Unity Days – Collaborative Circle Weavings

Unity Days have quickly become a loved Randall tradition! We have two Unity Days in fall and two in the spring. Unity Days have a dual purpose. One, to get assessments done by pulling students out to complete them throughout the day and two to mix everyone up by grade level and experience lots of different community building activities throughout the day.

This year’s Unity Day in the art room, students were all involved in collaborative circle weavings. Creating art work in circle patterns or mandala designs have long been known in many cultures and religions to bring restorative benefits and meditative qualities to the artist and the observer.

Part of an art show for the Race to Equity Summit through the YMCA, this piece is currently hanging at the NEW Central Madison Library in the beautiful children’s room!

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MMSD Art Standards:

Designs: Describes how different expressive features and principles cause different responses.

Reflecting: Understand that there are various purposes for creating works of visual art.

Interpreting: Understand that different subject matter and ideas communicate meaning.

Understanding: Know that the visual arts have both a history and specific relationship to various cultures.


MMSD Social Emotional Standards:

Emotional Development and Personal Emotions: Students will demonstrate a variety of strategies to calm themselves. Students will practice calming strategies and describe their effect on emotions

Emotional Development and Social Skills:  Students will use language to interact with others and communicate effectively in activities and discussions. Students will describe how words, tone and body language are used to communicate with others positively and negatively. Students will work cooperatively with partner and in small groups. Students will identify and practice strategies for resolving conflicts constructively. Student will work cooperatively and productively in a group to accomplish a set goal.




Super Science Saturday Art Exploration Station

As many of you know, Super Science Saturday is always a big hit in the Madison community. This year, my cooperating Art teacher was approached by some of the organizers and asked if she would be interested in organizing an exploration station that integrated Art into Science. I instead asked if I could organize the project as I want to get as much experience as possible working school events while still a student teacher.

Over the few weeks prior to Super Science Saturday I asked for any student volunteers to join me in the Art room at lunch as I wanted the exploration station to be as student oriented as possible. A small group of 4th grade girls stepped up and joined me for lunch for 3 weeks in a row where we brainstormed ideas, possible activities, and made visuals for our exploration station. As 4th graders had recently been learning about magnets in their science class, we decided to organize a booth integrating magnets and painting, and soon the “Magnetic Masterpieces” Exploration Station was created. With student input, previous knowledge, and a little research of my own we created posters explaining how simple magnets work as well as visuals explaining color theory and color mixing.

They day of Super Science Saturday I was met by my group of volunteers to help get things going and we set up 2 stations for visitors to make “Magnetic Masterpieces.” A piece of thick paper was taped in between 2 tables and another in between 2 chairs and those allowed our Artist/Scientist visitors to create a work of art using only magnets and various pieces of metal to move the paint around the paper and create their masterpiece. Using the high powered magnet on the underside of the paper, visitors were able to move the various metal jewelry, paperclips, bottle caps, screws, hair clips, etc. that were on top of the paper and move those items in and out of the paint to mix colors and create an interesting composition.

While our visitors were creating their “Magnetic Masterpieces” my Wonderful 4th grade helpers, the visiting artists, and I discussed color mixing, basic color theory, composition, and how magnets actually work! Everyone got a little messy, but everyone had a great time and created some really awesome “Magnetic Masterpieces”!

I want to give a special thanks to the 4th grade girls who volunteered to help me on the only Student run Exploration Station! It was the volunteers who pointed out that I am technically still a student 🙂

Youth Art Month South West Regional Art Show

It’s that time of year again! Youth Art Month is celebrated in March and in March is the big student Wisconsin art show at the Capitol. But before the big show at the Capitol, are all the regional shows.

Madison is part of the south west Wisconsin region and our art show starts this weekend! Tomorrow I will go hang Randall student art in the show!!

The show is available to see starting tomorrow (Saturday Feb 18th) until the closing reception on Sunday Feb 26th. The closing reception is noon tp 2pm but you can go see the show whenever Hilldale Mall is open.

What: Youth Art Month South West Regional Art Show

Where: Hilldale Mall

When: Feb 17th to Feb 26th

Congratulations to the following artists!!

Carson Meyer

Ferguson Orr

Hanna O’Brien

Syliva Knauss

Danika St. Maurice

Olivia Boller

Ian Brown

Toby Sibert

Sebastian Brauer

Pa Dao Lor

Hope Judge

Eric Jiang

Katie Ripple

Guest Bloggers – Tshirt Bags

written by Guest Bloggers 4th graders Soren and Anton

For the Franklin, Randall winter dance Soren and Anton, members of the Randall Student Council, made recycled T-shirts into good, quality bags to sell at the Franklin, Randall winter dance. Soren and Anton weren’t the only ones who made the bags; there were other Student Council members and volunteers.

At the dance Soren and Anton got there early and got a table, they set it up in the hallway and put up posters that they made them selves.

They made $32.00 selling bags and used it for teacher appreciation day.

Bags are still available. Proceeds go to the local Domestic Abuse Shelter. Contact me to find out more!

Pinwheels for Peace

First graders created their pinwheels and installed them outside so participants from Open House would be able to see their peaceful ideas as they walked up to school last night.

Pinwheels for Peace was started by “two Art teachers, Ann Ayers and Ellen McMillan, who teach at Monarch High School in Coconut Creek, Florida, as a way for their students to express their feelings about what’s going on in the world and in their lives.  The project was quickly embraced by their students and the entire school community and by millions of art teachers, teachers, parents, children and adults who desire peace in our world.” The first Pinwheels for Peace had 500,000 pinwheels. 2010 had three and a half million pinwheels! Wonder what 2011 will bring?

Gompers first graders were excited to hear that they were participating in an art project that kids from all over the world were doing with them at the same time. I’m excited to share pictures from the 2011 Pinwheels for Peace with them in their next art class. Talk about a personal connection to the world!

We discussed what images we think of when we think of peace. Hearts, peace sign, rainbows were among the top answers. We delved in a bit deeper to the idea of peace and talked about what peace looks like in our classrooms. Friendship, kind words, compliments, helping others were among some of the answers. We talked a lot about specific things first graders can do to spread peace at Gompers. Then we took that conversation and drew those things on our pinwheels. We also created ‘peace hats’ and became ‘peace ambassadors’ for Gompers. The first graders were charged with spreading the peace ALL over Gompers, even to the grown ups and big kids!

Hope you all enjoyed the first grade art installation!

To find out more about Pinwheels for Peace click here.

New Position!

I wanted to inform the Randall and Gompers communities of my new position next year. Don’t worry! I’ll still be at both schools!

I will be teaching art at Randall 70% just like last year. I will be teaching every class. In addition to art, I will be the new Positive Behavior Support (PBS) teacher 20% of the time. This translates to all day Friday and means I will now be at Randall 90% of the time! I am very excited for this new opportunity. I’m not sure exactly what I’ll be doing as the PBS teacher but I know it will involve community building and encouraging positive behaviors at Randall. Especially since I already know all of the students at Randall, this is right up my ally. I get MORE time to be with kids and will have LESS stress in my overall life. (This less stress thing also means I can continue being politically active outside of school during the school year).

I will be teaching at Gompers 10% of the time. This translates to every Tuesday afternoon. I will be teaching all three first grade classes. Gompers will be hiring a new art teacher shortly to teach five classes on Fridays and Mr. Vang will still be teaching all day on Wednesdays. It will be hard having to split a 60% position between three art teachers. It will be really nice for each art teacher to be teaching an entire grade level so the grades aren’t all  mixed up into different art teachers like last year. This is truly a really positive thing for the kids to have one art teacher for each grade level. There are going to be lots of changes at Gompers.

School starts for teachers on Tuesday and students on Thursday. I’m excited to see my students again! This is my third year as a Madison teacher. I’m ready!!! Well, close.