If you like to do collage projects with young students, this post is for you. I just discovered the glue sponge! It is perfect for gluing small pieces of paper. It is much easier and neater than glue bottles and glue sticks, especially for kindergarten and first grade.
To make your own glue sponge, click here. You’ll need a lidded plastic container, sponge, white glue, and a spray bottle of water. It was a great way to use my half-empty glue bottles leftover from last year. We made one glue sponge per table, to be shared by four students.
Kinders collaged origami paper, construction paper and copy paper. They loved it. The papers dried smooth and flat. Nothing fell off!
much less messy than white glue in the bottle
easier than glue sticks
easy to share
easy to store
Just mist with water before closing, and turn sponge occasionally. Tip: don’t saturate with water – these work best when tacky.
Take a look at the kindergarten paper sculpture in this post from Art for 1170. The glue sponge is good for paper sculpture too!
We’ll still use glue sticks for larger pieces of paper, and glue bottles for beads and such. For collage with small pieces of paper, I’m sticking with the glue sponge 🙂
Your school may be using Edmodo.com. But are you? Why would you?
What is Edmodo?
In many ways, Edmodo operates like Facebook for the classroom. You can share photos, video, links and files such as PowerPoints/Keynotes. Teachers can post homework and also take polls. Students can reply, just like on FB. Our classroom teachers use Edmodo everyday in our 1:1 iPad classrooms, and students can log in from home.
Edmodo lets teachers create a digital library of files, so they can be shared again with a new class next year. It is also integrated with Google Drive.
Share Digital Resources with Students Before Class
I like to share digital resources before I begin a new lesson. This lets me
create an anticipatory set
catch up absent students
‘flip’ lesson plans
differentiate lesson plans: perfect for those students want to dig deeper into the project, or view step-by-step at home
Great for Short Art Classes
My class is only 40 minutes long, once a week. I would love to share all my resources in class AND do an art project. I just don’t have a lot of time.
Timely Links to Classroom Lessons
Is the general ed class studying Ancient Egypt or China? Share appropriate art links on Edmodo.
Analyze an Art Work
Post a single artwork, and ask students to analyze it (click here for some good questions to ask your students). They can post their replies; the whole class can see all the replies.
Intuitive (if you are familiar with Facebook)
if you are familiar with FB, Edmodo won’t be hard use. I didn’t go to any training. If your school already has Edmodo, get an account, and ask the general ed teachers for their ‘class codes’.
Connect with Teachers Around the Country (and Around the World)
Edmodo lets you connect with other art teachers from around the country, kind of like ‘friending’ on FB. I am currently linked with only one other art teacher, in far-away Chicago. If you are an elementary school art teacher, please look for me on Edmodo. Rina Vinetz, Solana Santa Fe School. I would love to connect and share the resources I am putting in my library.
One of my goals for this blog is to connect with other art teachers. I’m attending three art ed conferences in Southern California in the next six months. If you plan to attend any of these conferences – please leave a comment! It is nice to meet other art teachers in person.
Ah, the first days of art. It is so neat and clean and organized in the art room….I just had to share some photos before the room reverts to its natural ‘studio’ state. Here are seven photos taken on opening day.
1. Table Colors and Numbered Seats
In the photo above you can see tables organized by color. All the seats are numbered – four seats to a table.
2. Rotating Jobs by Seat Number
Last year I rotated jobs by table. This year I am rotating jobs by seat number.
These boxes fit perfectly on my shelves, and are big enough to hold 12×18 paper and all my supplies for each project.
I have a big shelf unit on wheels. I filled it with these yellow catering boxes from the local Jamba Juice smoothie shop. Three boxes fit perfectly on a shelf. The boxes are large and great for organizing all the supplies. They will be really helpful for organizing prep for our parent volunteers.
(Note: see all that cut wire in the 5th grade prep box? Our parent volunteers just cut 100 3-ft. lengths of it in preparation for our Calder wire sculpture project next week. It all fits in the box with room to spare!).
6. Lesson Plan Organization
Lesson plans go into individual manilla envelopes.
I completely cleaned out all my lesson plan files this year. Each lesson plan (plus samples) is stored in an individual manilla envelope. I turned each envelope ‘landscape’ and labeled each one. Once turned sideways, they fit perfectly in my file cabinet. This makes me SO HAPPY. Imaginary angels sing when I open the file drawers and see all the organized glory.
This is a long post on a topic near and dear to my heart: art room volunteers. We are veryfortunate to have a lot of parent volunteers in our school, including in the art room. Ideally, we will have a parent in every art class.
I’m especially grateful for all the help because I’m a part-time teacher. My motto is ‘delegate, delegate, delegate’. Here’s what volunteers do in our art room.
Art room volunteers can:
set the tables before class (they’d may be willing to come in a few minutes early for this – just ask)
cut paper and templates
wash the bottoms of ceramics
write student name/number on wet clay art
pass out the fired clay
help kids (especially K-2) load the drying rack
empty the drying rack
help set the tables for the next class.
prep for other grades (i.e.not just their child’s grade).
hang students work on bulletin boards in the hallway
be a guest readers (see below)
Our volunteers also cut wire, plaster wrap, and clay.
Volunteers and the art show
Our school is blessed with some dynamic AND RELIABLE parents who are willing to help out with the annual art show. I have an art show chair I really admire and trust. As a result, I have relinquished some control over the show. I select the artwork, but I’ve given up some control for layout and theme. I work in partnership with the art show chair and volunteers and I am pleased to report it has turned out beautifully every year.
Art show volunteers can:
chair art show committee
set up tables and easels
take down the art show
recruit their friends to help
If you exhibit student art in YAM, in local museums, galleries, or even the county fair, you know the paperwork and logistics can be daunting.
Exhibit volunteers can:
fill out the paperwork
package individual artworks
pick up art
Tips to keep volunteers happy and engaged
#1: Keep them busy. Parent volunteers need to feel useful. They want to be helpful. The worst thing is for a parent to show up and you have nothing for them to do. If you don’t need prep help for their child’s class, ask them if they can use the time to prep for another grade (preferably the grade of another of their children).
Model. You need to model what you want done. Trace and cut a template. Make a sample. Show the completed project. You as the art teacher need to take the time to write out instructions. Some art teachers just don’t want to be bothered. But I say go for it! It forces you to plan ahead.
Show them all their children’s artwork. I pull the siblings’ portfolios. I will also pull samples of upcoming projects for all their children’s grades. Parents will be proud of all their children, and have good feelings about your art program as a whole. This really engages the parents.
Ask them to be guest readers: if I am introducing a lesson plan that involves literature, I will ask the parent to read the book to the kids in the art room (I use this time to do more prep). Little kids are especially proud of their parents when they read to the class. More parent engagement!
Thank your volunteers regularly
Thank your parent volunteers every class. Ask the children to say ‘hello’ at the beginning of class, and ‘Thanks’ at the end of class. Write a personal thank you note to each volunteer at the holidays or the end of the year. You could even give a small gift (it could be 1/2 dozen homemade cookies). a personal note is always the best way to say thanks. I also bring bottled water and snacks for the volunteers hanging the art show, and have a thank-you bagel brunch at the end of the school year.
Student volunteers are awesome
I also have 6th grade student volunteers in the art room. They don’t use the paper cutter, but they can do almost everything else if you model it for them. They often already know how to do the projects, and I’ve found they love to help younger students.
Ask the classroom teachers for help signing up volunteers
Let the classroom teachers know that you are interested in parent (and student) volunteers. At our school we sign up volunteers on back to school night (BTSN).
Count on 80% Attendance
Parents won’t be there for every class. Their children get sick or have school plays, they have their own doctor’s appointments, they go on trips. Fine! Any help is better than no help. Every time they help out it is a gift.
Use free online tools to coordinate volunteer jobs
This year I am experimenting with online art show sign ups. I looked at VolunteerSpot and Sign Up Genius. Both have mobile apps. I am leaning towards Sign Up Genius because it syncs with Apple’s iCal calendar system.
The end result….success!
This year I teach 18 classes per week, and have 20 volunteers signed up in the art room so far. Some parents love volunteering in the art room so much they sign up year after year. One mom volunteered a record 9 years in the art room!
With volunteers on board, you don’t just teach art: you manage the art program.