Thursday, January 28, 2016

In the Art Room: LOVE This Sub Plan Collaborative!

As some of y'all might know because I've been talking about it nonstop (I often wonder just how I have acquired so many nice friends that allow me to ramble on and on without complaint. My guess is that they've formed some sort of support group), I've been out of school for several days due to el jury duty-o. You can see what I wore here cuz you know you wanna. Anywho, knowing that I was gonna be out for so long, I knew I'd have to leave some legit sub plans. So I created a couple of videos and was super pleased to see that both the kids and the subs were happy with the result. AND LOOK! Check out what they made whilst I was doin' my civic duty!
This is JUST ONE of the MANY huge banners that the kids created! Each child, kindergarten through fourth, created a quarter of a heart. Students with extra time then worked on making the letters. I was so excited to see them today that I used my planning time to hot glue them into place. To do that, I "borrowed" a roll of bulletin board paper from our work room, unrolled it onto my art room floor and set to work a-gluing. Like I said, this is just one big banner...the kids also created ones with letters that spell out SMILE, HAPPY and PEACE. They'll be going up on a large wall in our school cafeteria. But this one I was so stoked about that I grabbed a couple of teacher friends in the hallway and had them help me slap it up on the wall this afternoon. 
Our inspo for this project came from the artist Romero Britto and the art teacher Jenny K! Jenny has a great drawing sheet that features Britto and his designs. Knowing that I was going to be out several days, I really wanted a project that the kids could work on happily and successfully and be something that could brighten up and spread the good word of LOVE throughout our school!
On the first day I was out, I left this video for my sub to share with the students. I've never done video'ed sub plans before but I gotta tell ya, I'm NEVER going back to paper plans! This was fun and easy for both the sub and kids. And a happy sub is one that spreads the good word. I heard from my admin and teacher buds that both of my subs were thrilled to work in my room. Of course, I took the guess work out of it and made their day cake!
Today was my first day back and it's also my busiest of days. You now how it feels when you've been gone for many days, you feel completely out of the loop! I really felt relieved coming back knowing that my room was going to be in order and that my students would continue this project. Here are my kindergarten friends coloring away.
Many of you asked me about the art stix I refer to in the video. My students have a set of these and they are well loved. They are made by Prisma and are essentially the led of a color pencil. The colors are fantastically vibrant and the kids love using them. 
My younger students, kindergarten through first, created the bottom of the hearts while my older ones did the top. The reason behind this is that my older students have longer art classes and therefore more time to work on the big spaces. The papers the kids used are 12" squares. My sub and I used templates to create the thick line diagonal line that you see as well as the heart hump line (I know there's prolly a better word then heart hump but you knew what I was talking about, didn't you?!).
So that they could spot their part of the heart later, the student's name was written along the edge of their design. 

Once I started laying out the hearts I felt like they needed a little something more. So I flipped some upside down and noticed the diamond negative shape that was created. It was then I got the idea to have the kids create letters for those spaces. That's what this follow up video is all about...
I put the sub in charge of tracing letters and the kids cut them out before decorating them.
This was such a successful sub plan that even though I'm not finished with assembling all of the pieces, I just had to share it with you right away! You know, in case you wanna do something like this for Valentine's Day. It's definitely a no-fuss type of project. Definitely one to consider at the start of the new school year when you want to introduce all of the elements of art and start your year with that WOW! factor. If you are interested in more of my lil videos, you can subscribe to my youtube channel here
In other fun and exciting news, you can hear my podcast interview with the INCREDIBLE Patty Palmer of Deep Space Sparkle, here! And if you do this lesson, please let me know, I'd love to hear your tips, tricks and see your student's end result!
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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

DIY: A Needle Felted Emojis Dress

If you're anything like me (which, if that be the case, the funny farm is gonna be full up soon), then you find that you can do all of your communicating in emojis. They truly say it all. I even turned in my most recent lesson plan completely emoji-fied and it was more comprehensible than most. Turns out there is an emoji for all of the latest edu-buzzwords! Hint: it's the one that looks like a steamy pile o' pooh.

In other less stinky news...
THIS blog that you are reading right now when you probably should be doing twenty other way better things, won first place down at the Art of Educations Art Teacherin' Blog o' the Year. Say whuuuut? Thank you so much for all of your encouragement and support! It truly means the world to me, I love all y'all! AND I love the other blogs -n- buddies that won and were nominated, each and everyone has it's own unique and art-mazing voice. If you follow the linky-loo above, it will lead you down a rabbit hole of art blog-tanasticness!
This is my best, "oh gee, thanks, AOE" pose while I greedily snatch that badge outta their hands and slap it on my blog. I didn't want 'em goin' all Steve Harvey on me and pass it along to someone else, y'all!
In other exciting news, I had the AMAZING opportunity to chat with one of my art bloggy besties, Patty Palmer recently! She is the most incredible art teacherin'/entrepreneur there is and I was thrilled when she asked if I'd like to be apart of her podcast. She's had some big stars on her 'cast like The Great Jessica Balsley and The Amazing Heidi Easley. My chat with Patty will go live on her blog on Thursday. You can drop by and listen anytime for free (as well as listen to those past podcasts I mentioned)!
But enough about all that, let's get back to our originally scheduled blog-cast: A Needle Felted Emojis Dress!
I actually wore this bad boy to jury duty today, sans wig. After the nice lecture the judge gave us about how much he appreciated us answering our call of civic duty, I was all, geesh. Now I can't wear my wig, totes guilt-trip! I even toned down my attire yesterday only to have a woman give me the up/down, pat my arm and say, "Oh, honey. You have nothing to worry about. They won't pick you." When she spotted me today, her eyeballs hit the floor. I was all, "But lady! I'm not even wearing my rainbow wig!"
So whilst I was stabbing away at this dress (which is what you do for needle felting. Go here for videos and deets, y'all), I got to thinking. I should make plethora of emojis that express my emotions during one solitary art class. Because, let's face it, even in my thirty minute art classes, I run the gamut of the following emotions, er, emojis...
CRAY EMOJI: This is how the kids usually find me, jacked up on coffee and ready to create! It should come as no surprise that I'm often referred to as "That Crazy Art Teacher" by the kids. My fave thing is when we get a new student. At times, I've found the other kids giving them a warning at the door before I even meet them. Or just giving them a slow reassuring nod when we are seated on the floor. You know, one that says, "We aren't dealing with an adult that knows how to adult. It's okay. We'll be the grown up for the next 30 minutes."
EMBARRASSED EMOJI: Although, there are those times when they manage to even out-crazy we art teachers. Like that time a group of my kindergarteners decided that my Mr. Sketch Markers must taste as good as they smell (word to the wise: NEVER buy the scented markers unless you want kinders slobbering all over them!). Or how 'bout the time another kindergartener (um, do you see a pattern here? It's always the kindergarteners that manage to out cray the cray, amiright?) decided that the best way to solve getting paint on her was to just go topless whilst painting. While a parent volunteer was in the room. I don't think I've EVER referred to the dress code until that day when I said, "WE ARE NOT ALLOWED TO BE WITHOUT OUR SHIRTS IN ART CLASS!" 
DORK-MODE EMOJI: You know we all got into this art teacherin' biz cuz we are such dorks for all things art. I love nerding it up, chatting with the kids about art history, technique, whateves. In one convo with, you guessed it, a kindergarten class, I was explaining Roy G. Biv. When I asked the kids what the "V" stood for, they were stumped. I prompted them with, "You know, looks like purple, starts with the letter V?" It was then that one girl shouted out, "VAGENTA!" and my face went straight to THE SCREAM emoji...
All the kids thought she was correct so they ALL started saying "vagenta" and I almost died. Look, I dunno what vagenta is but I'm pretty sure that if you got it, you outta get yourself to the OB-GYN. I bet they make a cream for that. 
LOVE EMOJI: But, who am I kidding. From fourth grade all the way down to those crazy kindergarteners, I do love 'em all. And you know we are lurved by them. 
SMOOCHES EMOJI: But, let's be honest, there are those times that we do love to see 'em go. BYE Felicias! Smell ya next time!
On a dif note, I gotta tell you a lil secret. That's a wig. I KNOW, TOTES HAD YOU FOOLED (insert wink emoji). I've been toying with the idea of investing in wigs (because they are pricy, y'all!) because I love the thought of being able to change my hairstyle without doing a thing to my hair. I actually suffer from hair-cut-phobia as I've not updated my do in, like, eonzz. I purchased this one here if y'all are interested in being twinzies. Until next time (insert smooches/bye Felicia emoji)! 
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Thursday, January 21, 2016

In the Art Room: It's Okay to be Different! Part 2

Y'all. I realized recently that I never shared the finished product of our Todd Parr inspired It's Okay to be Different mural. Which wasn't an accident. It's been on my To-Do list to finish this beast (there are still 140 more selfies that will flank the sides of this bad boy) and when I exhaustedly sighed to my buddy the custodian this evening that I really should stick around and do it, he said, "Eh. Go home and put your feet up. Do it tomorrow." He's a super smart dude so I decided to take his advice and work on it later...but share it with y'all today! 
When you walk out of my art room door, this is the first thing you see, these silly, happy and different faces! I went through the process of just how the kids, kindergarten through fourth grade, created these painted and collaged pieces in this post so be sure to take a peak!
Our inspo was this fun and colorful book. This book is short and sweet and perfect for my various age groups. It also packs a powerful message: it's okay to be different! I try my hardest to stress this, self-importance and uniqueness in my art room. All our lives, we are told to fit in, follow along, do whatever it is that Susie is doing that gets her oodles of praise from her teacher. But just how boring would life be if we were all Susies? You're YOU and nobody else...and that's simply wonderful!
Not to mention totes adorbs. 

As the kids finished off their selfies, I started collecting them and laying them out on a huge roll of paper. We happen to have this 12' wide roll of paper at my school which I've pretty much claimed as Art Room Property. I love using it for murals like these so I can just start hot gluing these guys down. 
We've done several murals at my school (full list with links below) and I've been asked by a handful of art teacherin' types if the kids are ever sad that they don't often get their pieces returned to them. I explain to them at the start of the project that their handwork will be enjoyed by many for a long time (this piece will probably stay up until the start of the new school year and possibly beyond. I really love it!). I also snapped photos of them to eventually pop up onto ArtSonia so the kids will have the chance to share with family in their online gallery. 
 However...I do have this wild and crazy idea. Once I [finally] get all of the pieces hung, I want to snap a couple of high resolution pics and have their work made into fabric on Spoonflower! AND THEN make a dress from it. Oh, but that's a secret. Don't tell los kiddos. Especially not the dude on the top right. He looks like he's having a bad day already. 
Big Ole School-Wide Collaboratives and Murals are super fun but, not gonna lie, a whole lotta work. I've shared many of mine in the past. Here's a lil list if you wanna take a look-see:

Whew! And if you just wanna read more about school-wide collaboratives, get yerself here, kids.
And when your done clickin' on all them linky-loos, pop over here, check out these awesome blogs and throw a sympathy vote my way, would ya?
Until next time, just remember, IT'S OKAY TO BE DIFFRENT*, er, DIFFERNT ;) 

[diffrent: when you pay a different rent then you and your landlord agreed upon. "C'mon, man. I told you the rent was $50 a night, not $45. Don't be pullin' no diffrent action!"]
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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

In The Art Room: Art Teacherin' Resolutions for the New Year, Part 2

Hey, y'all! A while back, I shared with you some of my Art Teacherin' Resolutions for the Brand Spankin' New Year (that post is jam-packed with resources from all over the place so if you've not checked it out, do it. I spent, like, foreverness on it. That's right, I be guilt-trippin' you into reading that post). So far, I'm loving almost all of the new thingies I've introduced to the kids (one is getting tweaked, deets to come!) and I thought I'd do a Part 2 because, let's face it, there's a whole lotta things that need to be resolved in my art room, y'all. 

But first, this just in!
This silliness of a blog has been nominated for AOE's Blog o' the Year Contest! I'd love y'all to throw a vote my way but, more importantly, go and check out all of the incredible blogs nominated! There are some new ones for me and I cannot wait to spend my snow day checking them out (okay, we've not gotten the "snow-yay phone call YET...I'm using the Power of Positive Thinkerin'). 
Art Room Jobs: Okay, so speaking of AOE, I have a girl-crush on one of their writers, Alecia Eggers. She is THE MOST organized art teacher on the planet, y'all! I want her to come, organize my art room, my life and, finally become my life coach. I learn so much from her posts and videos on AOE. However, because I am such a hot mess, I always have to put her tips and tricks into a Cassie-Fur-Realz context. I get all excited when I see her ideas but then I take a deep breath and say, "Cassie, fur realz? Is this something you can maintain?" Well, with my spin on Alecia's clean-up jobs, I think I can! I have the jobs you see above posted in two places in my art room. One under the large telly in the top photo (it's small but big enough for the kids to view when they sit on the floor) and the other is Large Marge on my white board (shown above). 
Because my tables are covered in paper and my chairs get moved around so much, I decided to color code the table legs! I used stickers but they were pretty lame at sticking so I ultimately put clear tape over them. Which means I coulda just used cut pieces of construction paper. Le sigh. Now, my tables seat four children...but most seats are not taken. So the kids know they must do their job and the job of an empty seat beside them. Let's talk jobs!
TABLE TIDIER: So, like, make the table tidy. Like how you found it. Only better. Hence make it tidy-errrr. Which means supplies put back...
Scissors and pencils in their lil orange caddy, table top trash can emptied (which is just a Folder's coffee can with a laminated Warhol print wrapped around it) and drawers of art supplies organized and closed. 
Speaking of, I've not really thought through my drawers yet (uh, that didn't sound quite right). I know glue in various forms will go in the top drawer (glue sticks, glue sponges and glue cups) but the lower drawers are pretty much empty. I'm thinking eventually our everyday-ish supplies will go there like oil pastels, colored pencils, you get the idea. I'd love to print up some pretty labels too...but that's on the back burner with everything else. 
MESSY MAT MOPPER: Did y'all notice my laminated and ART-ucational messy mats?! You don't even know how happy these guys make me! But more on that in a minute. The job of the mopper is to use a pre-dampened sponge to wipe down the mats on their table. This job is a favorite currently. Because kids are weird. 
MATERIALS MASTER: These dudes and dudettes are in charge of, you guester, materials. They have to get out the special supplies for their class and put them back at the end of class. In my Barbie Art Teacherin' Dream World, I'd have my counters labeled and all that jazz. But, look, I'm no Alecia Eggers, okay?!

SOUND SILENCER: Ya know. They get to shush the above-a-whisperin' kids. This job is also a fave...unless the SS is a known chatter-box. Which leads to self-shushing. Always fun to observe. 
 Art-U-cational Messy Mats!: All my classroom teacher friends have these awesome things taped to student desks. The alphabet. A number chart. Other stuff. For years I've wanted to do something similar but I couldn't figure out why/how/spaghetti (ADHD. The struggle is I LOVE PIZZA real). Then I started buying things off TPT like it was going outta style and one of them was this fab-o Elements of Art purchase by Mrs. Nguyen  (also a Blogger of the Year contender, go girl!!). 
For the reverse side of the mat, I found a free color wheel and color mixing chart on the interwebs. 
The kids have LOVED seeing the recipes on their mats! One first grader even thanked me and some kindergarteners were excited to see that what they were painting was correct according to the mat. It was a chore to make these (I had my fab friend Carol give a girl a hand, thank you, Carol!) and it did take us about 2 hours to cut, glue and laminate 25. But I think they will last a good long time. 
 Relocated "I Can" Wall: Previously this was located by my telly but it often was blocked by an easel. And then I would forget to update it and refer to it. Like, seriously, that's bad, y'all! (please ignore the HAWT MESS EXPRESS under my demo table. ALECIA! CLEAN UP IN AISLE 13!)
Of course the I CAN's include an I CAN DANCE TO OLD 70'S RECORDS. Which wouldn't be complete without a disco ball, y'all. 
 The "I Can's" are divided by grade level and by "Today, I Can...", "So That I Can..." and "I Know I've GOT IT When...". I also used these awesome magnetic strips I found at the Parent/Teacher Store to divide up my board. 
 Filmed Sub Plans!: If y'all were here 10 minutes ago, you know I filmed my latest sub plan (go here, kids). I remember reading about how Ron Clark does this and thinking, that is GENIUS. Well now that I'm out for several days for jury duty, I thought I'd give it a shot. I went to school this morning to prep and I met my sub. I could tell she was a little nervous about the whole thing (she had an understandable technology aversion of which I can relate) but at the end of the day, when I dropped by, I heard she LOVED it! And look!
I just grabbed a couple of fourth grade and second grade pieces, put them together and let out a squeal! They did fab-o! I'll share the finished mural soon. This has made jury duty and missing teaching the kids a little less painful.

Alrightie! That's all the Art Teacherin' Resolutions for 2016! Here's to stickin' to 'em. Cheers! 
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