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Oh man, I have been so excited to share these little boxes of fun with my students and with you all. I love hearing all about STEAM and how other regular classroom teachers are integrating art into their classes. I’m all like, “Welcome to my world. I told y’all it was fun over here!”
So anyway, I wanted to create some projects and lessons where the ultimate goal wasn’t to take a perfect little picture home to mom and dad to hang on the fridge. I wanted the goal to be one of social interaction and creative design. Teamwork and imagination. It’s all about the process, baby!
The thing that finally got me moving on my idea about this was our school’s family engagement coordinator brought me some empty sight word flash card boxes. They were pretty small but they were brightly colored and had a cute little yellow handle. There were only 10. What can a teacher of 650+\- do with 10 little boxes?
I started by finding that bag of random stuff that people give you… you know the one. It’s filled with bits and pieces of scrapbook stuff, toys from kids meals, lost puzzle pieces, marbles, dominoes, etc. Yeah, that one. I divided it up between 6 of the boxes (I have 6 tables in my room) and then set to making some prompts. I know I could throw caution to the wind and let the kids just have a go with no prompts but I want to keep a loose grip on the reins. I think it would be best to have a common goal at each table so we don’t bicker about step 1.
There are so many great places to find prompts, resources, and ideas for materials for this sort of thing. Here are a few of my sources:
They LOVED it. Of course they did. I say this not because of my amazing boxes of random crap, but because kids love to tinker and play with little things, and use their imaginations. After they completed the tasks, we cleaned up the boxes and then traded for a new box. We only traded once in the 45 minutes of class.
I shall not lie to you – there were arguments in some of the groups. Kids have strong opinions about stuff, especially what the propeller of an airplane should be made from. But it was opportunity to work on social skills and learning to talk through problems instead of yelling, whining, and fussing. But that’s what’s so great about STEAM and art class in general: it’s applicable to real life. Problem solving (with people and machines), designing, creating, sharing, giving, taking, directing, leading, choosing a good leader, being a great team player, and the list goes on.
This was a wordy, lengthy post and I apologize. Here’s some pictures:
A mini rocket and a big rocket
After years of bombarding my friends and family on Instagram with tons of photos of my students’ artwork , I finally decided to create an account just for the Tinyartroom. If you are also on Instagram, please follow me at @tinyartroom! (So thankful that name was available. : )
I’ve got the first day jitters and it’s still 4 days away! So to help calm and gather myself, I went to yoga. Then I came home and made this:
Wow! What an awesome experience! I truly enjoyed attending the Art of Education’s Winter Online Conference yesterday. THAT is what effective PD is for me. I rarely attend a meeting at school – even when they are FOR the art teachers – that is useful and encouraging and inspiring. Yesterday was all of those things and the best part – it is a huge best part – is that I was able to do it in the comfort of my own home, in my pjs, while petting my puppies and drinking coffee!
This was my set-up yesterday:
The conference was so engaging and I know I could (and still can) go back and watch the videos at my own pace, but I was so into it, I really didn’t move much the whole time. My husband and our friend, Matt, were even putting in my new kitchen floor and I didn’t get up to check on them but once!
Oh, hey, check out my new kitchen floor:
So back to the conference… I learned so much yesterday! About assessment and integrating with the new common core and that it’s totally okay for my lessons to fail because good teachers fail and great teachers fail a LOT. (Thanks Ian!) I can’t wait to play some of the games from Art Project Girl and Cassie Stephens was totally entertaining. Pretty much every speaker was relevant and helpful at least in some small way. Most were big ways. A few things I’m looking forward to trying are some of the organizing tips, posing projects as questions and asking for solutions in the form of their artwork, creating a few choice-based opportunities, and attempting to organize an art show. Oh, and I’ll definitely be purchasing Songs in the Key of Art!
Time well spent and great information that I can look back on and implement immediately.
Thanks again, Jessica!
Just received my swag bag (box) from Jessica at Art of Ed for being one of the first 1000 to sign up for the online conference that’s happening this weekend, January 25th.
Love all the samples they sent! I especially love the apron from Art to Remember (always need a new apron!) and the “Keep calm and teach art” button.
Who else is signed up?
Some people are jealous that I “get to sit around and color with kids all day.” Some days, that is true. I do sit down with the kids and I make the art project with my class. It’s a huge stress reliever to get a pack of crayons and a coloring book (yes, I said, “coloring book”) and just get lost in the *art* of staying in the lines. Some days are scribble all over the place and let some anger out days. Some days are A BIG Siiiiigghhh day because you just refilled all the glue bottles and you see a kid with a puddle of white on their paper. But EVERY day is an important day in the life of each child I have in my classroom.
When they are cutting, they are growing muscles in their tiny little fingers that will help make them a better writer. When they are choosing which color or shape or line they want to use, they are becoming better problem-solvers learning to think critically. When we talk about all the fun stuff that is involved in the Chinese New Year, they are learning about other cultures and confirming their natural instinct to be tolerant of all people. While they are “playing in art class” they are preparing to win awards, make discoveries, and change the world.
Yes, you should be jealous. I DO love my job.
Check out this awesome article: