Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Mini-Field Trip in Beverly Hills

My very first job, as a kid, was wrapping gifts at the local department store during Winter Vacation. That store was called J.W. Robinson and it is no longer in business.

I didn't know it until recently, but the Robinson's home and gardens is open for tours.
It was built in 1911, one of the first of its kind in Beverly Hills, Ca.  Parts of the house are included in the tour, but the main attraction is definitely the garden, or gardens.

A friend and I recently toured the grounds and I thought I would share -- kind of like a mini-field trip for you all:))

This is the guest house, built after some time after the main house.

One of Virginia Robinson's rose gardens overlooks the tennis courts in the background.

This isn't old, I just took it because I have that teapot sitting on my stove and it makes me smile whenever I walk into the kitchen and see it!!

This relief is in one of the patios off of the main house, near the kitchen.

At one time the Robinsons' had monkeys (yes, live ones) housed in these cages. You can see a couple of replicas in there now. There is a story about how they got loose in the neighborhood way back when. . . .

They planted king and queen palm trees. The kings are the  ones with the large clump of brown, frond-like growth. 

This is looking up into a HUGE Morton Fig Tree.

Banyon tree

300 foot Eucalyptus tree

Tennis court with bougainvellea -- this is SO Beverly Hills, although these blossoms are a little past their prime and beginning to fade.

I don't know this guy's name, but he decided to join us for the last part of the tour and when the tour guide got a bit talkative, kitty would plop down on the cool bricks in the shade and wait patiently until we would move on to the next part of the garden.
All in all, it was a lovely California day!!! These were taken about a month ago. Now we are beginning to feel the heat of summer. I walked down to the Farmer's Market this morning to get the first of our Blenheim Royal Apricots. By this week-end, when they are fully ripe I'll be starting my yearly apricot jam fest in the kitchen!! These apricots are only in season for 3 weeks, so you know what I'll be doing for awhile!!!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Art Room Clean-Up Tips

As art teachers we often have very little time to transition between classes, so clean-up the kids can do themselves is a blessing!! This year, whenever we were using paint or glue, I put out a dampened sponge at each table. Even the youngest of students (kindergarten) delighted in using the sponge to help out. The only warning I gave them was, "Please don't dip the sponge in the dirty paint water -- it already has enough water in it!" At the end of the day I would give all the sponges a quick rinse and they were ready to go for next time.

When we were doing collages or anything that involved cut paper, I put a large size Cool Whip-type container in the center of each work area as the "scrap pile." At the end of each class, a volunteer from the table would empty the scrap bowl into our classroom recycle bin while others at the table gave the floor a quick pick up. Now, that was easy clean up!
Hope everyone is enjoying summer vacation!!!!!!!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Summer Fun and Bloglovin'

Here it is, the last day of school before Summer and I am getting ready for the start of school!!  I put up bulletin boards of painted paper flowers that the kindergarteners collaged in mural form to greet kids when school starts in August. We followed the procedure posted here.

The mural was done in sections that looked like this to start with. The bulletin board took 5 sections.

Then I cleaned out the classroom, turned in my keys and came home and signed up for Bloglovin' so I'll be able to follow all my blogger friends when Google Reader ends on July 1. I sure hope I did everything right -- it seems to be working so far and it was pretty easy to do!! You can see the widget on my sidebar.

Happy Summer Everyone!!!!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Lots of Dots and Jasper Johns

Kindergarteners just completed their final work for the year and did a great job, I think!!
We started with a little "Guess the Number" game where the kids had to ask me "yes" or "no" questions like, "Is it greater than 4?" or "Is it less than 6?" until they had eliminated all but the mystery number hidden in my pocket. With some classes I actually removed the pink numbers from the board (they were held up with magnets) as the kids asked their questions, until only the one number was left.

Next we looked at some Jasper Johns' work using numbers. These kids had had some experience with Johns earlier in the year in their regular classrooms.

I had pre-cut the die-cut numbers and marked the back with an "X" to avoid backwards numbers. I modeled how to do a rubbing, although most of these kids had done leaf rubbings earlier in the year. After rubbing they outlined the number with a Sharpie and glued it to the black board background.

Using cake tempera, students painted "blocks of color" filling the white space (this step did not take very long).

The final step was to stamp or print circles/dots in any way they liked. We used donated champagne corks for printing. They were great because one end is like a handle.

The results showed varying degrees of pre-planning!!

This little guy/or girl had quite a sense of symmetry!!

We talked about how we could use this art to talk about math. For example, this first arrangement shows "76" ...

...but if we switch the numerals we have "67."

This, of course, led to the discussion of "What if we used 3 numbers?...or 4 numbers?!!!" As you can imagine, the possibilities for integrating other mathematical skills are endless!!