Thursday, August 23, 2012

Mohaska Farmhouse

Farm-to-table eating is so so so good. Mohaska Farmhouse is one of my favorite spots in Joplin. I love the pizzas, the BLT (OMG the bacon), the fresh bread and pizza crusts and the freshness of all the ingredients. Sometimes they even feature Anderson's ice cream.

This summer I have eaten here several times...and I always find something worthy of a photo. 

Wood fire oven

Have you been to Mohaska yet? What did you think? (Another favorite: Eagle Drive-In)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Early Morning Sunrise Part 2

Sometimes the sun shines through my dining room and illuminates things in my living room. It is a golden rich light that can only be seen for a few minutes each day. Taking photos of cameras....interesting concept.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Early Morning Sunrise Photos

Sometimes you have to get up early to take beautiful photos. Taken on my D5000 with my Lens Baby 2.0.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Promoting Divergent Thinking

QUOTED: Sir Ken Robinson, chair of the UK Government's report on creativity, education and the economy, described research that showed that young people lost their ability to think in "divergent or non-linear ways", a key component of creativity.

Of 1,600 children aged three to five who were tested, 98% showed they could think in divergent ways.

By the time they were aged eight to 10, 32% could think divergently.

When the same test was applied to 13 to 15-year-olds, only 10% could think in this way.

And when the test was used with 200,000 25-year-olds, only 2% could think divergently. . . .

Education is driven by the idea of one answer and this idea of divergent thinking becomes stifled.'

He described creativity as the 'genetic code' of education and said it was essential for the new economic circumstances of the 21st century." signed: (TESS, 25 March 2005) You can see a wonderful TED animation of the entire speech about creativity HERE.  Our superintendant showed the animation at our annual back to school meetings in August.

time machine
Last week, I told you about how I am starting the year off with the 'Time Travel Theme'. When students arrived to the art room, the lighting was dim so that they could walk in and feel the magic of my own time machine sculpture. It has flashing lights, an electric lightening ball and moving parts. I asked my students, what do you think this is? What do you think it does? What do you think it is made from? I explain that it is a sculpture that I created out of things that I found. Once this sinks in, I explain that it is a time machine sculpture that symbolizes the theme for our year in art. We are going to travel back in time to study ancient art and artifacts, things that were made before paint and paper even existed!!

It has sparked some amazing discussions like: 'can people really time travel?' 'does your machine really work?' 'how did you build it?' 'If you could go anywhere in time, when/where would you go?' 'What will life be like in the future?'

I showed the video below as part of my introduction to the unit, just so students could start thinking about moving through time. I also showed a slide show of various ways that time travel has been represented in movies, cartoon, and in books.

The Scientist, the Cat and the Time Machine from matthew snyman on Vimeo.
DISCLAIMER: If you decide to show this video in your classroom, please note that I downloaded the video and made one small EDIT....if you watch the video, you can guess what I cut from it....It is a funny part, but not school appropriate and not relevant to my lesson. ;-)
As part of the slide show of images of time machines, I briefly explain that I read the book The Time Machine by H. G. Wells over the summer after I saw an artist re-create a cover for the classic novel. The design of the time machine on the cover is SO powerful....that tiny ladder, I just love it!

For the lesson, I challenged my students to create  their own time travel device. Their design doesn't have to be limited to a 'machine.' They drew a 'blueprint' on grid paper and then decide if they would rather travel to the future or the past. Students then re-drew their time travel device on a larger sheet of paper and created a scene showing their perspective of the future or the past.

The magnificent thing about this lesson is that it promotes divergent thinking....something that is so important in education. For students to be able to solve a problem creatively and from their own imagination. I've only had about half of my classes so far....I cannot wait to challenge the other half of my students!!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Retro Vacation Photos {Sydney Harbor}

Sydney, Australia was one of the most beautiful cities I have visited. It was clean and new and modern. I loved the Opera House, it was incredible to go inside such a famous structure.

This post pretty much wraps up my Retro Vacation Photo Series. What a fun summer! I am so glad I was able to take some time to dig through my old photos, scan them all in, and remember these amazing trips. 

Remember, its not a good vacation until you feed something out of the palm of your hand.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

A Time Machine

My theme for this year is Art History: Prehistoric through Renaissance. I'm using a lot of visuals from my mentor teacher but I really wanted to put my own spin on things so I am starting the year off by doing a lesson about time travel. To prepare for this lesson, I read H. G. Wells The Time Machine, and I watched the movie The Time Machine...and I just thought about how to incorporate everything all summer long.

Around the 2nd week of summer I decided that in order to incorporate time travel with prehistoric art, it would be necessary to build a time machine sculpture...and challenge my students to design their own machine. Here it is in all its glory...with a LOT of help, and planning over the summer it finally came to life this week. It is really hard to photograph...because of the lighting, most of the special effects and the plasma ball 'flux capacitor' look better in dim lighting...but you can see the basic components....and appreciate something made out of all the junk that can be randomly found in my  basement...with a few lucky things from a friend's farm.

 Actually, this is the sort of thing that can probably only be fully appreciated in person....from a child's perspective....with a little bit of magic. But I thought it was worth sharing here because I've had a few people request to see it.

Next week I will be installing a cave in my classroom....and between now and Christmas, we will study Egyptian, Roman and Greek art.

Flux Capacitor in all its glory.
Shot taken in the dark so you can see the ground effects.
My lesson today went pretty well. I explained that we would be traveling back through time to study art....but I let students design any sort of time machine they could imagine and then place it in an environment either in the future or the past. There was no wrong way to create the fantasy world or the machine, it was up to them to be creative and use their imaginations.

I am really excited for this year!!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Doing whatever I want.

When someone asks me: What have you been doing all summer?

I tell them the TRUTH: Whatever I want.

In the past, I have spent my summers volunteering, teaching, or doing something that fells like fun but its actually work, I just tell myself it is fun so that I am tricked into believing that I had a restful vacation.

I've just had 12 consecutive weeks off.

Every single day I tried to savor the morning the most. During the school year I am out of bed by 5:45, but in the summer I was in bet until at least 7:30, sometimes 8:00. It was marvelous. I must hit another level of R.E.M. between 6:30 and 7:00, that I don't normally even get a chance to experience....I'm going to miss that hard morning sleepy time.

Every single day, I tried to savor the evenings and stayed up past 10. This may not seem super late...but when I have the freedom to watch one more episode of the Tudors on Netflix, instead of turning the T.V. off at 9:30, it feels pretty sweet. Evenings haven't been rushed. I can cook dinner at my leisure, and still have time to relax afterwards. Even if I chose to go to the gym at night, I still had plenty of time to do whatever because I wasn't hurrying to prepare a sack lunch or iron a pair of kakis.

Every single day, I savored my free-time lunch. During the school year, I have a limited amount of time to eat lunch and a strict schedule. I also have a very regulated time frame at which I can use the restroom.  It is very liberating.

Every single day, I tried to enjoy the free afternoons.....I actually fought the urge to take a nap every day. Ha! I met up with friends for an afternoon cupcake+drinks the middle of the day....and I drove to a coffee shop for an iced coffee with free WIFI and blogging. Or I hung out with Martha and we made crafts or sat by a pool somewhere.

 So maybe I did not meet all of these summer goals:

Read 10 books. (only 7)
Grow a Wild Flower garden. (HA! it was too hot to grow anything)
Workout/Zumba 4 times a week. (It was about 2-3 times average)
Ride bikes. (TOOOO HOT!)
Art Walk Dates. (YES! Braved the heat for all of the Joplin art walks and one in K.C.)
Analog Film: Take and Develop. (I haven't been in the dark room a lot...but I do have a few rolls processed)
Paint. Draw. Collage. Art. (Perhaps I could've done a bit more of this, but I did make some cute stuff for Martha's Shop. and I painted my desk)
Bake Bread. (Only one loaf, but I did it!)
Blog + Write. (Done! I spent a lot of time working on my Retro Vacation Series)

And I did a few things I hadn't planned:
Went to the farmer's market for fresh peaches and baked a pie.
Had a fun girl's night out at Glazed.
Went to a blackberry farm and made lots of yummy blackberry desserts.
Crafted something new out of scrabble tiles for Martha's Shop. And framed some lomography photos to sell.
Revisited my hometown firework carnival for the 4th.
Baked the most delicious Almond Joy Cookies ever.
Grew a gorgeous veggie garden. (A lot of my succulents died!)

 This week is a busy one. With the first day meetings yesterday, and open house last night...tonight we have more meetings and an education committee meeting at Spiva...and tomorrow is the first day of school....with art walk on Thursday night. By Friday I will be exhausted!! But at least I am well-rested. And I am excited for the new school year.