Friday, March 22, 2013

Thank you...

I just read an interesting article about how gratitude makes your life SOOO much better.  It improves how you look at things, how you feel about situations, how you are able to handle difficult problems, etc...

So for the last few weeks of school (we are in the final quarter of the year) I am writing 4 thank you cards a week.  These are just small notes I am mailing to students (and parents) to highlight super students. I hope this helps everyone enjoy these last, crazy weeks a little better.

Thursday, March 21, 2013


I just received an email from a mom and with her permission, I have to share the attached picture.
This is one of my wonderful 6th grade students standing next to her project (the 2 point perspective tree house) on display at our Youth Art Month Celebration.  Every year the Nebraska Art Teachers sponsor a show at the capital building.  Students are invited to come down and talk with our state senators about their projects.  How cool is that!  

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Capodimonte Roses

This is one of my favorite projects because every one loves them, everyone is successful and it is easy!  We start by quickly learning about Capodimonte Porcelain and then I demonstrate how to create the flowers (see these step by step directions). Then we get to work...

They build them, they dry, I fire them, they paint them, I varnish them (Sargent Art Acrylic Gloss Medium and Varnish from Nasco...1 gallon has lasted me 2 years and I still have a lot left over) and then they take them home.
(check them all out at artsonia)

So beautiful and so rewarding!  One of my few repeats from year to year.

Monday, March 18, 2013


Thursday night as we left school we were reminded to leave our computers on for the latest updates... so I did.

Friday I came to school a few minutes early and thought "I should restart my computer so those updates don't slow me down."... so I did.


Somewhere, somehow the updates TOOK OUT our computers.  Luckily only about 1/5th of our building had restarted their computers so 4/5 of the building still had functioning equipment.  Those of us who did restart (or undock our laptops) are out of luck.  We had nothing on Friday, they worked all weekend and we still have nothing as of 10:00 tonight.

Needless to say, I am SO APPRECIATIVE of my technology.  The prep is times 10 for getting ready, the student involvement is -10, the reteaching is up and my energy is down.  I have been able to use the iPad for basic stuff but it doesn't even pay to prep at home... I have no way of using it at school (laptop runs my projector and we can't change/disconnect/move anything till the problem is resolved).

I am hoping that between Microsoft, Dell, Novell  and our district tech gurus we get a solution soon (and I am sure they do also... can't imagine that dedicating their entire weekend to this problem was on their to-do list).

As for what we are doing in the art room... I can't wait to show you are clay flowers (one of my favs), our perspective lettering and our "George Washingtons."

Plus my celebrating creativity kiddo's just got to use my "Artsonia Treat."

Friday, March 15, 2013

Dallas Art Museum

Honestly one of my favorite things about national convention is the art museums.  I could spend the whole time wandering through them.  In New York I missed a lot of the convention to the "museum time trap."  In Fort Worth I made an effort to attend more convention, less museum.  Therefore the DAM is the only one I made it to.
It was a 40 minute train ride and $10 round trip (vs. $60 for a taxi one way) from downtown  Fort Worth to downtown Dallas.  The museum was a 4 block walk from the train stop and definitely worth it.  The Cindy Sherman exhibit from the MOMA was just being installed but they had a Chagall exhibit that was AWESOME (and free with my convention pass). 
I have never been a huge Chagall "superfan" but that changed from this exhibit.  From this one exhibit I came up with the following ideas:
  • creating clay plates and "drawing" on them
  • creating a costume from a play or poem
  • drawing on painted paper... paint in one shape and draw only in the shape
  • collage a generic shape and then draw over the top of it
  • create a "two face/figure" drawing that shows people who influence you
  • saving sketches... switching and working collaboratively   
They DAM also had a large collection of "functional art" from the last century.  It inspired an assignment to have my students design a new chair... with specific requirements and for a specific customer.
(Even the Omni Hotel thinks it is a good idea... check out their paintings)
We finished the evening in Dallas with a tour of some other downtown Dallas spots... like where JFK was assassinated   It was definitely an odd feeling to be standing there on the grassy knoll looking at the X that marks the spot were he was shot.  Another first for the day was eating alligator.  I can tell you that it really  tastes just like chicken.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Fort Worth in Brief...

We arrived in Fort Worth and it was beautiful!
We hit the exhibit hall and attended some sessions (more on those later).  Thinking back to my NAEA trip to Los Angeles where I took my picture with Johnny Depp (he was shooting his movie Blow in our hotel), I snapped some pics with "famous art people."
Derek and Jessica Balsley from The Art of Ed
"Mr. E" from Art with MR. E
and Melissa Techman who writes Art Tech Beat for School Library Journal
We took the train to Dallas to see the Dallas Art Museum and have dinner with a friend who lives "down south."  He is a huge history buff and conspiracy theory fan so he was the perfect person to visit the "grassy knoll" with.
We did more sessions.  We walked a few blocks from the convention to the Justin Boot Outlet Store where I got my s***kickers (as they are called down south).
and then flew home... to THIS!
Luckily it is all melted and today is 50 degrees.... Gotta Love Nebraska

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


I just logged into my Google reader and it says that Google Reader will no longer be available after July, 2013.
That can not happen.  Has anyone else heard anything about this?


p.s. I will be posting about Ft. Worth after I finish grades.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Fort Worth Bound....

Lesson Plans Written - CHECK
Art Show Announcements Printed - CHECK
Boarding Passes Printed - CHECK

Heading home to pack to fly out to Fort Worth.... YEA HAW!  

Super Excited for the next few days spent with one of my best college friends enjoying an AMAZING art convention.  I know I will come with some great information and I hope I find some super awesome S***Kickers (that is what they call them in Fort Worth... according to my principal who grew up there)!

Comic Book Cover

We all do self-portraits in Kindergarten, 1st grade, 2nd grade, 3rd grade, 4th grade, etc...
 the tricky part is coming up with a relevant projects that the kids will love.

This year my 6th graders were asked to create a self-portrait that challenged them to think about "what if they could be a super hero?"  They completed the following planning worksheet.
Then we looked at a lot of comic book covers.  They were given the task of creating a comic book cover for their superhero.  The guidelines said they had to have a title, a portrait of themselves and be colored neatly and completely.  We agreed that they would want a cover that "grabbed" someone's attention.  Then I handed out these blank covers... complete with barcodes and MSComic labels.  
They did a really neat job.  Not going to lie... some are a bit lacking but most of them were very impressive.