Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Miss French Fry and Ketchup!

Yowza, it's been a bit since I last posted and we have been busy busy bees at school.  Now it's my turn to have a "ketchup" day.

Without further ado, here's what's happened in the eternity since I posted:

1) My garden club harvested and sold bouquets of beautiful tulips!

Last year, I wrote a grant and received the funding to install a raised bed and plant 500+ tulips at our school with the help of my 5th grade Garden Clubbers.  Our intention was to sell the tulip bouquets to raise money for our school.  Community service AND physical work: how do you like THAT Michelle Obama?! :)

Maintaining this garden is A LOT of work, but it's so amazing to see my students learning about the flowers, weeding, and generally sweating it out in the sunshine.

Plus, this garden and our butterfly garden has inspired many fun projects.  (See #2).

2)  My Fourth Graders are wrapping up with a printmaking project studying Illinois Wildflowers.  Printmaking is one of my favorite art areas and a project I always enjoy working on with my students.

Love how tidy this little guy is being.  An artist after my own obsessive-compulsive heart! 

Our prints are still in progress, so stay tuned for more pictures soon!

3)  I was invited to present at the Art Institute of Chicago's 2014 Curriculum Fair, which was such an honor and an amazing experience.

Presenters were invited to share examples of projects based on artworks or artists housed at the Art Institute of Chicago.

Check me out in action on the Art Institute's Facebook page here!

I decided to share my 4th grade's All That Jazz unit based on Romare Bearden's works, the 3rd grade's Magritte Moon Trees, and my Kindergarten's Pointillist Paintings based on the work of Georges Seurat.

I had so much fun exploring every presenter's projects and talking with very talented teachers.

The best part about this day was that it fell on the same day my husband proposed to me at the Art Institute five years ago (cue the awwwwwww's here).

Believe it or not, our school year is still not over.  We're going until June 13th (darn Midwest and crazy Chiberian polar vortex days).  But the plus side of that is I still have many more projects to share with you, so keep on keepin' on!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The Magritte Goes On.

As Cher says, "the beat goes on," but in Art world that means la dee da dee da, the Magritte goes on.  Earlier (as in months ago), I shared the Surrealist projects my 3rd and 4th grades worked on here and here.

And now, due to a bazillion polar vortex days, slow and steady 5th graders, and a crazy art teacher who  has attention issues and skips around from one project to another without finishing the first project, we are FINALLY finished.  Phewwwwww.

This project seriously took us FOREVER.

I like to do a self portrait unit with every class every year, so that way they've got a permanent collection at home showing their growth as young artists.

My Fifth Graders created their portraits after a TON of planning and practice.  They started by completing the self portrait grid (after a teacher demo of course).

Exhibit A: proportional face grid that resembles a fencing mask...

Students also had to complete the Color Pencil Practice Worksheet and check both sheets with me before moving onto their final portrait paper.  I am embarrassed to admit that I have access to all these fancy schmancy tech tools, and then I still end up drawing the worksheet template with a sharpie.  LAME.

Self portraits were done with pencil, then sharpie, and then finally color pencils.

Students could select whatever fruit they wanted and then they attached them with string and a hole punch.  And what a variety of fruit faces we had!

My original plan was to glue down the fruit onto their little faces, but after all of that hard work, I felt awful covering up their fantastic faces.  I wonder how Magritte created his?  Do you think he painted his whole face and then added the apple on top or just partially painted his face?

I've got them hanging in one of our main hallways, so that whenever someone walks by, the breeze moves the fruit ever so slightly.

Now that's some interactive art!!!

Not gonna lie, after working on these, I have been majorly craving fruit and loaded my grocery cart up with all kinda varieties.  Fruit-tastic!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Vote for Me Please!

Hey all!

The voting for "Best Dressed Art Teacher" is on.  Please go to Cassie Stephen's Blog (aka already the World's Best Dressed Art Teacher) to vote for me, Melinda Flinchum.  And if you don't vote for me, no hard feelings (I'll just sic Mugsy on you when you least expect it).  Enjoy the wonderful outfits of the crazies educating your young ones.

 Remember folks, in addition to the thrifted outfits above, I've donned some funky handmade costumes in the past (see below)...


 Thanks for voting and have a rockin' weekend!

Artfully yours,
Miss French Fry

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Month of the Military Child.

April is Month of the Military Child and my school really enjoys celebrating our amazing military families.  We have a large population of students in our school whose parent(s) are currently serving either at our local military base or serving active duty overseas.  These children and their families are wonderfully patient and giving people.

At the beginning of the month, our school staff hosts a big breakfast for our military families and every staff member brings a dish or two.  I didn't have time (or energy) to bake, as a matter of fact my inner Martha Stewart has been on a serious hiatus, but Target's bakery had these bad boys on sale, so I styled them up a bit and called it a day.

Nothing beats cupcakes and cookies for breakfast, eh?

Then, at the end of the month, a few colleagues and I organize a big school-wide assembly to honor our wonderful heroes. I like to have patriotic projects on display as a backdrop during the assembly.

Below are our 3rd grade Jasper Johns-inspired flags:

Students first drew a rectangle for the flag's stars with a pencil and ruler.

We then cut apart lyrics to either the Pledge of Allegiance or The Star Spangled Banner and glued them down.

Love the Olympic rings in this one.

Then, we used the warm colors for the flag's stripes and cool colors for the star section.

Final texture details were added with some of my many hoarding tools below.

And below are the Kindergarten poppies based on Van Gogh's painting below:

Field of Poppies, 1890

We used tissue papers for our poppies and a little splash of green glitter for our stems.

And lastly, the Fourth grader's Lady Liberty paintings based on Peter Max's version:

Our backgrounds were made with oil pastels and tempera and the ladies were made from newspaper (pre-sprayed with green liquid watercolor), sharpies for the outlines, and copper paint for a nice little highlight.

Lastly, totally not on purpose, our wonderful music teacher and I were polka dot twins at the assembly. The Fine Arts minds think alike I guess!

Check out those smiles of relief now that the big assembly is over!

Happy (belated) Month of the Military Child to you!