Friday, December 21, 2012

Holiday Greetings from the DZ Art Room

Wow! The holiday season is right here. It's amazing to realize Hanukkah is already over and Christmas will be this coming Tuesday. Whatever holiday you celebrate, I'm sending you the best of wishes for your holidays and the coming New Year!

Sometimes the holidays can be stressful with children underfoot. My children are all grown, but I remember needing a welcome break during the school holidays. Check out the art activities for families at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston. They even have Art at Home activities available for download.

Hands on Houston at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft on January 5th is all about making mini accordion books. This activity is free and guaranteed to be fun.

The Houston Museum of Natural Science is a family favorite with my grandkids. I particularly love the Cockrell Butterfly Center.

Your students will be coming back to school to a truly joyous time in the art room! The kiln is finally in and fully functional. You can look forward to clay bowls and more!

We should have some student-made bowls ready for the Houston Food Bank's Empty Bowls in May. This event benefits the Houston Food Bank. It's a great way to do community service work.

The Clay and Crafts Club making polymer clay beads.

I'm looking forward to the Spring Semester with lots of great artwork to come. Until then, Happy Holidays, Season's Greetings and Happy New Year. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Time Flies When You're Having Fun!

It has been a while since I posted. I hate when time gets away from me, but here we are.

Dias de los Muertos was almost a month ago. All of the fourth and fifth grade students' work was displayed at Lawndale Art Center. Our exhibit was beautiful!

I am currently inputting all of the fourth and fifth grade students' names into Artsonia. If you haven't received a permission slip for Artsonia yet you'll be receiving one before the Winter Holidays. If you received one, but  misplaced it, don't worry. I'll be sending out permission forms to everyone who hasn't returned one.

Currently the Pre-K through First Grade students are working on creating a book. We read two books by Eric Carle, The Very Hungry Caterpillar and The Mixed Up Chameleon. You can watch a video of Eric Carle talking about the Very Hungry Caterpillar or let him read the book to you. We are going to create a book in each of the classes, so keep your eyes and ears open for news.

Second and Third Graders will be drawing self-portraits and painting them over the next couple of weeks. We'll be using mirrors to draw our self-portraits. Once the drawings are finished we'll be using watercolor to paint them and black marker to for definition.

Fourth and Fifth Graders will be working on contour drawing. We'll be drawing familiar objects, so our first drawing will be one of our shoes. We'll use contour drawing to create our Rodeo Art this year. Students will be drawing a still life of boots and other Western gear.

The kiln is up and working! If you click on the word kiln you'll be able to see a kiln like ours. We are looking forward to creating lots of awesome clay artworks.

Please contact me, Jean King, if you have any questions about what we are doing in the DZ Art Room. My planning and conference time is 7:45 to 8:30 Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Days full of art and more

Time is flying past!

We're already half way through the first grading period. Lately, as I work on creating lessons involving collage, assemblage, mosaics I notice mosaics everywhere I go!

In the garden of the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft

Works in progress in Smither Park on Munger Street near the Orange Show

In Austin on the bridge near the intersection of Wilson and El Paso.

I thought I would share with you some of what is going on in the DZ Art Room.

Currently the Pre-K and Kinder students have been going over shapes in anticipation of creating portraits and self-portraits.

With the Pre-K through second grade we've learned about Frida Kahlo, the most famous female Mexican artist, and her husband, the great muralist, Diego Rivera. We've even taken a virtual tour of Casa Azul, her home in Coyoacan, which is now the Frida Kahlo Museum.

The third grade are learning about Monarch butterflies and their incredible migration from Canada down to the Oyamel fir forests in Central Mexico. We'll be taking part in the Journey North Symbolic Monarch Migration over the next two weeks.

The fourth and fifth grade have been learning about Los Dias de los Muertos. We've compared and contrasted this celebration and Halloween. Over the next two weeks we're working on repujado arte for our installation at Lawndale Art Center.

I've created a test to help me understand what my students know and what they need to learn. Students' artwork will be kept together in portfolios for the school year. They'll be bringing their work home at the end of school in June.

This next week on Wednesday will be the first meeting of the Vanguard Art and Craft Club.

Week before last I was in Austin, Texas for three days taking part in the Texas Education Agency's Fine Arts Texas Essential Knowledge Skills review committee. It was an honor to be a part of this committee. It was also a learning experience. I now understand more than ever before about the structure of the visual arts in Texas education. I believe that the input of myself and my fellow art teachers will serve to keep the arts up to date until the next review.

This weekend I went all over town looking for materials to use in the DZ Art Room. There was a giant garage sale at the Orange Show warehouse, the monthly teacher sale at The Center for Recycled Art, and the AIA (American Institute of Architects) Houston COTE (Committee on the Environment) material give away. It was wonderful! My car is loaded so full that I can barely see out. I can't wait for the students to have the opportunity to use all these new and challenging supplies. I got plastic bottle tops to use in a collage/mosaic. There are a variety of materials to use for future mosaics including Mardi Gras beads and ceramic tile.

A kiln is an oven for cooking clay. Our kiln is completely installed and only awaits a test firing so that we can get started on working in clay. Keep your eyes and ears open for news of our newest creations.

If you see me racing around after school it's because I'm heading for a meeting, either the SDMC or the Effective Teacher Initiative, or the Texas Art Education Association, or to teach or take a class at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, the Glassell School or Lawndale Art Center, or perhaps to an opening, exhibit, or lecture at one of our local art venues.

If you are looking for fun, free activities on the weekend, check out the Hands on Houston sessions at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft on the first Saturday of each month from 11:00 to 3:00. On October 6 there will be silk painting. November 3 will be the Hands-On Family Festival, also from 11:00 to 3:00. This will overlap the Day of the Dead Family Fiesta across the street at Lawndale Art Center where you can watch Ballet Folkorico, cut papel picado, and make a sugar skull while you look at art work by students from De Zavala and other schools. I hope I see you all at one of these fun events.

I started taking a conversational Spanish class on Tuesday afternoons. I look forward to being able to better communicate with my Spanish speaking students and their families. I hope to see all of you soon. I can be found in the front lobby of the school from 7:30 to 7:45 AM. Please stop and say hello to me in Spanish if you get the chance. I need all the practice I can get. I hope to see you there!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Post Open House

To those parents who came by on Open House night at DZ, it was great to meet you and talk to you even if for only a moment.

For those I didn't have the opportunity to meet that night, I know that many of you have more than one child enrolled in DZ and your time to meet teachers was limited.

I've met many of you in the past at other Open House nights or Family Art Nights. This is the beginning of my fifteenth year at DZ. Over the years you may have seen me on morning duty in front of DZ or in the front lobby. Or you may know me from afternoon duty opening the gate at the pavilion last year.

This year you can find me before school in the front lobby and after school in the cafeteria helping watch over the bus riders. My conference/ planning time is from 7:45 to 8:30 AM.

I hope to meet each and every one of you! If you have any questions about your student and art, please feel free to contact me through the school or email me at

Here's to a great school year!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

It's a whole new school year

Dear Parents,

My name is Jean King and I am the art teacher at De Zavala Elementary. I want to welcome you all to the 2012-13 school year in the art room. If your student is returning to De Zavala, I want to welcome you back. If your student is new to De Zavala, I'm delighted to make you and your student's acquaintance.

We're beginning a new school year with exciting news!

The ceramics kiln, the oven used to cook clay, has been installed and is connected. There is one final step, a test firing, to make sure that the kiln is operating properly. We'll be working in clay very soon!

I spent a month this summer in Barcelona, Spain studying the works of Antoni Gaudí, Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró, and Salvador Dalí. I've brought back many new ideas for the art room. I think you will enjoy what you see.

I'll be keeping you up to date in multiple ways. You can follow along on our class blog at In addition, if you are on Twitter, you can follow our tweets by following @DZArtRoom.

If you would like to meet with me, please call the school and leave me a message at 713-724-1888. I'm available to meet with you during my planning time which is from 7:45 to 8:30 AM.

Remember you can stop by the art room in addition to your student's home room whenever we have a Parent Involvement time at school.

Watch for more news from the art room soon!

Artistically yours,

Jean King

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

It's that time again!

Summer vacation for teachers is coming to a close, and what a summer vacation it's been!

This last spring I won my third Fund for Teachers grant. This time I spent a month in Barcelona, the Capitol of Catalonia in Spain. I went to study the work of the architect Antoni Gaudí and artists Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró, and Salvador Dalí. Specifically, I was looking at their ceramic and mosaic work in anticipation of the 2012-2013 school year. It was an incredible experience.

I traveled to the Pilar i Joan Miró Fundacio and La Seu, the cathedral in Palma de Mallorca, Montserrat, the Salvador Dalí Theatre and Museum in Figueres, the Salvador Dalí House in Port Lligat, Cadaqués, Reus and Girona in my search for material and inspiration for this year's classes. I definitely found what I was looking for.

Our theme for this year is going to be mosaics. We'll be looking at mosaics and murals here in Houston and beyond. We'll be learning about world famous artists and creating incredible artworks.

I'm looking forward to this new school year and having the opportunity to create art with your students. It's going to be a really great year!