Showing posts with label elementary art room. Show all posts
Showing posts with label elementary art room. Show all posts

Sunday, January 8, 2017

In the Art Room: Clay Hearts with Wings

If you are a teacher, then you've probably experienced team building activities. They can either be big hits or misses, depending on the mindset of the group. I work at a school with a very low turn over rate, a whole lot of history and love, both for the children and each other. However, knowing that we were coming back from a break of much needed time off, I knew it might be hard to feel that love when we really just want to hibernate until spring (I could simply be speaking for myself here!). Before break, I asked my amazing administration if I could possibly host a team building activity on our most recent professional development day. I was so thrilled that they agreed and even more happy with the beautiful results...
I chatted with the teachers about how we teach from our hearts and give our students wings to fly. Our students don't see us for our outward appearance but what is in our hearts. I used this sweet poem as a reference. I don't know who the author is of this poem, if anyone does, I'd love to know!
Knowing that I would have a packed house, I thought it would be best to record the process and show it on my big screen telly. Here is the video. I played it in phases, pausing it to allow the teachers time to work. It took us 45 minutes to create and clean up. Not too shabby!
I loved hosting the teachers in my art room...and they were the best of sports. I was asking them to step out of their comfort zone and they did so happily. It was so fun!
Knowing that these teachers might have a limited creative background, I wanted to remove any obstacles. I didn't want this to be a frustrating experience for them but a fun one. One where they could chat, laugh, create and forget about any stresses. 
 Here are some short cuts I provided: 

* Templates. In the video I told them that they didn't have to use them...but almost all of them did. I was glad I took the time to make them.
* Tons of Textures. I didn't want the teachers to have to wait on each other as I knew we wouldn't have time. For textures, we used doilies, placemats, burlap...anything with a beautiful raised surface.
 * Toothbrushes and water cups. Instead of teaching them the slip and score method, I provided them with a tool that would get the job done much faster. 
 * Skewers. The best and cheapest clay cutting tool!
 And, finally, I provided glaze. Yes, glaze! You can glaze on greenware (or fresh, outta the bag, clay). I plan to do a clear glaze over all of the pieces before they are fired in the kiln. 
 We had such a fun time, I'm so lucky to work with these people!
Have y'all ever done a team building activity before? Love to hear about it!

Feel free to share this project with your admin and teachers. Also, this project is age appropriate for your elementary (and up!) students as well. We just might have to make this a school-wide endeavor. I'll keep you posted. 
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Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Art Teacherin' 101: Episode 14

My very first art teacherin' gig was in Nashville over 15 years ago. I was hired the weekend before school started and I was COMPLETELY CLUELESS. I had absolutely no idea where to begin when I was given the keys to my portable. The only evidence of art teacherin' that I could find was a sad stack of curriculums (shudder), worn SchoolArts Magazines (which I poured over) and a coffee can of broken crayons. I must have turned around and around in that little space a dozen times trying to figure out just where to begin. I stayed up until 3am creating the most beautiful Vincent van Gogh rules posters thinking that the rest would take care of itself. Um. It did not.
If I had known then what I know now, I woulda said that getting ORGANIZED is the most important way to start your art teacherin' life. I don't mean getting that storage closet all tidy or having every bottle of paint in a perfect row, that's all surface stuff that can be whittled away over time. I'm talking about getting the important parts organized: your class lists, your schedule, your lessons and your yearly plan. Once you have that squared away, you'll be able to breathe so much easier and will have a more enjoyable time getting the rest in order. 
Organize Your Day-to-Day: I recycle the same stinkin' 5 folders each year. My schedule changes every day. For my sanity, I print out a copy of each day's events and tape it to the front of each folder. Inside the folder is a class list of who I'll see that day as well as my seating charts. I pull this out each day, sometimes placing a sticky note of some topics I need to touch on with each class on the front. This works fabulously for those days I'm out sick as well as it makes my sub's life so much easier.

Organize Your Student's Art Work: I keep those bins that I shared in the clip handy to organize student work. One thing I failed to mention in the video is that I have my tables organized by color, for example: red table, orange, etc (the video below gives you a room view). I have a folder for each table. At the start of art class, I'll hand a student who sits at that table the folder which they then take back to their seats. From there, they pass out the artwork to their table mates. At the end of class, they collect artwork, return to the folder and put back in the bin.

Organize Your Teaching Life: It's more than just lesson planning, y'all. What I love about my friend Laura's planner is that it covers EVERYTHING. There are lesson plans, a calendar, a day-to-day planner, a monthly agenda, To-Do Lists, like, everything. Because your teaching life is not just lessons. It's knowing what is going on in the seasons, throughout the school, in other areas of curricula. Having all of these things organized in one binder will really save your sanity. Lemme show you how I use mine:
 My school calendar has less items on it than my personal one...although, at school, I do have them open side-by-side. I love how big that calendar is so that I can really scrawl my notes all over it. 
Because I use Laura's template's to write out my lesson plans, what I write on my weekly teaching schedule is an abbreviated version. What I really find to be important is documenting what happened during a particular art class. This helps me to know how to better approach the class the next time I see them. For example, if one class needs to rework their self-portraits or needs a vocabulary review, I like to write that down while it's fresh on my mind. Otherwise, as you know, goes right outta our crazy lil heads. 

Organize Your Personal Life: I'm telling you, I am The Keeper of the Notebooks. I used to have a notebook that held EVERYTHING from school stuff, personal goals, sketches, art, you name it, this bulging lil book held it. Those kind of books always wore me out because it held TOO much information. So I switched to a notebook for each of my different interests: sewing, drawing, ideas for school, ideas for crafts, etc. My purse became a pull-behind suitcase to cart around my library of books. When I discovered that wee 3-ring bound book at Target it was like the heavens opened up and the angels sang. I bought the tabs, the folders, the calendar and everything that went along with the binder. It's small enough to throw in my big ole purse but big enough to hold my thoughts. I can't recommend y'all get one enough!
Once you've got your art teaching ducks in a row THEN you can indulge in the icing on the cake: the decorating! Here's the tour of the art room I have shared with my students this week. Like I said, seeing other teacher's rooms can be so intimidating. But all that decorating comes with time. Be easy on yourself, take your time, be thoughtful as you plan and just know that these things will happen. 
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Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Art Teacherin' 101: Episode 7

So, it's that time of year: End of the School Year De-Clutterin' Season. I thought it might be fun to chat about what items we should save and which we should trash in a lil something I like to call...HOARD IT OR HURL IT?!
Surprisingly, being the well-established hoarder that I am, I'm not opposed to hurling a thing or two. I know I just barely scraped the surface of all the stuff we art teacherin' types acquire. I'd LOVE to hear what you hoard...and what oddities you've been "gifted" that you had to quietly hurl. In fact, just this weekend, an art teacherin' friend told me she was once given styrofoam meat trays for printmaking...that hadn't quite been cleaned completely (that's a LITERAL hurl, y'all). 

So...what's in your closet?
I admit: my closet is kinda like the George Costanza wallet. It has pretty much everything even a hack MacGyver would need to weasel out of any situation. A box full of baby doll heads? Got it. A sack stuffed with Santa Claus beards? You betcha. I ain't proud. I'm just sayin'. 
I try not to open any of my closets in front of my students because it usually just ends up looking like this. It's like I'm opening a portal to Narnia if the Snow Queen was a feature on Hoarders and Narnia was chock full of crap. 
I've always thought: I CAN have all of my crap and much, MUCH more if I just have a place for it. So, once every 7 years, I go completely bananaz and organize, label and tidy everything. But then Fur Realz Cassie returns and messes everything back up again. I'll never be the Mary Poppins of Tidy-Town.
For me, I'll either need to get me a smoke screen like that one (um, genius!) or precede to HURL IT! It's on my summery to do. But so is spending countless hours in pajama-land and it looks like I'm pretty booked solid with that. 

So, whatcha got? And are you gonna Hoard It or Hurl It?

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Tuesday, April 12, 2016

In the Art Room: Art Scouts, Update!

Hello, art teacherin' friends! Thank you SO MUCH for all the Art Scouts love, y'all. We are beyond thrilled that so many of you have signed on to be a Scout that our Tennessee camp is officially SOLD OUT! Because we wanted to share the Scoutin' love, we decided to open up a second Art Scouts Camp in Laura and Ginger's home state of Ohio! Here's more...
That's right. I'm giving Leo a run for that Oscar with my emotional performance, y'all. 
Because of how quickly Scout spots filled in Tennessee, if you are interested in our Ohio camp, might I recommend you act fast. Both camps will be the same, just different scenery. Registering is easy but if you are a visual person like me, you might appreciate this lil step-by-step-to-register process...
We have been having so much fun putting together our badge-earnin' activities for y'all! If you are as excited as we are, you might wanna take a look-see at what our Camp will entail:
So, we hope to see y'all Scouts real soon!
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Sunday, March 27, 2016

In the Art Room: An Art Teacherin' Mix Tape

I did my time in high school at the height of Mix Tape Era. I musta made and received dozens of the best doggone tapes my lil Walkman ever played. Tell me I'm not the only one who would put their heart and soul into each mix tape made. Kids these days (OMG, did I really just say that?!) will never know what it was like to receive a plastic case of musical treasures which said everything an angsty teen just didn't know how. 
I'm no longer an angsty teen but an occasional angsty art teacherin' type. Sometimes I feel that, in the course of one day in Art Educationville, I experience all the same emotions I had as a teen: surprise ("Did you really just eat the papier mache paste?!"); happiness ("Y'all, we're actually gonna be on time for P.E. today!"); anger ("Okay. WHO GAVE THE PAINT BRUSHES HAIRCUTS?!"); and despair ("Between snow days, field trips, assemblies and absences, y'all are gonna have exactly two works of art in this year's art show. TWO.")
Despite all of that, we know, deep down in our paint splattery hearts that we have the best jobs in the world. So, for all y'all art teacherin' types, I give you my heart and soul in 12 tunes or less: An Art Teacherin' Mix Tape. 
Now, this here mix is in chronological order, from the start of our wild and wacky day to the sticky-icky, how-did-that-painted-handprint-end-up-on-my-butt end. If you're like me, your day usually begins under-caffeinated and over-slept which means it feels as high energy as this...
1. Breakfast at Pee-wee's
Do y'all love Pee-wee as much as me? He's actually my art teacherin' inspo! Sometimes, when certain stuff is about to hit the proverbial fan, I stop and think "What Would PeeWee Do?" and attempt to just go with the flow. Especially with kindergarten. Okay, always, with kindergarten. 
2. Born to be Wild by Steppenwolf
Nothing sets my drive to school on fire like a lil "get your motor runnin', head out on the highway, lookin' for adventure or whatever comes my way!" I also like to play a lil medley of metal (G&R's Welcome to the Jungle) and rap (Beastie Boy's Fight for your Right) to get me in the art teacherin' mood. I ain't proud. 
3. 9 to 5 by Dolly Parton
Y'all know once you get to school, it's nonstop: preparing paint trays, cutting paper, sharpening pencils, writing your I Can statements, washing paint brushes, unclogging glue bottles, you get the idea. I swear some days, I'm worn out before my first class even arrives. And when they do, y'all know they better...
4. Think by Aretha Franklin
"You better think about what you're saying. You better think about the consequences of your actions." Oh, yeah. Aretha is who I try to channel when I need to spark a lil comin-to-Jesusness in the art room.
5. Respect by Aretha
Getting respect is pretty hard to do when you are wearing a rainbow wig or a hat shaped like a paint palette. But a girl can always try to get a lil R-E-S-P-E-C-T.
6. Celebration by Kool & the Gang
On those days when there isn't a full moon or a highly-contagious, vomit-inducing flu epidemic going around, then you know that calls for celebration! 
7. We Are Family by Sister Sledge
I try really hard to instill this idea in the kids. We're all in this art making, imaginatin' business together, y'all! We are family. 

8. Sabotage by the Beastie Boys
HOW. How do they always know when Ima bout to be evaluated? WHY. Why do they always decide it is then to go all Men-in-Black/flashlight-in-their-face and erase their memories clean of everything taught? I'm tellin' y'all, it's no accident. It's sabotage. 
9. Girls Art Teachers Just Wanna Have Fun by Cyndi Lauper
Evaluations, evalu-shmations. Grades, shmades. Gag me with a spoon, y'all. Art teachers just wanna have fun! 
10. Rainbow Connection by Kermit the Frog
Can you tell I'm an 80's child yet? I love that I got to grow up on a steady diet of The Muppets, The Electric Company, Sesame Street and School House Rock. Kermie wants to know why are there so many songs about rainbows but the art teacher in me wants to know, why aren't there more?! The lover, the dreamer and me will never know. 
11. Shout by Otis Day and the Knights
Now waiiiiiiiiiit a minute! You know you make me wanna SHOUT! Sometimes happily. Sometimes unhappily. Regardless, art teacherin' never fails to bring out the emotions and the hootin' and hollerin'. In other news, this is my second song featuring John Belushi and that would be because I lurves me some Belushi. So deal wit it.
12. Harper Valley P.T.A. by Jeannie C. Riley
Don't get me wrong, I have a fabulous P.T.A. that has yet to send me a letter in the mail about my ensembles. However, this here song is a great anthem for any of those times you find yourself standing up for what you know to be best. Git it, y'all.
13. This is How We Do by Katy Perry
In our house, we love some Katy Perry (read: the hubs really loves him some K.P.). This song just had to make it's way into the mix because the video, y'all. THE VIDEO. I love Katy Perry for the imagination and creativity she brings to everything she does as she has a heavy hand in her costumes, videos and overall look. Love her, love this video. 
14. Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive by Johnny Mercer and the Pied Pipers
We all have those days. When you say the wrong thing. Do what you feel is a lousy job. Struggle to keep your head up. It happens to us all. And, if you are like me, you sometimes allow those negative thingies to play on a permanent loop in your mind. Don't do it, y'all! To end this here mixtape, I leave you with this: 

You've got to accentuate the positive
Eliminate the negative
Latch on to the affirmative
Don't mess with Mister In-Between
You've got to spread joy up to the maximum
Bring gloom down to the minimum
Have faith or pandemonium
Liable to walk upon the scene 
(lyrics by Harold Arlen)
That's all, friends! Hope you enjoy this here mix. Love to hear in the comments your fave art teacherin' tunes (or just your fave tunes in general!). Til next time, I'll allow these kitty cats to take it away.  photo signature_zpsd10b3273.png
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Sunday, August 24, 2014

What the Art Teacher Wore #111 and Dottin' It Up for Dot Day!


Feelin' Funky Monday: I wish I'd snapped a better photo of this skirt because it's straight up amazing. I scooped it up at the super fantastic etsy store SassySenoritaVintage (great shop, awesome seller!). It's completely hand appliquéd and so detailed. After receiving it, I thought I'd try my hand at the same appliqué method only to find that it's super intense! That's a DIY that might take a while. top and necklace: Anthro, gift from a friend; skirt: vintage, SassySenoritaVintageshoes: last season, Payless

Hey there, all y'all! Unlike last week when I wrote this post, this week zipped by at the speed of light. And it's kinda freakin' me out to think that we'll be in September before we know it. So much art making to do, always so little time! Story of every art teacher's life. 
This week I thought I'd share with you a lil sneak peak of our dot-inspired projects for International Dot Day! At first it was kinda tough coming up with dot-esque projects...and now I can't STOP coming up with ideas! I'm trying to force myself to save 'em for next year. I mean, we can't have every project this year be based around a dot...or can we?! I'll share the complete deets on these projects when the kids have completed 'em.

In other news: I'M SO EXCITED ABOUT THE APRON SEW-ALONG! I've loved seeing everyone's creations thus far (some of you have even finished your aprons, you over-achievers!), it's been so inspiring and super fun. If you wanna join along and see what's peeps be making, go here. This week, I'll share with you how to finish that apron off. Then I HAVE A SURPRISE in store for those of you that complete your apron! But you'll have to wait for the final apron-sewing installment to find that out, eee!

Also, can I just tell y'all how much I've loved hearing your stories of childhood memories that built the brick sh## house you are today?! I'm so inspired, happy, motivated-to-be-that-person-in-a-child's-life that you just don't know. You can still leave your story and be entered to win a Spiral Art Kit by August 31st. Looking forward to hearing from you!

Finally, can we talk about the neglected elephant in the room: The Artsy Book Club? This week I'm gonna show y'all the influence the Teach like a Pirate book has had on my first couple of days/weeks in the art room. I've tweaked routine/lessons/song-and-dance a little bit and I'm looking forward to sharing with ya what's worked and what needs more work, if ya know what I mean. 

Alrightie, kids! I'll be back soon with more apron-age, a visit to my art room and a brand new DIY (er, finally! It seems I got a little distracted by Orange is the New Black marathons. My bad.). Chat soon!
Second Grade Reversible Abstract Paintings: I'll share the complete lesson with ya when these bad boys are finished. But for now, lemme give you the short version: listened to a variety of musical instruments (my gong, rain stick, and this thing called a spring drum that I'll share with you this upcoming week) and painted a variety of lines. Our influence was Kandinsky and how music influenced his work. Once the lines were painted, we've started adding color. Some kids have decided to also embellish further with pattern. I'm hoping by next week or so we'll be ready to start on the other side of this pizza round (purchased through School Specialty for $16/100 rounds).
Tacklin' Tuesday: Sometimes I get the question: How do you stay clean in the art room?! Well, I usually don't. Nor do my students. We're almost always in aprons but there are the occasions where we forget, there's a paint spill and clothes receive an unfortunate makeover. I had a sweet first grade student spill paint who FREAKED because she thought her skin would be permanently stained ("I can't be paint splotchy for the rest of my life!"...y'all, I tried SO HARD not to laugh). I thought we'd cleaned up the entire spill when a third grader came up to me later with the very same paint on her skirt (there'd been a blob hiding on the table, just waiting to attack). I felt so bad! But the next day, she came in with a bag of chocolates for me and a kind note from her mother telling me that "this happens, no worries." Gah! Such kindness. And chocolate! top and shoes: thrifted; skirt and necklace: Anthro
First Grade Concentric Circles and Radial Designs: For the dots in first grade, the kids painted their plates with a concentric pattern and then added detail in tiny brushes with black ink. Once complete, we created those painted papers (one side textured the other side dot-stamped) which we'll use to enhance our plates. This is gonna be for a great big hairy group project that I just can't wait to show you! Deets to come, y'all. 
Dang! Can you believe some of that detailed first grade painting?! I mean, these kids are 5 years old, y'all!
Maxi Wednesday: This is my Art Teacher from the 1970's ensemble. You like? I'm into this whole bright color/ethnic pattern thing that I'm seeing everywhere and it's totes influencing my outfit choices. dress: vintage, Buffalo Exchange
Sparkly Relief Dots by Third Grade: So my third grade kids cut out a circle from a styro plate and then added smaller styro circles on top of that. Once complete, we hit it with some spray glue, covered it with foil and they went to town creating their designs. They're kinda like round zen-tangles. I really like how they are turning out...but I'm uncertain just who we'll present these to the world. I'd love to hear your thoughts...should we simply mount them on a piece of construction paper? Maybe continue the line design on that background paper? Or perhaps create a design on the reverse and hang them mobile style? I'd truly love some input, y'all!
Thursday, Already?: This week seemed to zip right by for me. And next week will be the same as we have a half day on Friday and Monday off. Then, it will be SEPTEMBER! How in the world did that happen?! dress: vintage, Buffalo Exchange
Because I love them so and didn't think the first photo did 'em justice, I thought I'd share some close ups. 
String Art in Fourth Grade Land: When I was in fifth grade, we did this really fun string art project that I still have. I thought it was the best thing ever...and decided that my fourth grade should experience that fun-ness too. So we've spent the last couple of art classes decorating our boards (with a lil texture combin' and splatter paintin...since I was an 80's child, splatter paint seemed appropriate). The kids also had to start punching the correct amount of holes into the board and practicing their design ideas. Their fingers are itching to start stitching...and I'm excited to say we'll begin next week!
A Friday with Balls: Holy crap, when I saw this crazy ballsy outfit at Anthropologie recently, I knew I had to have it in my life. Of course, I waited around until the sucker was on double markdown (I just cannot stomach purchasing full price in that joint or even first markdown for that matter). I did learn something interesting with this purchase: if they don't have your size in the store but have it online, you can purchase it in the store and they'll ship it FOR FREE to your house. Which saved me like $10 in shipping. everything: Anthro
Speaking of shipping, there was some serious happiness in my mailbox this week! Artist and art teacher Daniel Langhans sent me those awesome CareBear stickers along with that rad card...and that envelope! You can find more of Daniel's awesomeness here: TiltedEarthStudios.com. I can't wait to enlarger that envelope on the copier and make it into a sign for my art room!
And another art teacher buddy of mine sent me this gems she'd recently printed (Kelly, I LOVE THEM!). You can find handmade items by Kelly here: etsy.com/shop/jkmartinstudiosThese prints totally put me in the mood for my fave holiday. I already have a place for them on the wall in our living room, I just need to get them framed. Funny thing is, both these awesome artists are from Arizona! Thanks guys!!







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Thursday, August 21, 2014

In the Art Room: How Did I Get Here? (with a GIVEAWAY!)

Did anyone else have these yarn painting kits as kids? I obviously loved 'em, look at that ridiculous toothless grin. The surface was tacky so you just placed the yarn where you wanted kinda like the 80's American version of Huichol yarn painting. 
 So last week I just kinda casually threw out the question: Do you think your kid-interests have had an influence on your adult-interests? Y'all. What I heard back from you was a resounding YES. Your Tinker Toys instilled a love of sculpture; your Fashion Plates have you stylin to this very day; your giant collection of naked Barbies have lead you to long walks on nudist beaches. But I got to thinking (which explains the burning smell)...what else in your formative years built the foundation of the person you are today? I keep thinking of the Talking Heads song Once in a Lifetime: 
And you may find yourself living in a shotgun shack
And you may find yourself in another part of the world
And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile
And you may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife
And you may ask yourself, Well...How did I get here?
"I hate rats.!!"...really? Cuz, you know, most people freakin' LOVE rats. And where in my 2nd grade life had I ever even encountered a rat, anyway? Did the rat outbreak happen to devour the Grammar Police because this wee paragraph woulda been under arrest, y'all.
 So, how DID you get here? What people, places or Mattel toys brought you to where you are today? Who inspired that passion in you to create, teach, stitch, cook, whatever-it-is-you-do-so-well? I'm nosy and I wanna know. So I've got a lil proposition for ya. I'll share my story if you share yours...AND if you do, I'll be placing your name in a drawing for a Brand New Car Spiral Art Kit!
Here's how you can enter the giveaway:

Share your story in the comment section below! 
Let us know who/what/how you were introduced to the creative passions you have today. Was it a teacher? A relative? A combo of a buncha stuff? 

Your name will be tossed in a hat and the winner announced in about a week on Sunday, August 31st! I'll (re)share your tale in a blog post and send you the prezzie shown above: A Spiral Art Kit!

Why in the world am I doing this? Because, man, as an art teacher, it's my overwhelmingly-intimidating job to inspire a passion for dreaming, imagining and creating in my students. By doing a little digging, I thought we could all learn how lives have been changed so we could return the favor to those who's lives we impact. Whether you are a teacher, a parent or that super cool aunt/uncle, I know you want to share your passion with the wee folk in your life. What better way to learn how them from our own past? 

So, what's your story?
Remember back in the good ole days when we could dress up on Halloween in elementary school? I just knew I was gonna be a vet when I grew up so I dressed as one every other Halloween. Oh, by the way, that Grim Reaper haunted my nightmares until about a year ago. 

 Well, since you (didn't) ask, I'll tell ya mine: I went to a very small elementary school that I have the fondest memories of. The only problem with the place was that we never had an art class. I knew I liked to draw but I was never exposed to art in school. Thankfully, they still taught penmanship back in those days and that was my creative outlet. I struggled with reading and was miserable at sports but man! did I have some of the prettiest cursive in all of elementary school land. It was the closest thing I had to drawing and I worked on those purple ditto sheets like it was my job. 
Updated version of letter to moms: "Dear Mom, You can be happy, my house is NEVER clean. Love, Cassandra". Whenever I talk to that lady, she always tells me, "it's okay, you are so busy with much more important stuff." Thanks, mom!

Thankfully, the parental units tapped into my creative outlets. They signed me up for drawing classes (even if I was the only kid in there with a buncha blue hairs...and I ain't talkin' hipsters, ya'll) and bought me craft kits. But it wasn't until I spent a couple summers with my grandma that I discovered my true love: crafts. In her wee trailer, that woman had every kind of craft supply imaginable. She taught me to cross stitch, embroider, create beaded jewelry, you name it. I remember the embroidered design I created that once finished, she stitched into a pillow for me. It sat proudly on our couch until I caught the stomach flu and tossed my cookies all over it. Ah, memories. 
Lil known fact: I was The Big Wheel Champion of Joliet, Illinois in the 1980s. This picture only shows what became the tip of my trophy iceberg. The only thing that stopped me from continuing my rein were those dang legs. They got so long I looked like a freaking praying mantis on a circus trike. I'm willing to bet my retirement that my mama still has those trophies in her garage.
When I hit fifth grade, I had a teacher that was like no other. She had a love for space (this was 1985, the year of both Haley's Comet and the Challenger) and art. That passion of hers was so contagious that I began drawing more, collecting all things space-themed and even wrote a couple of ridiculous plays (that she allowed us to perform). I honestly felt like she believed I was someone special. And maybe she did...or maybe she just had that amazing magical teacher touch that inspired all of her students to believe in themselves. Regardless, as a teacher, she had the greatest impact on my life and for that, I'm forever grateful. 
Isn't making a kid feel like a superhero a teacher's job? Such a tall order...but I'm willing to bet money that some of your stories will include teachers too.
I could go on and on with more stories of awesome teachers, painting professors (Barry, you are the best!), friends and fam that have inspired me along the way but I'd much rather hear from you! So if you have a moment and would be so kind, please drop me a line in the comments with your story. Remember, I'll enter you to win a Spiral Art Kit because I totes believe in a good bribe.

Chat with ya soon!







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