Thursday, November 4, 2010

With Art

Stumbled across this picture today.

It's almost two years old. I found this sign while wandering with some friends in a public park with lots of art (Sculpture Garden) along the sea. I thought I might post it with a few others.
























Here are four of my students with the sign. We went down to the beach with my afterschool outdoor drawing class during spring of my first year. Looking at the picture tonight makes me sad; only the girl on the left is still at my school. The other three have moved on to other schools in other countries.

The realities of life in the expat community.





And then there is this picture from last summer. What happened to our better life and city? If only I could read the characters...I know the first two...the name of a nearby mountain.



I should go back to the park one of these days. It looks like they are almost finished constructing a crazy building at the one end of the park. I hear it's going to be an art space, but I've been hearing that for two years now...

Monday, November 1, 2010

(masterpieces) Weaving

I don't have any formal training in weaving. Many of my friends do. I've spent a few hours in the weaving studio, lived with a few people who own looms, own hand-woven items, but I've never taken a weaving/fibers class. Still, I decided fibers is one of the media I will cover yearly in my art curriculum. It is a great medium for patterning, developing fine motor skills, applying math concepts, and much more. With my early elementary focus on choice-based art education, I give many opportunities for weaving. This year, the 2nd graders could choose to explore different weaving patterns. Here is one such masterpiece...


















(teacher's note) 2nd grade reviewed basic weaving skills before beginning this project. Rather than complete a basic checkerboard weave, most students chose to follow a more complicated stitching pattern. William did a great job with his herringbone pattern. Keep up the good work, 2nd grade!

(masterpieces) Self-Portrait

(teacher's note) 3rd grade reviewed facial proportions as they used a mirror to draw self-portraits---pictures of themselves! After reading a book about the different colors of everyone’s skin, they helped friends choose the best colors for their skin and hair. Using their drawing as a template, they cut and glued each piece of their self-portrait. Cindy did a great job with her facial proportions! Check out the hallway on the second floor of the Fine Arts building for more 3rd grade self-portraits. See if you can identify the artists!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Who Am I? Third Grade Self-Portraits

I still remember the day, my first year in China, when third graders used the orange and brown crayons to color the skin of their classmates. True, it was only two years ago, but I was thoroughly embarrassed to see my students coloring each other with rainbow hues. Most of the students shared four broken pieces of "apricot," creating a class full of stereotypical peach people. One student even used a black crayon to color the skin of his Asian classmate. Before Christmas rolled around, I had ordered a few boxes of Crayola multicultural crayons.

Later that year, the same class did cut paper self-portraits. I looked at my abundant supply of construction paper, and to my dismay, realized naturalistic colors just would not do. For two years now, I have taught third graders about Fauvism mainly because I do not have appropriate paper for skin tones. Correction, did not have appropriate paper.

I ordered many shades of brown construction paper at the end of my first year, but our shipment from the states did not arrive until late fall, after third grade finished the project with Fauvist hues. This year, I almost considered keeping the Fauvism aspect; the kids love the results and it is a good experience to liberate color from the natural world. But I just had to try natural colors, at least once.

As we were working on facial proportions, I stumbled upon the book The Colors of Us in the kindergarten classroom. The young artist describes all the people in her neighborhood in food words: cinnamon, honey, peanut butter, etc.. I read the book to the third graders, then gave them swatches of the colored paper. They helped their classmates identify appropriate colors for their skin and hair.

I love the results! For many of the students, it was a review of drawing portraits, as they drew portraits of teachers at the end of last year. This time, a mirror replaced a small printout of yearbook photos. Another change was switching the media from tempera paint to cut paper. I loosely base my procedure off of these step-by-step instructions for cut paper portraits (though I make the paper 9 in x 12 in, add more emphasis to the drawing details, such as shapes of the jaw-line, eyes, facial proportions, etc., draw the nose differently, and don't use any sequins or other paper---only construction paper).


To display the work, I hung every self-portrait in the hallway with a sign "Who Am I?" Under each work, I stapled a folded piece of paper. Viewers can guess, then lift the flap to reveal the identify.

It's created quite a splash at school!


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

(masterpieces) Autumn Tree

Here in my part of China, some of us ache for the vibrant leaves of a North-American autumn. Pennsylvania, where I grew up, might not be as nice as New England, but the leaves are still incredible. While I try to enjoy every yellow leaf of the ginkgo trees, it's hard to come by deep oranges or vibrant reds. I have a friend in the city who is hunting for a red October, primarily through her photography of beauty in our autumn and documented on her blog. Maybe this sweet painting by an even sweeter girl in 2nd grade can be a little source of red for her!

(teacher’s note)  Recently, 2nd grade began painting with the three primary colors: red, yellow, and blue. Despite the color limitation, the students are able to mix almost any color by combining red, yellow, and blue in various amounts! Lucy mixed greens and browns for her fall tree. Great job Lucy!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

(masterpieces) Cardboard Sculpture

(teacher’s note) 3rd grade explored artwork in three dimensions! After looking at sculptures by Alexander Calder, 3rd graders cut and notched pieces of cardboard into 3D art. They finished their sculptures with a coat of paint. Sarah made a great little cat!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Peaceable Classroom

The masterpiece featured in yesterday's post, A Peaceful Family by Julia, is unique in the history of this project.  Though it is my third year doing this project, inspired by a project found online while researching Edward Hicks, never once have I had a student paint an interior scene.  Julia is not your average student, though.  She is very patient and has proven herself to be an excellent painter.  When she asked if she could do a cat and a mouse in a living room, I got out my school laptop and found her some pictures of those ordinary household creatures.  (My large supply of pages from two Planet Earth coloring books and 10 library books feature more "wild" creatures, not the domesticated variety.)

Then came the dilemma of how to show interior space.  While I had taught them some basic techniques to create perspective in their work, it was entirely based on an outdoor landscape.  Julia attempted to show a room with a doorway and a line of sight into the next room, but I thought she could take it further.  Bringing back the laptop, I googled some images of interiors.  We looked at the orthogonals in rooms drawn or photographed in one-point perspective.  Without getting technical on her, we talked about why the lines go in towards the center (things that are further away look smaller, and even though we know the wall is always the same height, the part that touches the back wall looks as if it is shorter).  Julia then worked independently to sketch her scene.

But despite her success, I don't feel like it is an accurate representation of the project.  And since I've never blogged about this project, I figured now is the time.  To to show you a broader view of the project, here are all 23 paintings from this year!



Apart from showing depth (using any of the following methods: decreasing size, overlapping shapes, place objects higher up on the picture plane, using less detail or lighter colors in the distance, etc.), student worked on

     drawing animals realistically from a source,
     drawing a story about people from their imagination,
     
and mixing paint colors, particularly to create more natural colors

As with all projects, the levels of success in the paintings are almost as diverse as the students.  Some students are great draftsman but have very little control with a brush; other students struggle equally with pencil and brush.  Some students insist on a cartoon-like style to their drawings; other students continually impress me with their imaginative ideas and inspiring outcomes.  

The students also titled their work as part of their art log.  Appropriately, peace appears frequently in the titles.  A curious case is A. R..  The artist has a natural gift for drawing, whether from life, sources, or his imagination.  His first few marks of the bird had me quite concerned, but he managed to pull off a convincing aerial view from inside the tree branches.  I only wish he had more control with a paintbrush.  He is often in his own art-filled world and doesn't apply my tips for how to paint more successfully (for example, waiting until the paint is dry before painting on top of a shape).  But maybe he'll surprise the world with his talent and non-traditional methods...

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

(masterpieces) Peaceful Painting

For quite some time now, I've been thinking about displaying student work online. Sure, I (occasionally) blog about projects, but what about a site for the kids and parents?

I talked with our admissions and marketing guy two years ago. He runs the school website. While we could have added a gallery of artwork, I wasn't thrilled with the formatting of the already-existing albums on the website. It got put on the back-burner.

This past spring, our school's weekly newsletter went digital. With the new WordPress powered site, a gallery of student work seemed more attainable.


Before I could initiate anything, a third grade teacher submitted a student's poem, and thus, the birth of the Student Masterpieces tab.

Every week since then, I have submitted a digital photo of a recent piece of student art, along with a description of the project. It's been four weeks now, but only this week did I realize I should also post the masterpieces here! As a special treat, here's an advanced screening of this week's Student Masterpiece---the 5th piece of elementary art featured on our school's online newsletter for parents and staff. Stay tuned for more weekly masterpieces, as well as posts showing previously-featured masterpieces...


(teacher's note) After studying The Peaceable Kingdom by Edward Hicks, fourth graders painted their own stories of peace. Like Hicks, their foreground contained peaceful animals, despite the predator/prey relationship. In the background, they added their own story of people choosing peace. Julia decided to use an interior space as the setting for her peaceful situations. Behind the cat and mouse, you can see a brother and sister playing together nicely instead of fighting. Julia did a great job showing depth in her painting! She also mixed interesting colors and painted very carefully.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Another Summer Break




















Two years down!  I can't believe it.

As I write to you now, I’m in the United States! I finished my first two-year contract at my school and am enjoying spending eight weeks with friends and family on the west side of the Pacific Ocean. Only eight weeks, you see, because I’ve signed another two year contract. I head back in just a few days to continue the journey of teaching art abroad.

I can’t imagine searching for a new job now. Two years was just a start---there are so many things I still want to do, explore, improve---I am NOT ready to start from scratch at a new school!

I always thought the art teacher was a constant in elementary school life. Your classroom teacher changes every year, but those specials teachers remain the same. I had the same art teacher from kindergarten through 5th grade. Apart from a maternity leave, I also had the same music teacher. And the librarian, she was the same all six years. I loved library in elementary school. I used to go in during my recess in 4th and 5th grade just to read to the lower elementary classes. I still love reading children’s books out loud, holding the book in that special way to the side so the kids can see the pictures but you can see the words.

But back to the art room. In an international school, nothing is very permanent. All of our lives are very transient. For the few elementary students that have been in our school for more than four years, this past year was the first year they had the same art teacher two years in a row! (Previous art teachers split the K-12 load by each grade level individually, not by division---elementary/secondary.)

Part of the doing, exploring, and improving of the 2009-2010 involved the display of artwork. While I continued to update my two bulletin boards in the hallway outside my classroom, I did not have the time to create extra displays in the elementary building. Teaching AP Art History to 11th and 12th graders might have had something to do with that…

But the successful part of the displaying, let’s talk about that!

Many schools have a yearly art show. My school asked me to do nothing of that sort. I thought about it last year, but I couldn’t conceive a system of displaying the work. Growing up, my elementary school had a very wide and very long lobby. The elementary art teacher would cover the bulletin board walls with work AND hang roll paper from the ceiling, perpendicular to the side walls, to create little partitions of hanging artwork. She would then display work on either side of the paper wall. This was an annual occurrence for the month of March, Youth Art Month. Every elementary student would have one work mounted on construction paper and hung in the lobby for the show.

I liked the basic premise of the show, but would it be feasible with my circumstances?

First of all, roll paper is imported, i.e. expensive. Plus, with all the green-initiatives around the world, it seemed like quite the carbon footprint to cut down trees, process them, ship them from the US to China, use meters and meters as fake walls, then throw it away after the show.

I was explaining this predicament to a parent of two secondary students and she had a truly genius idea.

Our school is forever printing cheap plastic banners, be it for a sporting event, concert, drama, or semi-formal. It only costs us a few dollars per square meter! What if we ordered plain white banners, with no printing, and used those instead of the roll paper? The plastic banner could be cut to any dimension, hung vertically, rolled back up after the show, and stored until the next art show! Seemed like a plan to me!

Now where to hang them?

The music teacher had already approached me about hanging artwork during the elementary concert in May. It’s great to tag-team events at my school as the campus is not in the middle of town and it can be taxing on families to come out to campus every weekend for events. The concert would be in the auditorium, but with the high pitched roof above, it didn’t seem like the best place to suspend partitions.

My dream spot---the cafeteria one floor below.

It’s a large space that is often used for refreshments after a concert. I brainstormed with the facilities manager about the idea. Could the ceiling tile grid support the banners of art? What would be the best dimensions for the banners? And most importantly---what would we do with ALL THE TABLES?

See, our tables are not your typical “fold up for easy storage” American tables. They don’t fold, at all. And the seats are attached. And there’s very limited storage space nearby. But with the entire space filled with tables, there would be no areas to hang partitions!

I initially talked about moving out 1/3 of the tables. It turned out to be more like 2/3. I drew up a floor plan (conveniently gridded by the ceiling tiles) and marked off where to hang the partitions. It was a little more complicated than you would think, trying to create a flow to the room, adequate space to observe artwork, and considering light sources. The long sides of the room are covered with windows which allows for abundant natural light, but with an evening concert and a post-concert reception in the cafeteria, it was very important that I was aware of the windows and fluorescent lights.

With only 150 students, I decided to hand select artwork for each student, trying to pick one of their very best pieces but also having a sampling of different projects for each grade level. I mounted all the work but had the art department teaching assistant create all the labels---I just love her handwriting!

We advertised the event with custom invitations to the Elementary Fine Arts Gala: Art Gallery opens at 6pm in the cafeteria, concert at 7pm in the auditorium. The refreshments would follow the concert in the cafeteria. Each student received 3-4 glossy color postcards, one side printed in English and the other side printed in Korean (approximately 70% of my students are Korean).

A few days before the event, I started getting anxious about all the work to do. Only so much could be prepped before Friday! After the morning art class on Friday, I could rearrange my room and turn it into an art-hanging factory, laying the banners out on my tables and taping the mounted pieces to each side. We had to wait until after lunches, around 1:15, to start moving cafeteria tables. Could we get all the work done before 5:30?

The elementary principal really saved me, and the backs of our staff, by hiring a team of six movers to do that manual labor. Since they only speak Chinese, I asked one of our Chinese staff to be my project manager. She was able to be assertive and get all the tables stored away in the kitchen and elementary music classroom with no damage to the tables, cafeteria, kitchen, or the elementary classroom! Plus, she had the movers rearrange the remaining tables, according to my floor plan, to create a better atmosphere for the refreshments section of the gallery.

Other staff members came by to pitch in throughout the day on Friday. All my anxiety, all my stress, all the built-up tension, was carried by members of our team, from teaching assistants and office staff with a few minutes to spare all the way up to the head principal who, with the second grade teacher, sat chatting and making tape donuts for me as I arranged all the artwork on the banners. It was quite the team effort! Everyone was so supportive and excited by the results…and we finished before 4:30!

The space was truly transformed! It was a magical evening as the students arrived back on campus with their parents, searched the gallery for their piece, then lit up with a smile from ear to ear and ran around, showing their work to their friends and family! Students were just as proud of the artwork of their friends. It was a surprise to wander the maze of the partitions, rambling about and discovering the talent of their big brothers, little sisters, classmates, bus buddies, and new friends.

The event was a huge success, even the tear-down the next day. Yes, it was just for one evening. The space needed to be a cafeteria again on Monday morning. The movers returned on Saturday afternoon. Another teacher and I took down all the banners, then the movers brought back all the tables.

The Elementary Fine Arts Gala was a great end-of-the-year event for the school and a fun way to finish my first contract. The banners are now rolled up in the office, waiting to be used again in May 2011!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Way Things Work

Some things are just a little different on this side of the world.

Understatement.

Many things are very different on this side of the world.  One of the most interesting adjustments is the lack of standards.  I'm not talking about standards of quality here, though that is another discussion.  I'm talking about the assembly line and interchangeable parts and all those other 2nd Industrial Revolution developments of 100+ years ago.

Everything is done custom.  Sounds expensive, huh?  In fact, it's quite cheap here.  Underpaid laborers are much cheaper than automating factories with machines.  Again, another story.

We've been looking to purchase a new drying rack.  What was wrong with the old drying rack?  Almost nothing.  It worked just fine.  It was a little small.  Though it could hold 150 papers or something, it was best with A4 paper or a little larger (perhaps 12x16).  My 38cm x 52cm paper hung over the sides by about 15cm.  In the picture, most of the papers are half-size.  Half-size (26cm x 38cm fits quite nicely).

Still, the main problem was one drying rack---two art classes.  Separated by a flight of stairs.  Really, it was my drying rack.  The secondary students and teacher never used it.

So we budgeted to buy another drying rack.  From the states.

Seems silly for a wire rack that ships partially or fully ASSEMBLED.  At $150-$300 per rack, plus shipping across the Pacific Ocean...yeah, that's a beast.

Enter Shine Hou.  She makes our school run.  As "Assistant to the Facilities Manager," I firmly believe she is the reason our buildings don't fall down and our electricity works each day!  Today was her last day before her maternity leave.  I will miss her dearly.

Shine decided such a simple metal structure should be easy to get welded in China.  Shine did her undergraduate studies in Industrial Design, and has great English!  She put her workers on the task and next thing I knew, the maintenance men were asking for drawings of the structure.

At this point in time, my colleague decided she would just as well take my drying rack and let me custom design what I wanted for the classroom.  What a joy!

I looked at a number of designs online.  I decided I needed it to function in two main ways---to hold paper that is approximately A4 or slightly larger and to hold my 38cm x 52cm paper (a staple in my room for painting projects).  While the rolling paper rack certainly has its advantages, and I'd just trained all the students this year to carefully put their own paintings on the rack, I decided to make use of my countertop space.


It seems like countertop space should be sacred.  It is certainly a finite resource.  Yet one of my biggest skills is the ability to collect clutter on any flat surface.  Just check my office desk, my bedroom floor, or my classroom countertops for proof.  If I committed countertop space to the drying racks, it would at least be organized!  Bingo.  That's my theme for the year.

So I set down to design the perfect drying racks.  The drying racks would have an identical footprint, 40cm x 60cm, and be 50-some cm tall.  One drying rack would be single sided and open to the front, to hold the infamous 38cm x 52cm paper.  The other drying rack would be double sided, like the rolling version, to hold twice as many small pieces. 

The price was set at RMB 2400.  About $350.  It was higher than I anticipated, higher than I wanted, but it was two racks, and no shipping cost.  Plus it was less than we budgeted for buying and shipping one from the states.  And it would fit my paper and my countertop perfectly.

Almost.

If only the welder had used the correct dimensions.

After three or more weeks of waiting, a fabulous 40cm x 40 cm x 50-something cm drying rack arrived in my classroom.  In Shine's wisdom, she had suggested we only agree to one rack and check the quality.  The construction was fine, the paint job was fine (a key issue since we don't want the metal to rust), but the dimensions were not fine.

My paper didn't fit. 

I don't know how the welder got confused.  The Chinese read 0123456789.  And the diagram was clearly not a square design.

Despite the awkward, almost unusable size (they also added too many support pieces which makes it difficult to slide in a paper), I still love looking at my countertop and seeing the brand-new, custom-made drying rack.  We negotiated a reduced-rate for the erronious rack.  We've also taken the risk of ordering the two correct racks.  I think we've gone over the diagrams enough times to make it clear for this second try.  If not, I can always give the three awkward racks to the new art teacher next year and hold onto my rolling rack...



Did you notice the lamp structures in front of the drying rack?  How could you miss them!  Fourth grade is designing paper lamp shades again to coincide with their science unit on electricity.  We glued the first paper shades on today!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Taste the Rainbow

I've been without a camera for most of this school year. Sadness. My digital camera started acting up in the fall. I keep meaning to get it fixed. Though it might be cheaper in the states, or at least more cost-effective in the long run, to buy a new camera, labor is incredibly cheap here. Our tech guy suggested I see about getting it fixed. Easier said than done. I know a few camera stores in the states. I know no camera stores in China. And if I were to find the location of one (I'm certain there are dozens in my city), well then I'd still need to communicate with the employee. Alas, I am determined to attempt this feat before I go back to the states for the summer.

That all to say, I had a camera in my hands on Friday and couldn't stop taking pictures of my room. It started by trying to document the color in my life. I have rainbows throughout my classroom. I went to write about this today, but as I discovered, I haven't written about the renovations to my classroom. Most were cosmetic. Other differences from last year are about my desire to increase my systematic organization. With a year under my belt, I decided it was a good time to address how I used the space last year and how I could better use it this year. Plus, I found lots of great ideas online and a new year was the best time to introduce new systems to the kids.

So here's a taste of the rainbows in my classroom.

Can you see it?  It's subtle.  This is both rainbow AND organization.  Last year, my TA randomly selected colors for the covers of the students' sketchbook.  Some were pastel shades.  Some were bright shades.  5th grade was pastel pink.  What 5th grade boy wants a pastel pink sketchbook?

This year, I was very specific about the colors. 

For 1st through 5th grade, I teach two sections.  Five colors there, one per grade.  If I lump the 1 class of PreK and the 1 class of K together, that gives me a "6th" grade---or six colors.  RAINBOW.  Let's stick with the bright colors please...


I also nabbed a great shelving unit from my colleague's classroom.  She had some new cabinetry made to replace her largely inadequate storage.  In the process, she got rid of these two pieces.  Ten shelves, not very high each, are much better for storing student projects than the 8 shelves of last year.  1 class per shelf, 1st through 5th grade.  PreK and K go in another part of the classroom.  The left shelf holds the sketchbooks and some projects in process.  The right shelf (twice as long) holds other projects for that class.




The colors continue into these pockets, lining the bottom of my white board.  I stole this system from another art teacher who blogs about her classroom.  At the beginning of the year, the students made name cards.  All the laminated cards go in the left "Need a Job" pocket.  After students have a job, their card goes in the "Had a Job" pocket.  Once all the cards are in the "Had a Job" pocket, they get moved back to the "Need a Job" pocket.  What are the jobs, you ask?

Try not to laugh too hard.  I don't have chairs in my classroom.  While the other teacher had a "Chair Inspector," I needed to change the term to more accurately reflect my classroom, thus the "Stool Inspector." 

The name cards get displayed just to the right of the job using magnets.  This little display is on the very left of my whiteboard.











Below are some signs from last year.  My TA made the color wheel signs, along with most of the signs in my classroom.  I prefer her handwriting any day...the color wheel signs are in English, Chinese Characters, and Pinyin (alphabetical spelling of Mandarin).  Ignoring my ability to collect things on the top of my shelves (most of those items are 4th grade animal sculptures), notice the cork board walls!  And if you look closely, you'll notice the new hooks in the hallway.  Just a few of the changes since August 2008...
































For you enjoyment, a few more rainbow spottings...

































































Monday, January 25, 2010

Don't paint!

I'm doing this new (for me) choice-based art education with my PreK, K, and 1st grade classes. There are multiple centers each class (usually three, since I have three tables). After an introduction, the students can choose which table they want to work at and what they want to make.

PreK has had the painting center for a while now. There are only 6 PreK students. Even if they ALL want to paint, it's feasible.

The first few weeks, their color options were limited to two primary colors. We explored color mixing and made observations. Paint phased out for a few weeks, but has been back since the beginning of January. Amazingly, some kids would rather cut shapes and collage or make a paper weaving rather than paint!

Today, as one boy was painting with red, yellow, and blue, he rediscovered orange. I asked him how did you get orange? Red and yellow!

At this time, I was sitting next to a little weaver. This weaver is so creative and full of personality. He also happens to live in the same stairwell in my apartment building, so I see him a lot.

Not to be outdone by the maker of orange, the weaver posed a simple question.

"(Orange-maker), how do you make white?"

Pause. Orange-maker is a little stumped here. To be honest, I wasn't sure of the answer. White and black are the only other colors of paint I'll give to my youngsters. You don't mix white paint. It comes from the bottle. What is the little weaver trying to say? How do you make white? Don't worry. He didn't leave us in suspense for long.

"Don't paint!"

(Do you get it? Leave the paper plain, with no paint, then it will be white!) I nearly spit my hot chocolate out all over the table! Flat out cracking up! This 5 year old made a hilarious art joke! I'm not sure the maker of orange understood the joke, or anyone else in the room, but it made my day.


Later in class, my little weaver decided to weave two rows with the same color strips as his paper loom. It was a trick, you see. After class, I would look at it and think he didn't finish, but he really did! How tricky!



In other news, I was almost a real teacher today! I had four elementary classes, a double-period of AP art history, and afterschool activities computer art. On top of that, my colleague was sick, so the art TA was busy substituting in secondary art classes most of the day.

I painted with 11 first graders with no TA!

I'd been reluctant to introduce the painting center to first grade because I was afraid they would ALL want to paint. I decided today that I would just select 4 that could paint. The rest would have to settle on a different center.

After establishing the tools we would need to paint (paint, paper, paintbrush, paint plate, water, spongebob) and demonstrating how to clean the brush, I asked who wanted to paint. All but 1. Ugg. How to pick just 4 students?

Suddenly, I realized I was better off letting the whole class paint. I gave the other boy the option again to pick painting. He just really wanted to draw. Ok. He sat at one table and drew while the other 11 students got painting supplies.

It took a few minutes to get every student every item, but I love recruiting the kids to help. They love to pass things out, and I like them to be responsible for things in my room. I also don't mind if they have to wait a little bit. They are not the center of the world. It's ok to learn patience.

At the end of class, clean-up went quite smoothly! I've established a clean-up system with 4th grade that works well for my room and resources. We implimented a modified version and managed to clean everything up, wash the tables, get out our art portfolios, document our center choice for the day, put away our portfolios, and collect our art shirts by the normal dismissal time.

About 10 minutes later, I'd washed the brushes and paint trays, packed up my things from the office, and was on my way down to the computer lab.

Overall, a successful day.


My Head of Department jokingly asked if I was preparing to move back to the states, teaching so many classes in one day, and without a TA. Only a joke, folks. I'm looking to be here at least 2-4 more years, and hopefully updating this more than twice a year...

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