Tag Archives: Chittenango Middle School

The Kindness of Peace

Kindness Matters was the subject of this year’s Lions Club sponsored Peace Poster contest.  My Studio in Art class students spent about six weeks working on their illustrations.

Emily’s poster won the local and regional competition.  It is on its way to the state competition next and if she wins at the international level – well, that would be a huge win for all of us:  $5,000 for her and twelve years of poster-making and working closely with the beautiful people/lions who make up the committee that will culminate in an enormous sense of pride and victory for our small community in Chittenango, New York.

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The Chittenango Lions threw us a classroom pizza party and awarded monetary gifts and plaques for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place picks.  The rest of the students were all unanimously honored with honorable mentions.  Their work was spectacular.

These peace posters will be on display during December 2018 in the Community Room at the Sullivan Library, 101 Falls Blvd., Chittenango, New York 13037.  Visit their website for hours of operation.

The Invention Story

I’m basically a storyteller.  And all of my stories begin with, “the year was blah-blah-blah”.  Today, one of my students called me over and asked, “will you tell us a story?” and someone else chimed in with, “we love your stories!”  !!!

So – here’s a story for you….

The year was last year.  All of my 5th graders were bringing those fidget spinners to class.  I’m sure you’ve seen them – they are some sort of toy that was created as a way for students to stay focused, particularly students with focus issues – but they were seriously getting out of control.   Everyone had them.  Most had more than one in their pockets. Kids were just playing with them all over the place until pieces flew off.  It was nuts.

One day after school, I was sitting with my feet up on my desk and I envisioned a teacher confiscating those dumb things then sitting exactly as I was . . . and eating them, lol.  I had invented a commercial for chocolate fidget spinners!

OMG, I thought, I have my million dollar idea!  I called Hercules, a candy company in East Syracuse, New York.  I told the proprietor, Terry Andrianos, my idea.  Her response was it takes about a year in development to create the mold for something like this and it is expensive.

So, I thought, that was that.

A few days later, I attended a concert at Traditions at the LinksLetizia and the Z Band was performing.  At their break, the drummer, John Mangicaro, told me this gig was like a full-time job but he did have a full-time job – he was in the technology department at Syracuse University.  He runs the 3-D printer!

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I shared my fidget spinner concept with him.  A few months later, he’d created a mold for me.  I brought the mold back to the candy shoppe and Terry agreed to make a couple samples for me!

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I had successfully brought my invention to fruition and it didn’t cost me a dime.  Law of Attraction brought me face-to-face with these amazing people who helped me just for the fun of it!  Of course, after it was all said and done, I checked Amazon.com and now there are fidget spinner molds available.  Yes, a zeitgeist!

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Students don’t play with fidget spinners anymore.  I have not seen one at all this year.  It was a very short-lived fad, which leads me to believe that nobody really desires chocolate ones anymore either.

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But the point of the story is to illustrate how you don’t really have to know how to manufacture an idea in order to invent something.  Leonardo da Vinci drew pictures of helicopters in the 1500s, as well as all sorts of things he did not actually make.

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My fidget spinner story acted as the launch pad for the active minds of my 5th grade art class.  I gave them a hand-out – to get them thinking about inventing something – why do people need it?  Who will use it?  How big is it?  How much does it cost?

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They filled out the sheet and drew illustrations for a coloring book of inventions.  This took several classes.  We did projects in between, which gave ample time for the students to ponder ideas.  Many shared the project with their parents – some came back with sketches their parents had made of the assignment.  It seems that everyone is a budding Leonardo!

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I sent the pages to Chittenango High School and the person who runs the Xerox printer created these amazing books.  Each student received a book of everyone’s inventions.  We spent one class period coloring them.  I told them to hold on to their copy, to keep the book in a bookshelf for, like, fifteen years.  Then pull it out, maybe when they are moving out or when their parents hold a giant garage sale, lol, and flip through it to see if any of the inventions had really been invented.  Zeitgeists happen all the time.

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My cousin Brian is an inventor at Welch Allyn.  He has something like forty patents.  Engineering type stuff.  I had actually checked on the patent information regarding my idea.  It seems the woman who had invented fidget spinners could not afford the patent and that is why everyone was manufacturing them.  Crazy, right?

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Our science teacher, Beth Bennett, received a grant to purchase a 3-D printer for school.  She will be meeting with John to learn more about the machine and what amazing things can be created with it.  I just love that!

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The sky’s the limit!

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Pigs for Sale

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You may have noticed the development of pig sculptures – I’ve had them on the counter as background in my #ootd pictures.  The project had a couple of components.  Students created armature with paper towels, masking tape, aluminum foil and a recycled bottle of juice or iced coffee (I have tons!).  The sculptures were engulfed in Pariscraft then painted.  Once they were done, the artists took their pigs to a secret location somewhere in the school and using their I-Pads, photographed them in a composition.  It was a really fun project.

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My Facebook friends inquired if the sculptures would be auctioned off.  I mentioned that to the students and a few got the professional artist bug, lol.  So, some of the pigs are for sale.  Proceeds will teach students a valuable lesson about their time and effort.  All pigs are priced at $50 each.

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These eight pigs are available.  Artwork can be collected at Chittenango Middle School.  Email me at ktashkovski@chittenangoschools.org to make arrangements to purchase.  All proceeds will go to the budding artists.

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School Fair 2017

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Last night Chittenango Central School held their annual School Fair at the high school.  Each year, my colleague Katy and I spend several hours installing the middle school art show on the walls of the hallway between the two gymnasiums.

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Then at 8:00 pm we take the whole thing down and pop the art into our cars to return it all to the middle school on Monday.  We displayed around three hundred pieces of 5th – 8th grade artwork.

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This was my twentieth year of said fair.  Here are the pictures I remembered to take!  It is pretty cool to see this visual representation of what we do all year.

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Fishing Derby

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Ashlee – winner in 1st period A day

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Owen – winner in 8th period A day (the 5th grade class)

My clay lesson this semester was the fish sculpture.  I decided to do it with every class.  My 5th grade, the 8th grade art students and the 8th grade Studio in Art students.  It is such a great lesson because everyone starts with the same amount of clay creating a slab first that rolls up then adding the hand built elements.

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Paige – winner in 9th period A day

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Nathan – winner in 6th period Studio in Art

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Lauren – winner in 5th period B day

They are all so beautifully unique!  I decided to have a fishing derby.  I weighed and measured every fish.  Each class had a winner.  The prize was a small bag of Swedish Fish, lol.  Abraham’s was the biggest fish.  He won a giant bag of Swedish Fish!  So fun!

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Abraham – winner in 5th period A day and overall winner!

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Julia – winner in 1st period B day

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Anthony – winner in 9th period B day

#fashionintherealworld

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Banana Republic cardigan, Free People top, BCBGMaxAzria leggings, BCBGeneration sandals

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Banana Republic cardigan, BCBGMaxAzria top, Trina Turk pants, BCBGeneration sandals

If you search Instagram for the hashtag #fashionintherealworld, you will find all of my posts.  I invented it and #fashioninrealtime, and #fashioninreallife.  I just checked them; I think there are only two or three posts on them from random fashionistas.  The rest is all me.

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Coach hat and jacket, Bailey 44 top, BCBGMaxAzria leggings, Karl Lagerfeld Paris boots

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Free People cardigan and top, Calvin Klein jeans, Karl Lagerfeld Paris boots

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Free People cardigan, BCBGMaxAzria top, Banana Republic skirt, Ralph Lauren boots

Here are my outfits of the day from the last two weeks.  The landscape of my background keeps changing as I shift student work around the room.  All of my clay projects are complete.  The last batch went into the kiln today.  The 5th graders are currently working on a three-dimensional wood sculpture, my Studio in Art students are learning watercolor techniques and the rest of the 8th graders are immersed in the various SLO test projects:  Statue of Liberty paintings, “under the sea” landscapes with fish (mixed-media lesson), Japanese fan project (also mixed-media) and abstract paintings with realistic horses thrown in.  So four additional different lessons for the six classes.

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Banana Republic suit and leather shell, BCBGeneration sandals

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Free People cardigan, BCBGeneration dress, Nine West booties

There is a lot going on, which will culminate in the School Fair set for May 12, 2017.  I will have my hands full preparing for that exhibition and hopefully even with the upcoming state math tests looming, we will get everything accomplished.

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Jcrew cardigan, BCBGMaxAzria dress, Nine West boots

But first – Spring Break!!!  I will be working on the business of making art as soon as tomorrow.  Can’t wait.  Watching students make art is clearly a fun job, but nothing beats the guilty pleasure of creating my own artwork – even though it is super messy and therefore cannot be done in designer clothes.  So…I will be sacrificing fashion for my art.  I did buy a new dress for Easter though.  It is Halston Heritage. ❤ OMG, I love it!

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Michelle DaRin Jewelry ring, Banana Republic top and Free People top, BCBGMaxAzria pants, Guess sandals

 

In a Blanket

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Here are the pictures from my art exhibition at Chittenango Middle School, Chittenango, New York.  I’ve combined the Messages from the Other Voice series with the Pompano Revisited series to saturate the yellow walls of the school library with my personal narrative.

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They will be up through April 2017.

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The work looks better in person – the lighting is not great in the pics, but that is because the artwork is so high up on the walls.  I do love the way the library looks soooo fresh and different with each show we install and everyone’s artwork ends up looking great.  The captive audience thing always works for me, but it is funniest when I ask students if they have been to the library – if they have seen my art and they say something like I didn’t notice.

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That actually doesn’t matter to me – no, not one bit – because I know that they have noticed it, if only in a smidgen of a subliminal fashion.  It doesn’t take but a glance to place a positive aesthetic into someone’s visual cortex, lol.  And then you can sit back and witness the processed results.  It’s kind of amazing.  And I really LOVE that.  Art benefits people in so many ways in which they are not even remotely aware. It is everywhere.  All around us.  That’s me being subversive – in a good way.

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Blanket of love, people.  Blanket of love…. ❤

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