October 31, 2011


So we had some amazing choices of studio classes to select from....I really had trouble deciding!  On Friday I had a 5 hour class on fabric collage.  The main thing in this is that you place tulle over the image and sew that down.  It keeps everything in place.  Not really something I'll be able to do with my students, but sure did have fun!!!  I'm thinkin' of breakin' out my sewing machine and continuing on with this.  These examples are from several of the teachers in the class with me.  Some AMAZING pieces. 

TAEA CONFERENCE 2011 : Memphis College of Art

I had never been to Memphis(having lived in TN for 15 yrs...shame that I had not been!), and was so excited to go to this year's conference there!!!  It was held at Memphis College of Art....totally in love with this building!  What a beautiful fall weekend to have it too!  The trees were amazing & the air very brisk(which I love).  However, most of my time was spent inside.  I took two 5 hr studios(more on that later), went to several "sessions", enjoyed eating with new & old friends, got my award for being State Elementary Art Teacher of the Year, and enjoyed BBQ Nachos at Central BBQ(AMAZING).  I'll have seperate posts for the studio classes & the awards ceremony over the next couple days.  Hope many of you were able to attend your state conferences...what a joy to gather with like minded people & share the good, bad, and the funny!  To all my new blog readers from the conference...welcome!!!  Don't be a stranger...comment/e-mail/share!!!!!

October 29, 2011

Observational Drawing of a Shoe w/ a Twist!

I'm working on a unit with forth grade this nine weeks that deals with reality & fantasy.  We discussed the need for fantasy to possess elements of reality so that our minds could more readily grasp the information being presented.  We looked at & discussed surrealism...as well as different examples from literature.  Students were asked to pull one shoe off and create a realistic observational drawing of that shoe.  After a half hour(half of the class time), students were asked to turn their realistic picture of a shoe into a fantasy drawing that had to include an environment.  The results were amazing!  The old tired shoe lesson now has new life!!!!!!!!  Oh...and FYI...make sure you open your windows/doors when doing this lesson!! 4th grade feet are terribly stinkie!!!!!!!!!

October 27, 2011

Pittsburgh Children's Museum

During our fall break(we get a week off) trip to see my family & friends in KY, OH, WV, & PA we were going to spend a bulk of our time outside of Pittsburgh, PA.  I was really hoping to get to the Warhol Museum (he was from Pittsburgh), but wanting to spend time with my family...I went with them to the Pittsburgh Children's Museum.  IT WAS AWESOME!!!!!!!!!  So many fun interactive things throughout the museum (non-art), but they have a GIGANTIC art area.  I mean....dreamy big!!!!!!  Here are some pictures with my daughter enjoying the art experience!  If you are near Pittsburgh...or are going to be visiting..make time to go to the Children's Museum.  (also a bunch of Mr. Rodger's Neighborhood stuff..he was from Pittsburgh too!)

October 25, 2011

Bottle Cap Art At the Cincinnati Zoo

I was told about this mural at the Cincinnati Zoo when we were working on our bottle cap mural.  I was excited to see how they went about theirs.  I loved that they used old CD's in their design....what a great idea.  The sun reflected beautifully off of them!  This was our first stop during our fall break.  One of my best  friends from college(and groomslady in my wedding) lives just out side of Cincinnati.  She has 3 kids(all girls)..and expecting a boy any day now!   We had a great time at the zoo...and getting to see this was an added bonus!

October 19, 2011


400 Following Art With Mr. E!!!!


We are on  fall break right now...and I have some fun pictures to post when
we get to use our own computer!!

October 13, 2011

Finish Up Day: How I Grade

The last day of the 9 weeks I have "Finish Up Day".  The students get all their work back from the 9 weeks and have a chance to continue working on several pieces.  I do not get out glue, scissors, paint.....but will give the students markers, crayons, colored pencils.  Students are told to start with the picture that need only a little more attention to be complete.  Then they move on to the other pieces.  While they are working, I bring students up to my table to review their work.  We talk about the fav. pieces, hardest pieces, things they could improve...etc.  It is more or less a portfolio review.  I love having the chance to ask questions, encourage, and challenge my students in their art work.  I also love letting them know what I am thinking concerning their work.  A grade on a report card is very "detached".  This makes it personal.

October 12, 2011

GradeSpeed: Online Grade Book

So this year we are full out using GradeSpeed.  Last year many schools piloted it, but not it is everyone's baby!  So far...not a fan.  I'm sure once I get use to it...things will go faster & I'll enjoy some of the features. HOWEVER...yesterday I about punched the computer screen.  After doing portfolio reviews with my 4th graders and getting their grades entered in....the screen flashed and everything was gone!  I lost a whole class worth of grades(and an hour of my life).  So I had the students leave their work, and I came in extra early today to redo their grades...hitting save after every student.  We think the issue could have been that I was working off of WiFi ...and it is kind of hit & miss at times.  So today the cable is hooked up..and I'm ready to go!!  OH...also...my student teacher is done today...so after fall break you will hopefully see more Mr. E posts of amazing art work by kids!!!!! :)  

October 06, 2011

Teacher Art Night: With A Purpose

Last week at our Brushes & Beverages night with the classroom teachers it was suggested that we get together again before our annual Fall Festival (this week!!!)to paint another picture for the silent auction.  They were thinking the kids might want to buy paintings done by their teacher.  Extremely short notice...and lack of funds....I sent an e-mail to the teachers Tues. that Wed. I'd be in my classroom till 5 & that I'd host another painting time for the purpose of auctioning them off at the silent auction.  However, I'd need $2 a person to be able to buy canvases for the teachers.  9 teachers came!!!!!!!  I think that is pretty awesome.  Once again...we had a great time, and some beautiful pictures were made!!  I'll let you know how the silent auction goes next week. 

Cost of Art Lessons

This is one of my most visited old posts.  At the time I just asked for help because I had no clue...but now I'm old  & experienced! So I thought I'd come back and update it!

Anyone else struggle with pricing art and art lessons?  I really wish this would have been discussed more in college.  However, over the years I've gotten better with pricing lessons/classes (still struggle with pricing my art work...just being real with you!)

There are a lot of factors that go into pricing art lessons for individuals and classes.  One of the first things you should do is investigate the going rate for art lessons in your area.  It truly is different based on geographic locations.  I would look at individuals giving one on one lessons, individuals giving classes, and classes that can be taken at art stores (Michael's, Hobby Lobby, and Jo-Ann's).  Consider what they are offering and what they are charging.  

Another factor is how many students you will be working with at a given time. I'd also say that they should be at a similar age/developmental level so that a lesson is not comprised of multiple sets of instructions/supplies.  When you are teaching a lesson to a group of students you can charge a bit less than when you are teaching one on one because you will be receiving compensation for each of the students. You are in control in these situations(to a point)...and can set the number of students, their ages, and the projects that you will be doing with them. 

Supplies!  Are they providing the supplies they will be using or will you?  What are is the quality of the supplies you will be using (because that impacts price).  

You have to make this experience worth it for you.  Your time, experience & expertise deserves financial compensation.  Do not underestimate your worth. You need to be flexible (to a point) as people approach you for lessons.  Provide people with the amount that you are looking for based on the information you've gathered, but have a bottom line dollar amount that you are not willing to go below if people want to "negotiate".  They may offer to buy the supplies to help lower the price...but you still need to make sure you stick to your bottom line.


October 05, 2011

Why Aren't More Involved?

I'm wondering if other states are having the same issue as us....membership?  Why aren't more art educators involved with their state organization?  How do we encourage others to join?  WHY SHOULD THEY?  WHAT IS THE PURPOSE?  I have been a member for most of my career (there has been a year or two where I let my membership lapse), but I love belonging.  I don't need a reason other than I'm an art educator & these are my people.  However, others need to have a greater understanding of why they should join, what is the benefit of membership, and how does it make a difference in our profession.  I would love to hear your thoughts on this. 

October 03, 2011


You are looking at the Tennessee Elementary Art Teacher of the Year
In the midst of an extremely crazy roller coaster week last week...I got the news.
 I'm extremely excited...very honored...and kind of in disbelief! 
When I started teaching in 1997, this was never even a thought!?!  I was happy to have a job I loved.  Over the years, so many doors have opened for me to do things at the local, state, and national level. This blog has allowed me to interact with other amazing art educators on a global scale.  This has kept the job interesting & challenging...but at the heart of it...I am happy to have a job I love. 
This award is just icing on an already delicious cake!
(the pic was just a silly attempt at me being pageanty! ha ha)

October 01, 2011

The Mayor's Project: Mayor Dean & 1st Grade

So the project was a mixed media folk art landscape.   Knowing that the Mayor's time in my room could cause things to not go according to plan...I precut the fabric for the ground & the blue tissue paper for the sky....as well as boxed up the puzzle pieces & sticks for each table(I'd normally not do all of this).  I was mostly interested in seeing students' construction.  After students had finished gluing all their pieces down, I gave them a plate of red, yellow, orange, and green tempera paint to go over their puzzle pieces.  If students finished with painting their leaves, they were allowed to get wood circles to create pumpkins.
Mayor Dean was in my room for about 20 minutes...so he was unable to finish his picture.  I truly appreciated him getting in there and working along side my students though! 

 Here is Mayor Dean's work!