Friday, April 29, 2011

Red + Yellow = Orange!

I saw this idea on one of my favorite blogs, Art Project Girl, and had so much fun doing it with my Kindergarten classes!  Here is a link to Art Project Girl's post: Easy Project You Can Do Tomorrow.  The kinders loved making their bright flowers as they practiced double loading their paintbrushes with red and yellow paint to make different orange hues.  They also practiced thick lines, thin lines and outlining. 

Aren't they just lovely?  Thank you, Art Project Girl!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Charcoal and Pastel Owls

A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to have 2 bonus class periods with my 6th graders while my current middle school group (8th grade) was in Washington, D.C. for the annual 7th/8th grade travel week.  Because I hadn't had my 6's in a couple of months, and I only had a little over 1 hour of usable art making time with them, I knew I needed a project that would get them excited and keep them on task so that we would have finished pieces of art at the end of our time together.  I decided that something BIG and a little bit messy would be right up their alley.  For whatever reason, kids have a very high success rate with bird images (and cats, too!) so I decided we would draw owls and focus on drawing big, using lots of visual texture, and variation in value (lights and darks).

To help the kids dive right in, I had some owl images available for them to look at (photocopied from Animals: 1,419 Copyright-Free Illustrations).  They worked in charcoal on 19 x 25" tagboard that I had cut down from larger (25 x 38") pieces that I found in the paper room.  To make their work really pop, they selected an area or two (usually the eyes, background or beak) to add color to using chalk pastels.  The results were stunning and several are proudly on display in the lunchroom for all to enjoy!


Hello world!

Hi!  For those of you who know me in real life the title of my blog might seem weird, because you have never called me MJ!  This is what most of my students call me now.  It is "Mrs. J" in an even shorter, kid-logic form.  And, according to my spunky 4th graders, it is fitting because I rank right up there with 2 other (slightly more famous) MJ's: Michael Jordan and Michael Jackson!  Ha!

For those of you getting to know me through this blog, I am a 3rd year, K-8 Visual Arts teacher in Minnesota.  I have about 360 students and get to see my K-5 classes twice a week for 40 minutes each period.  Middle schoolers (grades 6-8) have my class for one trimester, 30 minutes every other day.  My classroom is in the school basement right across the hall from the Music room and right next to the cafeteria.  Because of this, and because they are just phenomenal people, the Music teacher and head of the school's hot lunch program have become some of my biggest supporters and best givers of advice (in addition to my patient and understanding husband who gets to hear all the trials and triumphs of each day when he gets home!).  I also work with a whole crew of awesome teachers and the best staff I could wish for here!

Without trying to sound like too much of a Pollyanna, I really think I have one of the best jobs in the world!  My goal for this blog is to share some of my classroom management techniques, organization systems (which are still being developed - there are so many supplies in an Art room and SO MUCH PAPER!), favorite projects, as well as some things about the rest of my life (some of my younger students think I sleep on a cot in my coatroom but I do (try to) have a life outside of teaching art)!  It is not all sunshine and lollipops, though, and you'll probably get to read about some of my bad days on here, too!