Why Do Art Teachers Need A Conference Time, Anyway?

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My elementary art student: Think of the best “valley girl”-accented voice saying, “Why do art teachers need a conference time anyway?”

I’m thinking, “You seriously did not just say that to me, right?” I smiled. Actually I think I bared my teeth and took a deep breath.

Me: (think Julia Sugarbaker accent). My answer:

“Ok, We’ll just examine that question, my friend.

Let’s just talk about materials and tools for a sec, ok?

It may have escaped your notice that on days like today when we paint, when you arrive for your thirty- minute art class (that is really just twenty-five minutes because we have no passing period) that these things are already ready for you on your table:

  • twenty-four large manila backer papers
  • a paper towel
  • a mixing plate
  • and a paint plate with red, yellow, blue, and white paint on it
  • the paint rack where you store your paintings is empty and ready for you with a clothespin on the front with your class number on the side you are supposed to use
  • twelve water cups are filled and ready for you to share with your partner
  • the paint brushes you used yesterday are clean and ready to pass out
  • soapy water is in a tub for your used brushes

Now, about those pesky ideas and goals for my lesson. (I did smile again, really.)

The painting formulas for mixing secondary colors and tints are already on the in-focus screen for you to refer to and your goal for the day is posted on the white board. Ah, vocabulary; like tint, primary, secondary, foreground, middle ground, background, and landscape. Did you think the Keebler Elves handed those to me on a notecard just before class or that I planned what I wanted you to learn?

How about when I carefully taught you procedures for taking out and putting up your artwork and materials by colored table or chair number, did you think that just happened spontaneously through a light sprinkling of fairy dust? No planning involved at all? And that I do all this for six classes a day?

Does that give you a hint of why I might need a planning period?”

The room had become eerily quiet. They were all looking at me like I had grown another head.

Student: “May I have some more yellow paint?”

Me: “Sure.”

Note to self: Switch to decaf tomorrow morning.

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Andy Griffith in the Art Room?

I began studying the Grant Wood painting, The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere, in fifth grade this week. The study of the painting is followed by a student composition that shows their understanding of the bird’s-eye point of view used by Wood.

the-midnight-ride-of-paul-revere-1931_jpglarge

I began the class with an analysis of the painting based on a great lesson plan, from Picturing America, a project from the National Endowment for the Humanities. I asked my class how many knew the story of Paul Revere’s ride.  Not one hand went up. Ready for this I had remembered an OLD episode of The Andy Griffith Show I had seen. I like to use video clips to illustrate my lessons. For this technology-laden generation, anything that appears on a screen captures student’s attention immediately.

My kids were shocked to see a black and white image appear and one young one popped up with, “Oh, my grandma watches this all the time!” Body-blows to my ego non-withstanding, the five minute clip shows sheriff Andy helping history come alive by telling the story of the ride of Paul Revere. In my opinion, a great telling of the story, which made my students look again at Grant Wood’s painting with new eyes. It was a great class.

Wikiart Image

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Artist

bamboo-5065_1280We were doing a very serious painting this week in sixth grade art class. Very serious. Chinese brush painting.

I meticulously set up the atmosphere for ethereal ink paintings of bamboo to  appear. With wood flute meditation music playing softly in the background, I  taught my small class of sixth graders proper brush technique. I broke down the steps to painting the bamboo stem, joints, branches and leaves. We even had real bamboo brushes, tiny wells of black India ink and bamboo pens for details.

In my best Mr. Miyagi imitation I cautioned, “Teacher say, student do.” The room was hushed as they concentrated.

Then from the left side of the room an unexpected arm jostle caused drops of ink to fly and brought this exclamation from one of my students. “Awww,you guys made me ink!”  Perfect imitation of the small octopus on Finding Nemo.

I have not laughed that hard in days. Of course we had to look up the clip on YouTube. The entire class left my room intoning “Awww,you guys made me ink!” Not exactly the cultural experience I had planned, but some of the best art comes from the unexpected.

“Awww,you guys made me ink!”- Andrew Stanton, Finding Nemo

Photo: CCO license https://pixabay.com/en/bamboo-bamboo-garden-aureocaulis-5065/

Writers Quote Wednesday Writing Challenge – “Artist”

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