Sunday, December 13, 2009

Time flies!

My apologies to everyone for the amount of time that has passed since my last post! Here we are with a week to go until the Winter Break and I haven't updated this blog in months.

So much has happened in the time in between entries, it's hard to know where to start. I suppose I should just take it all in order and catch you up to date.

October was an incredibly busy month with the Magnolia Centennial. There was the De Zavala Centennial Celebration and rededication of the Lorenzo de Zavala State Historical Marker. Local politicians, HISD school board members, and more addressed a full house crowd. Students performed. The Historical Marker was unveiled. The grand finale was the firing of a cannon on the field in De Zavala Park. Our principal, Ms Rios, did a wonderful job of coordinating this event. Sadly, Dr. Covarrubia of Cage Elementary and Mr. Villarreal of Edison Middle School were unable to attend. Many of you know they were our previous principals and, over the last few years, led us from Acceptable to Exemplary.

Texians on the field

The rededication ceremony was followed a little over a week later by the Magnolia Centennial Parade.

De Zavala's float at the Magnolia Centennial Parade

During October De Zavala art students were busy making papel picado and repousse' aluminum for the Day of the Dead exhibition at Lawndale Art Center. All of the fourth and fifth grade art students had a part in the exhibit. Mr. Reif's second grade Vanguard class made a video that was the centerpiece of our ofrenda. Our students have taken part in this exhibit for the past four years and we always make a good showing.

De Zavala's ofrenda at the Day of the Dead exhibit at Lawndale Art Center

In addition to the student work in the show, I exhibited a retablo entitled "The Five Remembrances".

I gave a papel picado workshop at Lawndale Art Center. It's always a joy to share the things I've learned whether it's with my students at school or with adults. I've been very fortunate to have excellent teachers, Auror Villalobos, the folk arts instructor for St. Joseph MECA back when I was working there, and Carmen Lomas Garza, an extraordinary artist and author originally from Texas.

Papel picado is great for decorating for any occasion. For more information about it check out Carmen Lomas Garza's books Magic Windows and Making Magic Windows.

November was spent learning about origami, symmetry and geometry. We tried out a variety of forms and styles of folding. A favorite of the younger students was Vincent Floderer's crumpling. They created hats using his technique and a single sheet of tissue paper. We wore our hats around the school for the remainder of the day.

Vincent Floderer inspired hat out of tissue paper

The older students learned to fold a pinwheel base and modify it to create a wide range of forms. The centerpieces for the De Zavala Thanksgiving luncheon were folded by De Zavala students using this method.

I was in Dallas during the second week of November for the Texas Art Education Association annual conference. I attended a wide range of workshops and came back with lots of great new ideas for the De Zavala Art Room. I serve as an elected representative for TAEA Region VI. I gave three presentations at the conference, Practical Origami, Math and More, Cut Paper Around the World and iPods in the Art Room. If you are interested in any of them, please let me know and I will be more than happy to share information and ideas with you.

The final weekend before Thanksgiving was the Via Colori Street Painting Festival. This is an annual event that benefits the Center for Hearing and Speech. I've been one of the artists for three years now. My square was dedicated to an artist friend of mine who recently passed away.

My Via Colori square

Several of our students made cut paper designs for the District's Winter Holiday Cards. One of our fifth grade students was a finalist! She received 24 holiday cards with her design printed on them to send to friends and family, a large reproduction of her work and four tickets to the Texans' game on December 31st.

Our Finalist!

We're closing out the year making snowflakes and finishing our Rodeo Art.

I'm looking forward to the Winter Break and time with my family. I'll be working in my studio on some new and exciting art activities for the students of De Zavala.

Snow on the palm

Across from the school

Season's Greetings and Happy Holidays to All!

Monday, September 21, 2009

International Peace Day and Pinwheels for Peace

Pinwheels for Peace was a success! Seventeen classes took part. Over the course of the day we approximately 360 pinwheels in the garden at De Zavala Elementary. A little inadvertent watering and a tiny touch of rain left some of our pinwheels the worse for wear, but otherwise all went well.

In addition to the Pinwheels for Peace, we hung a small portion of our wishes for peace from several small trees.

Adding wishes for peace to one of our Wish Trees.

Taking a break from planting our Pinwheels for Peace

Planting Pinwheels for Peace

Pinwheels in class bouquets before planting.

Here's to wishing for a peaceful future for all of us.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Let me introduce myself

My name is Jean King. I am the art teacher at De Zavala Elementary School. I have taught here since 1998. This is my twelfth year at De Zavala. For the first five years, I taught Multicultual Art to the Vanguard students only. Since 2003 I have been the art teacher for the entire school.

From 1992 until 1998 I was the art teacher at W. C. Cunningham Middle School in Galena Park Independent School District.

I started my career as a visual artist/instructor in 1978 and have taught for a wide variety of organizations, including: Contemporary Arts Museum of Houston, Creative Alternatives (now City Artworks), the Children's Museum, and St. Joseph MECA (now MECA).

I am a working artist. I don't limit myself to one medium, rather I switch from drawing to painting to sculpture and back again. This means that I can share my art experience more fully with my students.

When I am not teaching, making, or reading about art, I enjoy traveling. I have been very fortunate over the past few years and have been able to spend time in Europe and Japan. Everywhere I go, I try to bring my experience back to my classroom.

I am passionate about both art and teaching. I look forward to another enjoyable year of art with your children.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Welcome to the new school year

Welcome back to the art room. School has begun again. It seems such a short time ago that we were saying goodbye for the summer.

I'm sure that this is going to be a wonderful year.

I spent my summer doing a variety of things, but all of them relate to my teaching. I traveled with my husband in Europe. He had to teach. I just traveled. We went to Milan and Venice in Italy, Stavanger, Norway and London, England. I wandered around wondering what I would find that I could use for my classes this year.

While I was in Europe I got the news that my principal, Mr. Javier Villarreal, had been moved to Edison Middle School. This is a promotion for him and he will be able to keep up with our former De Zavalans as they travel on in their education.

Once we returned home I spent a great deal of time online researching and trying out new technology for my art room. There is so much out there it is overwhelming. I'm still processing all that I learned. I'll be filling you in on more of that later. My favorite new social media is Twitter. You can find me there communicating with my PLN (Professional Learning Network).

My new principal was selected towards the end of the summer break. Ms. Lisa Rios is on the ball and definitely going to lead our school in an exciting new year.