Wednesday, October 11, 2017

The " Life Cycle of an Apple"... Artist's Style

Third graders are all, once again being SCI-ARTISTS.  But this time instead of experimenting we are being careful observers of the world around us.  In this case we are observing the details of an apple and recording how it changes as we eat it.
Below are some examples of these engaging drawings.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

ISH follows THE DOT in 2nd 3rd and 4th grade

In September we all revisited the book ISH, the continuation of The Dot , by Peter Reynolds.  Its a very empowering book where the boy in the story, Ramon, discovers that his art need not be perfect and that it can be ' ishy' and artistic and wonderful and knowing that frees him to once again enjoy making art. 
I find that harnessing the power of ish is a powerful tool and allows all the students to be willing to attempt making art that they may otherwise be leary of.

Fourth graders did a studio day of painting ishy objects, mannequins,  plastic animals, fruits and veggies or flowers.  Third graders painted small-ish flower still lifes and they are now experimenting with color choices on the copies of the paintings and second graders are completing beautiful large ishy flowers in black paint with oil pastel over them.
 Here are some examples of the processes and ishy  works created in September.

SEcond Graders painting ishy flowers. 

Blending oil pastels on week two of ishy flowers. 

Blending oil pastels on week two of oil pastels. 

Third Grade Hour Artist Garden Explorers

For our first Third Grade Hour rotation, we are being artist explorers.  We discussed what it means to be an explorer.  Here are some highlights of the discussion, some photos and at the bottom a slide show of Mrs. Colfer's Artist Explorers.

 Explorers: •  Look for things, they may not find them but they look.• Are very curious.• Artist explorers try different things or techniques• Are adventurous.

• Look and try and find things.

We started by looking at the ground below us, grass, pebbles, mud.

We made zig-zag books and went out to the garden to explore and draw what we saw. We were like sci-artists looking closely at the world.
A mini-zig zag book. 

Exploring and looking closely.

Drawing the entrance to the garden 
At the end of our exploration evidence of a great deal of looking. 

Thursday, September 21, 2017

4th Graders Upcycle Used CD's and DVD's to Make their Marks

Inspired by the book THE DOT, by Peter Reynolds, fourth graders each made their mark by decorating a used C.D. or DVD.  The challenge was to transform a boring disc in into a work of art without using symbols or recognizable images.
The results on view here are fun and  engaging, each very different and unique. Each up-cycled disc represents one child’s individual  approach to art and collectively, as a whole, they work beautifully together to make a beautiful display,  just like our school community here at Yarmouth Elementary.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Welcome to the Y.E.S. ART STUDIO September 2017

The Y.E.S. Art Studio
Welcome to the Y.E.S. Art Studio.  This is my third year as the art teacher here at Y.E.S. and I am thrilled to be part of this wonderful  community of learners- students and teachers alike.

We will start off the year, as I do every year with a watching of  Peter Reynolds empowering book
The Dot.  It is an inspiring book, in which a young, frustrated artist is 'met just where she is at",without criticism or judgement by her teacher.  The teacher values the very minor efforts of the frustrated artist and encourages her to make her mark and continue to discover her own strengths.
For me as an art teacher, its a reminder for me to meet each student where they are at, and empower them to grow from there. ( see posts that follow)

In addition, I have registered our school to participate in International Dot Day, which is officially on or around September 15th.  This year over 9 million artists around the world used the book The Dot  as inspiration for making their mark.  Its a great way to start out the school year creating community via art  not only by the collaborative displays at our school  but also when we view the art works created by artists around the world; all different, but all inspired by one book and a single dot.

I will periodically update this blog and I will also periodically send home notes from the studio attached to various works of art.   I look forward to making art with your children.   Please  know that you  are always welcome to visit us in the art studio.

Chaké K. Higgison

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Kindness Rocks Rock the 4th Grade

As the school year winds down, 4th graders are paying it forward with kindness rocks. Each 4th grader is painting two rocks with inspirational words, sayings or images. One rock they keep and can do with as they please. The other, they are placing in the garden in front of the school.   On the last week of school each 4th  grader will take a rock, someone else's and then put is somewhere else in the world to be found by, hopefully a stranger.... The seed for this idea came from many places.  Our after care director Samantha told me of a peace garden at a former school where kids painted inspirational rocks and left them.  I have been thinking about random acts of kindness and how kids can create positive culture through making art. I also have been thinking of art as gift... the act of giving of oneself.   This all came together in this project.   Then just as I was introducing to the kids I found on line that there is something called the Kindness Project, similar to what we are doing.
Take a look at the front garden if you can. Below are some examples  of  the lovely rocks  that kids are producing.

A HUGE shout out to the PTO for providing extra funds to purchase amazing paint markers for this end of year project.



Saturday, June 3, 2017

Third Grade Selfies Picasso Style

Third Graders ended the year in the Art Studio  exploring the concept of self portraits with a twist- Picasso Style. Picasso was an artist whose work and contribution to new ways of seeing I revisit year after year. This year we read a book about Picasso’s early years and how those years were not easy for him. We also learned about the style of art he developed called Cubism. In Cubism an artist often sees an object or person from many different sides and incorporates those points of view into the one work of art.  In our Picasso style selfie’s we drew ourselves from profile and head on and then added clues in the work  that revealed things about us. We also used color expressively.
 Years ago, a second grade student came up with this statement. He said, “ Mrs. Higgison, paintings don't give you answers, they give you clues."  It struck me at the time and still does as one of the best definitions of art and so very true and so I will end the year with that quote to you all. These expressive and colorful selfies give us clues about the artist and I hope you enjoy them as much as the kids enjoyed making them.
I am posting a few here to give the flavor of the work. Kids really enjoyed the freedom this lesson allowed and I think its evident in the work.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Painted Paper Weavings by 2nd Graders

Second graders have been hard at work creating painted paper "looms" to weave solid paper strips into place mats in time for Mother's Day. This was a three week lesson that incorporated crayon resist, tempera painting, pattern making, cutting skills, 3-D thinking as we figured out how to weave papers over and under and make our weavings strong.

Paper weaving is a lesson taught earlier in Rowe school and one I revisit with a 'twist' and a challenge. More than one child told me they had trouble doing it in first grade but now they " got it". We discussed how we need to have positive thoughts, patience, practice and perseverance, traits that keep coming into our discussion this year.  They also know that a strong foundation in paper weaving will help them next year when we create straw weavings ( belts, bracelets, and scarves).
Below is a slide show of some of the weavings and a cross-section of students at work from various classes. Enjoy.'

Thursday, March 30, 2017

4th Grade Think Different Design Challenge

Hello. This is my first blog post as Ms. Higgison’s student teacher. My name is Ouda Baxter (Ms. Ouda to the students) and I am currently in the Masters in Art Teaching Program at Maine College of Art. I am very excited to be here, and through the end of April.

In early March I presented a Design Challenge Project to 4th graders utilizing a Mystery Bag, and the idea of Transformation as well as Envisioning play a prominent part in this project. The goal was to envision, to stretch and explore and meet the Design Challenge using a limited number of materials and with a time constraint as well. Questions we asked to get our minds going are: What is a design challenge?  How can artists meet design challenges? Why do artists give themselves design challenges? And What makes a sculpture different from a 3D object?

We discussed the difference between a mass produced factory made dinosaur toy (3D object) and a ceramic handmade sculpture (one of a kind). We also talked about staplers and looked at a couple different models as we thought about the Design Challenges faced by the stapler designers; how easy was it to use, how appealing did it look, was it comfortable to use, how many pages could it staple.
We identified the Problem ( using the objects in each Mystery Bag to create something) . We then set about brainstorming potential creative solutions, with the project being very open ended so that there were literally millions of solutions. My intention with this project is to actively practice stretching concepts, getting young artists to Think Differently, and allowing students to meet the Design Challenge each in his or her own way. The parameters were: One paper bag (optional), 3 long straws, 2 short straws, 1 piece of paper, 1 small paper plate, and 3 pieces of tape, and each student had to Title their project, just as almost every art piece, whether it be a drawing, painting, sculpture, or photograph, has a title. One of the students commented: “I learned how much you can build with 3 pieces of tape!” and another, “I learned how creative I could be.”

The project outcomes were VERY diverse and imaginative. I can see that the students really did that, and some of them really ran with it. The slideshow below, is evidence of how engaged students were and how students thought differently and let their imaginations run wild. The skills practiced in this project are ones that the Y.E.S. Share Team teachers ( Ms. Pachuta, Mrs. Clark, Mrs. Spellman, Mrs. Troy and Mrs. Higgison) are all focusing on this year; Positive Thinking, Patience, Practice and Perseverance.

The slideshow has examples of finished work as well as work in progress.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Please Welcome Ouda Baxter Maine College of Art Student Teacher

Greetings, Families!

I would like to introduce myself. My name is Ouda Baxter and I am in the Masters in Art Teaching program at Maine College of Art and I am student teaching in the Art Studio with Mrs. Higgison as my mentor teacher. I have an undergraduate degree from Bowdoin College in Visual Arts, and have lived all over the world, including Africa, South America, and Europe, with roots in Maine due to my grandparents. It is a privilege and an honor to be learning and teaching alongside Mrs. Higgison and all of the wonderful students at Yarmouth Elementary these past few weeks. I am also really loving March as “Think Different” month, including the art work out in our hallway, the Collaborative Monochromatic Mural Project.
This week, I have been teaching a “Painting to Music” lesson with the 2nd grade, and we are also working in Clay Scranimals with 3rd grade, while the 4th grade finishes MEA testing and has had short art doodle challenges.

In addition I am a practicing artist, primarily a multimedia artist focusing on Sculpture and Installation, as well as Photography, to explore both the natural world and the constructed world. I also paint in watercolor and ink, as well as with gouache and acrylics. I like to make drawing implements with found objects, and make my own inks and dyes with foraged plant materials. 
Feel free to come by and say hi- I would love to meet you! I will be here through the last week in April.
Sincerely, Ouda Baxter ( aka Ms. Ouda)