Monday, December 27, 2010

3rd Grade Torn Paper Landscapes

The third graders did an excellent job with learning about landscapes. The students learned the parts of a landscape- foreground, middleground, background, and sky- and used torn paper to illustrate the different parts. The details were then added using oil pastels. Check our the results. More can be found on our artsonia page.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Ho Ho Ho Fashion!

A really playful way to teach horizontal/ vertical lines and primary colors is this lesson I recently did with my 1st graders. I showed the students a brief slide show on the paintings of Mondrian as well as a website that showed examples of his paintings that influenced fashion- dresses, ties, jackets, and shirts. So then I told them that we were going to design a new hat for Santa using Mondrian as our influence.

The students used a tracer to create the cut shape of a santa hat. Following cutting out their hat, the students had to create their design using vertical lines, horizontal lines, and primary colors. Each student used a white, a blue, and a yellow oil pastel to create the colors, as well as a black sharpie and a ruler to create the pattern of lines. 

The kiddos really love doing this because it has to do the Santa! You could have students of other levels create other articles of clothing in the form of fashion designs. A friend of mine also suggested that you could create Santa hats inspired by all a variety of different artists paintings.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

This is why I do what I do...

Today I brought 43- 4th grade students to the Frist Center in downtown Nashville. Now some background information on my students....

Shwab Elementary is what you would call a neighborhood school. Nearly all the students live close enough to walk to school, we only have one school bus that few students ride. Many of the kids haven't ever been out of the neighborhood. The Frist is less than 15 minutes away from the school and as one of the other teachers put it, taking our students downtown is as equally exciting as if we were to bring them to NYC! And it was! The students were OOOoooing and AAhhhing all throughout the drive to the museum.

At the beginning of the school year, students have been studying and creating their very own Dale Chihuly artworks. I can't think of anything more thrilling for the students then to see the Chihuly artworks in person! Needless to say it was an incredible gift that I was able to arrange for my students,  and they gave me the gift of smiles, thank yous, and hugs.

Even better was hearing from the other chaperones about the students reaction to the Birth of Impressionism. During the tour, my students were making comments like "Ms. Motta showed us that," "that's a landscape, "that's a portrait," "that's a still life." I was very proud to hear  that they were also asking great questions and were very respectful of the docents who were leading the tours. Of course I heard that the boys giggled at the nude paintings that were hanging that they walked passed, but I mean they are after all only 4th graders!

Upstairs felt magical. I have viewed this particular Dale Chihuly exhibit somewhere between a half dozen and a dozen times myself, but being with groups of my students who have focused so much on him, viewing it for the first time- was almost like seeing it for the first time again for me too! The students were amazed at how the "drawings" by Chihuly appeared to still be wet, the size of the Macchia, and were excited to sketch from the Ikebana. What cracked me up though, was their amazement at the Hotshop video, even though they had already viewed it a month ago! I have a feeling that I may have to show the students the video again now that they have seen the work in person.

All and all, the bad kids of Shwab Elementary turned out to have a good side, and they all made me a very proud teacher today! Today was the best day since I started there, and I really truly loved every minute of my job today! One of my students said today, after hearing that I am going to Chihuly's studio during this coming NAEA conference, that he wanted to be me. - I certainly love being an art teacher!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Bad Case of Stripes

Recently when trying to come up with a portrait lesson for my first graders I stumbled upon my friend Crystal's blog and found this fabulous lesson...

I made a few alterations to the lesson. Rather than having a fully colored background much like the face full of stripes, I had the students cut out their portraits once they were completely colored with crayon, and paste them onto a colored piece of construction paper. On that construction paper students were given a sharpie to complete their art work by applying more stripes and patterns within those stripes. These turned out very cool! Both myself and the kiddos were pleased with the results!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

MNPS Chihuly Blog

If you are interested in seeing what is happening in Nashville Schools in conjunction with the Chihuly exhibits here please visit I just posted to it this evening!


Above are 1st and 2nd grade students drawing of ikebana using sharpie that was then covered with tissue paper and mod podge. The combination loosely resembles stained glass when hung in the window.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

3rd and 4th Grade Self Portraits

The first several weeks of school I spent teaching the 3rd and 4th graders how to measure proportions of their facial features in order to create a self portrait. It was a hard lesson for both myself and the students when once we were through with the drawing, the painting of the portraits was rushed and completely covered the drawings. The fourth graders used a monochromatic color scheme with using the complementary color for the background, and the third graders used primary colors- working with tempra cakes. Third grade was also encouraged to keep the colors seperate. Below are a few really great examples.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Embedding Power Points using Slideshare

I am currently sitting in a workshop on google docs and thought because that blogger is run through google that I could paste or upload directly from google docs. This is NOT so. My wicked awesome instructor Tisch said, take this time to play and figure out what will benefit you. So I did and this is what I found!!!

Upload your power point from your computer directly OR from google documents into a Slide Share account. Copy the embed code from the slideshare website once your power point is there and paste it DIRECTLY into the body of the text of your blogger post. This will then display the slide presentation just as it is currently displayed on my page. The power point above is not one that I created- but found through a google search. This was WAY simplier than I expected it would be. :)

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Can you say CHIHULY?!!!!!

Here are several examples of some of my student's Chihuly inspired artworks... Most Macchia- today though Kindergarten learned about Ikebana! They first sketched their Ikebana's with sharpie, then watercolored them! They were so cute!

Next the 1st and 2nd graders made Macchia using coffee filters, markers, and spray starch. I had them cut an organic shaped lip first, then colored them with markers, and finally folded them over a yogurt container and sprayed them; to give them a bowl shape once the starch dryed. They students loved this and they turned out pretty neat. I then hot glued them by classes onto matt board and hung them in the hallway.

The coffee filter drapped over a yogurt container.

First Graders!

Second Graders, I made them keep warm and cool colors seperate. Hit an extra standard with these guys!

Close up!

Finally today 3rd and 4th graders created Macchia using the Dura Lar plastic from Dick Blick. I loved the way that Andrea from the Frist had done altered this process from the Blick lesson plan: rather than having the students manipulate the dura lar while handling it IN the hot water, I simply dipped it in the hot water and placed it over the yogurt cup/ form and the students (while wearing gloves) press their hands onto the dura lar over the form- creating again that bowl like form! We used sharpies and Sharpie paint pens- which worked really well because you can paint the dura lar BEFORE putting it in the water, making it much easier to paint while it is still flat!

Friday, September 24, 2010

A new year, new school, new lessons!

In Kindergarten the first week we focused on cutting and pasting. I read "Planting a Rainbow" by Lois Elhert to the students and we created these rainbow collage gardens following the story. The students loved this assignment and they turned out really cute!

A student tracing a flower tracer before cutting it out.

1st Graders learn that architecture and create collages of the buildings, including the famous Batman building in downtown Nashville.

Students in grades 1-4 create a name design for their sketchbook covers using bubble letters, organic shapes, and patterns of textures.

More to come very soon!

Friday, July 9, 2010

New Beginnings- Life Update

Well this summer has been crazy. I have been out of school for the past 2 weeks due to sprained ankles. None the less the injuries have really been a blessing in disguise. My time off has allowed me to take care of some business that I would not have otherwise had the time to do.

I recently interviewed with a few schools in the Metropolitan Nashville Public School district and have accepted a position with Shwab Elementary School. My boyfriend Rob and I have moved in together at his house, just down the street from Shwab and are loving life.

As much as I love my students at the King's Daughters' School, I was feeling ready for a change and so with Rob's encouragement and support I have made that happen. I am sad to leave the awesome family that I have grown to care so much for at King's Daughters' but am ready to embrace a new one at my teaching position.

One last exciting bit about all this change, the person who accepted my current position with the King's Daughters' School is none other than one of my very best friends from Rhode Island College. AJ Mindyas just graduated from RIC with his art education degree just I had 2 and a half years ago and is ready to follow my footsteps into the King's Daughters' family. He has been working with people with mental disabilities in group homes for several years and is ready to meet the challenges of the KDS students. I am so excited to pass the torch to my friend AND to have him here in Tennessee with me!

After AJ's acceptance of the position I really feel like everything that is meant to be is happening and fitting together like puzzle pieces. The process of interviewing and moving has been stressful but the results are so so sweet.

This coming week I will be attending the Tennessee Arts Academy for the second summer and will most likely be blogging about that as it happens.

I hope everyone's summer is going as good as mine!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Interactive Art... "Play me I'm yours"

Quick update, my students are working on a wall mural at school this week- I'm not there because I sprained BOTH my ankles this past weekend during my yART sale Saturday. BLAH So I am stuck here in the house and can't do too much of anything... except play on the computer and watch movies. So on facebook this morning, a band mate of mine from high school was tagged in an article and featured playing pianos in many photos of this new exhibit throughout the city of New York. Several pianos. which are decorated beautifully, are placed all over the city with stickers on them that say "play me I'm yours" and "sing for hope." Anyone can stop and play these piece of public art and become part of it! Much like other projects such as 1000 journals, you can go online and upload your videos, photos, and stories of your interactions with the piece onto the artists website! Street pianos have been exhibited in cities all over the world and are currently set up in london and in nyc. Go check them out for yourselves either in person or online!
pictured: Michael Chicoria