Friday, January 12, 2024

Pay It Forward Plants!

I have always wanted to be a plant person. But, sadly, after many plants whithered away under my care, I assumed I was not a plant person. Then a sweet friend gifted me a Spider Plant. It grew and thrived and made me so stinkin' happy! 

That is, until it started having babies.

Next thing you know, I've got pots and pots of spider plants! And while I love them, I just can't maintain this many plants. Some new babies were not going to be able to stay. But I just couldn't throw them away. 

So I got an idea...
I pulled all of the yogurt containers and other plastic containers from our recycling and decided to repurpose them into temporary planters! It was fun creating these and I used up some of my extra bits and bobs I had laying around. 
I created little signs that I glued to popsicle sticks and stuck in the dirt.
I wrote out brief instructions incase someone is a plant newbie. I also named each plant because...why not?! And who wouldn't want a plant named Rosie?! I named each after a grandparent of mine. 

I thought about where to leave these plants. I go to the post office frequently to drop off book orders. I often see people there who are not in the best mood. The employees are great (I love my friends at the post office) but everyone else always looks like they would rather be doing something else. I also meet a lot of older friends...who seem a little lonely. We often chat. I think they would like a plant. 

So I left some in the post office to be found and loved. 
And I left some outside a popular shopping plaza for maybe moms and their children to find. Perhaps a project they could enjoy together!

I did spend the rest of the day WORRIED SICK about these plants! So I may add my social media next time so they can be posted and shared...and so that I know they are loving their new home.

This made me happy to do and I look forward to doing it again. I just wanted to share in case you have too many plant friends too!

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Sunday, January 7, 2024

My 12 Favorite Winter Art Lessons!

Need some fun winter art lessons? Here ya go!

Greetings, art teacherin' and art-lovin' friends!

I got such a wonderful response from my last blog post where I shared my 25 Favorite Lessons for Valentine's Day that I thought I'd continue to share. 

Today I'm sharing with you my very favorite WINTER lessons! Around here, we are just now experiencing the cooler temps with winter on the horizon. What better time to incorporate it into your art teacherin' world?

So I present to you my favorite winter lessons, ALL FREE! Just tap the link listed with each lesson and you'll find a kid-friendly video, handouts and lessons. Feel free to use in your art room but, please, be sure and give credit if you decide to post on social media. AND, of course, please do not repackage my lessons and sell on TPT. I know what you are thinking, "Cassie, people do that?!" 

YESSSS! All the time! SMH.

Anyway, let's get started!
If you are looking for one of those lessons that, let me be honest, takes a while (sometimes those can be a good thing!) this Snow Globes is for you! The kids do love it! Drawing buildings is their favorite part but we also do a lot of painting and, despite my custodian's protests, we do bust out the glitter. Here's the full lesson with video!
This lesson could totally be shortened with less painting! We painted these papers to draw on but you could always use colorful construction paper or copy paper to eliminate that step.
One of my most popular lessons both with teachers and students is the one inspired by Jen Aranyi! Just tap the link and you'll find a video as well as a handout! 

You'll notice we are working on cardboard circles of my very favorite surfaces! You can buy cardboard circles at your local food supplier. I get mine at Gordon Food Services (GFS) where they sell them in a variety of sizes. I like the brand Circle King.
Ya know how "you live and you learn"? Well...after having done this lesson and others involving "black glue", I'm going to share with you a different and much easier way to get the effect of black glue without making it! 

So, don't make black glue. Seriously. Unless you hate yourself and have more time than you know what to do with. Because, honestly, it's the worst and there is a MUCH better way!

When doing this lesson, for example, have students draw their trees with black washable markers. I prefer Prang markers (always! Trust me!). Then, using ELMER'S GLUE ALL (never EVER School Glue), have students trace over their black lines. Overnight, the waterbased marker and the glue will mix and mingle and create...a black glue line! Don't believe me? Check out this blog post and video where I share the process. 
So I've shared with you some lessons I've done with my older kids so let's now focus on kindergarten and first. Here's a lesson I did many years in a row! I love it because it teachers value. Students create tints for the snow and shade for the sky. We also practice our cutting skills with collage. Full lesson here.
Okay, kindergarten!
Another super popular winter lesson (and one that the kids love) is this Winter Penguin lesson I did with my first graders. All the details can be found, including a video, here. 
We kick things off with a painting review as well as warm an cool colors. The first graders painted the warm color papers while the kinder did the cool for their lesson, details below. We talked A LOT about holding our paintbrush and brush control. 
Using one of my favorite art supplies: the bingo dauber; we created these penguins! Again, the lesson has all the details so be sure and check it out!
And here's some kindergarten cuteness! Same method as the first grade project except we did snowmen instead. Full lesson with video here. 
We used chalk after drawing our snowmen to add the pops of color. 
Got that one class that's ahead of the rest and you need a one day lesson for? Well, here ya go!
Looking to dip your toes into some printmaking? This one is always a hit with my second graders. No printing ink? No problem! Tap the link and I'll show you how to do printmaking with markers!
Such a fun way to create winter selfies!
Don't you love a fast and effective art lesson?!
One of my favorite all time lessons is for kids to create their own mugs and drink hot chocolate out of them! For all of THOSE details, just tap here!
Speaking of printmaking: if you have Gelli Plates and have been dying to bust them out, here's your sign. And your lesson!
Now we took ours a step further by printing on fabric and stitching the into banners but...let's be real: how many of us have sewing machines?! So you can try it with a small group or just enjoy the printmaking process!
Tis the season to remember just how important collaborations in art can be! For that reason, why not try a big ole winter collaboration on for size?!
Look how colorful and fun!

What to do with all of those paper snowflakes you teach the kids how to make? Try THIS project on for size! Faux metal tooling with fourth grade -- stunning!

Thanks for checking out this post on my very favorite winter lessons! In case you haven't heard, I've written two new books and have self-published! You can take a closer look and find them both here. 

Thank you as always for all of the support, y'all!

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Sunday, December 31, 2023

25 of my Favorite Lessons for Celebrating Love!

Hello, beautiful humans!

Today I'm sharing my 25 Favorite Valentines/Love-Themed art lessons! From sub plans with handouts to clay and plaster projects, I've got something for everyone...including printmaking with kindergarten! Most of these lessons include kid-friendly videos, some have handouts and all are FREE! I hope you enjoy and...

Happy New Year!

I know next week means heading back to school...and it's just so hard to do after weeks off. I thought I'd try and ease the sting a little by offering up to you my favorite fun and easy lessons for celebrating LOVE as Valentine's Day is on the horizon. It's never too soon to start those Valentine's themed lessons and NEVER NOT a great opportunity to celebrate all things lovey dovey. Many of these lessons here come with a kid-friendly how-to video and, best of all, they're free! Just tap the highlighted link for more!

The above is a lesson I created for my kindergarten friends but it was so fun that I ended up doing it with several grade levels. It's that time of year when you really just wanna ease on back into art teacherin', right? So why not do so with a project where you just gotta get out one art supply (tempera paint and black oil pastels) and call it a day? It's much more relaxing that way...and when you are happy and relaxed, it will reflect in your teaching (and, hopefully, the students). 
One of my all-time favorite things to teach first grade is...paper weaving! And I know what some of you may be thinking: SERIOUSLY?! Yes...because I got it down to a science! They make the looms, we weave together on a big loom I created, we do this on the floor and help one's so fun! Here's the full lesson!
Nearly all of these lessons here are inspired by artists! Which means that students learn a little about both contemporary artists as well as artists of the past with these projects. Here we learned about Jen Stark!
For me, back to school after a long break meant back to the basics...a review of rules, routines and expectations. I cover all of that in my book Art Teacherin''s always a good time to get a handle on classroom management. No matter how could it is, it could ALWAYS be better, right? I share all of my tips and tricks in that book, if you are interested!

With that being said, I often just used simple supplies like markers when we return to school. But 'just markers' doesn't mean you can't do something super cool! Check out the video here on how we created these optical illusion hearts!
Of course, sometimes it's fun to just jump right back in with big and exciting projects! I've been all about the plaster and Celluclay in my own artwork lately...and kids do love it! More here.
Of course, back to school usually means PD meetings. One year, I convinced my admin to let me lead a workshop on creating these clay hearts with wings! I loved doing workshops with my faculty. It was a fun way to get everyone together in a relaxed way (which we never seem to do!) and enjoy creating and each other's company. To teach such a large group, I created a how-to video. 
As you know, teachers are some of the worst students (I'd insert a laugh emoji but we all know it's true!) so having a pre-recorded video will help!
I've never met a kid who didn't LOVE printmaking! But it can be daunting and super messy...which means a lot of clean up for us. CAN do printmaking with just markers and Styrofoam. Let me show you how we made these!
This lesson is probably one of my most popular Valentine's projects! I show you how to draw each of these cuties in videos you can find here. 
I'll also show you how to make easy heart stamps with scraps!
Wanna make these?! My fourth graders loved creating these giant candy hearts! I created a video for them (and you!) here. 
Wow! Did we LOVE creating these (see what I did there?!) And I have an easy method for you to make each one successful. You can check it out here!
This is a project I did with my second graders and they loved it! You can check out the video tutorial and lesson details right here!
Here's a fun lesson I put together to do in one class period! Well, for me, it took 2 classes as my class period is 30 minutes long. I did this with my fourth graders as a way to introduce them to four different one lesson! Check it out here.
Did we have fun with this one! We used old candy heart boxes and plaster to create our own faux chocolates. We also used tagboard and newspaper to create our candy boxes. It was so stinkin' fun. Full lesson here. 
Look how realistic! Did I mention we used puffy paint?! Everything is better with puffy paint.
I really like to work big with my students. The bigger the paper, the better! It's a challenge with storage...but it's so worth it. These hearts were created on huge squares of paper. We chatted about Britto and did a line review...
Speaking of line...if you need a book to teach (or review) line with your students, did you hear I wrote a children's book!? Yep! it's called Larry the Line. If you are familiar with my Larry the Line poem, let me tell you this is the longer more in-depth version with idea sheets to be printed and shared in the back! You can pick up a copy here. 
Big thanks to all of you that have purchased a copy and left a review! 83 5-star reviews is so amazing! Thank you all so much for the love and support. Okay, back to the lessons...
Another super popular lesson on my blog: My Chris Uphues Lesson! This one is perfect for a sub plan as it comes with a free handout.
Looking for a school-wide project? I have a ton of collaborative ideas on my blog (check out this post). This one involved each grade level creating a heart with a different medium!

This Britto-inspired lesson was another collaborative we did was a sub plan! Check out the lesson video and process here. 
Looking for an easy one day lesson!? Look no further, I got you right here!
Check out these scrappy hearts made by first grade! This was actually a lesson with a focus on positive and negative space. The kids were so excited by the negative space their cut out hearts created that we filled the space with tissue paper on plastic. More here. 
Aren't they so pretty up close?
And this is what we did with the hearts we cut out! Just black and white painted designs. Simple and so pretty!
Do you want to explore printmaking with kindergarten students but you don't know where to start?! Try this easy and fun lesson on for size!
Once your students are done printmaking, you can take the hearts and create THESE! Aren't they so pretty?!

Got scraps of painted paper laying about?! You're an art teacher, of course you do! Spend some time teaching the kids how to cute out hearts and create these cuties! Use them to hang as mobiles, put them in windows, send to faculty as love notes...the possibilities are endless. Details here. 
Last but not least...check out these James Rizzi birds! Full lesson with video here. 

Thanks for dropping by, y'all! Know that it's TOTALLY OKAY to ease on in to this new school year. The slow you go...the more they will GROW, I promise! Slow it down, focus on what matters and enjoy art teacherin!

Love ya!

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