Mona Lisa and More Meets Undiscovered Tuscany

I am fortunate enough to spend my summers in Tuscany, and I am even luckier to host some first time visitors to Italy this year via my husband’s tour company Undiscovered Tuscany. http://www.utuscany.com
It is a privilege to be hosting some fellow Sylvania art teachers (two current, one retired) and a Sylvania schools secretary and her family.  Here are some highlights from their first two days abroad….Beautiful poppies leading to the renovated farmhouse villas where our guests are staying. (The villas are over 600 years old!)Hitting the ground running with a trip to Pisa!

Leaning Tower selfies galore! Lol!

View of the cathedral from the baptistery.

Love the juxtaposition of modern art vs. historical architecture. 

A visit to the breathtaking Duomo in Florence.Artist: Botticelli 

No art teacher’s journey is complete without a visit to the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. I still get goosebumps seeing some of my all-time favorite paintings in person.

Not a bad view from the Uffizi cafe!

Artist: Michelangelo 

Inspired by this strange piece which turned out to be a cover put on paintings to protect them when being transported. Amazing!!

Artist: Leonardo da Vinci

NEED I SAY MORE??! A genius ahead of his time…

Ready to enjoy lunch at Ristorante Pinocchio located near Mercato Centrale. So much shopping can be done just within steps of this place!

Brunelleschi admiring his work (which happens to be the awe-inspiring dome of the cathedral aka Duomo). Just taught my 2nd graders about Brunelleschi and his dome this year!

Enjoying their first gelato in Italy at the inaugural opening of Ettamo Gelato. Highly recommend! It is also located near Mercato Centrale.

Enjoying an early morning breakfast in their third day before heading off to Siena and San Gimignano.

Art teacher friends and colleagues

The view from the villa swimming pool. Not too shabby (even on a hazy day)!

Who else wants to come visit me???

Banksy 

Always on the lookout for art teacher surprises while traveling abroad. Today, we happened across some street art (or at least billboards of street art) for the street artist known only as Banksy on a random street in a small town in Tuscany.

Afternoon Art

Making art during our summer hours because art can be done anywhere!! 

​Bought these gel crayons at Barnes & Noble, and they have been a big hit during our summer travels! They are like oil pastels, but without the messy hands. You can also do rainbow color transfers with them aka ART MAGIC!

Summer Travels 2017

It’s time for this art teacher to head abroad! Here are some of my tried and true packing pro tips when going abroad with little children….Pack headphones and chargers in their own separate baggies so cords don’t get tangled.

Pack all activities in one bag and all the snacks/drinks/meds in the other bag so you don’t have to go searching through both bags to find those darn mini shopkins!Sneak some surprises in their carry on bags…like food stickers!Coloring is a great way to pass the time, but is made instantly more exciting with the purchase of fancy gel pens and sleek gel crayons!

Final AMPEd Day! 

Today was the special areas teachers last day of school, so we had to get AMPEd! Art, Music, and PE once again joined forces for all day team building activities by grade level. In 2nd, 4th, and 5th grades we played mash-up drawing game where one group drew a head (animal, person, or creature), then folded paper back so it couldn’t be seen and swapped paper with another group. Next, everyone draws a torso, fold paper back so it can’t be seen and swap with another group who draws the legs/feet (fins, wheels, whatever!) When I was in college these were called Beautiful Corpse drawings which is a bit morbid. We just called them Art Mash-Ups at school.😁 They were hilarious and fun!

Hill View and Arbor Hills Art Project Collaboration

Had the best afternoon on Monday because the Arbor Hill art students came over with their art teacher Mrs. Ardner to present some of my 1st and 2nd grade students with 3D versions of drawings they had made!! At the beginning of the school year, I read The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend. My 1st and 2nd graders then had to create their own imaginary friends. I sent those drawings off to Arbor Hills where junior high students selected the drawing they would “magically” turn into a 3D sculpture. The results were AMAZING!! I am so happy with the results and seeing the students’ faces was priceless!! Some of the junior high students even wrote letters to their elementary buddies!!

Art Passports

Students have been working throughout the year on their Official Art Passports since we were art tourists this year. Inside the passports are color sheets (great fine motor practice!) representing the different countries we have traveled to and drawing challenges as well. It is fun to look back and remember where we have traveled and to check out our drawing and coloring skills. Students also loved making stickers (our version of having our passports stamped) to show off some highlights of each country! 

The Snurtch

I have been wanting to develop a lesson based around the children’s book The Snurtch since I first stumbled upon it. I did some project experiments with kindergarten classes recently. A couple months ago, students made symmetrical yarn paintings (to go along with another children’s book Extra Yarn). We used those for the Snurtch face base, then one class did shaving cream/marbling to add color to their Snurtch. The other classes used crayons and scribbling (they were so excited to be told to scribble with three crayons at once) to add color. Then, googly eyes, oil pastel nose/mouth, and working on making symmetrical cuts by folding paper in half. They’re so cute so far!