Tuesday, November 23, 2021

DIY: Let's Make Tacky Christmas Earrings!

While you are out doing your holiday shopping this week, you might want to snag some of those small ornaments you spot. I think they are meant of small trees but in my mind, when I spotted them, I saw nothin' but EARRINGS!

To make your own, you'll need the following:

* Small ornaments with a loop at the top.
* Jump rings (the metal circles with an opening)
* French hook earrings
* Jewelry's tools or a pair of pliers

It's that easy! A fun craft you can do with small humans. Here's a quick video to show you how:

Have fun, friends and Happy Thanksgiving!

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Thursday, November 18, 2021

Paper Weaving Made Easy!

Currently all of my first grade students are paper weaving. We are working large this year with 12"X18" pieces of paper as our looms and I wasn't sure how it would go. Normally, we work half that size but they did great! This isn't the end of what these weavings will ultimately look like. However, when I shared on Instagram, I got a lot of questions about the process. Did I cut the looms? If not, how did I teach it so they could cut them easily? I have a LOT of weaving videos on my YouTube channel. However, I thought I'd create an updated video on this current project. So...here you go!

I hope you find this helpful! I've been teaching paper weaving to my first graders this way for years. 

Stay tuned, I'll be sharing all of my favorite weaving projects soon!

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Thursday, November 11, 2021

Sewing Basics!

My fourth graders are getting ready for a new sewing adventure! Last year, they stitched these pizza pillows. Next up, we are dying our own fabric and creating a kind of faux-Shibori dyed pillow (see below). 
I love teaching sewing (and all things fibers) to my students. If you are interested but don't know where to start, I share all of my tips and tricks in my book Stitch and String Lab for Kids

I'll be sharing my favorite fibers projects in an upcoming post but if you just can't wait, you can hop over to my YouTube channel and visit my "Fibers" playlist! Be sure and subscribe, I'm currently adding a lot of video content!

I decided to create a video to walk my students through sewing basics. I played it today on our first day of stitching and it was a hit! I didn't have to thread a single needle and only tied one knot. If you'd like to view it, here you go:

Feel free to use it in your art teacherin' world!
There are a lot of things I've learned about teaching children to stitch over the years. Many of my tips you'll see in the video. However, I plan to share much more in upcoming Art Teacherin' 101 videos. 

Just a preview: fourth graders opened their dyed fabric, pinned it and began stitching in 30 minutes! When they are interested, it's amazing how fast they can work. 
Here's where we're heading. Again, this is a project from my book and always a hit. Happy stitching!

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Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Black Glue and Chalked Tiger Lesson

My third graders are wrapping up a lesson that we've loved! So I thought I'd share the process and the video with you. Here you go!
If you cannot view the video here on this blog post, hop on over to my YouTube channel to see it there. Feel free to use this video in your art makin' world! Be sure and subscribe, new videos are added all the time!
At my school, we are the tigers so this was the reason behind our animal choice. At the start of the school year, our focus was on what makes us special and unique. Now we are moving on to how we fit into our school community and what makes our school special! All students are currently creating mascots. It's been so much fun! 
My third graders usually do a black glue and chalked piece inspired by Sandra Silberzwig. It's a popular lesson and you can find it and the video here. 
It was fun to try something new and the kids rocked it. Have fun! 

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Monday, November 8, 2021

Art Teacherin' 101: More Paper Talk!

I know paper isn't the most riveting thing we could be chatting about as art teachers BUT I feel it's so important. Which is why I currently have a wee series of paper chats currently on my YouTube channel!
Last week I spoke about how to find the best kind of paper for your art room. In case you missed it, here was the video:
Now let's chat about watercolor paper! There's a lot to know there too. Here's more:
If you've ever flipped through an art supply catalog, you may have been confused by all of the paper that end with the word "board": tag board, rail board, matte board, posterboard, foam core board, SO MANY BOARDS! Here's what I feel you need and what you don't in your art room: 

If you are interested in more Art Teacherin' 101 videos, please check out my playlist! 

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Sunday, November 7, 2021

Centers in the Art Room

I'm not sure if you've been experiencing it in your art teacherin' world but of late I've noticed that my students are on the squirrely side of life. It's hard for them to sit still, focus and contain their level of excitement. I can usually manage to ride that wave in 30 minute art classes as we get up and move round, do a little dance, do a whole lot of call and response and stay very busy. However, recently I decided to try something new (for me) and that was create some art-makin' centers for my students on the Friday before Halloween. 

It's hard to do new things, especially if you've been at this art teacherin' thing for closing in on 25 years. However, pushing yourself out of your comfort zone is what keeps us fresh and keeps our students excited and intrigued. That's what I noticed when I created this center-formated art day. 

Here's a little of what that looked like:

If you cannot view the above video, than try viewing this blog post from a laptop. Or just tap this link. 
I've done open centers in my room before, most notably on our Field Day. You can read all about that here. I will say, it's a lot of work on the front end when I set up for Field Day. What I found in this most recent experience is that it doesn't have to be. Kids make the most of each center regardless of what is offered. In fact, limiting the supplies seemed to force them to really stretch their imagination. 
Some of my take-aways:

* Limit the centers. Too many seem to overwhelm the kids. Instead, start with just 3-4. 

* Introduce "greatest hits" as well as 1-2 new centers. At the start of art class, you will need to run through the centers to let the kids know what's in store. Too many new centers means too much time spent explaining and confusion. So maybe share ones you know the kids are familiar with (for me that was the large pumpkin coloring sheets and blocks) and introduce the new ones. 

* Limit the amount of kids per center. I limited mine to 2-4 kids per center, depending on the center. I had a sign on each that let the kids know how many kids could create in one space. 

* Dismiss kids to center one at a time. After explaining, I asked each student individually where they wanted to start and dismissed from there. Allowing each student to hop up at once and make a mad dash is not how you want to start your class! 

* Allow students to switch centers at a designated time. With 30 minute art class, I set my alarm each 7 minutes. This allowed kids to hear my alarm and know that if they wanted to switch, they could. My rule was they had to tidy their space before leaving it. This prevented kids from center-hopping from one place to the next without digging in. 

* Hold kids to your rules and routines. Sometimes when we do something different, the kids think that rules and routines go out the window. Let them know that the routines you've established for clean up, working together and noise levels still apply. 

* Pay attention to what they respond to. It might surprise you! And it might give you ideas for future centers. 

Have fun, friends! 

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