Art Inspiration: Heroes vs. Villains – Super Coco


As part of the final assignment in my resent drawing club, I had the students create their own hero or villain. Their characters could have up to 2 powers/abilities; a unique name and they had to indicate if they were either a hero or villain. The students also wanted me to redraw their character, in the comic book style, once they had handed their original in. I needed the original as a reference, I told them and I wanted them to do the work. The variety I received was amazing and it inspired me to create a wide range of characters.

I began with my version of the villain’s leader and in the next few weeks I will post the student’s original character with my version that I gave to them. In the past few weeks I posted the Villains now its time for the Heroes to make an appearance …

Hero 04 – Super Coco

Some students modeled their character after popular comics they are familiar with and this student may have had something specific in mind. I asked her why she drew her character this way and she said it was like she was doing gymnastics. I thought that was a great why to pose her character.

I thought of what kind of pose to place her character in but I did not want it to be a standard pose. I knew that her character had the ability to stretch or elasticity therefore I wanted to show that ability. I decided to draw her character in a standing pose but stretch out her arms and hair into a shape of a heart.

I showed the student his character and she was happy it but she had a question. She asked, “Why is her hair in hearts too?” I said because her entire body, including her hair, has the ability to stretch or has elasticity too. She loved the thought of it and wanted to picture right when I showed it to her. I hope you enjoy the fourth hero character from Heroes VS. Villains – Super Coco.

Friday Two Cents: I Enjoy Mathematics


 

This past week was the first week of my summer vacation, yet instead of going away somewhere or doing some work around the house I decided to improve my teaching knowledge. I decided to take an additional qualification course (AQ) in mathematics for the primary and junior grades. Many people asked my why I would take such a course because I am more of creative person who enjoys art. Other said “YUCH!! I hate math.” or “I was never good at math.” Many people had a negative experience with math in school.

Yet truth be-told, I have always enjoyed math since an early age and it seems to come natural to me. Yet I have discovered that knowing how to do math and teaching it is a lot different. I wanted to increase my knowledge in the subject matter to better help the students understand math and perhaps enjoy it as I have.

What are numbers?

The course has been very eye-opening yet there was one notion that made me pause in refection. As part of the course I read a chapter from a book entitled, ‘Adding It Up: Helping Children Learn Mathematics’. In it you are made to try to understand what are numbers. The professor then posed a question… ‘What statement best captures your understanding of “number”?’ – Number are ideas, nouns, adjectives or something else?
When I was first asked the question my first thought was that numbers were quantitative / measurable units. Yet after the first lecture and reading the chapter I am starting to see that numbers are a lot more that I gave them credit.
Numbers are what we make them to be. They can be apples, cars, money, people or even time. Without the context of what the number is, it is just a digit, a visual image representing something but we are not sure what. When you say 5 what is five? Not until you say five cars does the number have value. I never thought of this concept but it makes sense.
Numbers are ideas, nouns and adjectives. They are all of these and more. It puts into perspective the idea of giving the students equations. The concept of 1+2=3 is good if you are doing high-end mathematics, yet we are talking about students in the primary and junior grades, children from ages 3 – 12 years.
This reminds me of when I took calculus in high school and university. It is all about numbers being part of an equation that needed to be solved. Yet I remember using many similar equations in physics when doing formulas. We knew that each variable represented something (f = force) and we would plug-in numbers to calculate the values. Even back then there was value to the numbers like mass (m) or speed (m/s) yet I never though of that when I would be teaching math.
This has definitely changed my thinking around how I present and instruct math. But it has also helped me to know what I can say to parents about, what people are calling the new way of teaching math. I can help them understand that numbers are ideas, nouns and adjectives. That the numbers are only part of the lesson, that we are helping the students to connect the number to their own life and thereby allow them to carry on this knowledge into their every day life.
This has only been a beginning of my journey to understand and help others understand math. There is a lot more to learn and with time, practice and perseverance I know I can improve my knowledge of how to teach math to the students. Perhaps even change society’s negative preconception on math.

Friday Two Cents: Here’s To The Next Chapter


 

In Canada, this was the last week of school for many students. I have worked in a few schools during the last week of school but never as a teacher of a class. To say it was exhausting would not accurately describe the feeling. Physically yes, I had to do a lot of cleaning and get the room ready for the next teacher for the following year, yet there was a bit more this year.

Perhaps it was because I am the teacher and not the early childhood educator (ECE). There was more responsibility for both programing and duties as a teacher. Duties such as getting the report cards out, doing the final bit of paper work, talking to parents on different issues on top of getting things organized like cleaning toys and preparing supplies. Yet I also think that this coming school year has a big change in store for me.
At the school I usually work in I started as an ECE in the after school program. During my time, I worked hard in school and received my undergrad and bachelors of Education within three years while I worked at the program. At the same time I worked as a supply ECE and recently I finally got onto the occasional teaching list.   A lot of changes over the past five years. Yet this year I decided to leave the after-school program and focus all my efforts on my teaching career. I have been working there for about 10 years and I know the staff very well and consider them friends. And for the first time in a while the future seems less and more clear at the same time.
I decided this course of action some time ago and I know it is the right move for me, however today when I handed in my pass card and key it hit me, this is it. No more after-school, no more drawing club, newsletter, Christmas play, baseball program, no more clubs and programs I began. They are now the responsibility of others. Even some of the students asked me, “If you are going who will teach me baseball?” I said with a smile, “Don’t worry.  There will be another teacher to teach you that.” And as I said it I began to believe it too. Yes I began these programs but they are not mine, they belong to the students who enjoy them and another teacher can come by and do them and improve them.
I think that is what truly made me feel exhausted on the last day of my time there. Knowing that there will be some big changes for me in the coming school year. Yet when I look forward into the fog of uncertainty, a light from a lighthouse beams through the fog reminding me that there is a glimmer of the positive. Yes I am leaving but I am still an occasional teacher and I can go back to that school to supply teach. 
I have heard a recurring theme these past few weeks, “Here’s to the next chapter.” both from the students graduating and from other teachers retiring. This is not an end but the beginning of a new and exciting chapter of their lives.   Yes, this is just a new and exciting chapter in my life too. I have to think positive and just keep “my eye on the ball”, go for my goal. For the future may be uncertain, but it is filled with wondrous possibilities.

 

Here’s To The Next Chapter

 

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Art Inspiration: Heroes vs. Villains – Braidie


As part of the final assignment in my resent drawing club, I had the students create their own hero or villain. Their characters had to have up to 2 powers/abilities; a unique name and they had to indicate if they were either a hero or villain. The students also wanted me to redraw their character, in the comic book style, once they had handed their original in. I needed the original as a reference and I wanted them to do the work. The variety I received was amazing and it inspired me to create a wide range of characters.

I began with my version of the villain’s leader and in the past few weeks I posted the student’s original character, the villains and my version that I gave to them. Now its time for the heroes to make an appearance …

Hero 03 – Braidie

Some students modeled their character after popular comics they are familiar with, yet this student wanted to create something very unique. When I first saw this student’s character I right away thought of a hippie from the 1960’s. Overalls, long braids, sandals/flip-flops and then when you add her abilities are healing others and talking to animals, it just screams tree-hugging hippie.

This is where I started when I created the character. I incorporated all of these elements but I pictured her sitting down so that she can be close to the animals. I also made sure that the braids are long enough to fall around her. I then added a cute little bunny that she is hugging; it seemed appropriate for the character.

I showed the student his character and she was happy it and she also loved the addition of the bunny. I hope you enjoy the third hero character from Heroes VS. Villains – Braidie.

Friday Two Cents: Media Literacy Inquiry


 

This week I had the opportunity to “Captain” a class for the first time in the sense of setting the curriculum for the students, in a kindergarten class, as a teacher. Last week I followed the plans the teacher had laid out but this week I was able to plan for the week. During the first week, I was able to observe the students and I discovered an area they were interested in; superheroes. From this information I was able to create a program to help the students explore this subject while helping them in other subject areas such as media literacy, language and art.

If we are doing heroes, I though why not start with one of the first stories based on a hero. Therefore I started the week by introducing them to a picture book called Hercules. It is based on the Disney movie version. It is about 100 pages so we read only a few pages a day and I had my special bookmark to help us remember where we left off. The students loved this story and every morning they would ask when are we reading the story of Hercules.
artWC

Warm and cool colour art


I then helped them to start thinking of colours as warm and cool with an art project. They would create a sun in the sky, divide the paper by drawing two horizontal and two vertical wavy lines and then colour it with warm and cool colours (the sun warm and the sky cool).
We then explored the world of heroes and villains by using characters they were use to from the media. I told them media are things they see and hear from movies, television, radio, newspaper, magazines and the Internet. We focused on the characters from the Marvel, DC and Disney universes and they came up with a comparison chart of what makes a hero and villain. They came up with words such as good, happy, helpful, smiling and kind for the heroes and bad, evil, scary, fights, steals for the villains. I also asked them if they noticed the colour of the outfits each group wore. They came up with light or bright colours for heroes and dark colours for villains.

Media Anchor Chart

We than had group activities where they would create their own superhero. One day it was a male hero, on the second it was a female. We noticed that there were more male/boy characters then female/girl. I then had them talk amongst themselves to come up with a few female character names. They came up with a few and we wrote them on post-it notes and placed it on the chart.
We also explored the idea of violence in cartoons. I showed them the scene of Charlie Brown trying to kick the football but Lucy moves it at the last-minute and Charlie goes flying. It may look funny but I asked, ‘How to you think Charlie feels?’ I also showed them a scene from Peter Pan when Peter and Wendy meet the mermaids. They said that the mermaids look like the heroes but after they saw the video they said that they were mean for picking on Wendy, pulling her hair and getting her wet while Pan just laughed. Scenes like that may look innocent but I asked how do you think Wendy feels. They said the mermaids were bullying her and Peter should not have laughed. They were very aware and we had a little discussion about it.

The final project for the inquiry was to create their own hero or villain. I gave them a choice of a male or female character outline to create their own character. I reminded them about the colours they should use for their character to make them look like a hero or villain. The results were amazing to see.
We finished the media literacy inquiry with the final project but the students wanted to do more. I told them that I will have the chart up for them and we can use the iPads to help them explore more during the last week of school. We also finished the story of Hercules and as a bonus I would bring in the DVD of Disney’s Hercules for everyone to watch. They were all excited and could not wait for next week.
Next week is the last week of school and the students are engaged and excited to learn more. As a teacher I can’t think of a better compliment they could give me.

 

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Art Inspiration: Heroes vs. Villains – Varcher


As part of the final assignment in my resent drawing club, I had the students create their own hero or villain. Their characters had to have up to 2 powers/abilities; a unique name and they had to indicate if they were either a hero or villain. The students also wanted me to redraw their character, in the comic book style, once they had handed their original in. I needed the original as a reference and I wanted them to do the work. The variety I received was amazing and it inspired me to create a wide range of characters.

I began with my version of the villain’s leader and in the past few weeks I posted the student’s original character, the villains and my version that I gave to them. Now its time for the heroes to make an appearance …

Hero 02 – Varcher

Some students modeled their character after popular comics they are familiar with, yet this student knew what they wanted. This was the first archer character I had seen from any student. I was not sure if he wanted to recreate the Hawk Eye character from The Avengers but he said no he wanted to create something with a bow and arrow.

I started his character similar to an assassin / Robin Hood character. I gave him a large trench coat and his clothes were coloured in an earth tone. His bow was very traditional made of wood or bone. I then finished it off with wavy hair.

I showed the student his character and he was happy with it and he mentioned that it looked very similar to Robin Hood. I asked if that was ok, he said yes that was what he wanted. I hope you enjoy the second hero character from Heroes VS. Villains – Varcher.

Friday Two Cents: To Boldly Go


 

This past week has been a whirlwind of a week to say the least. First off I finally made it onto the Occasional Teaching (OT) roster of a school board. I say finally because after 2 years in university, one year of teacher’s college and 2 years of supplying as an early childhood educator (RECE), I can say that I am working in my chosen career.

First Day as an occasional teacher (OT)

As great as that sounds it is only the beginning. I went in on Monday to the school I usually go to for my first day as a supply teacher. The experience was amazing! I was in a grade 5 class where all of the students basically knew me and I knew about half of them since kindergarten. I then covered a few other classes where I had the same experience.
At the end of the day I received some good news for me. A teacher had gone on sick leave and they asked me if I could cover the class until the end of the school year. I jumped at the chance and the best part  was that it would be in a kindergarten class that I have already worked in as a RECE!!
So the following day I started in the kindergarten class as their teacher until the end of the year.  The experience was a lot different then when I was a RECE. I have been in the several classes as a RECE for several weeks and months at a time, yet being a teacher in a class is totally different. They say the weight of responsibility weighs heavy on those in authority and I can now say from experience, that it does.
Before, I was helping the teacher, something very similar to a “sergeant”. Someone in authority and respected, but subordinate to someone else.   Now as the teacher I am like the officer, the “captain” of the ship. You still have someone to report to, the principal (Admiral), but you chart your own course, steering the ship in a direction towards a destination for learning. The crew (the students) are your responsibility, you must keep them safe and ensure that they benefit for your leadership.
This week of being the “Captain” in the class was amazing. I had the benefit of the programming of the previous teacher and then I threw in my own spin in teaching the material. Next week I bring in my own plan of action, so to speak. This coming week I am the captain of the S.S. Kindergarten. Their on going journey, into a new and exciting world of learning and exploration. To boldly go where we have not gone before.

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