8th grade students are still exploring the theme of Environments/Spaces/Places this week and will be wrapping up their efforts tomorrow by publishing all of their work to our online gallery on Artsonia. As you can see from the process images above, there are some very exciting progress being made by students engaged in a variety of media and methods. 

The images below are some examples of work that has been posted online, along with their artist statements:
Kendahl D.: This picture I took while in Montana in the summer. At first it was a normal boring picture then I put the image into photoshop and edited it to make more colorful. Photoshop made the picture look really cool.
Blake H.: My photoshop picture is a part of Africa, the bottom, and Chicago, the top, to show what we live in and what Africa has to live in. I used my materials as pictures and objects by composing them together and making a whole new picture. I used this technique to show what we live like and what people live like but into one picture as if they are in the same country. The principles of photoshop that i used are to show a statement of what people don't get that they need our help.
Austin W. : In this picture, I like how the sun is seeping through in the corner of the photograph. I laid on the ground and took the picture even with the ground. The little seedling is blurred, making the piece look so intricate and detailed. I used a camera with high pixels to take this picture showing all the little details and the beautiful look of all of the little green plants just sprouting in the fall sunset.
Thursday and Friday and Monday was spent away from my students. When this happens, I feel bad, but I was hard at work each day working on educational issues important to my field.

Thursday and Friday was spent in Lansing. For the past two years, I have been working with a team of Visual Arts Educators in the State of Michigan on the Michigan Arts Education Instruction and Assessment Project. This project is offered to Arts teachers as a solution for implementing and developing high quality programs and assessing those programs and students within. I am very proud of the work I have been able to do, although it does require some time away from my students to work in Lansing with the other teachers and project management involved. 
On Monday, I had the honor to present to Student Teachers at the Fire Up! conference at Aquinas College. It was really fun to share the amazing things my students do with the power of technology and how we integrate our learning in many ways and break down classroom walls to engage globally. Here is a picture of one of the groups I had the pleasure to present to on Monday (and as you can see, they were a fun bunch):
Even though I was away, students have been hard at work making loads of art. My 7th graders have finished two major projects in the past few days and my 8th graders are starting to wrap up their Environment/Space/Place projects. Here are some pictures of what has been accomplished since last time: 

7th grade Space Projects 

Ian Sands (a High School teacher in NC) posted this tutorial a while back and it has been an amazing resource for my students and I in learning new ways to use basic Photoshop tools. Thanks again, Ian - I owe you another scone at NAEA in March. You can see a full gallery of results on Artsonia, but here are few: 
Nate's image works with overlapping planets to show deep space.
Arminda's image works with different gradients in the planets to show light and shadow.

7th grade Knots

Students have been working on these colorful knots for the past week or so. they have learned about line, symmetry, color, and various application techniques of colored pencil, watercolor, and Sharpie. It was fun to see the results as students made choices about how to construct their design, color it, and add finishing details.
Jordyn M.
Cari S.

8th grade process pictures

Each of the following students is working with similar subject matter (home, interior/exterior space), but attacking the visual representation in very diverse ways. It has been fun to see how students interpret this assignment and the plans they have made in their sketchbooks be realized in their work. 
Blake is constructing a wire sculpture of his home as seen from Google Streetview. he is constructing it out of wire and including details like windows and doors.
Kollan is creating an interior room of a house with leather hard slabs of clay. This has been a more challenging project, but I am excited to see it complete with items populating the space.
Anna was inspired by a work at ArtPrize called "Michigan in Motion" for this work. She is going to create an illusion through the application of perspective to make this object that sticks out, look like it is going back into space - MAGIC!
Nolan is using a more traditional drawing method to recreate his front door using one-point perspective. He is applying value with different graphite pencils to help give depth to the shadows and make it more believable.
I am getting really excited and a little nervous as we finish up this theme; nervous because I am worried about time and some students waiting until the last minute to get their work in and excited to see if this all turns out as amazing as I know it can be! I will post some finished examples tomorrow and as they start to roll in from students. 
One of the best parts of teaching Art, especially at the middle school, is the amount of time dedicated to discovery. Students worked through media today to figure out what could happen when different scenarios arose. Here are the results from another day of work.
7th grade students primarily worked with paint to start this week as we filled in the space of their knots. I showed them basic methods and color theory before challenging them to explore color and media in their own way. The results have been exciting, as you can see from close up images below.
8th grade students are still working on their environmental works today. 

The image to the right was created through the use of a print block that was carved out. 

I encouraged the student to create the slab print before moving onto more traditional means of printmaking with ink. 

The student below was inspired by Fiddle Oak, the teenaged Photoshop sensation. He took pictures of his classmates and decided to use the power of Photoshop to shrink them down like the movie, "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids."

I think the bottom image says it all for today - you know it has been a good day in the Art room when your hands end up looking like this. It means you were in the mess and a part of the making. No sitting on the sidelines when it comes to making discoveries or art - you must get your hands dirty at some point.
7th grade students worked on knots this week in many ways. We will be finishing up this work next week with paint and some reading as we look to the Celts and their use of line and shape in their work. 
First we made knots and loops with string and drew from observation.
Then we created symmetrical knots by using overlapping lines and mirroring them across horizontal and vertical lines of symmetry.
We used the power of the sun to transfer our designs onto nicer drawing paper.
And applied various color pencil techniques to fill in the space. Next week will be spent adding watercolor and other designs.
Students finished out the week with a quick digital project to help reinforce concepts being covered this week and compare processes between methods.
Happy Scone Day, boys and girls - more specifically, Happy International Bring a Scone to Art Class Day! With our pretty strict "no food" policy this year, I did not make scones to share with students, nor did I organize students to make these delicious treats to share with the class. Instead, one student decided to celebrate the day with a simple scone drawing that you can see below. I think she is going to earn a Scone Day Participation badge for this effort! 
Claire's scone is symbolic of all of the fluffy goodness happening in the art classroom right now and will continue to happen for the rest of the year!
Now, onto some more work as we wrap up the week. 8th grade students are continuing to work on their projects as we also participated in a mid-way critique. It was fun to look around the room and have students respond to each other's work and ask the tough questions like, "What does a decorated duck have to do with environments?" 

I look forward to finding out the answer to this question and more as students start submitting work to Artsonia and writing out their statements to explain. Here are some of the process photos of our work from today. 


The Scone Fairy visited my classroom this afternoon and left some lovely lemon poppyseed scones on my desk (thank you whoever you are, they were delicious!). 
I was also delighted to find an email from a student that included this illustration and recipe, which was a perfect way to finish out this super fun celebratory day! Thanks, Eli! 
Here's My Drawing and below is a recipe:

Simple Scones


Original recipe makes 8 scones Change Servings

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/3 cup sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, frozen

1/2 cup of dried blueberries

1/2 cup sour cream

1 large egg


Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a medium bowl, mix flour, 1/3 cup sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Grate butter into flour mixture on the large holes of a box grater; use your fingers to work in butter (mixture should resemble coarse meal), then stir in blueberries.

In a small bowl, whisk sour cream and egg until smooth.

Using a fork, stir sour cream mixture into flour mixture until large dough clumps form. Use your hands to press the dough against the bowl into a ball. (The dough will be sticky in places, and there may not seem to be enough liquid at first, but as you press, the dough will come together.)

Place on a lightly floured surface and pat into a 7- to 8-inch circle about 3/4-inch thick. Sprinkle with remaining 1 tsp. of sugar. Use a sharp knife to cut into 8 triangles; place on a cookie sheet (preferably lined with parchment paper), about 1 inch apart. Bake until golden, about 15 to 17 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes and serve warm or at room temperature.

8th grade students took up the challenge earlier in the week to work with environments, spaces, and places for this next project. We finished up planning mid-week and it has been fun to see the diverse choice of materials (yet again) that students selected for enact their vision when exploring the topic. From paint, to paper, to clay, and cardboard, these students are utilizing many mediums to engage with the concept and share their ideas. 
Andrew is creating a shelter of sorts using a repeated origami element that is stacked.
Olivia is working with the Grand Rapids' skyline and paint effects for her project.
Kenzie is working with cardboard as the base for her 3D painting.
Logan is creating a stop-motion animation that explores the idea of impacting environments through action.
Harrison is creating a landscape using a clay mold of his face as the base.
Payton is creating a globe vessel and plans to store additional items inside to tell a bigger story.
When you look at a work of art, can you see the amount of thinking or prep work that goes into it? This is something we are working through as students move from the planning stages of their assignments and into applying their ideas to their projects. 
This student is working on a sketch after viewing the clay demo today that explained the difference between building with plastic or leather-hard clay.
The student in the back is working with foil pieces to create a mosaic image, while the other student works with creating a slab form.
This student is creating a time-lapse video of his drawing and planning to use both works for his environment themes projects.
Students moved from their sketchbooks and into the Scholastic Art Magazine Archives to research and interpret work cataloged there for their viewing pleasure. I cannot fully express how thankful I am for this resource as a result of the funding from our last DonorsChoose project! It was great to share the online content with students today and watch them search through the archives to find artists that spoke to their interests and then share that with the class via our Artist of the Week Schoology Discussion board. I am so thankful to those who helped make this resource available to my students! Students are also starting to think about The Scholastic Art and Writing Awards and seeing past winners showcased in the magazines is very inspiring to those hoping to achieve winning works this year. 
Check out the progress of Emma's Cootie Catcher Dress that she is working on for this year's Scholastic Art Award's competition. I think she has a great chance of achieving recognition in the Fashion Design category. This will be the first time I have ever entered student work in this category during the 8 years of entering this competition! 
7th grade students also worked on their Artist of the Week posts using Scholastic Art Magazine. Once done, they completed their knots by turning their designs into a symmetrical image after transferring the first quadrant onto the other three across the horizontal and vertical lines of symmetry. We will use these papers to transfer the image onto a heavier weighted paper and add color starting tomorrow! 

One of the points of emphasis I am trying to spend more time on in art this year is the amount of time needed to think about and plan art. When you look at a finished piece it is easy to get wrapped up on the product and notice how the finished work looks as a whole. It is harder to see that the artist probably took photos, made sketches, experimented with media, and went through a lot of research before enacting their plan. 

Today was spent working through the Design Thinking Process as students documented ideas through words and sketches in their sketchbooks. We also made sure to do a gallery walk and review what others are doing, find common themes/images/trends, and peer critique to get a fresh perspective. Tomorrow we will start working on enacting our ideas through various media. 
We reviewed perspective last week as a way to document and explore the concept of environment and space; Kollan decided to create this sketch to explore how to transform the space with value and light.
As a part of working out ideas in the sketchbook, students worked in smaller peer editing groups to critique each other's ideas and find the best solutions.
7th grade students are moving into creating knots on paper, so we used today to draw some knots from observation first.
Students then used their imagination to create a more complicated, overlapping knot design.
Lauren is working on her entry for ArtStart, which is due on Tuesday. She decided to create ArtPrize shoes influences by the work we saw on our field trip September 25th.
This week has offered a lot of things to unfold as students worked on competitions, community projects, individual works, and class projects. Every year is the best year ever and I always wonder how my students are going to out-do the accomplishments and fun already accomplished. Even though we are only a month into this school year, this year is already becoming the best year ever and sure to blow any other experience I have had in my classroom out of the water. 
Caiden and the other 7th grade students glazed their bowls for our Empty Bowls Fundraiser that will take place on March 19th. More details to come as we get closer to the date.
Aleena is working on a piece in After School Art class that looks to how we interact with logos. She is using felting materials to create this composition.
Virginia is also working on an individual project in After School Art. It will be fun to see how this mask transforms from now until it is finished.
Olivia finished up her Identity project this week. She used printmaking and paper cutting technique to create this layered image and explore the theme.