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Tuesday, October 11, 2016

What Are I-Statements?

I statements are used to let someone know that you feel strongly about something without putting them on defense.  They can let the other person know that you own the feeling and are trying to deal with it yourself, but that you need help from them, without blaming them for the feeling.

For example, students might say, “I am feeling left out because I haven’t had a chance to join your game” instead of “you never let me play”.   

Watch out for these pitfalls:
Just be careful not to include the word “you” in the I statement.  For example, don’t say, “I am feeling left out because you never let me play”. 

Also, make sure that your facial expression body posture and tone of voice match your desire to get along.  If you have a scowl, crossed arms and an angry sounding voice, the message won’t be received quite the same. 

Even more uses:
Compliments - 
I statements are also a great way for students to compliment another student by letting them know exactly how they feel and why.  For example, they might say, “I feel so happy when we can play this game together”.  
Help Needed - 
I statements can be used by students to let adults know when they need help.  For example, they might say, “I feel frustrated when I try to do this math problem”.   Or, “I’m feeling overwhelmed because I don’t have enough time”, instead of “you are rushing me”.
Respectfully Disagree - 
I statements can also be a way to respectfully disagree with an adult.  For example, they might say, “I feel uncomfortable when I do that”.  
Emojis are a fun way for students to practice identifying their feeling and writing an I statement.  This sheet gives students a chance to draw 3 feeling emojis and write an I statement to go with them.

Follow-up I Statement - 
As a follow-up to making an I statement about their feelings, students can make an I statement about what they would like to see happen, without offending the other student.  For example, they might say, “I would like it if we could take turns” instead of “you never give me a turn”.  Or, “ I was hoping we could do this activity together” instead of, “you need to share”.
This sheet gives students a chance to practice writing an I statement and also a follow-up statement about what they would like to see happen and an action step they can take towards making that happen. For example, "I will try talking to my friend about this."

Once students have mastered the I statement when sharing their feelings, another great time to use I statements is when students critique each other’s work.

Constructive Criticism - 
I statements can be used for constructive criticism, for example saying, “I had a hard time understanding what you wrote” instead of “they way you write is confusing”.

Or, “I prefer softer colors” instead of “the colors in your painting are too bright”.

After doing some emoji I statement activities, use the cut-apart pages as a way for students to writing about their feelings on an as-needed basis.  They can be left out in the classroom for students that need a cool-down and reflection activity.

Drawing - 
My Emoji Drawing and I Statement Writing Lesson has the sheets pictured above along with some fun drawing pages. 

If your students can’t get enough emojis (and what students doesn’t like emojis) then you might want to try an Emoji Agamograph Lesson make by Art with Jenny K.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Why Are No Two Snowflakes Alike?

We've all heard that there are no two snowflakes alike.  
But have you ever wondered why?
I wanted to make a snowflake drawing page, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to do some investigating about snowflakes!  I learned that there is a lot of science and make that goes into making those beautiful snowflakes. 

The shapes formed when water freezes come from the structure of the molecules.  

If the humidity is high enough and the temperature isn't too cold, 
molecules start to build up on the corners.

As the frozen snow crystals fall, they stick together and make snowflakes.  
The snow crystals pass through different humidity and temperature levels in the atmosphere as they fall.  

Each snow crystal takes a slightly different path.  Each path yields a different combination of shapes they are formed on the arms of the snow crystal. 

If you would like more information to present to your students about how the design of snowflakes is formed by the atmospheric conditions, I've made a presentation that is included in my Snowflake Drawing Lesson.  

In this lesson, there are also some instructions for how to draw a snowflake.  Students will use some math to measure the angle of the snowflake arms. 

Once they've drawn the arms, they can add shapes on each arm using radial symmetry.  

If you think your students would love learning about this information keep reading.  My Snowflake Drawing Lesson includes the information on this blog post and much more. 

You will get a PDF presentation to show your students about why no two snowflakes are alike, A PDF technique demonstration, drawing handouts for students, word wall words, and assessments all in my 

Monday, October 3, 2016

Preserving Leaves with Glycerin

I used these leaves for a leaf rubbing project using some chunky crayons that I made by melting down recycled crayons.  Take a look at my blog post to see how to make the chunky crayons

Leaf Rubbings Made with Recycled Chunky Crayons

Notice the retro labels of the tree names.  

They made a fun addition to this project!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Coloring Eggs

The materials you will need:

  • Egg Coloring Pages by Expressive Monkey
  • Colored tissue paper
  • Water
  • Brush

Go over the egg coloring sheet with water.

Lay the tissue paper on the wet coloring page. You can cut or tear the tissue paper. Go over the tissue paper with more water.

Cover the entire egg with colored tissue paper.
Let it dry.

When it’s completely dry, take the tissue paper off.

Cut the egg out.

Download Expressive Monkey’s FREE Egg Coloring Pages.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Robot Art Lesson Ideas

Robots are such a great theme for an art lesson!  Students can let their imaginations go wild while thinking of all kinds of tasks that the robots can perform.  Robots also offer a chance to practice a few different lesson objectives, as the examples below will demonstrate.

Students used Robot Drawing Pages from Expressive Monkey as inspiration for these robot drawings.  In the finished examples below, you will see that students had a chance to practice some shading techniques with white chalk and graphite. 

I visited Alton Darby Elementary and their art teacher Mrs. Bowers recently.  Here are some examples of their 3D robots.  Students brought in boxes and containers from home.  Naturally, students used lots of problem solving to construct these adorable robots.  As you can see in the picture, students also included a label telling about what their robot can do along with the robot's name. 

Another project that was going on in the Alton Darby classroom is this awesome collaborative robot.  

If you want some drawing help with Rockets and Robots, take a look at Expressive Monkey's How to Draw Rockets and Robots.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Assessing the Thought Process

I read a blog post by Melissa Purtee that asserts that we should be assessing learning not just the work.  Or at least using a balanced approach that includes assessing both the learning and the work.  

In this article, according to the National Standards, under the category of "Creating" the behaviors we should be evaluating are:

generate ideas

solve problems

make decisions


communicate ideas

develop art-making skills

It's very hard for a teacher to evaluate a student on their thinking skills by just looking at a finished work of art.  Having students self-assess not only helps the teaching understand the student's learning process, it also helps the students to understand the art-making process and how important thinking skills are to the success of the finished product.

Having students write about why they chose that particular level helps students to be more thoughtful and honest when choosing a level. It also helps the teacher understand what the art is about and what the student learned while making the art. 

In the first self-assessment pictured above, students are asked to indicated their level of achievement by coloring in a smiley face that represents how well they "experimented with ideas in their sketchbook".  Then they are asked to explain why they choose that level.  Prior to having students self assess, the teacher could ask students to share why experimenting with ideas is important and what a successful amount of experiments would look like.  It might look different for each students.  To be at the "Love it" level, maybe the students needs to experiment more that they ever have before, or maybe that means coming up with more than one great idea.

The second half of the assessment asks students to assess how they did using original ideas, and then explain why they chose that level.  Students might tell how they came up with the idea, or how their idea was different from any examples used in the demonstration or presentation.

The middle assessment asks students to "Explain a problem you solved" and answer the question, "What does your art communicate?" Both answers will  be helpful to the teacher when trying to ascertain how much a student learned by doing the project. 

The last assessment asks students to indicate their level of achievement on "creating meaningful art" and "solving problems".  Writing about how their work is meaningful and about problem solving will help the teacher understand how much thought the student put into the work.

Here are some criteria that assesses thinking skills and are included in my Rubric Kit

While assessing thinking is helpful in many ways, it's also good to mix it up a bit and have a different mix of questions and criteria for each project throughout the year.  Building art skills is also important for a student's fine motor development and enjoyment.  Students can feel proud of their progress learning drawing skills and mastering the use of different media.

The criteria that assesses skills in the graphic above is included in my Rubric Kit.  You will also get the images without the words so that you can write your own specific criteria for a particular lesson. 

The art room is also an ideal place to practice good learning behavior.  Student behavior can impact not only a student's learning but the climate of the class and the ability for other students to learn and for the teacher to attend to the needs of the entire class. 

The images in the graphic above is included in my Rubric Kit so that you can occasionally add some criteria about behavior to your rubrics.   

The Rubric Kit also contains 8 different styles of rubric boxes for a variety of assessment tools.  Some rubrics just have boxes for choosing levels of achievement.  One style has a place for students to write goals.  Others have room for students to write about their work or write about why they chose a particular level of achievement.

Whether you want to use my Rubric Kit or create your own assessments, I hope you found this information useful and though provoking.  I welcome your comments and suggestions about the information and what resources you would find helpful. 

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