Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Anti-Pinterest Classroom Pictures

In August, bloggers usually post pictures of their classrooms prepped for the beginning of school.  Everything is clean and organized with true Pinterest perfection! This year thought I would post some anti-Pinterest pictures. What does your classroom look like when preparing for summer?

4 Classroom Pictures You WILL NOT See On Pinterest!!!

1) Dirt

You will not see piles of dirt on Pinterest. Does anyone else loathe the dirt that accumulates under a large area rug? Is it truly dirt or is it the bottom of the rug deteriorating? You should have seen the floor when the rugs were first rolled up. At least this dirt has been swept into a nice pile. I think my custodian is trying to convince my principal to buy me a new rug. My rugs are in rough shape.

2) Mismatched Boxes

In the world of Pinterest, all the boxes would be matching sizes and modpodged with cute wrapping paper.  The two diaper boxes do look out of place on top of all the matching Lowe's boxes. This is actually a spare room which will store my instruments for the summer so it will be temperature controlled. Our floors are getting ripped up and replaced this summer. My wall of wooden cabinets had to be emptied and boxed up. I'm so thankful for my old post on Organizing Instruments. I'm certain I will be using it as reference when unpacking boxes.

3) Stuff Covered In Plastic Table Cloths

If you type "plastic table cloth" in the search window on Pinterest, you will find many creative and beautiful uses for this cheap party supply. People use them for backdrops, chair covers, curtains, ceiling swags, pom pom flowers, and more. However, you WILL NOT see them draped over computers and printers. We are not certain what kind of dust and debris will be created when they replace the floors this summer, so everything must be protected. 

4) Unlabeled Boxes

This picture MOST DEFINITELY does not belong on Pinterest! As I began the packing process, all of my boxes were labeled neatly with all the contents, down to the last egg shaker. I even made matching pink labels reading "MUSIC ROOM 129, FRAGILE INSTRUMENTS!!!!". However, at the end of the packing process, I got tired of being neat and organized and started shoving things in boxes and throwing them on the purple table. You will also see more plastic table cloths covering textbooks that are not even boxed. That laziness would definitely not show up on Pinterest!!!

In order to offset the chaotic disarray of my classroom at the moment, I would like to declare one last thing . . .
Before I began the packing process, I attacked my filing cabinets with a trash can and a label maker!!! Lots of things got thrown away and minimized. I made new labels for the drawers.

The drawer I use most throughout the school year got new file folders with new printed labels. My handwriting is atrocious, so I will be able to locate things much quickly now. I can't wait to tackle the other drawers in the fall! I'm sure I will search Pinterest and find more projects to put my label maker to use around the house this summer!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Art With Mrs. Dennis: Rotational Symmetry

Many of you may not know that I also teach visual art in addition to music. My school does not have a full-time visual art teacher and hasn't had one in many years. Three years ago, at the request of my principal, I began teaching one art lesson a month. I have had no formal training in teaching art, but I personally enjoy using my creativity and creating art.
I am very thankful for Pinterest and many art blogs for helping me discover art projects for my students. My fifth graders love this project from Mrs. Brown's Art Blog.
  1. Trace a plate and cut a paper into a circle. We used white printer paper
  2. Fold the circle in half, then in half again, then in half again. When you open the circle up, you should see eight sectors "slices". 
  3. While the circle is folded, draw a word stretching the letters to the top and bottom edges of the fold. We used pencil first, and then traced with a black marker.
  4. Open the fold and trace the pattern onto a neighboring sector. We took a "field trip" to the lunchroom were there is an entire wall of windows. We used the windows and sunlight as a cheap and free tracing box!
  5. Continue to open and fold the circle until you can trace the pattern onto the remaining sectors.
  6. Fill in each section with color to form a symmetrical design. We used crayons or color pencils.
Mrs. Brown has provided a wonderful Powerpoint to accompany this lesson. It usually takes two 50 minute lessons to complete this project. We cut, fold, and trace the design during one lesson. We finish tracing and coloring in the second lesson.
This year, I observed a table of fifth graders working on this project, and noticed that none of them had chosen to write their name. Instead, they chose characters or words from a book series. This sparked an idea that this project should not be limited to our names. I thought the 5th grade students should create something to present to our school as a type of service project. Each class would create a large canvas with a word hidden in the symmetrical design.
Can you view the words in each design? Try isolating one sector (pie slice) and read from the outside to the center. The words are "CEDAR", GROVE", and "VIKINGS". Cedar Grove is the name of our school and our mascot is the Viking. I chose "VIKINGS" because "Elementary" has too many characters. This design looks best with words that have 5-7 letters. If you are still having trouble viewing the words, I have helped you in the image below.
Our school colors are purple and gold. I chose to use shades of purple and silver on the outer canvases with shades of yellow and gold in the center canvas. The canvases measure 24" by 24". To create the design on a larger scale, I first followed the steps above to create a paper version. taped the circle to a black paper and cut the excess paper to form square frame. I scanned the image and used the projector to trace the design onto the canvas. I did have to do some adjusting to size the image to fit the canvas. The students were given detailed instructions of which color to paint each section. They worked on this in their homeroom classes during free time.
We unveiled the canvases to their parents at the 5th grade send-off ceremony. The following day we unveiled them to the entire school on morning broadcast. The canvases are now hung in our front lobby above the main doors and below some windows. We have some beautiful architecture and skylights in the front lobby but people rarely stop to admire it. Now, the artwork catches your attention and draws your eye upward. It is a wonderful improvement to the aesthetics of our building. The canvases and paint were purchased by our Parent Teacher Organization and all the supplies cost only $70. 

Now, the 5th grade teachers have asked what we will do next year! I think I have started a tradition that they would like to continue. I'm excited to add beauty and art to our building, but I am in desperate need of some inspiration and ideas for next year! I may have to search Pinterest all summer! If your school has completed a mural or art project for the school, please share ideas below!

This concludes the first post of "Art With Mrs. Dennis." Music teachers, please share the idea with your art teacher, if you are so lucky to have one. I promise I will post more topics soon! Thank you for letting me share a glimpse into my other world as an art teacher.