The Pie Analogy

In the second plane the child will become aware of herself, of how she looks and how she feels others will perceive her. This is a fascinating part of my job because the child’s reasoning, local mind is exploding with the sense of justice, the need to be heard and to be treated fairly is an unexplainable craving the child has and in the early stages she will not know that’s what it is she’s looking for. Truth is all humans just want to be heard, this is especially true for children. Today in a conversation among students some of them came up with this analogy that I had to share because no adult would ever come up with this. This is how the student tried explaining exclusion to me:

“It’s like you have a sleepover party and your mom made your favorite pie for you to share with everyone at the party. And we all got such big pieces of the pie that there wasn’t enough left for the person who was last to join, there are barely any crumbs. And then the last person who joins gets upset because she didn’t get any pie. When meanwhile it’s not her house and she doesn’t know there’s more pie so she thinks she’s never getting any pie. And then she goes off and cries about it without telling anyone that she wanted some pie. And she could have gotten pie if she said something because there was more pie she just didn’t know about it because she didn’t tell anyone, she just thinks she’s getting the crumbs, and that’s not fair because someone should have offered her pie, then she’d know.”

After my student finished explaining this to me I was so happy that she’d already figured out that the lesson was not just that anyone was being excluded it was simply that no one had asked the last one to join and she didn’t feel wanted, but that from now on everyone should be invited.

Maybe this is just from being a teacher, but I sat there longer than I should have talking this out with my students and beaming from the inside that we were communicating in an open way and allowing them to feel safe enough to say anything to each other.

In a short amount of time the children in my room have invited me into their hearts and the trust me. Today at one point one of my students put his arm around me and said “I really like today.” I told him I really liked today too, and I meant it.

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Teaching, best job in the world.

Today marked my official first day in the classroom. Going into school this morning I had a trunk full of various items your typical teacher would never use and no idea of where I was going to start. I just knew that I had my initial lessons in mind and I was so excited to begin.

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I often get asked if I have a difficult job, if the age I teach is a tough one and my favorite question is “which age would you rather teach?” After five solid years in this profession wearing various hats from art teacher to assistant to finally running my own classroom I am certain that I do in fact have the best job ever, for me difficult doesn’t exist, it’s simple challenges that I may encounter along the journey of my career. I think what many adults lack to comprehend when it comes to my profession is that I get to have the children during the best time of their day. They have come to me after the morning routine is over, ready to do what it is they are supposed to do for eight hours. School to a child is a job to an adult. When you’re in an environment that feels like home and you feel safe and cared for you will love where you are. You will expend the energy you need to in order to be successful in your day and at the end of the day you are tired and ready to take a break. I have found this to be true of all ages of children so when asked what age I prefer to teach I do not have a good answer, the truth is there is no age I wouldn’t want to teach.

My job and challenges lie in the times when children experience dramatic changes both physical and emotional. Or when there is some sort of drama among the students in the classroom. However through my time teaching in various elementary schools both in practice and profession I have learned how to connect with children, how to from the important bonds that allow them to know they can trust me and I can trust them. I know the most important thing I do is truly get to know the children, provide clear consistent boundaries and ground rules and to ALWAYS above all else be fair. This is a recipe for a successful environment which will allow the children to know to respect the rules of the classroom and to respect their teacher. By laying out the foundations and sticking with my philosophy I have found my job to be very easy. It’s honestly the only job I have ever had where I look forward to work every day, waking up at 5am has purpose and I feel as though I am making a difference.

Today as the day began to wind down I found that I was able to teach lessons to all of the children, get out information that I wanted them to have an set a standard for how the daily routine will be. I left school today feeling really good about how things went and inspired to write this post.

Although I will no longer be posting art lessons as I had before I hope to use this blog as a vehicle to share my Montessori journey.

Thank you for reading.

The Montessori Method

One year ago I embarked on a very scary journey. It took a leap of faith, a bit of work and trust in god that I needed to follow my heart and my head. I had been accepted into the Washington Montessori Institute’s Elementary program to attain my masters degree in education and become an internationally certified Montessori teacher.

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Today I received my final report card, I’m thrilled to share that I have all A’s, I passed my written exams with a strong grade, all 110 of my charts for my presentations are finished, my NINE albums of work are complete and I am I mere 8 days away from taking my oral exams. I will celebrate this momentous occasion with friends I’ve made from the area, some friends who are making the trek to Columbia and my family. The very next day I will move away from Blue February Way to Pleasant Dr. where my new home in a fantastic area awaits.

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This August I am THRILLED to announce that I will begin my new job at Meadow’s Montessori starting up their elementary program. I met with parents and my future students this past weekend and I am already planning the transformation of my classroom. I cannot wait to begin my new career and start changing lives.

This process of moving to a new state and leave my past behind me has made me grow and change in ways I never thought I would. My love for life is indescribable, my happiness factor has sky rocketed, and my friendships have blossomed. I am today a new person someone who has been changed and reformed and brought back to my healthy self.

I will incorporate my art lessons into everything I do and I hope to have more lessons to bring to this blog once again.

I want to say thank you to all of my followers for your love of art and interest in the things I have shared. I hope everyone has a chance to live the life they have always wanted to have, to change the lives of others and always be open to change, follow your inner guides and trust that there is a plan for all of us.

With much love and a heartfelt thanks,

Jennifer
Artrait, LLC

Beautiful Stuff

LESSON TITLE: Beautiful Stuff
TEACHER NAME: Jennifer November
GRADE LEVEL: 4th & 5th
CLASS TIME: _1 hr, 45_Minutes _1_Days/week _1_# Session(s)

(This lesson is from a workshop based on the book Beautiful Stuff: Learning with Found Materials by Cathy Weisman Topal and Lella Gandini)

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SUBJECTS COVERED – Color, Drawing, Composition

OBJECTIVES

  • Students will create a thoughtful arrangement of all components of materials they find and will then draw the memory of the display.
  • Students will understand the process of creating a composition and the purpose of a good composition.
  • Students will share their thoughts on the process and notice all of the potential uses and needs for the materials.

MATERIALS

Beautiful Stuff List

VOCABULARY

composition – he action of putting things together; formation or construction, a thing composed of various elements.

sketch – A quick drawing done with either pencil or charcoal, used to predetermine the layout of a piece of art work

monochromatic scale – the scale of one color ranging from the lightest hue to the darkest shade

color wheel – a circle with different colored sectors used to show the relationship between colors.

primary colors – any of a group of colors from which all other colors can be obtained by mixing.

secondary colors – a color resulting from the mixing of two primary colors.

 

RESOURCES

Beautiful Stuff: Learning with Found Materials by Cathy Weisman Topal

 

ROOM SET-UP

Students sat at seven different tables, with about 4-6 students per table. Students only needed to bring a pencil to the lesson, all other materials were provided.

Each table had one empty clear plastic container on it. This will be used for collecting and returning items to their owners.

Tables were set at an equal distance apart so they could tour the room and see what their peers had created.

 

PROCEDURE

A couple months ago I had the privilege of taking a Beautiful Stuff seminar where I learned about the book Beautiful Stuff: Learning with Found Materials by Cathy Weisman Topal. This for me was an introduction to a new approach of eduction similar to Montessori, called Reggio Emilia. According to wikipedia “[The approach is based off] the assumption was that people form their own personality during early years of development and, moreover, that children are endowed with “a hundred languages”. The aim of this approach is teaching how to make them useful in everyday life. The program is based on the principles of respect, responsibility, and community through exploration and discovery in a supportive and enriching environment based on the interests of the children through a self-guided curriculum.”

The projects goal was to give students an opportunity to look more closely at “stuff” and notice the details, the color, and when a lot of “stuff” was gathered it could be categorized, organized, set up and broken down into something beautiful, creative or imaginative. This lesson would give students something personally created to love and not be afraid of taken apart to make something new and beautiful again. Here is how I taught this lesson:

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When we began our lesson I started with a group game, a team organization type game. I asked the students to all meet me outside in the form of one line. I then asked a few volunteers to name me the colors of the rainbow, and what order they viewed in. They correctly told me red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet. I then asked them to silently change the order of their line so that the colors of their outfits were in that proper order. After they began doing this they realized that a lot of their peers were wearing, white, grey and black, and they asked me what they should do with those colors?

I explained to them that these colors would belong in a monochromatic scale, and then asked them to form the scale in a manner from darkest to lightest. We then talked about what the meaning of the word “monochromatic” is.

After they formed these lines I had them silently get into groups of primary colors, secondary colors and grays.

After that we gathered inside and found our seats. They were then shown pictures of the lesson I had done as an example of what they would be doing. I explained to them that they to would create a composition just like I had and have a chance to make something they recognize, something creative or imaginative. Here are my examples.

 

I explained to them that I had brought a whole bag of goodies for them to use. but it wasn’t enough. And they needed to go out in the school and on campus to find stuff too. They were really excited to be active participants in finding the stuff. I gave them a list of materials that could be used for their “stuff” and sent them to go find these thing. I sent each table to various places on our campus. Some outside, the rest inside to different classrooms. They had 20 minutes, but ideally this lesson should have been planned a week in advanced and the students could have brought in a paper bag of items collected from home. What we did was a bit of last minute improvising. But it went pretty well and the groups all came back with successful containers of materials.

After the students came back with their “loot” I had them lay everything out on their tables. I told them to place the objects in color order just like they had lined themselves up before.

After they did this I then had the students combine all of the similar colored objects. They had to walk around the room silently collecting the various colored objects in the same bin. I then had each group randomly select a color or two depending on how many objects were available for said color.

They were now given a “placemat” to create their collages. I gave them the option of creating a composition as a table or individually. They took the various objects and laid them out in a display. Once they did this they were allowed to silently walk around the room and observe what their peers had created. Here are some of the compositions they created:

Once they had a chance to observe what their peers had done, and also took a short break from what they were working on, I handed out paper for them to draw on. They weren’t allowed to cut, glue or make any object permeant in any way. Leaving the objects in their place the students drew what they saw. This gave them a chance to see more detail. They began drawing with a pencil, and were told they were allowed to use an eraser. This was a slight variation  from when I had done this lesson. We were asked to practice drawing the composition with a capped sharpie and then we drew right onto the page with the sharpie. I was concerned that my students would become frustrated with this so I made this alteration and allowed them to draw with pencil first then trace over the pencil with sharpie. If they got that for they were allowed to color with either markers, crayons or colored pencils.

When I had done this lesson myself I felt that the display seemed easier for me to draw because I set it up in front of me. I knew the layout of the composition, but this also forced me to see more details than I had originally paid attention to. This very detailed task kept the students busy and engaged for the remainder of the class.

The steps we didn’t get to finish were the following:

  • Adding a title
  • Writing out how the process went for the participant
  • Writing how the participant came upon the display and composition (this can be done on a note card and all can be displayed on a poster board)

The students had to clean up their work and return the found items to their owners.

FOLLOW UP

During the lesson I had a chance to get a few short videos of the students working. I’m excited to share these videos along with their work! For a quicker look at the students art work please see the gallery below.

Digital Photography, Week 6

LESSON TITLE: Digital Photography
TEACHER NAME: Jennifer November
GRADE LEVEL: 7th & 8th
CLASS TIME: _45_Minutes _1_Days/week _1_# Session(s)
SUBJECTS COVERED – Photoshop

OBJECTIVES

  • Students will use photoshop to alter photographs they took last week. (Examples shown)

MATERIALS

  1. Digital camera
  2. Compact tripods
  3. Elements & Principals Handout
  4. Computer with Photoshop

 

VOCABULARY

Composition – refers to the arrangement and relationship of the different parts that make up the whole image (two areas, elements and principals)

Elements of art – the compositions individual visual parts, the real and tangible parts of an art work, line, shape and form, value, color, space & texture

Principals of design – the compositions organizing ideas, intangible plans and blueprints for creating and arranging the elements balance, unity, variety, movement & rhythm, emphasis, proportion, pattern

Line – the line of a photo starts and ends somewhere in the photograph, 5 kinds, straight, curved, horizontal, vertical, and combination which borrows two or more of the other four qualities

Shape  – is created when a line meets itself, geometric or organic, circles, ovals, triangles, rectangles and squares, this is found in everyday objects, signs, wheels, windows etc.

Form – has volume and is three-dimensional (3-d forms become 2-d shapes)

Space – the two dimensional arrangement of objects in a photograph, basically what you see though your cameras viewfinder, or the 3-d illusion of depth in the image, space can be positive or negative. Positive is the subject and negative is the background

Balance – the appearance of equal visual weight within a composition

Symmetrical balance – this is an image that if split down the center would look the same on both sides, or would mirror each side

Asymmetrical balance – this still looks balanced but this uses the rule of thirds, this is the most widely used method of taking a photograph and often leads to the most appealing pictures. Objects that appear at the intersections of the vertical and horizontal lines look most pleasing to the eye.

Radial balance – a circular style of composition, this occurs when objects radiate from a central point in an image

Unity – is the effect when all the individual parts of an image come together to support each other

Proportion – the relationship between the sizes of objects or components in an image, this helps indicate an objects size, distance and location

 

RESOURCES

Joyner, Hermon, and Kathleen Monaghan. Focus on Photography. Worcester, MA: Davis Publications, 2007. Print.

 

ROOM SET-UP

In the beginning of class I showed the students 5 examples of photographs they can create using the tools we’ve already learned. Students sat at their own computer and worked throughout class.

 

PROCEDURE

Students are to use the photographs they took last week, and may use any other photographs that they took over the course of our class. Todays main focus  was on the students leaning the various tools available to them in photoshop. I gave them five different examples of photo collages I created. I used the following tools I gave them these instructions:

 

Tools to use today:

Line Image

Cut & Paste with the Polygonal Lasso tool

 

Proportion Image

Burn tool – burn edges of an image to give it a vignette look

Blur tool – give a subject a blurry effect, or put more focus on one subject by making objects around it blurry.

Dodge tool – this will make colors lighten, you can control how light the object gets by controlling the opacity of the tool or how many times you go over the part of the image.

Sponge tool – this will make colors lightly richer.

 

Shape & Form Image

Blur tool – to have my main subject stand out I blurred the background.

Sponge tool – use this to raise the saturation on the image. You can help make the colors pop!

Copy the main subject and paste it in the same location, leaving a good amount of background captured with this image. We can now work on the main object separately and make radical changes to the background.

 

Texture & Space Image

Took a collection of pictures that had texture and composed them into a collage of various images in organic shaped spaces.

Used the Polygonal lasso tool to take out areas I didn’t want, and used one images lines as a frame.

I used parts of other images with texture and put them into a composition.

I turned the saturation up high to give the lines a darker color.

Many layers were needed for this image.

 

 

FOLLOW UP

I was super happy with their results! Although this project was successful I unfortunately do not have any student examples to share, however I have my examples from the lesson below. When we finished with our projects I had each of them share their images with us and what they did to their images.

 

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Digital Photography, Week 5

LESSON TITLE: Digital Photography
TEACHER NAME: Jennifer November
GRADE LEVEL: 7th & 8th
CLASS TIME: _45_Minutes _1_Days/week _1_# Session(s)
SUBJECTS COVERED – Applying principals and elements of photography to photo shoot.

OBJECTIVES

  • Students will take photographs with the principals and elements of photography in mind.
  • Students will use compact tripods for timed images.
  • Students will have a stronger understanding of the use of elements and principals in their photography.

MATERIALS

  1. Digital camera
  2. Compact tripods
  3. Elements & Principals Handout

 

VOCABULARY

Composition – refers to the arrangement and relationship of the different parts that make up the whole image (two areas, elements and principals)

Elements of art – the compositions individual visual parts, the real and tangible parts of an art work, line, shape and form, value, color, space & texture

Principals of design – the compositions organizing ideas, intangible plans and blueprints for creating and arranging the elements balance, unity, variety, movement & rhythm, emphasis, proportion, pattern

Line – the line of a photo starts and ends somewhere in the photograph, 5 kinds, straight, curved, horizontal, vertical, and combination which borrows two or more of the other four qualities

Shape  – is created when a line meets itself, geometric or organic, circles, ovals, triangles, rectangles and squares, this is found in everyday objects, signs, wheels, windows etc.

Form – has volume and is three-dimensional (3-d forms become 2-d shapes)

Space – the two dimensional arrangement of objects in a photograph, basically what you see though your cameras viewfinder, or the 3-d illusion of depth in the image, space can be positive or negative. Positive is the subject and negative is the background

Balance – the appearance of equal visual weight within a composition

Symmetrical balance – this is an image that if split down the center would look the same on both sides, or would mirror each side

Asymmetrical balance – this still looks balanced but this uses the rule of thirds, this is the most widely used method of taking a photograph and often leads to the most appealing pictures. Objects that appear at the intersections of the vertical and horizontal lines look most pleasing to the eye.

Radial balance – a circular style of composition, this occurs when objects radiate from a central point in an image

Unity – is the effect when all the individual parts of an image come together to support each other

Proportion – the relationship between the sizes of objects or components in an image, this helps indicate an objects size, distance and location

RESOURCES

Joyner, Hermon, and Kathleen Monaghan. Focus on Photography. Worcester, MA: Davis Publications, 2007. Print.

 

ROOM SET-UP

Students were given the hand out, then went outside. Later they sat at the computers to download their digital images.

 

PROCEDURE

We sat in a circle and I handed out the handout with the reminder guidelines of the principals and elements for them to refer to when out on the property taking pictures. After a quick review the digital cameras and tripods were passed out. I quickly demonstrated to them how to use the tripod and made sure everyone had an idea of how to use their camera. Then they were sent out for 40 minutes to take pictures all over campus. When the students returned they went to their computers and were told to download their pictures and save them tot their USBs. They will be using these images for next weeks assignment when they work on different techniques in photoshop.

 

FOLLOW UP

The students did a wonderful job walking around the campus to take pictures. They were all over the property and trying to take images from different perspectives. They seemed to pay attention to the worksheet and the guidelines that I had shown them over the past couple of classes. I let them take the whole 40 minutes taking pictures and trying to get in the required amount of images for the next assignment.

When the students returned we viewed some of the images together and spoke about possible things that can be done to the image to either enhance it or to add to it and make the image a new picture.

I went around and took my own photos to use for examples of photoshop images they can make for next weeks project.

 

Digital Photography 1, Week 4

LESSON TITLE: Digital Photography Class #4
TEACHER NAME: Jennifer November
GRADE LEVEL: 7th & 8th
CLASS TIME: _1.5_Minutes _1_Days/week _1_# Session(s)
SUBJECTS COVERED – Photography Principals and Elements (Photos with Purpose/ Time, Light, Subject)

OBJECTIVES

  • About the elements of art and the principals of design
  • How to use these elements and principals to compose great photographs

MATERIALS

 

VOCABULARY

Composition – refers to the arrangement and relationship of the different parts that make up the whole image (two areas, elements and principals)

Elements of art – the compositions individual visual parts, the real and tangible parts of an art work, line, shape and form, value, color, space & texture

Principals of design – the compositions organizing ideas, intangible plans and blueprints for creating and arranging the elements balance, unity, variety, movement & rhythm, emphasis, proportion, pattern

Line – the line of a photo starts and ends somewhere in the photograph, 5 kinds, straight, curved, horizontal, vertical, and combination which borrows two or more of the other four qualities

Shape  – is created when a line meets itself, geometric or organic, circles, ovals, triangles, rectangles and squares, this is found in everyday objects, signs, wheels, windows etc.

Form – has volume and is three-dimensional (3-d forms become 2-d shapes)

Color – hue, saturation, value

Hue – the name of the colors, green, blue, yellow, etc

Saturation – intensity or purity of a color

Value – lightness or darkness of the color, or lightness and darkness of a black and white picture, you are photographing how much light is reflected ack at the camera and how much light is absorbed be the subject or scene

The value of a scene can carry emotional content as well. Low -key or mostly dark scenes can create a mood of sadness, suspense or dread. High-key scenes, which are mostly light or white in values, usually carry positive, upbeat feelings

Space – the two dimensional arrangement of objects in a photograph, basically what you see though your cameras viewfinder, or the 3-d illusion of depth in the image, space can be positive or negative. Positive is the subject and negative is the background

Balance – the appearance of equal visual weight within a composition

Symmetrical balance – this is an image that if split down the center would look the same on both sides, or would mirror each side

Asymmetrical balance – this still looks balanced but this uses the rule of thirds, this is the most widely used method of taking a photograph and often leads to the most appealing pictures. Objects that appear at the intersections of the vertical and horizontal lines look most pleasing to the eye.

Radial balance – a circular style of composition, this occurs when objects radiate from a central point in an image

Unity – is the effect when all the individual parts of an image come together to support each other

Proportion – the relationship between the sizes of objects or components in an image, this helps indicate an objects size, distance and location

RESOURCES

Joyner, Hermon, and Kathleen Monaghan. Focus on Photography. Worcester, MA: Davis Publications, 2007. Print.

ROOM SET-UP

Students viewed the powerpoint and followed along with a worksheet that has them search for key terms and definitions though out the presentation. After it was over the students sat a individual computers to work independently.

 

PROCEDURE

Students have some photography foundation education so far. But today we go into the lesson even deeper. We define the various parts of an image. We determined how to prepare a composition for the image. We related the principals to the rule of thirds, and to Fibonacci’s sequence. I showed them my own images and over laid the rule or thirds and Fibonacci’s sequence to show them how the image is successful.

With all of the information they were given I wanted them to have time to apply what they learned. So in next weeks class they will receive a hand out that will send them on a trip around our campus taking images using the principals and elements which I have taught them.

The spent the reminder of the class time to finish the project from the previous weeks class.