Art Career Rotations

"What type of job can you get in the art related fields?", was a question I posed to my students! The main answers were artist and art teacher! A few students mentioned illustrators but mainly that was it! I was glad that I decided to let my students focus on Art Careers for a week in order to enlighten them about the many jobs that relate to art and creativity while allowing them to learn more about the new centers in our classroom: architecture and technology!

While we started the year off reviewing basic techniques each week starting with drawing then collage and finally painting.  I add techniques, give skill builders and artists' inspirations to add on to these centers through the year! So now I am ready to unlock more centers and instead of taking a week to do each I figured rotations would be a fun way to go and allow my students to learn about ART CAREERS as well! This was done with my 1st - 5th graders!

To start off our lesson, we had a discussion about various art careers to and from there I shared that they all would get a chance to try out 4 Art Careers for the day! They were very excited!  I explained that they would get to explore being an Illustrator, Graphic Designer, Architect and try out the Marketing Business.  I shared a little information about each job then placed a description of the job and title at each table.  The students had about 7-8 minutes at each station and took their work with them when they moved tables! I rung a bell in order to let them know that it was time to rotate!  

By the time the class was over, we reflected on each job and I had students reflect and share which job was their favorite! They had samples to take home with them as well from all stations except the graphic design station!  Some apps allowed them to save their work in which I plan to print at a later time! (I did print a few for the hallway and have pictured them in this blog).

The apps on my ipad that the students explored were Aviary, Faces iMake, WordFoto, Drawing/Painting app and Tactilus.  These are great for the art room and fun to explore!

When it came to supplies! I had sharpies at the Illustrator station, crayons/markers at the Marketing Business station, pencils only at the Architecture station and 5 ipads at the Graphic Designer station!

The students had a blast! They left the class being able to identify a number of art careers and also gained knowledge about the art apps we have on our ipads and how to successfully use the blocks for the architecture station!

I plan to have Open Art Studio next week so students can finish any past work but also have the opportunity to have drawing, collage, painting, technology and the architecture center open! Can't wait to see what they create!

If you are looking to try out this lesson! I uploaded my Art Career table signs that give the title and description of what to do on my Teachers Pay Teachers page for FREE!!!! Here is the link... 

Thank you for checking out this blog post! Please Follow me at Wy_ArtisLife on Twitter and Facebook to see my classroom in action each day!




This year I am implementing the 8 Studio Habits of Mind.  This framework is created by Project Zero, a research group at the Harvard Education department.  Those involved with this study focused on studio thinking and from that came the studio habits of mind. You can review their website for more information on this topic here: and I have all listed on my website that this blog is on under Studio Habits of Mind.

While this framework developed by contributers watching those teach in the arts these habits can be used in other disciplines and helps students gain critical thinking skills that are beneficial to their development and understanding!

The habit that my students are studying this week is Stretch and Explore! To sum it up...this habit focuses on learning to reach beyond one's capacities, explore ideas and thoughts as well as embracing the opportunity to learn from mistakes!  K-5 all participated in this lesson although Kindergarten had choice with their ideas, I limited their medium by placing charcoal pencils, crayons, oil pastels and stamps at 4 tables and let them rotate in order to explore each material.  It was fun to watch some students get new paper for each medium and some used the different mediums on the same paper which created mixed media art!  Can you say teaching moment....on mixed media art!

1st - 5th grade expanded on our Artists' Get Ideas focus from the first week of school while "stretching and exploring" with their art creation because they had drawing, painting and collage centers open!  They enjoyed the freedom to choose their medium and subject for their art piece!  We all read Beautiful Oops by Barney Saltzberg which gave them inspiration to try their best and if they mess up they could turn that mistakes into something beautiful! This book was perfect!   I watched some students tear their paper on purpose or place a mark on their paper to see what they could create from it! I loved that they challenged themselves in that way!

Some students messed up and wanted new paper but I pushed them to keep it and find a way to make it work and problem solve through it! I was proud that some went beyond their capacity and ventured off into new subjects that they typically did not create and tried new things! I love teaching TAB/Choice style with my students because they are truly becoming artists' in their own right and using their own ideas, life, experience, imaginations, etc to create! It is truly beautiful to watch!  Before we start, I typically remind students about where they can get ideas from (surroundings, memories, emotions, nature, life, family, studying artists' styles, etc).  We do this by closing our eyes and reflecting on our practice and what we want to be inspired by for the day.  Some students come prepared with their own personal sketches or notebooks with ideas! It is great to see them thinking about art time outside of school! 

In closing, last week was an amazing week in the art room as students learned about the studio habit: Stretch and Explore! Their art was unique and creative! Check some of their work below!

Have you every used the studio habits? If so, what do you like to do with them?

Thanks for reading! You can also find my students work and blurbs from our class on my twitter @Art_IsLife and FB page Art is Life! Thanks for reading! 

Artists' Get Ideas: Week 2 in the Studio

The first week in the art studio flew by and we have rocked the second week of school!  My 1st through 5th grade artists' are focusing on the big idea of where do artists get their ideas from.  This created an awesome discussion amongst table groups as they chose one person to share out what they discussed.  Responses ranged from their emotions, life and what artists' want to get better their surroundings and nature.  There were so many great responses!

This was a great way for students' to think about where they get their own ideas for their art and gave them a great starting point at coming up with the subject matter for their project, Artist Trading Cards.  The demo consisted of me showing students drawing techniques that I feel are beneficial to review at the start of the year.  We focused on drawing light with pencil (Draw Light Until You Get It Right), coloring spaces in with the wider side of the marker, using color pencils and crayons to blend and create shadows as well as using the sharpies!  I worked on keeping my demo to about 5-8 minutes so all my students could have lots of time to work on their artist trading cards!

We are going to learn/review techniques each week in order to open various centers around the classroom.  This past week was drawing, this coming week is collage/stamping, then we have painting, oil pastels and 3D/Scuplture center with cardboard creations to start.  I will add to each station throughout the year with new media and show more techniques.  This way they continue to add to their skills and by January we should doing more big ideas and TAB (Teaching Artistic Behavior) format for class.  I love sharing various inspirations such as contemporary artists and various ideas to get them thinking!  I love watching students come in with their own ideas, creating what they feel.  When we are done with learning techniques for drawing, collage, painting and oil pastel each class will have the opportunity to trade one or two cards minimum.  Several students' don't want to part with their work yet but when they have a few I know it will be easier and a fun way to share art with others!  I love that some are even taking some blank trading cards home to work on them and bring them back! Definitely made my art teacher heart happy to see how engaged they were with our project!

Choice-Based/TAB has been the best thing for my students! Lots of growth in a multitude of ways! Last years art show got rave reviews as all the pieces were unique in their own way and so many were blown away by the skills and subject matter! That was nice to hear especially since my first year of Choice/TAB was last year and I knew parents and others may be accustomed to certain type of projects but the students are engaged, learning standards and having a great time!  Looking forward to week 3! Stay tuned for more art from my amazing little artists', it only gets better! 

Lastly, you can follow me on Twitter @Wy_ArtisLife to see what is happening in the art studio each day as well as my FB page at Art is Life (WyArtisLife)!

First Week of School: Art Olympics

The first week of school has come and gone!  It was an amazing 5 days of creativity, collaboration and getting to know each other! I am happy I stumbled upon a fellow art teachers idea (Melissa Purtee) of a game that used predetermined materials to get students creating right away while learning procedures of the classroom!

Students learn best by doing so instead of talking the entire class I gave students a quick slide presentation about myself and a video tour of the classroom! Did I mention I love technology! I used Adobe Spark Video to create a video with my voice and pictures of the classroom.  Anyway back to the project, I put my own spin on the idea and made it into Art Olympics.  It flowed well because my fitness teacher and gym teacher were doing their spin on the Olympics so it just worked out perfectly! Some of the prompts were to make a robot, make a head piece, make sunglasses and a few other ideas. They kids did a great job at it! Check out my twitter page @wy_artislife to see several photos of our first week!

Students in 1st - 4th grades were given a various prompts and they had to create a treasure out of lots of "trash"! This was a great way to teach the students how to collaborate as well as use their critical thinking skills to create art out of items that some may feel is just trash!  It was a great time had by all....myself included!

My Kinder friends learned about where artists get ideas and they created art inspired by their lives! This was fun so I could see the drawing ability of these students and access where they are in order to plan lessons to help them grow as artists!

My leaders of the school, 5th grade, worked together in an effort to create the highest marshmallow and toothpick structure! This was a great lesson in teamwork as well as critical thinking!

It was a great first week! Looking forward to many more fun filled weeks with my artists'!