Reflections on 2010-2011 School Year in Art

My first full year as an art instructor is done. I LOVED it! This has been a blast, and I am humbled and grateful that God would dream this dream for me.

Favorite moments:

She captured my hair, for sure.

* Hand-crayoned cards with I Heart Art messages, and page after page of variations on any drawing we did in class. One student gave me four Blue Dogs in varying colors and settings. Such happiness!

* “Mrs. Smith, when I grow up, I want to be an art teacher.”

Another 2nd grade tribute.

* The mom showing off her AMAZING Artsonia T-shirt with her daughter’s artwork emblazoned across the front.

* ALL of my entered students scoring above the “good” rating at the Concordia arts festival, and one scoring a rare “outstanding,” when I went hoping to get a few above the “good,” maybe.

* Watching third graders and up dashing all over the WSU campus searching for sculptures in the scavenger hunt, and helping each other find the answers to their questions. And a big HA! to the university student I encountered while creating the hunt who was skeptical that it could be successful and without problem.

* Gazing on the huge canvas painted by Picasso in the gallery foyer at the above university.

* Discovering all the incredible art teacher blogs in the blogosphere!

* Working with the homeschool class.

Bummer moments:

* Profound disappointment in all forms of spray glue.

* The disappearance of a student’s ceramic artwork at Concordia.

* Running out of time before running out of projects; and related: students developing the pace of a snail the last 6 weeks of school.

* The way the paper collages turned out. I will way simplify that baby in the future!

* The seventh graders not returning next year.

Favorite lessons:

* 5th-7th Byzantine Madonna and Child: I LOVED amazing them with how God Himself used art over centuries to spread His gospel! (And painting with gold is always fun).

* All the ceramics, even though I don’t really like digging my hands into the clay myself. It’s got the wow! factor going for it.

* The butterfly wands were fun and easy.

* The kindergarten sunflowers and spiral snakes. Though in future I would make the sunflowers two lessons, so we could do a better job. It was rushed.

* 1st and 2nd grade koi: that one may have been my favorite. I wish I could have done variations with ALL my grades! And their baby penguins were crazy cute.

* 3rd and 4th grade abstract landscapes! They were striking, especially grouped at the art show, seen from across the room.

Least Favorite Lessons:

* Kindergarten straw-blown winter trees. Lots of spit here. And impatient cheaters.

* 5th and 6th grade celestial sun/moons. This lesson is where I realized that this group expected watercolors to work like tempera. And that I needed significantly more foundational work in the color wheel than we had before tackling this. Lots of confusion and frustration. This lesson will need a lot more work before repeating.

* Kinder showshoe hares. But all my bad, in how I presented it.

* Tessellations. It could have been done better. More controlled. Also, my bad.

*Kinder salamanders, because of disorganization. Again, my bad. I left my Post-It gluestick (God’s gift to ME) on my table at home, for one of the FEW projects for which I had a tracer, and the only complicated tracer. And it is also the project where I discovered lots of the kinders had absolutely LAME watercolors. This coming year we are specifying Crayola on the supply list for the youngers. I am using my own Prang pan watercolors for the olders. They still turned out ok, but it could have been amazing, as evidenced by the homeschoolers doing that same project.

* The entire still life unit with the third grade and up. Just too much, too soon, for kids who had hardly ever drawn from life in their lives. And too complicated. In future, we’ll start with something boring, like an apple. A few kids did art supplies, and really, that may be the way to go.

* Not enough photos! Next year I want to take more pictures of my classes DOING. Like the sidewalk chalk “cast shadow” lesson.

The whole year was an extraordinary learning experience for me! Thank you, art students and parents! And thank you, God, for the opportunity!

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