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The 8th graders created a stencil of someone important to them. I got a grant to buy spray paint from the  PTO and Blick happened to have a buy 5, get 1 free sale on Montana Black spray paint. It comes in a lot of different colors. I printed out some tips from this instructables lesson and reviewed them while I demonstrated how to use the spray paint. Then students practiced using spray paint to print their image. They also wore dentist-like masks to keep the fumes out (not pictured.)

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Next, they’ll create a background and then create a final print by layering their stencil on top.

IMG_0176The 8th grade production of Oklahoma! was a hit. I’m so proud of all of the 8th graders who participated, and especially to my students in the Stage Craft class who helped cut, paint and assemble many of the props and set pieces. Also, a big THANK YOU to my parent volunteer Kimberly, who helped manage the class and painted the finishing touches on our backdrop!

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Inspired by a former colleague of mine, I challenged my eighth graders to create a mixed-media shoe sculpture, using appropriate construction techniques, that reveals something unique about them. Students started by creating an armature and then used mixed-media materials to enhance their designs. I’m so impressed with their problem solving, persistence and final products!

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7th and 8th graders were challenged to design an Artist Trading Card for each of the 7 elements of art and principles of design. Each card has the definition of the word it illustrates glued to the back of it. The goal was to see how much students knew/remembered about the elements and principles and to let them experiment with different art materials.

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My first year of teaching, I had each student make a sketchbook. Throughout the year, students used it to sketch, take notes, or draw in if they finished a project early. I love the idea of a sketchbook, but because I only see students once a week, I found it difficult to teach students how to use the sketchbook the way I wanted to. Last year I had all of my students make a folder to keep their smaller projects and in-process work in. I’m doing the same thing this year. The first lesson I do with students is about fonts and each student creates a name design on the cover of their folder. I give each student an assigned seat on the first day of class, and as they work, I label each folder with a piece of colored masking tape that matches the table they sit at.The kindergarteners focus on writing their name legibly and tracing their letters with Sharpie.

The 2nd, 3rd, and 4th graders focused on designing their names using bubble or block letters.

I also tape a small pocket on the inside of the folder for students to keep scrap paper when they do collages.

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At each table, there’s a folder of “Reference Images” that students can look at for ideas. For this lesson, I made photocopies of 8 different fonts that they could reference when designing their name.

The second lesson I did with the younger students was one explaining the artistic Habits of Mind. After showing students a slideshow that explains each habit, I had them assess the habits they already do well and the habits they want to improve. I stapled this into the back of their folder. (We’ll revisit it throughout the year.)

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The 6th, 7th, and 8th graders have slightly different folders. On the first two days of art, they also created a name design for their folder. Their design had to meet three criteria: 1. Name written legibly. 2. Interesting font (bubble letters, block letters, graffiti, hand drawn…) 3. Image(s) that represent you. On the second day, I started class by leading a 5-minute “Quick Crit” of their in-process work. When they were done, I laminated their designs and they taped them to the front of the folder. On the inside of the folder, students store work that is “in-process” or “done.”