Monday, August 14, 2017


If you haven't noticed, I am super duper behind on posting.  Better late than never, right!  These are the self portraits created by my 2nd graders. The pirate themed self portraits have been on my list of to-dos for a while now. 

Although, in the beginning, some of my students weren't so thrilled about being a pirate. It didn't take long for them to warm up to the idea. And for goodness sake, who isn't halving fun when everyone, including the teacher, is squinting and talking about their "booty"

These were done on 9 by 12 dark gray construction paper.  We drew out the pirate image in pencil and then traced with sharpie.  Once the sharpie was complete, we used Crayola Art Stix to fill in the color.  
Getting the younger groups to push their colors can be hard, but I've found something that motivates them to press their colors.  I ask them to use their art muscles and find examples of those who are already pressing hard.  Then, I make a big deal about how big their art muscles are.  If I compliment the girls, the boys can hardly take it, and they start pressing their colors more.
This was our last lesson for the school year for 2nd grade.  I was really proud of them for hanging in there to the very end.  This is a smaller group of kids, therefore easier to manage.  Some of my larger groups, 3rd and 4th in particular, started giving up around spring break, so I had to simplify my last couple of projects to keep them engaged.
This was a great project to do and will definatly do this one again. 
Especially since portraits can be rather hard, the imperfections  add to the character of the piece. 





Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Art and Science Club at EGE

This year I joined forces with our new Science specials teacher. We held three sessions throughout the year, and limited our enrollment to 20-25 students. We allowed all ages kinder through 5th graders to participate. We also charged $15 per session. Some of the projects we repeated with each group and some we came up with new lessons for the new group.
Down fall, we had to turn lots of kids down because of high interest. We did lots of different projects from connecting circuits to designing t-shirts, creating scribble bots and making crystals. Here are a few projects that I was able to stop long enough to get some pictures.
The paint pendulums were loads of fun (when we had the right paint). We did these on poster board so they would stand up to the paint being poured onto it. This also helped when transferring these to the drying rack. The set up for this was really easy, we just used two student chairs with a broom stick attached to the top. I had students help rig the string and cup to find the perfect setup. A great engineering opportunity. 

We also did a clay project, which we ran out of time to paint. We just encouraged them to paint these at home with whatever paints were available at home to them.

Another favorite was a marbling project. The kids dipped card stock and then they made these into their Mother's Day cards. The cards were really beautiful. I even dipped extra cards and they went into the silent auction for our district. I had lots of request for extra sets after the auction was done. I'll have to remember this for next years art show!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Winter Scene

This is one of those happy accidents that I discovered years ago, early in my teaching days.  Someone had accidentally left the laminator rolling.  Yep, the whole roll went through the laminator.  Luckily it wasn't a brand new roll.  But still, we all know how valuable the laminator is and once we run out of lamination for the year...that's it.
I happily took the roll, not knowing what to do with it, and later deciding to do a project with tissue paper, probably months later.  I just cut up squares of colored tissue and made a mix of glue and water. The kids just "painted" a section of glue and laid down the tissue squares overlapping.
We discovered that several layers are best.  Once it is dry, you just peel it away and you have this beautiful sheet of color.  The best part is the beautiful surprise on the back (the side sticking to the plastic).  It comes out shiny and more of a stained glass look.  And if your lucky, some of the colors have bleed together!
That first project, that I probably don't even have a sample for anymore, was a project that I did with Romare Bearden.  We drew instruments that would be used in a Jazz band, and painted them black.  They turned out great, the black was a great contrast to the bright colors.

This time around, I decided to do the tissue paper with a much younger group, 1st grade.  Instead of doing individual stain glass pieces, we worked as a table group to make one large piece that would be cut apart.  
This is where multiple layers is best, cutting into the tissue is much easier if it is thick, especially for the younger grade levels.
The first graders each cut out three trees that were added to their blustery winter scenes.  These pictures don't do them justice, but they really are beautiful.
I wish you could see the shininess to the trees, but you'll just have to trust me.  So, if you find yourself with an offer to take run off from the laminator...take it!  If no one is offering, put an empty box beside the laminator.  The beginning of the year is a great time to get those large pieces that come off the end.
You'll have a fun activity for your kids, you'll have a piece that makes everyone happy (kids, parent, teachers and administration), it's cheap!!, and you will be reusing something that would otherwise be thrown in the trash.  I think that is a win-win.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Insects: Up Close

This was a project that I did with my 2nd graders this year, and was their project for the school art show.  I had done this project before, but was able to utilize the class set of Ipads, which I didn't have access before.
Students were asked to search for an insect they wanted to draw, they searched by classification, until they found the specimen they wanted to draw.  Since they are assigned a tablet, they were able to screen shot a picture and information about the insect they choose.
This helped speed up the process a bit, instead of starting a new search each time they came to class.  They were asked to draw the insects as if under a magnifying glass.  This was the real challenge for my second graders, filling the page with their insect.
Once they had the size down, they moved on to the color portion of the lesson, which was just crayon resist.
These were a great addition to the art show, I loved the variety that it allowed.  Especially when you are displaying so many pieces, 830 art pieces to be exact,  you don't want the cookie cutter look.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Just Keep Swimming

This is a project that I do with 3rd graders.  Years ago when I would do the Original Works program at my last school, this is the piece that I would have done with my 3rd graders.  Of course, it has evolved and changed over the years, but I feel like I get great results from it each time.
It has been about 4 years since I've done this with my kids. I was looking to make some changes in the way we do our Eagle's Art Night, and the art work that would be displayed.  The previous three years, I was working part time with another art teacher and we each did our  own lessons with students.  We also did several different lessons with each class so that we would have a variety of things to hang for the show.  So basically I was teaching a different lesson with each grade level every single day! This was great for the show, but was extremely hard to organize and really made for a stressful environment when it came to the teaching part.
Since I was going to be teaching full time this year, I decided that we needed one good lesson from each grade level that encouraged individuality from these little artist.  So that is when I remembered what great variety there was with this lesson.  I think the framing part of this lesson really helps making the artwork look unique.
We practiced drawing different sea animals for a couple art sessions so that they could be sure and pick something that they could draw well.  One of the most difficult things is having them narrow down what they want to draw.  (Because they would draw it all if I would let them.)  I really tried to get them to focus on one or two animals.
So, putting emphasis on one or two animals, and really doing a good job. This is also a great lesson to talk about underwater landscapes, from mountains to valleys and the coral reef and the ecosystems within these marine biomes.
You can really pack a lot of science into this lesson, and what administrator doesn't like that?  So, if you are looking for a lesson that does it all, this is both a parent pleaser as well as your admin.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Eagle's Art Night 2016

So, I just wrapped up our annual Eagle's Art Night.  This is the 4th event I have been apart of, but this year I am teaching on my own, so I didn't have my wonderful teaching partner to help me through it all.
However, I did feel like things went very well, even with our student population increasing to around 830 kids.  So, the big challenge this year was getting the work done on a six day rotation.  We started on week two of school with the artwork, so it seems like there would be plenty of time, and for most grade levels that was true.  I did feel the pinch a bit with the older grade levels.  The PTA always request that the work be delivered to them the first week of November so that they have sufficient time to mount all the work.
Which means that I have to complete the work so that it can be checked, signatures added, as well as the labels to each art piece around the middle of October?
The PTA came up with this creative way of displaying all the work and it seems to work really well.
All the art work is hung with rubber cement so that parents can peel off their child's art work.  Then, they take it to the framing table where a bevy of workers take money, organize paperwork, frame, and so on.  We ran out of frames and more had to be ordered. So, I would say it was a success.
The frames are sold for $12, and I think there is about a $3 profit from each frame.  Last year the profits were around $800.  I haven't heard what the final numbers were for this year, but I believe it will be even better than last years earnings.
While this is happening in the gym, we also have a talent part that is happening on the stage in the cafe. It is one of the school's biggest events of the year.
So, this is why I have had a little hiatus from blogging the last 4-5 months.  I am relearning to juggle full time teaching and being a Mommy to 3 very busy girls!  But, I am loving every minute of it, and I go to bed EVERY SINGLE NIGHT wiped out.  I'm sure many of you can relate.
But, I wouldn't change it for anything in the world.  Now to do my last minute Christmas shopping and packing for our trip.  I'm grateful everyday for my wonderful life!  Merry Christmas everyone, have a blessed and restful holiday.