Monday, June 13, 2011

Safety Pin Bracelets

A couple of months ago I went to the Main St. Fort Worth Arts Festival which is the number one Arts Festival in Texas and the third largest in the country. This is my second year going since I moved to the area and my family and I now look forward to it. There are over 200 artists, live performances, fun activities for the kids.....and the food....oh my, there are so many delicious things to eat. I starve myself the entire day before I go! Anyhow, about the bracelets...there are many cute shops along the bricked roads of downtown Ft. Worth and I found this art store with all kinds of treasure (wish I remembered the name). I bought a cool Frida bag and a really beautiful safety pin bracelet. Every time I wear it I get compliments and people ask if I made it. So, since school is out I ventured down to Hobby Lobby and bought lots of beads and safety pins. These are the two I made so far! I paid about $12 for mine and I saw some on ebay for $20. It did take me quite a bit of time especially on the first one I made (top) because I used really small beads that were in a mixed pack. The second one has smaller pins, larger beads and a spacer bead so it took about half the time. Plus, I finally got my rhythm down. I am taking some graphic design classes that are taking up most of my spare time but I really love the bracelets and hope to make more!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Sweet Surprises!

When I was in college, one of my professors told us to get a box to keep all of our little "presents" from our students. I haven't been very good at keeping all these treasures. I get a lot... especially from my daughter who is also one of my students :)  I used to go through the box on tough know those days it seems like you have yelled way more than you should have, or the day one of the kids says "I hate art!" Well, I was going through all of the portfolios to hand back to the students and found this picture a girl drew of me. It made my day!

Butterfly Mural from Art Projects for Kids

We had quite a few changes in schedules this year at my school (which is the norm). They took many fourth and fifth grade band students out of band for 6 weeks and put them with the regular specials to accommodate their homerooms standardize testing schedules..and many other complicated issues that I do not wish to go into. Anyhow, this left me with 25 + students in my classes...many of whom had not been in art all this year or last year. I know many of you are okay with getting out the expensive watercolors and acrylics for this many students but I am not afraid to say that I AM Especially due to the fact that most of these student didn't spend the first of the year going over procedures and routines in my class. I was looking for a lesson that wasn't too messy and involved materials that could be shared by such a large number of kids. I downloaded this butterfly mural from Art Projects for Kids, we used crayons, and some rubbing plates. The kids had to use warm colors for the butterfly parts and cool colors for the background or vice versa. They were only allowed to use one rubbing plate on one area. At first I let one class color them however they wanted, and they were a mess! They used crazy color combinations and too much texture. So for the next classes I had to set the rules. There were a few who strayed from the guidelines but they still came out okay. Overall I am happy with the results. I had more completed butterflies but only took these two pictures :(

Friday, June 10, 2011

Summer is here!

Sorry I haven't posted in months, I have been insanely busy. But summer has arrived which means I have time to post some lessons I did in the Spring (better late than never). I saw a similar post on There's a Dragon in my Artroom about coffee filters and they lovely things you can do with them that I have been wanting to blog about them but Phyl beat me to it! Anyhow, I will still do it anyway. Last year (my first with elementary kiddos) the Pre-Kinders (who are Kinders this year) made flowers and butterflies by completely coloring coffee filters and then we spritzed them with a water bottled to get the colors to bleed together. (Lots of ohhs and ahhs from them.) We did the first round on newspaper and when I took them off after they dried I noticed the awesome effect on the newspaper so we did the next round on white paper.

So then I hoarded all of these colorful papers for a whole year, actually I kind of forgot about them...then I saw a project on another blog about bird in a trees (can't remember where-sorry) and I thought this would be the perfect opportunity for the Kinders to cut them up and use them for bird parts!

And here is our lovely tree!

...Stay tuned for the Kinder rainsticks using the same coffee filter paper.

Can't leave comments

I have been trying to comment on blogs but it keeps asking me to sign in despite the fact that I am already signed in. Then it says "Anonymous Says...." but still won't let me leave the comment. Just asks me to sign in again, Anyone else having this problem?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Just a little something I REMEMBERED!!

Usually the days before Spring Break begins I am elated, cheerful and thinking of all the fun and relaxing things I am going to do on my week off. This last week was different. Our Superintendent informed us that if things don't change with the state's budget cuts we would have to lose about 60 teachers from our small district (9 schools total). Then our principals informed us that we would be notified the week before spring break if we would be let go. On top of having a sinus infection, myself, along with the other teachers in the building were on edge. I could see the looks as we passed each other in the halls, hear it in their (and my own) voices as we firmly corrected students' behavior. I had analyzed every evaluation I had over the past few years, what could I have done better? Did I forget to state my standards and objectives over and over again when my evaluator was watching me? Did I incorporate other subjects in the lessons they observed? Should I have spent more time making small talk instead of hiding out in my room preparing for painting, collages, sorting out good markers from bad ones?? Should I have tried to be more likeable or friendly with the adults in the building? What would the kids do without me???? I spend almost every day and night with these thoughts swimming in my head. Then I started questioning MYSELF even more. Was I even meant to be a teacher? Maybe God is trying to tell me this isn't for me. Then I remembered all the times I complained...I never got supplies. The other teachers don't respect me. Some of the students don't even listen to me. Maybe I can go back to school and pick another profession, make more money....etc.

Then my mom send me a email and I REMEMBERED!!! I remembered everything I so naively dreamed about (as I took years to complete my degree as a single mom, working full time, going to school part time) so I could change just ONE kid's life! My mom reminded me of how I took notice when some kids came to school with no coats, holey uniforms, and ripped backpacks. I went through my own kids stuff and brought them to those kids. I remembered all those shoes I tie, and noses I wipe everyday. I remembered all the hugs I get as kids leave to get on the bus each day, and how much I look forward to the little pictures kids draw on notebook paper at home to bring me (I don't even care that they misspell my name most of the time!) I thought about the little boy with severe behavior problems whose own mother was so bad on drugs that she locked him and his siblings in the closet for days before they were found. I remembered how I go pick him up from his special class room so that he can finish his precisley painted pictures that are ten times better than the "normal" kids in his grade. I REMEMBERED the smile on his face when he sees me at the door on my off period when he knows he gets to come with me. So, you know what? I REMEMBERED I AM MEANT TO BE A TEACHER!!!

With all that being said, the week ended, and I seemed to have dodged the bullet. It was not easy seeing the teachers who didn't, in the hallways after they got the bad news. I hope they don't let anyone else go (Especially me). We already have far less than many other districts in our area.  On Saturday, my friend and I drove down to Austin to attend the Save Texas Schools Rally. You can click here to learn more: Save Texas Schools It was a truly moving experience. Over 12,000 people were there and we were right up front. I heard so many moving speeches. One of the best was Dalton Sherman, a Dallas ISD student , the other one who made me  REMEMBER was John Kuhn , the very passionate SUPERintendent of Perrin-Whitt Consolidated Independent School.

I put the videos at the bottom. Thet are both a little long, but so worth your time. The second one doesn't start at the beginning, or show his face but his message is all you need to hear!!

I know this is a long post but I hope none of my blogger friends find themselves in the same situation....and I hope you enjoy my pics and videos!

I don't know these two girls but they were marching right behind us. (I assume they are sisters cause of the cute red hair and freckles.) I really liked their signs. I think the students that were at the rally sent the most powerful messages.

We marched seven blocks to the state capitol. One of our main messages is to urge the govenor to use our Rainy Day fund instead of cutting over $9 billion from Texas education.

I stole this picture from the front page of the Austin American Statesman newspaper. I am in the middle of the picture next to the guy with the sign that says "No Teacher Left Behind".
Here is the article:  Thousands Rally for Education

As the rally ended you could see signs left in the bushes...we teachers left our mark!!
(Isn't that what we were born to do??)

The second one cracked me up!

My awesome librarian friend and I!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Circle Prints: Tints and Shades

I got this idea from Art is the Best Part of the Day, but I wanted to use it to introduce tints and shades to 2nd grade. We first made the circles by stamping a styrofoam cup in black tempera. Then I let them pick one color. We painted with the one color for about 10 minutes, then I went around and added a little bit of white to each students' paint. We did this for the rest of the period, adding more and more white. The next class we did the same but added black for the shades. The kids loved it! We also talked a little about printmaking, covered shapes, repetition and overlapping. I told them to use their fat brushes for the large areas, and their skinny brushes for the small areas. They got a kick out of this. Also, the boys who picked red where a little upset when they got pink after adding white. They wanted to switch colors but I wouldn't let them. What a meanie!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Impromptu Jim Dine Lesson

I had been seeing all of these wonderful Jim Dine lessons on different blogs and I wanted to do one but all of my classes were in the middle of other projects. Then the week before last we missed a whole week because of the snow, and we missed one day last week also. Today it was 70 degrees!! (I live in Texas, where one week you are building snowmen and the next you are wearing shorts and flip flops.)
Anyhoo, all the missed days of school caused our testing to be all mixed up and last Monday morning I found out I would have two third grade classes in one due to the computer lab being used by the testers. Which meant the kids who go to Technology for specials that day would be redirected to me...yay. (We only have one computer lab at my school)
So I am thinking to myself..."There is no way I am going to paint with 34 third graders at one time!"
So I decided to do the Jim Dine lesson! Here are the pictures. I hope to do it again next year and hopefully they will be a little better, but I thought they were pretty cute for a last minute lesson.
Happy Valentine's Day!!

One of my favorites, this boy used to fall asleep in my class last year, this year he is all about art!

I like the heart on the bottom right, it is a heart-bat.

Also, one of my favorites, it looks like an anti-Valentine!

This boy was so upset with his heart, he didn't like it at first and kept begging for a new sheet of paper, I kept telling him he could fix it since we were using oil pastels and could layer over the parts he didn't like. I told him I loved the way he layered the colors. He left art pouting but was happy after I hung it in the hallway.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Freedom Quilts

We are in the process of making Freedom Quilts for Black History Month. It is a group project we are doing in  fourth and fifth grade. The groups each have their own family of slaves that they must make a quilt for. They all have different routes to follow to the North and must figure out which codes are needed to help their specific family. This one is the first one finished and today I hung it up in our town library as a part the local Black History Month display. We used scrap book paper to acheieve the fabric look.

P.S. Say a prayer for all of us Texas teachers (and Texas students)...if you haven't heard, the whole state is looking at massive education budget cuts. They will let go of 1000 Dallas school district employees next school year. I don't work for that school district but in a smaller Dallas suburb district.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Mondrian Inspired Trees

Where did I get this idea from???? I saw it on someone's blog and have looked and looked but can't find whose it was! If you know please tell me so I can give them credit.

This is a lesson I did with fourth grade and fifth grade. (I have a few classes with a mix of fourth and fifth graders, so now I teach the same lessons to both grades.) We talked about Piet Mondrian's Tree paintings, and the symbolism trees meant to him. We painted the trees with black tempera paint, and used liquid watercolors for the background. The blog I got this from used oil pastels I believe. I made a few examples to test what media I liked best for the tree, oil pastels, black glue but I like the way the tempera best.

***I got this idea from Marcia at Vivid Layers!!

Snowman Portraits

I did these snowman with my Kindergarten kiddos. I found the lesson on a website somewhere last year but I can't remember where.  Anyhow we talked about portraits, and their own school portraits. We talked about different facial expressions, different items they could wear. I especially like the anrgy looking snowman becaue he's different. I have more pictures that I may post later. Some used manilla paper and some used blue construction paper (which I liked better), drew two white circles, added the details, colored in the snowmen white and then painted over the whole paper with blue watercolors. I really like them!