Friday, March 13, 2015

Honolulu Museum of Art

A few weeks ago, one of my colleagues and I attended a teacher training at the Honolulu Museum of Art.  We had to wake up early to head to the Maui airport, rent a car in Honolulu, then drive through morning traffic to the museum, and Honolulu is rated one of the worst traffic cities in the US!  When we first got there, we saw a giant photo of Princess Nahi‘ena‘ena outside.  She was the princess of the Hawaii Kingdom when the capital was on Maui, so she is special to us. 


The workshop claims that arts integration can strengthen Common Core implementation and better prepare students for the Smarter Balanced Assessment.  We got to visit the Lending Library, practice observation skills in the galleries with museum docents, and sample the curriculum-themed guided school tours.  

This fall, the State of Hawaii sent a poster to each public school teacher to help teach a visual literacy observation technique called ODIC: Observe, Describe, Interpret, Connect.  One of the museum educators told us that she watches people looking at art in the museum all the time and is shocked to see them only look for a few seconds before moving on to the next painting.  In the museum setting, that makes sense because they have so much art to see.  But in the classroom, we don't have to view as much art and can spend time looking at one piece of artwork at a time.  In the ODIC technique, students will first silently observe the art.  Ask themselves: What is the subject?  What is in the background?  Next, they will describe what it is they see, without and opinions or judgements.  After describing, they will interpret and say what they think the painting is about.  And last they will make connections to their lives or other things they have seen.  We did ODIC with the painting in the poster below, Lei Sellers by American painter Juliette May Fraser.  After observing quietly for a few minutes, we described what we saw.  Many thought the girl in the front looked bored.  Many noticed how the four people in the painting were looking in different directions.  Some noticed lei hanging in the top right background, some thought it was a tree.  In the top left background, many were unsure until one pointed out it was a boat, possibly a cruise ship.  That lead us to interpret that maybe the sellers were waiting for the cruise ship to dock before they could sell their lei.  I made a direct connection since I went on a cruise for the first time this summer.  It was quite fun to experience the art this way and to discuss the painting in this structured manner that helped us think critically for ourselves instead of just passively reading about the artist.  
This is the next painting that the museum will be turning into a poster.  It is called Study of Fish by Dutch painter Hubert Vos.  We did the same ODIC protocol around this real painting.  We noticed the vibrant colors of the fish.  We noticed that the fish were from many different areas of the ocean, some reef fish, some bottom feeders.  They also varied in size.  We noticed the lauhala basket that the man held, the net behind the table in the middle of the painting, and the large koa wood bowl in the right.  The man doesn't wear a shirt, so we interpreted that this was happened during pre-contact Hawaii, before the arrival of Captain Cook and the Western world.  After reading the card next to the painting, we learned that this was painted in 1898, so we were right about it being old! It's amazing that the colors are still so vibrant after more than 100 years! 

"In painting this carefully detailed representation of fifty-seven varieties of the fish and crustaceans that inhabit Hawaiian waters, Hubert Vos drew on the tradition of 17th-century Dutch still-life painting, with which he was doubtless familiar from his childhood and studies in Europe.  To create the composition, he sketched actual specimens of sea life that he purchased at the Honolulu fish market, giving careful attention to their richness of color and form.  An ‘umeke of kou wood, a draped net, and a woven lauhala basket locate this scene in pre-contact Hawaii. " 
Next, we learned a fun activity called Exquisite Corpse.  It started out as a word game played by surrealist painters in Paris during the 1920's.  The word game goes adjective-noun-verb-adjective-noun.  They would write a word, fold the paper over and pass it to the next person.  They would continue writing, folding, and passing through the whole pattern.  At the end, they would have a funny sentence.  The name came from a sentence from the first time the famous painters played: "The exquisite corpse shall drink the new wine." 

The museum collected some local artists and created works of art made in the same fashion.  They would fold a sheet of paper in thirds.  Draw on one section and leave only little lines over the edges, fold their section back and pass.  The next artist would use the little lines over the edges to start their drawing.  Once done, they would fold it once last time and pass it on to the next artist.  

Here is a sample of an Exquisite Corpse painting from the exhibit at the museum:

After looking at the art, we wrote sentences in the Exquisite Corpse fashion about the artwork.  We wrote one sentence, folded the paper and passed it on.  By the end, we had one sentence of our own and 2 of others in the group.   We read them out loud and the group had to guess which artwork we were writing about.   It was really fun! 

Here are the sentence on my paper:

Violent tornado swirling lost lives.
Colorful creatures destroyed corrupted grasp.
Graceful legs dance around the swirling stage.

I added a preposition to my sentence (around) and the docent told us that was ok :)

Our next stop was the Lending Library.  The museum has this wonderful room in the basement where teachers can go and check out artifacts to bring back to their classrooms.  They'll even mail artifacts to outer islands! The artifacts are arranged by country, so it ties really well into social studies and learning about different cultures.  We did an activity called See Think Wonder.  We each found one artifact that spoke to us.  We wrote what we saw, facts about the artifact.  Then for the Think section, we drew the artifact.  Under Wonder, we wrote questions about the artifact.

Here was my paper.  I chose a bronze head sculpture from Africa.  I definitely think this technique could be used in the classroom when observing artifacts or even pictures of artifacts from another culture.  Instead of just telling students about an artifact, students have to observe it and ask questions to figure out as much as they can on their own.

We also got to sample three different curriculum-based tours for classroom field trips to the museum: Math Through Art, STEAM @ the Museum, and Literature Through Art.

In Math Though Art, we got to play with Photo Voltaic paper and create designs in the sun.  We picked which manipulatives to put on our paper.  Then we laid it in the sun and let it sit for about 10 minutes. 
After the time was up, we dipped the paper in water and hung it up to dry.  After it dried, we could see the patterns.  It was really cool.
We also talked about perspective.  We looked down this hallway of the museum and counted the pillars.  We talked about how the closer ones looked bigger and the farther ones looked smaller.  We all got to sketch this hallway and practice drawing with perspective. 
We then went into an upstairs gallery for STEAM: Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics.  We looked at this mobile and tried to balance the sides and sliding the string on the stick.  It was a lot of fun to see that when you move the pendulum, you need more or less weight to balance. 
The red bag has more rocks than the blue bag because the string is closer to the red bag.
We then got some time to browse the galleries.  Remember when we saw the Princess poster at the front? Well, we also got to see the REAL Princess painting! And there she is with her brother, the famous King Kamehameha III.  That was really cool.
All in all, I LOVED this PD and the opportunity to visit the museum.  I can't wait to implement some of the strategies in my classroom! I decided to make posters for ODIC to put up in my room.  Then I can change the painting to display.  You can click any image below to download them for free!

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BxwXr-yc3_LxZGFiOEJKckxMTmM/view?usp=sharing

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BxwXr-yc3_LxZGFiOEJKckxMTmM/view?usp=sharing

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BxwXr-yc3_LxZGFiOEJKckxMTmM/view?usp=sharing

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BxwXr-yc3_LxZGFiOEJKckxMTmM/view?usp=sharing

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BxwXr-yc3_LxZGFiOEJKckxMTmM/view?usp=sharing

How do you incorporate the arts in your lessons?

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Staying Safe This Tax Season

If you are like me, you are putting something off right now - taxes! So much paperwork, so overwhelming.  I dread this time every year! Sound familiar?

On top of the task of actually doing my taxes, I also have to worry about keeping all my information safe.  Protect your digital presence with Norton Security!  I know some of my family's important information is saved on different devices around our house.  Norton Security and Norton Security with Backup is a great solution! Sometimes my son is playing games on my laptop and I need to pull up a document from my Dropbox account.  Luckily, I can easily pull that up on my iPad.  But now I need to make sure that information is protected on more than just my laptop!

A nice added feature of the backup option is 25 GB of additional online space to store family photos and other mementos.  I actually had my hard drive fail this past week.  All my documents and clip art were backed up on Dropbox, but my photos were not.  After the tech guy at my school did his magic, no pictures.  So sad!!!!! I'm still in shock and I'm not sure what I'm going to do, but I know that I won't let that happen again.  I'm getting serious with my document protection!

Luckily, Coupons.com Norton coupon codes have got you covered! Check it out!

I was compensated by Coupons.com for this post, but my opinions are entirely my own.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Happy Valentine's Day!

Two years ago for Valentine's Day, I made heart shaped crayons for my class and taped them to a cute little card with washi tape.  I loved that project!

This year, I made treats for my son's class, needed something non-candy for my daughter's preschool class (no sugar allowed at her school), and also something for my class.  That means, my class got something easy.  Sorry kids!

My school had professional development on Friday, so I needed my class' treats ready for Thursday.  Wednesday night, I sent my husband to the store for a bag of candy and he came back with Wonka's Sweetart Lollipops.  I printed out these cards on light pink cardstock and taped them to the lollipop.  Easy peasy!


My son is in 3rd grade, so he wanted something "cool".  That means no hearts, no pink, and certainly no mushy sayings.  We went to the store Thursday night and picked up a bag of Pixie Stix for a little over $2.00.  Crafting in the Rain had an adorable idea of taping the Pixie Stix to the card with washi tape.  So I found the most boy-ish washi tape I had and printed his cards on orange cardstock.  I didn't have a class list for his class, so we made them without names.  It's way easier to pass out without names, anyway.  I love how they turned out!

Since my daughter's preschool is sugar-free, she got heart shaped crayons.  I used a different method than I did in the post I linked at the top.  I peeled the wrappers off a bunch of broken crayons and sorted them by color into ziplock bags.  I melted the crayons in a small metal bowl placed on top of a boiling pot of water and poured the melted wax into heart-shaped soap molds from the craft store.  I made them with two colors.  The first color I poured halfway.  Let it dry for a few minutes, then poured the second color to fill the mold.  I put the full mold in the freezer to help it harden faster.  Then I popped them out and put them in little zipper bags I had for jewelry.  I loved these bag toppers from My Frugal Adventures, but needed mine to be smaller to fit the small zipper bags.  

I also made cute little teacher gifts.  This is the one for my daughter's teacher.  I cut the vinyl on my Silhouette Portrait.  I used the apple from The School Supply Addict and KG's Always a Good Time font for the name.  I bought purple mason jars at the craft store and found these cool cup lids.

These would be great for Teacher Appreciation, too! 

If you are interested in the cards I made above, you can download them {HERE}.

What did you do for Valentine's Day? 
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