MSU 4H China Art Exchange with Jonesville Middle School

Top Ten Pictures from JMS

Top Ten Pictures from JMS

This year my students participated in something called the 4H China Art Exchange. This program is run through Michigan State University and 4H. What I like about the program is that my students learn about Chinese children and their artwork.

I built a whole unit around the exchange and hit several Michigan benchmarks at the same time. This is just one part of the unit.

Once we receive the kit I explain to the students what the exchange is and how it works. I also explain that we need to treat these pieces of artwork with the utmost respect and how to handle these one of a kind pieces of art.

Students then look at and analyze the artwork and answer the following questions:

  • Name three shapes in the drawing.
  • Name three lines in the drawing.
  • Name three colors in the drawing.
  • What is happening in this picture?
  • Do you like this picture? Why?
  • Do you dislike this picture? Why?
  • What do you see in this picture that is similar to things in your life?
  • What did the Chinese child who painted this picture want to tell you?
  • What feelings do you have when you look at this picture?
  • Would you ever think of doing a painting or drawing like this one?
  • How do you think the picture was made? What art materials are used in it?

Afterwards students present their finding by either reading their worksheet, through a poem, story, or a skit.

Then students create their own visual letter back to the students in China. I picked the top ten based on completeness, originality, craftsmanship, and visual storytelling.

This program is available to K-6 students in the state of Michigan. Please contact your local MSU extension office or click here to visit their website.

Please enjoy our video.

Artfully,

Mrs. Berry

Reading Buddies for the Month of March

IMG_5759Since March is reading month, every Friday I took my alternative high school students to read to the local preschool. Each week there was a different theme. We started with Dr. Seuss books to kick off the reading month and Cat and the Hat tagged along. On the second week we read alphabet books and the third week was dedicated to books about artists. We ended the month with animal books. Each week the preschool teacher had an activity to accompany the theme.
While my students were reading they would point out pictures and words, and ask the children many questions about what would happen next in the story. There were many giggles, lots of reading, and fun each Friday.
Please enjoy the video or our reading adventure.

-Artfully,
Mrs. Berry

Curing Cabin Fever

Cabin fever has set in and I am in need of some flowers and a green spring.  Since, I can’t have that and we have had 10 snow days in two months; I have been doing a bit of painting.  These are two that are finished.  I have a few others that I have been working on, but my attention span is all over the place.  Hopefully, spring will be here soon and I can start to garden again.

Old and New by Christy Berry

Old and New by Christy Berry

The purpose of the first painting was to use up the existing tubes of paint. I wanted to clear out space and purchase new paint.  I don’t like to waist any paint so I thought why not take the last couple of squeezes and create a painting using those colors.  The paint was purchased over 18 years or so ago.  It’s been awhile but the paint still worked; however, it was a little thick.  I also then added other colors on top because I now ran out of those colors.  I used a 20” by20” canvas with acrylic paint.

Yellow Flower by Christy Berry

Yellow Flower by Christy Berry

The second painting was using a type of vellum paper, acrylic, and sharpie.  I have been experimenting with this type of paper. Up until this point I have only used watercolor and sharpie.  I like the look of the acrylic.  The vellum reduces my use of highly saturated colors.  I’m indifferent at this point to if I like it or not.  It might grow on me.

Please enjoy.

Artfully,

Christy Berry

Stop, Drop, and Write In the Art classroom

Crazy CactusA whole lot can happen in just two minutes in the art room.  By using a ‘Stop, Drop and Write” technique midway through a project my students were able to refocus, have O2 put into their brains, meet a state benchmark, self-assess, and for me to use their writing to assess their learning/process/thinking of the project.  Wow, that is a very busy two minutes.  I had never heard or tried this until I read an article from Heather Wolpert-Gawron: Tween Brains, Part III: How it Work It Out In The Classroom.  She mentioned having the students participate in an instantaneous think aloud.  I thought, “Why not try it?”

I tweaked it for my students.  This is what I did:

  • I passed out note-cards ahead of time and had the students put their name on a card.
  • I let them know ahead of time that I was going to shout out “Stop, Drop, and Write” at some point in the class.
  • At which point they should stop what they are doing, drop right to the floor with a writing instrument and their note-card.
  • Then they were to write about what they were going to do next in their project (relates to state standards) for two minutes.
  • About half way into the class when I saw they needed a mental break I shouted, “Stop, Drop, and Write.”
  • And that is exactly what they did.
  • When they went back to their seats they were still focused and went back to working on their project.  I was able to then read what they wrote on their cards.  Yep, turns out it works.  The students did very well on self-assessing their own artwork and what they needed to do next.  If they hadn’t then I could have changed directions and retaught something.

This technique could be used for any project.  I tried it when my students were working on their crazy cactus lesson.  This lesson went over very well for my middle school students.  The students had a high buy in rate because they were allowed to choose what to put in their cacti and they liked trying to make people’s eyes go “buggy.”  I borrowed the lesson idea from the book Dynamic Art Projects for Children by Denise Logan. I tweaked it a bit by not painting; I did that a few years ago and found students tend to go overboard with the puffy paint.  I also added a part where students researched an Op artist and their artwork for inspiration and at the end students wrote about their art.

This is a shortened list of what we did in class.

  • First we did a bit of research on optical art.
  • Next we created designs to go on the cactus shape.
  • We stared at colored construction paper until our eyes saw the opposite.
  • We added color to the designs.
  • At one point we stopped, dropped, and wrote what we were going to do next.
  • Next we cut the cacti out.
  • We added a pattern on the outside for spikes.
  • Finally we wrote a statement about our artwork.

Please enjoy the video of my students and their artwork.

Artfully,

Mrs. Berry

6th and 8th Grade Selfies

8th Grade's Student Example.

8th Grade’s Student Example.

My students have done an amazing job with drawing their self-portraits.  When we started I told the students we were going to create selfies and not one of them complained about our project.  In fact, they were over the moon about it.  Normally, I have at least one of the students moan or freak out when we do this unit. It was great to see the high level of engagement from them.

To find out where they were I had the 6th and 8th grade students create a twenty minute assessment drawing prior to teaching them anything about self-portraits.  I tell them to try their best.  Common misconceptions by students when they draw themselves:

 

  • eyes in the forehead
  • ears are too small
  • no eyelashes or eye brows
  • curved line for lips
  • hair only on top of head
  • circle for head instead of oval type shape
  • shape of eyes

Afterwards, we compared and contrast a self-portrait from Frida Kahlo and Van Gogh using a Venn diagram.  I explain that self-portraits by these two were their selfies. As a class they totally rocked it out.

Then we did several practice drawings in their sketchbook, breaking down each facial feature.  Some students commented that this was fun.  That was a happy teacher moment.  Afterwards, we used IPads and mirrors to draw ourselves.

I used a new technique that I learned from a staff meeting given to us by the principal.  I call it the Read, Stop, Discuss, and Repeat Activity.  Here is how it works:

  • Put stop signs after a paragraph or sections of text
  • Students stand and face a partner
  • Students silently read to themselves until the stop sign (2 minutes)
  • Students discuss with partner what was read (usually one fact)
  • Students repeat the process until the end of the article
  • Finally, students sit down and discuss the whole article as a class

I was impressed on how well this worked with the students.  I will be repeating this technique with my students again.  Of course, it helped the article was about how Van Gogh’s ear was cut off.

I was a bit nervous to have a sub in the middle of the lesson when we added color and a background to the faces.  I was attending my grand-mother’s funeral.  But it came out ok, mostly unscathed.

Students then wrote their statements about their artwork.  Afterwards, I showed students their before and after portrait.  They really liked the results of their learning.  Their faces lit up when they saw the difference between their before and after.

After we were done with the lesson one of the students asked me if all artists are crazy.  I told him no, I just picked two that had some issues.

Please enjoy the video of my student’s artwork.  If you are interested in the whole unit from start to finish with what benchmarks we hit, please click on the link on my page on Teachers Pay Teachers.

Artfully,

Mrs. Berry

8th Grade’s Student Example.

Poinsettia Paintings by JMS and PASS Art Students 2013

Greetings,

With all of this cold and snowy weather I thought I would post some of my students’ colorful artwork via a video from Animoto. My students took my drawing/painting lesson and created very colorful poinsettias before Christmas break.  I did this with two groups; my sixth grade and my alternative high school students.  The reason why I like this lesson is because it has my students actually looking at something.  This is a skill that my students need to work on.  This was the first lesson where they looked at a plant and drew it.  After drawing, my students could add any color they wanted for their plant. Students enjoyed drawing their plant.  They are currently on display at our local library.  Please enjoy the video.

Artfully,

Christy Berry

52 Paintings: Week 31-35 Murals and Draftpaper Paintings

Close up view of Calvin and Hobbes Mural by Christy Berry

Close up view of Calvin and Hobbes Mural by Christy Berry

Calvin and Hobbes Mural by Christy Berry

Calvin and Hobbes Mural by Christy Berry

It is getting close to the end of the year and I need to do several paintings before the end.  I have few that I have been working on.  One of them is a floor to ceiling mural of one of my favorite images of Calvin and Hobbes.  It’s where they are going off on an adventure together in their wagon.  It is for my son’s room.

Painting by Christy Berry of Calvin's Quote

Painting by Christy Berry of Calvin’s Quote

I also have painted a quote on one of the walls on the other side of the room.  It’s also one of my favorite quotes.

As I was moving stuff into our home I found some drafting paper.  I thought why not give it a try and see what happens.  So I took a photograph that I took of my children and drew on the drafting paper with a sharpie.  I then used watercolor and painted the other side.

Backside of Three Angels by Christy Berry

Backside of Three Angels by Christy Berry

Three Angels by Christy Berry

Three Angels by Christy Berry

I did two versions of this painting to see what I liked best.

Three Angels by Christy Berry

Three Angels by Christy Berry

Flower Experiment by Christy Berry

Flower Experiment by Christy Berry

I then also tried a flower.  I am not sure I like the results of the flower.  The jury is still out on that painting.  However, I like the painting of my children with the watercolor look.

These painting are what I have been working on along with 2am feedings and teaching full time. Please enjoy!

Artfully,

Mrs. Berry

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