Monday, December 17, 2012

What the Art Teacher Wore #46

Another Messy Monday: Dunno if you can tell, but I tried my best to crop out all of the messy in the background. But it truly is the story of my life. Everywhere I go. Instead of the Midas Touch, I've got the Messy Touch. It's a gift, really. dress and top: thrifted; tights: Marshall's and/or Target; shoes: John Fluevog; apron: vintage, etsy
I've hesitated posting in light of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut. Just like you, it has been on my mind and the sadness is heard to escape. We don't have a television so I've thankfully been spared the graphic images. However, I can't seem to stop myself from reading about the events online. I think it's because I just keep searching for the answer to the question "why?" Why would anyone do something like this? I'm trying to mentally prepare myself if my students ask me that same question. There is no answer.

There is no answer but there are things that can be said. Lessons that might be taught. I thought of some works of art and books that might help teach what life is all about: loving one another. Taking care of one another. Trying our best to be our best. These are the first books and artworks that came to mind. I would greatly appreciate more ideas from you if you wouldn't mind leaving a comment. Thank you.
Pastel by Mary Cassatt, 1990. This is what I wanted to do all day. Our children need to know they are loved. I have had a large letter written to my students hanging in my room for ages. It reads: "Dear Boys and Girls, You are Loved, You are Cared For, You are Important. Sincerely, Mrs. Stephens." I'm always happily surprised when I see a student stop and read that sign. I think I need to remind them of my love for them more often. Maybe a large display of Mary Cassatt reproductions would help convey that message.
Going for the Vintage Christmas Look: I've been getting a pinch tired of wearing just green and red. I thought I'd attempt to match my pink Christmas tree with my favorite color combo: pink and turquoise. sweater and tights: Target; dress: thrifted; belt: from the Cuckoo Clock Dress; shoes: thrifted and DIY'ed by me

We talk about it at the beginning of the year when we cover the rules. The Golden Rule, that is. I'm always surprised how many students are unfamiliar with it. I love this sweet book and it's illustrations. It's one I need to share with the children more often.
Wednesday: I don't even remember a thing about this day. I may have actually been able to go straight home from work, kick off my shoes and relax and that day. It's a rare thing, these days, and I cherish it! blouse: gift from a friend; dress: BCBG; red fishnets: old, dunno; shoes: Dolls by Nina
The Banjo Lesson, 1893, Henry Ossawa Tanner. I could go on forever about how much I love this painting. The way that Tanner created so much air and space in the room. That beautiful glowing light on the back wall. The dark foreground against the light background. And the tender moment of a young boy learning. There's no television blaring, no electronics, no one texting. Just an adult teaching a child banjo.
Tacky Christmas Sweater Thursday: Oh yeah. I was so excited about this day. I actually don't own a tacky sweater (which is shocking!) so I had to rob my tree of some garland to create this one. It was a snap -- I'll show you in an upcoming DIY. I even got to wear it out later that night to a buddy's Christmas craft night -- so fun. sweater: thrifted, DIY'ed by me; dress: vintage; red tights and sparkle fishnets: Target; shoes: Softt; belt: Anthro
The year before last, I received a grant to do an Empty Bowls project with the children. If you are not familiar, the concept is to have children create a ceramic bowl. Once finished, a large soup dinner is held, the bowls are purchased and soup is eaten from the bowl. The money collected is donated to a homeless shelter or food kitchen to help fill empty bowls that exist. We did ours a little differently because I didn't want the children not to be able to take home their own artworks. So we simply collected money from the sale of the bowl to the child's parents and donated that. To explain the act of giving, I read this book to the children. I have the hardest time getting through this book without tearing up. It gets me every single time.
Are you familiar with this book? I absolutely love it. I'm not going to spoil it for you because it's a must read. I've not read it to the children because it's too long for my half an hour. However, each year, when my fourth grade students are in their weaving zone, I read a chapter book to them. I think this will be my book of choice this year.
Frantic Friday: After work, I had to buzz home and get the house ready for hub's work party. We had about 25 dudes and their significant others over for dinner, drinking and gingerbread house making. I had to get outta this teachery garb and throw on my Light Up Dress for the occasion. dress: vintage, thrifted; sweater: H&M, old; green tights: also muy old; belt: Anthro
What else can be said? So much depends on them and how we teach and raise them. We must do this right.
Snap the Whip, Winslow Homer, 1872. I'm leaving you with a sweet image of children playing. I love the girls in the far left background with their hoop and stick.


  1. Anonymous12/17/2012

    Thanks for this post, Cassie :) We do own a TV and I have been playing ostrich to avoid the images of that terrible day. There just isn't a need for anyone to have access to a gun in this day and age (excepting those that need it for food). Much better gun laws and improvements in mental health care are imperative. Protection of our children is paramount.

    My husband is a teacher, too, and never did it occur to me that I would need to fear for his safety at work!

    God help us all - and I mean that sincerely.

    1. Thank you for your comments, Sarah. No one should have to fear going to a place to learn. Hopefully this will open our minds and hearts to the things we need to change in ourselves and our country. I am definitely in agreement that we need to improve how we approach those with mental health issues.


  2. I could have written the beginning of this post myself. We also do not have a t.v. I learned of this in a shop when a woman loudly called the news across the store to another woman. I felt as if I had been kicked in the gut, and I still do. I, too, have not been able to stop reading about it and thinking about it. Every time I've brushed my daughter's hair, today when we made sugar cookies, or at just about any other time for the last few days, I have had the children's parents in my head and heart, and thought of their pain and loss.

    My husband is a teacher too! And though I am admittedly an anxious person, I have thought of his safety at work. Still, never in my worst nightmare could I have imagined anything this awful could really happen.

    One of the books I really love reading with my daughter is Miss Rumphius, or The Lupine Lady (same book, two titles). It was written and illustrated by Barbara Cooney, an author who lived in the town I grew up in. One picture in the book even depicts our little downtown. I have loved this book since I was a kid, and I tear up when I read it to my daughter. It imparts the wisdom that it is each of our job to make the world a more beautiful place, and in the last page expresses, too, that a child's life is a wide open and beautiful thing for them to learn and grow and do what they will with.

    It is evident to me from reading your blog that you put so much love into what you do and share with your kids,and they are lucky to have you. Thank you for caring about our future.

    1. How funny that your both have husband teachers! Does it count that mine USED to be a teacher?! We could form a club ;) Thank you so much for the book recommendations. How fun that you have such a connection to the book. I will definitely be checking it out. It sounds perfect.

      Thank you so much for your kind words. I truly appreciate them.


  3. Cassie,
    Love your blog and especially how you're approaching what happened in Connecticut while you teach young children. What a great approach!

  4. LOVE Wednesday's dress! :)


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