Part 1: Romare Bearden and Jazz

We just finished a three week Jazz and Art integration unit planned between Ms. B (the music teacher) and I. It was awesome!! The kids loved it, the teachers loved it and I hope you love it too. (4th and 5th graders at Randall were part of this lesson).

In art class, we began by brainstorming about community. IMG_5895Students broke into groups to describe, analyze and interpret five photos I printed out showing communities in different parts of the world. They were told to write down all the describing words they could think of describing the photos. Then they wrote down their thoughts about the photos. We came together as a class to share out what each group wrote down and came up with a class list of what all the photos had in common.

Next class, we listened to Duke Ellington’s Harlem and drew lines that made sense with the tempo of the music. Students then took those lines and interpreted them through body movements. It was a lot of fun to dance our lines and was a great opportunity to let creativity fly. Students partnered up to combine two of their line movement interpretations and perform their merged moves. The class described and interpreted their classmate’s moves through conversation. Students then went back to the medium of drawing to interpret their classmate’s movements back into a line drawing. At the end of class, students had a good understanding of how Romare Bearden was so inspired by music in his visual artwork.

In the meantime, students were learning about call and response in music class with Ms. B and our artist-in-residence musician, Kevin Knapp.

Students listened to Ella Fitzgerald’s rendition of A Tisket, A Tasket and searched out examples of call and response within the song. Over the next two music classes, students had a chance to learn about call and response through drumming and other percussion instruments. Kevin taught us that there is a caller and a responder. When the caller is playing something, we must listen carefully and reflect on what we hear and then respond with something that makes sense. Kevin played some C-Jam Blues on the piano and students would respond through their percussion instruments.

In the third art class, students had their first experience with Romare Bearden and his artwork The Dove. Students had a class discussion on what they notice in this piece of art.

The DoveStudents watched this video by Picturing America and made connections between The Dove and Romare’s love for Jazz. Screen shot 2013-02-21 at 10.48.05 AMThe video talked about the large blocks of color Romare laid down as the background which can also be related to the beat or pulse of a song. Screen shot 2013-02-21 at 10.48.22 AMScreen shot 2013-02-21 at 10.48.39 AMAnd then how Romare showed the tempo or rhythm which is show as pattern in art.

Students broke into groups and discussed how they would show community through their collages and then cut out images they thought they would use for their collages. We didn’t glue this day, just cut out and laid things out to experiment a little.

The next class was all gluing. Students created a background to become the pulse of their collage. We talked about filling up the whole space and craftsmanship and then students just worked for two solid art classes on their collage creations. Then we discussed how to use call and response in creating a group collage. When one person lays something on the collage, the second person needs to look at it, think and reflect on it, and then respond with something that makes sense. What you are missing in the next blog post are the conversations students had through the art process. They were rich with ideas about so many ways to show community, what made sense together, laughter, silliness and some serious subjects. The collages themselves are amazing but their conversations and their experience working collaboratively were not to be missed.

From here on out, it was all hands-on collage creating. See the results in the next post!

Re-Creations at Atwood Art Room with Ms. Walsh!


Class is now being offered with a drop in option.

You can come for one class, two classes or all five. Whatever works for you! $25 for 3 hours of art fun in air conditioning!!

Monday: Magazine and newspaper art (beads, bowls, picture frame, newspaper yarn)

Tuesday: Tshirts (bags, rugs, headbands, bracelets and yarn)

Wednesday: Mixed Media (collage paintings, sculptures, birdhouses)

Thursday: Glass and Metal (vases, hummingbird feeders, metal tooling)

Friday: Plastic (fused lunch bags, fused weavings, yarn and more)

Hey Randall kids, do you miss me already? Want a little bit of summer art with Ms. Walsh to get you through the rest of the summer? Sign up for this class!!

Click on this link to sign up for this class:

July 16-20 (Monday-Friday)   1-4 pm     ages 8-11        cost: $125
Create bowls from magazines, rugs from T-shirts, hummingbird feeders from bottles and more!
Discover new ways to reuse the things around you to make something beautiful.

Use hula hoops to create a beautiful rug..

…or bowl!

Learn how to make all sorts of new things from magazines!

Like bowls or..

(image from FamilyFun)


How about a beautiful hummingbird feeder from a wine bottle?

Or bowls from fabric without sewing?(image from ModPodgeRocks)

We will also learn to fuse discarded plastic bags into a woven mat and lunch bag!

Like this bag from TwoKitties

or a decorative mat for the dinner table.

Learn how to make this and much more when you sign up for ReCreations at the Atwood Art Room!

Plenty of room left!!

Hula Hoop Circle Weaving

I did this project last year with summer school students but it went over better this year than last year. I think I’m making this a summer school tradition. It makes me clean out my closet!!

Love the bright colors in this one.

This student was very patient when he cut his tshirts. The weaving itself is done with such a consistent tension with the result being a nice, flat circle weaving.

This student was the opposite. She started off with a consistent tension in the middle and then as she was weaving, went tighter and tighter. The result is this tshirt bowl perfect for her new kitten to lay in! I love the idea of the circle weavings made into bowls and had never thought of it that way before.

Recycled Art Metals

This is not my project. I was walking through the Doyle Administration the other day and saw these wonderful metal sculptures and I had to share them with you.

Amy Mietzel is the art teacher at Cherokee Middle School. She took recycled metals and her students created these beautiful creatures.

Wisconsin Art Ed Conference Day 1

I love connecting with my art teacher colleagues but I can’t always afford to go to the conference every year. This year, my school generously covered it. I was so excited! I didn’t get to go last year but I went the year before. I had forgotten how much I really got out of this conference every year!

My first session was Digital Storytelling with Tracey Hunter-Doniger who also teachers at UW-Madison. I already understand the value of digital storytelling (mostly because of Tricia Fuglestad) but now I know more about how to do digital storytelling with my students! Last year, Randall earned 10 digital cameras thanks to donors from I am so excited to start digital storytelling with my students but I don’t have memory cards for the cameras yet. Hoping to remedy that situation soon!

I’d also like to make a quick note about my friend, Ms. Granzow, who recently moved from Wisconsin to Alabama to embark on her first full time high school art position. The program doesn’t have much. Read here to find out more and how you can help.

My second session as Mural Making in a School Setting with Cyndee  Kaiser. She is an artist who presented her methods for working with a large number of students to create a mural. She gave me some out of the box ideas. I would love to create banners that hang in the library showing different genres of books or our favorite books. Her banner example was fruits and vegetables in the lunch room. A mural would also go well in the blank wall in the library. Our principal asked me to paint a raccoon (because we are the Randall Raccoons) on a wall last year and I never got that off the ground either. Too many ideas, so little time!

My next session, Recycled T-shirt Fashion, was led by a high school freshman who is passionate about creating her own fashion and upcycling. We made our own bags from t-shirts. This would be a great fundraiser for Student Council!

Super simple. Cut off the sleeves and the neck. Cut an inch off the bottom. Cut slits across the bottom and tie. Done! For more ideas check out Generation T: Beyond Fashion and Generation T: 108 Ways to Transform a Shirt by Megan Nicolay.

My next session was called Pop Art Portraits with Julie Davis from Blick Art Materials. It was a little weird to see her demo in person after watching her demo videos online for so long. We transferred an image to clay using a printed photograph and water soluble marker.

Then we painted directly onto the wet (air-dry) clay using acrylic paint.

The last session was Easy Mosaic Tile with Carol Rokicki. I have always wanted to learn how to do mosaics and it’s so much more simple than I ever thought.

Glue on the pieces..

smoosh the grout in the cracks and clean it off! Now I’m addicted.

We had a little time between the last session and the keynote and went to explore the sculpture walk in downtown Eau Claire. Here are some of my favorites!

After an amazing meal at Obsession Chocolates, it was time for our keynote speaker. Barbara Lawton was Wisconsin’s lieutenant governor from 2003 to 2011. (Side note: I miss her and wish her luck in coming back after we recall Kleefisch when we start recalling Walker on Nov 15). She is known as a strong arts advocate. I enjoyed much of her presentation such as her call to action for art educators to get involved with local politics. School Board (FYI: One position opening on the MMSD BOE soon. Any community members interested in running?) elections as well as County Board elections are VERY important in our new political climate in Wisconsin. We (art teachers) always complain how ‘they’ are taking funding from art education. While it’s a very valid complaint, when do WE step up and take charge? When do WE start to run for office and change things for ourselves? Are we going to resist change or accept change? I was very nervous when she talked about measuring creativity in schools. She argued that measuring creativity would hold the arts on the same level as math and literacy. I’m wondering how much we give up to try to gain the same notoriety as math and literacy. I believe there is way too much testing as it is. Why add more? Last month, my students participated in MAP testing. This took weeks. Now they are starting with WKCE testing, which will take another couple weeks. When do kids learn anymore? When do they create? When do they play? When do they daydream? When do they get the chance to be kids?

“If we aren’t prepared to be wrong, we will never come up with something original.” -Sir Ken Robinson

And I’ll end on that note.

Recycle It! – overview of the 2011 summer school class

I didn’t do a very good job keeping up on blogging this summer. I’m just going to post on post wrapping up all the Recycle It projects from summer school.

Love the tshirt rugs. We created a circle loom out of hula hoops. This worked really well! It was just a little frustrating cutting up all the tshirts. I think by the end, the kids were sick of it. We each cut up about 5 or 6 tshirts per rug.

Next we mod podged tissue paper scraps from the school year onto recycled glass jars to make vases. We also created plastic bag collages.

The recycle planters were a hit as well! Most of us had peas growing by the end of the class.

Paper bag fish.

Tea bag/picture holders

Collagraph printmaking

 Cup and ball game. We used milk cartons, magazine beads and regular beads for this game.

Mini Circle Weaving

Hummingbird feeders from wine bottles (thanks to Concert on the Square)

And creatures.

I must be missing some pictures because we also made quite a few magazine bead jewelry items, photo frames and some other things.  It was a busy class!!