Friday, September 27, 2013

What I learned from my students... today!

I am always learning things from my students and usually it has a lot to do with "what is cool."  Today in the middle of class a student made my world SO MUCH BETTER!  I am not sure why I never thought of it, but I hadn't...

In the middle of a lecture on forms, as I was saying, "this is a lot harder to do with markers..." One of my kiddo's said, "why don't you use the crayon?"

Use the crayon?
Why that would make a ton of sense!
I was so used to drawing with the smart boards pens that I never thought to change the pen style to crayon.... but it Rocks!
I can actually get some gradual shading into my example drawings.  

I am so grateful that my student shared such a great idea (even if it was a blurt during lecture)!

Some notes from class:

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Art Folders

Every year we start with creating a new art folder for each student.  This is where they keep their notes, sketches and in-progress work.  I try to come up with new things for them but I just had to repeat this project for my fifth graders covers.  It really does show them why art is so awesome.

As the students get ready you give them 5 directions

  1. Draw 4 straight lines from one side to the other.
  2. Draw 5 circles any size, anywhere
  3. Draw 2 lines that start on the edge, curve and end somewhere in teh middle
  4. Color a minimum of 3 circles and 6 areas
  5. Demonstrate craftsmanship!

And then be prepared to see how they finish them.

they are all so unique and so much fun.  It also helps me get a sense of their personalities.  You can check out more at Artsonia

The 6th graders worked on their covers and this year we used them as review.  We reviewed our negative shapes from last years painting project and we reviewed patterning lines.  Then they got to work.  Their goal was to write their name WITHOUT writing their name... to let the patterns create them.  It was hard to do but I loved how they turned out.

Check out more at Artsonia.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Can't forget...

I almost forgot to post about my artwork.  The NATA conference also hosts the Juried Art Educator Art Show.  I had a piece accepted and it was pretty awesome!
Comparing my piece to the others I felt honored to be in their presence.  There are some really talented art teachers out there (DUH!) and was I moved to be in a show with them.  This also made me get excited about creating more of my own artwork!
It is always neat to see your stuff hanging in an art gallery!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Nebraska Art Teacher Association

Well I did it...

I presented at my state convention...

and I survived!

It was a bit nerve wracking (it is a lot easier to feel confident in front of 30 5th/6th graders than 15 of your peers) but it was also a lot of fun.  I had to switch things up a bit with the computer.  My feedly account wouldn't open in internet explores but would in foxfire and even then I couldn't get my account to open but could start a new one... and ended up starting one for the person who presented before me.  I ended up running through my PowerPoint and then demonstrating which means I covered the information faster than planned to and jumped around more than I wanted to but the people I knew in the presentation said they could follow what I was doing.  (they were my friends though....hmmmm).

I have to send a huge thank you out to Timothy Bogatz (check him out at who presented right before me.  He helped me get through the computer glitches, taught me about how to use twitter without it being a time suck (thank you tweetdeck) and he allowed me to start him a Feedly account in which he is following some girly home improvement blogs I love.
It was definitely different spending a few days wandering around my college stomping grounds with one of my best college buddies.  I felt like I could be right back in the swing of things ... until I over heard some "real" college kids say, "look there goes some adults. Bet they are here for that art conference."
Wayne State College did a great job of hosting us and two things really stand out to me...
#1 How much work the college art ed students did.  They were everywhere; presenting, guiding, running the show.  They even recreated their "Black Box Theater" for us.  They painted clear plastic with florescent paint and hung them in a black room with black lights.  It was really awesome!  You walked in and were blown away.  

#2 The Sistine Chapel at the planetarium.  The WSC science staff used their planetarium technology to allow us to sit and enjoy the Sistine Chapels's ceiling.  It was awesome!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Not my lesson... But I have to share!

I love it when other teachers share what they have done in their room with me.  I teach with some really fun, awesome, amazing and creative teachers.  Just last week a teacher came down and handed me a stack of papers and said, "check these out.  They are awesome."  He was right.  They were pretty cool.  He had done them the first few days of school as a way to get to know more about the kids.

He started by giving each student a piece of paper with this line on it.
They used the line to create some fun and creative images. 

Did you find the line in each picture? 

I am thinking this would make an awesome and easy sub plan...

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


I have been feeling a bit overwhelmed with paperwork lately.  I feel like I am a doing  a lot of "doubling up."

  1. Lesson plans sketched out in my paper calendar (I can't get rid of it)
  2. Typed lesson plans in Google Drive.
  3. Weekly overview typed in Google Drive.
  4. Lesson plans linked to my Google Calendar. 
Last week I was introduced to and it looks like something I might like.  I was just wondering if anyone out there uses it and what they think of it?

p.s. Art pictures/projects coming tomorrow!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Feeling a little lighter...

So I just finished going through all my paperwork... and man did it feel AWESOME!
You know how we all get paperwork and then we put it into the "I'll deal with it later, its not top priority pile"  Well tonight it became priority.  To the left is the keepers, to the right are the recyclers!  It is awesome to think that I am carrying about 1/2 as many papers!     
So now my thoughts turn to what else I might want to tackle... I was just noticing that my district is open on the Nebraska Art Teachers Association Board.  It is has left me contemplating if that would be something good for me. 
With the house moving I think it is best left off my plate for this year, but is something I am really thinking about for next year... 
Wow...that really is my name on the presenting schedule.  YIKES!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Beauty all around us...

The other night was opening day of dove season and the beginning of my husbands favorite time of year. We have been going dove hunting together since we were dating and have never missed an opening weekend.  It is definitely a different experience now that we are taking 3 kids with us but I wouldn't miss it for anything.  It is a big part of the marking of time passing for me... 
Amanda's Pointing Arrow aka M-Dog, Hollywood, Dingo and Mandy
 This year I couldn't help but be a bit nostalgic about the passing of time.  Mandy is my first baby, my puppy baby and we picked her out before we were even married.  The funniest thing is that she is called flash for good reason.  While she is supposed to be a hunting dog she has always been a big time runner and would put miles on before my hubby was even ready to start walking. 
 This year she didn't run very far and even spent some of the time sitting in the truck.  I have always known that her life expectancy is 11-15 years and that she is 13 but this hunting trip made me really start to think about how life without my "m-dogg" will be so different and so sad.
 This was also the second year of our "awesome dove spot" being less than stellar.  This required us to change location for hunting.  It was different but still the same.  I couldn't help but think about how that related to my personal life in that we are moving at the end of the month.  
I will still be living with the same people, having the same job and doing the same things but all from a new address.  I know that it isn't that big of a deal but I am leaving my nice little house to move to a bigger "project filled" house.  I am leaving the house were I brought my babies home from the hospital to the house where I will watch them graduate from high school.  
This year also marked the first year of all my kiddos being in Sunday School.  It was definitely different to be teaching a Sunday School class vs. participating in a mommy and me bible study.  This year was also the first time in a long time that I worked on art projects just for my personal enjoyment (and had one selected for show).   
All this passing of time and these changes are making me think about how quickly life goes by and how important it is to slow down and enjoy the little things in life.  Like the laughter of our children, the joy in our students when the enjoy something, the beauty of where we live and the time we can spend doing things we love! 
Hope the rambling wasn't too much and the prairie pictures were worth it!   Have a great day!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

An Awesome Idea and an Epic Fail

So for my first official 6th grade project I had this WONDERFUL idea ...
that went KABOOM! during my first class!
But I think I have saved it!

My original idea was to have the students start the year with a review project that would allow them a lot of freedom.  We started with quick review of watercolor and collage.  I then gave them the assignment, "create a project that uses a bug as your subject matter and shows your ability to use watercolor and collage."  They had a week to think about it and plan.  

They came in on Thursday ready to work and IT WAS A NIGHTMARE!  Their ideas weren't very well developed.  They weren't sure how to start with their ideas.  They were just grabbing papers, paint and glue and going to town.  At the end of class I was tired and sad and worried.  

Then came lunch and some massive brainstorming.

I realized that their struggles came from my shortcomings.  While they had ideas, I had to help them work out their ideas better.  So for the next few classes we started with a sketch critique where the students had to work out an official sketch and then share it with a class partner.  They were then able to tell me if they were starting with watercolor or collage as every student had to start with their background.  

We aren't finished yet but I really like the way things are going!  PHEW!

Also... I am planning on being able to use this project for my students to discuss unity and variety.  

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Live Binder

Our schools technology guru has been sending out emails about using LiveBinders for about a year.  From what I understand it is like a regular binder, but you store everything online.  Today I was looking for some art games for my students to play and found this awesome live binder all about art games. 

Thank you to Theresa McGee (from The Teaching Palette) for sharing!
Here are some more of her binders to check out.

Needless to say, I will be checking out and exploring LiveBinder a little more.