8th grade students are working through their ideas today as they started to begin their final projects. It was awesome to see how some students evolved their sketches over time and improved as a result of demos and practice. I am also excited to see the level of experimentation with media as we delve into portraying the concept of "Identity" in the works. Check out some of the progress below:
Tryston drew the image on the left yesterday. After a quick demo on the proportions of the face, he finished the drawing on the right today. Both are not final drawings, but working drafts as he plans to create his final next week.
Dalton wanted to use foil to create a mask. He was not sure how the material would work on the mold we had in class, so he just started to experiment. Due to the material working differently than anticipated, he is adjusting his plan to work in the folds created in the foil.
Harrison wants to use his face as a clay mask. In order to get a mold, we worked on creating this plaster casting today. He will use clay to get the impression of his face next week and then sculpt additional details.
Emma is working on a dress made out of Cootie Catchers. She came up with this concept last year and plans to submit the finished work to the Scholastic Art Awards.
This week is flying by as students start working on their various projects and sharing their thoughts on Artists throughout history via Schoology. Here is an overview of some of the things we have been working on for the past few days: 

Pre-Tests and Portfolio Names

Students shows me what they knew about all kinds of Art related information as they took their pre-tests in Schoology. The best part is the instant data I get back and can use to help guide my instruction!
Students also finished up their Portfolio Names this week to show me their interests through the manipulation of the letters in their name. We will be posting the results by the end of the week.

Design Thinking in Action

I introduced Design Thinking with students this week. We have always been using it, but now we have an outlined process to help keep us on track with every project.
We also got to break out some new materials today as students learned that there is more values of pencils beyond the #2.

Portrait Party

Blind contour portraits are a great way to infuse some fun to the day. We also did some dancing before this to help us work through basic art terms that were being used.
Students also used mirrors to draw themselves.
It was fun to do our first gallery walk and check out the work created as a result of this process. It was also fun to see how some students rated their own work.
The images from above are a result of an assembly we had today for the Science classes. Our local PBS station, WGVU, offered this "Ballooning for Education" Assembly for our students because I was selected as a2014 PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovator. I was one of 100 teachers across the country to receive this recognition. As a part of this honor, I get some great opportunities to work with WGVU to bring fun and engaging educational programming to students. I am also going to be highlighting PBS LearningMedia in upcoming conference presentations I am doing for Student Teachers and Art Teachers in the coming months. 
Students uploaded their artwork on Artsonia today. Students were asked to take a picture of a portion of the canvas they painted and upload it using Classroom Mode. I love using Classroom Mode and giving students the control to upload at their own pace. You can view the process above. We also used our new digital cameras in the classroom today that was purchased due to a grant from MACUL. I am so excited to use them in the class (especially for the video project planned that helped us win the funding). 

It was also awesome to read students' artist statements. I am trying something new this year with Standards Based Grading. The Standards that students needed to discuss in their artist statement included their personal connection to the art we made, how their art is connected to our community, and how art is connected to a global society. There are so many thoughtful statements to choose from, but here are two I will share: 
Nolan's Artist Statement: I feel that the story of the dot is really awesome. Day after day I hear kids say that they "can't" draw. I think the dot shows that no matter who you are you can make some sort of art. I also found it super cool that the teacher made the child feel special by displaying her art. Next, the painting that we made in class will be hung in the school for years to come. If this doesn't make someone feel good about art, then I don't know what will. I can't wait for the my siblings to move into this school and see this art. Finally, we posted our project on the internet and Peter H. Reynolds (the author of the dot) commented on our work. I could not believe this when I first heard this. The fact that our work was recognized by someone famous is really inspiring. To conclude, this project was super cool and I would recommend it to anyone that doubts their art ability.
Bre's Artist Statement: What "The Dot" story means to me is very personal. Many times in my life I've made a drawing or a sketch and it got laughed at, and I don't like that feeling. I also think that it tells a story that everyone can create art. In my painting I incorporated many different colors and designs. I think that the many different colors show difference between the colors, and the difference between people in this school. The colors also come together to make one painting, and so should the people in this school. I think that these paintings show connection between the students and the staff in this school, and they show that our school is very welcoming to different people. I feel that the paintings also make our school feel more at home. Finally, my work helps the canvass have more color and creativity. I think that "The Dot" story and project was a great way to start off the year!
I cannot believe it is only the first week of school. Based on the work my students have done and the things I have planned, I feel like a step was not lost during our three months of Summer. I am so excited for Monday and what the next week might bring! 
I am completely overjoyed with the progress students are making in art class! In just the three days we have worked with clay, painted, made portfolios, and implemented our sketchbooks as a part of the creative process! This is the first year I have used sketchbooks as a tool in my classroom. In the past, I had students use newsprint or other scrap paper. This year I worked with our STEM teacher, Mr. Dennett to implement the use of sketchbooks as a part of the design process in both of our classes (since we share students throughout the year). Using design thinking to develop a process, we were inspired by this chart (which I can no longer find the link to): 
7th and 8th grade students are using this process to come up with solutions for their portfolio names. It is interesting to see what they come up with and how they work it out in their sketchbooks before applying it to their portfolio. 
Sketchbooks are an exciting tool to use in the classroom and I am excited to see how my students utilize the space to generate and work through their ideas. Here is a great video on using sketchbooks to help with learning how to draw: 
8th grade students continued to work on our canvas panels today for the STEM and MUSIC hallway. I am really excited about the energetic movement seen in the works as a result of the improvisational and collaborative effort this type of painting involves. Tomorrow, my after school art students will finish up the works and I will post the results before they are displayed. 

As I wrote yesterday, this project is partially inspired by the Peter H. Reynolds book, "The Dot." I had the opportunity to share the following video illustration of the story with my students today before we went back to the canvases to make our marks. 
I love the message of the story and hope my students take it to heart as they work towards a great school year. 
7th grade students continued to work on their clay bowls for Empty Bowls. We will be finishing these up by the end of the week and glazing them once they are bisque-fired. 
Today marks the beginning of a new and exciting year in the BCWMS Art Classroom! If we have half of the fun we did last year, it will be an amazing time creating, competing, sharing, and learning new ways of expressing ourselves. I had so much fun today working with students as we painted and sculpted community-related projects to improve our school and community. 
8th grade students spent the day painting canvases that will be displayed on the other side of the building by the STEM and Music classrooms. We learned about circle painting and talked about the book "The Dot" by Peter H. Reynolds. It was awesome to hear students encourage each other to make their mark as they rotated around the room and painted each of the canvases. We will finish up the work tomorrow and they will be on display soon. 
Here is what students made last year doing this same process: 
7th grade students worked with clay as they created slab formed bowls for the Empty Bowls event, scheduled March 19th. This is the 8th year we have put on this event and it is something that showcases our entire Fine Arts program as well as the generous spirit of the community in Byron Center. Tomorrow we will work on the bowls before getting them ready for a first firing. 
If today indicates anything about the upcoming school year, then I know it is going to be great! 
I want to make sure my students have the materials they need to succeed. So I've created a classroom project request at DonorsChoose.org, an award-winning charity.

I'm asking for donations of any size to help my kids. For the next four days, any donation you make to my project will be doubled (up to $100). If you know anyone who is passionate about education, please pass this along. Your donation will brighten my students' school year, and you'll get photos and thank yous from our class.

Here's my classroom request:


To have your donation matched dollar for dollar, enter the promo code INSPIRE on the payment screen. This awesome match offer lasts through September 3.

My students and I greatly appreciate your support.

Mrs. Campbell
Over the course of this summer, I have invited students to upload work via classroom mode on Artsonia with a chance to win prizes. So far one student has really taken me up on that challenge and I am happy to announce that by being the first student to upload her work, Ava wins a bonus gift card from Artsonia where she will be able to purchase an item of her choice from their online gift shop. Here is the work she uploaded: 
There is still time to upload work for the July challenge and the drawing for another Artsonia gift ca
Congrats to Ava, our June Artsonia Upload Challenge Winner! Ava will now get to choose to have her creation on a mug or sketchbook from the Artsonia gift shop. I would recommend the sketchbook, since it is a requirement for next year's class. 

Check out Ava's winning work below that she created for the West Michigan Chalk Art Festival: 
Ava's Artist Statement: This is a peacock that I drew for the West Michigan Chalk At Festival in Byron Center. I used chalk pastels and an assortment of brushes and it took me 7 hours to complete!
If you are bummed that you missed the June Challenge and want a chance to win your own sketchbook or mug from Artsonia, you can enter work in the July Challenge. I will be emailing the upload code later today, or you can email me for more information. 

If you are interested in participating in a larger competition, check out Celebrating Art's competition. The upload deadline is August 22nd - plenty of time to make new art, or use work from last school year.  
This has got to be one of the best year's ever. From numerous competitions won to over 4,000 works of art posted to our gallery, I am completely floored with the amount of quality images produced over this past school year. As I have done in previous year end posts, it is time to reflect on it all. 


The year started on a winning note as 7th grade student Emma McCloud won the first ever ArtStart Competition through ArtPrize. It was thrilling to see her work end up on TV as she was selected in the top ten of all entries received.


Photoshop Phridays were a new activity added to weekly art making in the classroom this year. Students revised works through the magic of digital editing. We published over 900 works to that exhibit on Artsonia this year!


Due to the materials provided from a funded DonorsChoose project, students were able to experience felting with wool. It is fun to experience new materials and teach my students new ways of expressing ideas. Thanks again to all who helped fund this project!


Sooper Art is an annual competition that challenges students to create art about the environment. 7th grade students Anna Pavlak and Emma McCloud were among the 15 winners in their age group and their work was on display at the Grand Rapids Art Museum as a result! I look forward to participating again next year.
December marked our Winter K-12 District Art Show. It is always fun to see what students are creating at all levels and showcase the work being created in our district.


Student work was on display at the Kent Intermediate School District for the month of January. It was fun to have the work on display and students enjoyed being a part of the exhibit.


This was the first year that I had ALL 5 student entries make it into the show at the GRAM. Four of them went onto State and two were named as top 15 for Middle School work in the State of Michigan. Congrats again to Sara Thompson and Morgan Baker for this honor!
The Scholastic Art Awards celebration for the West Central Michigan region was also in February. We had 16 students honored and 5 works qualified and went onto the National competition. The work shown above resulted in a National Silver Medal for Makenzie Reid. Congrats again to all of the students who participated!


Empty Bowls has been an annual tradition at our school that helps families in Byron Center. It is a great night of art and music and our community.


Students took up the challenge of researching and presenting artworks on our Spring field trip to the Meijer Gardens. This idea stemmed from other teachers who use similar methods when engaging students on trips. It was perfect and I plan to do this again in the future.


We had a great turn out for our end of the year art shows at both the Van Singel Fine Arts Center and at WMS. It is always fun to end the year by showcasing the talents and works of students.
It is always fun to work on collaborative projects with my students. This piece was created through a series of glaze applications that were drawn into to reveal color before firing. I learned about this process at the NAEA Conference earlier in the school year.


Celebrating at Carnegie Hall for the 2014 Scholastic Art and Writing Awards was a stellar way to finish out the school year. I am so proud of Kenzie and this accomplishment and look forward to the opportunity to participate again in the future.

Some Summer Thoughts...

This past school year has been one of the best and I don'e see why the fun cannot overflow into summer. Here are three things students can think about and work on to keep art skills in shape before heading back to class in the fall: 

1. See lots of Art with GRAM Meijer Free Tuesdays! I am going to try and make it downtown every Tuesday to walk through the Grand Rapids Art Museum galleries and view the works on display. Although the exhibit does not change over the Summer, I am sure I will stumble upon new ways of looking at works and pick up new ideas and inspiration as a result. If you and your students would like to meet me on an upcoming Tuesday, please email me and we can try and work something out. 

2. Get a sketchbook and draw! I am taking my own advice on this one, too. Drawing is a great way to hone observation and fine motor skills. It is also the most accessible way to create images fast. If students are not sure what to draw, there are several websites like Illustration Friday that gives weekly challenges and where artists can also share work. If students are interested in getting a super cool personalized sketchbook, you can order one with their Art on it from Artsonia. 20% of purchases goes towards supplies for our classroom.

3. Do the June Artsonia Challenge! Students don't have to stop making Art because it is Summer. I would like to invite them to share what they are working on by posting them on Artsonia. Students who participate by June 30th will be put in a drawing to win an Artsonia Mug or Sketchbook with their Art on it. I recently set up a new exhibit that students can contribute to - email me and I will send you the upload code.