Monthly Archives: July 2018

Creativity at the Core Summer Institute Day 1


In July, I attended a Summer Conference at the County Office of Education. It was a 3-day institute that was all about art education across all arts disciplines as well as the California State Standards and the Create California Campaign.  Teachers, administrators, superintendents, VAPA leads and teaching artists all connected for hands on learning, informational workshops and optional field trips.

We learned about CCSESA’s new professional learning modules and got to experience a few of them. Those modules were developed by County Offices of Education and Arts Partner Organization Leaders.

Day 1 Opened with a welcome from Pauline Crooks, Dr. Paul Gothold, and Dr. Gary Waddell.

We did an opening activity with Steve McCormick from the LaJolla Playhouse. One where we lined up by height, the next lining up by birthday without speaking.

Letty Kraus spoke about the revisions to the California VAPA standards and how they differ from the National Core Arts Standards.

Then we went to morning break out sessions. I chose the STEAM presentation with Amy Bultena from Stanislaus County Office of Education.

We made 3D birds (chosen from photos of CA endangered birds) with Crayola model magic, covered them in feathers, added wire feet, then linked them to a makey-makey and wrote basic code to have them chirp, go to a web page or have a voice speak about the bird.  This was a 2 part session for both morning and afternoon. This lesson aligned with CCSS Language Arts, CCSS Math, NGSS Science and CA Arts Standards. Students read, write, sketch, plan, engineer, sculpt, build, write code, and present their projects. It was a fun information filled workshop.

Amy also shared other Visual Arts Integrated Curriculum Projects that she developed and that Stanislaus COE sells for a small fee. After leafing through her books, I realized that I have been integrating Visual Arts for about as long as I have been teaching. What a great resource for teachers to have lesson plans like this that have been already created with clear instructions, and the standards listed.


We had a lunch session with Mary Rice and Pat Wayne detailing the Create CA project as well a the Arts Education Data Collection Project.

When the afternoon sessions ended, we gathered together for a Plenary Session where we collaborated in small groups to make sculptural faces from planks of wood. After creating, groups came together and discussed ways they could add on to the lesson and each group told a story about the “person” they created.



Plant Plaques



The first grade students were studying plants and flowers so this was a project designed with that in mind. All of my classes did clay this year using Mexal Air Dry Clay made by Laguna Clay Company. Without a kiln, this is a good alternative.

Students were given a blob of clay and then instructed to flatten it and cut a rectangular or square shape to create a flat surface that they could press found objects into or draw onto to create flower images.

Once the plaques were dry, the students used Jazz Gloss Tempera to paint them. I did not seal them but that certainly could and probably should be done to preserve them even further.


Picasso Cardboard Faces



This is a project I have done many, many times over the years. It is super inexpensive as I use scrap cardboard from just about anything you can imagine. Sometimes, the cardboard is from a package insert like the one above left and already has interesting shapes pressed in. Other times it is just a flat scrap.


Typically I do this lesson when I look around the art room and see that I have been gifted copious amounts of cardboard from the librarian and others or I have just unpacked a supply order or I am at the tail end of supplies and realize I need a lesson to fill in the gaps before my order arrives.


Whatever the case, the students always enjoy this lesson as it is fun and colorful and they can make it as elaborate or as simple as they want to.


For this lesson, the students were given pre-cut rectangles of cardboard. If they wanted a different shape, I offered to cut them on the paper cutter. They also had a few trays of assorted scraps of cardboard to get them started. They could cut the cardboard pieces to their liking. Thicker cardboard is more challenging to cut so if students asked me to, I would help them cut. I always tell them to try things first before they ask for help. I have found when given that directive, they often surprise themselves with how capable they are.


They glued the shapes on with white glue and added color with pastels. They completed this lesson in 45 minutes start to finish including a quick PowerPoint about Picasso and cubism.