Thursday, December 31, 2015

Let's spread some good thoughts

So doing this with the Art Club this year, well after the snow melts and we can find the ground to leave them.  Maybe I'll do it as a late April project.  This idea started out on the Cape in Sandwich Massachusetts.  Cudos to whomever came up with it.  Now, watch all of us art teachers run with the idea!  I can't wait!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

So, when you give a student a cork and let them lead the way.......

Today was the final meeting of the Art Club in 2015.  I wanted a project with a holiday theme for my students and when I spotted snowmen created from corks a few weeks back it sounded like the perfect project.  I email all my teacher friends hoping to gather up about 30 - 40 corks and received a great response and wonderful support.  I think I actually received close to 60 corks.  I prepared the corks by painting them all white and adding a wire in the top that would later hold a hook so they could hang on the Christmas Tree.  The snowmen to the right are as I had planned the project which I found on pinterest, I think.  But, don't you just love it when students take control and run with it and you end up with truly original and creative ideas that you never even considered!??  The following photos are some of the great ideas the students came up with on their own.  I love the originality and spontaneity of their creations. They had me rummaging through cabinets and every nook and cranny trying to find things that would help them with their ideas.

Basic materials included:
scraps of fleece for the scarves
pipe cleaners
sharpie markers
telephone wire for the loops
1 package of Christmas Tree Hooks
Fabulous imagination added by 3rd, 4th and 5th graders.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Reindeer looking for the snow!

Some reindeer are green.
 Kindergarten students were hard at work today drawing photos of Rudolf in the snow in the last few days before winter break.  With a concentration on shapes, students drew just the head of the reindeer and most added a blue sky and snow flakes before they were complete.  The snow was hoping we might actually see some before we head back to school in January.  This has been a very warm winter here in the northeast and we have yet to see any accumulation.  So, we are sharing some wishes with all your readers that you will have the kind of holiday break you are all searching for, too

student work
student work
student work

student work

Friday, December 4, 2015

It's clay time!!!

Demonstration using a document camera
Without a doubt, my favorite project to teach to my elementary students is clay.  Enthusiasm is contagious so it is a highlight for my kids as well.  It's a lot of work but I completely transform my teaching space for the time we work on clay.  Here are some of the ways I do that.  The white rolling shelf is a purchase from when KB Toys was liquidating years ago.  Because we live in the town of  the headquarters for KB, we were able to snatch up some really cool things that have proved to be a terrific asset to my classroom.  I will admit that I purchased them knowing that one day I would eventually retire and be able to utilize them in my own clay studio.   This shelf unit was purchased with further use in mind.  For now I use it to load up all of the supplies that we need to use to make it through the day.  Everything is readily available and it makes for an easy clean up at the end of each class as well.  With the purchase of the gray cart last school year, I was able to set up a demonstration area using my document camera as well.  It's great how everyone has a clear visual as I demonstrate and there are no questions about just what my hands are doing to roll a coil or pinch a pot.  The youngest kids think it's pretty magical that they can see my hands so well and further that they are so big!!!  I also distribute clay right from my demonstration table which gives me more control over waste.  This view is my classroom from the other angle.  The second cart holds all the boxes of clay so I don't have to run back and forth to the storage area for more clay.  I also been a plastic tub there for dry or excess clay scraps so I can recycle them later for reuse or to create slip.  I store the student work each week on the white rolling shelves.  These
are also courtesy of KB Toys.  They were donated several years ago to the school district.  I usually use them to hold student's work by class.  Each self is a class and I have an additional shelf just for Kindergarten work.   For clay, I Velcro plastic to seal up the shelves and keep moisture trapped in the work.  Student work is also individually wrapped on the shelves.  This helps me retain the dampness of the clay so students can continue to work for 3 - 4 weeks.   The best thing is that everything is on wheels and easy to move around the classroom if needed. Tables are covered with canvas that is years old and reused each year.  I have plastic table clothes under the canvas and they are all held into place using picnic table clips that I bought on clearance one year at the end of summer.  I have students sitting in tables of eight making it easy for me to move in and around and assist as needed. This final picture is the happy teacher that Loves, Loves, Loves workings with clay sporting her #ClayHands button from Art of Education.  
 I hope your are enjoying what ever you are doing with your students right now as well!

Happy Art Teacher

Sunday, November 29, 2015

And the winner is.........

Congratulations to:
Mary Love Strange 

Winner of the Classroom Friendly Pencil Sharpener

Mary requested her sharpener in Blue

I'll contact the good people over at 
to ship your sharpener out to you soon, Mary!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Mono printing continued

As a follow up to my post on Payon Watercolor Crayon printing here.  I wanted to post a few photos of a group at work.  This was such a successful way to do mono-printing because the students really felt successful.  Not to mention the positive that they were also able to print ghost prints in some instances.  We were using Kutz it and Payons with newsprint.  The only down side is that the Payons do stain the Kutz it but that does not effect future prints.  So here my kids are having a blast!  You could have heard a pin drop except for the delightful exclamations over successful prints!!  This was a terrific activity for the last day before a holiday break.

Saturday, November 21, 2015


I posted earlier in the month and shared a few photos of my Classroom Friendly pencil sharpener.  Now I am back to give one lucky follower the opportunity to win their own sharpener.  You will never go back to that old electric sharpener after you have experienced this sharpener for sure!  Mine have been dormant for weeks. I can't get the same terrific point with the electric model and my Classroom Friendly sharpener does not eat up my pencils. So, just in time for a holiday gift for just you and your classroom, enter to win your own terrific sharpener. Check back beginning November 22nd.  Visit my site every day to enter! (Sorry, only open to readers in the Continental USA)    Rafflecopter giveaway

Checkout that great point for drawing!

Easy enough for a 3rd grader!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Kids love Monsters!

I sent my monster to the North Pole because he is a snow monster.
I think this is one of my favorite lessons for second grade every year.  I start by reading a fun little book by Peter McCarty, "Jeremy Draws a Monster".  The book is about a young boy who never leaves his third story apartment but instead gazes out the window watching the neighborhood children playing.  One day he draws a monster that doesn't turn out to quite be the great companion he had planned for.  Jeremy sends the monster away and in the process, meets the neighborhood children and joins them in play.  My students quickly determine that the monster is quite rude and not very kind to his creator, Jeremy.  They are not surprised when Jeremy decides to get rid of the monster and begin to see the positives from the experience as Jeremy joins the other children to play.  The fun side of this project begins when I challenge my students to draw the destination that Jeremy has sent the monster off to.  We've ever explored the possibilities of a sequel to the
My monster is a blue monster.  He is in Paris.
 I hope the rain is over by now.  My monsters name is Bluer.
 book in hopes that Mr. McCarty had plans for
his monster.  But until that book is published, my second graders have stepped in with their own conclusions.  Students drew a perceived destination and then tore an organic shape to create their own monster.  The best part of this lesson for me happens once they write their artist statements to describe their work.  Most often they give the monster a name.  It's a fun project and I am so delighted with the results this year.  I can tell they really put their hearts into these.  I'm very proud of their work.  The captions under the photos are some of their artist statements.  I have posted the lesson play on Artsonia.  It can be found here.
I sent my monster to the desert.  His name is Paper.

I sent him to New York.  I used blue and red.

My monster can fly.
 I made my monster in Wacky Town.
 It's name is Jacke.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Print making with Payon Watercolor crayons

 Thanks to Aimee  over at One Happy Art Teacher.  This week she had a post about printing with Payon watercolor crayons.  I am in the middle of a printing lesson with my students so it could have not been more timely.  Her idea was to print with foam that had been incised.  I had just made plates with my fifth grade students and intended to do traditional prints with them this week.  Unfortunately, I don't seem to have any photos of their prints so I will post about that success next week.  However, I immediately hit the classroom and began to experiment with the payons with hopes of discovering other ways I
 might use them with my students in the other grades, primarily with first graders for mono-printing.  First I tried them on plexi.  I used wet payon by dipping into a container of water and drawing directly on the plexi.  It worked well but no pictures of those because I haven't yet given it a try with the kids.
 But, I planned to use kutz-it and water based makers with my first graders that afternoon and grabbed the payons for that experience instead.  All these examples are student examples with the kutz-it plates.  The kids loved them and were thrilled with their successes.  I had encourage a more abstract approach rather than realistic drawing as you can tell from most of the prints.  We even achieved ghost prints by sprinting with water after the first print was pulled.  The students did dip in water and draw with a wet payon not a dry one.  I did have to scrub the plates to clean them and they are stained.

This is only the products of one class.  I look forward to seeing the results of my other first grade students as we continue with this week.  And, for those looking for you own set of payons, I found them on-line.  It looks like Prang has reintroduced them.  So Aimee, someone is listening!!!!

Art Club Activities

Turkey pins in process and waiting for the sealing medium.  Home made bubble wands out of telephone wire and bubble printing.  Messy but oh so fun!!!  This will make great gift wrap if we add a few snowflake stamps to the paper next week.  
Turkeys waiting for the medium and pin backs

snip, snip, glue as turkeys are assembled

Bubble painting!

Such potential for use

we worked as a team

home made wands

twisting wire to make a wand