Showing posts with label cassie stephens. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cassie stephens. Show all posts

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Best Books for Art Teachers!

Summertime is my favorite time to reflect on the past school year. I often find myself uprooting all of my favorite art teacherin' books during this time. Sometimes, I'll just flip through them, look over my cryptic notes (I really gotta become a better note keeper!) and rethink my life choices, er, strategies in the art room. Other times, I'll dig deep into a book, really opening my mind up to new possibilities for the new year. I love this part of teaching: that we get the chance to hit the reset button every school year, throw out the old and bring in the new. I feel like Bill Murray in Ground Hog Day every August! 

In case you missed, during our last Facebook LIVE art teacherin' chat, we were talking about our favorite art teacher books. You can find that chat archived on my page. Be sure to peruse the comments to see what other folks are reading. We agreed that a book club would be super fun so, during the month of July during FB LIVE, that's what we'll be up to! 
How to join the book club? First, get you a copy of the book. We won't be starting until Wednesday, July 5th so plenty of time to get a copy and start flipping through it. Our chats our held here. In order for you to view the chat, you'll need to like my page. At 8pm CST on Wednesday, July 5th, I'll pop up in your feed! We usually chat for about an hour...but you can come and go any time. 
I'm very excited about sharing ideas with one another on how we can infuse art education and growth mindsets in our art room! Until then, I thought I'd share with you some of my very favorite books as an art teacher. Some of these books, I've had since my first year teaching and they truly helped me so much. One book I discovered during my first years teaching was Drawing with Children by Mona Brooks
 Wow, did this book teach me more than I learned in college about working with children! It's such a comprehensive book that explains child development; showcases lessons and examples; recommends supplies and teaching strategies. I followed this book to a T when first started out and it was like having a friend guide me. It is very heavy on the side of guided drawing which I know some folks feel very much against. But, for me, I believe that there is a place for guided drawing in the art room as long as it is balanced with open-ended projects. You would never expect a music teacher to teach a student how to play an instrument without first showing them how to do it. Why is art thought to be different? I also have Mona's book on teaching older children which is also very helpful. She dives into teaching more from observational drawing in that book. 
Ah, a classic, right? Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain is currently in either it's fourth or fifth addition. I love the concepts in the book...but it is hard to use with children because it is so dry. Trust me, I know, I've tried. As an elementary art teacher, I really do want to use the concepts from this book, but change it up and make it more geared toward my fun and funny little audience. This is something I'm thinking about this summer. 
What I really like about Hooked on Drawing is that the author, Sandy Brooke, does a great job of sharing lessons that go beyond pencil and paper. She has her students work with chalk, charcoal, kneaded erasers; all that stuff I never used until college. My kids LOVE working with those supplies. Observational Drawing with Children is a great read. What I like about it is that it really explains the developmental stages of drawing. It also provides conversations between student and teacher to give you a peak into an art teacher's classroom. Open-ended lessons and ideas are provided in this small book. 
It's hard to teach what you don't know...and I definitely did not know color when walking into the art room. I used this book as a crash course for myself to become a better teacher. If you are a teacher of older students, you could use the concepts from this book with your kiddos. 
My first year was also helped out greatly by Cathy Topal's book Children and Painting. This book is beautiful with full color photos and great lessons that scaffold. Another beautiful book is You Can Weave! I was so fearful of introducing weaving to my students...this book was a game changer. Again, lots of full color photos and easy to follow steps. 
 I love art history. LOVE it! But how to teach it all? One of my favorite ways to teach is by telling a story. Another teacher who is gifted at this is Marianne Saccardi. Her book Art in Story provides inspiring, well-researched and fascinating stories of artists or art history. You can read them aloud to your students or memorize them and add sound effects, lighting, music and amateur acting skills as I like to do. My very favorite art history book is The Annotated Mona Lisa. Y'all, this is one of my top five. I use this when creating my Hot Minute of History lessons for my kids. It's snippets of art history are short, concise and to the point. 
 A fun and inspirational read is Educating Esme. This is the diary of a first year fifth grade teacher in an inner city school. She struggles with the kiddos, her administration and just finding herself as a teacher. It's a quick read that will leave you inspired. Speaking of inspire, Ron Clark, anyone?! Holy mary, the Godfather of Teacher, can I get an amen? I love all of his books. 
 Need more inspo? Teach like a Pirate is beyond awesome. Dave Burgess is the teacher we all wanna be. But Meena Srinivasan shows us that teaching isn't just about being as wild, crazy and energetic as you can. In Teach, Breathe, Learn, she shares her methods of inspiring mindfulness in her students both in and out of the classroom. 

The key is to discover who YOU are in your art room...reading these books should inspire you, not make you feel the need to conform to any one else's methods or styles of teaching. Your passion is what is going to drive you as an educator and make you  your very best. Just keep that in mind as you flip through the pages of these books and happy reading! 



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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

DIY: Viva Italia Dress

Hey, friends! I am wearing this here dress today in...Italy! I managed to snap some photos before leaving but I'll be sure to share my Italian adventures with you when I return home. Until then, let's talk dress-makin', shall we?
After (a handful of) years stitching and countless homemade dresses, I think I have finally found the mashup of dress patterns that I like the very best. I am loving the fit and look of this halter-style top with this circle skirt, it's my new fave!
It's taken me this long to realize that simply because a pattern looks good on the envelope does not mean it will look good on you. And that's okay! You gotta go with what is the most flattering for your body type and your taste. Personally, I love a good fit and flair. And I like my fit very fitted (ahem) and my flair super, um, flair-y (double crinoline, anyone?). But I also know that I cannot do a v-neck, scoop neckline or anything else that is meant to show off cleavage. Because, well, I ain't got none. So it just looks awkward trying to show it off unless I'm wearing my big ole "Insert Cleavage Here" necklace which I seem to have lost. 
And I'm cool with this. Not the loss of my necklace, that thing was expensive, but the fact that I can't wear a good ole cleavage bearing frock. Because I have bodice patterns that work...and I think this one works the best for me. 
Now, here's a little something else I've learned: size down on the bust. Do you see that bust measurement of 34"? That is my correct size but when using this dress pattern in the past, I always found the bodice to be a pinch roomie (remember, I like a good fit). You can see other dresses I've made with this pattern here and here. For a more fitted dress, size down on the bust measurement. I'll be using a 32" bust for the bodice in the future. Now, this works for me for the entire dress because I do an open skirt...meaning I can have hips for days and the skirt hides 'em (another reason I love me a circle skirt!). However, if you are using a hip-hugging pattern, you may need to size up for the rest of the dress.
Y'all would be so proud: the last couple of dresses I've created have been from fabric straight outta the stash. I purchased this fabric years ago with the intent to make a dress...but, Ima be honest, I didn't love the colors in the print. So in the stash it sat. Until 36 hours before leaving for Italy, that is! Another reason to love this pattern: it's a quick stitch!
You might notice I decided not to add the bow/belt insert. On the dresses I have with built-in belts, I feel limited. I love to add different belts to my clothing to change up the look. So I skipped that step in the pattern. I also made the straps thinner...the thicker ones just screamed "homemade!" to me. 
 Just a side and back view. Did I mention that this dress has pockets?! I've decided that no dress is complete without them. Forever and ever, amen. 
Despite my initial meh-ness toward the print on this dress, I now really love it. I know that the pattern has a whole lot to do with it. 
And now I'm off to explore the sites on my dress. Viva Italia, y'all! photo signature_zpsd10b3273.png
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Sunday, June 18, 2017

In the Art Room: Fiber Arts for Kids

When I first started teaching, weaving was in our curriculum and I was scared outta my mind. The only knowledge I had of weaving came in the form of the fiber arts class I took in college...where I got a C due to my crappy weaving project. I remember warping one of those giant floor looms for what felt like hours (prob only took 15 minutes but it was dreadfully dull) and skipping a warp strand. "Eh," I thought, "what's one warp strand, the professor will never know." Well, that one strand created a huge runner throughout my weaving and dropped my GPA down...along with the C I also acquired in Karate. Turns out Indiana University takes weaving and martial arts super seriously.

Fast forward to the present and weaving, sewing and all things fiber-artsy is one of my favorite things to teach...and the kid's fave thing to learn! Since I'll be joining in on Trixi Symond's Sew a Softie in July, I thought I'd share this video I created for the Art of Education's online conference. This video is from several conferences ago...but I still use the ideas and methods in my art room. 
Are y'all signed up for this summer's conference? I'll be leading a hands-on clay and printmaking session and I'm so excited! 
My students love fiber arts...and it's a skill that just isn't taught as much any more. All the more reason it is so fascinating to them. You can find a list of my very favorite fiber art projects here. I mentioned a ton of lessons and videos in that clip...you can find them all in that link! You are ALWAYS welcome to use my videos in your art room. I just appreciate a shout out when projects are shared via social media. 

And don't forget to join the fun of Trixi's Sew a Softie in the month of July! 
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Saturday, June 17, 2017

Art Scouts, Final Countdown!

Well, this is it: the final countdown to Art Scouts! The months, weeks and days of pondering, planning and preparing is finally here. And, I have to tell you, we really could not be more excited. Art teachers are our favorite friends...especially ones who believe in making big messes with little people, like we do! We have so many returning Scouts that we are excited to see and newbies we are thrilled to meet. So, someone light the campfire, bust out the marshmallows, pop the tent and get ready to create (have no fear, there will be no tent popping with these 90 degree Tennessee summer days...we'll be in the luxury of air conditioning, a direct gift from heaven). 
We still have spots available at both sessions. OUR FIRST SESSION IS SOLD OUT! If you are on the fence, you best hop off and join the fun, y'all! We are down to only openings at the second session. Here's a look at how your 12 PD hours will be earned:
The cost for our full two day camp is $275. That includes all of your supplies, two lunches, a Campfire Craft Night with a sweet treat and a swag bag so big you just might need a U-Haul to get it home. To register, simply hop over here. Be sure to click on the link that says Art Scouts 2017 Important Information as that will lead you to how to book your room at the convention center hotel.
Got questions about Scouts? I might have the answer! I tried to pile them all here. But if I failed to address your thoughts, feel free to join the Art Scouts Facebook page where you can drop us a line. 
And if you'd like to learn more about our beautiful location, check this clip out. We are so excited to spend time with you all...our cheesy grins say it all. See you real soon! 

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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

In the Art Room: Sew a Softie!

I was recently contacted by the author of Sew Together, Grow Together, Trixi Symonds. She's the founder of Sew a Softie (check out the #sewasoftie on Instagram for some fun inspiration!) and has a fun sewing opportunity coming up in the month of July. I'm definitely joining the fun...and I thought you might want to as well. 
Trixi lives in Sydney, Australia where she has been teaching hand sewing to children for over 20 years. She coordinates workshops and leads sessions at galleries, bookstores, schools, you name it. Her goal is to encourage adults to share the love of stitching with children by providing cute, creative and fun sewing tutorials. Are you sold yet? I love her already! 
Trixi came to me with her idea of making July Sew-a-Softie month and asked if I'd be interested in joining the fun. Of course I agreed...and thought y'all might want to as well. Here are the details from Trixi:

The aim of Sew a Softie is to show both adults and kids that hand sewing is fun, creative, fulfilling, and that absolutely everyone can do it. Throughout the month of July simple to sew softie tutorials will be posted daily online. You can find them on the Sew a Softie Facebook page, the Coloured Buttons blog and the Sew a Softie website. Also, check out colouredbuttons on Instagram

You could take part by posting a softie tutorial and join the blog hop or by sewing softies with a group of friends or students anytime in July and posting on Instagam with the tag #sewasoftie.

Thanks, Trixi! I know I'm excited to get started.
I mentioned that Trixi is a book author, you can find her book here!
To clarify, if you want to join the Sew a Softie fun, be sure to follow Trixi's Facebook page. There you can find daily softie sewing inspiration as well as share your own ideas and creations. If you share on Instagram, don't forget to use #sewasoftie. I know I'm looking forward to lots of new tips, tricks and sewing project ideas for my students. 
Doesn't this sound like fun? For more inspiration, be sure to check out Trixi's blog and Instagram. It's sure to get your wheels turning. These cute images are from there. 
I know my students absolutely love sewing and had a blast with our Stitched Monster project. I think this will be a fun way to gain new ideas and collaborate with hand sewing enthusiasts all over the world. I hope you'll join the fun!

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Tuesday, June 13, 2017

DIY: Viva Italia Dress

Hey, friends! I am wearing this here dress today in...Italy! I managed to snap some photos before leaving but I'll be sure to share my Italian adventures with you when I return home. Until then, let's talk dress-makin', shall we?
After (a handful of) years stitching and countless homemade dresses, I think I have finally found the mashup of dress patterns that I like the very best. I am loving the fit and look of this halter-style top with this circle skirt, it's my new fave!
It's taken me this long to realize that simply because a pattern looks good on the envelope does not mean it will look good on you. And that's okay! You gotta go with what is the most flattering for your body type and your taste. Personally, I love a good fit and flair. And I like my fit very fitted (ahem) and my flair super, um, flair-y (double crinoline, anyone?). But I also know that I cannot do a v-neck, scoop neckline or anything else that is meant to show off cleavage. Because, well, I ain't got none. So it just looks awkward trying to show it off unless I'm wearing my big ole "Insert Cleavage Here" necklace which I seem to have lost. 
And I'm cool with this. Not the loss of my necklace, that thing was expensive, but the fact that I can't wear a good ole cleavage bearing frock. Because I have bodice patterns that work...and I think this one works the best for me. 
Now, here's a little something else I've learned: size down on the bust. Do you see that bust measurement of 34"? That is my correct size but when using this dress pattern in the past, I always found the bodice to be a pinch roomie (remember, I like a good fit). You can see other dresses I've made with this pattern here and here. For a more fitted dress, size down on the bust measurement. I'll be using a 32" bust for the bodice in the future. Now, this works for me for the entire dress because I do an open skirt...meaning I can have hips for days and the skirt hides 'em (another reason I love me a circle skirt!). However, if you are using a hip-hugging pattern, you may need to size up for the rest of the dress. 
Y'all would be so proud: the last couple of dresses I've created have been from fabric straight outta the stash. I purchased this fabric years ago with the intent to make a dress...but, Ima be honest, I didn't love the colors in the print. So in the stash it sat. Until 36 hours before leaving for Italy, that is! Another reason to love this pattern: it's a quick stitch!
You might notice I decided not to add the bow/belt insert. On the dresses I have with built-in belts, I feel limited. I love to add different belts to my clothing to change up the look. So I skipped that step in the pattern. I also made the straps thinner...the thicker ones just screamed "homemade!" to me. 
Just a side and back view. Did I mention that this dress has pockets?! I've decided that no dress is complete without them. Forever and ever, amen. 
Despite my initial meh-ness toward the print on this dress, I now really love it. I know that the pattern has a whole lot to do with it. 
 And now I'm off to explore the sites on my dress. Viva Italia, y'all! 
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