Student Art Show!

Today was the artist's reception for the Elmhurst Art Museum K-8 Art Exhibition.  We had lots of parents and families that came to see the artwork!  Check out these crowds!

I approve of this artwork!  Thanks to Ms. Liang, the art teacher from Bryan, for taking this photo of me.

More of our awesome student art on display.

Above, these are a couple of our star lanterns from 8th grade students.  Below, some more shots of the exhibit artwork.

The art show will be on display between now and April 9th, 2011.  I'm going to put all of our Sandburg artwork into a special display at our "Sandburg at 60" birthday celebration and fine arts exhibition on May 25th.  More on that show coming up soon!

Have a great Spring Break everyone!  See you all in a week!


Plaster Hands

Eighth grade students recently completed a plaster sculpture unit where they used their hands as molds to wrap plaster to form a cast.  They then had to use their plaster cast as part of a sculpture with a theme.  The pose of the hand, paint colors chosen, and additional items added (including the base) all had to tie in to the student's chosen theme. 

The final part of this project was a presentation to the class all about their sculpture.  Each student wrote up an index card with what they were going to say.  These index cards also serve as informational placards when hung next to the student's work in the display cases.

I was sad that I didn't have enough room to put EVERYONE'S work up - they all turned out really nice!  Some students were excited to take their project home right away.  You can see photos of all the individual sculptures on our Artsonia gallery.  I even added artist statements with the information from their index cards on the Artsonia gallery for those students who typed theirs up and saved it for me.

(Yeah, I like the display case photos better without the glare, too.  Unfortunately, not all display cases give me that option...!)


Paper Sculpture

Each quarter, eighth grade sculpture students complete a unit on paper sculpture.  This quarter, we were short on time, so our traditional "star lantern" project has been replaced by an online paper sculpture project.  It's really fun - the site we're using is called Papercritters - and on this site, students get to design their own cube-like character to be printed out and folded into the final form.

Yesterday, we took a look at some other paper creations by Castleforte.  There's a book he's published, called "Papertoy Monsters" with the characters I've featured below.  I was lucky enough to meet the artist at C2E2 this weekend, and he gave me some samples (and a cool poster) of the neat paper monsters they feature.  Look how awesome these are!

This definitely gives me lots of ideas for paper creations of my own!  Can't wait to see what the 8th graders come up with.


My Weekend Trip to the Comic Convention!

Over the weekend, Mr. Leban and I went to the C2E2 comic convention.  I'd never been to one before, and it was super fun.

Uglydolls had a booth there!  I pretty much chased down Ice Bat to get a photo with him.  I was pretty excited.

We saw artist Eric Maruscak drawing a gigantic chalk comic portrait using a grid drawing method.  If you look to his left, you can see that he has a printout of the image he's working on and he's drawn a grid over it to help him sketch out his design on such a large scale.

Here's a large overall view of how much he still has to go!  Phew!  No wonder he's gotten comfortable by taking his shoes off - he's gonna be here a while!

Mr. Leban and Darth Vader shake angry fists in defiance of those who deny the force!

What an adventure!  Did you do anything fun this weekend!


We're in the news!

Sandburg Art is in the local newspaper!  A reporter from the TribLocal Elmhurst came and took photos of our "Crochet Coral Reef" club last week and asked us some questions about the project.  The article first showed up on the internet on the TribLocal Elmhurst website.  There's also a photo gallery of us and our crochet pieces!

Today, Mr. Dahlman chased me down in the hallway to give me a copy of the physical paper, which came out today!  Yippee!


Obama asks for respect for our Nation's teachers.

Have you seen this excellent blog post from the White House?  Notice what's going on in the photo: students showing off their ART PROJECTS!

But the point of the post is that Obama has plans to fix NCLB!  Yayy!  Loud applause all around!  Read about it here:

My favorite quote is this:
“Every day in this country, teachers are doing a heroic job for their kids -- (applause) -- every day.  They’re taking on the problems that follow students into class, come in early to re-write lessons, spending hours after school tutoring students.  I know; my sister is a teacher. In South Korea, teachers are known as “nation builders,” and I think it’s time we treated our teachers with the same level of respect right here in the United States of America.”

...Wisconsin, are you listening?


K-8 Art Exhibition!


The Elmhurst Art Museum is having an art show for students from kindergarten through eighth grade.  All of the elementary and middle schools in our school district will be a part of the show!  Congratulations to the following artists from Sandburg Middle School who will have artwork in the show!:

6th grade artists:
Natalie K.
Alaina B.
Lauren S.
Izzie M.
Ryan C.
7th grade artists:
Matt F.
Francesca C.
Grace A.
Marian S.
Liam F.
Amanda S.
Sam R.  
8th grade artists:
Evan O.
Samantha D.
Emma N.
Kayla C.
Isabella J.
Thor C.
Ginny W.
Caroline K.

Please come and visit the show at the Elmhurst Art Museum from March 22 through April 9th.  A special reception will be held on Friday, March 25th from 3:30 to 5:30 pm. 


Oak Park K-8 Art Show

I went to the Oak Park K-8 show at OPRF High School last night.  It was so cool to see the MASSIVE amounts of artwork on display from all of the schools!  Mr. Leban teaches at Brooks Middle School, so he let me tag along and eat some cookies.

Do you recognize the inspiration for these works of art?  They're Faith Ringgold, just like we do in sixth grade!

I really like these cool iPod-inspired paintings.  They give me ideas for some projects of our own!

The above two photos are from the display case where Mr. Leban's students work is located.  They create their own marble-maze games, make masks, cut out and design miniature model guitars, and even stretch their own canvas onto frames they build themselves!  How fun!

As you can see, the walls are really full!  I couldn't believe how many people showed up!

(I told Mr. Leban to allow me to take a photo as he ponders the artwork.)

Above, you can see just some of the awesome Oak Park K-8 art teachers that work in the district.  They're super friendly, they love what they do, and many of them have become my friends.  It's makes me sad that for many of them, their jobs depend on the referendum passing. Here's information from their district website on what programs will be cut: http://www.op97.org/referendum/Reductions-Information.pdf


Coral Reef Photo Gallery

I've been promising some updated Crochet Coral Reef photos for a while now, so here they are!  This is in the display case across from the main office at Sandburg.

Our "background" is a sandy-colored fleece Mrs. Bensfield found at the fabric store.  Eventually, we can sew pieces onto it permanently and hang out reef anywhere we want!  For now, pieces are placed down and/or pinned to the corkboard behind.

One of our favorite new techniques is to crochet around pipe cleaners to make our coral bendy and defy gravity!  Do you see the tall blue piece above?

These little mushroom-like pieces were made by Mrs. Bensfield.  She's always giving us cool ideas!

Above: Brainy coral, fuzzy coral, and a round ball-shaped piece of coral!


Wow!  What a variety!  We'll also be showing off our crochet skills at our "Sandburg at 60" birthday celbration at the end of May, so be sure to stop by and check out how we've gotten EVEN BETTER!


Oak Park Referendum

Most of you know that my husband is an art teacher in Oak Park.  His school district is trying to pass a referendum next month.  The bad news is that, if it does not pass, all of the art teachers from grades K-8 except for TWO will lose their jobs and there will be NO elementary art education at all.  Can you believe that?  In Oak Park?  Neither can I.

So, on Friday night the art teachers gathered together (they're nice enough to let me hang out with them!) and we made posters to display in community businesses.  The one above is Mr. Leban's, and the other three you see here are mine.  My apologies for the blurry photos - I took them with my cell phone.

Do you know anyone who lives in Oak Park?  Please share your support for the referendum with them, or pass along these other valuable resources: Vote Yes for Oak Park Schools (Facebook) and @referendumyes on Twitter.


There, I fixed it!

Our school was very fortunate to win a Thiems Grant from our education foundation here in Elmhurst last year.  The grant was for pottery wheels!  You've probably read about our visit from Judy Huppert from Ceramics Supply Chicago, which is where we purchased our wheels.  She visits us every quarter and does a demonstration on how to use the wheels.

Now that we're on our third quarter of using the wheels, I started to realize how much the water and wheels has caused wear and tear to the wooden table we were using the wheels on.  So I came up with an idea to fix it!

Mrs. Bensfield was kind enough to donate a box of sticky-back vinyl floor tiles to the art room, and I used them to cover the tabletop where we use the pottery wheels.  Now, when water pools up on the table, it's easily wiped away instead of soaking into the wooden top.  Hooray for free fixes!


Full Funding!

Yayy! Just a couple of days ago Mrs. Bensfield and I discovered that our Crochet Coral Reef project has received full funding on DonorsChoose.org!  We had several generous donors to thank in the end, but the final amount was completed thanks to U.S. Cellular- Bolingbrook Customer Care Center in Bolingbrook, IL.  We raised $389 total!

We're very excited about having full funding, and our sets of new crochet hooks and yarn will complete a collection of supplies already started, thanks to parents, staff, and other special friends who have separately donated supplies to us.

Keep an eye out, as I will be posting update photos soon of the project on display.  We also have plans to set up a demonstration table at our end-of-year art show for visitors to do some crochet work with us.  The end-of-year art show will be in conjunction with our Sandburg 60th birthday celebration this year... more details to come on that soon!

Thanks to all of our supporters!  We're so excited to work on our reef!


a new video!

I just finished making a new video!  I was trying to find a short YouTube clip to show 8th grade prior to using plaster craft that illustrates how it's used.  Unfortunately, I couldn't find anything that fit our needs... so I made my own!  I borrowed a flip video camera from Mrs. Lazzaro and put it on a tripod.  As we made our own plaster hands, we filmed it, and I edited it down into what you see below.  In making this video, I learned how to "speed up" the film so you could see a longer project happen over a short time.

Now, students who use plaster in future classes can see how we did it before they get their hands all dirty!  Seeing the process makes planning your own project a lot easier, because you know what to expect when working with the material.

Hope you enjoyed our video!
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