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

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

More pics from Classroom Hacks

Weaving ideas using a paint stirrer loom, CD's
and plastic lid needles
Baby Oil and Oil pastel Impressionist Works

Using an old overhead projector for a light box with
transparencies cut from notebook dividers
 A few pictures taken at our session on Classroom Hacks at last weekend's Massachusetts Art Conference.
Die Cut transparencies

Conversations about the light box

Talking about the Hacks

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Now Presenting......Art Club

The inaugural meeting of the art club will be this Tuesday and I've spent a number of hours thinking about what that will look like.  I really want the art club to be about the interest of the kids so don't plan to spend a lot of time preparing lessons that need to be followed by rote. But for week one, I feel like I need something fun and engaging that students will be able to take home quickly.  A few years ago I made these really cute Turkey pins for a fund raiser.  They sold really well but the link was dead on Pinterest and I couldn't find the directions to share with my students.  I created my own and I'm sharing the hand out here for you to enjoy as well. All the circles are punched from scrap cardboard boxes.  I like to use the cardboard from Kureg cup type boxes, Kleenex, and cereal boxes.

Turkeys ready for the gloss medium to be applied created by the students 

Classroom Hacks

I had a blast presenting at the Massachusetts Fall Conference yesterday.  We were assigned the 9 am slot which was great, got over the nervous butterflies first thing in the morning and was able to enjoy the rest of the day.  I can't believe I didn't think to take a single picture of our set up.  The tables looked great, if I do say so myself, and it would have been a great way to share with you all.  But I never took my iPad out.  For this morning, before I head back out to the conference, I will share one of my hacks with you.  I have had weaving on the brain this fall.  I think it is because I have been researching floor looms and especially the Friendly Loom to purchase for my classroom.  I like the idea of the Popsicle stick looms that you see on Pinterest but I wanted to make something a bit larger.  I must have been mulling it over in my sleep because I woke up last weekend with the idea to make the old Popsicle loom but using paint stirrers. 
I used 6 stirrers with two on each side to reinforce the rectangular shape.  Warp your loom with an odd number and start to weave!  The needle was cut out of the lid of a plastic container, no chance of someone getting stabbed and they won't break.  Happy weaving everyone; I can't wait to do this with my kiddos in the Art Club in a few weeks.

Friday, November 6, 2015

My students LOVE my Classroom Friendly Sharpener!

If you haven't tried out the terrific sharpeners from Classroom Friendly Supplies, you are missing out on the best sharpener on the market.  Most of the time, I use it and sharpen all the pencils for my students but it is so easy that even my third grade friend here on the left can use it with ease.  Not to mention the fact that all my students are eager to give it a try.  It does such a great job that I have completed stopped using my electric sharpener.  It chews up the pencils; my classroom friendly sharpener sharpens them to an amazing point.  Check out the bottom photo for that image.  I especially like the ease of removing the cutting blades to easily clean out broken tips.  I chose not to mount mine, keeping it sitting on top of my desk instead.  When a student's pencil breaks, I grab my sharpener and take care of it right at their table.  It's amusing how fascinated they are to see a crank sharpener.  "That is the coolest sharpener" rings through my room daily.  If you haven't been lucky enough to test one of these out, head on over to the Classroom Friendly site and grab one for your classroom by clicking here.  There are lots of colors to chose from to mesh with your own color preferances or classroom motifs.  Next on my wish list is a purple one!!!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Observational drawing from a Fall Still Life.

Fourth grade students have been working on their observation skills as they drew a still life.  I often question myself as to whether this is too hard for a 4th grader but based on the results this year, I think they are definitely up for it.  I was really pleased with many of the results.  They were challenged to focus on shadows, colors and laying down their color in a way to add the illusion of dimension to their work.  For their first attempts at this type of work, I think they did really well!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Massachusetts Fall Conference

Impressionist style art by a 5th grade student
For the first time ever, I will be presenting along with a colleague, at our states fall conference next weekend.  I have done this type of thing before, just not in my art world.  Needless to say, I have put a lot of thought and hours into preparing for next Saturday morning.  Our theme is Classroom Hacks.  At first, I felt a little stumped with what I could bring to our presentation.  I wasn't sure I really did anything that would qualify as a classroom hack.  Not to mention the added fact that I am an avid Pinterest follower so I was concerned about presenting ideas that everyone has already seen because the market is so saturated.  I began first by making myself a list.  What exacting did I do that might be worthy of sharing with other people and also have a bit of originality to it?  I began incorporating some Reggio methods to my Kindergarten curriculum this fall and had attempted to create stations with little to no out of pocket expense so that seemed like a good place to start.  Before I have ventured very far, I had filled a full paper with ideas of methods I use in my classroom that I could consider hacks.  I realized that many of my ideas had come initially from Pinterest but, as is usual for me, I had taken them in other directions to make them work more effectively for my personal needs.  So, I guess I am ready.  Since some of you just might be in my session next week, I won't let any of the hacks leak right now but I will share with your after next weekend.  If you haven't signed  up for the Massachusetts Fall Conference, I think you still have a day or two left to sign up and join us.  I hope to see some of you in North Adams this weekend.  You will have access to Mass MOCA, The Clark Art Museum, William's College Art Museum and Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts.   Be sure to say "HI" if we cross paths.  See you there!!!!