Showing posts with label art teachers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label art teachers. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

In the Art Room: Paint Stick Pencil Cabinet!

Last week, as I was piling the day's art bins on the floor around my desk, I managed to accidentally kick one of 'em, spilling the contents, and trip over two of them. I muttered WHY ARE THESE ON THE FLOOR ANYWAY?! I literally barricade myself in them daily. That's when I decided, after 19 years, NO MORE! I'm getting a cart to hold these bad boys. And, thus, the Paint Stick Pencil Cabinet was born! 
I picked up a ton of these paint stirring sticks not long ago as apart of a collaborative the kids are creating (don't ask...I'm still trying to figure that mess out). I had some left over and one night, in a fit of painting all the wooden thingies, I painted them like pencils. And I just couldn't stop! Here's how they were created:
So now I had two things: a need for a bin cabinet and a plethora of pencils. What to do? I'm super lucky in that I'm surrounded by thrift stores where I work. I popped by one and spotted this sad little back T.V. cart on wheels for a mere $2. I had not done any measuring (because math, ew) but I had a feeling it would hold two of my bins side by side. AND it was only 2 bucks so there's that. I took it to school and was super stoked to see that my lack of measuring paid off! A perfect fit! Now to start bedazzling. 
This extraordinarily handcrafted (ahem), pressed board piece was in decent shape but dreadfully dull. My P.E. teacher buddy primed it for me and I used whatever latex paint I had around from this episode. After painting it, I was happy with the color...but still bored. 
 I mean, meh, right?
 So the next day, I brought in the sticks I'd been painting and started hot gluing them on...and suddenly I was diggin' it.
 In just a couple of minutes, the cabinet was complete!
Here's how it looks when the kids enter the art room. So fun! I'll keep my morning classes in the cabinet and then swap them out at lunch with my afternoon classes. These bins came with my art room and they are so handy. Our large work does not go in here...but our smaller pieces do. And now we have a cabinet to hold the bins...so I won't be tripping all over them anymore. 
 You can find out more details of all the newly created decor for my art room here
The top of the cart will come in handy too. Many times, when my students enter, I have them gather supplies right away. This usually means they have to turn the left corner in my art room and go to "the store". Now, I can simply place the supplies on this cabinet and they can grab them there...much faster! When you have 30 minute art classes, every second counts. 
I contemplated painting the pencils at different heights or even alternate flipping them, meaning one upside down and one right side up. But in the end, I liked the consistent look the best.
 Not gonna like, all my new decor makes me super happy...and excited to have a less cluttered and unorganized space. Now...to tackle the rest of my Hot Mess Express of an art room!
 Until then, I have a pretty cabinet to look at, right?
There are pegs for a shelf...but the shelf was missing. Maybe one day I'll get a shelf cut to fit. That way I don't have to stack the boxes. I need a wood shop, y'all!
Thanks for letting me share my latest addition to the art room!
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Thursday, August 3, 2017

In the Art Room: Art Room Rules

Yesterday, some pretty big and exciting news was released: I'll be teaming up with The Art of Education in the creation of Everyday Art Room, a podcast dedicated to all things elementary art teacherin'! I sat down with Tim Bogatz, the co-'caster of Art Ed Radio to share the fun news. You can listen to our chat here and catch my very first podcast next Thursday. I'm super excited! I do hope you'll take a listen. 

In one of the first podcasts, I'll be chatting about how I start my school year, which, as you can imagine, is with rules. My rules have changed...drastically...over the years as I learn and change as I go/grow. Recently, with the reading of The Growth Mindset Coach (you should totally join our book club if you haven't already. Like/follow here to stay tuned), I've been thinking of my art room rules as being more like life rules. Rules to follow to become a happy, compassionate and fulfilled person. With that in mind, I created these three art room rules life goals. I thought I'd share them with you in the form of a free downloadable PDF if you are interested. 





But before we get to that, when I shared these paintings on my Instagram, I got a lotta questions about how I hang things on those unstickable concrete walls. My go-to is usually hot glue but that does have a weight limit. It can also damage walls and artwork. My latest love are these Command Velcro Strips. Y'all. These bad boys can hold up to 16lbs and can be removed without damage. If you are hanging something heavier or from an actual hanger, you might wanna check out Hardwall Hangers by OOX. These hammer easily into concrete walls but are difficult to remove and leave behind some holes. Of course, if you are just hanging posters, Blue Dap (aka sticky tack) works great as well. All of these can be found at your local hardware store. 
Here is the download for the letter A

When writing rules, keep the following in mind:

* Keep Your List of Rules Short. The list of rules should be so short that you can easily memorize them. Any more beyond five rules and you might be confusing your rules with your routines/procedures. 

* Know the Difference Between Rules and Routines. Rules are the broad brush strokes. Routines are the finer details. I have 8 routines in my art room. I'll be covering those in my very first podcast that will launch here next Thursday. Confusion between the two can lead to confusion in the art room.

* Keep in Mind the Take Away. When your students reflect on creating, what do you want them to think? Feel? Be inspired by? Your rules should help you create that environment where they feel safe, inspired, confident, successful and encouraging to others.

With those thoughts in my head, I decided to create three rules, based on the word ART. You are more than welcome to use these in your art room. I've created downloadable PDFs of each letter and rule. Here is the download for the painted letter A.  

If you'd rather paint your own version of your rules, go for it! I had a great time coming up with these and bringing them to life in a colorful and exciting way. I scored the canvas panels, which I used for the letters, at Michael's in a package of either three or four. The long canvases were sold in packs of two. 

I picked up my favorite colors in acrylic paint. I laid out the canvases and quickly painted them. I tried not to overthink it...keeping in mind that one can always just paint over it! 
Once dry, I added some dry brushing of paint where I wanted the letter and rules to go. From there, I added the text, details and designs. The beauty of acrylic paint is that fast dry time! I did manage to mess up my spacing of letters so there was some serious repainting...but it was not a big deal.

Growing up in the 80's, where there was a strong resurgence of 1950's style and fashion, I've got a love for all things kitsch, colorful and tacky. This explains my color palette and design aesthetic clearly, doesn't it?!

Let's be honest: with rules like these, some explaining, modeling and role playing will need to be done. When teaching rules, always expect that your sweet kiddos know nothing. After all, what seems like common sense to you, an adult who has been on this Earth years beyond that wee person you are teaching, is news to the petite peeps. Think of everything as new, exciting and noteworthy...it will make teaching what we might deem "the mundane", the magnificent. 
Not even gonna lie, strong Pee Wee's Playhouse and Bebo influence here! 

Tell me if you do this: when thinking of lessons, plans, arrangements, whatever in your teaching environment, do you put yourself in your student's shoes? I do this...all the time. I often think of what excited me as a kid: seeing my third grade teacher in a silly costume; that teepee my second grade teacher had in her classroom; the parachute we played with in P.E. It's with that in mind that I craft my own teaching environment. I know I'm not alone in this...maybe it's for selfish reasons...but I use what excited me as a student now as a teacher. 

And it usually works! I used to think that the notion of bringing what I loved as a kid to my art room was successful because that joy I experienced was universal. I loved XYZ as a kid, therefore all kids love XYZ! Now I know...it was my passion about XYZ that inspired my students. Staying passionate, whether that be by taping into those childhood loves and/or brining what you love to your art room, is what keeps us excited and excitable as an art teacher.
But that just might be the back-to-school jitters talkin'. Let's talk about how you can print and hang these bad boys in your art room! Simply print out the letters and rules as is or blow them up! I did this with some items I purchased on TpT. I just made them as large as I could and then, once printed, taped them together puzzle style and ran them thru the laminator. You can't tell the difference!
Feel free to print and hang where ever you wanna share the love of art. Remember to tune in next Thursday for my first ever podcast, eep! So excited!
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Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Field Trip! A Visit with Audry Deal-McEver

Last year, I started a series of videos titled Field Trip! The purpose of these videos was to take all of my students on a virtual adventure to meet contemporary artists, see their creative spaces and witness them creating. You can check out my playlist of Field Trip! videos here. If you subscribe, you can also stay up-to-date as to when I post a video. I actually have three more Field Trip! videos recorded that I need to edit and upload before sharing them with you and my students. Please feel free to use these (and any of my videos) in your art room...I think all students can benefit from learning about these unique, creative and current working artists. 

I admit, I fell off the wagon HARD last spring when it came to searching out artists, contacting them and filming them. I was starting to feel super overwhelmed with all things art teacherin': the national conference where I presented a couple of times; our school-wide art show which is a beast of an undertaking and our clay unit which we always kick off in the spring. I will also admit this to you...I am very lazy, not consistent, a procrastinator and, did I mention lazy? I'm lazy. One look at Mount Laundry and you would agree.

But knowing just how much my students benefited from these videos, I knew I had to continue creating them. So during the spring, I attended an artisan fair and picked up just about every business card that I saw sitting out. Once home, I researched the artist, looked into their location (Nashville and just a little beyond is ideal) and sent them an email. I got a great response...artists are so giving with their time and willingness to share! The first artist I scheduled to visit is the one and only Audry Deal-McEver
Look at her beautiful home! Audry's studio is right behind her home and it is absolutely stunning, check it out:
When I arrived at Audry's home, she reminded me that we actually met many years ago (we are thinking about 10-12). My brother, who is 10 years my junior, was in a very bad car accident and was in a coma for several weeks. During that time, my administration allowed me to be with him and my family. Audry's mom, an art teacher, stepped in for me. She taught my classes, kept the students creating and made it so I could focus on what was most important. Her daughter, Audry, came in one day and did a wheel throwing demonstration for the students. I still have the photos of that day and share them with the kids when we chat about clay. What a crazy turn of events, right? My brother, by the way, pulled out of the a coma that they said he would not and is now an English teacher on a Native American reservation. 

I'm rambling...here's the video!
I have to tell you...Audry is an INCREDIBLE teacher...because she IS a teacher. She's taught ceramics and photography for the past five years at a local school. She is now taking time off from teaching to focus on her work. However, she does such a wonderful job explaining every element of working with clay that I feel this video would benefit all students, upper elementary on up to college. 
At the start of the video, you'll find her wedging clay. She explains the reasoning behind that and how to do it. Then she moves on to throwing on the wheel...which she makes look incredibly simple. I could only dream to throw a pot on the wheel that didn't end up looking like Patrick from SpongeBob Square Pantalones. 
I love how Audry shares her inspiration...and the origin of paisley! I had to include that in the video, it was new to me. Also, watching an artist work is always hypnotizing and she does her clay carving so quickly. It was fun to watch.
I was thrilled when she explained how a kiln works and the different types of kilns. I know that can help even us art teachers who might not understand how to operate a kiln.
Audry mixes up her own glazes to create the desired color. Her application process was interesting to see. 
And I loved the results so much, I had to have one of her vases in my home. She also gave me a beautiful mug...I know the kids will love to see me gettin' my coffee on with one of her pieces. 
A big THANK YOU! to Audry for allowing me to visit. Be sure to follow her Instagram as she shares videos and photos of her process.
I hope you enjoyed this visit to Audry's studio as much as I did! Until next time...
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Saturday, June 17, 2017

Art Scouts, Final Countdown!

Well, this is it: the final countdown to Art Scouts! The months, weeks and days of pondering, planning and preparing is finally here. And, I have to tell you, we really could not be more excited. Art teachers are our favorite friends...especially ones who believe in making big messes with little people, like we do! We have so many returning Scouts that we are excited to see and newbies we are thrilled to meet. So, someone light the campfire, bust out the marshmallows, pop the tent and get ready to create (have no fear, there will be no tent popping with these 90 degree Tennessee summer days...we'll be in the luxury of air conditioning, a direct gift from heaven). 
We still have spots available at both sessions. OUR FIRST SESSION IS SOLD OUT! If you are on the fence, you best hop off and join the fun, y'all! We are down to only openings at the second session. Here's a look at how your 12 PD hours will be earned:
The cost for our full two day camp is $275. That includes all of your supplies, two lunches, a Campfire Craft Night with a sweet treat and a swag bag so big you just might need a U-Haul to get it home. To register, simply hop over here. Be sure to click on the link that says Art Scouts 2017 Important Information as that will lead you to how to book your room at the convention center hotel.
Got questions about Scouts? I might have the answer! I tried to pile them all here. But if I failed to address your thoughts, feel free to join the Art Scouts Facebook page where you can drop us a line. 
And if you'd like to learn more about our beautiful location, check this clip out. We are so excited to spend time with you all...our cheesy grins say it all. See you real soon! 

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Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Art Scouts 2017 FAQ's

Hey, y'all! Now that it's June, we Art Scout troop leaders are getting super stoked to meet our Troops. We've had a lot of questions about Art Scouts lately and I thought it would be best to compile them all and answer them in this here FAQ's about Art Scouts!
Of course, if I've left any questions unanswered, please leave them in the comments. Also, be sure to join that Art Scouts Facebook page to connect with other Scouts. Questions there are welcomed as well! 
One question I failed to address was "Will you be repeating lessons and projects from last year?" Nope! We are rolling out all new projects as we like to keep it fresh, y'all. Not to mention, we have a lot of folks returning for the fun...and I never did like reruns. So get ready for new projects for felting, clay, weaving, paining and more. 

In case you'd like more details on just what Art Scouts is and the location it will be held this year, you might wanna watch this:
We strongly recommend you make a little vacation out of this adventure. Not only is the park beautiful but it is 45 minutes away from Nashville! There are so many things to do in Nashville...it's the perfect place for a one to two day adventure. If you are traveling from out of town, build in some extra time to take in our awesome city!
Our conference center and inn is right on Lake Acorn. The views are just beautiful! Expect lush and green foliage as we've had a ton of rain so far this spring. Definitely pack some bug spray if you plan to hike. 
 We have two separate sessions that you can sign up for:
The cost for the two day camp is $275. This includes the following:
I can't even tell you how stoked we are about Campfire Crafts!
We are so looking forward to spending time with you all in this beautiful setting. Pack light, Tennessee summers are pretty hot!
Come prepared to make a lot of art teacherin' buddies. Looking forward to seeing you all real soon!
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