October 21, 2016



FALL LEAVES: 2nd Grade

I love fall...and I love fall art!!!  My second graders created these amazing fall inspired, tint focused 12x18 paintings!!  They loved working large & with paint (who doesn't love painting?!!?).  We reviewed different types of leaves & I allowed them to select the one they felt they would be most successful with.  After drawing their leave with pencil..they outlined with black tempera.  I then did a demo on tints (and we discussed shades as well).  This gave students the needed information & gave the black paint time to dry.  I then allowed theme to select on color to tint.  As you can see...they were successful!  The hallway looks AMAZING!!!!!

October 20, 2016


Hello my TnAEA peeps!  I hope that you are signed up and ready for the TnAEA State Conference this weekend!  We have our board meeting today at 3pm to do all the plotting, planning & last minute details!  I'm so excited to spend the next couple days with ya'll!!!!  I will be leading a super session on Kindergarten Connections (bringing in science, literature, and big idea unit planning! There will be lots of time for questions, a hands on activity, and you will leave with a 9 weeks worth of ideas to use with your "K" kiddos!!!  I'll be part of a "Chopped" type competition called CUT during one of the super session times!  That should be a hoot!!!  I've actually been wanting to try a "Chopped" type project with my 3rd or 4th graders..so this should give me some great ideas!  The last super session I'll be involved with is on our new state standards(yes..they have been adopted!!!!!).  

Don't forget our elementary division time!!!!  I would love for you to bring a couple of your teacher examples from your fav./most successful/most out of the box lessons!! It will be like a live Pinterest board!!! No need for lesson plans.  People can take pictures & ask questions of the teacher who brought it!!! 

As a side note..I'll be taking the fibers class.  If anyone else is...let me know!! I love Grace,who is the prof. from UT Martin leading the fibers class.  This will be the 3rd time I've taken her session at state conference! ha ha Last year I did not & was kickin' myself when I saw what the teacher were creating!!

October 19, 2016

Fall Books in the Art Room

My favorite time of the year!!  Growing up in the middle of a forest...fall has so amazing memories for me!  The sights, the smells, the tastes...FALL IS FABULOUS! 

I usually do fall themed projects with most grade levels during this time of the year.  I've accumulated many books that connect to the season...to read with kindergarten (or whoever!).  So here are some books for your consideration.  


October 18, 2016

Can't Stop Myself...

I do not teach in the same district where we live(neighboring counties). This year our schedules do not overlap.  So during my fall break I went to my kids' school and taught an art lesson! Their art teacher & I have become friends (she attended my conference this summer)...and she had mentioned about not having had kindergarten this early in the school year before (her school use to have a program to develop fine & gross motor skills for the first 3 nine weeks..then they would go to special areas the 4th nine weeks).  My wife told her...TED LOVES KINDERGARTEN..HE'LL COME TEACH A LESSON DURING HIS FALL BREAK! ha ha  

This is my son..he is a blur! 

I ended up teaching my son's kindergarten class.  They had yet to paint this year...so I did a watercolor lesson. As always...I started with a story that connected to the theme/subject matter of the lesson (pumpkins).  I'll do a post tomorrow of some of my favorite fall books to use with kindergarten!!  The kids were great!  They really enjoyed working with watercolor...and did such an amazing job listening to directions.  Even my son...who is pretty squirrelly at home..did a great job! The biggest challenge for me was that her classes were only 45 min..and I am use to an hour!
This kiddo use to be at my school...he was so excited for me to be there!!

Mrs. Farris is an awesome teacher...and I really appreciate her allowing me to invade her classroom and teach!! I'm thankful for such opportunities. 

October 17, 2016

ARTOBER NASHVILLE: Elementary Literature Focus

This year the elementary art teachers were encouraged to use literature as a jumping off point for their Artober Nashville project(s).  I used Swimmy by Leo Lionni.  In the story collaboration saves the day when the school of fish worked together.  I thought that was a great idea to translate to the whole school working together to make a beautiful instillation piece!! 
Here is the ArtoberNashville board I made as you enter our school!  There isn't a "set" theme...I just made up the Go Deep With The Arts.  I thought it was fitting for the fishy theme!!

If you don't have the book Swimmy for your classroom...GET IT!  I love many of Leo Lionni's books for the art room.  Great inspiration/jumping off points!!  I had the students use a tracer to create the fish so they were the same size. I made them double sided..so I had to have them almost the same.  

I often get wild ideas, but am not 100% sure how to accomplish them.  I originally thought about individually hanging each fish on a rod or something and then placing that in the ceiling tiles.  I quickly realized that was not going to work for MANY MANY REASONS!!  I ended up going back to my old friend, wire hangers, to hot glue the fish to & then hang it from the ceiling tile braces.

Where would I be without wire  hangers and hot glue?!!?!?  

These are only a handful...I have 16 "schools" of fish
 hanging in the lobby of our school!!


October 16, 2016

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: Making Time

We are not only known for what we do, as artists, but it is also a major component of who we are.  If we are not making, if we are not creating, if we are not sketching, planning, or researching...then we are neglecting a major part of ourselves.  I will be the first to admit, as an art educator...I often neglect this aspect of my life.  I justify it because I teach art all day long.  The only thing about that...there is a difference.  Challenging, nurturing, organizing, and instructing is not the same as taking time out of my day to create MY own art.  Art is a language for the artist.  We process, interpret, and share our dreams, ideas, views of the world (both physically & socially), and beliefs as we create.  If we do not take time/make time for own personal art making, we deny ourselves of living the life we were created to live.   We must take time/make time to be who we are!

 After he dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone..  Matthew 14:23

As believers, we must take time/make time to be with God.  Some people believe they can just go to church on Sunday & that is enough.  God has called us into a personal relationship, and relationships take time & effort to cultivate.  An hour or so a week will not allow us the time to truly know our God & grow in our faith as he intended us to do.  We must take time/make time in our too busy lives to spend with God.  Many believers have "quiet times" in the morning before their day gets busy.  That quiet time might consist of a bible study/devotional & time in prayer.  However, if this is sounding too formal/formulaic for you...you are in luck!  God made us all different...and what works for someone else may not be what is best for you.  The point of it all is to spend time with God.  Maybe you are a night owl.  AWESOME!  Spend time with God before you go to bed!  Maybe your only alone time is driving to & from work(all you parents out there!!!).  There are audio devotionals, books, and bibles that you can listen to as you drive.  You could also turn the radio off, and spend your drive time talking to God or quietly listening for his response!  Maybe your free time is during your lunch break.  You can have a devotional book that has one or two pages of bible based inspiration to read & think about as you eat!   In this day of technology...there are also apps for that! ha ha  You can find many apps that will help you as you purposely take time/make time to grow in God!  If Jesus took time by himself to pray...don't you think you should be doing the same? I know I need that in my life!! 

Here is a quote from my favorite author...
If a man wants to be used of God, he cannot spend all his time with people. - A.W. Tozer

October 13, 2016


Just in case you haven't been told today...


You make a difference.

The world is better because you are here.

You can impact those around you.


If no one else tells you...Mr. E believes in you & what you can do!!

October 09, 2016

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: Know Your Strength

As a young artist, I was trying to find my artistic voice.  I tried on styles, colors, and media like clothing.  As I learned about artists & movements, I implemented them into my work to see if they were me.  I attempted different themes & motifs to see if they "sounded" like my voice or not.  I saw what others were doing, and attempted to emulate their success in my work.  This is part of the growing process ( I feel!).  However, there comes a time as an artist where you have to stand up for who you are, do what you feel is right, and speak out with your own voice.  That boldness does not always come easily, and can come and go depending on how secure/insecure you are feeling.  As I began truly developing my artistic voice...my security was shaken a couple times by professors that question the validity of what I had to say as an artist.  I would approach my next project with their skepticism looming over me.  It would cause me to make choices that were not true to who I knew I was.  However, I'd eventually shake that off, and move forward with my work being true to me and the strength I had in vision, purpose, and skill.

We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us.  If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith;  if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.  
Romans 12:6-9

We all have different gifts, talents, and skills.  As we grow in our faith, there are times we have to try out different things to see if they are truly us or not.  I've known many people that thought they were teachers.....UNTIL THEY TAUGHT!  ha ha  That doesn't mean they failed at being a teacher.  It just means they need to find that place that best suits their God given gifts and talents.  Sometimes we need those experiences in order to find where we truly need to be.   God did not give you the natural ability to connect with people & make them feel at ease...just to stick you in a tiny room somewhere with a computer.  God didn't give you a servant's heart that likes to stay out of the spot light...just to shove you on a stage!  God wants you to use those gifts & talents for his glory & honor...to know him & make him known!  When we operate in those God given situations as we were designed to do...I feel we experience a joy like no other & are the most effective for the kingdom.  People may come and tell you what they think you should be....or you may see others who seem to have it all together so you try to be like them....but the truth is...YOU NEED TO BE YOU!  You need to know the strengths God has given you....and do that...be that!!!  Now, that doesn't mean the outgoing/up front type person shouldn't clean up or do things behind the scenes....or that the servant's heart behind the scenes person doesn't need to step to the forefront at times....it just means the majority of our time we should operate in the strengths God has given us.  

Dear Lord, 
Let me know the strengths you have given me.
Let me find joy in doing those things.
Allow me to encourage others as they 
seek to do those things you have given them.
In Your Name, AMEN

October 06, 2016



TAEA Fall Conference in Nashville, TN 
If you are from TN....YA GOTTA COME! Come hang out with the coolest teachers in your state!! 

We welcome all our neighbors & beyond to sign up as well!! KY, GA, AL, AK, MS....ANYONE & EVERYONE!

October 02, 2016

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: Beyond the Creation

As artists, we often are fixated on the physical creation of a piece of art.  It is what we do.  It is what sets us apart from those who just talk about being creative.  This physical creation is what others see of our work & artistic endeavors.  It is how they perceive us, and how they perceive how we perceive the world(Have I lost you yet?).  However, things can happen outside of our control, and the work of art can be lost for a number of reasons. What then?  Is all lost because of the physical loss?  Recently an outdoor art piece my students created was vandalized (beyond repair).  Though I was extremely sad about this for my students, it allowed me to have conversations with them that might not have occurred otherwise. I was able to discuss with them the act of creating over just the outcome.  What we learn from creating...both good and bad.  What we were able to gain from our experiences & how we can apply them to future projects.  Art is more than just the creation.  We have to value/treasure the experience. It doesn't have to be at the hands of another person or an "Act of God" ....sometimes we have to leave/lose something or some idea so we can be free to move on to the next!

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Matthew 6:19-21

The Bible warns us about getting too attached to the things of this world. We can not place our hope in "things".:  objects, ideas, jobs, people, comforts.  Though none of these things are bad, if we place our hope & trust in them....we are not allowing God to meet, fulfill, and exceed our needs.  We've replaced him with a poor substitute that will eventually let us down.  Our culture/world seems to reinforce the idea that if we have the right clothing, houses, cars, looks, relationships, jobs, technology..etc....we will find happiness...we will be satisfied.  However, all of those things can be taken from us!!   When we know Him...grow in Him...and give through Him...and make Him known.......we have found the one thing that we can invest in that will never be taken from us. If we do all things in light of this...even our art...our treasure & heart will be in the right place.

Dear Lord, let me invest in the things that matter to you.
Allow me to not place my hopes in the things of this world,
but in you alone.
In Your Name, Amen

September 28, 2016


I decided I'd "TRY" to do a post a week of my favorite books to read to Kindergarten.  This week I'm sharing my favorite dinosaur books with you.  The kids LOVE dinosaurs(I love dinosaurs!!!).  There are some great quick videos online that you can add to your lessons...the kids love when you bring more to the lesson that will capture their imagination!!  These are not all of the dino books I have...but the ones I go to most when I do an extended unit!!!  

Because Underpants cracks them up!!! ha ha

Great story...kindergarten needs this!! 

Fun words...fun pictures...great movement!

Great retelling of a classic!!

I mean really...look how cute the illustrations are!!!!

Love these books(there are several!).

Great lesson starter!!!!

September 26, 2016

Random Awesomeness

I do a portfolio review at the end of each 9 weeks. In doing so, sometimes I catch pictures that might have escaped me previously.  While grading this past 9 weeks I've been snapping some of my favorite works!!  GOSH I LOVE MY JOB!!!!!!!!!


September 25, 2016

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: GROWTH

What does growth look like in art?  Is it a more realistic figure, a landscape that shows an understanding of atmospheric perspective, or a still life that shows a mastery of values/shadows/highlights?  Is it being able to capture emotion that translates to the viewer?  Is it the artist gaining a greater understanding of their work & why they create as they do?  Growth can take so many forms in art.  Whatever type of growth...there is one thing that is present for it to occur....HARD WORK!  My students ask me all the time how I became a good artist.  I always tell them that it has taken a long time & a lot of practice.  If you want to become great at any art form or profession (sometimes they are one in the same) ...you must invest yourself in almost every way to accomplish it!  However, growth will happen differently for everyone.

AUG                                       JAN

Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching.  Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you.  Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress.  1 Timothy 4:13-15 

Paul is writing to Timothy, encouraging him to continue to do the things needed to grow in his faith & so that those around him will come to know the Lord and grow in their faith.  He uses the words DEVOTE & DILIGENT when writing Timothy.  These are not words of a passivity.  They are words of action/work. There are many believers that do not invest themselves into their faith.  They said a prayer, go to church, and own a Bible, but not much more than that would indicate their belief.  If you want to grow in your relationship with God, see Him work in & through you, and impact those around you.....it takes effort.  I'm not promoting a works oriented faith...because we can not "earn" salvation/God's love.  That is a free gift!  I'm saying...as with any relationship...you have to invest in it!  Paul was telling Timothy that very thing here in this section of scripture.  The growth that happens should not be compared to those around you.  We are all at different points on our journey.  Our journey may not be the same as those around us.  Our strengths, struggles, and gifts will grow/develop/change as we pursue (another action kind of word) our God.  As we spend time in the Word, pray, fellowship with believers, give, sacrifice (oh we don't like that word), serve....we will see growth!  That growth might not look the same in me as it looks in you....but it is beautiful no matter! 

Dear Lord, thank you for growth.
Help me to pursue you with all of my heart so that 
I might grow as I go through life!
May I never be satisfied with average, but desire
to be my best for your glory & honor.

September 21, 2016


Here are the books I used this 9 weeks for my kindergarten unit on fish/under the sea! I often am asked about the books I'm reading to my students that go along with the lessons I teach.  I flip themes from year to year with kindergarten...and this year I went back to fish!  So if you are looking to add to your classroom library...here are some books for you!

One of my favorite books to read to the kids!!!! 
 If you don't have it...you have to get it!!

I'll probably get every book that ever comes out of the Pout Pout Fish!! 

A CLASSIC!  Actually this was my favorite book as a child!!

Beautiful book, the writing is wonderful, and hidden numbers on each page!!
(there is also Somewhere In The Garden...get both of them!!)

Super cute...great colors!!

If the 3 little pigs went underwater..this is what you'd get!