Friday, September 30, 2016

Mrs. K

Our school has experienced an unexpected and tragic loss.  We found out early Tuesday morning that our beloved librarian had passed away.  Our hearts are broken and we are numb with sadness and disbelief.

Mrs. K was truly special.  She was generous and kind, uniquely artistic, with a bubbling personality that we all adored.  As cliche as it sounds, to know her was to love her.  Her positive attitude was infectious.

Our library is a warm, inviting and beautiful place to be.  Her "touches" were everywhere, from the soft glowing lamps, the decorations that changed with every season, and even her own works of art were displayed on walls and doors.  As a fellow teacher said, "she had a way of making it feel like home."  

Even at the coffee bar, she had a yummy seasonal soap for us to use.  If you were having a bad day or just needed a little pick me up, you could stop by for a chat or even a "kiss!"  :)  She kept a jar of Hershey's kisses just for teachers who needed a little chocolate that day.

I will miss the artsy chats I had with her.  She "got" things that only make sense to an artist; and when I sometimes felt a little crazy and out of place, she made me feel as if I wasn't the only crazy art person around!  We talked paint and furniture, canvases and brushes.  She loved art as much as she loved books.  She would graciously hang my students' artwork up for display in the library and outside in the hallway.  She never complained when I had so many I couldn't narrow it down.  She would always find a place to hang them.  She was as excited about their work as I was and couldn't wait to hang up our fish projects.

Wednesday was one of the hardest days of my teaching career so far.  As we worked on our painted paper fish, I couldn't help but think of her and how much she would love them.  I'd saved showing them to her because I wanted to surprise her with the finished ones.  She never got to see them.  As I was cleaning up from one of my 4th grade classes, I found this subtle sentiment on one of my tracing templates, which happened to be shaped like tear drops...

...and they did.  Our students are mourning her loss right along with us.

We loved Mrs. K and will miss her so much.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Fishing around!

I always try to start off my first days of classes with a little bit of "art." Something fun and easy that that kids love.  Something so the kids don't say "are we gonna do any art today?" at the end of class.  :)

  Painted paper is just that.  I have a small stash of painted paper left from last year, but I needed to add to it for the projects coming up.  I had planned to do fish in 1st grade, and something different for the other grade levels, but then saw the gorgeous bulletin board that my awesome art teacher friend Michelle did over at and decided I would love to create a school wide display too!  So I kinda copied her.  But I think she's ok with it.  Although I didn't ask.  Maybe I should?  Nah.  :) 

I also checked out Cassie Stephens' lesson featuring the book, You Be You and loved the painted rock flying fish from the illustrations so we used that to kick off this project.  

First of all, a little about how I handle painted paper projects.  I tried putting containers of scraps for the kids to use for small projects, but I couldn't stand the way the containers looked as if they'd thrown up all over the tables by the end of the day.  Not to mention all the wasted paper that kids didn't want to use just because it wasn't a big enough sheet.  So... I cut the paper down in sizes, letting them choose a big sheet for the body, a small sheet for the face, and then I cut lots of little squares for all the details:

Nice and neat, and very little waste!  Yay.  

Now on to the fish!  We started with an oval for the body, traced the front of the oval onto the smaller piece for the face, then cut and glued those together.  This is as far as some classes got the first day.  The next class we started adding the details like fins, tails, and scales.  I try to encourage them to use the ENTIRE square, just trimming the edges to change the shape, so we don't have tiny little details or wasted paper.  They are turning out pretty awesome so far. I can't wait to share the finished ones!  

Here are a few in progress and I'll update as we go!