Wednesday, October 30, 2019

In the Art Room: Teaching Kindness and Teamwork

This year, my students sit at "table teams". Typically, I do a red table and an orange table and the rest...but this year, I switched to calling them teams. I've been keeping track of table team points on Class Dojo and it has really been making a difference in behavior. Now, just to be clear, I don't do a Mrs. Smith's Orange Team...instead it's whoever sits at the orange table in the entire school. This makes keeping up with points a whole lot easier. My students can earn points whenever we transition from directions to work, clean up or whatever I see fit (cuz I'm the boss, Applesauce). To encourage a teamwork vibe, I recently created these bingo dauber GIANT table clothes for my students to work on and write kind messages to one another. Here's a video to share some more:
Each of these banners was created with bulletin board paper and my bingo dauber hack. Each dauber is filled with diluted India ink.
Y'all know I love making big banners for my students to color and/or paint. For these, my students will use construction paper crayons.

Since I cover my table clothes with giant messy mats, I think these will make it for quite a while. Thinking of having them laminated so they could make it until the end of the year. I'll keep you posted.

Do you have table teams? How do you inspire teamwork, cooperation and kindness?

Here's hoping my students love them as much as I do! 

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Sunday, October 27, 2019

School Wide Collaborative for our Library!

Way back in May, my students worked together during field day to create some artwork that was requested by our amazing librarian. Well, I'm excited to share that last week, their work was hung and the library looks incredibly colorful because of it! Check out this tour:
My excited face and vein popping neck say it all, folks. 
School wide collabs (a project that all of your students work on that remains in the school as a permanent display) can be a big task. Especially when you only see your students once a week. That's why I love to do my school wide collaboratives on a day when I see all of my students at once: FIELD DAY! In the past, I was supposed to do sidewalk chalk for a day as apart of field day. You all...I did that one time in the 90 degree humidity that is Tennessee spring and I decided never again. And that's how our Field Day collaboratives was born. You can read more about it in detail here. Or you can hear more about it here:
I have about 350 students in my school. I had to have a lot of options available for them on field day so they would each be able to take part. I loved how each piece ended up turning out. 
We painted on 8" X 11" canvas board for the numbers and letters. However, matteboard would have worked as well. In a pinch, cardboard might even do the trick if it were primed with gesso first. 
 If these look familiar to you, that's because we did our first large painting like this the year before. It was such a hit it inspired several more. You can read about our first attempt here. 
 The set up for the day was pretty easy. We simply used up the paint we'd had at the end of the year. My chairs were gone because we'd just had our art show . All I had to do was move some tables around, make some signs and prep. Okay. Not gonna lie...the prep did take a while...
 Like making these big banners to be used at the start of the school year...
And these giant canvases...

 But, you know what, totally worth it. 
I think the letters make me the most happy. I drew the letters in pencil on canvas board. The kids could either paint the letters in all cool or all warm colors and then use the opposite for the background. 
 I thought they looked amazing...and then we framed them. Fabulous!
We've done so many school wide collaboratives now that I think I'm long overdue for a recap post! I love doing them because it's like we are leaving behind our own little fingerprint on our school. Just thought I'd share!

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Sunday, October 13, 2019

Are you Being Bullied?

Never in a million years did I think that one of the hardest parts about teaching would be dealing with the adults. Adults who behave badly. Adults who treat others poorly. Adults who are bullies. 
In this week's podcast episode, I'll be talking about just that: bullies in your building. UGH. They worst. Who knew that junior high never officially ends? Here's the episode if you'd like to take a listen here:

And, in case you didn't know, I have a podcast! It's a new one I started late this summer and I've been having a blast creating it. Well, I take that hasn't been entirely a blast as I'm doing all the recording and editing myself. So it's been a HUGE learning curve with a side of a blast. You can listen and subscribe on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts or even here if you'd like to listen from whatever you are currently using!
At the top of the podcast episode, you heard me share this week's sponsor: Prang Tru-Ray Art Teacher of the Month. Look, I NEVER run sponsored ads here on my blog. It's never been my thing. BUT this right here is too good not to share (and, full disclosure, I'm not getting paid to promote them here...I just think this opportunity is too awesome NOT to!). I know that there are many days when I feel unappreciated. I love that Tru-Ray Prang are running this wonderful monthly campaign to give a shout out and some love to some much deserving folks: art teachers! More details here. 
When editing my podcast episodes, I've taken to doodling. These little reminders are as much for me as they are for you. YOU gotta stand up for YOU. No one is gonna fight those bully battles...and no one should have to. LOVE you. Have a wonderful week!
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Saturday, October 12, 2019

Sketchbooks in the Art Room!

Here we go, trying sketchbooks once again in the art room! This time around, I'm calling it Sketchbook Town. If you'd like a tour, then here you go: 
My face says it all, don't you think?! 
To kick off sketchbooks, we created our covers! We used 18" X 6" pieces of drawing paper, paint sticks and these decoder sheets. More information (and a download of those sheets!) can be found here. 
Inside each sketchbook are six handouts that I created for my students. I'll be sharing these soon. My students are loving them! Also included are 10 sheets of 6" X 9" pieces of drawing paper. 
In the past, the problem with sketchbooks was storage and accessibility. Where would I store them? How would I make them easy to access? How will the kids know when they can sketch? AND what will they do in their sketchbooks. 

SO MANY QUESTIONS! Let's start with storage. I began by painting this abandoned cabinet I found in an unused classroom. More on how I painted that right here. 
 The cabinet only came with four shelves but I'm thinking of having more made as this seems like a whole lot of wasted space. But, for the time being, each shelf holds a different grade level. Now, I do work in a small school with just 4 classes of each grade (with only 3 of fourth grade!). That means sketchbooks for me are a little more doable. However, the whole 30 minute art class does make it kind of tricky. All that to say, we all got our struggles, right? Here's my solution to one of em: storage. 
Fun fact: if I find a blank surface, I'll paint on it. Usually after a long day at school. While Netflixing. Back to Sketchbook Town!
 I decided to place the cabinet in a rather strange place: right next to the door that leads outside. It works here because it is close to all of our sketching supplies (which I'll get to in a minute). Here you can see the set up. 
 This week, I came up with three rules for sketchbook down. We've had a bit of a "soft opening" over the last month. This has helped me see what issues we'll have in Sketchbook Town...and these were some of them. Finishing too quickly and leaving my S.T. a bit of a mess. NO MORE, artists. No.More.
To insure that my artists are ready for S.T., they gotta follow those steps: finish their work, clean their area and write an exit slip (more about that in my video). Then they are free to draw from observation, instruction or imagination!
I'm hoping to expand this area of options but for now, I'm happy with it. If you'd like to see more, be sure and check out the video. 

Welcome to Sketchbook Town!
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Thursday, October 10, 2019

Simple Embroidery for Day of the Dead

Last Friday, I hosted a Halloween craft night and it was a whole lot of fun. We created super simple embroidery and needle felted decorations. My theme for mine was Day of the Dead but, since I was hosting a bunch of art teachers, I decided to just share the basics and leave the options and creativity up to them. Here's what they came up with: 
 So fun, right?! After sharing these images on my Instagram, I got a lot of questions about embroidery and needle felting basics. This project is all about the basics so I thought I'd create a little easy-peasy tutorial for you and the crafty folks in your life. I do believe children as young as 7 years old could handle this craft with you by their side. Here you go:
If you are not familiar with Day of the Dead and would like to read more, you might want to start here. 
 Supplies needed:

* Embroidery hoop (ours were about 6" wide)
* Fabric (scraps work great for the background!)
* Embroidery floss
* Embroidery or chenille needle
* Craft store felt in a variety of colors

* Wool Roving
* Needle felting tool
* Needle felting cushion
 Instead of needle felting, you could always just glue on flowers, jewels or Halloween decor! The fun part on craft night was having a ton of supplies on hand for everyone and just seeing what all they could dream up!
 I like to keep my Calaveras (skulls) in the hoops and then hang them that way. I have a Halloween Tree (yes, I'm that person) and they look so cute on there.
I hope that tutorial helps. Have a wonderful time creating!

If you like this, you might want to grab MY BOOK, right here!
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Monday, October 7, 2019

In the Art Room: Teaching Line (and more!) to Kindergarten

 Hey, y'all! I've been sharing a lot about my kindergarten friends here lately as I feel as though that it a weakness of mine...and just might be a weakness of yours. While I LOVE teaching kindergarten, I find that I often drop the ball when it comes to teaching them my routines. I know they have a shorter attention span and I love to get them creating when they come to art. It's my weakness and it's something I'm working on...because when I don't, I tend to make those same faces as shown above. 
 One of the most popular posts on this blog was the one I wrote on my Kindergarten Line Unit. It has a ton of lessons, poems and info if you have not checked it out. And while I still do many of the lessons from that unit, I decided to change it up a bit this year with a little Line Game for my kindergarten's first line study. Here's how it worked: 
 Before the kids arrived, I cut paper into 12" squares. Then I added two black dots on each side of the paper (you can kinda see them now, right?). Then, working with the person seated next to them, they were to pick a start dot and their neighbor was to pick their end dot. Then they had to take their line for a walk from one line to another. When all the dots had lines, they had to go on a shape hunt. Lines make shapes! They had to find those shapes and color them in. We used paint sticks to fill in the shapes. 
I loved their final results. One the third 30 minute art class, we learned about collage and created the shape monsters you saw at the start of this blog post. They LOVED that! Here's a little video from one of those art classes:
And if you'd like to see more videos like this or hear my podcast episodes about my dear kindergarten friends, you can hop over here. 

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Sunday, October 6, 2019

In the Art Room: Favorite Fall Art Lessons!

Hey, y'all! It's finally fall-ish feeling around here and I thought it would be the perfect time to share with you some of my very favorite fall art lessons! If you follow the links, most of these lessons include videos for you to use in your art makin' world. To kick it off, here is a fave fall lesson of mine: First Grade Woven Owls!
I love this weaving lesson so stickin' much! You can find all the details both in my fibers book or right here in my blog post
Here's another fun fall lesson that I did with my first graders but would be awesome with older grades too. This one involved learning about a contemporary artist, painting, collaging and printing. So much! Details here.
If you are looking to create something a little spooky with your kids, I KNOW they will love this van Gogh inspired haunted mansion lesson. 
Marker prints are my favorite! So easy, such little mess and so stinkin' pretty! You can find out all the details on this lesson right here. 
If you need a beautiful fall landscape lesson in your life, then here you go!
All of my students loved creating these Loud Mouth Monsters last year! It rated pretty high on the fave project list. You can find out more and see a video here. 
Of course giving thanks and showing gratitude is always perfect this time of year (and all times of the year, right?!). Here are my three favorite gratitude lessons!
Another fun fall printing lesson can be found here. Instead of creating the printing pans, you can always use Gelli-Plates! 
This lesson I have done with my students as young as first grade! They love it and the results are always stunning. More details here.

I hope these fall lessons leave you feeling inspired. Happy Fall, y'all!  

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