December 31, 2015

Happy New Year!


Kindergarten Penguins


There are a million kids books with penguins as their main characters! A great one day lesson during the winter months could involve a great penguin book of your choosing, paper, pencil, crayons and imagination!  They are also I great for reinforcing collage skills!!  The simple shapes used to make penguins allow students to find success while mastering basic skill we need them to have!!

December 29, 2015

Interesting Gifts


After posting about an interesting gift on the Art Teachers Facebook page...I had a great response from other art teachers about the fun/funny/great/crazy gifts they had received.  Here are some of those gifts.  I'd love to hear from others about the interestings gifts you have received! Hope you had a wonderful Christmas!  


December 27, 2015

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: DON'T DRINK THE PAINT WATER!!

Most of the artists I know tend to be nocturnal, and paint late into the night or early morning.  Though this time can be some of the most "inspired" for an artists, things can happen in this tired state of creating.  I have to admit that on more than one occasion I have drank my paint water by accident. Usually the mistake is quickly noted & little paint water is actually ingested.....USUALLY! ha ha   It doesn't help that we often use the same cups/mugs for both our caffeine & rinse water.  Maybe if I used something different for my paint water I could avoid this horrid mistake.  Maybe if I kept what I was drinking out of my painting area all together I'd not have to taste "watercolor juice" again.  Maybe if I was more awake & aware of my surroundings this would not occur. 

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God - this is your true and proper worship.  Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Romans 12:1-2

God has called us to live a life that is vastly different from the world's standards.  However, when you look around it is often hard to tell the difference between those who believe & those who do not.  Compromising our beliefs for the sake of belonging, comfort, or ease shows a lack of transformation.  I am more than grace filled for new/young believers that are still finding their way & growing in the Lord!  I understand when others fall short & make mistakes.  We all do!  However, I'm wondering when we as true believers will stop making excuses, and start making changes in our lives that will allow us to offer our bodies as living sacrifices that are holy and pleasing to God.  We have to set ourselves up for success if we ever want this to be our true and proper worship! 

What can we do?  None of us are perfect.

True, none of us are perfect.  We all make mistakes.  Praise the Lord for His grace!!  However, we can do things in our day to day that will help us avoid conforming to this world.  Ask God to reveal areas in your life that take your eyes off of Him.  There are different things that distract different people: people, music, tv, internet, money, power, possessions, self medicating..etc.   You need to be aware of what takes your heart & mind off of the things of God.  We need to place things in our life that will point us to the Lord.  Prayer, Bible reading, fellowship with other believers, music, and Christian books can be transformative activities in a believer's life.  

The most important thing is a true relationship with the Creator. Through the Holy Spirit, we can live this life God intended us to live.  We have choices to make in our life that allow us to have a deeper & more meaningful relationship with our Lord & impact on our world.  Will you make the choices needed for this to happen?  Will you refuse to conform to the patterns of this world?  Will you stop drinking the paint water?

Dear Lord... We all fall short.  We all have areas we need to give over to you where we've conformed to this world or taken what seems to be the easier way.  God, we want to be people that walk in THE WAY...THE TRUTH...THE LIFE!!!  Help us to make the choices we need to grow deeper in our relationship with you.  Thank you Lord for loving us & making THE WAY for us to come to you!


December 20, 2015

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: CONSISTENCY

I've always been amazed at cartoonists.  They draw their characters week after week, and they always look amazing.  They have develop such a consistency in their work and how they render their drawings.  I've tried to create and recreate characters.  I'm not very good at it.  I can get things "close", but they are not consistent & look a bit "off".    
In my life I try to be consistent. I try to be the same person in all home, work, online, talking, typing, painting, or whatever else I do.  I believe living any other way would be completely exhausting.  However, no matter how hard I try to be the same person in all situations...I fail.  I'm not consistent.  There are times I'm much more patient with my students than I am with my own children.  I want people to hear me, but I do not have the time or patience to listen to others.  I will give more grace/understanding to co-worker than my own wife.  I will work harder & spend more time on my lesson plans than I will in God's Word.  I do long to be consistent in my life, but I fall short.  

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning.  Through him all things were made, without him nothing was made that has been made.  In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.  
John 1: 1-5

God is consistent.  I know so many people long for something they can trust in...something they can believe in, but the world has failed them time & time again.  Lets be honest...WE HAVE FAILED THEM TIME & TIME AGAIN!  You ask non-Christians or non-church goers(who claim to believe) why they do not go to church....THE HYPOCRITES IN THE CHURCH!  Now I will say that there are hypocrites everywhere.  However, shouldn't the church be different?  Shouldn't we live out the life we say we believe?  Our God....from the very beginning...has been consistent.  He has consistently loved us.  He has consistently made a way for us to know Him.  In the beginning...The Way was in place for us to know Him.  He has never stopped pursuing a relationship with us!  

When the world seems out of control, and you are struggling to continue on.....know He is there! He has always been there!   He loves you.  He has always loved you.  It did not start on a "Silent Night" started IN THE BEGINNING!  If that's not consistency...I don't know what is?

Dear Lord, we praise You for who You are!
We praise You for always being there for us...loving us.
We ask that you help us to be more like you
in every area of our lives.  We want to be 
consistent.  Help us to be the vessels your light 
shines through...not perfect... but willing to be used.
In Your Name Jesus

December 18, 2015

Circle Weavings: 3rd Grade

I think I probably say this every year....but oh well!?


It hasn't always been that way.  I took no weaving classes in college (personality conflict with the professor...she didn't have one).  I don't remember even doing paper weaving as a kid (I didn't have art till high school).  So when I started teaching and saw that weaving was a part of every grade level's curriculum...I freaked!!!  I quickly mastered paper weaving...but it took me awhile to warm up to the rest.  Circle weaving was part of that curriculum back in 1997...and it scared me to death!!  Thank goodness I had friends to help me along...and after a couple years I started to fear it less and less.  Now it is actually my favorite lesson in all of third grade!!!  It is magical!!  The kids might struggle for a day or so...but then they get hooked!!  I open up my room in the morning the two weeks before semester's end so they can come in and work extra on them if they want.  I room is usually FULL (see picture below!).










December 16, 2015

Tacky Sweater Day 2015

I love my school!  I love that when I come to school dressed a-fool....they don't even bat an eye! In fact...I'm one of many that was THIS tacky today!!! ha ha  I really think I need to go to Kroger afterwards just to see people's reactions!!!  

December 13, 2015

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: Be You

Have you ever seen those artists that seem to be able to do EVERYTHING?  Me either!  Now there are artists that have found success in multiple disciplines, but it is impossible for one artist to master everything.  I have students that often get frustrated when some projects cause them more struggle than others.  They feel defeated.  They feel confused.  They were able to be so successful in drawing/painting, but struggle with clay/sculpture. Some conclude they must not be a "good" artist because of this.  We all have strengths and weaknesses.  Though I believe weaknesses are an opportunity for growth, I also believe that we need to embrace our strengths and pursue them wholeheartedly.  If you try to do everything, you quickly find you are not really great at anything. I'm going to be more effective painting/drawing to share my heart & vision than if I walked into metal studio and try to share those same ideas through a medium I'm not gifted in or trained to do.  

If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be?  If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be?  But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.  If they were all one part, where would the body be?  As it is, there are many parts, but one body.  
1 Corinthians 12: 17-19

God has wired each of us with gifts, talents, and abilities.  Knowing our strengths & weaknesses will allow us to serve  & minister in the most effective way.  I once went to church with a man who truly looked up to the pastor.  He wanted to be just like him.  He began signing up for everything he could within the church, including the praise team.  If the pastor was on the praise team...then he would be as well.  Unfortunately, he was tone deaf.  I also found him to be very unhappy.  Instead of finding that area where he could pour his heart & soul into....he was divided.  He was doing things he really was not designed to do.  Now we can all help out in areas outside our "gifting" (if someone needs you to push a broom...pick it up and do it!), but knowing what we were designed to do will allow us to serve with more passion and purpose.  We will not only see ourselves grow when we do this, but the impact that we are having on those around us & those we serve.  


Dear Lord, Let me know who You created me to be.
Lord, allow me to use the gifts & talents you've placed in me for Your glory and honor.  
Allow me to serve with all that I am.  
May I find joy in being exactly who You created me to be.

December 11, 2015

Soft Sculptures/Sewing: 4th Grade

Here are the amazing 4th grade Crazy Birds!!

Some of you have seen the progress of my soft sculpture/sewing project on Facebook & Twitter.  I've had many questions, and have tried to answer them the best I could in those formats.  I thought I'd do a blog post...where I can hopefully share a bit more information & answer any questions you might still have!  If always...please feel free to ask me anything!

My students start by selecting the color of Smart-Fab they want for their bird's main body.  They fold that in half(you will need to precut if you get a large roll).  Then they will use the fold as one side of their bird...and draw a desired simple shape...triangle, oval, rectangle, circle all work well.  This will allow one less side to sew...which is a good thing(TRUST ME!).  Regular classroom scissors cut through it pretty well. They then sew the the rest of it together using a large plastic needle and yarn (color of their own choosing).  Remind them to leave about two inches to stuff their birds body.  After it is stuffed..they can finish sewing it up.

Between students store the body/parts in a lunch sack with their name one.  So helpful!!

Now for the rest of the bird, I have the student use felt.  They will use tacky glue to adhere it to the surface.  This will work if the students use enough tacky glue.  Get the gallon refill ready will go through a lot.  BUT IT IS WORTH IT!!!!   

This stuff is AMAZING!  Non-woven so well for young inexperienced sewers.  The big plastic needles go through super easy.  

Plastic Needles
I buy these through School Specialty by the dozen.  Expect several to get bent up by student who are doing the wrong thing every year!! (order extra...order some each year)  

The Felt/Supply Station!
I have colors separated out in aluminum roasting pans(they are so handy & cheap!).

Tacky Glue Rules!!!!  I like Elmer's version, but
any good thick tacky glue should do! After keeping after my kids forever about not using too much glue when doing collage....the rules change for this.  More Glue/More Better! :) ha ha

So after Christmas last year I found "snow" on sale for .50 a bag!! I snatched up several bags knowing this project would come around again!  So keep your eyes open after the holidays.  

December 09, 2015

The Dots: WINTER

I loved this project so much at the beginning of the year...that I could not just throw it away.  It has been given new life with the passing seasons!  For is hats  & mittens! The faculty/ staff  & students have loved seeing the transformations



I'll include the previous incarnations below....



December 06, 2015

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: Frozen in Fear

I often find myself with writer's block/artist's block.  I set down with great expectations...but end up with a polar bear in a snow storm.  What prevents my creative juices from flowing?  FEAR!  I fear that my work might not be good enough.  I fear that I will make a mistake.  I fear that it will be misunderstood.  I fear that I'll not be able to express what is truly within me.  I fear it will be compared to others, and found lacking.  I FEAR!   I think fear can be one of the greatest enemies of the artistic mind.  We, the creative, have to power to go anywhere, do anything, be anyone we can imagine....unless fear steals our "power/strength".  We can not let fear steal our voice, vision, and creativity.  It does not just impacting us, but those we have the ability to inspire, encourage, and challenge through our gift.

Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.
Joshua 1:9

There are a lot of things in this world that bring about fear.  There is the fear of what is, what shall be, what could be, or what might.  "What if" becomes the start of paralysis.  Fear can keep us from living if we are not careful.  It's not that the fears are totally unfounded, but if we let them take over our thinking....they will soon take over our living.  Living in constant fear is not living how we were designed.  God has called us to a life of FAITH.  Faith in God does not eliminate the people, situations, or things that "cause" fear, but it does redirect our attention.

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble, but take heart!  I have overcome the world.
John 16:33

The Lord even tells us...."IN THIS WORLD YOU WILL HAVE TROUBLE".  Does He tell us to run away, hide, shut down, cry about it?  NO!  "TAKE HEART!"  No matter what the fear is in our world globally or personally..."HE HAS OVERCOME THE WORLD"!  That is where our strength comes from when we feel weak....our courage in tumultuous times...and how we are able to not be discouraged by the events around us or in our world.  GOD!  Where are our eyes....GOD! We must be wise, but part of that wisdom is knowing who is truly in control!  Fear does not have a foot hold in our life if we keep Christ at the center.  We can live life as we designed to even in troubling times.  We can be the light & hope this world needs through Christ!!

Dear Jesus, let me life reflect the peace that passes all understanding.  Let my actions & attitudes display the truth you have given us, and be a light to the world around me.  God may fear not find a foot hold in my life...and may it be because I know you & your promises.  May I be who You created me to be in all situations for your glory.

December 03, 2015

Winter Board 2015

This year's winter board was inspired by the book The Little White Owl by Tracey Corderoy & Jane Chapman.  It doesn't look as wintery as boards of years past....but I love it.  All the color makes me happy...and I know will help with the long gray days of winter!!!  Instead of doing Christmas lights...I had my 4th graders create colorful feathers(Remember my ATC's for Mini Matisse's trade?  The kids really mastered this skill!! Beautiful!!). 2nd graders had been weaving, so with them I did a quick mini weaving using two colors of blue for the sky.  1st grade created the pine trees that line the bottom. Kindergarten created the amazing patterned owls!  LOVE THE OWLS!!!!   I know I gush a lot about my students' work, but I really am their biggest fan!!! I hope this post & the last one inspired you to do a collaborative board in your school!!!  If you create one inspired by the ones from ART WITH MR. E....I'd love to see them!! Facebook me or e-mail the images!!!