Butterfly Life Cycle Mobile

Who doesn't love the life cycle of butterflies? They are a great topic to study in elementary, and always have seemed so magical to me. As my first graders have been wrapping up the year, everything has been all about life cycles. So, we made mobiles. We started out talking about Henri Matisse and his wonderful use of color, and applied what we leanred to the mobiles. Each student colored all 4 stages front and back, cut them out, designed the spiral and cut it out, and assembled them. There is something wonderful to me in the spiral, spinning idea of the mobile. Their art is about life, and so we made mobile art. I'll be honest though, after making almost 90 of these things, we were all ready to move on. :)

This is a great shot of the mural in the background:

Butterfly mural

So this was one of those happy accidents. Well, actually it wasn't an accident, but I had no idea that it would turn out as well as it did. My first graders were finishing up their butterfly life cycle mobiles and I needed a "fast finisher". So, I found a simple drawing of a butterfly and used an old fashioned grid to draw an enlarged version of it it at about 1000%. So, I told my students that the papers that they were puzzle pieces and they would not know what the puzzle was until we put them all together. They were so excited! I think group projects are always a really good way to teach how your efforts don't just affect you, but those around you. Here is the finished piece. Beautiful, huh? Each piece is an 8 1/2x11" page.


A year of gratitude

The school year is not quite up yet, but as I have looked at my calender today, I realized that I will only be teaching-teaching for another 5 weeks of school. I say teaching-teaching because there are another 2 weeks after that, but the last week of school there will be no art classes and the week before that, I will spend with my classes making portfolios and passing back work. If we have extra time, I would like to spend it talking about their artwork and giving them a chance to share their favorite piece with the class. So, I guess teaching-teaching means days that we will be making art.

This has been a wonderful year for me for so many reasons. I have truly loved this job. Everything about it. The students, the faculty and staff, the school, my schedule, subject matter, everything. I have learned so much about myself and what it feels like to be happy in what you do. Quite the contrast to my old job. I loved the people and environment at my old job, and was well compensated, but it didn't matter. I hated what I did. SO, I am extremely grateful for the last year because of that.

On a more serious note, I will not be returning to Edgemont next year. It was one of the most difficult decisions I have ever made. Not difficult because I couldn't decide what to do, but difficult to actually go through the motions of making the decision and making everything final. It's hard to explain. I feel like I am leaving a piece of who I am at this school. It is not being taken from me, but I have given it to them.

The timing of this job could not have been more perfect. We had good benefits and pay while I had a baby. I am going to have this summer off to spend time with Lynlee. And just when we had decided to not return next year, I found out that with budget cuts and other priorities in mind, the superintendent of Provo School District has decided not to continue subsidizing the program that makes my current position available. I am devastated for my school (especially because if I had decided to stay, there may have been continued funding, as the super didn't want to cut someone's job....ahhhg....wish I never knew that), but I know that they will be alright. I feel confident that I have left them with a good start for a strong program and hopefully the momentum then need to keep going without an art teacher.

I am, and always will be, so grateful that I was able to have this experience at this time in my life.

Coat of Arms

My substitute started this lesson with the 3rd grade classes while I was gone and I finished it up after I got back.
She first taught them a lesson about color where each student made a color wheel and then learned about different color schemes: triadic, complementary, warm/cool colors and monochromatic. Next each student needed to come up with 5 symbols that represented things about themselves they wanted to share. They drew their symbols on the coat of arms template and then chose one color scheme to paint their coat of arms. This is just another great example of how color is so powerful!

Paper Mache Animals

I was very excited about this project before I had my baby and was able to start it with my kindergarten classes right before I left. (This is where I got the idea.) I was delighted to come back to school and see them all finished!

They spent a lot of time in their classroom learning about animals native to Utah. They talked about what kind of habitats they have and then made this great poster/mural to go behind all the animals and put them into their habitats.
Another thing that I love about this teacher is she always incorporates writing into their projects somehow. She let the students write the names of the animals for the label cards.

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