Welcome to the Art Room!

I am the Visual Arts Teacher at Garvy School, Ms. Gray-Rodriguez. I have been teaching at Garvy since 1995! I grew up in a small rural town surrounded by cornfields and moved to Chicago to attend the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and have called it home ever since! The arts has always a part of my life. My siblings and I would make projects together using what ever found objects, cardboard and office supplies we could get our hands on. That is why I'm a big fan of experimenting, risk-taking and exploring of materials! This page will connect you to ways of exploring your creativity, extra credit and Google Classroom pages. This will connect you to assignments at a glance, but you must go to Google Classrooms through your account and enter your class code (found at the right) to get on the roster for that class. During this time away from school, feel free to email me with questions.  I would love to see pictures of your e-learning creations or any other projects your working on!! 
Don't forget to follow the art room Instagram page!!: msgraysgallery
Remote learning office hours: 9am-1pm. Feel free to reach out to me outside of office hours and I will respond within 24 hours. Take care!
Ms. Gray-Rodrigeuz


Turning in Remote Learning Work?

Make sure that all work is turned in through your grade level, Visual Art Google Classroom.
When documenting your work, make sure the lighting is good and you crop to the edges of the art, and it is in focus. When uploading, use "medium" size, if you can adjust it for uploading. You must included your full name and your room number or section (example: 6A, 6M, 6G). Before turning in work, ask yourself if you: put forth effort, put in at least one hour and if you think I would encourage you to do more. If work illustrates little effort, you will be notified to continue working. Keep in mind, teachers are inputting grades that will raise your grade, not lower, so put in the effort before submitting.

Speaking to Your Young Artist: Looking at Their Art and Famous Works:

When children say, "Look what I made!" show your interest. Encourage them to describe how they created their art. Children are eager to show adults their creations. How can you respond so they are motivated to explore the arts further?

  • Remember to reflect their enthusiasm. TRY TO AVOID: “What did you make? What is it?” This is very discouraging when they are trying to create something using realism. Instead ask them, “Tell me about your Art!”
  • Take their work seriously!
  • Encourage children to be confident about their art.
  • Inspire them to improve their skills with practice.
  • Encourage them to try new ideas and different approaches.
  • Their imaginations will soar. Positive, encouraging responses will help artists of all ages feel they are creative thinkers and capable doers. Usually just one positive comment or open-ended question will open up a fascinating conversation!

Here are some great "discussion starters" that will encourage children to open up. Try some of these statements and questions and get that conversation going!

  • Show appreciation: "Thank you for showing me your creation." "I'm so glad you want to share your art with me."
  • Demonstrate genuine enthusiasm: "What an imaginative idea!" "You're starting to use colored pencils in a different way than before!"
  • Describe what you see (artistic qualities): "It looks like you used lots of red here, and a little blue in the bottom corner." "The lines you drew move all around the page." "This reminds me of (another artist's style or a child's earlier work)." Especially with young children, avoid asking "What is it?" Their creation may be an experiment in pattern or color, and not a picture of the family dog!
  • Ask how the child achieved an artistic effect: "I'm wondering how you got these little pieces of clay to stick out like that." "Please explain to me your steps."
  • Dig a little deeper: "Tell me more about what you've done." "I'm curious how you got this idea."
  • Comment on how the child worked: "I saw you concentrating on your painting." "You had a smile on your face the whole time you were drawing!"
  • Sometimes, suggest extensions (after showing support and hearing the child's explanations): "I wonder what would happen if you tried..."
    An encouraging adult can make a world of difference. Support your children's innate desire to learn and to express ideas. Be a mentor and a role model!!

Art IS all around us! Ask kids how design affects the:

  • homes we live in
  • cars we drive
  • clothes we wear
  • books we read
  • movies we watch...

...and our appreciation for the awesome natural beauty found everywhere!
Introduce art vocabulary to children. Look for lines, shapes/forms, colors, textures, patterns, repetition, and balance. Share opinions and what personal preferences are based on. Urge children to consider ways they could change the design of man-made items. Look for lessons from nature that could improve human designed items. Talk with children about art. The art they are creating and the art all around them. Notice the way art is used in everyday life!


Tips to make “creative time” easier for home learning!

Exploring and experimenting is extremely important to promote independent thinking and creative development. I will share with you some ways that helped me control the “mess” when my own children were creating at home.

  1. Choose a Space and Keeping it Clean- Where is an easy place to spread out and make art? Sometimes I found the kitchen table was best, however maybe an open space on the floor will do. I always keep plastic table cloths or newspaper handy (even when I’m making art at home). A piece of heavy fabric or canvas is good for more contained projects. For messy experiences, I have a shallow box (a copy paper box lid is great) or a shallow plastic bin. This is great for making slime, glitter, sand or homemade clay. If you don’t have a shallow container, make one by cutting down a box to a couple inches high or fold up and secure the sides of a newspaper to create a contained space. We often deny our kids of these experiences but if we teach them the responsibly of keeping it contained and how to properly put it away, it’s a win for everyone!
  2. Create an Art Center to Access Materials-. Organize a shelf, a box or rolling cart with kids’ art supplies, and let their creativity flourish while you are nearby. As a child, my siblings and I had a drawer of our china cabinet that was always full for free access. If you consolidate their supplies to one space and have a dialog of what supplies they can use, this promotes independent making and problem solving.
  3. Gather Materials- What can we make art from? Gather office supplies, old toys, game pieces, playing cards, discarded found objects, junk drawer finds, old shoes, worn out clothes (especially t-shirts for making weaving yarn, see link listed with “Art Material Alternatives”), old screws, kitchen items, coffee filters, yarn or string etc. Collect recycled materials, such as card board boxes, scrap papers, magazines, newspaper, Styrofoam meat or vegetable trays, plastic containers and bottles.
  4. Fill your Art Center with Supplies- Many families have scissors, glue, basic paints etc., but keeping them in one place AND guiding your children through proper use of these tools, empowers them to be independent. Standard supplies are: crayons, markers (water-based and permanent), watercolor paints, tempera, poster, finger or acrylic paint, Elmers glue, glue stick, brushes, containers for water, masking tape and glue gun. Many of you may have concerns with small children using permanent markers or a glue gun, but like using scissors, a conversation of safety and caution is a must. Make sure that your child has old clothes or an art apron to wear. When using a glue gun, I keep an old cutting board or old cake pan for the glue gun to rest when not being used. A pair of old gloves prevents burns.

Now you are ready! What to make?   IF your child is stuck with what to make, create a list of prompts and challenges together for them to respond to. For younger students it can be simple, such as, “an animal that hides, a rainy day, a mash-up of 2 animals, etc. (Please see my art prompts and challenges tab for examples). As students get older, it is essential that we promote that artists don’t always just make things that are worthy of hanging on the refrigerator. I am a BIG believer of this.  Sometimes we need to make prototypes, sketches and experiment to come up with solutions to problems. We need to stretch possibilities and explore “Conveying a Message”. How can we create a mood? Explore a theme that brings awareness? Why do artists make art? Looking at art (analyzing) and exploring the meaning or the intended meaning is a common practice in the art room. This gives them to knowledge necessary to convey meaning in their own artworks.


Google Classroom Enrollment! (please read)

Hello All! 
Many of you have subscribed to your grade level Google Classroom through my web page. This does not place you on the roster for the class. Please look up your class code on the right side of my web page and go to Google Classroom to log on from there to appear on the roster. Assignments will show up there as well. Feel free to email me with any questions. My office hours during Remote Learning Time is 9am-1pm. Find ways to be creative!
-Ms. Gray-Rodriguez