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New Semester: New Beginnings – Google Classroom, Artsonia, Sketchbooks

Starting the second semester is in many ways like starting a brand new school year. As I welcome new classes and learn to put names with new faces, I am also establishing a foundation of communication and routines for our next five months together.

Google Classroom

Google Classroom

Google Classroom – The first goal was to get all of my new classes on Google Classroom (GC). All students were enrolled by the end of our first week together. I will continue to use GC to send out assignments and collect finished work. In the art room, students take photos of their artwork at varying stages and post the photos to GC for me to see. Students will also write artist statements to reflect on their work. My students and I have found GC to be super helpful over the past couple of years with the centralized instruction and efficient sharing of resources it offers.

Parents may sign in to receive summaries of our activity. Rather than actually participating in the class, you instead observe what we are doing. For information on just how to do that, visit the Guidelines for Guardians. Please know if you ever have questions about your child’s class, you can always email me at agentili@mursd.org.

Artsonia

Artsonia

Artsonia – By the end of last week, I had created accounts for all 5/6 art students on our online gallery at Artsonia. Those students who have had art before are automatically moved to the new group. If your child already had an account, you need do nothing ( except watch for emails announcing new work has been posted 😀). If your child is taking art for the first time in middle school, watch your email inbox for an announcement about how to approve their account. Click on the link within the email to give permission for your child’s art to be on display. If you are curious about Artsonia, visit our gallery here to see what it’s all about.

Click on the green button once you respond to the link in the email from Artsonia

Click on the green button once you respond to the link in the email from Artsonia

Sketchbooks – Last but not least of the semester start activities is the creation of sketchbooks. As of the end of the day yesterday, every student had created a sketchbook. They will be using them every day for at least five minutes responding to creativity sparks, quick write prompts, as learning logs, or as plan books for projects. Please read about the importance of using sketchbooks in the art room in this post.

Rack of Skectchbooks

Rack of Sketchbooks

Now that we have implemented all the semester start processes, we will be hitting the ground running with projects. First up is the inclusion of paper circuits and LED lights on the sketchbook covers. Stay tuned for future activities right here on this blog!

 

 

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2017 Youth Art Month Artists

It is that time of year once again when we celebrate Art Education with the Youth Art Month Art Exhibit in Boston! Sponsored by the Massachusetts Art Education Association and Sargent Art, the exhibit will display artwork by 900+ Massachusetts students in grades K – 12. Art educators in the Mendon-Upton Regional School District have chosen six pieces each to submit to the exhibit. You can read about the exhibit, the artwork and the artists from all four schools at this link: http://tinyurl.com/MURSDYouthArtMonth

My grades 5 & 6 students whose work has been selected are pictured below. They are (left to right): Laura Piekarski, Sabrina Cassano, Alex Heather, Cameron Giles, Ashlyn Seligman, and Astrid Lee:

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2017 Youth Art Month Artists

The artwork submitted for these students has been executed in a range of mediums, including ceramics, digital art, digital rotoscoping, 3D design and printing, watercolor pencils, and Ebony pencils as follows:

 

Laura Piekarski/Bee and Flower/Ceramics

Laura Piekarski/Bee and Flower/Ceramics

Sabrina Cassano/Cirque de Snow Le/Digital Art

Sabrina Cassano/Cirque de Snow Le/Digital Art

Alex Heather/Self Portrait/Rotoscoped Digital Art

Alex Heather/Self Portrait/Rotoscoped Digital Art

Cameron Giles/Game Pieces/3D Design and Printing

Cameron Giles/Game Pieces/3D Design and Printing

Ashlyn Seligman/Family Portrait/Watercolor Pencil

Ashlyn Seligman/Family Portrait/Watercolor Pencil

Astrid Lee/Shell Sketch/Ebony Pencil

Astrid Lee/Shell Sketch/Ebony Pencil

You can see this fine work and all of the Mendon-Upton artwork at the State transportation Building in Boston from February 13 – March 30. The hours are 9-5 daily (except for Presidents’ Day), Sunday, February 26 and Sunday, March 26 from 12 – 4pm.

Congratulations to all of these talented students!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Welcome to Term Three in the Art Room

Welcome to term three in the art room. All my new classes have watched a welcome Prezi presentation which you can find here.

Click this image to go to the presentation

Click this image to go to the presentation

As you can see, I may have a slight obsession with the Mona Lisa and Mona Lisa parodies. The presentation contains many of them and you can read more about my collection and how this blog got its name here.

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Going home this week is the Welcome Letter to introduce you to the class and explain grading, plans, and goals for this school year. It is also posted below. I look forward to spending the next several months with my new students – don’t hesitate to be in touch!

Welcome to 5/6 Miscoe Art with Mrs. Gentili!

I am excited to welcome your child into the art room for terms 3 and 4 of the 2016/2017 school year. I was thrilled to spend some of last summer at the ISTE 2016 Technology in Education conference in Denver, where I learned a lot about MakerSpaces. I also participated in a course through the Harvard Graduate School of Education called Thinking and Learning in the Maker Centered Classroom. Given that artists are some of the original Makers, I am taking these experiences into the classroom with project based learning, technology integration, and a STEAM focus along with traditional art-making methods and concepts. Our first project will be to make artist journals/ sketchbooks, so there is no need to purchase one for your child.

Assessment and grading will be based on the 8 Studio Habits of Mind as follows:

  1. Develop Craft: Learning to use tools, materials, artistic conventions; and learning to care for tools, materials, and space.
  2. Engage & Persist: Learning to embrace problems of relevance within the art world and/or of personal importance, to develop focus conducive to working and persevering at tasks.
  3. Envision: Learning to picture mentally what cannot be directly observed, and imagine possible next steps in making a piece.
  4. Express: Learning to create works that convey an idea, a feeling, or a personal meaning.
  5. Observe: Learning to attend to visual contexts more closely than ordinary “looking” requires, and thereby to see things that otherwise might not be seen.
  6. Reflect: Learning to think and talk with others about an aspect of one’s work or working process, and learning to judge one’s own work and working process and the work of others.
  7. Stretch & Explore: Learning to reach beyond one’s capacities, to explore playfully without a preconceived plan, and to embrace the opportunity to learn from mistakes.
  8. Understand (Arts) Community: Learning to interact as an artist with other artists (i.e., in classrooms, in local arts organizations, and across the art field) and within the broader society.

            – Studio Habits of Mind from Studio Thinking: The Real Benefits of Visual Arts Education, Hetland, Winner, et al,         Teachers College Press, 2007.

Your child is invited to join Art Club on Wednesdays from 2:45 – 3:45, which runs independent of Enrichment classes. See me for a registration form for Art Club. On Tuesdays during the final session of Enrichment, I will be teaching a clay class after school. Keep your eye open for Enrichment postings in March.

We will be using the following websites and apps in the art room. Please make sure they are downloaded, enabled, and not blocked: Google Classroom, Artsonia.com, Sketchbook Express, 123D design, and Morphi. As we use additional apps I will email you to let you know.

Please identify me (agentili@mursd.org) as “not junk/ not spam” in your email settings. Soon you will receive and email from Artsonia.com – please mark that as “not junk” as well.

To stay up-to-date with what is going on in the 5/6 Art room, see my blog at monalisaliveshere.me, follow my Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/MonaLisaLiveshere, and my Instagram account at @MonaLisaLivesHere.

Thanks for reading this! Email any time with questions.

Mona Schoolbus

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Clay Projects Going Home Today & Tomorrow

Just a heads up that student clay pieces are being sent home today and tomorrow. Why a heads up? They are super fragile and have a long journey home! The clay pieces have been wrapped in newsprint and exit the art room door that way. I can’t vouch for their safety beyond that moment (sorry).

Sometimes small parts like appendages or eye balls fall off in transit. Sometimes they fall off between the bisque firing and the glaze firing. My experience has taught me that more times than not, if we glue the parts back on here, they will break again in transit – perhaps in the bottom of a back pack. Anyway – all is not lost. I recommend the following glue for these repairs:

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Here is just a sampling of the many terrific clay pieces. Fifth graders created Personified or Animified (we made that word up) Pinch Pots. Sixth graders made Coil Clay Creatures. They all came out great! Those who missed the initial clay building class because of an instrument lesson or illness painted bisque tiles instead so they would have a chance to at least experience the glazing process. If your child’s clay piece doesn’t come home it is because I am saving it with the hope of putting it in the art show. It will be returned after the show, which is on April 11. They all came out great, and I wish I could save them all, but we don’t have the space. Here is the gallery – I hope you enjoy them:

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Shell Sketches Are Up On Artsonia

Last week while the snow fell and the cold air swirled around outside, we sketched shells using Ebony pencils, kneaded erasers, and blending stomps. Looking Closely is the first step in wondering how things work and why they are the way they are. In the art classroom, drawing from observation is a quiet, focused activity, made even more engaging with our new studio lighting.

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Students have uploaded their shell drawings to Artsonia and they can be found here. Go ahead, have a look. They came out pretty well and they make you think of summer.

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Connor J

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Angelina D.

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Sabrina C.

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Phoebe B.

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A Tribute to Colleague Liz Wernig

Liz Wernig was the kind of colleague who asked nothing from you, but was always willing to help you in any way she could. She was quiet, she was kind, and she was very good with technology and teaching others how to use it effectively.

I asked for her help in my early days with 3D printing, before I found a way to design for 3D printing using iPads. In January 2014, I asked if I could bring the MiscoeMakerCrew (student group) to her tech lab after school to work with some web-based software (Tinkercad). Not only did she agree, she stayed with us, learning the program herself and helping the kids navigate the controls and manipulate models.

Later that spring we were invited to share our explorations at the Burlington 1:1 Summit. Liz had become a regular member of our group and with her help, we prepared our display materials and rehearsed student presentations. Liz and I drove up to Burlington together while the students rode with parent chaperones. We stayed on, touring classrooms and other displays, after the kids left for the return trip home. When Liz and I eventually left for the day, she suggested we stop for an ice cream – it’s no surprise I was happy to oblige ☺️ The photos below are from our day together in Burlington.

And then Liz got sick again. Early in the fall of 2014, Liz told me she had been diagnosed with returning cancer and would be taking some time off. She has worked so hard to beat it for the two and a half years since. She taught when she could and although the treatments had messed up her feet so she struggled with walking, Liz never showed her discomfort around the students. She was still engaged in teaching and sharing her tremendous knowledge of her subject area, creating interesting projects for her students to learn through. Even though she was not well, she would always help me (and others), finding a spare flash drive, or blank dvd to give me when I forgot to bring one from home. She was always there for me.

I visited her at home when the timing was right between treatments. We strolled around her gardens and fairy village, or sipped wine in her “woman cave”. And speaking of wine, as I left one time she gave me a bottle of wine that she had received, because it had a peacock on the label and she knew we had peacocks at home. She was always thoughtful.

She grew animated when talking about her family. She adored her grandchildren and was so incredibly proud of their athletic feats and other accomplishments. She loved her children and the time they spent together. When her daughter Holly married in Boston one New Year’s Eve, it was her single-most focus for the entire winter, whether planning or reveling in the memories (this after an autumn focused on The Best Halloween Party EVER). And her husband, Jimmy, with whom she feigned frustration and annoyance at his projects and ideas, she truly admired for his handiwork and cleverness. The mention of his name always brought a big smile to her face along with another story to tell.

My wish for Liz’s family is for peace in knowing Liz’s pain is over. No longer will she suffer in quiet dignity. She is walking on clouds right now, alongside her daughter Alyssa, probably raising hell while the wine flows.

She was fun. She was smart. She was a love. She was a good friend. She will be missed. Rest in Peace Liz – Godspeed – until we meet again.

At the Burlington 1:1 Summit 2014

At the Burlington 1:1 Summit 2014

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Leaving for the Burlington 1:1 Summit 2014

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D is for December/D is for Digital Art

In the 5/6 art room we’ve had a great week or so learning to create digital art on iPads. During a frenetic time in the world outside the room, this focused work has been cozy, calming, and generally pretty quiet. After introductory tutorials in person and provided as a reference in Google Classroom, the students have been engrossed in their work, taking breaks to ask questions or help each other solve problems.

Cozy, quiet, digital art making...by elves?

Cozy, quiet, digital art making…by elves?

“After a period of intense concentration, working with materials that fully engage their interest, children appear to be refreshed and contented. Through continued concentrated work of their own choice, children grow in inner discipline and peace.” – Maria Montessori (The Absorbent Mind, 1949)

Fifth grade students practiced digital art making by creating a singular digital snowperson using Sketchbook Express App by Autodesk (free) through exploring the tool palette, flood fill, templates, opacity, and radius. The tutorial is here.

Avery G.

Avery G.

Once the practice drawing was submitted to Google Classroom, students were given complete freedom of choice as to a snow scene they would create. The only criteria: include at least three snow creatures and some surroundings that indicate space. here are some examples of the work, which is now up on Artsonia.

Sixth grade students have been engaged in Rotoscoping with iPads to create self-portraits. While it may seem simple to trace over a photo, there are many tools and concepts to practice and learn when working with digital art. I believe this practice leads to better observation and eventually better execution of similar projects with traditional media. Working with layers, opacity sliders, color pickers and the various tools in Sketchbook Express App by Autodesk (free) prepares young artists for working in programs like Photoshop or Illustrator when they get older. The tutorial is here. These works are in the Rotoscoped Selfies gallery on Artsonia.

When finished with their self-portrait, students have been choosing “Someone I Admire”, taking a screen shot of a photo of a celebrity and using it for a digital portrait. This has provided an opportunity to talk about appropriation in art, although most images students have encountered do not have the photographer’s name included. Here are some of the entries in the “Person I Admire” gallery on Artsonia:

When we return from the holiday break we will be using our new studio lighting (more on that later) to do some close looking at objects and drawing them from observation. Until then – Happy Holidays to you and yours and remember: Styli Make Great Stocking Stuffers

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