Saturday, September 12, 2015



September is such a great and fun month for art!  Our artist of the month, whose birthday falls in September is Louise Nevelson and in the past- the students have made awesome found object relief collages or JUNK art.  This year with Dot day AND the Pinwheels for Peace, I just don't think we will have time!!!  I wanted to share with you some of the awesome things we have been able to do as a school for the Pinwheels for Peace project, which has become somewhat of a tradition for us. 

I first learned about the Pinwheels for Peace project at the Florida Art Education Association conference several years ago.  This art installation project started in 2005 by Ann Ayers and Ellen McMillan, who were art teachers at Monarch High School in Coconut Creek, Florida, as a way for their students to express their feelings about what’s going on in the world and in their lives.   The project is celebrated on the International Day of Peace which is September 21st, (10 days after the anniversary of 9/11).

The International Day of Peace, sometimes unofficially known as World Peace Day, is observed annually on 21 September. It is dedicated to world peace, and specifically the absence of war and violence, such as might be occasioned by a temporary ceasefire in a combat zone for humanitarian aid access. The day was first celebrated in 1982, and is kept by many nations, political groups, military groups, and peoples. In 2013, for the first time, the Day was dedicated by the Secretary-General of the United Nations to peace education, the key preventive means to reduce war sustainably.(Wikipedia) 
For every year since our school has been opened, (2012) all of the students have made a pinwheel for peace during art.  I store them all until the day before the art installation event which consists of a Pinwheel Parade in the morning, where all the students wear white and we march by class out to the soccer or PE field outside our school to form a giant symbol of peace. All the students need to make a pinwheel is a square piece of paper, a push pin, and a pencil. 
 I ask that students try to draw at least four symbols of peace or four elements of art.  Ideally, both sides should be colored/drawn but for the sake of time, some students are only able to complete one side.  
The day before or the morning of the Day of Peace- I have tried to mark the general shape so that classes will know where to stand.  The music teacher teaches them all a great song of Peace during music.  So once on the field, we use the bull horn to announce the start of the ceremony.  This involves the singing of the National Anthem, the Singing of the Song of Peace followed by a moment of silence.  
Around this time, the pilot who has taken out aerial photograph usually is close to flying over head.  The pilot was the husband of one of our 2nd grade teachers and he always participates and takes the most amazing photographs free of charge.  The sad thing is- she has since become a stay at home mom and now he is unable to take the aerial photograph.  We are hoping that by this Friday- we will be able to arrange SOME type of back up plan.
The first two years- all the students wore white t-shirts and we formed a giant human peace sign.  Last year we made a dove. And we made the cover of our local newspaper!
 St Augustine Record

This year we are thinking about trying a giant heart and asking everyone to wear RED!!  I hope everything works out because it is such a great event for promoting peace and art!  

Thursday, September 3, 2015

First Art PLC Meeting at my School!!

Yesterday was a SUPER busy day.  I had third grade ROW- (resource on Wed.) which meant I had ALL the third grade classes for 30 minutes each in art.  They finished their overlapping supplies projects, published them and worked on their PINWHEELS for peace!

After school, I was running around preparing everything for our first elementary art PLC- Professional Learning Community meeting.  Which basically meant that I threw everything in my storage room - LOL!!

Do you have a PLC?  Are you wondering what that even is?  Wikipedia's definition is: A professional learning community (PLC) is an extended learning opportunity to foster collaborative learning among colleagues within a particular work environment or field. It is often used in schools as a way to organize teachers into working groups.

Our PLC began over 6 six years ago when I switched from teaching third grade to art at my former school.  We had NO curriculum for art and I felt so overwhelmed.  Our school district's art specialist helped me reach out to other art teachers in our county and we began meeting on the first Wed. of each month at different schools around the county.  It is the single most crucial component to any success I have had as an art educator.  The awesome teachers in my PLC are like my family and we go out of our way to support, share and help each other be more effective and the best we can be.

Another great part of our meetings- SNACKS!! LOL Everyone shares a snack or treat- which we all know at the end of a long day is like a gift from above!

We had several items on our agenda-
1. OneNote notebook for all teachers to share lessons and resources
2. Our End of course exam
3. The next upcoming meeting and location
4. The FAEA conference in October
5.  Lesson Plan sharing

Our school district has adopted the Microsoft Office/One Drive platform for collaboration and I asked our tech specialist to help me start a OneNOTe notebook for art teachers to upload lessons for sharing.
We covered that and I added my Pinwheels for Peace lesson to share.  One Note is such a powerful tool for collaboration and I even want to try it with my students.

Our End of course is exam this year will be administered during the last 10 days of school and will only be 10 questions based on the Elements and Principles of art.

LESSON PLAN sharing-

I shared our Pinwheel for Peace lesson-  and I talked about how AWESOME Artsonia is for Art Criticism.
 Another teacher shared a color wheel lesson that she does with her students:
And a teacher shared a Deep Space Sparkle lesson that she does with fourth grade based on the Great Wave - that looks AWESOME!!

All in all- it was a GREAT MEETING!!!  Another teacher also reminded me about the amazing power of using a laser pointer with students!! LOL YYUP they aren't just for your cat-little kids go crazy for them and they are only like $4 at Publix.  You better believe I am running out to  get a new one today!   And another teacher uses a Crayola Light up Easel to write important notes for her students.  They love the luminescence and pay attention to the notes!!