March 31, 2016

Topographical Map Paintings: 3rd Grade

Students looked at a variety of topographical maps, and we discussed their function.  We also looked at the aesthetic appeal of topographical maps, talked about how the elements and principles of art played into them "accidentally".

Students created their own imaginary topographical map...and I can imagine this turning into a fun unit about geography, land forms, landscapes, and fantasy!!! I'm not sure we'll be able to dive into it that much, but something to think about for next year!!!!


I didn't even know this was a thing till this past week!?!?!  
BUT WHY NOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  

As the bell rang this morning...I walked around to all 26 class rooms and greeted the students and told them it was National Crayon Day.  Some where excited...some didn't believe it was "a thing"...and one girl asked me..."Who can celebrate it?"  EVERYONE!!!

I also read a couple of my favorite crayon themed books to Kindergarten. 

March 30, 2016


Before Christmas I received an e-mail from someone inquiring if I did art consulting.  I had never done such a thing formally, but found the idea interesting enough to pursue it.  The person reaching out to me was with a Christian Publishing Company here in Nashville, and had been following my blog for some time.  She wanted me to come in & lead a workshop with the editors of their elementary curriculum to help inspire/give new ideas for their Sunday School material & VBS.  

They sent me a copy of their winter curriculum to allow me to see what they were presently doing for "art projects".  This gave me direction on things I could share with them to maybe bump it up a little, but still be appropriate for a Sunday School class room & time frame.  

I came into a very formal business meeting type space...but it was soon full of laughter & bright colors!

They loved the tie dying with sharpies & rubbing alcohol!!!

Styrofoam Print Making w/ Marker

Crayon & Tissue Paper


Illustrated Text W/ Different Watercolor Techniques

We also did Model Magic, Shrinky Dink Type Stuff, Construction Paper Crayons...and a whole lot more!  They loved it, and said they wished they could do it more often!! Maybe they'll have me back?!?!  :) Lets Hope!!! 

March 27, 2016

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: The Narrative

Narrative art tells a story.  I love challenging students to create interesting original narratives.  They have to truly think through what their story is, and how to best share it with the viewer.  A narrative is at its best when it considers the setting (environment), characters (people that it involves), and plot (what's happening).  I ask students to periodically stop and share their work with their neighbor.  If their neighbor is unable to convey what is going on in the story, then the artist knows they must reconsider/rethink what they are doing so that they can have their work tell the story more effectively.

But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord.  Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.  But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.  1 Peter 3: 15-16

Have you ever been asked to share your "testimony"(your faith story)?  For some, the idea of doing such a thing scares them.  Others might think they could do it with ease, but quickly realize when doing so that they lack direction/focus, and are unable to effectively share their journey of faith.  No matter where you find yourself on this spectrum, being able to share your story is an important "tool" that the Lord wants to use in your life & the life of others.  Like the narrative art work I have my students create, you must think through your story and consider how best to share it with others.  You don't want it to sound scripted/canned...but we must be ready in & out of season to give account for our hope!  Writing it down, sharing it with a friend, and thinking upon what you are sharing will allow you to refine it & effectively convey your story   I also feel it will allow you to reflect on God's love & faithfulness in your life. That is a WIN-WIN situation!!  

The Easter Story is on our hearts & minds right now....
but I want to know how the
 Easter Story has impacted your story!  

Dear have blessed me with a story to share.  Thank you for the testimony you have given me.  I know it your story of grace, love, and hope.  Something our world needs to hear.  Allow me to effectively &fearlessly share the reason for my hope.  Help me to glory you through the story of my life.  And may I see that it is not finished, but still unfolding as I go & grow in you.
In Christ's Name, Amen

March 20, 2016

Sunday Devotional With Mr.E: Stick Glue

Stick Glue

Stick glue is an interesting product.  The name alone sounds like you are trying to encourage it to do the job it was created to do. "Come on glue...STICK!  STICK GLUE, STICK!"  The fact of the matter is, stick glue is is one of the least sticking products created.  It is convenient.  It is easy to control.  It does not make a mess.  However, it does not stick well at all.

With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints..  Ephesians 6:18

We are called to pray.  Some people pray like breathing.  It is such a natural thing for them to talk to God, thank Him, praise Him, bring their needs & the needs of others to Him.  It is a beautiful thing to have such an open communication with our Lord.  It sticks!!  Then their are the rest of us.  Some of us have a "decent" prayer life.  We talk to God.  We bring Him our concerns.  We thank Him when things are going great.  But it is not an on going conversation like old friends who we can pass hours with talking about anything and everything.  It is sticking for the time being.  Then there are those that "passively" pray. They do it when it's convenient.  They tell people, "I'll be praying for you", but it slips their mind as soon as they turn around. They don't think of thanking God for the good things.  They don't thank Him for being there for them in all situations.  They may cry out to Him in the worst of times, or even blame Him for it.  It doesn't stick.

Prayer is an ongoing conversation with our God.  We talk to Him to know Him.  We talk to Him to share our lives with Him. It isn't always easy.  It sometimes feels a little messy.  We don't always feel in control.   But prayer needs to stick. It is essential for this Christian life to stay together.

Dear me to come to you in all things.  Help me to have those conversations in the good times & in the bad.  Help me to stick with you in all things...sharing my heart.
In Christ's Name, AMEN

March 19, 2016

3 Day Group Spring Mural

Thought I'd do a video for this one...

The last full week of the 9 weeks I have "Finish Up Day" for my students.  I give them their art work back, allow them to work on refining and finishing, and I call them back to grade & do a portfolio review with them.  So what do I do with the days are are not a part of the full week? There are usually only 2 or 3 days in those situations. I usually create collaborate murals.  I have each of my classes create a part of the board...or finish unfinished pieces from other classes.  With it being spring...and our school in need of cheer & happiness(after terrible state testing)...this is what we came up with!

I incorporated the "dots" flowers into the kids work.

March 18, 2016

The Dots Final Form: SPRING

If you have been trekkin' along with me this may have seen my 1st day of art painting project morph. It went from a beautiful hanging Wall of Dots.... to Fall Winter Mittens & Hats.  Now it has arrived at its final state of being....Spring Flowers!  

The students, teachers, and parents have all commented how much they've loved seeing this project progress through the year, and have been wondering how I'm going to top it next year. 
?!?!?!TOP IT?!?!?!!?  
I'm not sure if I can "Top It".  I have some fun ideas floating around in this crazy brain of mine, but I do not see it as topping what I've done in the past.  Each year is different...each project has its own life...and it all should be appreciated in that time & in that place.  I hope none of you place such pressure on yourself.  Yes, you want to bring new life & energy to your program, but don't view it in light of having to "Top" the year before.  Let each year be its very best...because you are being your very best.

If you're new here...or missed my past posts about The ya go!

March 17, 2016

Vocabulary Hat Day: ARTISTIC

With the new standardized testing craziness that happened in TN...we were unable to celebrate Read Across America Week last week....and had to move it to this week.  Today was Vocabulary Hat Day.  
I had a million ideas of what I wanted to do...but after looking at the main classroom teacher lists of words....I selected ARTISTIC.  

I had a lot of fun creating this hat...but instead of being impressed...the kids were like...WE KNEW YOU WOULD DO SOMETHING ABOUT ART!  

?!?!?I'm the art teacher...what else would I do?!?!?

March 16, 2016

SNAP A SELFIE: #naea16 delegates

Hey #naea16 Delegates!!!!
If you received your Goo-Goo Treats from TnAEA...can you do me a favor?

Will you snap a selfie with your Goo-Goo Monster book mark that was attached to your Goo-Goo Cluster?  My students created those for you.  I shared with them that they were going to Art Education Leaders from all over the United States!!  They were very excited that such important people would be receiving their art work.  I would love to show them pictures of you with your Goo-Goo Monster...and let them know where you are from!!  

You can tag me on Twitter ( @ArtWithMrE ) , e-mail me the picture ( ) , or post it on my facebook page ( )


March 15, 2016

Fun Art Related Shirts (for

We are having celebration of reading this week(because testing was last week..blah!).  I had a teacher send one of her students to my room first thing this morning so I could see her shirt!  
LOVE IT!!  The tag said Old Navy...but she thought it was from a long time ago(whatever that means to a kid?!?)  

This is my son at H&M last week.  They don't have fat people stuff (I'm on the fluffy side of life)...but their kids outfits are GREAT!!  

I love that there are fun things like this out there....what are you finding as you shop? Click over to Facebook Art With Mr. E & share your photos!!!  

March 13, 2016

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: Washable?

If something is "WASHABLE" would think it would be a dream product for an elementary art teacher like myself.  Kids are messy!  No matter the instructions you give or the art shirts you put on them, some how they still manage to get paint, glue, markers...ANYTHING & EVERYTHING on themselves. So why not use "washable" products whenever possible?  Well, they don't really work all that well.  Washable glue is often the consistency of water, and does a poor job of holding anything together.  Washable paint usually is very thin & the colors are not true.  Now I will say there are many washable markers out there that get the job done, but their colors fade over time.  It is really hard to build a strong art foundation using products that are a poor substitute for the real thing.  Will they allow the students to create something...yes.  Will it be something of quality that will last...probably not.  

Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on a solid rock.  Though the rain comes in the torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won't collapse because it is built on bedrock.  But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn't obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand.  When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.  Matthew 7: 24-27

This life we live can be "built" on many things.  You see people that try to build a life on power, fame, or money...and it falls to pieces.  It's not that these things are evil/bad.  They are just not the substance for which to build a life, but the result of a life built on a strong foundation. In this world, we are going to have storms/stress/trials, and if your foundation is built on power, fame or money...your world will be like washable art supplies! 

Washable Glue- unable to hold together when stress is placed upon it.
Washable Paint- looks great in its packaging, but you can see through it when applied.
Washable Marker- looks great at first, but fades over time.  

We must look at what the Lord has called us to do, and build our life upon Him & His Word.  When we do this...we know that no matter what happens...we will not fall apart, we will be people of substance, and our light for the Lord will shine bright in the midst of the darkness.  

Dear Lord..
Help us to build a solid foundation on you. Give us the eyes/heart/mind to see where we may not be doing so..and rectify it.  We want our lives to stand strong in the storms...and be a light for all to see you in our trials. May you be glorified by our lives.
In Christ Jesus

March 08, 2016

Summer Workshop With Mr. E


Back before Christmas I asked if people would be interested in a multi day workshop here in Nashville, Tn with me.  I got a pretty good response of people I checked admin..and all that good stuff and we have a green light to go ahead!  Here is the basic info...and I'm putting together something to give you the details. My wife is working on a a list of possible hotels near my school & the airport.....great places to eat...and must do Nashville things!  

March 07, 2016

Tweaking An Old Project...

We all have projects that we do every year.  Sometimes it is because that is what's in our curriculum...and sometimes it is because the skill is needed & the project is good!  However, after you've been teaching for almost 20 yrs...some project begin getting a bit stale.  Thank goodness for Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, and blogs....RIGHT!!!  I do like to be an innovator though & not just rely on the internet.  I like re-imagine a project based on the needs of my students & the skills I'm really wanting to make sure they have before leaving me to go to middle school.  

In 4th grade we've had Clay Facades as part of our curriculum...pretty much forever.  It is a great lesson that can go in so many different directions according to students interests & units being taught.  However...I was bored with them.  If I'm bored...than my students are not going to be super excited either.  So what exactly was I trying to get across with this lesson?  

Structure.  Purpose.  Attaching.
  Addition.  Subtraction.  Craftsmanship.  

So what/how could I teach those ideas in a re-imagined way.  I thought about interior/exterior structures.  I thought about my students need for more art history.  I thought about units that would carry over ideas for painting, clay, collage, and drawing.  

Put that in the blender and set it on high!

The past two years my students have studied an artist as part of a unit, and created multiple projects based off of that inspiration.  For the clay lesson this year...they were to use Egyptian Curtain by Matisse as inspiration.  We looked at different types of curtains, discussed what would go on a table, and talked about what could be outside the window.  We looked at the structure of windows and how they are put together.  Then they created their wall hangings in 3-D Relief form...having to add, subtract, and draw in the clay to create their image.  I love them!  

Last Year We Were Inspired By Monet

March 06, 2016

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: Planning

Weaving is an AMAZING art for which I have the utmost respect.  I never took it in college though because I did not think I could "deal" with the tedious nature of it.  There is so much planning involved.  You really have to have it completely mapped out before you even begin or it won't come to fruition.  I love to plan & organize, but knowing the amount of work required for a weaving prior to the first shuttle finding its way through the warp.... I would choke on details.  I know many people love the planning & find joy in the tediousness of it, but that is just not how my brain & creative soul are wired.  

(I took this picture of a students work in progress at the Appalachian Center for Art)

To humans belong the plans of the heart, but from the Lord comes the proper answer of the tongue.  All a person's ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the Lord.  Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.
Proverbs 16:1-3

Planning is a part of our faith walk also...though maybe a bit different than the planning required to be a successful weaver!  God has given us gifts, talents, passions,and a mind.  We need to be wise as we approach life, and take into consideration that which God has given us.  Waiting for God to give us a "sign" removes our personal responsibility & neglects the fact that He gave us a brain to use!  However, once we've formulated a "plan"...we have the unique opportunity as believers to submit that plan to God.   The Holy Spirit tests our plans/ways, and will give us the green light to go ahead, yellow light of caution (or reconsideration), or the red light of STOP NOW!!!  However, there are times when we make plans & submit them to God that we have no real leading on how to proceed.  I think of this as the blinkie lights that happen in some places after midnight.  Proceed but be aware. Sometimes it is the stepping out in faith when we're unsure of our direction that God meets us in the midst of it all...and grows us the most.

Planning is a great thing.  However, it is when we submit our plans & our times of wandering to God that we see the beauty of living a life for Him.  Like it says in verse 3, "Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans."

Dear Lord,
Help me to be responsible with the gifts, talents, passions, and mind you have given me.
Allow me to glorify you with all of these things.
May I be quick to submit my plans to you...and trust you to guide & direct me in the way that you'd have me go. Make my heart sensitive to your that I might know your leading.
In Christs Name, Amen

March 05, 2016



Our new president for the TN Art Education Association led her first board meeting today, and did an amazing job!  We met at the amazing Appalachian Center for Craft!  What an awesome place...  I want to visit in the future(they have all kinds of day, two days, and week long)!!  I hope you all are part of your state associations...they have so much to offer & you are an important part of that!  An association is only as strong as its members...Join today!!

March 01, 2016

The End is Just The Beginning...

There is a wonderful children's book I read to my students that talks about nothing ever ending...because the end is just the beginning of something new.

The end of #aheartadaychallenge is just the beginning of......


We would love for you to join in the fun!!  This is a once a week posting of a spring inspired work from your sketch book.  The others involved in #aheartadaychallenge didn't want things to they are beginning with something new!  It has been fun & encouraging to share our work with one another...adding a little bit of accountability for us artists to create!!!! Plus, it is only once a not as much pressure as once a day!!!  Your creations can be made from any materials...focused on anything very flexible!!!  

All you have to do is create...and post Fridays on social media.  You can hashtage it #SpringSketchFri on Twitter (you can tag me also @ArtWithMrE )...or post it on .  This was originally set for March...but if people are enjoying it...we could do it through April as well!!  

Can't wait to see your work