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

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

In the Art Room: Art Room Etiquette


As y'all know, during those first days of art, it's mission impossible to cram in all of the rules, routines, procedures (and more) that we need to cover...while making sure that the kids have fun and create! With 30 minute art classes, the struggle is super real. I hate to bog down each day with too many do's and don'ts without any actual doin'. So I try to build on each day. On our first day of art, I shared with my students this routines video I created with just some of my fabulous and fun coworkers (thank you, ladies!):
But my routines video just didn't cover it all. I mean, we now know how to walk to my art room, enter, take a seat, go "shopping" for supplies, clean up and line up...and that's a lot. However, after showing the video and diving in to my first projects this week, I started taking notes of some behaviors I noticed that I was not too keen on. Here's what I wrote:

* Raising hands. Okay, we all know (kids included) that our students are to raise their hands to talk. But there seems to be some missing information here. First of all, HOW do you raise your hand? Do you wave it all around like you are swatting an onslaught of flies? Um, preferably not. Second, just cuz your hand is up, that don't mean you get to talk, friend. These are things that I took note of this week...and decided to work on improving.

* Interrupting. Ugh, a pet peeve. We lose so much time with this one! So I decided to address that in my video as well. 

* Staying in your seat. I want the kids to talk to me...I want to talk to them! But, as you know, once one kid is up THEY ARE ALL UP and in yo' face. Some of my classes have close to 40 kiddos. We cannot have that many people up and roaming the room. 

* Silent Signal. There are just some times when I need the kids' ears. And there are other times when I need their hands empty and their undivided attention. I decided to address that as well. 

With my notes, I rounded up whoever was available for 10 minutes this morning and filmed what I've dubbed Art Room Etiquette. This 3 minute video will give me a way to quickly address issues. Here it is:

After I play this video next week, I will readdress my rules. Now, like I shared before, I consider my "rules" to be more life rules...not necessarily what I'd otherwise label routines or procedures (or, in this case, Art Room Etiquette). I'll also share this etiquette video which will be followed up by our chat about consequences. More on that next week!

I'll def keep y'all posted...in the meantime, I'd love to hear from you! What do you do at the start of each school year? Are there undesirable behaviors that you are already noticing? I normally just get irritated at these little things...which eventually become big things in my art room. This year, I'm keeping a list of anything I see that I want to encourage and anything I want to change. My goal is to be proactive while having fun. Here's hoping these short videos do the trick!
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Monday, August 14, 2017

DIY: Art Room Decor

If you recall from this post, I recently picked up a bunch of oars (or paddles, whatever you fancy callin' 'em) from a local big box craft store. Initially I was just going to paint the primary colors...but they looked so good, I decided to do the secondary colors as well to create a large color wheel. I finished off the color wheel last week and thought I'd share it with y'all today. 

In case you missed the Paddle Painting Mayhem, here it is in 60 seconds or less:
 If only I could work that fast! I do consume a ton of coffee...but I've not reached Level: Lightening Fast...yet. 
Because the grouping of paddles ended up being so stinkin' big, I had to completely rearrange my art room to find a wall space big enough for it. That meant a complete overhaul of this part of my art room. I was fine with that, as I was ready for a change. In fact, this summer, when I popped by my art room, I noticed some of my displays were falling. In a fit of annoyance, I tore it ALL down. You can see what this area previously looked like here. Getting rid of the previous displays forced me to rethink my space and my displays, making both more intentional. 

By the way, I created a video of my desired art room routines...and showed it today on our first day of art. That's what you see on the big screen. I'll do a complete blog post about that soon but in the meantime, you can check out the video here:
It was a huge hit with the kids today and...IT WORKED! Yay!
Having this big space also allowed me to hang my ART room rules. I shared them recently here. You can hear me go over them a little bit in the video above. I plan to do a more extensive chat about my rules soon...they really tie in with the growth mindsets that we are working toward in my art class this year.
After I hung up the oars, I noticed that I had enough space to allow for the tertiary colors. So I cut out some cardboard with an Exacto knife, painted them and attached them to the wall with hot glue. The oars were hung up with Command Velcro Strips and have worked like a charm!
Over the summer, I managed to pick up several folk art pieces. The Mojo Man and the Big Love signs are by my friend Bebo. The other paintings are by Okra Girl. I painted the Stay Sharp sign using a wooden picket fence I found when shopping for those wooden oars. Here's a video of how that was created in 60 seconds or less:
 I'm currently addicted to painting all things found in the wooden aisle of my craft store! 
 A couple of art teacher buddies have really taken off with these ideas and I love seeing what they create! One buddy painted the saying, "Draw Light Until You've Got It Right"...how perfect for those pencils!
Another painted hers into crayons, hung it horizontally and it is going to display her art jobs. Y'all better believe I'm doing that very same thing! Great minds, I love it.

By the way, if you have not entered to win the book giveaway, GET YOURSELF OVER HERE AND DO IT ALREADY. Please and thank you! 
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Sunday, August 13, 2017

In the Art Room: Best Back to School Projects, Part 2

Hey, friends! Tomorrow is my first day back to school where I'll have kiddos in the art room and I'm super excited. One thing I love about this time of the year is coming up with fun projects that kick the school year off right. Last week, I shared some of my favorite Dot Day projects which I occasionally use as a theme for my back to school art projects. Today I thought I'd share my favorite collaborative back to school art projects. There are a lot, so get ready! 
But before we get to that, I have some exciting news. Recently, on our Wednesday night Facebook LIVE chats (to join the fun, like/follow here), the one and only Barney Saltzberg joined us. We had an absolute blast chatting with him. You can still find our conversation archived here. He has a new book out, My Book of Beautiful Oops, and is GIVING ONE AWAY! Yay! To enter to win your FREE copy of My Book of Beautiful Oops simply do the following:

* Leave a comment below. Tell me what your plans are or what you are doing on these first days back to school. Inquiring minds wanna know!

* Leave your email address. This way I can let you know when you win, yay!

It's that easy, y'all. Big thanks to our buddy Barney for this wonderful book and fabulous giveaway. Now, let's talk Best Back to School Art Projects.
I love kicking off the school year with a good book. You Be You and Only One You by Linda Krantz are two fabulous books to bring to your art room. This is a project that can be done with all of your students...and will leave you with a beautiful work of art to showcase their efforts. More on this mural here
You can find out just how we created these fish here
Feel free to bring this how-to video to your art room!
I am in love with this wild, wacky and colorful mural that was created by my kindergarten through fourth grade kiddos. It's Okay to be Different is a favorite book of mine by Todd Parr. This mural has been up for a while now...and it still remains outside my art room door. I think it's a great message for all. You can find out about this mural here
Here's a short video to share the process!
You can read about our process of creating these funny faces right here
Monochromatic selfies are a super fun way to start the school year. I've done this a couple of different times and with a couple different themes. You can find out more about how these were created here
This video really helped my students during the creation of their selfies.
Last year, we used our selfies to create this large J.E.S. sign for our school. 
On year we even made our selfies into a world map! This one took some time to do...and wasn't easy but sure was pretty once it was complete. 
Our heart mural is now a couple of years old and still hangs proudly in our school office. I love it, it's really stood the test of time. And who doesn't love the message of LOVE? You can see more about the completion of this mural here
The details on how each heart was created and by what grade level can be found here
Speaking of love, this mural was created by all of my students...they actually made it one year while I was out on jury duty. It was so awesome to come back to some amazing art! Here's the complete blog post. 
Here's the video I created for my sub to share with my students.
And here's the second video in that series. 
Probably one of the more popular posts on this blog has been this wings mural project. It's a GREAT back to school project because it's low-mess and low-stress (until you get ready to assemble that is...and then it's HOLY COW, WHAT WAS I THINKING?!). But once it's up, you won't regret it! Deets here
Here's a video I created to share with my students...feel free to use in your art teacherin' world!
I hope y'all have gotten a couple ideas for your return to school...I'd love to know what you and your sweet kiddos are creating! Also, don't forget to enter to win Barney's new book. Just leave a comment about your first day and don't forget to include your email address. Have a great week!
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Friday, August 11, 2017

In the Art Room: First Day of School

I've been at my current school for nearly 15 years. It has been a long-standing, before-my-time tradition that on the very first day of school, all the special area teachers pool their classes and cover the school handbook. Meeting in the gym, we'd cover everything from who works in the office, what our behavioral incentive program is, our dress code, cafeteria procedures, arrival and dismissal procedures and more. As you can imagine, it was a pretty long and dry hour for our kiddos on the very first day of school. 

This year, we decided to create a video. Our hope was to film something that was fun and engaging for the kids while packing in all the important information that they need for a successful school year. I thought I'd share our video with you...not for you to share in your school but to give you an idea. A video like this insures that each and every child receives the same information. We also plan to post this on our school website so that as a community, we are on the same page. Here's our video (be sure and watch to the dress code part, it's my fave):
Because we have a brand new and exciting playground, we decided to create a video about that as well. It's tough for our P.E. teachers to share with the kids the do's and don't's while they are either talking about it inside...or standing in front of it (imagine that distraction!). So we recruited some teacher friends and went out early one morning, before the heat set in, and did some trouble shooting. What will the kids be tempted to do? Go down the slide backwards? Stand on the merry-go-round? Walk in front of a swing set? With that in mind, we covered all the rules and it was a lot of fun. Here's our video:
We used both of these videos on the very first days of school and the kids loved them. They laughed, they saw their teachers cut up (which was always a fave when I was a kid) and they learned and remembered! It was awesome! We did spend a good couple of days working on these...but now we have them in our Back to School library and can just show it again next year. How awesome is that? 

Love to hear if you do something similar on your first days of school!
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Thursday, August 10, 2017

Everyday Art Room, Episode 1


Hey, y'all! I'm THRILLED to share the launch of Everyday Art Room, a podcast partnership between me and The Art of Education! We began this pod-tastic adventure a while ago and have been working super hard to bring you some elementary art teacherin' talk. I cannot thank the team at AOE enough for their work on this project; they are truly dedicated to bringing the very best to art teachers everywhere. 

You can take a listen to the very first episode of Everyday Art Room now. I'd LOVE to hear what you think! If you have a comment, question or suggestion that you'd like to submit, please feel free to do so either here on this blog or here. New episodes will be coming your way every Thursday so if you'd like to stay up to date, drop us your email here. 

In the meantime, I've added the transcript from the show. This will help you in case you'd like to have a visual of those eight routines I cover. Don't take notes, just sit back, take a listen and know I got you covered. Enjoy and I'd love to hear what you think!

You know they say that wisdom comes with experience, but I’ve always been one to kind of test a good theory so let me share with you something that I did not too long ago that definitely showed that I am not wise beyond my art teachering years. It was the first day of Kindergarten. I got the great idea that on the very first day of art, with five year olds, we should paint. I know. You already know where this is going. Sadly, I didn’t own that crystal ball, so let me paint the picture for you. All of my students were starting to paint and it was going pretty well. Shockingly well. I should have taken that as a sign. All of a sudden, across the room, I hear one of my sweet students say, “Oh, oh. I got paint on me. I got paint on me.”
I can hear the panic tone in her voice. I went over as a good art teacher does, and I said the words that we all say, “It’s art class. It’s okay. You’re supposed to get a little bit messy.” I turned my back for just a second, and all of y’all know that’s all it takes especially with Kindergarten painting on the first day of school. In that moment I hear the entire class erupt in this sound, “Oh no.” When I turn around my sweet little friend is thrilled that she no longer has paint on her. She also is no longer wearing her top. That’s right. She’s topless.
Hopping up and down saying, “I’m clean. I’m clean now.” It’s before I can do or say anything else, I hear a tiny little voice from across the room that says, “I can see her niblets.” Ooh y’all. You would think wisdom of art teachering would have told me not to bust out those paints with Kindergarten on the first day of school, but you know what, that’s our reality. This is every day art room, and I’m Cassie Stephens.
Now what my nearly 20 years of art teachering should have told me is that on those first days, weeks, month of school, you need to really be working on establishing your art room routines, so today I thought I would share with you my eight art room routines for a super successful school year. These are my eight art room routines. This is what works best for me. I’m going to share those with you, but you need to keep an open mind and think about what works best for you. Think about it like this: I like to use the three s’s. Does this work best for my setup? Think about your classroom if you have one. Think about your cart if you’re using one. Think about the school or schools that you have to travel to. Is this best for my situation? My demographics, my school demographics. Is this the best thing for my students.
I’m going to share with you my eight art room routines. What I have found to work best for my set up, situation, and students. Keep an open mind, many of these might work for you but many of them might not. For that reason, you need to start by putting yourself in your students shoes. When I’m establishing my eight art room routines, I always do this every single year. I rework it, rethink it, and I put myself in my students shoes. The first thing, the first routine I establish with my students is how do I want my students to begin art? Think about it, do you go to your students classrooms? Do your students get dropped off by a classroom teacher? Do they walk themselves down independently as my students do? If that’s the case, how do you want them to approach art class? Because that is what’s going to set the tone for the rest of the art class.
My students know that because we’ve established a routine, and we’re going to reestablish it on that very first day and weeks of school, that I have a line of tape right outside my door. That line of tape is where they stand and wait to enter quietly. That’s routine number one. Think about how you want your students to approach art class. That will really set the tone. Thing number two is making an entrance. How do you want your students to enter your art room? Now I know that this seems really nit picky, but once again, this really sets the tone. Let me tell you why I’ve really had to think hard about how my students made an entrance. I used to hold the door open and my students would walk past me as they enter the art room. As they did it was like a barrage of questions. What are we doing today. I like your shoes. Did you get your haircut? Somethings different about you. By the time my students got into my art room and settled, I’d answered at least a dozen questions, and we already lost several minutes of art time.
Think about how you want them to walk in your room. Here’s what I do. Here’s what works for me. Before my students can even raise their hand or ask me what are we doing in art today, I greet them at the door with a, “Hello my most amazing artists.” They know to all respond, “Hello my most amazing art teacher.” Trust me that never gets old. I say to them, “How are you today,” and they say, “Ready to create.” This is our routine that we go through every single time. Not only does it set a really happy and excited tone, but it also gets the chit chat out of the way. They file in my room and then we can dive right in. Let’s talk about think number three.
When my students come into my room they do not go straight to desks or tables. Here’s why. I learned from experience that if my students go straight to tables and sit down, whatever is on that table becomes fair game and it becomes a battle of the stop quick notes. They always win. Trust me. I usually just end up losing my patience. For that reason, we have, some people call it circle time. I say, take a seat on the floor. I don’t have a fancy rug. I just have lines of tape on the floor. These lines of tape show my students exactly where to sit as far as creating nice straight rows. They know to go all the way down to the end of the row leaving no space in between you and your neighbors. That way we can all file in quickly and quietly to dive into circle time. In that time we talk about what we’re going to be learning, creating, doing in art class that day.
The next transition in routine, and this one is a real big one, the next routine is the gathering of supplies. Oh boy. I don’t think classroom teachers will ever understand just how much work we put into preparing, passing out, and getting students to gather up those supplies. Really establish that routine because it’s a big one. My students in my room, this is what works for my set up situation and students, my students know to go shopping at “a store”. I have a long cafeteria style table. I have it divided into sections by grade level with just a piece of tape right down the center of the table to establish that this is the first grader supply area, second, third and fourth. My students, once they’re given their “shopping supply list”, which is basically just me telling them what to pick up at the store, they know to go shopping at the store. Many supplies are already kept on the tables.
Things that we would need every day. Glue, pencils, scissors. That kind of thing, but the thing that’s specific to their art project, my students know their routing is to go collect those things at the store. Now, when my students go to their seats to start creating, I do have a seating chart. I believe firmly in a seating chart and here’s why. It’ll really help you number 1) learn your students names. One of the ways that I establish my seating chart is I think hard about my students. I’ve taught my students for many years and I know most of them very, very well. I know that if I pair my students up correctly that they are going to have a really successful art class. I use a lot of peer tutoring in my room, and it’s great to see kids who excel in some areas help their friends who might not, because then the roles are often switched. I have noticed that some of those kids who are great at weaving, might not be so great at drawing. They can offer help to those who need it.
It’s wonderful to see the kids working together. Not just sitting and hanging out with their buddies. That is why I always have a seating chart. Another great thing is is that if you want to offer an incentive to your students, offer a party or a celebration for good behavior, allowing days where they’re free to sit wherever they like with their friends, that’s a great thing too. Another routine is to establish where your students sit. Now it comes time for creating. Finally. It always seems like there’s just not enough time for that. If you’ve established your routines firmly, then your creating time is going to go so stinking well. You do need to talk to your students, as you guys know, about noise level. About movement within the art room. How much movement do you want them to have. Do they need to constantly get up and get supplies, or will you have somebody who’s in charge of gathering supplies for them.
Not only that, but how are your students going to ask for your help. I have a rule that my students are not allowed to get out of their seat, come up to me with big old painted hands, and tap me on my arm. That’s like my number one routine. We don’t need to be touching the Miss Stephens. My students know they stay in their seat and they raise their hand. These are some things that you might think gosh my students should already know that. Remember, these are routines that you need to establish. Assume that they don’t know these things. The most important routine is clean up. Whoo that can make or break an art class experience. Think about how you want to signal to your students that it’s clean up time. How do you want them to go about cleaning up. Will there be certain people who have certain clean up jobs. Will they each be responsible for cleaning up their own individual area.
These are routines that you need to establish so that clean up time does not become mass chaos. Finally, our last routine to establish is how you want to close your art class. How do you want to end an art experience with your students. For me this is just as important as starting your art class. Remember that really positive and uplifting greeting I gave my students at the beginning of class, I want them to leave with that really great and happy feeling. We do this in a couple of ways just depending on time. One closing activity that we do is a game called the smartest artist. In this game I review simple things that my students have learned. How to mix the color green, what are supplies did we use today, and with that I can establish where my students are as far as what they’ve learned during that particular art class.
It’s the smartest artist. It’s a super fun game, but if we’ve run out of time, one simple thing I like to leave my students with is this: I’ve shown my students how to sign I love you. As they’re leaving my room, that’s what we do. I love my students. I love creating with them, and I want them to leave my room with that warm, fuzzy feeling. Those are my eight routines. That is a lot to go through during your first days and weeks of art class. Don’t expect them to get these eight routines right away. It’s going to take a lot of rehearsing and reviewing, and going over it, over it, over them again until one day, magically it’s working. You might be thinking, how am I going to establish all of these routines in a matter of a few art classes.
You can go about this a couple of ways. One of my favorite ways to share with my students my expectations and my routines is to do it in video form. Think about a clever way where you can create a video that your students can watch that’ll show them just how to gather up supplies, or how to walk in the art room. An idea that I did last year, was I brought in my specials team to act those things out with me. My students absolutely loved seeing their other teachers cut up just as much as their art teacher in this video and they really learned a lot. Even having the students stand up and act out different routines or situations will really help them to understand what you’re expecting from them. If only I had really thought that through on that very first day of Kindergarten with painting, topless. But I digress.
Thanks guys for letting me share with you my eight art room routines for a super successful school year.
Tim Bogatz: Hello this is Tim Bogatz, host of Art Ed Radio. We hope you’re enjoying the debut episode of everyday art room with Cassie Stephens. New episodes will be arriving every Thursday, so make sure you subscribe to this podcast in iTunes, Stitcher or wherever you get your podcasts. If you would like to contact Cassie or submit a question for the mailbag, you can email your comments and questions to everydayartroom@theartofed.com. Finally, The Art of Ed is focusing on back to school week. All of next week and throughout the month of August, check out the site for podcasts, videos, articles, resources and so much more that will help you start your year off as strong as possible. You can find it all at theartofed.com. Now, let’s get you back to Cassie as she opens up the mailbag.
Cassie Stephens: Now it’s time to dip into the mailbag. My first question is: Do your students wear aprons? Well that would’ve come in pretty handy with Kindergarten and painting. If so, what kind? Once again, you got to think about your set up, your situation, and your students. Thinking about those things, I have tried every single apron with my students under the sun. We’ve tried t shirts, and button down shirts, we’ve done the plastic pull em over your head aprons, the ones that go all the way down to your wrists that make the kids all hot and sweaty. What we are currently using, I think we’re going to stick with, are canvas kid sized aprons. It’s funny. I actually bought these on accident thinking they were full size aprons that I was going to tie dye for a workshop, but when I got them and noticed that they were miniature sized, I decided to take them to school.
The kids really love these aprons because they look like little miniature bonafide artists when wearing them. I keep my aprons on hooks over in our painting area. My students who are in kindergarten through second grade, they don’t have an option of whether or not they can or cannot wear an apron. It’s mandatory if we’re getting messy. My older students, it’s paint at your own risk. You can wear one if you like, but you’re old enough to make that choice. When my students put their aprons on, they simply pull them over their head, bring the strings that are in the back around to their front by their belly button and tie. If they don’t know how to tie, they just phone a friend. They really love wearing these aprons, and it has really made it so a lot of wardrobes are saved. It also helps if you use paint that is water soluble so as not to damage your students clothing.
My next question is kind of along the same line. It’s this: How do your clothes not get messy. You are always dressed up to teach art. Friend, if you could see me close up you would notice that my clothes are absolutely covered in a rainbow of paint, and clay, and glue, and some other mysterious items that I can’t quite identify. One way that I keep my clothing from getting too messy is I wear an apron most of the time as well. I also purchase the grand bulk of my clothing from thrift stores. This makes it so if I do damage my clothes in some way, it isn’t a financial strain. I can simply renovate that clothing, up cycle it somehow, or give it back to the thrift store. Here you are, a masterpiece splatted in paint. Enjoy. That’s one way that I manage to salvage my wardrobe.
It has been so much fun talking with you guys today about the eight art room routines for a super successful school year. Remember, when you’re thinking through your eight art room routines, consider the three S’s. What works best for your set up, your situation, and your students. With that in mind, plan through your eight art room routines. Number one, how do you want your students to have art. Will they be coming to you, will you be going to them? How is it going to look. Number two, how will your students make an entrance. Will you greet them, will they greet you, what’s the plan here? Number three, do your students, when they walk in, will they be sitting on the floor, and if so what will that look like? Will they be going to their seats.
Number four, how will your students gather their supplies? Will a table captain do it, will they do it independently? Next up, number five, seating. Will your students have specific places to sit or will they get to choose where they want to sit? Number six, what is your creativity time going to look like and if your students need help, how are they going to ask you or appear? Number seven, clean up. That’s the one routine we really need to establish so make sure you think that one through, and also that’s the one you’re going to have to review over and again with your kids. The last one is closing. How do you want to end your art class?
Thank you so much for joining me today. I’ve had the best time chatting with you. This is Everyday Art Room. I’m Cassie Stephens.
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Tuesday, August 8, 2017

DIY: Back to Art Teacherin' Dress

Hey there, friends! After a week hiatus, I'll be back with you on Wednesday, August 9th at 8pm CST on Facebook LIVE! We'll be talking about all things Back to School: Rules, Routines and Life After Summer Vacation (sigh). I'll also be hosting a giveaway and sharing some fun news. So be sure and drop by right here (liking/following the page will insure that I pop up in your feed). 

For the last couple of years, I've been making Back to Art Teacherin' Dresses. I thought it was something I'd just recently started doing...but it turns out that this is an ongoing thang. At a school PD today a buddy asked, "How many dresses do you think you have, Stephens?" I didn't have an answer. I'd prob be embarrassed to admit just how many stinkin' dresses I have. I started purchasing vintage dresses many moons ago at thrift and resale shops. When I learned how to sew about 5 years ago, I just added more dresses to the collection...without doing any weeding. I just can't bare to part with a good ole fit and flair number, y'all. 
My very first Back to Art Teacherin' dress was this number. I rarely wear it now as, in my increasingly tacky eyes, it's a bit boring. From there, I've been hooked on creating a dress that helps me get pumped and excited about the new school year. I can't go out and buy back to school clothes as my overflowing closet is evidence that this gal don't need no more garb. However, I can shop for some super cute fabric and make a dress of my own, right? 
Feast your eyes on this mega-goodness. I'm gonna be honest, I'm starting to become a little bit disenchanted with the usual fabric options. Most fabric patterns are cute...but small. Since sewing with the big and bold patterns from IKEA, I've been on the hunt for more Large Marge prints. So I hopped over to Spoonflower and used the search bar to look for a pencil print. And that's when I found this mega-goodness
 Here's a short clip of me twirling in slow mo and fast mo (is that a thing? Who is this Moe and why is he so fast and slow?!). When wearing a circle skirt, it is the law that one must twirl no fewer than 29 times, hourly. Look, I don't write the rules, I just follow 'em. 
Having a deadline, like Meet the Teacher Night, gave me the inspiration to burn the midnight oil (and the early morning, em, oil? Grease? What do they burn in the early morning? Whatever it is, it stinks) and finish this bad boy. Let's face it, that print makes the dress. I LOVE the retro look of it!
It's the best twirling dress this side of the Mississippi. 
Some of my other Back to Art Teacherin' dresses include this number created from fabric found in JoAnn's discount area. I loved it for it's marker-scribble feel. This dress made me happy with the print but I feel like I'm about to fly away with those sleeve things. I don't wear this one very often as I don't find the bodice as flattering as I would have liked. But this van Gogh-inspired dress has all of my fave features: a fitted bodice, a giant waist band and BOWZ. Cuz I like big bows and I cannot lie. 
Everyone has their own way about getting excited about their "jobs" (can we really call art teacherin' a "job"?! I mean, it's like the best thing ever AND they pay us!). My way is sewing up a fun dress. Your way might be decorating your art room, painting your nails in a rainbow pattern, creating a sign for your art room. Whatever it is, dive in! Do it! It will make you happy and, as we all know, Happy Art Teacher, Happy Life...or something like that.
In short, you do you...and bring that what you be doin' to your art room. I promise you that it will not only inspire your young artists but those around you as well. 

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Sunday, August 6, 2017

In the Art Room: Best Back to School Projects, Part 1

Oh boy. We're back! In my district, we returned to school last (officially) last Thursday and it's been nonstop action since: professional development, back to school night, room prep, you name it. The one thing, THE MOST IMPORTANT THING, that I'm currently consumed with is our first art project of the school year. I love to hit the ground running to build excitement and fun in the art room with a big, fat, hairy paint-y, sticky and colorful project. While I wrack my brain over this year's projects, I thought I'd do a lil series on this here blog titled Best Back to School Projects. These aren't the Best Ever, mind you, these are just the best that can be found here. So take that with a grain o' salt.

That being said, I LOVE to start my school year reading The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds. It's got such a great message...one that speaks to children of all ages. In this post, I'm going to share my very favorite Dot Day projects that I've done over the years with my kindergarten through fourth grade kiddos. I'm including links to blog posts with lesson details and videos. I really started to use videos in my art room last year...so that's why not every project has a vid. By the way, feel free to subscribe here to view newly loaded videos. 

So, without further jibber-jabber, let's get started!
One year, my first grade students created this dot-inspired mural...with a heavy influence by the folk artist Heather Galler. They not only painted the plates but created the painted papers used as the flower petals and the papers used in the background landscape. This one is definitely one of my faves. You can find the lesson details here and here
This fun and quick project can be found in more detail here. This was one of those quickie projects where everyone in the school created the same thing: a marker design on a coffee filter. Once each design was complete, the filters were sprayed with water and allowed to dry on plastic. Each was hung by paperclips. This was a show stopper at our Open House...and so stinkin' easy!
My second graders created these reversible dot paintings one year on pizza rounds I purchased via Amazon. This was a fun project and another were I could display the work mobile style. You can find out more info here
Can you tell I have a thing for hanging things in front of our window? Before you ask: yes, the kids DO touch them and we have had a few fall down. The teachers and I stay on top of reminding them that most art is for looking and not touching but, you know. They are curious kiddos!
Last year, second grade created these fun textured dots! I love this project as it really teaches children so much about texture. I've done various takes on this project. More details here
You are more than welcome to use my videos in your art teacherin' world!

A couple years ago, my third graders created these dotted relief sculptures with Styrofoam plates and aluminum foil. I love shiny and reflective surfaces for the kid's creations. And they do to. The Sharpies used really take on a new life. 
Last year my third grade created these amazing dots! This project was a huge hit with the kids. It also sparked a lot of conversation in the halls that started with, "How did they make this?!" Third grade project can be found here
Using pre-cut tissue paper found at The Dollar Tree REALLY saved on prep time!
I've been a big fan of string art since 5th grade when my teacher introduced me to it. I still have my string art example that I share with the kids. This project is a FAVORITE of theirs, it's so much fun. You can find lesson details here
Having a video really helps with a project like this!
Radial printing project with fourth grade can be found here. Again, we used pizza rounds for this project and it was a great way to kick off the school year. The kids really enjoyed working with the foam stickers to create their designs. 
I did question my sanity doing printmaking with 35 fourth graders during the first month of school but they really loved it. 
Printmaking is always action-packed tho, am I right? 
Once printmaking was complete, we covered the boards in aluminum foil (again, see a pattern here?).
This was a fun way to allow those early finishers to continue creating while my other students were still printing. Full lesson here. 
 I don't usually repeat projects but when I do, it's projects I've done with kindergarten that I know are successful. One project I ALWAYS do on that very first day in kindergarten is have them create line sculptures. 
I begin by introducing them to line with his poem.
And then we dive in. This is one of my favorite days of the school year! I promise you, the kinder kiddies will love this project. You can check out more dot stuff here but you might enjoy this unit I created about LINE for kindergarten
I promise you, y'all will have the best time with this project! 
I'd love to hear your fave Dot Day projects. International Dot Day is on September 15-ish and you can read all about it here. Last year, to celebrate, some of my classes made Shrinkie Dink Dots! More details here
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