Monday, November 4, 2013

Monday Mayhem: P.S. T-Shirt Contest Submissions

So many things going on, but I wanted to share a few of the submissions I received for the t-shirt contest before I send them out! They look great!

 These are some really great entries! Can't wait to see what will come of this!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Saturday Slowdown: Donations for the Art Studio

Asking for donations for the art studio is one of my favorite things to do, you never know what will show up in a donation box! This year I decided to make a collection box from one of my pins on pinterest, its not exactly the same but I like how it turned out!

Already getting some good stuff! What do you collect for your art studio?

Friday, October 4, 2013

Friday Fun: P.S. from Aeropostale T-Shirt Contest 2013

Last year I recieved a wonderful opportunity to allow my students to participate in the P.S. from Aeropostale T-Shirt Contest.  I sent in about 40 entries from my school and one actually received an honorable mention certificate!  This year I really wanted to put the importance of how this could effect our school if one of our kids design is chosen so I spoke at our weekly staff meeting about it.  Here are a few points that you could give if you are participating in such a contest:

1. The contest is FREE to participate in for kids 1st-5th.

2. They give you everything: promotional posters, t-shirt templates, letters & coupons for kids, return envelopes, a disposable camera to document the students progress and other things of relevance, and a flash drive with a promo video you can show to the staff and the kids. This year we also received a $10 gift card to which I will be using to help buy some books for the art studio. YAY!

 3. Give the teachers options(last year I passed this out in class, but this year I'm putting it in the hands of the teachers): this can be a recess activity, or an end of the day activity while the kids are packing up their backpacks, or it can just be sent home.

4. I have a drop box for finished T-Shirt designs and poster outside of my room showing a good example of a design and an example of a not so good design.  With the form highlighted so the kids understand it has to be filled out.

5. If one of our students gets first place in their grade level your school wins $5,000! Plus the student gets a $500 gift card to P.S. from Aeropostale.

You can find last years winners here and find out more about the contest: WHAT MAKES U SMILE.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

How do you grade in the art room?

I'm trying to help my students be more aware of the grading process in art.  Sometimes I get the feeling they think its just a place to come in and play around without learning or being held accountable for the work they do. I've had a rubric for a while based on what I saw in another teachers room, but I vamped it up a bit and made it poster size to hang in my room for the kids to see.

It's so colorful!

The pink arrow is detached.

Previously there were only three faces, I added that last one with hearts to show that they can always do better than their best. The pictures are a great visual that can help kids see what it should look like.

The four main areas they are graded on.

A type of self assessment.
This anchor chart is going to be laminated in the morning, then I'll attach some magnets to the back of it and the "Check my effort" mark so I can move it around and so can the kids. 

Do you have a great way to assess your students? Share it please!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Mayhem Monday: New Year, New Room

School has been completely and utterly insane the first two weeks and heading into the third there is a lot to catch up on!

This summer my school had the wonderful blessing to have some reconstruction done! YAY!!! So in all the end of the year preparations and final assignments I was also packing away my classroom little by little in about a billion boxes! (Okay not that many but fairly close.)

This is my room at the end of the summer, most of the cabinets are empty and there are boxes everywhere.

This is just some of what I brought home with me, just incase we didn't get into the school until the day before classes begin, worse case scenario.

NEW ROOM! Four days before school starts and I don't know where anything is!

Where do I put everything?

My parents and adopted little brother helping me out!

They actually made my room bigger! What a blessing!

New projector!
So while I might still be unloading boxes I am still very thankful to have a much larger room, with a ton of storage space!  I am still unpacking boxes as the days go on, but its starting to come together. Here is a little bit of what the room looks like now!

Our art standards K-5 here in Texas (TEKS) color coded and on easy flip chart so I don't have to constantly rewrite them on the board.

These Ninja Turtles will help us learn about artists this year!

Dot-licious calendar!

Folders for organizing work, labeled by grade and color squad.

Table labels that match...

Sink labels!
I also took this opportunity of a new environment for the kids to start calling this room the ART STUDIO. Using new vocabulary is fun! :) Okay I can't type anymore time to get busy with other things! Oh the life of an art teacher!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Tips for Surviving Clay in Elementary school

I've only been teaching art in elementary for four years now and every year I am learning something new, or learning from my mistakes/past experiences.  During the time that we work with clay, I take an entire week and ALL grade levels have a clay lesson.  I like to get it done all at once so I don't have to worry about cleaning before the next class comes in for a different lesson, plus it minimizes the complaints if one grade is doing clay but another isn't.

Here are a few things that really help me out when I'm preparing and finishing our clay unit in elementary school.


I usually have students who are absent during the week that classes are working with clay so I try to prepare 10-15 extra pieces per grade level while the kids are working.  It makes things easier when pieces get broken, lost. or you have a new student.


In my room this is key because of my limited counter/shelf space.  I usually have plastic bins or box tops from the boxes of paper our school orders with labels on the outside so I know which class that particular set of clay belongs to.  I also have the students write their initials on the bottom and a label for their class in case any get mixed in. Beware of students with the same initials, or twins with the same initials.  I have currently five sets of twins, but lucky me only one pair have the same initials so I just wrote their name out for them. (Note: with Kinder and 1st I allow some extra time at the end so I can write the initials for them, just makes it easier for everyone.)


In the past I've found myself rushing to get the clay in the kiln and that has ended with explosive results!  This year I allotted two weeks for drying and two weeks for firing.  This worked so much better and I had only one or two pieces break because of air pockets but they were salvageable. (I use hot glue to reattach things but if you've used other adhesives with clay let me know.) Of course those pieces were not glazed, but painted with acrylic, you can't glaze a piece if it has glue on it.


I have the directions for using the kiln up on the wall in our kiln room and in a plastic bag so I can make sure I'm following all the steps.

My little kiln room in a closet :)
The inside with a full load.

The sometimes touchy control panel.
The directions hung on my wall in a plastic bag. Easy and accessible.


I used to worry myself silly and feel bad if a students clay piece came out of the kiln broken, but not anymore.  IT WILL HAPPEN AND IT WILL BE OKAY. Don't stress so much it is art after all and sometimes "mistakes" turn into beautiful things. BE BRAVE YOU CAN DO IT!


Clay is some of the hardest work weeks I put in a year, but also one of the best and most enjoyable for the students.  Revel in the fact that this is something that your students may never experience again, make it fun for them and yourself, if you find lessons that you'll enjoy as much as the students it will be that much easier.

If you have any questions ask and I'll try my best to answer them. I hope this helped encourage you to not be afraid of clay or the kiln! Enjoy!

Kinder Piggy! 

Monday, April 8, 2013

Critters in the Art Room!

Today we had a very special visitor!

Name: Smarty, because this guy was very clever.

In our part of the world we have a lot of lizards, geckos, and roaches.  I can handle lizards and geckos but I usually call our building manager to take care of the roaches for me because somehow they always end up in my sink over the weekend.  EWWWW!  I once had a lizard that was about 8 or 9 inches long end up in my room he was HUGE!  But this little guy was easy enough catch in a plastic bin and the kids love seeing him as a special treat when we line up to leave.  At the end of the day he was set free in the courtyard where he will no doubt eat some bugs and help our gardens.

Do you have any critter stories?

Monday, April 1, 2013

This week in the art room...

Can you guess what we're doing in art class?

5th grade lion faces!

3rd grade underwater scenes!

4th grade cupcakes!

2nd grade pinch pot loons.

1st grade angry birds! 
Kinder pigs!
Don't get angry with clay, embrace it!

Check out my pinterest for more art lesson ideas and other cool stuff!