Here are a few pictures of my students' work from practicum :) This first slideshow is of the Kindergarten art.
Here are some pictures of the Gr. 1 and 2 split class's work. I really loved the Spring Trees project ^_^ They did so well! For some reason a bunch of the photos wouldn't rotate...even though they're rotated in my folder....not sure why Weebly decided some will be rotated and some won't... :/
I still have to finish editing and fixing the lighting of the other pictures so I'll slowly post the rest of them. Next I'll upload the grade 3/4's and 5/6's and then the junior high work :) This is all for today though. Can't spend all day fixing photos!
I haven't been keeping up with these reflections since last time! It got a little bit crazy towards the end of Practicum. Now I'm ready to finish reflecting on the lessons of the last few days! In the next post after this one, I'll upload a bunch of pictures of student work.
Tuesday April 8th:
I introduced the Gr.5/6's to their pencil crayon blending project and found it surprising that a lot of the students didn't really remember what the primary colours were. My TA commented afterwards that she was shocked as well, because it's something that they've learned since Kindergarten. It's one of the many concepts that must be reviewed over and over again, I suppose!
The Gr.3/4's continued working on their one-point perspective drawings. As usual, I started off with a review of some important characteristics of one-point perspective, and parallel lines. I had wanted them to finish colouring by the end of this class but over half of the students were still working on the colouring so I decided they will have one more class to finish up. I wanted to start another one-point perspective drawing with them, but I ran out of time! I'm learning that "running out of time" will be a common theme in teaching...especially with art!
Wednesday April 9th:
After lunch, I set up for the Gr.1/2's to start their watercolour & ink blown trees. Each table got 4 large sheets of paper to cover the table and reduce clean up. I made sure that there were blue and green watercolour cakes to be shared with each pair, and brushes were set at each spot. I left the water for later because I didn't want the students to come in and start painting. I showed them my example of a finished project and asked them what they thought I painted first and how I painted the trees, and leaves. Then we talked about what they had to accomplish for the day. All I wanted them to do was to finish painting the sky and ground. I also asked them to experiment with using kleenex to lift some of the colour off their still wet sky to create clouds. I was super impressed with their work! Because they finished with enough time to spare, we also practiced blowing ink to form trees. Again, I was very impressed with their trees. They were beautiful! I used watered down black tempera instead of ink to avoid any huge messes. I was pleased that there weren't as many messes as I had anticipated!
For the Junior High classes, I introduced scrolls and hand scrolls, showing them a short video of some history, and significance of the art form. I asked them what they thought some differences between Chinese hand scrolls and a western painting like the Mona Lisa was. Because the last class of the day had to end early due to my TA needing the time to have a meeting with the participants of "We Are Silent" the following day, I asked the junior high students to just brainstorm and do rough sketches of what they think may go on their scrolls instead of getting out the ink. Those who weren't finished their koi fish were the only ones with ink out. The Gr.7/8/9 split class started off a little rowdy again so I had to remind them about our talk on Monday. After that, they were a lot more manageable.
Thursday April 10th:
The students from Gr.6-9 had taken a vow of silence and couldn't talk for 30 hours as part of "We Are Silent," raising awareness for the children around the world who didn't have voices or the rights to voice their opinions. Some students came to school with duct tape (fancy patterned ones) because they thought it would help them not talk. It was interesting to see how seriously the junior high students took their vow....for the most part. It helped that there were consequences if they talked. Because they couldn't talk all day, and classes were still going on as usual, there was an eerie silence in the classrooms. I wish I was teaching the junior high art classes on this day!
The Gr.5/6's continued working on their Octopus's Garden-pencil crayon blending project. Only about half the Gr.6's were participating in We Are Silent so I asked the rest of the class to try and respect their vow and do not try to make them talk. I wanted them to finish colouring by the end of the class so we could add sea creatures in our last class, but of course they need more time. Some students were away previously and needed to catch up as well.
I love Kindergarten. They are just too darn adorable :) We finished our spring rain drawings/paintings by adding rain. Because there weren't too many of them, I decided to have a back station where I'd call up 3 students at a time to paint the rain while the rest work on colouring some pictures I had drawn earlier. It worked out well! I used a spray bottle to spray their paper with water and asked them to dab a watered down blue tempera paint onto their wet papers. They found it really interesting to see how the dots became bigger.
The Gr.3/4's had their last lesson with me today because next Tuesday during this time would be the school's airband performances. They all finished their one-point perspective drawings nicely and then could free draw if they were done. I told them it was our last class and they were really sad. I got a bunch of hugs and I told them I'd come find them next week to give them their presents.
I spent many hours from Friday-Sunday drawing individual and specialized bookmarks for each of my students. Their names were on the back of each with a quote that was different for each grade. At the beginning of practicum I had asked them what their favourite animal and cartoon characters were. I used this info to complete these bookmark drawings. I drew my Dino & Panda characters with one of their favourites. I wanted to add colour to them all as well, but I was pretty tired after drawing 139 bookmarks!
Monday April 14th:
The Gr.1/2s added their ink blown trees to their watercoloured background from last week and then instead of letting them start their q-tip leaves, I decided we better clean up and free draw. I had my summative assessment meeting with my TA and my UC right before the class so I didn't have as much time as I anticipated for set-up so I thought it would be best to not take out tempera paints and palettes halfway through an already short class. This was one of my favourite projects of my practicum. The trees look so beautiful!
The junior high students continued working on their scroll paintings. A few started their scrolls, and a couple were still finishing their koi fish paintings. The majority were working out their ideas and I circulated to see what they were thinking and to give additional guidance. I told them that I was going to ask their gym teacher if we can combine the two classes and watch a Japanese animation to round off my time with them. They were happy because they didn't want to do their bootcamp activities. The gym teacher was another PSII student and he was fine with it. :)
Tuesday April 15th:
I spent most of my morning laminating all the bookmarks and cutting them out to be given to students.
The Gr.5/6's continued working on their pencil crayon blending and towards the end of class I stopped them to give them their bookmarks and find out what they liked learning best from me. Most of them said "everything" but a few students were more specific and pointed out they loved anime, chibi animals, and so on.
This day was interesting because my TA and the Gr.9s were busy with preparations for the airband. One of the events of the airband performances was to duct tape the principal to the wall. It was a fundraiser for their exchange. Students from Quebec are coming to visit them after the Easter holidays. The airband performances were phenomenal and it's something I hope I get a chance to experience organizing one day. Us three PSII students also got presents at the end of the performances. It was great to hear all the kids cheering my name :) I'm very grateful that I got to teach the whole school and get to know everyone.
The last day of practicum was a little unreal. I wasn't processing that it was the last day until it was over! I went around and handed out all the bookmarks. I decided to give the Gr.1s and 2s their bookmarks before art class so it wouldn't take up class time.
The Gr.1/2s finished their q-tip trees with minimal mess. The finished trees look so great! I'm very grateful that there were two EA's for this grade because they made my clean-up so much easier. Those who finished early could free draw and they ended up giving me a lot of their drawings. For the last few minutes of class they wanted to see my Dino & Panda animation and then I asked them what they liked learning. I got lots of hugs again and a few of them wouldn't let me go even when the bell rang. I'm going to miss them!
The junior high students came in to watch the Japanese Animation but I wanted to talk a bit about the artist and the cultural differences in the movie first. I had a lot to say because Hayao Miyazaki is considered a Japanese animation master, but I kept it as short as possible. They really enjoyed the movie even though Totoro is considered a kid's movie. My TA told me earlier that I can show anything rated G but if it's PG then I'd have to send home a letter for parental approval. Totoro, Kiki's Delivery Service, and Ponyo are all Miyazaki works rated G. At the end of the day, I got a bunch of hugs from the junior high girls. Some of the students told me I need to be a teacher at their school, or at least a substitute teacher. If only they weren't so far away! I hope we'll all keep in touch though.
My TA drove me home because she had to drop off her son at guitar lessons in Lethbridge anyway. Her son and daughter were both my students as well :) Her son paid me the highest compliment an artist and art teacher could hope for. He was amazed that I drew each bookmark separately and each one was different. He said that it looked like something Leonardo da Vinci did, so I asked him if he meant that if da Vinci drew comics, my drawings would look like his. He said yes :)
I'm so excited for PSIII. I hope I'll be placed in Victoria where I want to end up teaching. I want to reconnect with the various community volunteering things I used to do, as well as teach piano and ukulele again! It would also be nice to return to my family and old friends....also the West Coast weather.
I don't like to raise my voice or get mad at people but the Gr.7/8/9 class at the end of the day was just too crazy today, even for me. So When I finally got them all quiet and listening, I expressed my disappointment with their poor behaviour. At the beginning of class, as my UC suggested last week, I wrote down my clean-up expectations and went over them with the whole class. At this point they were listening very nicely and I appreciated their cooperation. I also praised the student who helped me clean up after everyone else last week in front of the whole class, as my UC had also suggested. Their clean-up today was better, but there were a few students who went a little crazy with their interactions with each other. Towards the end of the class was when they were unbearable and I made them all stop to listen to me lecture them on their behaviour. When I finally got their attention I told them I have been trying to get their attention for the past 5 minutes or so and asked if anyone besides the front few students heard me. A few students near the back replied that they had heard me. I proceeded in asking if they stopped and listened after they heard me asking them to be quiet or if they just continued talking and making noise. I explained that I'm naturally a quiet person and I don't think I should have to yell to get their attention. As a naturally quiet and calm person, it puts a lot of stress on my throat to have to raise my voice over such a large and lively bunch. I asked them what we can do to make sure our class runs more smoothly next time. They know all the answers: be quiet, listen, don't fool around with paintbrushes, etc. In my opening spiel I had asked them to raise their hands if they need me, and that there is no need to scream my name from across the room. Still, one student called my name from across the room while I was helping another student. When he came over to me, I asked him if he remembered what I asked him to do if he needed me. The dynamic of such a big class with a split of Gr.7/8/9's works. Afterwards while talking to my TA about it, she said this particular bunch is a handful because of their PE organizations, and that each year is different. I asked her if there were any tips on making them be quiet and work silently and she said it was good that I laid out my expectations clearly again and expressed that I was not happy with their behaviour today. She said that I don't have to hesitate in removing some students from the class if they aren't doing work. She mentioned that if a few of them aren't doing work she will ask them to clean-up and sit in the hall quietly, or she'll have extra art history work sheets they can be working on in the hall instead. I don't want to have to kick anyone out, especially because I have a limited number of classes left with them, but I may have to tell them it's a possibility if they can't cooperate and help me create a nice classroom environment.
Other than the last part of the day, the rest of the day was quite nice! This morning the Gr.7's arrived in homeroom pretty hyper. I brought my rubix cube and megaminx (more complicated puzzle cube) as tools students could use if they were finished their Haiku books. This was good for the loudest student because he sat for a long time silently trying to figure out the rubix cube. By the end of the class only 3 people still needed to finish their books at home. The other options I gave them if they were done their books was to read my Dino & Panda book, silent read, or draw a picture of me with lots of pandas. They were so nice and quiet, focused on their work! Such a contrast to when they are in a split class with the older kids.
The Gr.1/2's had one more block to work on their collage comics. I knew a handful of the students were already done and I knew everyone else would be done shortly so I told them they could free-draw on 4 specific topics: fill a page with Chibi animals, fill a page with food but they have to have faces, create a new Pokemon, or draw Miss K with lots of pandas. This kept them all engaged and occupied, working relatively quietly. A lot of them were very excited about these drawing prompts. A bunch of the students wrote "To Miss K, from..." on their drawings and gave it to me throughout the class. At the end of class, I told them that if they want to take their free-draws home, they can. If they want me to keep them, they can write "To Miss K" and sign it and I'll keep it in my special folder. I wanted them to sit quietly for dismissal and a few of the tables had difficulty, but when the bell rang and they saw me dismissing the quiet tables, they quickly got the message.
The first junior high class (the Gr.8/9 split) was lovely to work with and could focus on painting, keeping their voices down for the most part. I got a chance to talk a bit about composition and how they should try not to put something right in the center of their paper. I felt like I was talking for too long so I didn't question them as much as I intended to. There are a few students in both Junior High classes who need a bit more time to finish their Koi Fish paintings and I told them they could work on it at the beginning of the next block after I explain their scroll painting assignment. I told them that next Wednesday is my last day with them and I wanted to show them a short anime and give them their gifts, which means I need them to focus and try to finish the paintings in the next 2 classes. Hopefully they will keep this in mind, or else I will have to give them another block to complete the scrolls.
I decided on making bookmarks for all the students. I cut up all the paper today and will start drawing tomorrow. I hope to finish all the drawings by this weekend, then I can laminate them on Monday, and string little origami turtles to each one on Monday night. I'll have to draw on about 140 bookmarks and fold the same amount of origami turtles, but I'm sure all the students will appreciate the effort. :) I got mad today, but they aren't bad kids. It's just unfortunate that they have to be in a large 7/8/9 split. I will miss them when practicum ends next week. I still miss my PSI students!
On Wednesday and Thursday I taught 4 classes each day. In addition, after Thursday's practicum I headed to the Galt Museum to volunteer with the Pysanka (Ukrainian Easter Egg) workshop. On Friday I got an email from the coordinator asking if I could volunteer for the Chinese Painting workshop the next day. It turns out she was really stressed because they didn't have anybody who really had experience with Chinese Paintings so I said I could help teach some techniques and do some demos if that would be helpful. I ended up teaching over 50 guests, young and old, how to paint :) It was the highlight of my birthday weekend!
On Wednesday's LA 7 class I showed them the Black Book of Colours to try to get them thinking of other ways of describing things, such as colours. Then I red a few of the Haiku from "If Not For Cat" and had them guess which animals the Haiku were about before showing them the illustration. They really enjoyed that! One of the students who had been sick returned so I filled him in on what he needed to do.
The Grade 1/2 class continued working on their collage comics. A few of the students managed to finish but enough students needed more time that I decided they can take one more block to finish up before I move on. I also decided that teaching them about one-point perspective may not be the best idea after seeing how the Gr.3/4's struggled. My new intended project is a Spring tree painting in which they have to blow at black paint/ink to make their trees grow, and then add spring coloured flowers using Q-tips.
The first junior high class went fantastically well! They were so quiet and focused that my TA and UC were both surprised. I taught them how to paint a basic Koi fish and then asked them to practice and create a composition for marks. The criteria for the marks include brush strokes, variation of value, and the composition of the painting, as well as addition of other subjects such as plants, different sized fish, etc. My UC pointed out that I mentioned these important words but didn't explain them very much. I realize I should probably spend some time talking about composition but I overlooked it as I tried to fit as much as I could into a 45 minute lesson. In reality, I think the students only get to paint for approximately 25 minutes after they set up and listen to me talk for a bit, and then having to stop early for clean-up. This is a little frustrating, but I'm still impressed with the work they've produced so far. The second junior high class was more challenging in terms of classroom management because it is a Gr.7/8/9 split and the only student my TA has identified as a behaviour issue is also in this class. This particular student was absent the day I introduced Chinese painting but he caught up by the end of the class. He managed to catch up by the end of class. My UC suggested breaking up the class more while I'm doing demos because although the little group has my attention, the whole class still needs my attention. I think this depends on the group of students and whether you trust them to be able to work on their own quietly or not. I would trust the first class of Gr.8/9's to work quietly but this second class would need more reminders for sure. My TA overheard one student say he was proud of his work and commented that he is normally not one who is proud of his artwork so that was positive! At the end of class, the students became chaotic, wanting to go home. My UC suggested having them stand at their places even though they have to put chairs away. I told them my clean-up expectations in the intro class earlier in the week and tell them they need to clean-up before they leave but I suppose I should try writing down the clean-up procedure on the board this week! I also decided to give them another class to work on their Koi fish paintings and I'll take some of the time to talk a bit about composition. Instead of opening the can of worms that is landscape painting, I'll ask them to create a scroll painting that combines what they've learned in anime drawings, and Chinese painting to create a composition. They'll keep in mind that the 3 main subjects of Chinese paintings are figure, landscape, and bird-flower paintings. I'm starting to re-think the last 3 lessons in which I wanted to divide each class into 3 groups and take 1 group a day to do a book-binding workshop. I think it would be wiser to focus on circulating and helping the students out more now that I know how crazy the Gr.7/8/9 split class can be. I'll make a final decision after tomorrow's lessons!
Thursday started off with a work period for the LA 7 class. I've asked them to at least finish the rough drafts of their 7 Haiku so that in Monday's block they just have to transfer these poems into their mini-books and add illustrations. I had wanted them to be done earlier but I'm learning that things tend to take longer in reality than they do in my mind.
The Gr.5/6's had their last in-class time to work on their comic assignment. A few handed theirs in, and the rest took theirs home to complete over the weekend. I kept reminding them to make sure they bring their folders back and hand-in on Tuesday. One girl in particular has lost her folder twice already but I had a talk with her and reminded her that this is worth 15 marks! I'm excited to see everyone's complete work!
The Kindergarteners were as cute as ever. We added umbrellas and Spring themed things to their pictures. This week we will add rain as a last step. I'm sad it will be my last lesson with them! Since we had a bit of time near the end of the block, I read them one of my favourite picture books called "Xander's Panda Party." They quite enjoyed it! We unfortunately didn't have time to finish the whole story, however.
The Gr.3/4 class continued working on their one-point perspective street scenes. I reviewed the concept and clarified to make sure they understood what parallel lines were. Then I did a quick demo again of what they've already drawn. I had to cut my class short because the Gr.9's had a presenter coming in the last block and he needed to set up. I had originally hoped for the completion of this drawing during the class, but since they didn't have much time, they'll need to finish it on Monday. It was still early to dismiss the 3/4's so we went up to the library where I read them my favourite picture book. I managed to finish the whole story with them and asked them a few questions before the bell went. It was an abnormal day but I really like reading outloud to groups of kids!
After practicum on Thursday I ended up at the Galt Museum. I learned about Pysanka and helped out a lady who couldn't use her hands very well. I drew her requested design on the egg and used Kiskas with wax to trace over the design before sending it off with her to dye. It was beautiful! Unfortunately, while another volunteer was helping her melt off the wax to reveal the design, she dropped the egg and cracked it. I managed to do my own egg quickly but didn't get to melt all the wax off until I got home.
It was a great day but very long! The Pysanka workshop didn't end until after 9 and I helped clean up. Friday was my birthday and I got to rest all day! Then I got an email asking me if I could help out with Chinese painting at the Galt Museum on Saturday. I thought it would be a good opportunity to gain some experience. I ended up teaching over 50 people how to do Chinese paintings. Because the room was big, I had to use a microphone. That was awkward to maneuver while holding a brush. They didn't have Chinese brushes for the public to use but I got special privileges as the teacher and got to use an actual brush. As my UC suggested on Wednesday for demos, I could use bigger brushes so it's easier for students to see the motion and techniques. However, I don't have a big brush I can use for praticum so I've just been making do with what is available. The Chinese brushes belong to the curator at the museum so I'm hesitant in asking to borrow them. I also don't have money to buy a good brush at the moment. Such is the life of a poor student....It's really too bad I left my Chinese brushes and ink stones in Victoria. I didn't think I was going to be teaching Chinese painting! The program coordinator has been trying to recruit me as her intern for a while now and I really wish it would fit into my school schedule. Teaching at the museum is a different atmosphere than teaching in a classroom and it would be great to have experience in both settings!
Today I introduced the Haiku project to the grade 7's and handed them back the poems they wrote for me yesterday with feedback. They worked hard to brainstorm from general themes to more specific themes. One student was absent yesterday so I tried to fill him in and it seems like he's getting it but I have to wait and see how he does tomorrow. One student was absent today but he was here yesterday. One student decided to write about colours and it reminded me of a great picture book called The Black Book of Colours :
It's a great book all about colour without using colour. You can feel the textures and it is also in braille (with English words too.) I love it because the descriptions of colours are very beautiful and poetic. I was originally going to read another Haiku picture book to the students tomorrow, but I decided to bring this book in as well to show and inspire them with writing descriptively.
I observed the Gr.2's learning about measurements today. There are only 9 students in the class! Classroom management would be so easy! So much easier! Kids at this age seem to need a lot of repetition to ensure they understand and remember concepts. I liked that the teacher had similar but varied exercises for the students to practice on the Smartboard. I also finally realized that the big stick with a hand pointing is used for the Smartboard....I thought it was just a random prop but it actually has a purpose! When the Gr.2's left for gym class, I went and observed the Kindergartens who were also doing math. They were working with numbers up to 10, and grouping them into 5's, learning ways to count quickly. These kids did lots and lots of practice putting "fireflies" into their "jars" (little coloured chips onto a picture of a jar.) They are really adorable! :) Some students had trouble listening and following directions but the teacher made sure that each of them was successful.
I taught the Gr.5/6's after lunch. I wrote down my evaluation notes on the board and went over my expectations and how much each part was worth because I realized that printing out rubrics and giving them extra paper was pretty meaningless since they are prone to losing such papers. They will get 5 marks for brainstorming; 3 marks for a storyboard showing me their story's beginning, middle, and ending; and 7 marks for one completed page of comic (must be a full page, use straight lines and divide into sections and frames, have some speech bubbles, use anime style drawings) I emphasized that this one page does not have to be their whole comic. We don't have time for them to finish a multi-page work for me so I just want to see their first page and give them some useful feedback they can use to continue working on their own. I'll know the basic story from their storyboards. They'll have Thursday's class to finish and then I want to take them in for marking and feedback. We'll only have 3 more classes left after this!
I introduced the Gr.3/4's to the concept of one-point perspective today and for the most part they understood what was happening. There were a few individuals that I would like to work more with, and there wasn't enough time for everyone to finish their drawings and colour. Therefore, I'm extending the lesson another block to review the concepts and hopefully explain things better to ensure all students understand what's going on. I thought they might've learned about one-point perspective already so I thought I could just take one class and carry on with two-point perspective but I could see a few frustrated little faces. I'm considering taking out two-point perspective completely because I don't think I'll have time to fully teach the concept and make sure they understand. I may go directly to atmospheric perspective because they already understand that as things get farther away, they get smaller and you see less detail. I think at this level, spending some more time on one-point perspective would be a good idea to make sure they have a solid foundation to build upon when they do get to two-point perspective.
Today my TA asked me which class I like to teach most. I hadn't really thought about it and I didn't have a single answer because I like each class for different reasons. I'm more nervous when teaching junior high just because I haven't had as much experience working with that age group. That being said, I am becoming more comfortable with this group of students as I teach them and get to know them more. I love Kindergarten because they're really cute :)
I was a bit stressed out this weekend, anticipating the lessons for this week because I'm adding a Language Arts mini unit on Haiku to my load, as well as changing up the other art lessons. Today was a great day though, and it renewed my confidence because things worked out fairly well. As usual, things need to be tweaked a little as I assess the class' progression through the material, but for the most part I think everything will be okay.
This morning I got to school and there was a problem with the printer so instead of having handouts of Haiku examples to give to each student, I just projected them onto the smartboard. The text was a little small for the students in the back but they still managed. I told them they could move closer if they needed to but they chose to stay put. I started off asking the grade 7's if they know what Haiku are, and one girl commented that they wrote many last year so I asked if they remembered anything about the structure and form. As an introduction I read from a picture book of Haiku written by Issa, arranged into a story. I asked the students to try to pick out some characteristics as I read. After the first few, I recapped and asked the students to point out some of these characteristics. We touched upon several literary devices which my TA suggested expanding upon because they are all important and relevant terms in this grade level. I read a bit about the history of Haiku after the students had identified most of the characteristics. My TA commented that this was good because after they've analyzed the form a little bit, it's easier to make links to the history that they hear. If I had read the history first, I may have lost their interest and the information would've gone way over their heads. My TA also suggested that I could get the students to gather close when I'm reading to them, since poetry has a different mood and feeling than something like grammar. I think I will get the students to sit in circles when they share their Mini Haiku books in groups on Thursday. I asked the students to read through the examples and choose their favourite one, answering a few questions: Why is this your favourite? What do you like about it? What word gives you a hint about the season? Because this went pretty fast, I decided to ask each student to read aloud their favourite poem and talk about their answers to the questions. I started with one student and then asked if anyone else had chosen the same one, and what their reasons were. It was interesting to note that there was one particular poem that was chosen by several students.
As an exercise I asked the students to try to write a Haiku on a general theme: "second winter" and then they shared their work with their elbow buddies before I asked for volunteers to share with the class. There was some great work! As an exit slip, I asked the students to write a Haiku about what they learned today.
Here are a few of my favourite Haiku written by students today:
I sat in my chair
A great teacher taught Haikus
Now I know something.
I wake to find spring
The sun shines bright down at me
But winter's not done.
Some days it is nice
And other days it is cold
Why can't it stay warm?
These are hard to write
But picking topics are fun
And I have learned lots
White falling snowflakes
Very long fluffy blanket
How long will it last
Walking through the snow
Can't find my way home tonight.
Somebody help me.
We're stuck in winter
The constant snowfall and ice
Winter is endless.
The snow was falling
The trees became fluffy white
Too bad it's not Spring.
The white on the ground
Starts to disappear and cold
Begins to vanish.
As my TA suggested expanding upon a few of the literary devices, I spent some time after the lesson revising tomorrow's lesson. I had planned to read another set of Haiku in the form of a picture book but I will spend that time having discussions on word choices, imagery, engaging all the human senses, and the difference between general and specific themes. I'll save the picture book for Wednesday's lesson. Tomorrow I will also hand out the project information with details of how the marking will go.
At the beginning of the Gr.1/2 class, I had intended to review and ask the students what we've learned about anime and comics so far, but I jumped right in and introduced their collage comic project. I had prepared folders for students at each table with a stack of magazine pages, and sheets of 11x17 paper. I thought this would be an easy way to organize their work and it would also be easier to hand back their work. I showed them my example and explained what was expected and let them work. As soon as the magazine pictures were out, the students got distracted and stopped listening so I asked them to put their hands on their heads and look at me so I could continue my instruction. I think this method works well for younger grades! It was interesting to note that some students worked really fast, or they pasted large pictures onto their papers, and some students drew really tiny characters. Originally I had anticipated most students to finish after working on it next class, and then we would be able to do mini group critiques, but after today's class, I'm wondering if I should give them an extra working block. The clean-up process I had envisioned happened as I planned for the most part. I asked students to pile up their magazine pages and comics together inside their folders. There were only 2 tables that I had to organize.
I was both excited and nervous to start teaching the junior high students about Chinese Brush Painting, but there were no major spills or accidents so I'm satisfied. The 2 classes also had a new configuration as students switched around...something to do with gym class, I believe. In any case, this worked out well because I could make a new seating plan for them. I made folders for their tables as well because again, it would be easier to collect and hand back work (including work that they've done for me previously, now that they're in different groups.) I explained my expectations of behaviour and set-up/clean-up procedures and then it took about 10 minutes for the students to set-up and be ready to follow along in a demo of some basic brush strokes. There weren't enough good round brushes for all the students but I picked the best ones. Everyone had a brush. That was good. Then I adjusted the movements and techniques so it would work for all the students. I felt pressed for time so I didn't talk about the history and art of Chinese Brush painting as much as I had planned, and I went directly into demonstrating how to hold the brush, load the brush, and a simple bamboo painting. As I walked around observing the students' progress I tried to find at least one positive thing to comment about because I know some students think they're unskilled. Some students may say "mine looks so bad" and I made it a point to identify the strengths in their practice work. After I asked them to clean-up, I asked them what a few important tips about Chinese Painting were, and what they're expected to do at the beginning of the next class. I also told them what we will be doing in the next class to hopefully get them excited. They know that the Koi fish paintings we do on Wednesday will be for marks. On Wednesday I'll explain how I'll be marking their work in more detail.
One highlight of my day was when one of the Gr.9 boys come up to tell me, at the beginning of their Language Arts class, that he drew for so long yesterday that his wrist was hurting. The younger grades from Gr.1-6 don't hesitate in telling me how excited they are about drawing, but to have a Gr.9 student express interest in my lessons felt great! Another highlight was during the last lesson of the day, a boy that is usually very hyperactive and can't sit still, actually sat still and painted some really nice bamboo! Another boy commented that Chinese painting was "very relaxing." :)
In the next lesson I want to speak a little more about the 3 main themes in paintings: figures, landscapes, and flower-birds (and animals in general); and also show them some examples of work by Ancient Chinese masters. Their project for the last 3 classes will be a scroll painting. I only wish there was more time! Set-up and clean-up takes too long for a 45 minute period!
This has been an interesting week. I was forced to stay home on Monday because of my sickness and although this gave me a chance to rest my body, my mind was still stressed. I was finally feeling myself yesterday!
On Tuesday, I started the Gr.5/6's on their brainstorming for their mini-comic assignment. It's tough to summarize ways to brainstorm and give them enough time to work things out in one class. I don't think they fully understood what brainstorming is yet, but I wrote some leading questions and feedback on what they did so far to give them more guidance. My UC was visiting for this class and commented that it was nice to see the assessment criteria stated more clearly than previously. She suggested that I try to do something different for the other grades now and experience teaching some other media that are harder to deal with in large classes. After thinking about it all night I came up with an alternative plan. After the grade 1/2's and junior high students finished their anime self-portraits I'd branch off into some other projects instead of giving them a chance to create a comic strip/book which they could do on their own now that they have the basic skills. The grade 1/2's will do a simplified comic strip using collage and drawing, and then I'll teach them a little bit about one point perspective and get them to create a fantasy/surrealist room. For the grade 3/4's, I will focus a lot on perspective, going through one-point, then two-point perspective with a castle design assignment, and then end with atmospheric perspective and create a landscape with chalk pastel or water colours. I haven't decided if I want to use chalk pastel or water colors yet, but I really enjoy chalk pastel and haven't had much chance to work with it. Also, for variety's sake, I feel like my TA and UC would probably want to see me teach chalk pastel since I'll be teaching Chinese Brush Painting to the Junior High students already. The challenge will be set-up, clean-up and clearly laying out my expectations of students' behaviour while we have messy media out.
I want the grade 5/6 class to continue with their comics because they've been developing some good ideas so far. In Thursday's class, I showed them an example of my brainstorming to try and expand their understanding because I noticed a lot of their brainstorming was "stuck" in one train of thought, or there were only written notes, or there were only squares of a basic comic. I also introduced them to the concept of using storyboards to organize and sequence their story. I want to give them at least one more work block to work out their ideas and start drawing their comic page(s). The last few classes I plan to teach them a colour blending technique using pencil crayons. The technique is to use analogous colours. We will blend from primary colour to secondary colour to the next primary colour. We will create an Octopus's Garden: first we'll lightly sketch in pencil some organic shapes and then we will apply the colouring technique to the forms. We'll use the same technique to create some sea critters (fish, jelly fish, octopus, etc) and then the final product will be a semi-3D picture. They will cut out the forms they have coloured and glue them onto dark blue construction paper, curl some of the forms and layer the critters/pop them off the page to create a sense of depth. This colouring technique can be applied to their anime drawings if they choose to later on.
I had to alter my unit and create more units for the last two weeks of practicum but I still wanted the skills to be applicable to comic art if the students choose to use this knowledge in the future.
For the Junior High students I decided on a Chinese Brush Painting unit, and also Japanese bookbinding workshop towards the end. The first class will be an introduction to the art form and some techniques, including proper way to hold the brush. The second class I will take half the class at a time to do a guided demo of how to paint Koi fish while the other half continue experimenting and practicing their brush techniques, and then we will switch. I'm thinking I may move the tables around in the room to form centers. For the third class, I'll take half the class to do a demo of lotus blossoms/branches and landscape forms while the other half continues experimenting with what they've learned so far. In the 4th class I want to introduce a brush painting assignment in which the students create scroll paintings. While the students work on this painting, I want to take one group at a time to do a Japanese book-binding workshop. There are 3 class periods so I can divide the classes into 3 groups for book binding.
In my mind, this will work, but I'll probably have to make more changes as I go.
In other news, my grade 6 ukulele players (I call them ukers) performed successfully yesterday afternoon at the assembly! Because I was sick on Monday, I ended up teaching them on Tuesday. I was a little stressed after their practice on Tuesday because they were struggling to sing and strum at the same time, but they practiced so hard that by Wednesday when we had another practice, they sounded 10x better! We had an extra practice on Thursday morning as well as right before the assembly and they were just amazing! We added a little cheesy ending to one of the songs in which one of the boys gets up and strums his uke once, saying the last word of the song "romance." It was a cute and funny little addition which everyone enjoyed. I heard that because the ukers were so great, the school may be investing in their very own set of ukuleles! The set we have now was borrowed from Vauxhall (not sure of spelling) and is going to be returned next week. It has been quite the journey with these musicians the last 2 weeks. They went from not knowing how to hold the ukulele to being able to sing and strum AND have fun the whole time :) It makes me proud and homesick for the Island Ukuleles group back home in Victoria.
Next week I will be adding Language Arts 7 to my teaching load. I will be doing a mini-unit on Haiku! In these last 2 and a half weeks, I'll be teaching a greater variety of things, branching off from the Japanese comic art unit.
With the exception of some of the Kindergarten kids, I think I remember the rest of the students' names now. Writing down their names in a seating plan helped a lot!
On Thursday throughout the day a headache was growing and by the time I got home I had to lie down, and I ended up bed ridden for the rest of the night and most of Friday. Today I'm able to get up and actually do some work, thankfully! Perhaps I've been overly stressed and focused on teaching lately to take proper care of myself. It feels like I haven't had time to eat or exercise properly in weeks! I guess with experience the planning process would take up less time and there would be more time for a life. It's also difficult when some of us have one or two other part-time jobs. Everyone says PSII is the most difficult semester and then PSIII becomes easier. I'm hoping this is true!
Thursday's lessons were taught to the 5/6's, Kindergartens, and 3/4's. The 5/6's had a work class to finish their anime self-portraits. I played some anime music for them while they worked. A number of the students were finished by the end of class and handed me their drawings. The rest said they would finish and hand it in at the beginning of class on Tuesday. My UC had commented that giving 1 mark for each criteria might be too definitive and the criteria were a little vague. Even before she said that I was thinking of whether I should make each out of 3 or something but I also didn't want the assignment to be worth 15 marks because that seemed like a lot for a little assignment. I was thinking of defining the criteria for the last assignment more comprehensively. This assignment I wanted to use as formative and summative, and give them feedback they can use to work on their last project. At the beginning of practicum I wasn't sure how much I was supposed to assess the students and if the marks would be valid for their actual grades so I didn't put too much emphasis on giving them "marks" but I could have easily given marks to every assignment or exercise we've done. I feel like I'm teaching a 6 week workshop on anime and comic art, cramming in as much as possible, which is not ideal so I'm struggling to teach the students what they need to know, what they want to know, and also give them valuable verbal and written feedback. It's also challenging that the classes are only 45 minutes long, and students are almost always a little late getting to class, and then we lose a few minutes towards the end to clean up and get ready to leave. Thinking about this, it makes me feel like I might like teaching elementary school when I have the same students all day and my times can be flexible, or in high school when the blocks might be longer.
The kindergartens needed to finish a previous assignment so I only ended up teaching them for the last 5-10 minutes of class. Instead of doing what I had originally planned, I taught them how to draw pandas instead because I knew it would be quick. They all did really well!
The 3/4's started their anime self-portraits. So far so good!
I'm planning to give the students back all the work they've handed in so far with my comments and feedback on it at the beginning of lesson 4 before starting their final projects. I didn't have time in the previous lessons because there were a lot of things I wanted to cover. Lesson 4 will span the last few lessons of practicum and students will brainstorm ideas for their mini comics on one of the themes I list (grade specific), then they will develop their character(s) and make up a storyboard, and then they will LIGHTLY sketch in their comic pages. Finally, in the last step, they will outline and draw with black pen to make their pages look complete.
Originally, I had planned for the last class to be a publishing event where students get into groups and share their work and receive feedback from peers, but I'm not sure if I'll have time. It may be better to give the students more time to do a better job instead of rushing them to finish. I also wanted to show them a Japanese anime film, but I definitely don't have time anymore. So many things I've cut from my unit! Bookmaking was one of the things I really wanted to include so they would know how to bind their comic pages if they wanted to after drawing them. I will be teaching a mini unit to the Language Arts 7 class about Haiku so I plan to show them how to make a simple folded book from a single piece of paper which they can then fill with their Haiku.
Well, I think it's time for me to lie down for a while again...I'm pretty sure I'll be better by tomorrow.
Today I taught 4 lessons.
In the morning I went upstairs to tune the ukuleles right after announcements were over and discovered that there were a few ukes which have some issues with the upper frets. When I asked the students to just grab any uke (they all had assigned numbers since last class,) I asked them all to pluck each string so I could check that they were still in tune, and then to strum a D7 chord so I could check that they don't have a weird sounding uke. Yesterday, one of the boys had come to me and said he didn't know if he would be able to play uke because he and his brother crashed on their bikes and he hurt his thumb really badly. Today he was happy to tell me that he's feeling a lot better :) I'm happy too. He was the student my UC and TA had identified in my art class as a "problem student" but he is fully engaged in learning how to play the ukulele and I feel like he has been behaving better in art class as well. I printed out lyrics to Blue Moon/Santa Catalina and The Lion Sleeps Tonight this morning. After reviewing the chords we learned last time, I taught them the last chord they need for these songs. They found it difficult, and it is quite difficult for beginners but I was impressed they could all play it. They just need to practice switching between this difficult A7 chord to the other simpler chords. Speaking to the other student teacher, it seems that at least 3 of the students have got it already because they stayed in to practice at recess. I was planning on getting them to strum and sing today but I didn't want to overload them so I focused on getting them to just sing the song first. After they seemed to get the verses, I asked their teacher and the other PSII student to sing the accompaniment part while the rest of us sang Blue Moon. After they got the hang of that, I asked them to sing it again while I sang the third part, Santa Catalina at the same time. They're sounding really good! There are 2 more practices next week and then it's performance time. Although I know they will be awesome, I still wish there was more time...
After lunch I taught the Gr.1/2's. I remember on Monday I was super tired after teaching the 1/2's followed by the 2 junior high split classes, but today was actually really good! :) I showed the Gr.1/2's the second way of drawing bodies, looking at joints and connecting the joints. I was really impressed that they were focusing quite well and understanding where joints were. They were so on task that a lot of them even had time to colour their pictures.
My UC came to observe the first junior high split class today. I was a bit nervous because I found myself raising my voice a lot on Monday, but at the same time I was excited to see what this grade level could do with the Power Ranger poses. They came in a little noisily as usual after coming from gym class, but it didn't really bother me. My UC suggested that when they come in, I may greet them and initiate some small talk. It seems I always forget to do this! I just focus on what I have to convey in my lesson and get straight to it. I did talk to a few of the students individually as they came in and sat down because I was interested in what they were doing. One student draws a lot in his free time and while he may not be considered an academic student, his drawings are amazing. Because the students were quiet for me as I explained what we were doing, I just went ahead and told them all the directions even though in the back of my head I knew they wouldn't remember or they may appear to be listening but their mind might be elsewhere. I've done that before while a professor is lecturing at the front of the room. In PSI I wrote the lesson agenda on the board at the beginning of each class so I'm not sure why I didn't think about trying this until my UC wrote it in her comments today. It makes a lot of sense. I remember all the steps because I've taught the lesson before and I've spent lots of time visualizing the sequence, but if I were the student, I know I wouldn't be able to remember every step either! My UC commented on loud off topic discussions but I didn't really feel like they were unacceptably loud considering they were quite loud on Monday. There were a few students I talked to if I was rotating and saw that they were a bit behind in their work. One student asked me if he could listen to music as he worked on his drawing and I said it was fine. My UC wondered if I had established the "rules" with regards to listening to music. I was thinking of preparing a playlist of anime/animation music to play while they worked but I haven't quite finished compiling a list. It doesn't bother me if students are listening to music while they draw because I find listening to music helps me draw at times too. In hindsight I could have clearly stated rules such as you can only have one earbud in so you can still hear me if I start talking. With regards to evaluation, this would be a good mini assignment to give marks for, but I wanted it to be the last formative assessment before they do their first assignment for me the next class. However, I think if I started giving marks for the gesture drawings, and the Power Ranger poses, then marks for the subsequent assignments could be weighed less heavily if I were calculating a percentage for the unit. I think it still works if I use the gesture drawing and Power Ranger exercise as formative assessment and give more marks for the mini-comic book assignment because everything they've learned will lead up to and culminate in the final product which will show their understanding of all the concepts I taught them. As part of the development of their final project, they need to show me some quick sketches of poses their characters may use, different facial expressions, and experiment with hairstyle, clothes, costumes and accessories. These sketches will all be required and each would have some mark attached to them. Because this was the way I planned it in my head (and partially on paper now,) I thought it wasn't totally necessary to mark them on these first few foundational lessons.
In the second junior high split, the crazier one in my opinion, I was impressed they were mostly working well. I did move one student at the beginning of class, and later on another student got to work by herself at the back table. The place I moved the first student was probably not ideal because he was a distraction to the two students who were there. My TA suggested that a seating plan may be necessary for this particular group and I agree. It would be tricky because I feel like all these kids know each other so well that no matter where I put them, they will be goofing off a little bit. I might get them to draw sticks with little numbers on them and sit at the specified table number so each class is different and then I can see which students and groups of students may work well together, and which students should definitely be separated as far from each other as possible. This may work, or it may be a complete disaster. I'll have to contemplate the placement of each student over the weekend!
All in all, I was pretty satisfied with today's lessons. The majority of students handed in some really great drawings. The Gr.9 student who challenged my TA the last two days was pretty good for my art class. He has a good grasp of body proportions and is quite skilled with his drawings! At the beginning of class he helped me get the class's attention with his loud voice, and I thanked him because I really didn't want to yell. At the end of class, I had the students pack up and get ready to leave but there were still about 5 minutes before the bell rang. They all waited around the door and were being a bit loud so I told them I'll dismiss them a little bit early if they can be completely silent for 1 whole minute. They were pretty good for about 45 seconds so I restarted the time and when they were finally silent for a minute, it was already almost time for the bell to ring so I said they could leave. A few students stayed a little longer because they still wanted to work on their drawings more. Again, I was really impressed by a lot of the students' work! I can't wait to see their finished comics!
Today was a nice slow day after having to teach 3 lessons in a row. Today's lessons had a prep block between and I feel like it made a lot of difference and helped me re-center my thoughts and prepare for the next class. The grade 5/6's are onto lesson 3. We talked at different types of anime clothing, as well as Chibi and Mecha styles. I handed out my drawing guides for the lesson as well as an assignment criteria sheet because this is the first assignment I'm taking in for marks. The criteria is out of 5. They have to take up the whole page, use what they've learned about drawing anime faces and human bodies, create clothing or costume designs, and draw an environment for the character. My TA liked that I had a Powerpoint rotating at the beginning of class as an attention-getter while I took attendance. This way, the students were quiet and engaged even before I said too much about what we worked on today. I asked helpers to help me hand out papers while I talked a bit about the assignment. For the most part, they listened very well! I always wonder if having people passing around papers while I talk will be a disaster but it worked out alright. Once everyone had the required papers, I went over the assignment and asked different students to read out the criteria and answered questions as they arose. Students were really excited to be able to create their own characters. Even the student that my UC had previously identified as a potential problem was engaged. He needed some guidance but when I went and talked to him I discovered he has really good observation skills with his figure drawing. He wanted to draw a figure in a specific pose and I asked him how the body would look and he figured it out by talking about it out loud. Originally I was going to make the assignment due next class (on Thursday,) but I decided to give them an extra in class period to work on it, assuming students wouldn't be doing their homework no matter how fun it may be. I managed to circulate through the whole class and saw a lot of good ideas taking shape. One student told me he's drawing himself as a Japanese cowboy from Russia. How creative is that? It's awesome! My timing estimations were spot on this time. It impressed my TA but it surprised myself as well. My TA's suggestions were with regards to making sure the quieter students are contributing to discussions as well. Next time I think I'll ask them to do a Think-Pair-Share type activity or just ask the quieter students to answer. Also, I timed my slideshow to automatically change every 5 seconds and she thought it would be good if I could make it pause as I was talking about it. I'm not sure how to do this in Powerpoint, or even if it's possible to have it automatically change AND have the capability to pause. I'll have to take a look.
The other class I taught today was the 3/4's. Their results for the Power Ranger lesson weren't as good as the 5/6's, but they still got the basic concept. There is a table of boys I will have to think about separating because they got nothing done even though I kept trying to refocus their attention. Although I don't feel like all the students managed to successfully complete the exercise, I want to forge ahead and hopefully get them more engaged with the creation of their own characters and stories. I can always remind them of the techniques and concepts we went over previously while they work on their assignments. I considered giving them another day to work on their power ranger pose pictures, but the majority of the class was finished except that table of boys and a few others.
I witnessed the difficult Grade 9 student challenging my TA again in the last block of the day. His defiant attitude seems to be an issue that has lasted several years. He'll be in my art class tomorrow. I hope he'll be in a better mood and more pleasant to work with!