Monday, October 25, 2021

Frankenstein Collage and 3-D Pumpkins!

Hey friends! Need a couple of fun and easy videos to get you through the week? I'm not sure if your school or your students celebrate Halloween. However, I'm sharing in case you want to mix it up a bit with a lesson on Frankenstein. Or maybe this is one for you to do with your kids at home! If you can't view the video here (for some reason, videos won't show up on my blog if you are viewing from your phone), you can always check them out on my YouTube channel. Please be sure to subscribe! Working on new content for you all!
Looking for a fun and easy what to show your students how to draw and paint (without paint!) a 3-D pumpkin? Here you go:

Have a great week, y'all! 

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Sunday, October 17, 2021

How to Create a Paint-by-Number of Your School, an Update!

Hi, my name is Cassie Stephens and I like to start projects and then wait months, sometimes even years, before I finish them. 

Please tell me I'm not alone. 

Case in point: this project that my students began on field day last spring. You can read all about it here. You can also check out this video unless you are reading my blog from your which case you'll need to view this post from your laptop in order to check out the vid. Technology is super cool. 

We go all out on field day with collaborative projects. ANYTHING to keep me from sitting outside all day and doing sidewalk chalk or melty face painting. You can see our field day set up for the art room here. 
After the kids painted it in the spring, it looked a little rough (sorry, I don't have any photos). I was a little disappointed by the look of it until I realized that all it needed was to be outlined again. That REALLY made the colors pop and cleaned it up nicely. 

I went in over my fall break and really enjoyed listening to a podcast and outlining this beast. It took no time at all. And I used my fave new hack of drawing with a Q-tip dipped in ink. It works so well, provides a consistent line and holds quite a bit of ink! 
I did use a Sharpie to write the name of our school. I also would STRONGLY recommend using bottles of craft store acrylic for this painting. We initially painted it with tempra and it looked so faded, translucent and chalky. 
Like many schools, the front of ours is a little boring in that it has a huge parking lot out front. So I took some liberties by adding our country and state flag, our state flower and a banner with our school district logo.
And now I'm totally hooked on the idea of creating more paint by numbers with the kids for our school!
It was really easy by just snapping a photo of the school and tracing in Procreate. I am thinking that we need a giant canvas of our school mascot next!
Pretty sure this beauty will end up in the front lobby of our school. I cannot wait to see it up! Here's what it looked like the day we started painting it. I'll keep you posted on how it looks once up!

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Sunday, October 3, 2021

Kindergarten Rainbows and Self-Portraits!

Hello, friends! My kindergarten is wrapping up a self-portrait lesson and it's one that I've never done before with them. I'm super happy with the result and I wanted to share with y'all. Mostly I wanted to share some of the tips and tricks and things I learned in hopes that it may help you, if you decide to go down this rainbow/self-portrait path. 

But first, let's chat about where this lesson falls in my kindergarten line of projects. We start the school year in kindergarten with Line Sculptures. From there, we moved on to Dot Painting. Following this, we painted Rainbows! Now, in the past, I completed this Line Unit before moving on but the last couple of years I've mixed it up a bit. I will bounce back to those lessons but for now, we are painting. We've also not finished our rainbows (by adding the sun and clouds) but that will happen this week. 
My favorite supply for painting with kindergarten are tempera cakes. This is a little what my set up looks like. I always serve up paint (or have the kids get their own paint) on trays. This helps us carry the supplies easier and contain the mess incase there are spills. If you know me and my paint set up, then you know that we normally use dog dishes for water and a sponge. But sometimes we are using them for other things so this is my back up set up: water pot (these are my favorite and you can find them here, they are NO SPILL!), sponge for 'drying' our brush (sponges are called Dirty Ole Sponge Bob and I get them from the Dollar Tree) and a tray to hold the sponges (old sushi dishes!).
My tempera cakes are usually a mess. You can purchase tempera cakes in a set but they always end up getting crumbly or with a big hole in the middle. The tray the cakes come in is crap and a thing plastic. I noticed huge messes of paint left on tables a couple of years ago...which was from the thing plastic tray splitting and paint leaking out the bottom! So now I NEVER order the whole tray, just the refills like I do my pan watercolor paint. I love Prang's tempera cakes as well as Jack Richesons. I order all the colors in the rainbow. I use muffin tins and plastic condiment cups to create a palette for the kids. When we are painting our skin tone, the palette is changed to have only red, orange, yellow, white, brown and black. For painting rainbows, this is how I set up the palette. 
We spend a LOT of time listening to this song and this song as well as learning the ASL for all of the colors in the rainbow! Then we hit the ground running and paint our rainbows. 
Even in 30 minutes (the length of all my art classes), I always have early finishers! So early finishers are given another sheet of paper and told to paint a rainbow pattern. We wrap those up the following art class. 

Hot Tip: Cut 2" off the paper that you plan to frame that way it's ready to frame on traditional size construction paper! I plan to frame these self-portraits on black construction paper 12"X18".
The following art class, we learn what a self-portrait is! This video REALLY helped and we loved it! 

After listening, dancing and singing with the song, I demonstrated drawing a large self-portrait as the kids directed me. I asked "what should I draw first? What shape should I use? How big should I draw?"

Afterward, they were given paper and a permanent marker (I wished I would have had them use a regular black marker as the line would have been thicker). They did an amazing job! 
The following art class, we learned all about scissor safety! And how to carry and wear our scissors correctly. Below is a video on how I explain scissor safety to my students (if you cannot see this video, try viewing this blog post from your laptop):

After cutting out, kindergarten glued their selfies to their rainbow backgrounds!
This is definitely a project I'll be doing again! 

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Sunday, September 12, 2021

Painting with Kindergarten!

Painting with kindergarten can be a daunting task...especially if you approach it at the beginning of the school year. My kindergarten recently completed these paintings on their second week of school. The goal of this lesson is simply to teach my painting procedures: how we hold our brush, the parts of the paintbrush, how we dip for our paint, what to do if the paint drips, how to clean our brush between colors and how to clean up when class is over. Oh, and have fun! Those are the main objectives for this lesson. I started doing this lesson last year with squares of paper and a sticker in the center as a guide for students to paint around (see below). This year, I decided to have them paint on 14" cardboard pizza rounds (found at Gordan Food Services) and I love how they turned out. 

Here's a one minute video filled with as many tips for this lesson as I could squeeze in:

And here's our paintings from last you can totally do this on square paper, no pizza rounds needed!
I've created a couple of videos to share with you on this process. However, if you are viewing this blog post from your phone, my videos may not appear. So you may want to hop on over to my YouTube channel (and subscribe cuz why not?!) and see them there. 
One thing I tried when we were printing out dots for Dot Day this year was to create a warm and cool color paint tray. One day the kids used a warm color tray and the next day they swapped with their neighbors for a cool color tray. This allowed the kids to use all of the colors while not muddying up the trays. 

If you need some ideas for Dot Day, check out more blog post here!

Or if you just need a one day activity sheet, pop by here for a free download. 
Wanna see me teaching painting to kindergarten? Well, here's a video. It covers everything I wish to share with my students on painting procedures and routines for their first painting adventure! It's from 2019. 
Have fun!

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Sunday, August 29, 2021

Dot Day Art Lesson: Printing!

Hey, y'all!

We are officially back in school and in full swing! Our first days of art were spent printing dots after reading The Dot! We used Gelli-Arts plates to print our dots because I found that I had about 20 brand new round plates in my storage closet (wow, the things you find when you clean). Here's the video I created for my students:

If you cannot see this video then it's because you are looking at my blog from your phone. Super annoying, I know. It's a blogger thing, it's not you. So here's the direct link to my YouTube page. You should totally subscribe because I add new content all the time.
Now I know many of you don't have those Gelli Arts plates (and they are a bit expensive) so...I came up with an alternative for you: pie pans from Dollar Tree! I am using the pizza pie pans here:

Again, if you can't see it, here it is
First grade through fourth were printing which means I had drying racks brimming with art. So a way to keep up with everything was clipping clothes pins with the teacher's names on them between the classes on the drying rack. Once dry, the clips were used to hold the artwork together. I know...every now and then I have a decent idea. 

After two 30 minute art classes of printing, my students looked at all of their prints and picked their fave for display. They then had to give their piece a title and 'sign it' like Vashti so it could be displayed in the hallway. Here was a video I created to explain this process:

Need more Dot Day fun? Well, here is a simple one-day activity I created as a sub plan a couple of years ago. Sheet included:
And if you want to check out a big ole blog post filled with TONS of Dot Day ideas, then here you go

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Sunday, August 8, 2021

Welcome Back to Art, 2021-22

So I just noticed that the last time I posted here was MID-JUNE. Y'all! How did summer vanish so quickly!? A large part of my summer was dedicated to putting together The Art Teacherin' Extravaganza which, if you follow me on Instagram, you got to follow along on that journey (and if you were there in real life, well, you know what a blast it was!) Between the Extravaganza and shipping out copies of Art Teacherin' 101, it was a full summer that went by in a blink!

But now we're heading back and, honestly, I'm not sad about it. In fact, I'm pretty excited about this new school year. I have a lot of new ideas I wanna try; books I've been reading with techniques I want to implement; and some new projects that I know the kids will love. 

But first things first: we gotta dive into our Rules and Routines. Last year, I really dropped the ball on this one. Everything was just a mess last year with the constant uncertainty that I let go of my normal Back to School routines...and it showed for the rest of the year. I was burnt to a crisp at the end of the year and was so ready to hit the reset button. This year, I'm determined to take it slow and try to stay more organized. I'll let you know how that goes ;)

I like to start the first days of art covering rules and routines...but I HATE talking about them, it's so dry! So I always have a short video that touches on them...and allows us to move on to other First Day things before coming back to them in following art classes. Here's my latest video that I'll be showing this week...I decided to include some personal things in this year's video. I find that the kids are always curious about what we were like as children as well as our personal lives so I decided to add that to the video this year. Here it is:

More Back to School stuff will be shared here soon...but I do write about it A LOT in my book, which you can order here! 

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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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