Tuesday, January 31, 2017

In the Art Room: 101 Day of School Dalmatians!

Y'all know I'm always game to dress like a crazy person. So when the first grade team at my school approached me this and asked if I'd dress as Cruella Deville for their 101st Day of School celebration, you know I was more than game. I mean, I already had the wig and everything

Since we were doing all things 101 Dalmatians, I decided to have the kids create art based on the sweet spotted pups. You can check out the video I created (along with many other art teacherin' videos) here. Here is the video I created...feel free to use it on your 101st Day of School. Or any other, for that matter!
If you are curious to know how we created the heart stamped background, I cover that in this video...I did create the heart stampers for the kids. But in the vid, you'll see me explain how they are made.
We had so much fun with this project! We learned about printing, reviewed the elements of art and built our confidence with a short guided drawing. Many of my students are bringing in puppies from home. They've also started watching the other how-to videos at home...and I love that!
I can't wait to see these in the hallway along with all of the other heart-tastic masterpieces we've been creating. 
 Most kids drew one puppy...but I had several who drew more than one. Here's why: on the day we are drawing, some students said they were not happy with their drawing and they wanted to start again. I told them that in art, we ALWAYS finish what we start (hahahhaahahaa, as if I EVER finish ANYTHING but whatever). I promised them that the following art class, if they still wanted to, they could rewatch the video and draw another. I encouraged them to think of their first drawing as "practice". The following art class, those kids still wanted to create another puppy...but they had forgotten why they "didn't like" their first one. I convinced them to put both into their printed papers and call it Puppy Love.
 The classroom teachers had their kids watch the original 101 Dalmatians so the kids were perfectly frightened of my Cruella threats to "take their fur". 
 I feel more like Cruella meets Anna Wintour...or is it just me?
This was definitely a whole lotta fun and something I hope we do again next year! 

By the way, don't forget about tomorrow night's Make and Take Facebook LIVE Chat! 
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Sunday, January 29, 2017

Art Teacherin': Episode 29

Ah, early finishers. Y'all know what I'm talkin' about: those kids who are "DONE!" like they are some sort of turkey dinner. And isn't it funny how "DONE!" is contagious? It's like popcorn kernels in a bag of microwave popcorn; once one starts poppin', they all do. So...what do you do with those early finishers? Check out this video for my tips, tricks and tour of my art room!

I don't know if you know this but just about every Wednesday night at 8pm CST at this spot, me and a buncha art teacherin' types have a Facebook LIVE chat. We've talked about Classroom Management, Art Shows, What We Wish We'd Known our First Year Teaching, and...Early Finishers. All of these convos are archived here. They have been so much fun. And I'm excited to share that this week, we are doing our first ever MAKE AND TAKE! Here's what we'll be up to...

We are creating Art Teacherin' Assistant Badges!

The idea is this: create fun and cute badges that a select number of students in your art room can wear. These kiddos are your assistants which can mean anything you imagine from helping pass out and collect supplies to peer tutoring, reminding other kids of directions and much more. It's really up to you how you use your badges. In my art room, I plan to create one per table (for me, that's four). Students with questions will ask these Art Teacher Assistants questions (such as "where do I put my artwork?"; "where can I find this supply?"). The Assistant's job is to know the answer (which means listening extra carefully as your buddies are counting on you!) and if they do not, they are to seek out another Assistant. 

My goal is to do the following: empower my students! And, let's be honest, make it so I don't have to repeat myself bunches of times. I have a select number of friends that LOVE to ask me questions which I am quite certain they already know the answers to...just to (drive me bonkers) talk to me. I'm removing this constant exchange so that I am free to roam the room and have more meaningful conversations with my students...and not have to say, "WET PAINTINGS GO ON THE DRYING RACK. DO NOT BRING THEM TO ME. I AM NOT A DRYING RACK." Ahem. 

If you'd like to join the Make and Take badge making fun this Wednesday at 8pm CST, here is the list of supplies I'll be using and recommend. OF COURSE, you can bring and use any ole thing you want. Just so you know...badges will be featured in an upcoming blog post so you know you'll want yours to be the most glittery, sparkly, blingerly (yes, that's a word) in the universe. 

Index cards, card stock, tag board, poster board, etc. Cut into 3" X 4-5" rectangles. These will serve as our badges that students can wear around their necks. Think of a good size for your kiddos. I'm going with index cards.

Packing tape. This is how I will seal my cards...or you could laminate them.

Sharpies, markers, gel pens. Whatever you might like to decorate your badges.

Hole punch. 

String or yarn. So these can be worn.

Puffy paint, glitter, sparkle, bedazzler, etc. Any ole thing you can think of to make your badge one of honor that your students will love to wear!

I'm so excited to create on Wednesday with y'all! I do hope you'll join the fun. AND, in case you want more views of my art room, here's a video I created for my students of my art room. See ya real soon! 

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Field Trip! Mural Artist Gale Hinton

Recently, our school library was magically transformed thanks to our amazing librarian Laurel Aiello and magnificent muralist Gale Hinton
Over a weekend (that's just a matter of days, y'all!), Gale worked tirelessly, climbing up scaffolding and ladders with just paint and imagination as her tools. Gale does little preplanning; no sketching on walls and definitely no projecting of images. She's been doing murals for 50 years (!) and manages to create masterpieces in a matter of hours. When I walked in the library the morning she had started working, she had already created the background of the large mural above the checkout desk. I knew then that I wanted to interview her for my Field Trip! series and I was thrilled when she agreed. 
Isn't she amazing!? 
The selection of books that our librarian pulled for Gale to serve as inspiration. The kids were thrilled to walk in the library and play a game of I Spy looking for the book characters. Gale even has the characters talking to each other which adds another dimension to the mural. 
Gale said she wanted the mural to appear accessible to the students so she had it grow outside of the rectangle border with the ladder coming down from the treehouse and Fancy Nancy dancing on the bookcase. 
 The ladder is so realistic, we've had several kids ask to climb it! 
The speed with which Gale paints is amazing. She began this mural and the one below at 4:30pm and had them both complete by 9 that evening! 
One of my favorite parts of the mural are the quotes that she and Laurel chose. They are so inspiring and empowering for our students. I have yet to tire of reading them and just gazing at all of the beautiful work that Gale did.  
A question I received from my students was why I wasn't painting the mural. As art teachers, our kiddos often see us as the all-encompassing artist. I responded that I am an art teacher, that my skills lie in teaching art. Gale is a professional mural artist, that is her skill which she has cultivated over many years of hard work. There is NO WAY 1. I would get on that scaffolding (and a ladder on top of that, my hands are sweating just thinking about it!) and 2. that I could paint so quickly and with such confidence. What took her days would take me MONTHS and it still wouldn't look nearly as amazing. 
 The beautiful murals were dedicated to Laurel's husband T.J. Aiello. He would have loved seeing the library transformed into such a magical and amazing space. 
 For now, this is my favorite quote painted by Gale...my opinion changes every time I go in the library. 
Thank you so much, Gale, for sitting down with me and the students of JES to chat. AND thank you for sharing your incredible talents on the walls of our school library! 
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Thursday, January 26, 2017

In the Art Room: Clay Heart with Wings Update!

A few weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to lead the amazing teachers at my school in a clay session. It was apart of a team building experience and my trusty admin was open to just about anything. I decided to go with the theme of love as the teachers I work with are truly some of the most loving and caring folks. We chatted about how we love our students and give them wings to fly...and that was the message behind our creations. This morning, I took these beauties out of the kiln and I was so excited, I thought I'd share and give y'all and update!
If y'all recall, the teachers made and glazed these all in about 45 minutes. I had a lot of questions about glazing greenware (fresh clay) and I wanted to chat about the pros and cons. The reason I had the teachers do it all in one sitting as I know that our schedules are so crazy that I'd only have one shot to get everyone in the same room at the same time. The pro is that glazing greenware allowed me to do just that: get every masterpiece completed. The cons are that glazing greenware provides a more pastel look to the glaze coloring as the glaze mixes with the damp clay and dilutes it. Knowing that, when a glaze that didn't look complete in coverage, I added another coat before popping them into the kiln. I also had the help of my specials team who slapped clear glaze on all the pieces and helped me load the kiln (have I ever told y'all how much I love my team?!)
Knowing that I'd have a packed house that day, I decided to create a video that would walk them through the process. This made it so everyone could see and hear my directions while watching the video on my big screen T.V. Here is the video, feel free to use it!
By the way, this is low fire clay, cone 06 and Mayco's Stroke and Coat glaze. 
If you know me and my clay habits, you know I love me some textures in my clay. And I really love how the teachers each used them in their pieces.
 The texture on the heart on the right was from a freebie placemat!
 Several folks opted to leave their hearts all white and I really loved that look as well. The scrolls were created by some teachers...the plan is for them to write a message on the scroll in Sharpie.
 Check out this show stopper!!
I can't wait to have the teachers come and pick up their hearts tomorrow! The plan is for them to use cooper wire as a hanger for their heart. 
 I love how each artist put their own creative spin on their heart.
 The look of this one is so pretty. 
 I had so much fun leading this session...and I heard so much positive feedback from the teachers. I think everyone finds it relaxing to sit, chat and create. It was a fun way to return to school after the winter break. 
Speaking of my team, there's a few of them right there! Love these folks to pieces. 
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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

In the Art Room: Stitched Monsters!

Going LIVE tonight, Wednesday at 8pm CST to talk about some art teacherin' issues! Hope you'll join me over here. See you real soon! 

As my fourth graders are wrapping up their Candy Heart Sculptures and drawing, I'm thinking ahead to a fun fibers unit for them. Last year, this group explored embroidery and did a really fabulous job. I know they will love expanding their knowledge and creating these fun stitched monsters!  
I wanted a stitching project that would introduce them to the following: pattern cutting, pinning, sewing, stuffing and embellishing. I also wanted a fun contemporary artist tie-in and I found the artist behind Cotton Monster, Jennifer Strunge, to be perfect. 
Aren't her monsters just the most amazing thing ever? I need one in my life, stat. 

Here's the video I created to introduce my kiddos to Jennifer and all things stitching! Feel free to use it in your art teacherin' world. I think it would be perfect for 3rd grade on up.
We will be using the following supplies:

* 9" X 12" sheet of Smart-Fab or felt
* Additional felt for arms, legs and details
* Tacky glue
* Sharp tapestry needles
* 4 pins per student
* Scissors
* Embroidery floss or crochet thread
* Paper needle threaders

I anticipate this project will take my students 3 one-hour art classes. When I share my video, I show it to the kids in short bursts. I then allow them to go work and set my timer for the amount of time I expect it will take them. When the timer goes off, finished or not, all kids report to the floor for the next video viewing. 
On Day 1, we'll learn about Jennifer Strunge, cut out arms, pin them in place and, hopefully, stitch one side. The following day, we should be able to wrap up the stitching, turn inside out and start working on the face. We will pulling out our Monsters of Creativity collages and looking at those for inspiration! 
Day 3 (and, let's be honesty, probably Day 4) will include gluing the parts of the face down, stuffing and stitching closed. 
I'm thinking of tasking my early finishers to think of themselves as toy creators and their monsters as their creation. As such, they'll need to think of their monster as a product. Who will it be sold to? How will it be packaged? What will be the price? Why should people buy it? I'll keep you posted on this adventure!
Have y'all done stitched monster projects with your students? Love to hear what you've done! And if you do this project, please be sure and let me know, I'd love to see your student's creations. 
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Monday, January 23, 2017

DIY: Enchanted Tiki Room

If you know me, you know I love Disney(land, preferably) and I love all things retro. So it wouldn't be a stretch to assume that I love the Enchanted Tiki Room. I know, it's so cheesy, you better bring the Ritz crackers but I just can't help myself! When I was a kid, my grandparents would take me, my Aunt Judy and my cousin Ang to a little place in Florida called Tiki Gardens. While the grandparents got all sorts of happy on Mai Tais, we explored the faux Hawaiian terrain, squawked at the parrots and picked out oysters to have pried open for pearls. I have such happy memories of that time and such a love for that sort of kitschiness, that it inspired me to create a wee corner of my crafting room into an Enchanted Tiki Room. 
True Confession #147: I often buy things at the thrift store because I find them interesting/inspiring/neato-mosquito but don't have a clue what I'll end up doing with them. Case in point, those faux bamboo frames. I think I've been hoarding them for at least four years just waiting for the perfect project. And I'm so glad I did. They inspired this Tiki-Tastic corner! 
My other inspiration came in the form of a trip for toilet paper to Target. You know the story, walk into Target for t.p., walk out with $146.76 worth of stuff that you JUST HAD TO HAVE. That's exactly what happened when I spotted these fun round frames at Target. Did you know they now have a "craft" isle? Y'all. I am in SO.MUCH.TROUBLE. After flipping through my Tiki Pop book for inspo, I threw back a glass of my version of Mai Tai (red wine, anyone?) and started blocking in this painting. Man. How I've missed painting. 
 After a couple of nightly painting sessions, Blue Bernice was starting to take shape. I have currently been inspired by Vladimir Tretchikoff  which is why Bernice is that lovely shade of blue. If you follow me here, you've seen the nightly progress. 
True Confession #148: I did struggle with painting that cleavage. Mostly because I don't have one and I was all, "what is that SUPPOSED to look like?!" In other news, I love painting, have I mentioned that? I'm just using craft store grade acrylic here. In college, I got my degree in oil painting and I love to slap that paint on. I don't have the patience for the dry time or tolerance for the smell of oils but cranking out these acrylic paintings sure does scratch that itch. 
Once Bernice was complete, I moved on to a shameless copy of the Disney image of the Enchanted Tiki Room. 
Just a wee process photo. I start with a super quick sketch and then a blocking in of the colors. I always limit my color palette because I LOVE ALL THE COLORS and therefore want to use ALL THE COLORS. So limiting that temptation is for the best. 
 I sit entirely too close to my paintings which means they get all sorts of crazy up close. 
I tried not to get carried away with detail knowing that I would be viewing these from a distance that was not six inches. 
Since those two previous paintings took quite a bit of time, I was determined to bust out the two tiki paintings. I pulled together a few of my favorite colors and did some dry brushing in the background. 
Once dry, I lightly sketched out my tiki head and then just set about painting with not too much of a plan in mind. 
 Most tiki masks found online were pretty scary looking. I wanted mine to be of the friendly variety, so I painted them kind of silly/happy. I just imagined them being at Disney...and came up with these cheesy faces. 
 Originally, I was going to hang them square but when the moms came to visit this weekend (we had a double dose visit of my mom and Mitch's mom), my mom suggested hanging the squares like a diamond. I really liked that idea. It added a bit more fun and funk to the arrangement. 
This guy was painted in the same way: dry brush, one color tiki mask painting. 
Currently, these bad boys of tiki town, hang in my craft room, right above my favorite vintage chest of craft supplies. For more of a tour of my crafting space, check here and here. Until next time, kids! 

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