August 31, 2015

Art Journals: 3rd & 4th Grade

After the exciting adventure of the twitter challenges this summer to work daily in art journals...I knew I had to attempt this with my students.  I've actually been thinking about it for several years(collecting regular lined notebooks as they were on sale)...but was kind of unsure how to implement it.  I decided to focus on 3rd & 4th grade.  Each child was given a notebook that will be theirs to take home at the end of the year.  Each week when they come into the art room students look to the white board for their prompt.  Once they receive their pencil and notebook/journal...they get to work.  They have about 10 min. to draw an image & write two sentences describing something about their creation.   The biggest part of this exercise is creativity.
I have told my students I don't want boring.  I want original, exciting, odd, and fabulously creative ideas in their journals.   So far the students LOVE IT!!  They will be given a grade on the journal entries as a whole..and not each individual one.  Later in the year, we will do a narrative drawing using one of the journal creations as the inspiration.   I look forward to seeing the students further develop their ideas.  

August 30, 2015

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: WE ARE FAMILY

Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God's people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.  In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.  
Ephesians 2:19-22

Carmen Lomas Garza's work is filled with scenes & scenarios of every day life. Her depictions of family resonate with many. I catch myself smiling at the vignettes within her work that remind me of my own upbringing.  The culture, location, and activities may be different, but the heart is the same. Family comes together in good times & in bad times.  They are their to listen, encourage, challenge, support, teach, direct, work, laugh, and love.  Families may not always agree, but they will be there for one another.  With such a support system, great things can happen when family functions as it should.  

God's family is no different.  We don't all look, act, think, or do things the same.  However, when we come together....AS WE ARE SUPPOSE TO...God can do amazing things in & through us.  As brothers and sisters in Christ, we should seize every opportunity to work as one.  When we bring our gifts & talents together for the glory of God's kingdom, amazing things can happen.  The children of God need to be building bridges & not looking for ways to divide.  It doesn't matter the name on the outside of the building, if we are traditional or modern, or if we use KJV or NIV.  If we'd come together and listen, encourage, challenge, support, teach, direct, work, laugh and love TOGETHER...this world would be such a better place.  If we kept the main thing....THE MAIN THING... KNOW GOD & MAKE HIM KNOWN...the rest would come out in the wash!  In the essentials we must have unity, but in the non-essentials....GRACE.  

God has created us to be a family for a reason!  He wants to be in the midst of us.  He wants us to work as one.  Seems like a great idea, but not always so easy to practice...and that is a perfect lead in for our prayer this week!

Dear Father, we want to be who you created us to be...a brother/sister.  We want to be how you intended us to be...a family!  We allow so many things to get in the way of this.  Lord please help us to come together as one.  Help us to put aside our thoughts, agendas, and our pride that so often get in the way of us acting like a true family.  Help us to be the ones that will spark change, build bridges, and encourage the body of Christ to work as one!  For Your glory...and Your honor.

August 25, 2015

Why I Love Kindergarten: Reason #493

I love what I do! I love my school(15th year at this school)!  I love Kindergarten!  I know that is age that freak a lot of teachers out, but they are my favorite!  I love how they think, process, create, and interact.  They show more growth than any other age...and it is glorious when they finally "get it".  I don't know how anyone in our field could become bored.  No year is the same, no class is the same, no child is the same!  We are the masters of adaptation.  We are blessed to be art teachers!

August 23, 2015

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: Simply Love

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.  By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. 

John 13:34-35

Robert Indiana's LOVE is iconic.  The image has been used, reused, overused, and abused.  What is it about this "simple" work that has captivated the world(and really..I don't over state the appeal).  First, we have to realize that it is not as simple as throwing letters together, and calling it art.  There was thought, sketches, redesigns, and different implementations of the idea before we as observers of LOVE ever saw the finished product.  LOVE started somewhere deeper than we know.  If you read up on Robert Indiana & his might come upon theories behind this work.  But you can rest assured, LOVE is not as simple as it might seem.

In John, Jesus gives a "new" commandment.  The command is to love.  Seems simple enough, right?  I can do that!  Well, maybe not the person at work that gets on my last ever loving nerve!  I'll just like them.  Oh, and those people that make fun of me because of my faith.  I really don't love them all that much....they are jerks! What about people that beg me for money, but never seem to do anything for themselves.  They are so annoying.  Those people that do those things I disagree with...God's going to get them for that!!!  They don't deserve love! 

  I was being a bit overly dramatic, but I hope you see my point.  Loving others isn't always as easy as it might seem.  We find a million reasons to justify why we don't have to show the same kind of love, compassion, and grace that was given us!  It might not be as dramatic, but love can be a challenge for us in many situations.  If we have been hurt, if we lack understanding, if we think more highly of ourselves than we doesn't always come so easy.  Many times we feel if we're going to put our necks out there and golly we better get some reciprocation.  That isn't really how love works. 

Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  Love never fails.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8a

Love is not as simple as it might look.  However, for those of us who KNOW the Lord....we have the perfect example in our lives.  Jesus modeled love with His life, death, and resurrection.  If He lives in KNOW love.  It might not be easy to live it out at times, but trust the Lord to develop this in your life.  He has called us to love....the only way you can know Him & make Him known is LOVE!  

Lord, love seems like a simple command,but can be such a struggle.
Help us to put away our hurts, personal agendas, and misunderstandings so that we can love as You have loved us.  Help us to get out of the that others can see Your love in us & through us.  

August 21, 2015

Wacky Noodle Brushes In Use

Remember my Wacky Noodle Brushes I made a couple posts ago??
Welp, we used them  today in 2nd grade!!  
Here are the results......


I gave the students a 12x18 piece of black construction paper.  We discussed color and how they can represent moods/emotions.  We looked at abstract expressionist art work for well as abstract portraiture.  The students used oil pastels to create a background color.  

After completing the "background"...I did a demo on how to paint the portrait using the Wacky Noodle Paint Brush.  The giggles started then...and did not stop! ha ha  I shared with them that we were like mad scientists in the lab...creating/experimenting/learning/growing.  I told them that the results might not be to their normal liking/expectations...but that it was ok...just try your best!   Students were instructed to hold their paper with one foot as they painted using white tempera.  

I really loved hearing all the laughter...and enjoyed seeing all the smiles as they created.


I can't say I'm in love with the visual outcome of the project.  However, I do see a lot of value in leveling the playing field, having the kids do something "experimental", and just having a good time with art supplies in an unusual way! 

August 20, 2015

Bulletin Boards & Displays: 2015-2016

I really love creating bulletin boards.  Honestly...if my district said they'd offer me a job creating boards across Nashville...I'd probably do it! ha ha  Something about cutting paper that just soothes the soul.  My room also lends itself to a person that enjoys such things!!!  Some boards never change.  Some change a little each year.  Some are totally different/new.  I hope you enjoy.  Let me know if you have any questions.

This is my version of "The Earth Without Art is Eh!" 

The examples I have up on the board(teacher made) have names representing kids I went to school with back in the day!! ha ha Where I grew up...elementary school was of each grade, and pretty much the same 18 kids all 9 yrs(a couple left/came/failed).  Then I went to a small consolidated high school....and still saw most of those kids on a daily basis.  Just a little way to remember my roots being that I'm 9 hrs from "home" and seldom get to see them any more.  I'm an old softy..what can I say. ha ha

Yep..the good ol' No-No Board.  Love it or Leave works for me!

I try to come up with a new "reading" board each year.  Here is this year's offering.

This use to be the "front" of my room.  That little chalk board was all that was there.  Once I got my large white board...and then technology...the room shifted.  I took the bulletin board that was on the wall where they put the white board..and had them flip it vertical.  I also installed metal sheets on the other side so I could have a magnetic word wall.

I didn't use this last year...and really missed it is back!!!

I always try to refer to my map so kids know where in the world things come from!!

I found the word strips at Dollar Tree!! LOVE THEM! I used sheet magnets on the back.

Got tired of the kids asking if I painted the Van Gogh picture I re-purposed it this year! ha 

I have the 4 standards above the board with the explanation beside them.  TN has not adopted them, but it is how we're being assessed for the teacher I'm using them!!  The section between the 3rd and 4th grade area on the board is their journal entry space.  Each week they have a 10 min quick draw of a word...where I challenge them to be as creative as possible.  I also have them write two sentences explaining their drawing.  

I redo my above the door sign every year to match my color theme.  I use fun foam to create it..and just hot glue it up there!!  I like how it sets my room apart...and adds a little color to the hall. (not a fan of the ice blue they have it painted..blah)

The last week of school I always have my students create turtles so I can have art hanging in the hall at the start of the next school year.  I have them make them in the color of my room's color theme.(this requires me to decide on a color theme prior to school letting out!!).  The kids always love trying to find their turtle.

August 19, 2015

Classroom Set Up 2015-2016

I've not changed a lot in my room over the past few years(other than the color theme on the bulletin boards & chair footies...which changes every year).  I use to change my room pretty drastically, but once you have technology in a certain place....and find a groove with that & your furniture...
you stick with it! 

I have my tables set up with an outer & inner horseshoe. It is a total of 14 tables/28 spots.   However, if our 2nd grade continues to grow....I'll have to move a few things around because my "extra" tables are in the back of the room not in my horseshoe of every day use!  

I have a PolyVision Smart Board. I really like it.  It does take up a chunk of my white board, but it is a usable white board & magnetic.  I mainly use my white board to post teacher examples & write vocabulary.  I'm trying to do more objectives & such on Power Points or the PolyVision's White Pages(it's a PolyVision thang).  

 I have a large room that was designed as an art room(back in 1988).  I've taught in very small portables & regular I understand small spaces.  I don't take this for granted.
 I love my room!!  

I had the district build two shelving units in my room a few years ago.  I love being able to have frequently used items easy to access.  

I love my cabinets, but wish the counter was not white(who puts a white counter in an art room!?!?!). As you can imagine...around 28 yrs of art room use....lots of stains/marks.  The other negative about this you see my itty bitty sink?  It is really small...and too high for K & 1st.  I actually don't let the kids wash their hands in the sink.  I developed a few tricks when I taught in a portable with no water...and use those for clean up!  If ever there is just a whole lot of mess....the bathrooms are across the hall from my room and they can wash their hands there if need be.

So I was gifted this Crayola box after last year's back to school sales(Dollar General).  I decided it would be a great place for my art shirts.  I decided to set up this little vignette so it was painfully obvious where they were located(will still have children walking around lost!! ha ha).

My reading area has changed a little bit this year, but I think it is growing on me.  I read to my kindergarten students every time they come, and feel a designated reading area is a priority.  I've been teaching 19 I've been able to accumulate a lot of books over the years. If you want to know some of my favorite books, here is the link to my Pinterest board. 

August 17, 2015

Genius...or Wacky?

So I've had this "wacky" idea for a couple years now....but never followed through with it.  Last fall I found Wacky Noodles for .30 cents a piece at Dollar General...bought them, but did nothing with them.  UNTIL NOW!  Today I cut the Wacky Noodles in half, temporarily secured the brushes in place with painters tape, and then hot glued them in permanently(the noodle does "melt" a little from the hot glue).  I used the cheap brushes that come with Crayola's watercolor case you were wondering. 


My thought is to have the kids do paintings where they are not able to "control" their brush like they would a regular brush(I also think this would be a great exercise to do with our teachers on a PD day!!!!).  I would ask them to paint something that would seem to require a steady hand, but because they were using the Wacky Noodle...they'd have to adapt how they rendered the image.   Most likely, the paper and paint would be on the ground...and they'd have to work straight armed.  

In my mind...this is going to be fun...different...and a wonderful learning experience!  I'm not sure when I'm going to test them out, but stay tuned...I'll share it with you when I do!! 

August 16, 2015

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: Renaissance Christian?

Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible.  To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews.  To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law.  To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God's law but am under Christ's law), so as to win those not having the law.  To the weak I became weak, to win the weak.  I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.  I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings. 
1 Cor. 9: 19-23

Leonardo da Vinci was a true "Renaissance Man"!  Artist, Scientist, Musician, Engineer, Inventor, Writer...and on and on!  He was a man with a million interests, and he had the intellect, skill, and ability to back them up.   I do well to  kind of know the handful of things that hold my attention. 

In 1st Corinthians 9:19-23, Paul writes of becoming all things to all people.  Some may look at that and take it to an unhealthy extreme.  I don't feel we're being asked/encouraged to do anything that would damage our witness or place us in a destructive situation.  However, I think Paul is encouraging us to find common ground & meet people where they are at. I think Leonardo would have been the perfect person to connect with others because he could find commonality with just about anyone with his vast array of interests. Finding a similar interest or experience will help break down walls & encourage dialog.  Even if you don't feel you have anything in common in interest or are a human being with the same basic needs/wants/desires/dreams. Ask them questions where they can share their heart & their hopes.  If you ever want someone to hear your heart about Jesus Christ and what He has done in your life, they first need to know that you care about them and you're interested in them as a person. 

 Being a "Renaissance Christian" doesn't mean we have to know everything about everything....just be willing to "become all things to all people".  What do all people be heard, to be valued, to be respected, and to be loved.  If we can provide that...the door to share Christ will be opened.  Not that all will come to Him...but if it is just "some" is worth it!! 


Dear Jesus, help me to be be all things to all people.  Allow me to know what that means & live it out. Help me to meet people where they are at...not where I think they should be. I want You to use through me so that some may come to You!!  Don't let me get in the way of others hearing Your message of Love & Grace.  
In Christ's Name

August 12, 2015

Day2 of Painting the 1st Day of Art!

So this was Day2's offering!  Day two went well...and my Kindergarten students did an AMAZING job on their section.  I was totally impressed.  However, as I was finishing assembling this...I was in the midst of Day3.  Day3 did not go as smooth.  Larger class sizes(we have two 2nd grade classes that have 27 students..that is a lot for us..but I know is nothing for some of you all), EL students that did not understand all my directions, and some not so great combinations of students.  I always want to be honest with ya'll...everything isn't roses and sunshine in Mr. E's world all the time!! ha ha  It was a challenging day, but I'm still enjoying painting with all my students the first day of art!!  Two days left to go till I've seen all my students!! Stay tuned!!

August 10, 2015

Painting With Kindergarten On Day 1

So I shared with ya'll in a post about painting with all my classes on their first day in the art room(5 day cycle/5 classes per day).  Today was Day2 for us...but the first day Kindergarten came to special areas.  AND YES...I PAINTED WITH KINDERGARTEN ON THEIR FIRST FULL DAY! 

Here are the details...just in case the thought of it scares the pee out of you!!
(it is Kindergarten...pee on the floor happens! ha ha)


I was not going to pass out my usual water cups! ha ha I decided to place sponges in rectangular pans I had, and saturate the sponge enough to leave a little bit of water laying the bottom.  This worked out extremely well.  Students had enough water to paint with, but even if they would have knocked one off the would have made minimal mess.  At the end of the class just rinse out the pan & sponges, and they'll be good to go.

With my other classes I'm using tempera paint, but I'm just not that brave with kindergarten.  BIGGIE CAKES WATERCOLOR (or you could use tempera cakes) are one of my favorite go-to supplies with the little ones.  I wanted to limit the color I placed wide painter's tape over the colors I didn't wish the students to use.  I do trust my kindergartners a little later in the year, but being the first day and not knowing the students at all....better safe than sorry!

I did precut the circles they were using, but they were asked to draw out their design before painting. I was so impressed with their drawings & painting.  I don't really believe the results were "normal"....but I'll take 'em!!! ha  ha  I still have four more kindergarten classes to go....we'll see how the rest of them do!?!?  I had the students bring their work over to two empty tables in the back of my room.  They did not drop them, spill paint, or stack them on top of each other.  WOW!  

So friends....the moral of the is worth the risk!!  Be organized, modify, and have wet towels & cleaner at the ready!!   


August 09, 2015

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: SEEING IS BELIEVING?

Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear?  And don't you remember?
Mark 8:18

Have you ever met those people that just don't seem to "GET" art in its various forms?  They see a painting and don't "get" it.....and dismiss its worth.  They listen to music that is out of their norm and don't "get" they dismiss its worth as well.  There are many things I don't care for, but usually I can find something about most art that I'm able to appreciate.  Why is that?  I have knowledge, understanding, and experience within the arts.  These things allow me to appreciate works of art even if I don't "get" it.  I am able to pull out aspects of the work that connect back to my knowledge/understanding/experience, and I'm able to trust that the artist knew what they were doing or what they were trying to communicate through their work.  I'm able to see beyond what I'm seeing.

In this passage of scripture from Mark, Jesus is addressing the disciples.  If you read the context, you will see that the disciples just don't "get" it.  Part of me wonders how they could not "get" things when they had Jesus right their with them?!?!  The other part of me is relieved by their lack of understanding....because a lot of the time I'm in the same boat as the disciples. How many times have I seen God work in my life, in others' lives, or read His Word, but I still live like I just don't "get" it. For some reason these things I've seen the Lord do have not found their way to my heart.  I doubt. I worry.  I stress.  I plot & plan.  I don't trust.  I don't understand.  I don't get it.  

Seeing is only the surface of understanding.  We have to ask God to take those things we've seen Him do in us, through us, and around us....and make it heart knowledge that truly impacts us...changes us!  That way when life throws a situation at us that we don't like the looks of.....we can still see God & trust that He will use all things for His glory(Romans 8:28).  Knowledge(seeing), understanding, and experiencing allows us to know He is trustworthy.  We can appreciate the situations of life that lead us into a deeper relationship with the Lord.  


Dear Lord, 
Allow me to take all the things I've seen you do
...all the promises you've given me in Your Word
and live like it.  You have shown me  Your faithfulness. 
I want to be transformed by Your!!!  

August 08, 2015

First Day Project: PAINTING

Yep!  I'm officially crazy!!!! ha ha

A few years ago I went to my first NAEA conference(Fort Worth).  I met amazing educators that were passionate about teaching visual arts.  I loved talking "shop" with people that loved their job as much as me!!  One of the topics we talked about was first day practices.  I had always started the school year with seats, rules, and a self portrait.  It seemed "SAFE" & a way to "EASE" back into things.  There is total validity to that practice..and no one should feel otherwise if it works for them!!!  You spend time with other passionate art educators & you will quickly realize that there are a million "GOOD" ways to do things.  There is not a one size fits all...and no one should feel bad about doing things differently.  However, I feel it is our obligation to consider what we do and see if it is the "BEST" way of doing things.  This allows us to grow.  


So this year I decided I was going to paint with my students on the first day.  I knew I had to get students seats assigned, go over some key rules....and then try to fit in the painting.  This means I had to have things ready to go.  Paint already served up(limited color palette...varying it a little each class so I can get the super cool gradation) & brushes ready to go.   I gave the students a 9x12 piece of 90lbs paper.  They were required to draw as big of a circle as possible.  They then had to draw a design based on circles/dots on the inside of their larger circle.  1st grade mostly looked like chocolate chip cookies,  but they had a blast creating.  2nd - 4th really seemed to "get it" and do a great job. I discussed Principles of Design with them(quickly) & showed them some examples. Now Monday I'll have Kindergarten for the first time(they go half days the first week...and do not come to special areas).  I will precut their circles and probably use BIGGIE WATERCOLOR sets with them(covering two of the four colors to limit their palette).  I cut them out after they dried and had older students help me with the black outlines(using tempera).  The whole process is very busy...very fast...furious..... AND A WHOLE LOT OF FUN!!!!!!!!!!

If you are wondering...yes...I'm going to connect this to THE DOT.  My plan is to switch the colors each day till I have a rainbow of awesomeness!!!  I'll display this in the hall...connecting the sections on the wall...each section being a day's worth of circles(I'm afraid it will be too heavy if I connect all 550 circles together before hand).  

I'll review & reinforce classroom rules and procedures when they return to art(I know some of you really want to make sure your kids get it...and I do too!!  I just loved the idea of capturing their attention in a new way on the very first day of art!!!)

Let me know if you have any thoughts or questions...hope this helped for those of you who were asking on Facebook!!  

August 03, 2015