August 30, 2011

Student Teacher

I have a student teacher pretty much every year....but I've never had one this early! As much as I like to have my classes for the first few months to get them into shape, I think it is good for a student teacher to see the start of a school year. I being the control freak that I am...struggle to give up control of my classroom to someone else. HOWEVER...student teachers really bring a new flavor to the classroom.  It allows you to reflect on your teaching practices as you watch them....they bring new project ideas to the room(usually)....and it is almost always nice to have someone to bounce ideas off of that actually knows what you are talking about!!!  If you every have a student teacher...and want to talk things over with me...please drop me a line!!

August 26, 2011

Smart-Fab: My Review

I was contacted by Smart-Fab to see if I'd like to try their product. What is their product? 
Smart-Fab is an alternative to paper and cloth. The product is a non-woven fabric that comes in a range of bright, non-fading colors, easy to cut, fold, glue, sew and staple. 
So they sent me some samples, and told me that I was under no obligation to write a review for them.  However, I thought after takin' their product through the ringer...I wanted to write a review.

The first thing I noticed when I pulled it out of the package was that it was rather transparent.  I placed it on my woodgrain tables and could see the woodgrain. This is not good or bad, just something I noticed.  When I held it up to the light, I noticed that the color was a bit irregular and that there were light & dark "patches".
Once again, this is not a judgement...just the facts.

The blue sky & orange ground in the above picture is Smart-Fab. I glued paper on top of it, but it required a lot of glue to actually stick to the product. 

   I also used acrylic paint & Sharpie. The texture of the Smart-Fab came through when I used other media on top of it. 

I tried using it instead of newspaper for paper mache.  I dipped it in liquid starch and placed it on a face form(covered in plastic wrap).  The Smart-Fab is soft so it did not want to hold the shape once it dried.  I added a layer of glue & this gave it more rigidity.
The best use I found was as a textile.  It was extremely easy to sew two pieces together.  Good for quilt lessons or soft sculptures.

I use to do embroidery with my 4th graders every year(real needles & embroidery floss!).  I never really had any issues with them stabbing themselves or each other, but for some reason...the fear of such a thing led me retire that lesson.  HOWEVER...and I think this excites me most about this product....plastic needs & yarn go through with no issue!  I can do embroidery again!!!  I know you can use burlap, but YUCK..have you cut 100+ squares of burlap before?? 

So there ya go!  I have a few other ideas I'd like to try with Smart-Fab, but those will have to wait.  Have you used it?  If so..what did you do?  What did you think??  LET ME KNOW! 

National Arts Standards Revision: Determining a Conceptual Framework

This post was taken from with the permission of Argy Nester, Visual & Performing Arts Specialist for Maine's Department of Education.  I think it is worth our attention, and we all need to be aware of....because it will eventually impact us all!

On Tuesday August 30th, the National Coalition for Core Arts Standards will be hosting a task force meeting in Reston, Virginia to begin the work of determining a conceptual framework for revising the National Arts Standards. The work will be facilitated by my Marcia McCaffrey from New Hampshire & Lynn Tuttle from Arizona, and has been opened to stakeholders from all aspects of Arts Education.
The morning meeting will be streamed live to the public,
 please see the National Coalition website at
 for instructions on accessing the live video stream. The video stream is open to the public, please share this site with your administrators.

August 24, 2011

Crayola Dry Erase Crayons

Our "arts" director sent us a video link that showed that you can use Crayola's new Dry Erase Crayons on aluminum foil.  After doodling this flower on the foil...I starting thinking about the classroom application of such a project.  I think creating a medieval unit....with a coat of arms as one of the lessons...would be a great use of the product.  The major problem is that they are pricey.  The ones I found were just under $4.  Obtaining a class set would be a pricey venture.  Maybe they price will come down?! 

August 22, 2011

Experimenting Again: As Seen On Pinterest...Bead Bowl

Here is the pinterest pin link!

I saw a very cool melted bead bowl on Pinterest & wanted to try it myself.  The blog it came from was in a different language...and even with Google Translator...I felt I was missing some information.

I first rubbed the inside of my dish with veggie oil & heated my toaster oven to 200 degrees(this is info I got from the google translator).  I grabbed a couple handfuls of beads from my craft supplies and spread them out in the bowl. I "baked" the beads for 10 minutes, but could tell hey had not really melted.  I was concerned that the beads were too thick/hard, and may not be the type of beads used on the post I had seen.

After pulling the bowl out after 20 minutes in the toaster oven, I realized I probably was right.  The beads were not the kind used in the images I had seen on Pinterest.  Oh well...I was failure is fine. You learn from your mistakes and try again!
This time I went through my beads and found ones that looked like what I had seen.  These were thinner & seemed to be softer.  I had ones that had painted stripes & ones that were solid.  I placed the striped ones in the bottom and a majority of the solid ones on the sides (no reason..just how I did it?!?).  Back into the toaster oven at 300 (I upped the temp a bit).  I quickly realized the beads on the side were melting, but the beads on the bottom seemed to not be?!?!  I left them in for about 15 minutes, and here are the results.

The bowl worked this time!  However, I do not see this being a lesson I could really use with my classes during a regular school year.  It may be a project I file away for an art camp.

August 19, 2011


Fiskars scissors have always been my favorite for student use (and personal use).  However, a couple years ago I purchased a class set of scissors & it has changed my perspective of the brand.  Handles have broken off, blades seem bent & dulled on some, screws have come out, the handles are not comfortable & seem small for many of my students(and remember..I teach K-4..the little ones!).  It really makes me said when a company has a good product...but then to save money they "change" some things to save money.  Sometimes saving money is not the most important thing.  I would pay extra for a product that would last me years and years.  And I had nothing but Fiskars for 8 yrs (they started to rust so that is why I bought new)...and they were wonderful.  Now..after only a couple years...I'm ready to pitch these.  BOOOOOO!!!  Quality still matters to this art teacher.  I will save my money to buy good things for my students....they are worth it!

August 18, 2011

Dr. Ed's Art Supply Drive 2011

Every August my chiropractor has an art supply drive for me & my friend Julie ( ).  He has a special day where anyone that brings in $20 worth of supplies(or gift card) gets an adjustment.  Also, any new patients during the month of August can get all their initial x-rays and such for the $20 worth of art supplie.  AMAZING, RIGHT?!?!!?  It is a true blessing to us.  These are the actual supplies that I received (Julie got about the same amount/supplies).  We also received 7 gift cards each!!!(Hobby Lobby and Wal-Mart!!).  So if you are in the Nashville Metro area...go to Dr. Ed Thomas at Total Body Healthcare, Inc.  HE IS AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!! 

August 17, 2011

Experimenting Again: Baby Oil & Oil Pastels

During our inservice a teacher said they used baby oil and Q-tips with oil pastels.  I HAD NEVER HEARD OF THIS?!?!?!  This morning during my planning time I finally got a chance to give it a try!  LOVE IT!!!!!  There are some things I need to work out about how many Q-tips to use, how to pass out the baby oil & how much to give each table..etc.  I'm totally doing this though!!!!

August 16, 2011

Pinterest Project Experiment: Marbling Paper

I've pinned a hundred or more projects on Pinterest that I'm interested in trying with my students.  However, before they reach my students....I need to try them out & see if it is something that will actually work in my classroom.  I'm still thinking through this one.  I like the results, but am trying it imagine how it would work with a class of 20some students.  If you've not seen this place a layer of shaving cream in a pan.  Then you drop acrylic paint(I'm sure liquid tempera would work too...powdered tempera does not work well...I tried it) into the shaving cream and take a stick of some sorts(I used a paint brush handle) and draw lines in the shaving cream...dragging the paint as you go.  Then place a piece of paper into the pan, pressing gently to make sure the paper is covered.  Remove paper and let stand for several minutes.  Then take a squeegie and remove the mixture(I used a plastic bowl). 

So how would you use this project in your classroom?  

August 15, 2011

Art Room Set Up 2011

 The view as you walk into my room.
 Other side of the room view.
 Supply Area
Reading Area(Kindergarten starts class with a story.)

August 12, 2011

Art Room Bulletin Boards & Displays 2011 : Part 2

This is a condensed version of the board I had up last year.  Under it I had an art criticism poster, but I'm going to switch it out...probably make an artists' birthday board.

Our students have been struggling with social studies(test scores were not good), I feel because of the focus on math & reading.  It doesn't leave a lot of time for social studies & science(not that the teachers want it that way, but they have to "focus" on what the district tells them to do) I'm going to do my part to bring in more of these missing pieces  from an art perspective.

This is my Word Wall.  The index cards have magnets on the back, and I can move the words over to my white board to go with the lessons I am teaching. It also works as a word bank when we are writing about art!

This is my HUGE bulletin board! 

I do a class behavior chart.  At the end of the 9 weeks...whoever has the most blue sticks in their pocket gets a sign outside their door saying that they were the best of that grade level for the 9 weeks. 

Not going to camp out on this can go back & see the past years discussion! ha ha


This board is a half & half...I had a practicum student that did part of it in the spring.  It's not easy for me to let someone else do my bulletin boards...I'm a bit of a control freak!! HA HA(true!)

Another view!

Art Room Bulletin Boards & Displays 2011: PART 1


These are the displays outside my room. The "ART" display is made from fun foam(very bright & fade resistant).  I have my students create the art I have hanging on my slider bars the last week of school(knowing what theme I'm going to be using for the next school year).  This past spring I had them create monochromatic turtles using markers, crayons, and colored pencils.  They were instructed to create a design in the shell that would reflect something about them(3 &4) or to create an interesting pattern in the shell that is beyond circle square circle square(K-2).  They then glued them to a piece of paper that matched their turtle & began to cascade the turtles downward.  The results are not shaking the art world at its core...but they are fun. is so nice to have kid made art in the hall way the first day of school!!!

August 11, 2011

Would the Real Principles of Design Please Step Forward?!!!?!

You think you know something, but then you realize you might not know it as well as you first thought!  I was working on a bulletin board and wanted to make sure I wasn't leaving any of the Principles of Design out.  When I googled it...the ones listed weren't exactly what I was thinking.  So what are the real  Principles of Design?  What do you use in your classroom? 

Unity, Rhythem, Pattern, Movement, Balance, Contrast, Emphasis, Harmony, Proximity, Dominance, Repetition, Gradation, Variety, Focal Point, Scale, Economy, Proportion

A New Blogger to Check Out!!!!

I recieved a comment from Louise Isobel about how to promote her new blog. She didn't ask me to promote her blog....and  I don't just do a post on anyone...I want to promote something I feel is worth a look!  Louise's blog has an amazing niche that I feel needs representation in the art blog world!  She works with people who have special needs.  What I love is that she's finding lesson ideas from all of our blogs(as well as some of her own ideas), but then adapting them to her students!!!!!  This is something we can all continue to grow in I believe.  She doesn't have a ton of posts yet, but I know that this is going to be a great resource & inspiration.

August 09, 2011


This is Janet(Ms. Malone) & I at inservice today!  We always help out in the morning with registration....and like to "dress up" to bring a smile to people's faces.

Art teachers really have a hard time just setting there listening! be fair...there was a lot of setting there listening.  BRING ON THE CLAY!!!!!!!!!!

We created clay fish & used slip to paint them.  Take a moment to look through the pictures...there are some awesome fish!!!!! 

This is my fish!

This was at The Frist Center for the Visual Arts.  We were listening to a presentation on the Egyptian exhibit that will be arriving soon.  It was interesting, but we were all wanting to get to the gallery to see the Warhol exhibit(AND WAS IT EVER AMAZING!!!!!!).