could do to make the graph paper more interesting. How could they add variety? I got back different size squares, different color squares or lines, thick or thin lines, different directions of lines, etc.

This was good. I emphasized that a successful artwork needs a balance between unity and variety.

I then shared a few images from Don's website to re-familiarize the kids with his work. They didn't recognize his name, but as soon as they saw his work it all came back to them. The series I wanted to focus on was his microcosm series.

We identified that Don had created unity in these designs by repeating the same shape over and over. We also identified variety in the designs through changing sizes, changing colors, and using thin and thick lines.

I then told them we would be designing our own decks based on this series of boards. Cheers rang out throughout the classroom:)

I quickly walked them through the process for the project. I also dangled this carrot- I would be selecting at least one design from each 5th grade class, probably 2 (boy and a girl), to turn into an actual skateboard deck. Over winter break I'll cut and shape the winners decks out of plywood and the selected kids will get to paint/draw their designs on them after break. I emphasized that I would be selecting designs from kids that showed originality in their designs, have the necessary elements of unity and variety, and who are respectful and on task during class. 

Usually, the 5th grade classes are the most social of my classes, but this week all but one of them have earned class behavior green cards. Interesting...

The design process went like this-
1. shape the deck out of one of 3 colors of paper. Red, yellow, or blue. This color would dictate the color choice later because they would use an analogous color scheme to create a lot of unity and a bit of variety in their design.

2. do at least 2 rough draft versions of possible designs- required elements- about 15 shapes, different size shapes, and overlapping of shapes

3. shape top of larger white paper for design on primary color deck

4. draw design lightly on big white paper

5. trace over lines with thick and thin black markers

6. add color to design using one set of analogous colors. Pressing hard and soft to create variety.

7. shape/cut bottom edge of white paper

8. glue white in place on deck

9. on bottom part of deck, add a couple symbols, text or both, that relate to the deck design

Each class will have time to complete the project next week. After completion they will do a self assessment focusing on the principles of unity and variety, as well as creativity and execution of their design.

I'll post more next week, but I wanted to share the process before then:) 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

symmetry snowflakes.

I think I have done more winter themed projects this year than I have ever before. What's up with that?! I'm usually so ba-humbug when it comes to the holidays. I think a lot of it is seeing my son and daughter now caught up in the holiday spirit at home:)


This week the second grade classes made 3d paper snowflakes. I started the lesson by talking to them about what a collage is and what symmetry is. Both are part of the 2nd grade art standards. I drew examples of shapes on the board and split them in half. The kids then told me whether the sides were equal or not. What they discovered was that some shapes have symmetry in one direction, some in more than one, and some don't have it at all.

I then showed them the back of a snowflake I had made. They thought it was pretty neat, but when I flipped it over to show them the front, the majority of classes went off:) I have to admit, I think these are pretty "cool" too.

The snowflakes have 3 layers, big medium, and small, as well as dark, medium, and light. Some students expressed concern that they would not be able to do it. I assured them by folding our paper we would be able to create symmetrical shapes.

Each layer is built the same way, although the medium and small layers can have one less cut slit than the big layer. We made each 4 point star (snowflake) by folding the paper twice. We quartered each square. I asked the classes how many quarters were in a dollar and when they told me 4 I pointed out that our square was now folded into 4 parts.

Even though the students followed the same steps, each of the snowflakes looked different and unique depending on line spacing, layer arrangement, and how deep the slits were cut.