3

High School… The beginning

    As my loyal followers know, I have made the switch from elementary to high school. It has been quite a whirl wind. To begin, I was hired to teach high school visual arts I. Two weeks before school started the 2nd art teacher had taken a job closer to home. I was floored and saddened because she is such an awesome person and I couldn't wait to work with her. She was also part of the reason I wanted to work there, but I totally understand why she decided to leave. We're still tight and she's a great mentor. That being said, I made the decision to take on the advanced classes art II, III, and AP instead. 



Me in my first official CHS faculty shirt.
   I know… wow! I have to admit that I panicked inside. My husband and I both knew that there would be tears and panic attacks. Yep, there were plenty. I'm not ashamed. "My name is Becca Ruth and I have panic attacks." Why was I panicking? Well, it's my alma matter and I am following in the footsteps of some pretty amazing art educators. Plus, I was coming from elementary to high school. I had student taught HS and it was amazing, but still. 
   My husband has been so supportive. He kept telling me that the reason I was panicking was because I wanted to do my best. I was working and pushing myself so hard to create a good classroom design, management plan, and lessons. "You're gonna kill it." he said. "You always do." I am not a perfectionist, but I research and plan my booty off to give my students the best. Well, that and I had a huge research paper due for one of my grad classes the first week of school. I also saw flashbacks of my first year of teaching. You know, "that year". The year we grow into our aprons. The year that we cried every day on the drive home. The year we lost or gained some weight through the process. I did not want to relive that year.
   Then an amazing thing happened. After my first full day with my classes it was like a weight had been lifted. My lessons went well, the students were exceptional, and nothing went wrong. It was like that the whole first week, and the week after that, and the week after that. I started to remember why I wanted to teach high school to begin with. I love the advanced classes. They want to be there, to be challenged, and learn. They work so hard. I could not have asked for a better first semester. So far so good. 
   I promise to blog more, but until then here are some snap shots of my first month at Columbia Central High School. 

Candy and Composition
Prisma Colored Pencils
Art III


Cube Yo' Face
oil pastel
Art III
 Analogous Still Life
Oil Pastel
Art II





5

To open a new door, you must close another.

As my followers may recall, two years ago my husband and I packed up and moved back home. I had to leave my first teaching job and it was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do
That door closed and a new one opened
I loved my second school at Mt. Pleasant Elementary. The staff is made up of some of the finest people I have ever had the pleasure of working with. We were a family and worked as a team. Being a Title one school never let us down. Our family art nights are so much fun and the parents and students rally around the art program. The administrators are two of the most understanding people and have been a pleasure to work for. The faculty was there for me when my father battled and survived cancer and their prayers were there again when my uncle started his treatment. If you ever needed anything, they were there. They even awarded me "New Teacher of the Year" (with 5 years or less experience) for our school. I went on to be awarded "New Teacher of the Year" for the county. 
So when the art position at my alma mater Columbia Central High School opened up, a lump caught in my throat. Why the lump? Well, it all started 12 years ago when I walked into Bettye Kinser's art room. I loved art and Mrs. Kinser made it so much fun. My love of art grew as I moved on to art two with Mrs. Carrie Lancaster, and flourished with Mrs. Kinser again in advanced art three and four. I even got to leave my mark on CHS as did all senior artists by painting a brick on the wall.
CHS is where I decided what my career path would be. As I began my student teaching I hoped that I could teach at CHS with Mrs. Lancaster and Mrs. Kinser, but they would not allow you to student teach where you were taught. 
I had the rare opportunity to student teach at two high schools. Santa Fe Unit School (Pre-K - 12) and Spring Hill High School. 

By the end of student teaching I was hungry for a job teaching high school, but God had other plans. So, when the job posting went up in May, I just had to try. I talked with my principal who had nothing but kind words and understanding for my decision to apply at CHS. 
After interviewing, I got the call a week later and was asked if I would like to accept the art position at CHS. I did. After I hung up the phone I cried tears of joy and tears of sadness. You see, it was a win win for me either way. If I hadn't gotten the job I would have continued to be That Little Art Teacher that teaches elementary art at one of the best schools. If I did I would be teaching where my love of art began. So I cried that I would now be teaching at the place that fostered my love of art and I cried because I would be leaving MPES.  
So, I close this elementary door, and I walk through the doors of high school art. 
I have now packed up "my stuff" and said my goodbyes. Am I excited? Yes! Am I nervous? Oh yes, but I know I can do it. It will be challenging, but that's what makes life fun. Change is hard but it is also good. 
Don't worry loyal followers, I will take you on this transitional journey with me. I will still make elementary posts here and there, but until next time please enjoy some of my highlights from my last two years of elementary. 



















Goodbye room :(

2

Elementary Art Sub Plans

I hate being gone because you feel there is 10x more to do when you get back. I hate that feeling of "Oh no! I need to call so and so to have them set stuff out for my sub!" if you weren't prepared to be out. I hate keeping track of what plan this or that class did and making sure not to do the same activity twice. I hate searching for handouts and making copies for sub plans. I hate the "sub tub" because half the time even when I sat it out in my chair the sub never looked at it. I hate, I hate, I HATE!!!

So I made an easy "leave it on the desk" sub plan.
All you need is a folder, page dividers, your plans printed out, and a routine already established.
Before I begin, let me say some of you are not going to want to try this plan. As I stated above, you need a routine already established with your classes. My plan is simple and it is a routine that my Pre-K and Kindergarten classes already do and what my 1st - 4th grade classes do each time they finish a project. 

I bought a plastic folder that I hope will last FOREVER and I have it clearly labeled. I sits under my plan book on my desk at all times. When I pack up my plan book at the end of the day the sub book is sitting on my desk ready to go if need be.
My dividers are set up in the following order:
Welcome
Procedures and Rules
Schedule
Pre-K and K
1st - 4th 
Comments

Below is a link to my EXACT plans. Feel free to use them and change them up to your liking. 


Prang / Ticonderoga product reviews

I was asked by the wonderful Dixon company to put their products through the ringer. Well, my students sure did do that. During the whole school year I used Ticonderoga / Prang products along side of some of my typical art supplies to see how they performed. 

Below is a picture of Prang markers alongside of my go-to markers Crayola. You already get two bonus markers in the Prang pack, Yippee!! 
I always purchase Crayola markers for the school year so I placed all 12 of the Prang markers in one basket and Crayola in the other 5 baskets. During lessons the Prang basket was always used along with the Crayola. During one of our sketchbook assignments one student wanted to use them both, and her experiment summed up our testing quite well. 
Below you can see how she divided her paper.
On the left side she used Prang markers and on the right Crayola
Prang markers provided a richer color. Though they do tend to bleed through… a lot. They also bled into other colored areas. Below you can see a picture of the back of the paper. The sketchbook paper is the same weight as my drawing paper at 60lb, so the bleed through is pretty ominous. 
If you want richer color and don't mind bleeding, go for Prang. I do think however that I will stick with Crayola in the marker department. 

The next product were the Prang Large Triangular Colored Pencils vs. my classroom choice Crayola colored pencils. 
I provided one table with Prang and the others with Crayola and Cra-Z-Art colored pencils. I never have to buy colored pencils because they are a required supply for our county, but our teachers don't use them much so they give them to me at the end of each year. 
Below is a color wheel review exercise. Students only used Primaries Red, Yellow, and Blue and mixed to create the Secondaries. 

Prang color wheel
Beautiful and rich color that mixed very well. Students loved the triangular grip and larger size. One student said, "They're not like Kindergarten big, but they're bigger and I like it."
Crayola Color Wheel
Color was not as rich and they didn't mix as well.
 Cra-Z-Art Color Wheel
Color not rich at all. We could never really get the secondaries we wanted. 
Cra-Z-Art pencils after one use.
 Crayola pencils after one use. 
 Prang pencils after one use. Best tips! 
Prang pencils come with their own sharpener in the box and it does an awesome job. Larger pencils equal larger lead and they don't break easily. Heck, they didn't break easily during use! 
I think I'll be requesting Prang colored pencils from now on. 
Next up we have the Ticonderoga pencils against regular Target brand. 
These pencils have held up great! Their erasers have lasted longer. They sharpen with little to no breakage in the process and they take the longest to dull. 
Below you can see that with the same pressure you get a darker color with the Ticonderoga (top) pencil then the Rose Art (middle) and Target (bottom) brand. I prefer Ticonderoga
(this picture was after 3 weeks of use)
Finally, the last product are the Prang (left) Watercolors against Crayola (right) watercolors. 
 I choose Prang watercolors over Crayola every time because of what you get for the price in class packs. Also if one of your paint wells runs out you can take it out (as seen in the bottom pallet below) and replace it with a new one. With Crayola you will have to replace the whole pallet or use two at a time when colors run low. 
 When you buy a class pack of Prang watercolors they come with refills. You can refill the whole pallet or one well at a time. I take all the refill wells out and separate the colors into empty oil pastel class pack boxes for better storage. 
Crayola watercolors are very neon which the kids do love, but red looks pink and black looks grey. 
Crayola painted onto Crayola Model Magic. Students didn't like how the color faded. 
Below are the Prang watercolors at their best. Nice rich colors.


Prang even works great on Crayola Model Magic! Wet or dried. 

That Little Art Teacher's final recommendation
Markers
Crayola

Colored Pencils
Prang

Pencils
Ticonderoga

Watercolors
Prang!
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