Friday, August 8, 2014

In the Art Room: A Virtual Tour of the Art Room



Hey, friends! As you just heard, cuz I just done tole you, I'm gonna take you on a lil tour of my art room today! I tried to keep these two clips short and sweet for a coupla reasons: 1. It takes me foreverness to upload a video clip on youtube. Like, 4-eve-err. If any of y'all have any tips or tricks, I'd so appreciate 'em. And 2. I have a hard time listening to my own voice in a vid clip so I assume it can only be worse for you. 

That bein' said, I thought y'all might be able to better understand the lay of the art room land if I virtually showed you around. Now, this is just a wee tour but I do blab a pinch about my first coupla days of school that will begin next week. For that I'll give ya a full blog post of what new things I'm trying, what's working and what's gonna get tweaked (er, what?!). You can read about my first coupla days of school from last year here, if you wanna. For this year, stay tuned. For now, welcome to my art room!


C'mon in!
At the start of the video, I show you this board. All of these fun souvenirs have been thrifted and garage saled over the years. I also reference my giant windows (which are glorious, I know. I'm very fortunate to have such a great space. This is why they can't get rid of me!). I repaint those window every year to go with my theme. You can check out my Parisian windows here and Asian-themed windows here

As for my Masterpiece Gallery, you can read how that was created with a bunch of thrifted frames here. You can also read about our game The Smartest Artist here. 
So I chatted for a moment about those vocab pockets that I keep next to my door. As the kids enter, they usually read an art word. However for these first couple of days, we are going to read these words. Then we're going to chat about how these words both describe us and art class. These will be our first "word wall" words. For more deets on this flashcard biznatch and my feeble attempts at teaching vocabulary, go here, here and, wow more?!, here.
Details on that Word of the Week in this here blog post. If you attended this summer's AOE conference, you might recognize that telly on the right. A fellow art teacher commented that she was looking for one to use to "call an artist" and I thought that was simply genius and promptly stole her idea! I can't wait to try it out. 
You know with the way educational theories and junk change with the wind blowing (usually outta some politician's a$$), I don't know if it's still "I Can" statements or something new. Regardless, I like having the kids recite what they "can" do as I find it empowers 'em. So I'm going to keep it up. I wrote about this here. 
Now, I don't know why I didn't say this earlier, but new art-teacherin' friends, you just might be freaking the funk out right now. I know I have a lotta stuff: decor, books, souvenirs, a rando rotary phone. I've spent the last 16-ish years collecting, gathering, midnight-online-shopping. And I've been in this art room for over 10 years so I've managed to decorate just a pinch. But you DON'T NEED ANY OF THIS STUFF to be an excellent art teacher. Seriously. All you need is a whole lotta love for the kids and art. That's it. And maybe a can of this. Because it has the best name ever and everyone knows art teachers use this for deodorant. 
 Like I said, we really only visit this area when I start introducing and chatting about Mexico and Central America. The kids are very good about not running over and grabbing things. In fact, we treat the objects in this area as if we are in a museum. Look but please don't touch. Except for the books. You can get as touchy as you like with those. For the paper decorations, I just accordion folded some scrap bulletin board paper and cut designs. 
By the way, any of y'all got a killer Day of the Dead lesson plan for me? I've been scoping the interwebs and finding all sorts of fun stuff. However, the last time I taught about Day of the Dead it was misinterpreted by some and was promptly shut down which is unfortunate. So this go-round I've got to be certain to teach it very carefully. 
Now, let's chat about my windows, kay? I usually paint both sets but this time, after spending 2 half days working on these, I was done. I pulled some images from the interwebs and started sketching my design with a grease pencil. For paint, I normally use Window Chalk (which I can no longer find!) and the kid's paint. This year, I really wanted the windows to be vibrant and not fade as fast so I decided to use my acrylic paint.
My make-shift painting studio. Do you see that tube of cerulean blue sitting here on the right? When I picked it up, I could tell it had tons of paint in it but when I squeezed it, nothing happened. So, being the genius that I am, I squeezed it even harder until the paint exploded from the back of the tube covering the floor, splattering on to my keyboard, my necklace and my legs. Shoot, it hit places I wasn't even aware of until folks be like, "Um, you have blue paint on your XYZ". And don't nobody want blue paint there. The best part? Every time I needed blue paint, I WOULD FORGET THAT THE PAINT WAS GONNA SHOOT OUT THE BOTTOM and I managed to splatter it everywhere all over again. Wiping it off the cat as we speak.
I think I blabbed for a moment about Mona Lisa in the vid clip. I know some art teachers do this thing where they say "Mona" and the kids say "Lisa" and then they are to imitate her stance: body calm, hands in lap, eyes on me...creeper smile optional. I thought I'd demonstrate that with my framed Mona on the right. I painted that a couple of years ago after finding the frame at the thrift store. I was tired of looking at my same rules so I decided to use these fun images from a Keith Haring calendar instead (I said Kandinsky in my video clip, sorry, friends!). 
Here's the deal, in art class and in life, I think you should be nice. In Teach like a Pirate (our Artsy Book Club book), the author Dave Burgess calls his classroom the No Meanness Zone. I think it's super important to teach children the importance of kindness...even in the face of unkindness. Which is tough and something I struggle with. A part of that is having respect for yourself which is where the "take pride" idea comes in. I'm a lil too tired of hearing the kids down talk themselves and/or their artwork. But I'm really getting ahead of myself. More on rules and first day-ness soon.
Yes! I have drums! Thank you, Forks Drum Closet! The chimes are my hub's biz called Treeworks Chimes. You can find em here...and a super great attention-getting chime bar here (okay, commercial break over). Details on that Art History Wall here
Oh! Y'all remember these frames? 
Well, you might have noticed that I've gotten 'em up! I spray painted them gold (although in this photo, it really just looks like brown wood, humph) and have 'em around my room. I picked 'em up at Michaels for just a couple bucks each. I do believe every art teacher in the land needs these fun frames so get you some! And, if you got 'em, I wanna know what you did with 'em.

And that's it! I do hope all y'all have the very best back to school ever! I'm so excited to share with you guys what we're up to...that is, once I figure it out. Chat with you soon!





29 comments:

  1. WOW! Can I just start by saying you are amazingly lucky to have such an awesome space for your room! :) Now I will say that I am jealous beyond words!( but I still love ya! ) Everything looks awesome! Hope you have a super year ( who wouldn't with a space like that , wow... ) :) The kids are lucky to have you for a teacher, your enthusiasm for your subject just oozes from all over the room! ( teaching like a pirate! :)

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    1. I know, I told you I'm spoiled rotten!! Thank you for your kind words, you have a great year as well!!

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  2. It all looks fantastic! Love it all. Your students are so lucky, lucky, lucky!!

    You said Kandinsky prints for rules when you meant Haring. ;). The video was great! The room was great. You are great!

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    1. Thank you for the correction! I'm a crazy person in case you didn't know :)
      And thank you, I'm lucky to have these crazy kids and a great space to work in!

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  3. "I have a gong in my room...don't ask" I about spit out my pop when you said that!!!!!! SO FUNNY! :) I might have to do a video...what a fun idea!!!!

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  4. So I stole your idea of concentrating on only one area of the world for the students to learn about each year (last year I tied every project to a country but I think I jumped around too much). I also decorated my room (not as fully as yours it is only my second year of teaching) but some of the paper murals are working really well or double duty in my room. They help to make the walls look pretty but also help my younger cinders learn how to come into the art room quietly. I painted a huge Chinese looking dragon that is sleeping and put it up over one of the doors to my room. I tell the kids there is a sleeping dragon in my room so they have to be really quiet so to not wake him. It worked too well when I was giving kids the rules they would shush me and say SHHHHHHHHHH THE DRAGONS SLEEPING when they thought I was too loud.

    Also if you want to do a day of the dead lesson you could have the students make sugar skulls out of clay. They have to roll a small chunk of clay into a ball pinch the bottom of the ball to square it off for the jaw. Then have them use their fingers or a pencil to make eye sockets. Then draw in the nose shape and teeth patterns. Fire them and let kids finish them off by drawing the decorations on the sugar skulls with permanent markers.

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    1. LOOOOVE the dragon sleeping idea. I once had this CRAZY kindergarten class that I could only get quiet if I convinced them that there was an elephant in my kiln room. It totally backfired on Open House night when one kid brought his parents over to me so that I could "show them the elephant". BUSTED.

      I LOOOOOVE the sugar skull idea!! THANK YOU!!

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    2. I do sugar skulls to and its one of my students favorite (grade 1+2), I use model magic, make the skull one day, when its dry we marker on it (even regular non-sharpies work) then I let them dazzle it up a little with stuff from my "weird stuff area"(think pipe cleaners, wires, beads, gems, fur, yarn, etc.)

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  5. Cassie Mae Stephens Thank you thank you thank you! Went into my classroom today and just was not feeling it. At all! Then over the interwebnets you appear like a phoenix pulling me out of the dreaded" before school starts blues" . Love the games! The frames! And wouldn't you know it I have the almost identical trees (mine are pear for my shape I guess) a nice lady from Anthro donated to our school! Sending you lots of love and gratitude for the pick me up!

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    1. First of all, I love my new middle name. Cassie Mae it is!! Secondly, thank you. I had those very same blues a couple of weeks ago...I just moped around saying "I need two more weeks, please!" But getting back into my room and decorating started to get me pumped. I can officially say I'm pretty excited about tomorrow (even if I wish I could show up at 10am in my pjs!!). Have fun this year!!

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  6. Thank you for your inspiring words for new teachers. I am beyond overwhelmed, have few supplies and was hired late to fill a position. Your room is perfection and I feel so inadequate. I really needed to hear that my love for art and kids may see me through!!

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    1. I know, it's crazy overwhelming. Not just the decorating but the mere thought of "how am I ever going to teach it all?!" It can make your nuts if you think about it too much. So I just go day by day and try to be as excited as I can and really make a fun learning experience. The kids don't notice the surrounds as much as they notice YOU. Have a great year!!

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  7. Holy... I mean... I can't... what I'm trying to say... you are... I mean really... How can I say what I'm trying to say? You are my hero! Maybe too strong, or stalker-ish. Don't worry I don't peek in your windows when you sleep (but that is only because I live in Minnesota). Cassie, you are a blessing for the kids you work with, the district who hired you, and the teachers you share your ideas with. Because I'm in a new room, you will see many updates on my environment throughout the year. There is summer camp in my room now and will not be out until we are in for in service. I can't get into my room. Many of these ideas will go on my Vision Board for what I want my class to look like. Again, again I say to you... you inspire me.

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    1. Gurl, YOU my hero!! Seriously! Thank you so much for your kind words, you made my day!! I gain so much from you and all that you share on your blog...I appreciate you!

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  8. I have a serious, maybe life threatening, case of Art Teacher Envy. What a room. You have such a great space. I love the frames. I've checked them out at Michaels before but haven't purchased. Now I am inspired. Also, I am loving "Teach Like a Pirate". I've got that book all post-ed up!!!

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    1. Okay, that's exactly how I felt when I first visited that art room that I currently have. I immediately started plotting my take over (the previous teacher was retiring...so for 2 years I stalked her and her school...no lie!!). I also love that Pirate book, so much fun! Glad you are enjoying it too.

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  9. I think my favorite thing about your room is the 'art supply store'. For me, supplies were always on the round table or the counter, but I love naming it 'the store!' Thanks for sharing your room with us!

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    1. yeah but it totally stumps the new kids. They'll ask for something and the other kids will say, "it's at the store" and they're all, "okay...do I go to the store? How do I get there, I can't drive?!" It's quite entertaining. Poor newbies ;)

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  10. My room is a quarter that size and virtually no wall space. Looks like you have fun, drums!

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    1. Oh, I understand, I've been there. Hopefully you can make use of your hall space outside of your room? You can quiz the kids while they are outside your door maybe? Just a thought. Yeah, those drums. I love 'em...the teachers who share the same walls as the art room? Not as much ;)

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  11. Anonymous8/09/2014

    Thank you for the tour.! You have given me lot's of inspiration..

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  12. Hmm, so I don't know if my last comment posted. Just in case it didn't, I was just saying how much I (pink puffy heart) LOVE your theme of Mexico this year! I really appreciate your attention to detail in all aspects of your room, guuuurl. Hope you are having a great first week!

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  13. This was a great post Cassie, thanks for the inspiration! I just found the frames at Michaels (80% off plus my teacher discount had me expecting the police to pull me over as I left the parking lot). Teacher karma is the best. FYI: They have a really big selection of Day-of-the-Dead stuff right now. I bought a couple of sugar skull wooden cut outs just so they would have a legitimate purchase from me - gotta cover those tracks so they don't lock the doors when they see me coming!

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  14. Anonymous9/13/2014

    I needed a little inspiration and this post offered a TON!! Thank you!!

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  15. I love the frames idea...Those are so cute!

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  16. Anonymous4/13/2016

    Where did you get the shelves for the large art work?

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    1. My art room used to be the school library...so the shelving came with the room. The tall wooden cart for artwork also came with my room. I'll look for a label and get back to you!

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Thank you so much for your comments. I appreciate each and every one :)