Saturday, April 25, 2015


In South America, artist paint colorful images on the bark of the amate or fig trees.  As a decoration for an upcoming Fiesta dance, 2nd grade students created their own amate.  The Fiesta decorations are a project each year for my students but I don't want to be caught up in just decorating for the dance.  I always try to bring in a historical or cultural connection for the projects.  In the past, students have created colorful fans, papel picado and pinatas.  For this work, students observed several examples of native Amata prior to designing their own.  A crumpled and smoothed paper bag was used to resemble the amate paper.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Behaviors are Making me Crazy (and look old)!!!

I recently decided to try to draw a self portrait while looking into a make-up mirror and was alarmed at what my eyes were beholding.  In just a few short months, talking about since my yearly school picture, my face has added an exorbitant amount of new wrinkles.  How have I changed so much in just a few month, I thought with extreme alarm.   Immediately, the answer jumped into my conscientiousness - it's the behaviors!  This has been a very challenging school year.  The top tier students have kept everyone on tippy toes and some days teaching has been impossible.  After years of teaching I have found myself scrambling to find new methods and ideas to manage my classes.  A first year teacher shared with me a book she had borrowed and was reading and I thought it might just be able to supply me with some answers.  Luckily, I also knew of someone who owned the book and quickly sent out an email to see if I might borrow it. If you haven't read it yet, find a copy and give it some attention.  The book is Classroom Management for Art, Music, and PE Teachers by Michael Linsin.  Linsin had me within the first couple of paragraphs as he explained the purpose of the book.  Seems Linsin was a classroom management authority of sorts; even offering professional development on the subject.  He had been a classroom teacher for 15 years when he decided to switch over to teaching Physical Education.  Within minutes of his first class, he knew classroom management as a specialist had an entire different look than it had for him as a classroom teacher.  This book outlines his suggested methods of taking control of your classes even if you only see them once a week.  It's a quick read with some insightful ideas and approaches.  I found myself reflecting, reevaluating and congratulating myself as I read through each section.  Some things I already did, some I definitely need to work on and in some areas I have a need to fine-tune.  With that said, I strongly recommend you get your hands on a copy and give it a read.  I think I'll be purchasing a copy for myself when I return my borrowed copy, to flip back through as a reference and a reminder.  Hopefully, with better classroom management techniques, some of these wrinkles will soften and I'll start looking a little bit more like my old self.  Oh, and this is not an advertisement, I received no compensation for this post You can also visit for more information.