Arts Projects For Anyone to create for your entire Wellbeing. !

Arts Projects For Anyone to create for your entire Wellbeing. !
Inspiring art creation for the home, at school, and community. (Above image from the school meadow in bloom)

Saturday, May 22, 2021

2020-2021 Virtual/Hybrid School Year for Art Class

 Wow, 2020 flew by! Spring is finally here! Is it just me or does spring break vanish as quickly as it started? My school went virtual in April 2020, I was so busy and overwhelmed with all of the new information, I haven't have time to post on my blog due to all of the virtual information I was receiving every day. 

 Reflecting back to the 2019-2020 school year, I thought for the most part, it ended as well as it could have. I learned a lot. Since then, I have taken time over the summer to reflect, relax, and take a break from technology. Now I feel recharged and ready for our new virtual school year and more recently, hybrid 2021. My schedule has been good. I see all classes once per week for 45 minutes. My school uses google meet. I have explored and utilized the new programs and extensions for google classroom and look for new ways every day to engage all of my young artists. As our vigorous professional development is on-going, I've gathered some great tips and tricks to kick off your new virtual teaching/ hybrid school year 2021. 

  • Google classroom best extensions- Screencastify, Bitmoji, googlemeet grid view.
  • Bitmoji classroom-  Excellent for engagement and for students to see you inside a classroom space in your slides. 
  • SLSO, what is it?- Smart Learning Suite Online utilizes gaming and activity based learning and interaction. You can customize your own lessons, but it takes a while to make the slides. You use this with the google dashboard or the "waffle". Training is everywhere now.
  • Setting up your google classroom- Don't be afraid to customize your classes and organize your folders in your classes. You can make your assignments under a heading such as "first semester art projects."  
  • Organize your google drive- Did you know you can make folders and drop everything from lessons, to photos, and videos in your drive? Tired of the disorganization? You got this! It will help you and make you feel better. 
  • Ready your lessons- There are so many excellent lessons out there to get you started and you can customize as needed. Record yourself doing demos, so you don't have to keep doing the same demo 100 times or find good videos that assist with this by other art teachers. I've been creating my lessons on a google doc with clickable links, videos, and examples.  I noticed that students don't want to see long presentations, so keep the direct instruction to a minimum. I started my year the same as I always do: refresh or learn the elements and principles of art. I build on those lessons until I get to January. Then I open up the lessons using more elements and principles together with themes- Mandalas, Dragons, Flowers, Sea, Rain, Artists, etc. I have also included lots of process, expressionistic, and social emotional learning (SEL) into my art lessons this year. I have been adapting my lessons to grades in spans of K-2, 3-5th, and 6-8th with a few differences in between. I keep the themes the same. I've also had a chance to do virtual field trips, which the students really enjoy. One in-particular was the cave of Lascaux. The students loved this and we made our own caves too. Here is the lesson link: If you would like to modify- file< make a copy. 
  • Hybrid classroom tips- Teaching both in person students and virtual students can be overwhelming at times. Keep in mind, that you need to clarify your rules and expectations for this newly formed model of teaching. We are all learning this year, so don't be too hard on yourself if you feel a little overwhelmed when something doesn't go exactly the way you planned. A few ideas to keep in mind- have clear goals for the students in-person with materials. You can provide the materials they need and can therefore direct the goals of the lesson surrounding those material choices. For students online, keep their options open. Provide many examples, modifications, and accommodations for them to reach the same goal. Modification and accommodation review- modification could be simplifying the content of the lesson and accommodation could include helpful tools to complete the goals of the lesson. As the art teacher you could also scaffold or tier your lessons to meet all of your student's unique needs. I personally, encourage student's choose the final outcome of their art projects as long as they stick to the goals of the lesson. 
  • Safety- Masks up and socially distance. Any easy way to remind students in-person is to have them count the squares on the floor. Ours happen to be 1ft squares. Give gentle reminders and silent signals to students regarding classroom safety. They are stressed enough and you don't want them feeling upset for art class. Also, make sure you are the one passing and prepping your items. Don't let student's help themselves, or you could unintentionally contaminate your materials. Remember to quarantine and wipe down used supplies or wash them. 
  • Art à la carte- Whether you are in your own art space or stepping into the classroom teacher's room, there are many ways to safely handle materials for art. Preparation ahead of time is key. This means you also have to have your lesson plans ready a week prior so you have enough time to prepare those materials for the grades you need them for. 
    • Prepare general art kits for students in person (if possible). I used recycled plastic bags for this. Student's know to have their art kit ready for art class with the help of the classroom teacher. Clean up is easy when everything goes back in the bag.
    • I also created art kits for hybrid students that don't attend school on days I see their class, so they have the same general materials as the students in person. 
    • I drop off and leave materials in the classrooms that I don't want to carry on my cart- like water cups. Or a bucket of water for classrooms with no working sink.
    • I use gloves and hand sanitizer to pass out materials in the classroom. You could also sanitize/ wash your hands in-between, but this method works for me.
    • Bring extra on your cart because you won't be able to leave and get more. 
    • Bring wipes and hand sanitizer on your cart incase you can't find the classroom teacher's supply.
    • I prepared paper-paint pallets with tempera paint. (about 100) for a painting lesson. You hydrate the colors like watercolor but it is brighter, and easier to mix!
  • Materials- Don't stress if you couldn't get art kits together in time for the school year. Remember, utilize what you and the students have. Make the lessons very accommodating and modify as needed. No color? focus those students on utilizing value and line width. No paint? Try water-based markers and water. Recycled materials are great, and remind parents to get the paper bags for free paper at the store. Additionally, DonorsChoose has been super gracious to all who submit small projects $500 or less. Create a few projects. Go for it. It's easy.    
  • Setting up your teaching space- Whether you are working from home or in a hybrid setting, you must get a second screen! It makes life so much easier. Most people have them from out-dated computers, so ask around. Then you just need the right dongle and VGA or HDMI cord to hook up. 
  • Technology safety- My school has very specific requirements for online sites and applications for student usage. If students have to put in data, then it is a NO go. Always remind students about internet safety and search engine strategies. 
  • Additional Online Applications- My goto for art class! All the google apps especially google draw & presentation slides for digital art making. Jamboard is great for collaboration and sharing ideas. is an open drawing app that is easy to use, teach, and you can download or link your google drive to it. Sketchbook, IBIS paint, and Procreate (not free) are another drawing apps my students use. Mentimeter and Kahoot are both great customizable assessment options and fun. My school uses classdojo for parent-teacher communication. The Philadelphia Art Teachers Alliance (PATA) swears by Artsonia, a digital portfolio space for students and families. They are on FB if you would like to join their group. They also have monthly meetings and lesson/material sharing link- 
  • Self care and mindful practices- With so much screen time, it is super important to have breaks for your eyes and body. Get walks and sun. Make daily and weekly goals for yourself that you will look forward to doing. Don't be afraid to ask for help or seek assistance. You are not alone. 

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Happy Spring Break Week April 6th-10th, 2020!

Even though times are tough right now, remember all of the wonderful things you do have. Try to use this time to reflect and enjoy time with your family.

Also, you could also use this time to SPRING CLEAN!                                          #StaySafe All! 

Friday, April 3, 2020

Virtual Week Pajama Day!

 Happy Friday Everyone! It's Virtual Pajama Day! Have fun and look for all the wonderful colors and patterns pajamas have! Take care!
#WeAreCookWiss #CWVirtualSpiritWeek

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Yesterday 80's Throwback and Today World Autism Awareness Day with a Poem or Talent

I really miss my family. 

Wednesday, April 1st  2020
This is a daily struggle that I am personally dealing with. I have had good moments and not so good moments. My family and I talk often, which helps. This delightful throwback is from 1985. I was two years old. My sister is a newborn.  I hope you are all hanging in there. Keep holding on and be safe all! 

Autism Awareness Day with a Poem or Talent

  Thursday, April 2nd 2020
 On the right I have two photos for today's virtual week! One is myself rocking my indigo Autism Awareness T-Shirt. The other is a poem written to me by a 4th grade student from years ago . I keep it on my refrigerator in a plastic covering. Tori is probably in college now.
The poem is a tad hard to read so I will retype it below.

The Art Festival

In the city way out west
The art festival was the best
There were no bad pests
Pictures of eggs in a bird's nest.

Picasso with his abstract
Blowing my mind away
O'Keeffe won't get last
In a flower contest, anyway.

Carving wood and stone
Sculptures of life
The artist can own
Making things with a knife.

So come to the city
Where we have a ball
You'll learn stuff like me
At the Art Festival!

#WeAreCookWiss #CWVirtualSpiritWeek

Can you Create a poem of your own? 

A 2nd grade student made this for me years ago!
  • Rhymed poetry- Poems which have rhyming patterns. 
  • Free verse- Any style and way work!
  • Narrative poetry- Poetry which describes a story or scenery. 
  • Haiku- A traditional Japanese haiku is a three-line poem with seventeen syllables, written in a 5/7/5 syllable count. Often focusing on images from nature, haiku emphasizes simplicity, intensity, and directness of expression.
  • Acrostic - Choose a topic and for each first letter add a word, phrase, or sentence.

Ms. Kimmel's Haiku...

Art is everywhere.

You can make art every day.

What inspires you?


Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Happy Pet Appreciation Day!

Today is Cook-Wss Virtual Week's Pet Appreciation Day! 

The Picture is of Cyro, my husband, and I. Cyro lives at my parent's house as my mother and I adopted him 12 years ago. When I moved out he was already used to that environment with space, so I didn't take him. Plus, my first apartment was a tiny studio! Now I see him every time I visit my family. It's been a while. I miss them all so much. Be strong and Stay safe everyone!
#WeAreCookWiss #CWVirtualSpiritWeek

If you didn't know, yesterday was Vincent van Gogh's Birthday! 

The Philadelphia Museum of Art sent me a virtual tour link which walks and talks you through some of his amazing art pieces! What a treat! Enjoy! Vincent van Gogh Art Tour !

Art Project!

Every year around this time in April, I have my students study flowers, stems, leaves, and vases. We sketch out our ideas. Then, on large paper we draw our own version of Vincent Van Gogh's Sunflowers. Lastly we paint them and add finishing touches. Below are some examples from last year. 

Monday, March 30, 2020

Fabric and Paper Dyeing Techniques

Hi Everyone! Virtual week day one! Favorite school shirt and/or sunglasses! I chose my new staff school shirt Mr. Lowe bought us at the start of this year. All the staff wore their shirt on the first day of school so the new parents would be able to identify staff for help. It worked wonderfully!

A few weeks later CW had their annual 5K to raise money for the school, exercise, and to welcome the community! We also had music and a tie-dye station! I decided to tie-dye my staff shirt and it came out amazing! I used the Shibori style- Dating back to the 8th century, Shibori is a traditional Japanese manual technique which resists the covered areas of fabric, thus producing a hidden first layer of the fabric once removed. Typically, under color= white and dye color= indigo. Many resist methods can be used- string, wood press, or even rubber bands! The trick is to stop the color from touching those hidden layers. Once you figure that out, you can create many beautiful patterns! I was really interested in this technique in college.

I hope everyone is staying safe. I miss you all.

#WeAreCookWiss #CWVirtualSpiritWeek

Bought this beauty at the Philadelphia Cherry Blossom festival last year 2019 for only $10 and cleaned it. Handmade from Japan in the Shibori style! Look at that incredible detail!

Dye Projects for Home:

1. Create a dye Swatch book for your reference.  

What is a dye swatch book? It's just pieces of paper or fabric that you pin to a board or put in a scrapbook or journal with notes. This way you can refer back to and remember what was used, how much, and what you did. 
  • First you want to collect fabric scrap pieces that you might have or different kinds of paper.
  • Next set up your natural dyes (see below) for you to test pieces with.
  • Keep a good log with the fabric you used, what dye you used and how log it soaked for.
  • This information is useful when creating a final art piece. 

2. Create natural dyes with materials from home. 

Did you know you can mix and create natural dyes with foods, plants, and spices you already have in your home? Simple items like leftover coffee grounds, tea bags, turmeric, and ground parsley can create beautiful colors for you to use to paint with or dye fabric with. 

3. Create your own dyed paper, painting, or fabric piece.

Now that you know the basics lets put all that information together!  (Disclaimer-online images used for dye examples were not my own)
  • Some ideas for fun could include dyeing old clothes to give them a new look (make sure you ask for permission first kiddos!) 
  • Dyeing White or off White Natural Yarn
  • Dyeing an old Bag or Tote
  • Painting on different kinds of papers. 
    • Use the papers for later for collage, gift wrapping, or drawing on!