Clay Lady Fun

On the last Friday of July the women of my family, future in-laws, and close friends had a little bridal party with "The Clay Lady"! Only two of us had previous experience on the potter's wheel. It was so much fun to see everyone experience something new.

Danielle McDaniel is known as "The Clay Lady". Perhaps many of you have heard of her. If not please allow me to direct you to www.theclaylady.com and see for yourself. She is truly a  gift to the Art Education world. I use her teaching techniques and clay supplies for all my clay projects.

We had so much fun laughing and creating beautiful pots. The best part of the night was watching the faces of those who had never thrown on the wheel before. It was wonderful for me to share one of my joys with my family and friends and to have them step into my world of art.

This is my Grandmother and I with all the pots everyone created!! Can't wait to see them after firing! 
And please notice that these pots were made and painted (glazed) in one sitting! Like I said, go to www.theclaylady.com and see for yourself!


Class Mascot

I have always been a fantasy fan. My favorite animal is a dragon. Yes, I know they don't exist, but that's what our imaginations are for. I have been looking for an awesome dragon mascot for my room for the past 2 years. Not your typical cheesy not scary one. So when I saw this big guy at Wal-mart for $15, I just couldn't pass him up.
Meet "Toothless"
He is from the movie "How to Train your Dragon"
I tried very hard to name him Norbert, but kids knew who he was. He is a great Classroom Management tool with the younger grades. "Oh no class, Toothless is rubbing his ears because it's so loud in here." They never want to make Toothless upset and they quiet down pretty fast after that. I love the imagination of children!
He is also a huge hit with the big kids. I constantly move where he is perched in the room. He oversees students working and participates in Art Critiques. He is also a great source for inspiration for drawings and paintings.

This painting was done by 4th grader Travis

Toothless is priceless to me because of the joy he brings my classes. I have had so many people ask to buy him from me. I just can't do it. My students and I love him too much! 

What kids say!!

Yes, these scenarios did in fact happen and they make up a part of what is so great about my job. Students' will be referred to as "Kid" and no grades will be mentioned. 

I notice that Kid is really into his painting as he swishes his brush round and round with brown paint. 
"Kid you look like you are having a great time painting! But I think your brush is about to eat through your paper." 
"I can't stop painting!" said Kid with real eagerness in his voice.
I'm puzzled, "Why not?"
Kid gives me a serious look "Cause I pooped my pants." 

I am noticing that Kid has a very distressed look on his face. He is no longer coloring and is looking around the room like he is about to escape! So I; remembering what happened last time, rush to his table and ask, "Kid what's wrong?"
"Um, um, I need to do something, but I don't want to tell you." said Kid
I'm panicking inside but say, "Well I think you should tell me Kid."
"Oh okay", Kid said with a deep breath, "I have to pick my nose, but I don't want to put it under the table."
You can imagine the look on my face... "You could go get a tissue."
He smiles and says, "Oh yes, that would be lovely!"

"Ms. Art Teacher are dinosaurs still alive?" Kid asked.
"No, they lived a long, long, long time ago. Way before our grandparents and even great, great, great, great grandparents." I said wishing I could really say how many years for them to understand.
"Was that in the 90's?" 
Oh boy....

Fall Leaves Crayon Resist

Warm color crayons (yellow, red, and orange) and brown
blue liquid watercolor paint

I love to start younger grades off with easy drawing projects. It is also important for students to work on their fine motor skills and tracing is a great way to do so. I begin this lesson by reviewing previous knowledge on the color wheel. We then discuss Warm and Cool colors. Talk about the changing of the leaves. If it's a nice fall day, maybe go out side and bring in some leaves. Then we talk about the organic shape of the leaves. 

How to draw a simple leaf by tracing your hand with fingers together or apart. If fingers are apart then trace across to the next finger. 
Trace enough leaves to cover most of the paper.
Show how to color heavy and dark with your crayon so we can see the beautiful colors and not the white of the paper. They may color each leaf a different warm color or use all colors on all the leaves. 

Demo how to blend with the crayons. I have students shake out their hands when they get tired.  
Now take the brown crayon and make slash lines for the vanes of the leaves.
Now use blue liquid watercolor and show students how the crayons don't like the paint so they will not let the paint cover them... Crayons resist paint!!
Cover the whole paper so no more white is showing! 

discuss way we use Blue paint.... why not a warm color?
Contrast? Difference? We can see the leaves better!!

Jackson Pollack Paintings

12" x 18" box tops or aluminum cooking pans
12" x 18" paper

Introduce students to the work of Jackson Pollack with this awesome project. This project came from the book A Work of Heart: A Year of Kindergarten Art Lessons by Janet Louise Conlin. Kinders love it!!
I chose 3 different paint colors. I would suggest colors that mix well. Because if you only use the primaries then you end up with a lot of BROWN!! 

1. Squirt the paint into the pans or lids and drop in a marble. 
2. Show students the correct way to roll the marble around by tilting the pan. Students must roll slowly or the marble will POP out and make a mess! Listen for the "OOooooos" and "Ahhhhs". 
3. But if the marble gets stuck in some of the paint use the fork to push it out. 
4. Also show them how to rake the fork through the paint for some more interesting designs. 

 Students write names on the back before they put the paper into the pan
Have students walk the pan to the drying wrack and you place them onto the wrack
I have students wash off hands with wet wash clothes because it is hard for the Kinders to reach the sink. 


Thank you Papa

I owe a lot of who I am today to my wonderful family. My Mother, Grandfather, and Grandmother were all teachers. I believe that "those who can.... teach". Teaching is one of the most rewarding experiences in life. I have not been a teacher very long but I can already feel the impact I am making on children's lives. A student gave me a jar filled with some of her art work and little things she had made just for me. She was moving away and didn't want me to forget about her. I had touched her life, and she will never know the impact that she has made on mine.  
This is a painting I created of my late "Papa" Dr. Lewis E. Moore Jr. He was a professor of History at Columbia State Community College. He taught his whole family the importance of a College education. I keep a picture of him on my desk to remind me that I can and do make a difference. Because of him, my cousins and I are all college graduates with one more of us to graduate in the next year. 

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. - Chinese Proverb


1st Art Show!!

I was bound and determined to get an Art Show going this year and through blood, sweat, and tears it happened. 
Hold a Spring Art Show to raise awareness and funds for the art room
Feature one work by each student in the school
Make kids proud of their hard work

The show was held in our school's "Play Room". Sort of an all purpose room the size of a small gym.
Artwork was displayed by grade and class. Kindergarten started at one end of the room and circled around to end with 6th grade and Art Enrichment in the middle! 

I had wonderful parent volunteers to help mount all the work. Work was put onto the walls using 
"2" Masking Tape". It took us a total of 3 hours to put over 500 pieces of artwork onto the walls!

Every student had an art portfolio that kept all their artwork throughout the year. 2 weeks before the Show students chose the artwork they wanted to be displayed. (with a little help from me of course)

I was so impressed to hear the students telling their family about their work and the work of others!

I take tons of pictures! So I thought it would be a great idea to have a slide show of students creating in the art room. I also included many wonderful quotes by famous artists and students! Parents loved it!!

Cookies and water greeted everyone at the door! But, next year I will have someone working the table. Our school cafeteria provided the cookies.

A table was set up for 3-D works.

Admission to the Art Show was free, but we took cash and supply donations at the door. 
We also had some door-prizes that were donated and the winners were announced the next day at school!!


Coming Soon!!

ART SHOWS: the blood, sweat, and tears

New Room pics


But until then please enjoy my inspirations from the "My Blog List" 


ArtRoom Aid

The angels have heard our prayers!! If you are a fan of Dick Blick Art Materials then this is for you. Blick now offers teachers a new kind of "wish list". Sign up for an account "FREE" and create an Art Room Aid list. Advertise on your school website or by school newsletter so parents and community can log on and support your art room. Not only do you pick exactly what supplies you need for your room, but once purchased, Blick will mail the supplies right to you. If a donator can't afford some of your supply wishes, there is also the option to send a gift card!! Christmas has come early!!!

If you would like to donate to my classroom check out my ArtRoom Aid

Art has RULES?!

I wish I could tell you that Art is one of those magic classes where there are ZERO behavior problems. But then I would be lying to you. In fact I believe we have just as much. Students usually think that just because they are not with their homeroom teacher that rules no longer apply.... WRONG! 

On the first day of Art class I go over Rules and Procedures. Students must know these. My first year of teaching, I knew I wanted my students to like me and think that I was cool... What knew teacher wouldn't want that, but I knew that you have to establish boundaries. 
BE RESPONSIBLE - Follow Directions
BE RESPECTFUL - of people, supplies, and ideas - Listen
BE KIND - Work Quietly - Good Attitude
When individual behavior problems occur, I have my "Imagine, Create, Participate" board. The behavior board. When a student breaks a rule they have to pull a card. Each class has a pocket, and each student has a card with their name in that pocket. 

If students do not follow the rules the consequences are as follows:
1st offense: put card in green warning bucket and return to seat
2nd offense: put card in yellow bucket and have a 5 minute time out
3rd offense: put card in red bucket and have a 10 minute time out
4th offense: put card in the black puddle and consequence is my choice of the following:
detention, note home, sit out next art time, or office visit. 

Knock on wood, I have never had a student in the black puddle!! 
I will mark in my attendance when a student has time out and for how long. 

Now to the rewarding part!!
At the end of every 9 weeks I have a good behavior "Art Party" for every class. I have 3 Art centers set up around the room. 2 tables for each center. Students will change centers every 15 minutes, much like my Kindergartners. If a student has been in time out during the 9 weeks then he or she will have to sit out the same amount of time at the Art Party. That is the great incentive for students not to pull a card!! 

This is a new idea I will try this year thanks to Mrs. Brown and Mr. E!
Students are instructed to use "Table Talk" voices. Meaning only talk to those at your table in a quiet voice. So when a class gets rowdy I place one of 3 warnings on the board.
Last Warning
No Talking
Whatever circle is on the board at the end of class effects the class's standing on the "Art Stars" chart. (picture to come)
At the end of the day I give each class a color rank.
Green = awesome day
Yellow = good day
Red = poor day
At the end of the year, the class in each grade with the most "greens" will get a surprise!! 


Art Room 2009-2010

You can see the basic layout of my classroom here.
I loved having the table names hang from the ceiling. But fire codes said I had to take them down...
This is a picture of how my kindergarten art class works. 
3 tables with 5 - 7 students at each
3 different centers - manipulatives, play dough, and art project
they rotate every 15 minutes!! 
Kids stay focused!!
I have a Free Draw shelf where students may free draw after they have finished and had a teacher check of their work. I also have many books and puzzles. 
1 piece of paper (front & back)
crayons and pencil only
1 drawing material (or book or puzzle) at a time
Every student has a portfolio. The portfolios are shown here behind the tab for each class. 
The tabs display the class code
Example: 2nd grade Kiser = 2 - K

Students also put the class code on the back of their work. 
Just had to share this. My paint brushes, water buckets for painting, and other things are in plastic "Pup-Corn" buckets!!
Big enough for storing and holding plenty of water for no refills!! Just make sure you clean them before you use them!

Thank you Mom and Dad for saving these!!
and thanks to Molly and Buddy for emptying them! 
Continuing and unfinished work is kept in a class cubby. I do wish that these were bigger. Class codes label each cubby. 
Work is stored by class and table color. I have 6 table colors and therefor 6 folder (folded 12"x18" paper) colors that each table places there work in at the end of class. 

Here we go!!

Time for a new school year!! This will be my 3rd year... actually 2nd in a 1/2 year... teaching art! I'm excited because I am finally able to really see what "worked" and "didn't work" from last year. I got my highlighters out and circled to "keep" a lesson, or a big pink "X" to loose it. 

My findings:

  • Art Centers are a life saver with Kindergarten. 3 tables with 3 different activities rotating every 15 minutes = awesome!! Usually a manipulation game, play dough, and art activity.

  • I love 1st graders!! They are up for any task! I did more types of artwork with these guys than any others. I'm excited to bring in new lessons with them this year!

  • 2nd grade was a mix of success and failure on my part. 2nd grade is still an age where I'm not sure how to push them. A lot of Xs on those lessons! 

  • 3rd grade did a lot of collage, but loved it. So now I am creating an awesome Collage Unit! 

  • 4th graders are my wonder kids! But sadly, I didn't push them enough to reach their full potential. I was very disappointed in the amount of work we actually turned out. I will be moving many lessons around with them.

  • 5th was a bit of a struggle this year. They are at that age were their skills are really developing. We didn't get in as many lessons as I would have liked because they worked so hard at each one. Which is a good thing, because their works were amazing. But this year will concentrate on focusing in on key lessons and let them create!

  • I don't know what it is, but I just can't get happy with a good 6th grade curriculum. I see these guys 50 minutes a day, 3 days a week, for 9 weeks. It's almost not enough time and then with some it's too much time... Much contemplating this year! But at least the projects that we do become favorites and the 5th graders are already asking if we will be doing them next year! Nice!
Now, back to the drawing board...


This is Delicious!!

All teachers are required to attend a certain number of inservices each year. As an Art Educator I find this somewhat tedious. Not because I don't want to do them. On the contrary, I love new teaching strategies, but there are just not many inservices offered for the specialist teachers within a school system. I understand why with one music, art, P.E., liberian, and technology teacher at each school. The teachers who teach the other "core" subjects have a heap of inservices to choose from because there are more of them to accommodate. So I don't sign up for "Accelerated Reader", but instead I jump on the "Technology"! No matter what subject you teach, I believe you will become a better teacher if you stay up to date on the latest technologies. I promise it wont hurt you. Here are some of my exciting new finds in the land of technology, and they are not just for your classroom.

This site is a life saver!! How many times have you found an awesome website at home and added it to your favorites/bookmarks? How many times have you been away from your home computer and wanted to find that same site? I don't know about you, but I can't remember the site addresses for all those amazing sites I find. Plus, who wants to take the time to "search" them. 
Well now you can have your bookmarks with you at any computer you come to. Create an account on www.delicious.com and add bookmarks, sort them into categories called "tags" and share them with others. All for FREE!! 

Are you sick and tired of carrying around USBs? They are a constant panic attack for me. I can never remember where I put them when I need them. No more looking!!! Create an account on Dropbox and the files you save there will be on your computer at home, at work, or shared (if you wish) with a coworker at any time. 
Sign up www.dropbox.com 2GB for FREE 
A dropbox folder will be added to your computer where you want it. I like mine on the desktop! 
Add files that you know you will want at another computer (work)
Login to your dropbox at your work computer. Download it (still free) and the files you added on your other computer will be there to pull up!!!
It is awesome!! 2GB might not sound like much, but I have over 50 files and 120 pictures and I am still not halfway full on my space! Plus if you only add files that you intend to use on another computer you can just take them out of dropbox if you don't need them anymore. 

Enjoy the Technology!
Thank you Beth Billingsley at Cumberland County Board of Education

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