• supporting creativity in the classroom and beyond •

• supporting creativity in the classroom and beyond •

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

art teaches kids

I found this photo on Facebook.
I couldn't have said it better.
There is nothing to add:


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

lieber award

OK.... so about a week ago or so in the space of two days three different TeachersPayTeachers bloggers nominated Creating Art With Kids for a Lieber Award. A what? Hmmm.  I had no clue what this was, so I started googling and found very little information. One thing I discovered is that "lieber" is a kind of endearment word in German, so basically the award goes to a blog you like. :-)  The best information I found on the origins of this award is at two blogs called Sopphey Says and Smooth ReEntry. Apparently it is an award designed to sort of pay forward some attention to blogs that are maybe just starting out, or sort of plugging along without a lot of notice. The directions I received and read from my nominators are that awardees need to do the following:

1.  Link back to the blog that nominated me
2.  Nominate 5-11 blogs with fewer than 200 followers
3.  Answer the questions posted for me by my nominator
4.  Share 11 random facts about myself
5.  Create 11 questions for my nominees
6.  Contact my nominees and let them know I nominated them!
.... sort of like a chain letter :-) It's an award for which you get to do stuff!  YAY!  Kind of like when my daughter's soccer team made the finals in a weekend soccer tournament, the reward for which was to play more soccer.  But I digress.....
Interestingly, I did find that the requirements have changed over time. At one time, you had to nominate a blog with less than 3000 followers. How it got to 200 I do not know. Also, originally it was 11 face, 11 questions, and 11 blogs to nominate. I'm glad that part changed to 5-11 because I am sticking with five. More on that later.
 So, since I got three nominations in two days I decided that I would deal with all three nominations in the same blog. My nominators were:
So I have 33 questions to answer:
From Mrs. Mathis:
How long have you been teaching?   I taught for 20 years and am now retired.
Why do you teach? I loved the creativity part, the making of my own stuff, and watching kids be creative.
If you weren't a teacher, what would you be?  Hmm.  Maybe a veterinarian.
What are your favourite hobbies? Reading. Writing. Making Art.
What's the last book you read?  Quiet, by Susan Cain.
What was your favourite book as a child?  Charlotte's Web
Who is your favourite band, singer and why?  I have many favorites, but currently I find myself grabbing the Queen CD more often than not when in the car.  Why?  I dunno.
Do you believe in soul mates?  Absolutely.
Do you believe in love at first sight?  Absolutely.
Who (or what) inspires you?  Trees. The wind.  Water.
Who was your favourite teacher when you were in school and why?  Mrs. Amori, my Kindergarten teacher, let me teach myself to read in the days way back when Kindergartners were supposed to only play.

From Tiny Toes:
Are you married?  How long?  Children?  I was married 18 years. Been divorced quite a while now. I have two children in their 30s. My daughter works for the city of Campbell, CA and my son is a professional musician.
Do you prefer a snowy winter or a hot summer?  Winter, definitely.
How early do you do your Christmas shopping?  Um.... Around Dec. 20 if I'm lucky.
What is the one thing you've always wanted to do but haven't been able to? See the Grand Canyon. Live on the beach.
Which gift certificate would you most want to recieve?  DickBlick Art Materials.
What drink (alcoholic or not) do you most order when you eat out?
Diet Coke or water, or, if I'm at Sierra Nevada Brewery, then beer. Crystal Wheat.
Have you ever wanted to learn to sew, crochet, or knit?  Can you?
I can sew and knit, but not crochet.
What does you ideal date night look like? At home, alone, with the phone turned off.
If you could bring your act to X-Factor... what would you bring?  I don't know what X-Factor is.
Are you a night-owl?  Not really.  I'm up before 6am even in the summer.
On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the highest ability...where do you put your technical abilities at school?  Well... gosh... I'd have to let my former students answer that.....

From CatiaD:
Where are you from?  I am a California native, through and through.  NORTHERN California, I might add. :-)
How many languages do you speak fluently?  This one.
If you could learn a new language, what would it be?  Español
What is your favourite thing to do when you need to relax?  Draw or watercolor.  Or read. Or wander in the garden.
Name 3 people that had a huge impact on your life and tell us why.  My mom.... because she's my mom.  My kids... because they made me be real.  My Kindergarten teacher... because she bucked the system for me.
What is the dream you most wish to have come true?  I am happy the way I am.
Favorite animal and why.  Cats. I have six.  Because they are cats.
Coffee, tea or neither?  Both, at different times. Coffee in the morning. Tea when I'm sick or feeling like I should be more healthy.
Where do you usually go when on holidays? Beach, camping, cruise….?  What's a holiday?
Something or someone that makes you get up in the morning with a smile.  My cats. They are very entertaining.
If you could describe yourself in one word, what word would that be?
Unencumbered.

Whew! That was a lot of thinking!
OK.... so.... here are 11 random facts about me....
1. I have six cats. 
2. I love snow.
3. I have read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance five times.
4. I would rather watch than participate.
5. I miss teaching.
6. I am half Sicilian, half Portuguese.
7. I know how to pronounce "biscotti" the right way.
8. I know how long it takes a family to make 3000 homemade raviolis.
9.  I love pizza.
10. One of my former students ran for governor of California.
11.  In my next life, I plan to be water.

Now.... here are my five nominees, followed by the questions I have for them:
And here are my questions for them:

1.  Why did you become a teacher and how long have you been teaching?
2. What subject do you most enjoy teaching?
3. What is your favorite "teaching" book?
4. What's the funniest thing that ever happened to you in the classroom?
5. Do you teach art in your classroom? If not, why not?
6. What is your best-selling product in your TpT store? Why do you think it is a best seller?
7. How long have you been a seller on TeachersPayTeachers?
8. What do you do when you are not teaching?
9. Who or what inspires you?
10.  Do you have pets? How many? 
11. Rock, paper, or scissors?

And with that.... this blog post is finished.  
Thanks!


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

being creative... what does it mean?


Near the end of the school year I asked four different classrooms of students, a second, a third, a fourth, and a fifth grade, what it meant to be creative. At right is what the second grade class came up with. I think these are pretty good responses from second graders. And I also need to say that I had done lots of art with these students, as I had substituted in this classroom many times and was given free reign for art lessons every time I substituted. They did have many more responses in their discussion, but generally they fit into something already on the chart so we didn't duplicate.

And here are the fourth and fifth grade response charts, from classes where most had attended art classes with me when they were in first or second grade, or both:
Good responses all, but I do have to say that while the second graders were falling all over themselves to get their ideas added to the chart, and the fourth graders were pretty easy with their responses, the fifth graders had to be coaxed and prodded to finally come up with these. Who knows what happened to these students between the time they were creatively making art in second grade and the time they landed in fifth grade. (Well, I do have a theory about that, mostly about too much attention paid to testing data, test prep, test administration, and not enough attention paid to teaching kids to take risks.....)
Unfortunately, I find students, in general, are becoming less and less creative and more and more wanting one right answer, one (easy) strategy, someone to tell them what to do, when and how to start, whether they are right. When I am doing art lessons, I find more and more students having trouble getting ideas and getting started.
So how do we help kids be more creative? 
I always tell students it's okay to look around to see what other people are doing to help get ideas, as long as you don't copy. Use the same color but in a different shape. Use the same shape but a different texture. Use the same shapes but put them in a different arrangement. Create a similar pattern by changing just one thing... a squiggly line instead of a zig-zag line. If you want to try a drawing like the one someone else did, use a different drawing tool. Or a different size paper. Or a different viewpoint.
Change just one thing and go from there.
Just be different!
.