Saturday, June 11, 2011

Last Day of School!!

Well, my last day with students at Bolivia finally came and went. This week has been a flurry of last minute finishing touches on bobble heads and stop motion projects, passing back all the artwork I've been hoarding, putting up our art show at central office, painting ceiling tiles and having our art club party (thanks for all the frosted donuts and cupcakes)!!

Every year on the last day at Bolivia, teachers come out to the parking lot to make a tunnel for 5th graders to run under on their way to the bus. As is tradition, the buses then do a lap around the parking lot to say goodbye. Here's a few shots from my phone. 

Stop Motion Animations

Our 5th graders have worked very hard to finish up their stop motion animation projects. Students organized themselves into small groups and worked on concept development, storyboards, photography and music selection. We finished the project this past week with a school-wide presentation!

Below are several highlights, followed by links to each group's video for student viewing. We hope you enjoy our films!!!

A note to parents: These videos have been uploaded to YouTube but are not listed in public search results on that site. The only way these can be accessed is by clicking the link from this website.


Haunted Bathroom

The Bugatti

Alien Vegetables

Space Alien

Nightmare Come Alive

Flying Frog


Links to every group's video:

Flying Frog -
Alien Vegetables -
Burrito -
The Bugatti -
Haunted Bathroom -
Formation of the Earth -
Space Alien -
Nightmare Come Alive -
Rockband -
Devil Demons -
Jewelry -
Walking Shoes -
Rocket Horse -
Spy Shoes -
Sea Monster -
Fishy Fishy -
Werewolf Dog -
Snakes -
Cupid -
Hearts -
Sumo Horse -

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Seattle Part 2: Play, Creativity

I just saw that I started writing a summary of some of the talks that stood out to me from the Seattle NAEA Convention way back in March but for some reason never posted it. Better late than never I guess. There were lots of other talks that I wanted to touch on so perhaps when I get some time I'll go back and add them.


The following are some of the highlights / takeaways from noteworthy presentations at the 2011 NAEA National Convention in Seattle. Creativity and play were consistent themes that I noticed in several of this year's presentations. Along those lines, quite a few talks dealt with the restrictions we place on student work. After attending these past two conventions, I've found that I've expanded my thinking on what subject matter / ideas students are "allowed" to work with. When I first started teaching, I was inclined to have them stay away from controversial subject matter or outlandish ideas. More and more often, though, I've found myself asking why not. And so I've tried to let students pursue many of those ideas to see where it takes them. That being said, I'm probably still somewhere in the middle - not quite going so far as some of the presenters (who suggest total freedom and discuss art as a healthy way of dealing with difficult topics such as violence, sexuality, etc.)

Creating Early Childhood Environments to Support Creativity & Imagination - This was a panel of presentations but Pat Tarr gave a particularly great talk on how to promote student exploration, inquiry, creativity, etc. She suggests organizing a large variety of different materials to create a rich environment that promotes discovery, interaction, multi-sensory experiences, kinesthetic experiences, exploration, wonder, inquiry... and to provide opportunities for students to really engage in the exploration of materials. She describes the teacher's role in modeling a sense of wonder, taking an open ended approach, a sense of what if?, and ability to carefully listen to students. All too often, too many restrictions are placed on students' creativity and with this talk, she encourages teachers to "say yes."

This panel made many connections with the TAB approach, which, coincidentally is what I went to see next.

Play and Collaboration in the Choice Based Studio - Kathy Douglas
Teaching Artistic Behaviors (TAB)

I found Kathy's talk at last year's convention to be very compelling and so I checked in once again. She didn't disappoint.

For those that don't know, the basic concept of TAB is to encourage a student directed art room where students are truly intrinsically motivated and use a wide range of materials (of their choice) to complete projects (also of their choice). TAB teachers set up stations around the room and introduce (open) them by going through various techniques, proper care of materials, relevant ideas, etc. Instructions / inspiration are also posted and supplied for each center.

List of "centers"  - chalkboard, puppet, architecture / construction / blocks, sculpture, drawing, photography, paint, fibers.

A nice quote: "children discover their gifts... we don't tell them... all we have to do is notice it and applaud it." This is really meaningful as I think a big part of the reason I ended up developing my creative talents and pursuing the arts was because I had this kind of support - someone to recognize and applaud. I try to do this as much as I can in my own practice as I think it can be extremely important for young people.

She also makes a point that not all work should be intended for exhibition. Much of the work is an experimentation and aesthetically, not that pleasing. She has students self assess the quality of their work and choose what they would like to exhibit. She always has them write artist statements to accompany their work. Assessing students, one of the things she looks for is if students are applying what they've learned to new situations (which they are constantly).

All together, she makes a compelling case for having less structure and more opportunities for students to take a central role in directing their own learning, and to really explore the materials. Giving (early childhood) students opportunities to play seemed to be one of the underlying themes of many workshops in this convention. The presenters made the case that this is important in developing creative thinking, developing social abilities, language, etc.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Seattle Part 1: Photo Highlights

Wow, this has definitely been a crazy year! I'm going to attempt to get back on track with the blog... Lots to post so we'll see if I can make it happen.

Anyway, here's a start. I recently attended the 2011 NAEA Convention in Seattle, WA. Here's a recap of pictures of some of the sights I took in around the convention and in the city! Next post, I'll try to recap some of the many highlights that stood out to me.

 Pike Place Market

View from my hotel room!

On line at the first Starbucks store

Space Needle

 Richard Serra @ The Sculpture Park

The Exhibitors Hall

Printmaking demo 
 Throwing on the wheel

 Amazing Nick Cave show at the Seattle Art Museum

 Nick Cave's Soundsuits

 From a presentation on the design process

From a presentation by Dr. Root Bernstein on correlations between scientists and the arts / creativity

From a presentation on keeping visual journals  

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Our new Timberlake

Last year, the Bob Timberlake Foundation awarded Bolivia an ongoing grant to create a collection of artwork at our school. We're very excited to have received our newest print, Grandfather Mountain, which was beautifully framed by the wonderful folks over at Murray Art & Frame in Leland. Take a look next time you're in our front office!

Saturday, February 05, 2011

El Dia de los Muertos - Day of the Dead Designs

Third graders did these Dia de los Meurtos skulls awhile back for the Mexican Day of the Dead. We learned about this holiday by looking at different types of artwork and watching videos like this one. We then used oil pastels and paint to create our own Dia de los Meurtos design! 



Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Dream Monsters

First graders have been working on these dream monsters, which are about ready to go into the kiln. The idea is their monster goes in a special spot next to their bed, and will scare away any bad dreams that try to come. Thanks to Mrs. Engrim for the inspiration!

Google brings street view to the world's art museums!!

Not that I didn't already love Google, but this is probably one of the coolest things ever!!! Here's the link to check it out for yourself!

Thursday, January 27, 2011


My first few attempts throwing on the wheel (thanks to my class at Fat Cat Pottery).

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Community Collages

Second graders did these last year and in all honesty, I thought they came out looking a little generic.

This year, I tweaked the assignment a bit and I was much happier with the finished work. We started once again by looking at collage artist Romare Bearden but we took a much closer look at some of his work this time. We also did a lot more brainstorming at the beginning of the project. To get students to make a stronger connection to their communities, we thought about notable people they knew or landmarks that stood out to them. I was really impressed with the results.

This student's mother works as a bus driver in the district.

The battleship in Wilmington, NC - a local landmark.