Monday, June 14, 2021

Podcast: How to Tackle Your Biggest Goal!

I know most people set goals at the start of the new year but I'm inclined to set my goals at the start of summer. I think many teachers are as we have the long and lovely days to work toward accomplishing them. But how many summers have we set the same goals only to, well, not achieve them? It's so frustrating! Today, I'm talking about that very thing on my podcast. You can take a listen here or wherever you download podcasts. 

I mention both of these books in my podcast so I thought I'd share. I recently finished The Four Agreements and I could read it over again, it's just so good. I did enjoy The 100-Day Goal Journal but definitely not for 100 days. It did help me change my thinking and work toward my goals. 

And in case you need a little background's that song I mentioned in my podcast. I don't often quote the Beebs but when I you go. 

Thanks for listening, friends!

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Monday, June 7, 2021

Podcast Episode: Does You have to Suffer to Succeed?

Hey, y'all! This is the topic I'll be talking about at length on my podcast, Cassie Stephens. I mentioned in the podcast that I'd share the movie and books I referenced so here you go!

I do also want to share that my book is no longer available for pre-sale but it's now FOR SALE! You can snag a copy of your new fave summer read right here. 

We also have spots available for the Art Teacherin' Extravaganza! So if you are thinking of signing up, now is the time. Feel free to send me an email at if your school is in need of a PO. I can also send along info that just might help you sway your admin to pay for your spot. 
The 2018 movie American Animals was one I really enjoyed...but it's a particular scene that resonated with me and got me thinking. If you've not seen this movie yet, you may want to check it out. It has a strong artist connection so I think you'll dig it.
These two books are the ones I draw quotes from in the podcast. I will say that Man's Search for Meaning was a very emotionally difficult read for the first just beware. I just started The Four Agreements this weekend and I'm nearly finished. It's a fast and amazing read that I cannot recommend enough. 

I have not finished this one yet...I hit the pause button on reading it as the author kept referencing Man's Search for Meaning. I decided to read that first and then I'll return to the 7 Habits. Since I mentioned it in the podcast, I thought I'd share here. 

Thanks, y'all! I hope you enjoy the episode. I'd love to hear your thoughts. If you'd like to chat, feel free to drop me a line at I'm also taking questions to be answered in future episodes so if you have any, don't hesitate to throw them my way!

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Wednesday, June 2, 2021

How to Create a Collaborative Paint-by-Color Painting for Your School!

If you know me...then you know I do my field day duties a little different than the rest of the school. After years of face painting, snow cone-ing and watching kids grow bored of sidewalk chalkin' after five mintues, I decided a couple of things:

1. It's too dang hot outside on field day!

2. It's the PERFECT way to do a collaborative because you see all the kids in the whole school all in one day!

You can read all about the field day activies that I love to do in this post. My fave: BACK TO SCHOOL BANNERS! More details here including a video!

The kids REALLY enjoyed painting on this...and I've been really excited to give this a go for a while. I'll be sure to share the final result soon. Thanks, y'all! 

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Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Let's Make a Symmetrical Butterfly!

Recently, my kindergarten and first graders created guided painting symmetrical butterflies! This is a very old lesson of mine...which you can find here. The video I created then was geared toward art teachers. I decided to update the video and make it so you can share it with the artists in your life. Here you go:

Of course you'll need to pause as they go. 
We used black tempera paint and I told the kids to apply the paint so that it is shiny. This made for a better print. Once they understood how the process worked, they knew what to do. 
Color was added with brown, yellow and orange oil pastels. The kids were told to color in those three colors in stripes and then color OVER those three colors with yellow to create a gradation. Afterward, we drew designs in the background with a white oil pastel and then added color to the background with blue liquid watercolor. Have fun! 

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Monday, May 3, 2021

I Designed a Mobile Classroom (with a whole lotta help!)

Last summer, I was told that I may be on a cart. I was I know so many of you all were to got similar news. I am very fortunate in that my art room is very large (once upon a time, it was a library) so that saved me from my cart-fate. However, when I did think I was going to be on a cart, I decided to dig in and start doing some research. If I was gonna be on a cart, I wanted the very best. 

What I found is...there wasn't one that really suited my needs. 

It was then that I reached out to my friends at Prang. As many of you know, Prang is the maker of some of our favorite art supplies but not furniture. It was a bit of a stretch to even ask if they would wish to venture into the furniture business but I thought it was worth a shot. Thankfully, they understood the need for a cart designed by a teacher for a teacher. And we got to work. 
Right away, we decided that this wasn't going to be a cart. This was going to be a classroom on wheels, a Mobile Classroom. For weeks, I sketched out ideas and dreams for the cart before I brought the ideas to Spectrum Industries, the company that brought my ideas to life. When I said I wanted a pop up table, metal pegboard, a locker and a whiteboard that could come up and out of the art, Jon Riggs, one of the designers at Spectrum, made it happen. 
Before I dive into any details on the cart, let me just say that all of the info you need can be found here
When designing the Prang Mobile Classroom, we decided to name each part of the cart after a place in a classroom. So the handle has three cup holders or a cup holder and two paper holders as well as a pencil/phone/odds and ends know, everything you'd want on your desk! Just below that is an electrical strip so you can stay plugged in. I'm a huge fan of pegboard! I love the customizable capabilities of it. While the pegboard hardware does not come with the cart, it can be found at most hardware stores. 
The pegboard is metal which means that it can also double as a place for you to magnize vocabulary words or posters and signs. 

The top of the cart has a lip around it. This is so you won't lose items off of your cart as you roll down the hall!
The cart comes with two adjustable shelves that also have a lip on the end. Each shelf can hold up to 50 lbs each and I was able to stock crayons, markers, watercolor paint, paper, tempera paint and more in the 'supply cabinet'.
The Demo Area is where the pop up table is. This table can be a place for your students to gather around as you demonstrate or...
You can use it with your mobile device or document camera! The adjustable device mount allows you to turn this into a lesson recording place as well. 
The cart comes equipped with four 5" balloon casters that each lock. These are the best wheels on the market!

There's a locker for all of your valubles like your purse and phone when you need to step away from your cart.
And the dry erase board! It comes all the way out so you can place it anywhere in the room you are teaching in. It is also double-sided so you can have multiple lessons written on it. 
Now is the time to ask your school for a mobile classroom. I know that recently we were told that our school was able to fill wishlists as districts receive relief funding from the government. If you know that you are going to be on a cart next year, it may be wise to ask now. 
It's a terrible thing to be without an art room. I get it. And if you are in that situation, you and your students deserve the next best thing. I'm hoping that the Prang Mobile Classroom is it. 
To find out more about where your school can purchase a Mobile Classroom for you, be sure and click the link for details. 
Thanks for letting me share, y'all!

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Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Bleeding Tissue Paper Flower Garden!

Need a quick art lesson for your students? I have a couple of classes that are ahead of the rest of the kindergarten and first are creating these bleeding tissue paper flower gardens for Mothers/Grandmothers day! Here's a how-to video:

To add some extra pizazz, frame these in plates that look like fancy frames from Hobby Lobby! 

Also...did you know about PRECUT bleeding tissue paper squares? Yep! Just one of the things I am currently addicted to that are available in my Amazon store. That's right, I have an Amazon Store! You can check out all the goodies that I just love right here. 

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Tuesday, April 13, 2021

5 Fun and Easy Earth Day Projects!

Hello, friends!

Earth Day is next week and I thought I would share 5 fun and easy projects for the occasion! I created these lessons last year during the shutdown. So if you are teaching virtually or homeschoolin' and limited supplies, you might find something here! Each one has a video that I've added. You can also learn more about what supplies you'll need by clicking on the link. Have fun!

Creating your own salt dough clay is super easy! Learn all about it here. 

Make a fun Earth Day poster by following along here. 

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Monday, April 12, 2021

Preorder My Book: Art Teacherin' 101!

Friends! I'm so excited to announce that after 23 years of art teacherin' and 2 years of sitting in front of my laptop, biting my nails and spillin' my art teacherin' guts that my book, Art Teacherin' 101, is NOW AVAILABLE FOR PREORDER
What's Art Teacherin' 101? Well, in short, it's everything I wish I would have known as I entered the world of teaching art. But it's also a book that I hope can help you when you hit that wall that is known as burnout (you know, that thing we all go through but so many of us think that no one goes through OR, worse, that we are a bad teacher for experiencing). Look, art teacherin' is hard. And no one seems to get that except those of us who are right there in it. I want this book to help be a warm blanket, a comfort, a lift, a boost to those of us who try our best every day and yet...strive to do even more...for creative selves and our students. 
Inside Art Teacherin' 101, you'll find information about how to be a student teacher and how to host one; what to do during an art teacherin' job interview (and what not to do!); discovering your WHY as a teacher; art room management from rules and routines to consequences; how to create the best art room environment for you and your students; teaching kindergarten(!); what to do when you hit the burnout wall and SO MUCH MORE!

Just to be clear: this is NOT an art lesson book! This is your day-to-day unofficial art teacherin' operator's manual. If you are interested in art lesson books, you can find my Stitch and String Lab for Kids and my Clay Lab for Kids books!


I am printing my book independently. This means I'll need to have a good idea of just how many books to print. Your purchase of my book helps me do just that. If I'm optimistic and print too many then everyone in my family will be receiving a copy for their birthday for the next 10 years. And, trust me, they don't want that. 

Once presale orders are in, I'll be able to print. This means you'll have a copy of my book in your hot little hands by mid-May! Hooray! 
Thanks for letting me share, y'all! I'm so excited. Here's the link to advance order your copy!

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Sunday, March 28, 2021

20 of My Favorite School-Wide Collaborative Projects!

Collaborative projects! Collaborative projects are one of my favorite things. I love them at the start of the year and the end. I love doing them with the whole school or just a grade level. I love using songs, themes, name it. I just love collaboratives!

We've done a TON over the years and I thought I'd put them all together in one big ole blog post. So, here you go: my 20 Favorite Collabortive Projects. Be sure and click on the links, many of these have how-to videos. 

Check out this blog post on how we created several canvases in this style for our school and the school library!

Students worked in table teams to create these positive four-letter words to describe our school

A fun mural based on the book You Be You was created by nearly all of my students. You can learn about the process of creating our fish here. Read all about the making of the mural itself here!

Another book we used for inspiration is the book by Todd Parr called It's Okay to be Different. You can check out how we created these collages here!

The Our School Has Heart mural was a piece with a contribution from each student in the school. You can see the breakdown of who created what in this blog post
Our clay collaborative mural is a bright and shiny beauty that hangs in a prominent place in our school. Each student contributed something to this can read more about the process here

One year, we created a Village of Kindness as apart of our art show! Each student upcycled a milk carton that our cafeteria queen cleaned in the dishwasher. The students made little doors that opened and said kind words to those who peeked inside. Students worked together to create the landscape on the bulletin board. 

I love to do collaboratives at the start of the school year. I especially like ones where students celebrate our school and that set a postive tone. That was the idea behind this collaborative!
Another fun way to start the school year is with some selfies! We've created them for a monochromatic mural. You can check out the video here. 
Inspired by the artist Romero Britto, this mural was created by my students when I was out for jury duty! My sub just played the video and when I returned, I assembled the mural!
A collaborative mural that definitely made the rounds was this one! The kids loved creating the feathers and it was a beautiful thing while in the hallway but I will was a lot of work to assemble. All the details here. 
My fourth graders created this collaborative one year that lives at the front entrance of our school. We even 'wrapped' it for Christmas and brought out admin out for them to unwrap it as it was hung on the wall of our school. 
We kicked off this school year with our What a Wonderful World collaborative mural. Details and video tour here. 

Here's another look of our school mural. Above that, you'll see our Learning for All collaborative!
During our field day one year, my students rotated through many art stations. One of them was this alphabet and number series. My librarian requested them and we just love how they turned out. Click here to see them framed and hung in our school library. 

Much like our monochromatic collaborative, this map collaborative was created with a self-portrait of each of my students! 

We are the tigers at my school so we do tiger-themed artwork every so often. This mural was created by first graders of all of their tiger drawings. You can find a how-to video right here!

In table teams, my third graders created a Rizzi City inspired by the artist James Rizzi. 

One year, we did super-sized works of art inspired by Andy Warhol and Vincent van Gogh! When these came together, they were stunning. All the details can be found here

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