January 13, 2019

Sunday Devotional With Mr.E: Careful Thought

As an artist, it is important to reflect on what we have done, what we are doing, and our thoughts on what we would like to do in the future.  It is crucial to have the opinions and critiques of those we respect, but we are inevitably responsible for the direction and implementation of our work. Though art can be spontaneous and occur through happenstance, a majority of art is formed and birthed within the mind before it is ever seen by the world.  We must edit our thoughts and our art work.  To be an artist is to be a thinker.  We must give careful thought to how we want to grow as artists, what we want to share through our art, and how we are going to get there. 

Now this is what the Lord Almighty says: "Give careful thought to your ways." Haggai 1:5 

We see in Haggai 1:5 & 1:7 the statement "Give careful thought to your ways." 
How often do we see this in our world today? We live in a society of reaction and denial.   Have we lost the art of thinking before speak, act, post, Tweet..etc?  Are we so driven by our emotions that we forsake our mind? We must get back to that place where we do give careful thought to our ways. We are not stifling ourselves...we are empowering ourselves to make good choices...to be better people....and to be good examples of what a Believer should be in our world today. I know that if we all slowed down and considered or thoughts, actions, reactions, and emotions...there would be things that need to change. The good news is that you aren't alone! Let's do better in 2019! 

January 11, 2019

Product Review: Cray-Pen

At our state conference I received a Cray-Pen from Nasco, and my in-laws gave me some additional supplies at Christmas for my Cray-Pen.
  However, I'm just now getting around to testing it out!?!?

  ha ha WHAT'S WRONG WITH ME!?!?  ha ha 

If you aren't familiar with Cray-Pen...this is what it looks like.  Crayola has come out with a product that is in the same neighborhood as Cray-Pen, but they do have their differences.   I personally like the Cray-Pen better (I have not used Crayola's version to be fair, but have watched several product review videos on YouTube.). Now the Cray-Pen brand has "pucks" of color, but you can use crayons as well!  Great way to use those end of the year broken bits!!!  Now I originally started on a canvas board surface, and I didn't really like it that well.  It seemed almost too slick to stick.  When I tried it on paper and cardboard...I LOVED IT!  This is a fun product, but I don't know if I'd ever get a class set. It might be good to use with an art club or small group of students. You do need to be careful with the heatedly tip & young artists(or clumsy older artists!).  I'm going to have fun using it though, and I might let my kids use it....maybe. ha ha

January 09, 2019

Changing Things Up!

Nine years ago my PTO purchased the 2 station tables( 2ft x 4ft) for my classroom. I had round tables previously, and was very limited about how I could set up my classroom.  Plus, those tables were old, and had been welded, re bolted, glued, and who knows else what to keep them from falling apart.  

At a previous school I had these 2 station tables & LOVED them.  I really loved being able to set my classroom up in a horseshoe/U formation.  Even though I wanted the versatility of these tables...I knew I'd probably stay with the horseshoe layout.

This year we've had some challenges with one of our grade levels.  All the special areas have been struggling.  I've been at a loss of what I can do to help the situation.  I decided I'd try changing the layout of my classroom to see if that might fix a few of the issues.  The horseshoe worked wonderfully for a majority of my students, but this group of kids can not handle facing all of their classmates...they just don't have the self control.  I decided to do groups of two.  This would allow me to separate students out from each other, have "buffer" students between groups that struggle, and have them turned in opposite directions.  I am hoping this will help create a better environment for these students to be successful.

These are my kindergarten students...
they are not the ones who prompted this change.

January 06, 2019

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: Willing to listen...

Artists learn so much of their "craft" through listening, observation, and application. This truly goes for all fields.  We must be able to be teachable, and have a desire to grow & improve.  If I would have went into my studio classes with the attitude that I already knew everything....how much would I have learned? I would have missed out on so much from people that were truly experts in their discipline.  I didn't always like everything that my professors had to say to me, but I respected them enough to listen & contemplate what they were saying.  A majority of the time their thoughts, critiques, and advise allowed me to push myself far beyond where I had been in skill & concept.  As I create or teach even now....I hear the voices of those who invested in me.....
because I was willing to listen...observe...and apply.

Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me- put into practice.
 And the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:9

 I believe people come in and out of our lives that are able to model behavior, attitudes, actions, and disciplines that help us to grow in our faith journey.   I believe God places people in our path that can speak the truth we need to hear...when we need to hear it!  Are we willing to listen?  Are we willing to observe? Are we willing to apply?  There are many reasons that we do not do these things!  Pride,  misconceptions, and distractions can cause us to be less than teachable.  Over & over again in scripture we see God do amazing things through people that were willing to listen to Him.  I'm also extremely thankful that we have examples of people that didn't always do the right thing the first time around (David, Jonah, Sampson, Peter..etc) but God "helped" them to listen to Him!  We see relationships in scripture that also model for us what it means to listen, observe, and apply (Elijah & Elisha, Mordecai & Esther, Naomi & Ruth, Jesus & the disciples, Paul & Timothy). Who has God placed in your life that can help you grow in your faith journey?  If you don't have someone....ask God....and be willing to listen!  

January 04, 2019

Professional Development in Crossville, TN

For my last full day of Christmas Break I drove to Crossville,TN (hour & a half drive) to lead a professional development for their district's art teachers(It is a small district with 2 high schools & 8 Pre-K-8th).  They wanted to focus mainly on the new state standards & how they would "work" in the teacher evaluation portfolio. I also through in a studio project...because art teachers NEED the opportunity to make something! ha ha  It was a good day.  We went standard by standard looking at how or if a standard would be used in the portfolio, and what projects could best show such a standard.  My hope is that they felt heard, understood, and better equipped after our time together(and that they had a little fun along the way!). 

So I introduced the teachers to SmartFab...which I use for my stuffed critters.  I also showed them how I teach circle weaving...some got to it...some did not(they really loved making their soft sculptures).