Friday, November 25, 2011

Mumtaz Memorial

I was getting bored with the board, so I changed out the Sydney Opera house for this memorial to Mumtaz Mahal. (It has been almost a month for the first display.) This board will take us through December, being on display for just about30 days by the time we break for the holidays.

I was excited to feature the Taj Mahal because it represents a different nationality in our student body (India was the country of study for our middle school students during Global Village Day) and because I just taught the structure to my AP Art History students. Lastly, it was extra cool because I rediscovered these famous landmarks cards, cut from a poster purchased this summer at my trusty standby, French Wal-mart. Less than a dollar for the poster--I love that store!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Gorilla, what?

You know that moment, when the students aren't working on their projects. There's even a group clumped together, out of their seats, and they're all off-task.

Kids, get back to work.

But Miss M, Joey drew a gorilla!

Umm what? How did he manage to draw a gorilla? He should be drawing his Modigliani self-portrait...

And then I went to check it out, and, well, he had drawn a gorilla! I mean, in the same way that people find a potato chip shaped like the Virgin Mary or a grilled cheese with the face of Jesus, yes, Joey had in fact managed to accidentally draw a gorilla as he was coloring his neck.

At which point in time, I became the off-task teacher who went to get the camera and document this masterpiece.

Monday, November 7, 2011

A Timely Update

The visual timeline above my board is growing each week. My art history class is now in Byzantium, so we need a few more images, but the timeline is fairly full through Constantine. It has been fun to refer back to the timeline during class lectures. Just today, after looking at Justinian portrayed as semi-divine in the mosaic from San Vitale, I asked if they could remember any other examples from art history where the ruler is portrayed as god-like. To encourage their responses, I pointed them back to the timeline (Palette of Naram-Sin, for example, is on the timeline).

I haven't used it much with my elementary students, though some images from Art is... were the first to populate the line. Still, it seems that my students are noticing the artwork. Last week, during a 5th grade discussion of facial proportions (and later, distortions), one student pointed to the timeline and asked me why the older work was more realistic, more accurate, than the later work (verism vs. the head of Constantine). A great question, and perfect as we looked at the work of Amadeo Modigliani. Why do artists draw things in an unrealistic manner? Is it that they are less skillful? Is it that people back then really looked like that? Or is there something else going on...

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Self-Portraits on Display (again)

Another year has come and gone, and so third grade has once again created collage self-portraits.

The bulletin board last year
was such a hit, both in school and on the web. This year, though, bulletin board aesthetics have been on my mind. I decided to make a slight tweak to last year's display, aligning the work in a perfect grid. I typically go for the sporadic arrangement because it is less work. My perfectionist tendencies would measure and calculate for hours to find a suitable configuration. This year, though, I stumbled upon a brilliant way to align the grid. I am sure many already do this; it must be plastered across website. But since I just this month thought through the process, I thought I would share it.

I was thinking to myself...what if bulletin boards had subtle gridlines, like the back of nice wrapping paper? It would make it so nice to arrange the work. Then I realized---I could create a horizontal center line for myself with yarn! A meter stick, some staples, and I was set. I added an extra staple at the center point of the horizontal line to know where to start with my artwork. I then proceeded to hang the work, eyeballing an equal space from the yarn and from the other work. When all was stapled, I took down the yarn and added the peek-a-boo name tags to guess which student created each self-portrait.

Now that arranging artwork on a grid is so simple, I am sure I will do it more often. I do love clean lines!

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