Friday, September 28, 2012


Teaching 300+ kids in each grade level it is tricking to accept donations of goods to the art room... it takes a lot of anything to make a project happen.  Today I was blown away with an amazing donation!  Mrs. Roberg, our autism para, had talked to me about donating some colored contact paper she had left over from prom decorating.  She brought in a few sheets and it was cool but I was thinking I could only give each student a 2x2" square for a project...

Then this morning she came in with her arms FULL!

It was awesome.  There is black contact paper (sticky on one side, matte black on the other), two different kinds of metallic, clear and GLOW IN THE DARK.  That's right.  Glow in the dark sticky paper.  I am so excited!  Can't wait to rock out some awesome projects with this stuff!
 And did I mention that the sheets are HUGE... 24x36 each!   

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Gotta Share...

Just had to share this snapshot of my kiddo's.  It completely cracks me up... in one photo I caught the personality of each child.  J is way laid back, H is feisty and L is always funny.  I love these 3!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

I stole it...

Every year I try to have my fifth graders make a large collaborative project to decorate our back wall 
*2010/2011 was the year of the dot wall and 
*2011/2012 was the year of the hand wall (can't believe I didn't take a real picture of it) 
This year I stole an idea from Natalie at smART Class and I love it...

Students each were given a 4x6 card index card.  On the back they told me about themselves.  This is always so eye opening.  I have students who make you smile when they write, "my brother likes basketball, my dad plays with me and my mom likes lottery tickets." and others that make you cry when they write, "my grandma uses drugs."  It always is a great way to remind me at the start of the year that many of my kids come to class carrying more baggage than I have luggage for.

On the front they did a self portrait.  This too is eye opening as we do it without any pre-teaching.  Some of the students remember earlier projects and some are still struggling.   Here are a few of them...

After collecting them all, I put them together in color order.  I added a placard that says class of 2020.  I think it might be fun to hold onto the project until this class graduates.  Just this weekend was homecoming and I couldn't believe how quickly my 7th graders had became the senior class.  I am sure I will feel the same way when this class is graduating...
Thank you Natalie for sharing...

Monday, September 24, 2012

Elements of Art Monsters...

This ornery looking guy helped us start 5th grade reviewing the elements of art...
I used lines to draw the outside edges and the details on his legs and antennas.
I used geometric shapes for his body, head, feet and antenna ends and Organic shapes for his arms, legs and antennas.
I used the complimentary color scheme of yellow and violet.
His value changes from yellow to orange to help him look more like a form.
He has some dots but otherwise his texture is smooth.  
For space, we created a place for our monsters to live (one kind of space) that made our monsters look really big or really small (manipulating space with art tricks). 

After they wrote out a statement like mine above, we finished the project by writing a super short story (2-3 sentences) about our monsters.
My monster is going to sneak down into the kitchen in the middle of the night to devour little Timmy's birthday cake.  He is then going to wait till morning to see if he made little Timmy cry.  
... no one said the monsters had to be nice. 

The kids loved creating their monsters and I loved how much I learned about each student through their creation

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Live and Learn...

Isn't that how the saying goes.  Well today I did a lot of living and a lot of learning.  I had a situation in my room that required me to put alerting the principal to a situation ahead of starting my class.  This means I had to leave 24 students as they were walking into my room and tell them I will be back as soon as I could.  To avoid wasting class time, I put the last slide of today's power point up and told them, "when I get back you better be able to explain to me what today's assignment is."
When I returned they told me ...
"we are doing a landscape"
"we are changing values"
"we are going from light to dark"
"we are painting"
Pretty close.  I was very impressed with how much the figured out by looking at the example and discussing it while I was gone.  (we are practicing watercolor painting and working on how changes in value can impact the illusion of space)

The second lesson that I learned was that I spend way too much time walking around handing out water for watercolor painting... while students sit and wait.  So I went to the closet and got out the "water bottle."
I have always had the students dump their dirty water into "dirty water bowls" to prevent dirty floors but I had never thought about putting the water out for them also (maybe some of you are laughing at me for not). Now I just want to find some old flat lunch trays (think of what you use during church potlucks to carry your food to your table) so I can put the whole setup in one easy to move storage unit. 

Wonder what I will learn tomorrow...

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


I love when my kids have multiple ways to showcase their creativity.  This summer I was cleaning out my kids playroom and found a few things that just had to come to school.

I don't really like my students to  have a lot of free time (I would rather have them working on an art project) but sometimes you have some QUICK finishers who just wont go back and put more into their work.  So yesterday was the first day I let them have access to the "free time" stuff.  The biggest hit was my son's "Magnetix" set.  (I don't want it at home for fear of my toddler eating any of the magnets).  There was some cool stuff being built.
(I have decided that I need to find an old carpet scrap to work on though... the sound of the magnets bouncing on the table was very distracting.)  

A few of the other things I brought are jenga blocks, playdough, ISpy games and puzzles.  I still have my extreme dot to dots, grid practice puzzles, famous artwork coloring pages and mazes for the kids to do.

What do you offer for free time?

Monday, September 10, 2012


We all have them...

I have been wanting to make a sign like this for a while and finally got it done.  Sporadically we have "catch up days" where everyone can finish their work.  I finally finished this sign for my board and I LOVE IT!

This week will be the 5th graders first catch up day.  They will need to:
1.  Finish their art folder covers
2.  Finish their colored self portraits
3.  Finish their Element of Art Monsters
4.  Finish the background drawing for their monsters (a space to live)
5.  Cut out and put their monster in their "space"
6.  Write a story for their monster.

I think that should be enough to keep them busy. 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Classroom Updates

My laminating FINALLY came back... so here are a few new things around the art room.  Thank you to all the bloggers who helped inspire these classroom improvements!

New 5th and 6th grade assignment boards.  These list what the assignment is, what concept we are learning and what the requirements are for the assignment.
These posters help the students know what I expect from them in regards to grading, to being an artist and what they can expect to do if they finish early.
My 4 steps to being successful in the art room.

Our "ART" vocabulary wall.  
These are all laminated images I printed out.

No more wondering where to stand to wash your hands. 
 No more wondering if there are too many people around the sink.

It never fails to amaze me how quickly the year gets going.  We are rocking out in every class.  Artsonia is getting figured out for the year (going to try their "snap my art" fundraiser and hopefully earn an iPad for the art room).  Hope your year is up and going also!