Tuesday, June 12, 2018

An Art Teacher's Thoughts on A Summer of Art...

During the summer I go to the beach. I will keep going to the beach each summer until the one day when I do not have to leave the beach ever again! 
So going to the beach means I have to travel. I do not fly...I am not afraid to fly, I am afraid of falling and being out of control. But that is a different blog post! So I drive everywhere I go, which makes it easy to pack all my art supplies. 
There are a few things I plan for during my summer break so I feel refreshed and ready for the next school year...
1. Reading-I always seem to be reading the latest classroom management, PBL, STEAM or what ever is the next big thing in teaching. Last year I read Wonder for our school book review. All the teachers went to see the movie together when it came out. I had to take a pass. I cry way to easy. I also read Classroom Management for Art, Music and PE Teachers by Michael Linsin. I highly recommend this book. I also did a book study with the Cassie Stephens on her Wed. night Facebook live show where we read The Growth Mindset Coach by Annie Brock and Heather Hundley. Cassie never really finished the book study but I loved the book and I used a lot of the exercised from the book in my classroom. I highly recommend it as well. The last book I read was Launch by John Spencer and A.J. Juliani. This was a book study with Samantha Melvin from the Texas Art Educators Association. I had to join the TAEA be part of this book study but it was all worth it. Samantha it an awesome host for this club and I am happy to say a friend as well. This summer I am reading The Creative Habit Learn it and Use it for Life by Twyla Tharp with the TAEA. My mother actually danced with Twyla Tharp in the 70's. I am only in chapter 2 and it has already changed my life. I differently recommend this book. Take special not of the "ritual" section. I am trying very hard to from rituals in my life so I can operate at a much more proficient level. So that is my summer thing during the day...I lay out on the beach and read. I go into the water with my water socks on and lay on my tube until I start thinking about sharks then I go back to the beach and read some more. Why do they always have shark week when I am at the beach house?
2. At night I work on my own art...It's hard to pack all the art supplies I want to take with me. I want to make books, felt little creatures, art journal, Zentangle, sew...It is a lot. I usually end up taking every art supply I own and then only working in my art journal.
I usually create all my covers before I leave for my trip and just add the pages to my 
books while on my trip.
For art journaling I take my smaller journals and a set of travel watercolors, scissors and glue. I use to pack every single art journaling supply I though I would need but then they opened a Hobby Lobby near the beach house so that solved that problem. I actually
always have scissors and a stick glue in my purse. Don't all art teachers?
Here I am teaching a felting class in Norfolk, Virginia.
A couple of years ago I picked up felting at Art Scouts. I love, love, love needle sculpting.
Yes I stab myself all the time but I still love it. Felting is very easy to travel with because 2 oz of felt will take you a long way and 2oz is very light weight to carry and manageable.
3. I update my blog. There will be a lot to updates this summer since my 1 year old MacBook crashed and took everything I have with it! I just did not feel like posting for months, I was sad. I have now gotten over myself, mainly because it was my fault I did not back anything up and I have moved on. So I will have a lot of catching up to blog about this summer. 
4. I update old art projects, lesson plans and PowerPoints. Not really much to tell you about this since I am guessing we all do this during the summer. 
Here are a few of the lessons I am updating for next year...
Color Wheel Pigs
Stacking Birds
Skeleton Torso
5. Every summer I try and attend workshops that are just for art teachers. I love being around other art teachers and just jammin' to their crazy vibes. For the last 2 years I have attended Cassie Stephens' Art Scouts. I am a huge fangirl of Cassie's and Art Scouts is just an amazing time. This year I am going to Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) for their Summer Workshops for Educators. So very, very excited. I have always wanted to go to SCAD but for horse riding, well art too but mostly for riding. I grew up showing horses and I miss it now that I can't afford it because my dad is not paying my stable bills any more!!! Darn being an adult is expensive!
I am also going to the National Art Educators Association Leadership conference in Charleston, South Carolina in July. I think it is very important to keep in touch with what is happening in our industry and to keep in touch with each other as artists and educators. Workshops and conferences are my favorite way to do just that.
6. I always schedule a summer camp the week before school starts. I think it is the only thing that forces me to come home! I teach at the Center for the Arts in Manassas, Virginia. I have taught art journaling, Zentangle, paper mâché, bookbinding and this summer I will be teaching a fiber arts class at Windy Knolls Farm in Nokesville, Virginia.
7. Just relax...I have a studio in my back yard and when I am in there it is as if the rest of the world just floats away. We all have to have some me time to just decompress. My happy place is my art studio....and my art room...and the beach.... My dream is to combine all those things someday.
This is why I go to the beach!
This is why I come home!
This post is a part of
The Art Ed Blogger's Network: Monthly Tips and Inspiration from Art Teacher Blogs. On the second Tuesday each month, each of these art teacher blogs will post their best ideas on the same topic.

Participating Art Teacher Blogs:

Saturday, May 5, 2018

5th grade Skeleton Torso Project...




So after doing several direct observational assignments we are now doing some of what I call "elimination" drawings. 

I gave each student a print out of a human skeleton torso. I asked them to use a sharpie and trace around the parts that they thought were the most important to convey their message. 

When you are finished outlining you turn the paper over and that is what you draw. I encourage them to include something that makes the work personal to them. 








We used water colors to paint our skeletons with.


I got the idea when I was working in my #dailyart18 sketch book. I loved the look of this project so much I wanted to share it with the kids. They really seem to like it, it's a keeper!








Sunday, April 15, 2018

Early Finishers...


What happens when they yell out "I am done"? My first thought is always "you are not a biscuit...you are not done". But what comes out of my mouth is..."Art is not a race, there are no points for finishing first in art"! 

When I first started teaching I would tell the quick finishers to go back and add something here or there or finish coloring the page leaving no white spots. I quickly found out that can be the fastest way to seriously mess up a kid's work. When students come to you they are usually already "done" in there heads, asking them to go back and work some more is like asking them to clean their own bedrooms. They will quickly slop though the motions of creating art just to get finished.  No one wants that. 

Now I ask THEM if there is an area of the page they feel needs some more work. Or sometimes I tell them to find a classmate to help them see if there is an area that might need some more attention.

I have every student in school create their own art journal. On the first day of class everyone creates an art journal. When they are finished with a project they know to go get their art journals and start working.  There is a list of 28 topics to draw and write about. No one has to ask ..."what do I do now".  Everyone knows to go there their art journals.

I also have a Creation Station and library students can work in if they reach certain pages in their a
art journals. 

This is my Creation Station and Library. When students get to certain points in their journal they can go to the Creation Station and work independently. Before you ask I have know idea why the rooster is on the table. I am hoping it is because some one was using it to draw in their sketch book. I have a very large and strange collection of things for the kids to draw in their sketchbooks with. 

Just a small selection for the randomness that is my art room.

On top part of the Creation Station in the green baskets is the journal station. The journal station is a collection of random stamps, scrapbooking supplies and other odds an ends I have bought on clearance from Hobby Lobby or the thrift store or some that some wonderful parent has donated. Anything in the Journal Station may be used in their art journals.

For 1st, 2nd, 4th and 5th I order 18 x 12 inch white tagboard paper for the covers and 17 x 11 inch white computer paper for the insides. I use a 7 page single signature. I have a list of 28 pages students need to complete throughout the year. The journals are due 2 weeks before their last day of classes. 

3rd grade uses cereal box covers. I may go to 1st, 2nd and 3rd using cereal boxes next year to save a little money. The 4th and 5th grade love creating their own journal covers so I will keep them with the tag board.

These are some of the activities students can use in the Creation Station.


Magnetic boxes with colorful pieces...

Pictionary, art memory cards and museum close-up cards...

Atom builder...

Stacking balls...

Make a mobile...

Spirograph...

Spin art..

Preselected art lessons from art text books...

Gear builder...

Writing station...

Graph heart project...


I have a student in charge of the Creation Station and Library in each class. It is that student's job to make sure the area is straight before the class leaves. 

I hope this was helpful. If you have any questions or suggestions please leave a message or email me at artroomblog@yahoo.com


This post is a part of The Art Ed Blogger's Network: Monthly Tips and Inspiration from Art Teacher Blogs. On the first Tuesday each month, each of these art teacher blogs will post their best ideas on the same topic. Please see the following blogs for more inspiration on how to handle Early Finishers.

Participating Art Teacher Blogs:

Monday, March 5, 2018

STEAM, Arts Integration & PBL In Elementary School ...


I am a huge believer in STEAM and PBL in the art room. I have been, long before I knew there was a name for it. The number one goal, I believe for hiring these days is to look for a person who is proficient in visual thinking and creative problem-solving. What better way to learn these traits then through art education. I mean seriously what art teacher worth their salt has not been teaching problem-solving for years. I give a project assignment...my students then have to find the most creative way to solve the problem they have been given. What other discipline allows for this type of thinking? 

 The ARTS account for  $704.2 Billion dollars of the US economy according to the National Endowment for the Arts web site. 
Not everyone wants to grow up to be a rocket scientist or brain surgeon. But even if you do happen to become a rocket scientist or a brain surgeon wouldn’t you want the valuable problem-solving skills the arts provide?  Wouldn't you want to be able to think out side the box to solve any issues that might arise in your job? Do you want to have your rocket on the launch pad with a  problem or a patient on the table with a troublesome subdural hematoma and you just standing asking yourself, which bubble did I fill in on that multiple choice scantron test that I took that covered this situation? 
People today need real world skills that allow them to think freely, creatively and effectively to solve problems. We do not need more test takers. 

As art teachers we have always known this. There is no one correct way to solve art and design problems. There are principles and elements you can learn but how you use them is up to the individual artist.
I believe in “art for art sake” more than any other thought or concept out there but I do truly believe STEAM and PBL are a very import part of our tool kits as educators. 

  I have been actively teaching STEAM and PBL for a few years now. I started off  by adding one STEAM or PBL lesson to a couple of grades the first year. Then added in the rest of my grade levels the next year. Last year I made sure to have 2 STEAM or PBL lessons for each class. This year I am working on documenting all the lessons and ideas for my blog. I started of being self taught but then began attending workshops and PD classes in my district. I am also a huge fan of the
I take all their workshops and on-line conferences. This has really helped me with my classroom approach to teaching STEAM and PBL based lessons. I highly recommend this web site!

I do not think STEAM or PBL has to be "just another thing you have to do". I think it is really something you are already doing. With a few minor adjustments I was able to upgrade a lot of my existing art lessons. I have some of my STEAM or PBL lessons on my blog

I start with my own art lesson and then look at the STEAM applications it can have. For example, my second graders were drawing flower vases based on the van Gogh painting "Sunflowers".
I took a fresh new look at this old lesson and changed it up, first by having the class grow their own flowers in clear plastic water bottle.  
Everyone got their own water bottle terrarium. They each had to put the dirt, seeds, water and fertilizer in their bottles.  We waited 2 weeks and now we have sprouts.
Students will first create a drawing of the root system.


After the roots were drawn we painted them with watercolors.

For our next project we took a wire and shaped it like a root then did a texture rub with crayons over the wire using several different colors.


Using our texture rub papers we created a collage flower garden.

The next project was to look inside the plants with a microscope and see what the cells looked like.

From this observation we created our own version of our plants cells.

First students selected 2 colors of watercolor paint. Using a the straw blowing technique they blew out their paint spots. When the paint was dry students filled in the spaces with circles using a ultra fine tipped Sharpie.

Our next project was also about cells.
On transparent sheets using washable markers students created
colored circles.
Then added a few drops of rubbing alcohol onto the circles.

Place a sheet of paper over the colored area and rub.

The kids thought I was a magician!!! 

We then moved on to looking at the work of Georgia O'Keeffe

Click HERE for the steps to this part of the project

Then to bring this project home I now introduce the van Gogh project I use to start with. We discuss the cultivation of Sunflowers and careers related to all aspects of this project as well as the fine arts implications. 
.
We then go outside and plant our flowers in the school garden thus completing our plant PBL project as a means of mastering an education concept.




This month, The Art Ed Blogger's Network is writing about STEAM/Art Integration. Join us on the first Tuesday each month for new projects, ideas, and inspiration.

Participating Art Teacher Blogs: