First of Many Retirement Parties

…..not sure why but this is the fourth time I’ve tried to write about this

As many of you know, I retired from teaching on June 30. Four of us all retired this year so there were many parties to attend. The first party was put on by the Toronto District School Board. I’ve been with this board for my entire career.

Back in May over 900 employees from the board were celebrated. That’s how many people retired this year. The highlight of the evening happened at the end of the evening when each of us was gifted a bronze school bell. At the countdown every recipient rung their bell at the same time. It was deafening. In the video below only three of us were ringing the bells.

More Fun Faces

….a few more art projects done by my grade 3 classes

This last assignment on drawing faces has to be one of my favourite projects. If I ever get called back to do supply work in an art class I’ll definitely pull this one out of my bag of tricks if I have to come up with my own lesson plan.

Inspired by Van Gogh’s Sunflowers

…..the kindergarten classes that I teach art to created a garden of Van Gogh inspired sunflowers

Recently I read the book The Artist and Me by Shane Peacock to the entire school. The book is one of the Blue Spruce nominees for 2017. the-artist-and-me-by-shane-peacock

I liked this book for two reasons. Firstly, because it is written for young children and highlights how the famous artist Vincent Van Gogh was bullied by children and adults alike. It points out that even adults are bullied when they appear different or do things differently. In Van Gogh’s case he suffered from depression and his art was different from the classics that people had come to expect from artists. The students were surprised that such a famous artist was treated so badly. I explained to them that Van Gogh was one of several new artists that had grown tired of traditional painting and wanted to experiment with texture, colour and paint strokes. People had a hard time excepting this new way of painting and in his lifetime Van Gogh only sold one painting.

Secondly, I liked this book because the illustrator tried to use similar colours that Van Gogh used and he reproduced parts of Van Gogh’s work in his illustrations. For example there are a few illustrations of Van Gogh’s famous bedroom and an illustration of the wheat fields that he liked to paint.

I had other books that showed some of Van Gogh’s many paintings. I showed my kindergarten classes the sunflowers that Van Gogh became famous for after he died. In our art period I demonstrated how to paint simple sunflowers using round stamps. Some of the students used paintbrushes to create the petals of the sunflowers. We talked about the different varieties and colours of sunflowers and I gave them yellow, red, orange and white paint that they could mix if they wanted.

On the first day the students painted the centres and the petals of the flowers. On day two they added green leaves and stems. I also gave them the option of adding a blue sky in the background and I showed them how to paint around their flowers. Some of the students also added some ladybugs and other little critters.

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More Collage Art by my Grade Three Classes

….I love the finished collage projects that my grade three art classes produced

It took close to three weeks to get this assignment finished. The first week we collected and assorted coloured pages from magazine and discarded books. The second week we cut up and glued geometric shapes into cityscapes or country landscapes. In the final class we added line detail and dots to give the scene texture and interest. I think the boys and girls did a wonderful job.

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More Collage Art

….from a different grade 3 class

I love how unique each piece is. This class started this assignment when I was away. The concept of creating a cityscape of buildings clearly wasn’t on the radar for some of these students but I can’t fault them when I wasn’t there to give them the instructions. Some of them also created more of a fantasy land with flying turtles and smiling buildings but I love that too.

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Norval Morrisseau’s Images Enchant Children

….it started as an art project with the kindergarteners

November was Aboriginal Month for our school board. I introduced my kindergarten class to Canadian First Nations artist Norval Morrisseau. He was sometimes referred to as the Picasso of the North. His art is characterized by the use of heavy black lines and bright vibrant colours.

I found a couple of images on the web that were reproducible and I drew a couple more free hand. I gave the children some bright acrylic paints and cotton swabs  and  taught them how to create dots with the Q-tips. Some of the children used the tool like a paint brush and didn’t really get the concept of creating dots but in the end they all cooked very nice.

I used the same sheets with my grade three students but it was suppose to be an extra project for the students who finished their other art project before the end of the class. In the end they all wanted to fill in one of the four images.

The first set were done by the kindergarten class.

 

This set was done by the grade 3s.

Pinterest is a Teacher’s Best Friend

….for art lessons, teaching math, classroom rules, class management and Christmas crafts

Last week we hosted our annual Craft Night at our school. It’s an event that the community of parents and students loves to attend. For weeks in advance the teachers pair up with a colleague (some go solo) and scour the internet for craft ideas that small children and their parents can successfully complete in 10 to 15 minutes or less.

The parent council funds the evening and each teacher is given a set amount of money  to purchase supplies. It works out to approximately $1.00 per craft. This year some of the crafts included bees wax candles, decorating glass ornaments, making bath salts,  and decorating cookies.

I went straight to Pinterest for inspiration and came across these beautiful paper trees mounted on a disc of spruce wood. Lyckoslanten is a Finnish blogger who posted this simple craft over at Lyckoslanten. I didn’t discover the translation button till much later but I easily figured out how to recreate this craft.

The tricky part was figuring out how to get the wood. At first I thought I could pick up branches from camp but that didn’t happen. Then I thought I could use the cut-offs from Christmas trees but we didn’t get our tree until after Craft Night.

into intoA week before  the event I went to a Winter Market in the Junction. While there I saw a couple of vendors who used birch wood to create some of their crafts. I also saw some beautiful trees made from birch wood. I asked them where they got their wood. One of the vendors offered to cut all the discs for me but at a price of course and it would have used up most of my budget. In hindsight it might have been worth it. The other vendor suggested that I buy the birch logs from a garden centre and use a chop saw to cut them up. A much cheaper option.

I went with the cheaper option and spent two evening cutting up two twelve foot birch branches into about 180 discs. I couldn’t belief the amount of sawdust it created. I spent almost as much time cleaning up as I did cutting. After I cut the discs I also had to drill holes into each disc for the skewers to fit. My friend L photocopied Christmas sheet music onto 150 sheets of photocopy paper. We tried heavier card stock but it was more difficult to fold.

On the night of the event we set up the tables at the back of the library with all the supplies that people needed to complete the trees. We added some tiny gift boxes that could be added to the base and some stars and snowflakes that could be glued onto the paper.

The entire evening took only an hour but it was extremely busy and I spent most of my time punching holes into the pleated paper so that the skewers could go through the middle. By the way, the best tool for this turned out to be an awl and a hammer. All in all it was a very successful night and everyone loved their trees.

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