Posted by: dbjaquith | September 28, 2016

Transitions in the Month of September

View of Mt. Hood from the gardens of Pittock Mansion in Portland, OR

View of Mt. Hood from the gardens of Pittock Mansion in Portland, OR

Roni Rohr, Mary Olson and I standing outside Santa Fe's Meow Wolf installation

Roni Rohr (left) and Mary Olson (right) with me (center) outside Santa Fe’s Meow Wolf installation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This post is long overdue! The summer has been full of adventures—trips to Oregon and New Mexico to visit my children, and the third TAB Summer Teacher Institute in Boston, with 60 incredible educators from all over the US and beyond! This is a hybrid online/low residency graduate course, with a week spent in Boston during July. We are fortunate to have distinguished TAB faculty, including Nan Hathaway, from Vermont; Julie Toole, from Illinois; and Ian Sands, from North Carolina.

PreK-12 students' artwork from TAB programs on display in the brand-new Doran Gallery, which also served as our meeting space

PreK-12 students’ artwork from TAB programs on display in the brand-new Doran Gallery, which also served as our meeting space

Our terrific hosts at Massachusetts College of Art & Design provided us with state-of-the-art facilities in the brand-new Design Media Center, including a beautiful gallery space where we exhibited student artwork from participants in the course. Our keynote speaker, Nathalie Miebach, shared her artworks and background to a rapt audience.

Nathalie Miebach's presentation on her weather-inspired sculptures

Nathalie Miebach’s presentation on her scientific data-inspired sculptures

This year we changed the format a bit. Instead of dividing the group into experienced and new-to-TAB teachers, we designed cohorts by level. Ian worked with middle and high school teachers, Nan with middle school, and Julie with elementary. Kathy Douglas and I filled in here and there and kept everything running smoothly, along with the help of our assistant, Christine Phillips.

MK Monley shares her students' work with circuits and construction

MK Monley shares her students’ work with circuits and construction

Unfortunately, Clyde Gaw was unable to join us due to a last-minute injury and Annie Banning kindly stepped in to run the TAB studio. We certainly had many veteran teachers in the mix, who generously shared their expertise in choice-based teaching and learning. Hot topics included artistic behaviors, quality work, curriculum planning, assessment, SLOs, studio habits, and exhibition. Plans for 2017’s TAB Summer Teacher Institute are in the works, so stay tuned!

The Teaching for Artistic Behavior Summer Teacher Institute Class of 2016!

The Teaching for Artistic Behavior Summer Teacher Institute Class of 2016!

Now we are nearing the end of September and I am enjoying retirement from K-12 teaching, and a transition to higher education. I am thrilled to be working with future art educators at Massachusetts College of Art & Design! As an instructor in the Department of Art Education, I will be co-teaching Prepracticum2 with Laura Reeder. Our intelligent, creative, and enthusiastic students are about to embark on (for many) their first experiences as teachers. They bring knowledge and compassion to the studio settings where they will teach grades 3-12 students in studio classes through MassArt’s traditional Saturday Studios program. This program is 75 years old and a cornerstone of the Art Education Department. In fact, I was a student teacher in this program over 25 years ago and remember the feelings of anticipation and excitement each Saturday when children arrived in the studios. I know this fall’s participants will have a super studio experience at Saturday Studios!

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Posted by: dbjaquith | June 11, 2016

Fashion Fun!

FashionFifth graders chose to work with our teacher intern, Rachel Howell, to design clothing for a manniken. First they created the manniken’s identity and then designed clothing for their models. Some sewed, some glued, some stapled fabric together. Above is the display of the fashion runway at Franklin School.

Posted by: dbjaquith | June 11, 2016

Art in the Month of June

Flowers from my garden inspire some painters.

Flowers from my garden inspire some painters.

Ah, June. Out come the irises, peonies and warm days. Here in the lower level of the school (aka the cellar) it stays reasonably cool even on the hottest days. In fact, teachers on the second floor look for excuses to bring their classes down to the library, art and music rooms because the temperatures up there can reach the 90s.

June is a busy month. Lots of field trips, excursions, visitors, extra recess and general loss of attention due to the arrival of summer. How do I keep 430 children happily engaged during art class? Lots of one-class choices that do not make big messes! Kumihimo braiding, watercolor painting,  dodecahedrons, Origami, collage, drawing critters and Zentangles, mini 3D designs – or large –  to reduce the volume of stuff. Here is what it looks like on a typical June day.

Drawing patterns and other ideas.

Drawing patterns and other ideas.

This is an amazing tube filled with facts about black holes that can rotate on its stand. Hopefully more about this soon!

This is an amazing tube filled with facts about black holes that can rotate on its stand. Hopefully more about this soon!

We have finally finished glazing all the clay pottery and sculptures. Here are two Eiffel Towers by a third and a fourth grader who were not inspired by each other.

We have finally finished glazing all the clay pottery and sculptures. Here are two Eiffel Towers by a third and a fourth grader who were not inspired by each other.

Paint is going away soon so students are eager to paint their 3D structures before taking them home.

Paint is going away soon so students are eager to paint their 3D structures before taking them home.

Certain students become obsessed with Origami as is this 2nd grader who chooses it every week. His skills are rapidly growing!

Certain students become obsessed with Origami as is this 2nd grader who chooses it every week. His skills are rapidly growing!

Posted by: dbjaquith | June 11, 2016

Acrylic Painting

This second grader painted an array of semi-circles, making certain that no one color touched the same color. It's a game she has played many times before.

This second grader painted an array of semi-circles, making certain that no one color touched the same color. It’s a game she has played many times before.

Our PTO raises funds by doing raffles for time with teachers. Typically it happens on a Tuesday afternoon (Tuesdays are half-days) so no one is expected to provide time outside of the school day. My offering was acrylic painting on large canvases that I found in the back of the supply closet. Four boys and four girls from grades 2 and 3 joined me recently to paint their canvases. I wasn’t sure if 2 hours would be enough time but it turned out to be perfect! Most came with a plan in place and started sketching with chalk right on the canvases.

Working large is not often possible due to large classes and limited table space. In this case, with just two students per table, the huge canvases could be accessed from all sides.

Working large is not often possible due to large classes and limited table space. In this case, with just two students per table, the huge canvases could be accessed from all sides.

The Liverpool team logo - his mom told me that she was shocked at his interest in acrylic painting. Yet he showed up with his team shirt so he could faithfully copy the logo.

The Liverpool team logo – his mom told me that she was shocked at his interest in acrylic painting. Yet he showed up with his team shirt so he could faithfully copy the logo.

Silly me - I pre-painted the canvases gray so there wouldn't be any white space. That turned out to be a bad decision on my part.

Silly me – I pre-painted the canvases gray so there wouldn’t be any white space. That turned out to be a bad decision on my part.

In order to make the best use of our time students placed their paintings outside to dry quickly in the sun so they could add details on top of painted areas.

In order to make the best use of our time students placed their paintings outside to dry quickly in the sun so they could add details on top of painted areas.

Posted by: dbjaquith | May 9, 2016

More and More Clay

Clay1We are up to our ears in clay artwork and it is fabulous! As the pieces come out of the kiln they are sorted class by class. Sculpture surfaces are decorated with watercolor; functional pottery is covered with glaze and returned to the kiln for one more firing. Every time the kiln is opened it is full of surprises. Clay2

A second-grader's first attempt with glaze.

A second-grader’s first attempt with glaze.

Even kindergartners can appreciate the tricky nature of clay. Too little water and it cracks; too much water and it can break apart. With lots of play and practice students learn what clay can and cannot do. Observing fired pieces shows clay artists what steps are necessary for kiln-ready clay: score attachments, hollow out thick parts, smooth cracks, names on bottom. As skills grow students are able to take more responsibilities with the clay studio, including cutting clay, labeling names and wiping down tables.

A first grader makes a frog in the water.

A first grader makes a frog in the water.

A special structure for Mothers Day.

A special structure for Mothers Day.

Two ladybugs lovingly created by a first grader.

Two ladybugs lovingly created by a first grader.

Posted by: dbjaquith | April 30, 2016

The Return of Clay

Third graders develop craft with clay techniques.

Third graders develop craft with clay techniques.

Attaching a foot to a bowl.

Attaching a foot to a bowl.

We’ve waited for months. We’ve been patient. We’ve had to trust the process even though that process took eight months for the kiln venting system to be rerouted and approved by the building inspector. Finally, in April, we have received permission to fire up the kiln. During the first firing some pretty nasty fumes emerged and were attributed to oil on the new duct work. I came in over the vacation week to fire again just to see if the odor would disappear and it did. Now, with three firings, it seems the kiln is once again working well!

Painting glaze designs on fired clay.

Painting glaze designs on fired clay.

About half of the fourth and fifth graders chose clay for their 4-class WOW exploration. Students in all other grades can choose clay each class. This means a ton of clay artwork to be fired and sorted by class. Which is great because we have all missed the spontaneity and flexibility of clay in the art studio. We are so happy to have clay back again!

Younger students decorate their art with watercolor.

Younger students decorate their art with watercolor.

Posted by: dbjaquith | March 27, 2016

National Art Education Association Conference

TAB_Dinner_NAEA_2016

About 60 of the hundreds of TAB art educators attending NAEA Chicago 2016.

Every year thousands of visual art educators convene for a national conference featuring best practices. Our TAB group is ever-present with sessions on choice-based art education and learner-directed practice. This year my session, “What Were You Thinking?” focused on Studio Habits of Mind and assessment. This time spent with TAB colleagues was most rewarding and provided us all with valuable affirmation that the child is, indeed, the artist!

 

 

Posted by: dbjaquith | March 27, 2016

Non Traditional Drawing

NonTradD

Oil pastels on red sandpaper

There is a group of students who draw incessantly (you know who they are). Each year as these artists stretch/explore with new drawing media and develop their craft, they discover new modes of expression. But… somewhere around mid-winter the drawings can get stale. Maybe its the lack of sunshine or fresh air or all too familiar company, but the work appears in need of a shake-up.

 

What did I do to encourage more experimentation with drawing media in 4th grade? Non-traditional drawing! Just as they have “non-traditional homework” from time-to-time, this challenge might just shake up their divergent thinking skills. Students were shocked at first but agreed to try the plan for a few weeks.  Now that they have these new techniques will they ever use them again?

NonTDrwg5These students are drawing on black paper – it’s what you do when the teacher takes away the white paper that you love so much. To their surprise, drawing on black paper is not all that different, other than it provides opportunities for certain special effects.

 

 

NonTDrwg1                                                     Other media included drawing on clear and colored acetate and then layering the pieces, cutting away parts to show different colors in the drawings. The boy to the left is drawing on a piece of clear film with Sharpies.  Below two students “discovered” that they can off-set drawing marks by placing paper on top of oil pastels and then drawing lines with pencil.

NonTDrwg7

Posted by: dbjaquith | March 27, 2016

Plaster is not the same as Clay

Plaster1In case you haven’t heard, we have not been allowed to fire clay all year. This, in addition to being denied the kiln last year from September through December. The issue is the not the kiln itself but its venting system, considered unsafe by the building inspector, then acceptable and then again unacceptable. The actual repair took less than a day but the work was wedged in-between so many other city jobs, apparently far more important than an entire school’s ability to access a vital part of the visual art curriculum.

Sculptors and ceramicists grew weary of asking “When can we work with clay?” and I grew weary of having no real answers for them. In February students in grade 3-5 were offered the opportunity to work with plaster as a 3D alternative. Though my 4th and 5th graders have sculpted with plaster every year this was the first time it has been offered to 3rd graders in my art program. They rose to the occasion and did a spectacular job!

Plaster3Plaster01

Here’s how students developed craft with plaster sculptures:  Starting with aluminum foil and tape students construct armatures that are glued onto foam bases. The next step is to cover the entire sculpture with layers of plaster gauze, similar to the plaster used to make casts for broken limbs.

Plaster2

Plaster02.jpg

The final stages are to paint and decorate the sculpture. The yellow goat is the same sculpture as seen in the photo (above) of the aluminum armature by the laptop featuring images of goats as reference to the artist.

Awesome sculptures? Yes! Spontaneous like clay? No. These took 4+ classes to complete and required a lot of materials supervision. Super messy, super fun. But not the same as clay. And you can’t make a bowl you can eat cereal from. It sounds like our kiln might be ready very soon for use. Stay tuned!

Posted by: dbjaquith | March 27, 2016

100 Colors for the 100th Day of School

100th Day ColorsThe 100th day of school for us was on February 23, a little later than usual because of several snow days, vacation week plus a school closure last October.  A few weeks prior to the 100th day students were challenged to help create a collaborative 100 Colors poster to display upstairs in the main hallway. Painters began adding just one of the colors they mixed each class. As the date came closer and closer more and more students participated, eager to be the 100th painter on the poster. Painters named their colors: Bubble Gum Pink, Frog Blood Green, Orange Fire, Swampy Yellow, Princess Purple and so on. So many colors, so many great painterly minds!

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