I apologize to all my loyal followers and web surfers. My absence should not be excused, but PINTEREST has taken over my life. If you would like to check out some lessons I'm thinking of trying and just what is going on in my head at the moment please take a look here. I have broken up my interest "boards" in to grade levels!

 Until next time, when I have loaded batteries into my old camera to take some pictures of the happenings in my classroom, I will talk to you all again soon. 

Patterned Shoe Prints

First graders used LINE and PATTERN to create shoe prints.
Students learned the 5 types of LINE by singing our Line song and drawing them in the air. 
Then, we discussed PATTERN by using different materials to make patterns. 
 Each table had different materials to make patterns. It was a great assessment tool.

Next, students worked together to trace their shoes with a black crayon.
Time to draw the LINES. Some students wanted to draw the actual lines that were on their shoes.
Crayons were used to show PATTERN.

Finally, students cut out their shoe prints and glued them to colored construction paper. 


Great Inservice Opportunity in the TN area

You've heard me preach about "The Clay Lady Way" of teaching clay. Now here is your chance to learn from (in my opinion) one of the best. My good friend and fabulous teacher Danielle McDaniel is offering a 
How to Teach Clay the Clay Lady way workshop in Nashville, TN
here are the details:

After 15 years of countless How To Teach Clay...The Clay Lady Way teacher inservices, I can say this with certainty - the information I teach is still current, relevant and useful to art teachers on every level.  I can also share with you that to increase my enjoyment of teaching this same information, I plan to add on different information and shake up the curriculum this year!  So before you say - been there, done that!- look below for the current offerings for 2011!
How To Teach Clay...The Clay Lady Way teacher inservice Saturday, October 1st, 8:00-4:30 to be held at The Clay Lady's Studio, Artist Co-op and Galleries ~The Educational Facility at Mid-South Ceramics in Nashville, TN.
Fee is the same as past years - $150  (or $100 for returning teachers).
  • Learn The Clay Lady Way:  make and decorate successful clay projects in one-sitting with a single firing to complete.
  • Tour our manufacturing warehouse and learn about raw materials and how they are mixed to make products. Learn the difference between low-fire, mid-fire and high fire supplies.
  • Enjoy a hands-on clay Clay Lady Workshop to experience The Clay Lady Way as you use our products to make projects.
  • Tour and enjoy visiting with several of my 20 artists in residence and see how making projects can turn into a profession at The Clay Lady's Artist Co-op and Galleries.
  • See a project demo and learn how to design your own projects.
  • Learn my 8 week curriculum, my clay camp curriculum, my K-12 project curriculum that works with your county's curriculum , my teen/adult handbuilding and sculpture lesson, class management techniques and hands-on kids wheel lesson.
  • Learn about kilns:  how to load and to program for no-explosion firings!
  • Enjoy us providing your apron, your lunch, your certification for inservice hours and your enlightening day!
Feel free to forward this email to all your art teacher contacts - I heavily rely on your goodwill and good reviews!
Contact me in any way that works best for you and I will get your name on the list for this year's inservice.  I am limiting the amount of registrations to increase personal interaction and provide plenty of time for questions and diversions from the schedule!  It's going to be a good time!
Be An Artist in Everything You Do!
Danielle McDaniel~The Clay Lady
The Clay Lady's Studio, Artist Co-op and Galleries
~The Educational Facility at Mid-South Ceramic Supply
1416 Lebanon Pike, Bldg C
Nashville, TN  37210

Clay Lady Documentary


Behavior Board

I was asked to explain more about my behavior board, and I am more than happy to. Art class would not be able to carry on smoothly without it. It's very important to me that my students have fun, but to understand that Art still has rules that must be followed for the fun to happen.
First the expectations of my students are to 
Be Responsible
Be Respectful
Be Kind
Be Safe
Here is a picture of my board at the end of today.
Each teacher has a pocket and each student has a 3"x6" index card in the pocket with their name on it.
When an expectation is not met (rule broken), a student in 1st - 5th grade must pull their card and clip them to the consequence. I have also had them put the cards into a consequence pocket, but I wanted to change it a bit.

1st consequence GREEN WARNING
2nd YELLOW 5 minute time out (when a student goes to time out the time is marked in my roll book)
3rd RED 10 minute time out
4th BLACK teacher's choice (detention, office, or written communication log home)

I have a good behavior art party (fun art activity centers) at the end of the semester. If students have not had time outs then they will be able to participate the whole time. If they have had time out (say 10 minutes total during the semester) they will have to sit out 10 minutes at the party. In other words, whenever they are in time out, they will have it again at the party. It hits them twice so that they hopefully will never misbehave bad enough to go to time out

Kinders are given reward pockets for the whole class behavior: Green for Great Day, Yellow for okay day, and Red for bad day. Individual Kinders are given a verbal warning and after that are sent to time out for 5 minutes any time they break a rule after the warning. Kinders don't have good behavior parties because the class set up is different. See Art Centers

As with any behavior plan, it is a very effective system as long as you stick to it.
I also have a whole class system seen here.


Here we go again!

Sorry I've been away...... I've been occupied by this little cutie.
Meet Rosco our adorable little Dane mix.
 I love getting my classroom ready for the new year! Some things stayed the same and others have changed. My school kept the same theme as last year which was "Wild About..." so I at least changed my color scheme around. Last year was many cool colors and now I'm onto warmer hues. 
Sorry for the blurryness... I need a new camera.
Here we have the Behavior Board. Each teacher has a pocket and every student has a card with their name on it. If they break a rule they move a card. Warning, 5 minute timeout, 10 minute timeout, and or detention and note home. Students also lose time at their good behavior art party if they go to timeout. It gets them twice so hopefully they will never have to pull their card for that consequence. 
This is the Art History board. I also have an envelop with crit cards for when we go into deep discussions. 
 The table buckets are ready to go. Each table gets 4 pencils, erasers, scissors, and glue. When I pencil breaks they bring it to the broken jar and pull out a sharp one. I also have students hold up the erasers at the end of class so I can see everything and see that nothing has gone missing.
 Found this huge palette a and decided to do something different. The Art Marks chart will go to the right of this.
 The reading area. I plan to have stories and demos with Kinders here and students may read books after they have finished a project on the carpet. 
 Free Draw shelf area... I really need more books... I also plan to add more activities when more funds come along.
 Landscape, Portrait, and Still life along with Toothless the room mascot.
More to come! Stay tuned.

Avery Give Back to Schools

   I wanted to take this time to let you all know about an awesome opportunity for your school. My school was very fortunate to have won last year and we received $10,000 in supplies for our school. 

 Avery Give Back to Schools program is an online voting contest that will reward the top 5 vote-getting schools with $10,000 in Avery school supplies, $1,000 in Bonus Box Tops for Education and an additional $1,000 in gift cards for teachers to purchase additional school supplies. The next 25 vote-getting schools would win $500 in Bonus Box Tops for Education. The contest ends September 16.  

Click here for the Avery Give Back to Schools and register or vote for your school. 


To Dump or Not To Dump... That is the question

Hello fellow art teachers and followers,
   I have a question... When painting do you let your students "dump" their water when it gets too dirty? Or do you have them keep the same water all through class?

I hate having dirty water when I paint so I wanted my kids to be able to have clean water for as long as possible. My first year teaching we used these cups that would only hold about 1 1/2 cups of water. Students were having to go to the sink constantly. Especially when we used liquid tempera or acrylic. 
Now, I use huge buckets of water for painting. They are used dog treat buckets which hold about a quart of water (we fill them halfway). The buckets never tip over because of their size, they are still easy for kids to pick up, and they may have to be refilled once during a lesson. I used to ask kids to raise their hand for me to check if the water was too dirty and tell them to "dump" or not. That became too much. So now I tell the kids to dump their own water when it turns to mud and they can no longer see their brush when pressed against the inside of the bucket. 
This water needs changing! 
So, my fellow teachers, what do you use as water containers and when do you "dump"?


Abstract Warm-up

   The first day of class with my 6th graders can be a bit overwhelming. I preach rules, procedures, and expectations. They are usually surprised at the new things they will be expected to do in "Middle School" art and can be a little timid. 
   After all the speeches are said and done I like for them to start creating.  I always begin 6th grade with Abstract Art. I try to find an interesting youtube video to show that gets the kids excited. I won't tell them what abstract art is though. I ask them at the end of the video to tell me. 9 times out of 10 they will get it.
   It is now time to create. As wide a topic and endless the ideas for abstract is, I have always found that it is hard for most students to begin an abstract work. So I help them along with this abstract warm-up:

Markers, crayons, oil pastels, colored pencils, or paint.
12"x18" paper

Teacher reads the directions as students follow along.
Please be sure to allow at least a minute for each step. 

Abstract Warm-Up:
1. Turn your paper in any direction
2. With your marker make three straight lines anywhere on your paper, but start each line on an edge and end on an edge. Lines may cross if you wish.
3. Make three dots any size, anywhere on your paper. Remember to color your dots in. 
4. Place the tip of your marker on one of the dots. Now make a curved line or a lot of curved lines that go in any direction as long as they go to an edge.
5. With your marker make one circle that touches something else on your paper. 
6. You may add to your design by making more lines and shapes if you wish.
7. Complete your abstract work by adding as many colors as you wish. Remember to leave only one space blank on your design. 
Abstract warm up with steps 1 - 5. I always use oil pastel on black paper. 
Wish I had taken more pictures of this lesson... The students always have great success with this project because they are given a little "push" into the creative process. I find that it builds their confidence. 
If you liked this warm up and would like some more ideas, send me your email. I have 3 more equally as popular with the students and greater in difficulty. 
Special thanks to Pam Hickman who gave me these abstracts when I was student teaching.

Sand Pyramid?

I am currently on vacation on beautiful Hilton Head Island, SC. My family and I have been coming here for 21 years and counting. This year was the first time that I set out with a goal that did not include completely draining my head of all thought and just relax... Well, I will of course still do that, but onto the goal. 
I wanted to build some kind of sand castle. I have never made one. I thought it might be too hard to pull off and the rest of my family really didn't seem too interested. I don't blame them, because it is a lot of work. My wonderful husband who is what I would call a "Craftsman" set out with a plan. He also has an engineering mind so I just smiled and nodded when he showed me the plans. 
We decided on a pyramid! Here are some process photos. In the pictures are me, my husband Wes (in the hat), and my cousin Mica. 
1. Build the foundation.
2. Level and smooth.
3. Stair steps that begin at the top. Our approaches to this were all different. My strategy was to insert my tool (plastic putty knife) vertically and and then rotate down (like pulling a lever) so that the tool lay horizontally. This would cut the step and then pack down the sand for the top of the next step. I think my husband would cut in vertically and then cut in horizontally and scoop out. (My way went a lot faster)
 4. Make an entrance by building up more sand and smoothing.
 5. Carve stones in entrance way
6. Feel proud of a job well done!

 7. Even though our steps were not all perfectly level and smooth, it gave our pyramid a nice ancient look. 
 This little crab stayed with my cousin the whole time and then decided he would move in. 
If you're going on a beach vacation and want to.... Build a sand creation and share it!
Happy Building!


Art Test

   The end of the year was fast upon us. 1st grade had one more day of art class before the "Good Behavior Art Party" day. Should I have them watch a movie or free draw.... Neither.
   I decided to see what my little 1st graders had learned from the year. In 1st grade we begin to apply the "basics" to projects that reflect around the Elements and Principles. We concentrate on drawing with pencils, coloring like an artist, painting, and collages. So I decided to test them to see how much they had retained. Will they remember to draw lightly? Swish, wipe, and blot? Let's find out...
Students were told that this was a test. I wanted to see if they remembered elements, principles, procedures and processes we had worked on all year in class. 
Create a flower: Any kind. Real or imaginary. 
You have 3 choices of how to make it: Drawing and coloring with crayon, Collage with scissors and glue, or draw and paint. 
All students were given 9"x12" white paper. All materials they needed were out and ready. The rest was up to them. 
Tracing the drawing with a black crayon to make it "POP" when it is painted.

Some students made two types and wanted to turn in the best one. Here you can see paints and crayons out. 

Correct paint procedure setup!

When I asked this student where his sky would stop he said, "All the way to the ground SILLY!"

Me: "Why is this flower so much bigger?"
Student: "It's in the foreground!" 

This student went on to paint the rest of the sky blue and leave the clouds white. It made the cloud shapes more organic. 

One student creating a collage and another one coloring. Notice how her petals are in a stack. She stacked the papers together and cut them all at the same time. "Why did you do that?" I asked. "Because I wanted them all the same." she said. 

Many imaginary color choices!

This little girl pointed out to me that she let one color dry, painted something somewhere else, and then came back to paint beside the first color. She remembered that the colors may bleed together. 

Paint setup for two. You can tell that they did some good blotting on their paper towel.

I was very pleased with all the results. Only 2 students forgot a couple of things. I believe I will now give a test at the end of the year similar to this for all grades. It was a HUGE SUCCESS and the students loved showing me what they learned. One even told me that this should be on the TCAP! 



   May 5th, 2011 marked our 2nd Annual Art Show. Here is how it all went from start to finish. (Thanks Phyl for getting my brain engaged with your post.)
   I am very fortunate to have the use of the school’s all purpose room (playroom). Think mini gym without the basket ball hoops and no bleachers. With the help of some close friends and parents the show went up without a hitch. I am not given release time to hang the show so my parent volunteers and I will have the classes that I have that day help out. I send home volunteer letters at least 2 weeks ahead. 
   I have the show in the Spring because I want students to have lots of work to choose from for the show. This year the Kindergarten teachers and I have struck a deal. The Pre-k and K registration is the Monday after the Thursday evening art show. They always decorate for registration and now I have taken care of that. They want the art show left up as decoration and they will have their teacher assistants take the whole thing down the following day!! No take down for me!! We're going to keep this arrangement next year. 
   I display the work of all students. They choose on portfolio review day! About two weeks before the show. The art show is not a competition. I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. I do however have door prizes. I have a volunteer take names at the door. They register students for the prize they wish to win. I draw names once the show is over and announce the next day at school.
   I send flyers home with students two weeks before and little art tickets the week of. I also have a giant poster that I staple to a display board that I put out for car riders to see at arrival and dismissal the week of the show.
   The walls are concrete. I use 2” masking tape to hang everything. 2 – 3 pieces of tape to hang each work. My 5th grade class that morning makes tape rolls and places them on drawing mats for us to use while hanging. Because of this, I saved about an hour during setup. I do have 6 display boards which I staple work to. I also use hot glue to attach to those less tape friendly services. As you can see below. It's our climbing wall with the floor mats hanging from it. 

   I don’t mount, just not in the budget… I write the students’ names on the bottom right hand corner of their work as they choose their art show piece.
   The highlight of the show is always the slideshow. I create a slideshow of students working during the year and display it with a white board, laptop, and projector which is set up on a table. 
   Last year's show was a huge success and I was anxious to have a good turn out this year. I really talked it up to the kids, made art show “tickets”, a countdown calendar, and displayed the door prizes that could be won (Thanks Erica!). I had a guest book for people to sign in so I would know the numbers. A donation jar is also set up outside the entrance to the playroom. 
   I serve fruit punch and cookies. This year I asked teachers to bring in one package of cookies!! Thanks Mr. E for the idea. A volunteer or two mans the refreshment table.

   Turn out was a bit lower than last year's, but we still raised a lot of money in donations. The families that attended thanked me for having a such an event. Next year, I may have the show on a Friday evening and include art activities.
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