I love the buzz and energy of an art room filled with students actively involved in the creative process. Because of this, I allow my students to talk during art production, as long as they remain on-task and the noise level doesn’t become disruptive. However, some of my classes have a harder time with this freedom than others. Enter . . . “Noise Control“. This iPhone app has been very effective during times when I need students to keep noise down and raise concentration. While I can’t promise this will forever solve noise issues, a little extra help never hurts. Watch the video below to see how it works:
Can’t see video above? Click here.
Here’s a few tips to get started:
Searching for great images and content for your classroom? Then you’ll want to look through the unbelievable resources at kitZu created by the Orange County Department of Education. The online collection of digital kits covers numerous subject areas such as science, music, mathematics, history, visual art and more. The content includes free educational and copy right friendly media resources that are appropriate for kindergarten through high school ages. At kitZu their goal was to, “provide students with the building blocks necessary to build video and multimedia projects that tell a story and demonstrate learning.” With the great organization of these digital resources you’ll have no problem quickly finding school friendly material for those teachable moments and big multimedia projects. Under the visual arts section I found 41 kits alone. This is an amazing resource for educators so make sure to add it to your bookmarks or Delicious account.
A big thanks to @NMHS_Principal for sharing this resource on twitter.
Kits can include any of the following:
- Audio Clips
- Video Clips
Examples of some of the visual art topics are located below.
A document camera is not a fancy overhead projector but a versatile piece of equipment that can help improve the way you deliver curriculum. The most obvious function of the camera is that you can place any object, drawing or small piece of equipment under the lens and it will be projected in full color onto a large screen.
What is often overlooked is that the document camera can be highly interactive, save on equipment and space, improve classroom management and produce it’s own art. Below are several different ways I’ve incorporated the document camera into my art room and some of the techniques that might work for your room as well.
Still Life Drawing
Turn the document camera lens out and project a still life that the whole class can see. Instead of having to find multiple objects and set up numerous still life displays use your document camera to enlarge one set of objects. It cuts down on the materials that need to be collected and saves space in the classroom by only needing one display. Another perk is you can instantly change to another still life when a different grade comes. You also can easily control the lighting to show a full range of values and actually demonstrate how artists select portions of a still life to draw.
The kids love to watch me reposition the still life by turning the stand multiple directions in combination with zooming in and out on different sections of the objects. It allows me to show the entire class the concepts I’m teaching such as light source, highlight, shadow and reflected light. My document camera also has a feature that allows me to turn the image from color to black and white. I’ve found this to be especially useful when teaching rendering /shading or to help a class focus on drawing the actual object shapes and not be distracted by color. I’ve traveled to four different schools in my district, each with a different document camera, and they all had the black and white feature. You might need to do a little experimenting to find that feature on your camera but it will most likely have it.
Here’s how I used my camera to project a still life (click the image to enlarge):
First, find a table or platform at the right height to display your objects. I used a sturdy music stand. It works beautifully for light to medium weight materials and it easily can rotate or slide up and down for demonstrations. Next, turn the lens or rotate it out so that you can see the objects you want to display. Now you can zoom and reposition the stand to focus on different sections of the still-life. Then add a light source to create depth and shadows. You can get a utility light that clips from the hardware store, use a desk lamp with a flexible arm or a flash light. My motto is what ever works and is cheap.
Change your perspective and the classes by taking advantage of the microscopes used in science class. I use a great lesson I got from my colleague to take an artist’s view-point when looking at fall leaves. Originally the class would collect leaves, draw an outline of the leaves they observe and then fill in each leaf shape with tiny circular shapes to represent the molecular structure. We took the artistic license to imagine what the cellular structure looked like but since getting a document camera we don’t have to imagine. I call up students to put samples of the leaves they collected under the microscope and focus the lens. Then we discuss what we observe and how we can relate it to our art. We are able to make greater connections to what we see and tie back into the science curriculum at a deeper level.
Here’s how I use the document camera to project the microscope (click the image to enlarge):
Don’t just use your document camera to project an example piece of art or a demonstration. Let the kids use it to create their own original art. I was inspired by the illustrator and caricature artist Hanoch Piven’s book My Dog is As Smelly As Socks: And Other Funny Family Portraits to have 2nd graders create their own assemblage portraiture.
I showed students several of Hanoch Piven’s books and talked to them about assemblage and discussed different ways to use found objects in our art. I had students draw the shape of their own face and hair and add color but no facial features. Students put their picture under the document camera and added facial features with different found objects (i.e., buttons, sea shells, bolts, nails, rubber bands, small toys, pieces of yarn, candy, art supplies, tools). Then students would take a picture with the document camera. Most of the document cameras came with software to use in conjunction with a computer for recording, editing, adding annotations and taking pictures. You’ll have to investigate how your particular document camera takes pictures. All of the found objects would then be put back into the box for other students to use. The images can then be printed, shared through a classroom website, used in an enhanced podcast or in a voice thread.
You can view more photos of using the document camera in the art room at The Teaching Palette’s Flicker photo stream.
When your students are working on messy projects that leave tons of paper scraps on the floor consider using the Magic Garbage technique to motivate a super fast clean-up. I learned this tip from my colleagues in my masters cohort and it works beautifully with my elementary students.
When it’s time to clean up, explain to the class that you picked one piece of garbage on the floor to be the “Magic Garbage”. Who ever picks it up while cleaning will earn a prize!
A prize can be anything that’s motivating to your students such as candy, stickers, stamps, free time, computers or line leader. In my room we use a ticket system where students earn a ticket. Each ticket is placed in a box and after a few art classes several tickets are randomly drawn from the box like a raffle. The students with winning tickets drawn from the ticket box get to select a price from the prize box.
Now here is were the magic comes in. You really don’t have to mark a particular piece of garbage with a sticker or anything else. You simply watch the class as they busily clean and then award the ticket to the student you think worked the hardest at cleaning. Sometimes I award the ticket to a student who worked really hard on their art for the entire class period. Of course, if you want, you can mark a particular piece of garbage with a sticker. The risk with doing that is if a student immediately finds the sticker there’s no extra motivation for the whole class to keep cleaning.
This is a great system for those situations where there is a time crunch. It also works in any setting where cleaning will be a big job. Magic Garbage is a simple technique that encourages a fast and through clean-up anytime you need it.
(Side note: Some of my cohort colleagues had different names for this technique like lucky trash, secret garbage or prize piece of trash. If you have used this technique or start using it soon, leave a comment and let us know what you named it!)
Educating students (and lets face it, ourselves) about copyright and digital citizenship has become increasingly more important as more and more teaching resources are found online. While creating original image content may still be the best way to gather images, it is not always practical or even geographically realistic. Copyright-free and public domain images often make the creative process easer by allowing for manipulation without needing to cite the source. However, there are times when when you can’t find what you need in the public domain or want to teach a lesson on digital citizenship. In these situations, searching for images with a Creative Commons license can be useful. Our top ten list of imagery for creative use ranges from “no known copyright” (among the least restrictive) to Creative Commons (creative permissions vary).
1. The Commons This Flickr database contains collections from museums and libraries from around the world. The images placed in these collections have “no known copyright” and therefore are free to use without attribution.
2. Public Domain Sherpa This is a one stop shop with a great collection of image sources mostly in the public domain. This site also does a great job explaining copyright information in layman’s terms.
3. Morgue File “Public image archive for creatives by creatives” This fabulous site is full of easily searchable images that require no attribution.
4. Pics4Learning These copyright-friendly images have been donated by teachers, students, and amateur photographers. Explore the other features and tutorials to help get you started.
5. PD Photo Most of the thousands of images on this site are in public domain, but not all. Before using any image, read the license under each picture.
6. Creative Commons and Wikimedia Commons These databases are great places to access all sorts of media that you can incorporate into creative projects. Since both public domain and creative commons images can turn up in a search, be sure to check to see if the image requires attribution.
7. Photos8 This site offers thousands of images free to use for any purpose. The site author doesn’t require attribution but would love to see the creative outcomes.
8. Creativity 103 This source contains images and video ranging from abstract design to architecture. You are free to download and use any of the images as long as you credit the website.
9. Compflight and FlickrCC These two great tools can help you quickly find images licensed under Creative Commons on Flickr. Another Flickr option is the advanced search to find images to modify or build upon. Download directions for use with your students here.
10. Google Advanced Image Search This search engine is useful for helping you find specific images such as line drawing or photo content with “safe search” filtering. To find Creative Commons images, select the search terms usage rights “labeled for reuse” or “reuse with modification”.
Oh, and a couple of things that you will want to explore . . .
Creative Project Image Search We gathered many resources listed here along with a few others to create a custom search engine for public domain, copyright-friendly, and Creative Commons images. This tool could be something you add to student bookmarks to make image searching easy.