Wednesday, July 19, 2023

First Day of Art for Kindergarten

People can tell me how they run their classroom all day long and I do love to hear about it because I am a person who LOVES to try new things. I like to throw EVERYTHING at the art teacherin' wall just to see what sticks. But what REALLY helps me is seeing it in action. Sure I can imagine what Call and Response or a behavior management plan my look like but it's so much better to see it happening. So...that's why I love to share what it looks like in my art room. For that reason, I'll be sharing my first day teaching kindergarten right here!
If this video looks a little familiar that's because...I have been running my first day of kindergarten the very same way FOR YEARS. If it works, stick with it, right? And I'll be adding links to more blog posts with videos here. 
This blog post breaks down the lesson and why I teach certain routines on that first day. 
Want more details on where this lesson goes from here and how it becomes my kindergarten unit on line? Try this post!
If you are craving more First Day videos, here's a compilation of first day lessons with all students
If you've never done paper sculptures with your students, they are an absolute blast. ALL kids can have great success right out of the gate. This provides an immediate love for art class which is what we all want, right? I've even done this lesson with my older students as a Getting to Know You activity

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Monday, July 17, 2023

A Bell-Ringer Idea: Calendar of Gratitude

On my list of Things That I Wish I Did Regularly are the following:

Gratitude-in'-ing ... or something

And I have MANY a reason why I've never really been able to stick with these habits (top of the list: laziness) UNTIL NOW...Allow me to introduce you to a little something I'm callin' my Calendar of Gratitude. My Cal-itude. My Gratit-dar. Okay, so it's a working title but hopefully you get the idea. Here's a lil video explaining it all:

Here's how it works: 

* You print out a calendar. If you google "free blank calendar", you'll find bunches. For example, here you go. 

* At the end of each day or perhaps the following, you sketch something you are grateful for: a beautiful sunset, fresh fruit, time with family, a cute cat, you get the idea.

* On the reverse, jot down your memory. 

and BOOM! you've just sketched, journaled and shown gratitude all in in under 10 minutes!

Not to mention, you now have a sweet little memory of your gratitude. I get so excited everytime I look at mine. Like happy little postage stamp-sized memories.

I'm also super into matcha right now. Anyone else? Currently I'm a matcha latte lady but hope to graduate up to straight matcha soon. 

Just a sentence or two in lieu of journaling. It does the trick!

Art teachers, I thought this might be great for those students who you see for a semester every day. I've never taught that age group so you'll have to forgive my ignorance...but I just thought it may be a great bell-ringer to get young artists in the mood and mindset. They could use their medium of choice...I have really enjoyed colored pencils for this. 


You can also find a lot of gratitude lessons in that post as well. 

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Thursday, July 13, 2023

First Day in Art with First through Fourth Grade

I know, I know, I can hear you now:


Juuuuuuuust hear me out: isn't it far less stressful to think of it now, with your feet in the kiddie pool and your bowl of ice cream-for-lunch slowly melting in the summer sun? Instead of, let's say, stressing during those dreadful back-to-school faculty meetings as you count the long list of endless things you need to do before the kids arrive? When you are so busy setting up your room that you lose track of all that you want to cover that very first day? 
See? It's not that bad!

My first day with my first through fourth graders is an easy-peasy one. You'll see it in this video, complete with a breakdown of why I introduce what and when. Please pardon the location placed on the's clear that me and iMovie are still getting to know each other after all these years. Anyway! I know it looks like a bunch fun and games BUT there is a method behind my madness...and that's teaching kids my routines: 

* Our Art Class Greeting
* Our Art Class Catchphrase
* Our Open/Closed sign 
* Our Behavior Management System (not that we call it that!)
* Call and Response and how it works
* Learning my name...and me learning theirs
* Becoming comfortable with making our voice heard
* Learning how to become an active and considerate listener

What's not shown is how we get our seats, practice emergency drills and lining up properly. 

I have art class with my students for 30 minutes twice a week. We manage to knock out ALL of that in the first 30 minutes. And, you may notice in the video, the kids already seem to know a lot of the routines. That's because I taught them in kindergarten. And even though my first day with kindergarten looks a lot different...we do eventually cover all of these things. 

AND if you just want more...I wrote a whole book on this topic! I lay it all out for you in my book Art Teacherin' 101. It has ALL that you need for a successful year no matter your teaching situation. You can find it right here. 

I also have a TON of videos on this topic on my YouTube channel. If you subscribe, you can stay posted because with it being 'the season', I'll be adding a lot more video content on back to school soon. 

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