October 31, 2018


Join in the fun!! This is the 3rd year for the Turkey A Day Challenge!!  This year we will be using the hashtag #turkeyaday18 ! If you can't post everyday...THAT'S OK!! Just post as much as you are able...we'd love to see what you create. If you want to do your turkeys with a theme in mind...that is cool.  The first year I did my turkeys like a famous work of art...last year I did my turkey in a different medium every day! You can do it however!!  

#K12ArtChat: Gratitude


October 29, 2018


If you have been following my blog for awhile, you might remember about 2 yrs ago I was diagnosed with Hereditary Hemochromatosis.  My Grandfather & Aunt both died from complications with this disorder....and probably several on my father's side had it(but were un-diagnosed).  

Hemochromatosis is an iron disorder in which the body simply loads too much iron. This action is genetic and the excess iron, if left untreated, can damage joints, organs, and eventually be fatal.

I was tested after my aunt's death, and as soon as the genetic test came back that I did have the disorder & my numbers were elevated....they jumped into a treatment plan for me. Oh...the treatment you ask....BLOOD LETTING!   I went 7 1/2 weeks twice a week....with a total removal of 7 1/2 liters of blood.  They actually dropped me too low, but with this disorder....it will always go back up again.  

It has been 1 year and 7 months since I've had my last phlebotomy(blood letting).  I had skipped out on my last blood test(I'd been going every two months to see where my numbers were at).  Well...I'd not been feeling great as of late...and my joints were hurting as well.  These are both signs for someone with HH that their numbers are going back up again. I went in last week...and found out today my numbers are up.  They aren't horrible, but I'm scheduled for blood lettings once more...this time every other week.  My first one will be Wed....Halloween!  The vampires are going to get my blood....and I'm ok with it!! 

(Just wanted to update my regular readers!!)

October 28, 2018

Sunday Devotional With Mr.E: WILL IT STICK?

One of the biggest issues with hanging student art work is what to use so that it will stay up.  At times, I believe the builders & painters are plotting against us to make a "non" stick wall!  Buildings can be too humid, warm, dirty, high traffic...all of which impact the viability of work being able to be displayed for any length of time.Tape, wall tack, hot glue, wax tabs, Velcro dots, and a host of other products works in some of the situations.   There are schools that do not allow hot glue guns to be used because of the possible damage that "might" occur.  Other schools won't allow ANY type of adhesive in fear of it leaving marks, damaging the paint, or some other assorted non-sense.  You want to share the amazing work created by your students, but it can be challenging at times to do so.  Will it stay up?  How long will it stay up?  Will it stick?  

I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.  
2 Timothy 1:5

This verse is such a beautiful illustration of living in a way that "sticks"! 
Timothy's mother & grandmother lived their life in a way that made an eternal impact.

Will it stick?  You invest into the life of your children, your friends, individuals the Lord has placed in your life.  You share your knowledge, experiences, training, hopes,dreams, and love.  Sometimes you wonder if this investment is going to have life long (and eternal) impact. There are questions that cause you concern.  There are choices  that seem to be in opposition of all the things you've taught.  There are days were they seem to push you away as you try to build into their life.  Will it stick? God has called each of us to share the love he has given us with those he puts in our path.  At times it is a long term investment....family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors.   Other times it is a brief encounter (yet can have major impact).  No matter which it is....we have been given the opportunity to make the most of every situation.  This world of ours needs to see, feel, experience, and know the love of God.  We are not responsible for what they do with it......if it sticks.  We can only be responsible for faithfully sharing his love with others.  

Will it stick? 
 I pray so.  

October 24, 2018

Town Planners: 1st Grade

I'm so excited with the work I've been seeing from my 1st graders on this project!!!  Let me give you some background.....

The week before this project we did a collaborative project where students created a "village"(refer back to...   http://www.artwithmre.com/2018/10/collaborative-community-1st-grade.html  ).  They broke up into small groups and discussed what they felt where important parts of a town.  They each were responsible for creating a house, a business/place of worship/school..etc. ...and with any left over paper they could make trees/clouds/shrubs/cars. They cut them out, and then the students helped plan where the different elements would go.  The kids loved it...and they turned out great.

For this project...I had the students create a drawing of their own town.  I did show them how to create the road so they could show more buildings & over lap parts of the picture to create a more realistic layout.  They were encouraged to create a town with the buildings that would be most important to them.  Some ended up with toy stores, candy shops, and ice cream parlors...and not much else, but they were still fun...and they kids were able to make them personal. This was done as a drawing only....no coloring.  Sometimes details get lost in the coloring, and I really wanted to preserve those details!!

October 23, 2018

Art Wisdom

Did some digging on who this actually came from...it has been attributed to a few different people (INCLUDING PICASSO!).  However, I found that it actually comes from one of Vincent van Gogh's letters!  This is a wonderful bit of wisdom we need to share with our students!! (I think I see a new bulletin board in my future! Haha) Vincent was Growth Mindset before Growth Mindset was a thing.  THE POWER OF YET!

October 22, 2018

Fall Trees: Kindergarten

My Kindergartners are growing so quickly! 
   I was worried about the start of the school year when I heard that the classes were all going to be around 26 or 27 students.  We were use to smaller numbers in years past.  Though they've turned out to be a WONDERFUL group...I still am careful when planning my lessons. 
You have to consider class size + materials + ability + storage!

I start every Kindergarten lesson with a book....and have a ton of fall inspired stories!! 

The students were given light blue construction paper.  They were first asked to draw three  rectangles evenly spaced(I showed them to have a hand space between each tree.) that touched the bottom & went up toward the middle of the page.  This might seem like a bit much to ask of Kindergartners, but they can do it with a demo prior to starting.  
From the top of the rectangle to the top of the page, students are asked to create thin rectangles that go up diagonally.  Yes...I use the words diagonal, horizontal, and vertical starting the first day of class!  If you use it...so will they!  After students completed their drawing they were instructed to obtain a crayon box for their table....and use a brown or grey crayon to color their trees.  Last, I gave each table a trey with red & yellow tempera.  They used Q-Tips to apply the paint.  We also talked about what red & yellow make....and discussed warm colors.  

October 21, 2018

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: The Real

Young artists "get" realism.   In their eyes, their work is extremely realistic...even though an outside observer may think it a bit more "abstract".  It's not that they don't enjoy abstract work.  My kindergarten students find Picasso's Cubism portraits a hoot! However, developmentally they comprehend realism more readily.  You see it.  You make it.  It's beautiful. Sometimes the honesty of realism has the power to impact the viewer in the most simplistically beautiful way (Even though we artists know how challenging a truly realistic work can be to create!).  

Imitate me, just as I imitate Christ.  
1 Corinthians 11:1

There are many out there that try to make the Christian life extremely complicated.  However, the reality is quite the opposite.  While Jesus was with his disciples he lived his life in a way so that they could imitate his example.  Paul reminds the Corinthians of this by calling the believers to imitate him....as he imitates Christ.  This call to imitate the Lord is not one of hoops to jump through or hidden messages.  It is simply....love the Lord your God with all your heart with all your soul with all your strength and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself. (Mark 12: 30-31)  
The real beauty of the Christian life is that we have the example in front of us.  Scripture allows us to see Christ's example...the lives of his followers....and the directions God has given us for living a life the reflects him, glorifies him, and makes his love known. 
The real life we've been called to live comes with a beautiful guide book(The Bible).  It comes with a guide(The Holy Spirit).  It comes with one who has walked the path before us...and walks with us(Jesus).  Are you making things too abstract in your spiritual journey?  
Look to the example for the real thing!

October 18, 2018

Collaborative Community: 1st Grade

1st grade kicked off the new nine weeks with a collaborative project where students created a "....ville".  They broke up into small groups and discussed what they felt where important parts of a town.  They each were responsible for creating a house, a business/place of worship/school..etc. ...and with any left over paper they could make trees/clouds/shrubs/cars. They cut them out, and then the students helped plan where the different elements would go.  
The kids loved it...and they turned out great.  

Ok...could they be any cuter planning together?!?!

October 16, 2018

Building Bridges. Eating Pringles.

I have seen many people post on different art teacher groups that they feel disconnected from their faculty....that they don't seem to receive the same respect as classroom teachers...or that it seems there is a lack of understanding of what we do as art educators by the faculty/staff of the school.  Though I feel we should show a respect for all educators/staff  within a building and the role they play in children's lives.....some may not come from that same perspective.  We could complain about the situation & how it should be different....or we can build the bridge to help make the difference.  I'm a big believer in being pro-active in such matters.  Art educators are advocates....in every way!!!!  Though you cannot change everyone's opinions....you may be able to make connections with some! 

Here is a fun way I brought teachers together at my school recently
....didn't take a lot of time, money, or commitment. 

What is this you ask?  
Have you seen the Pringles commercial where they mix the flavors?

Then we talked about what flavor combinations we enjoyed...and which ones we didn't.
So simple.  Food brings people together.  Did this time magically solve everything? No.  However, it did get them into my room.  It did get them to let down their guards.  It did give us the opportunity to laugh together.  Those things go a long way in building needed bridges. Art nights for teachers are another way I've helped to do this as well!!  I will say...there are so situations that are extremely dysfunctional.  No amount of Pringles will help.  You need to be aware of what type of situation you are in.  Try making opportunities to build relationships first before you throw in the towel. 

October 14, 2018

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: Unexpected

No matter how much education, dedication, experience, skill, talent, or whatever element is within the artist's control....there are just as many variables that are out of the artist's control.  Even artists that have achieved a certain level of success seem not assume that they or their work are assured future success.  Opinions change. Tastes change. Audiences can be fickle. Though at times it can be an artist's own self deprecating nature, their is a certain amount of unexpectedness to success in our field.  All we can do is continue to push forward and be true in creating what is within us to create...not allowing the opinions of naysayers to influence our path. When the unexpected successes take place, we can humble receive them with a grateful heart. 

(This is a longer section of scripture...but I felt it important to share the whole passage.)  

Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through.  A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus;  he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy.  He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd.  So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.  When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, "Zacchaeus, come down immediately.  I must stay at your house today."  So he came down at once and welcomed him gladely.  All the people saw this and began to mutter, "He has gone to be the guest of a sinner."  But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, "Look, Lord!  Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated any body out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount."  Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, because this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham.  For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost."
Luke 19: 1-10  (NIV)

I love the story of Zacchaeus.  Zacchaeus's desire to see Jesus is so great that he climbs a tree in order to see him.  UNEXPECTED.  Jesus acknowledging Zacchaeus and tells him he was going to stay at his house.  UNEXPECTED.  Zacchaeus's response of giving back to those in need and those he had wronged.  UNEXPECTED.  Unfortunately, the only thing that isn't unexpected is the reaction of the people.  Their disdain for who Zacchaeus was and what he had done did not allow them to see the miracle that was occurring right in front of them.   They also lost sight in that moment that they too had been given grace for their own sins.   Zacchaeus's response was not contingent on how the people perceived him, but because of how the Lord meet him right where he was & loved him. All he could do was continue to push forward in this new life he had been given, and not allow the views of others to dissuade him from what God had called him to do.

Are we like Zacchaeus....doing whatever it takes to see Jesus?


Are we like the naysayers... grumbling & muttering because things aren't happening like we think they should?

October 12, 2018

COMING SOON: #turkeyaday18

I KNOW...I KNOW!!!!  It is just the first half of October....and those participating in #Inktober are creating AMAZING WORK!!!!!!!!!!  I just wanted to give you guys time to think about what you might do for #turkeyaday18 !!!!  The first year I based each day off of a different artist or work of art.  Last year I created in a different medium each day.  This year I'm going to.......well, you'll just have to wait and see!!!  I hope you'll consider participating.  It is always fun to see what other create...and this is a silly/no pressure challenge!!!   It will kick off Nov. 1st & run through the month! Join us every day...or as much as you can!! 

October 11, 2018

Pumpkin Color Blending: 2nd Grade

My second graders have been creating pumpkins focusing on color blending.  This is a great opportunity to review the color wheel & all those color terms that are applicable.  
I also love this lesson because I feel it pushes young artists to work on controlling their media.  Students at the elementary level are often very heavy handed, and giving them opportunities to work on this school is extremely valuable. 

October 10, 2018

Bulletin Board/Displays: Practicum Students Edition

As part of my MTSU practicum students' requirements....they had to create a bulletin board or display in my classroom.  I have to admit...it is challenging to come into someone else's room that has a vibe & try to make something that would fit within that teacher's style.  We talked about possible ideas, and I created a list for them of things I'd find useful in my classroom.  However, I did tell them if they had an idea....I was open to other possibilities.  I also let them know I might make changes to their boards/displays once they've left to better fit into my classroom.  This isn't to be mean, but I have to live in this space.....they were just visiting! ha ha
Here are what my practicum students created. 

Doing their best Vanna White impersonation!!!!

I really loved her poster...it is so sweet!! 

I had been working on a unit with my 1st graders about emotions.  
I love that I now have a poster to be a reminder for my students!!

I had a pre-existing board that needed changed out! (this is my super hero inspired ARTIST LEAGUE board) She found this amazing Brazilian artist(female & still alive!!) that I just love!!!!  Can't wait to create some lessons using Beatriz Milhazes as inspiration.

October 09, 2018

These are a few of my favorite things....

This month the Art Ed Blogger's Network is looking at favorite supplies for the art room!
This is a great topic for new teachers who are discovering supplies for the first time....and "seasoned" teachers who love to discover new/different supplies to incorporate into their lessons!  

I'm going to approach this from the non-consumable side of art room supplies....because I think my amazing peers are mostly addressed consumable. I feel my non-consumable items are equally as important for a smooth running classroom that maximizes the time we have together.  Some of the products/ideas may not work for you in your situation.  I understand.  I'm sharing from my perspective...and maybe...just maybe...you might apply/modify some of these things for your own situation.  Please also know I've taught in portables, on carts, in regular size classrooms, in amazing art rooms, inner city, suburbs, EL centers...so please ask if you have questions about adapting things...I might be able to help! 


Every table has a Sharpener Bowl.  I use the "disposable" lidded bowls you can find at any dollar store(usually 2 to 4 in a pack depending on brand).  After my 1st year of teaching, I realized my students were losing so much of their class time getting up and down to sharpen pencils. I also noticed behavior/noise issues were centered around the sharpener area.  I've heard a million times...."Well my students would just play with it at their table"  "I know my students would walk off with the sharpeners." ...etc   The fascination with them subsides quickly....it really is not an issue.  Also, I have had only a handful stolen over the 20 yrs I've been using this system.  The biggest problem is kids accidentally put them in the supply boxes. (And yes....the erasers stay on the table too....with little to no issues).


Each "every day" supply (crayons, markers, colored pencils, scissors) has a different color box.  I have one box for each table (14).  This makes passing out supplies & picking up supplies so much easier!  The boxes last around 3 yrs (give or take). I usually buy a couple extra of each color in case one breaks along the way.  They have a habit of changing colors/designs...so you can't always find the same ones in the stores from year to year.  I buy them during back to school sales when the prices are at their lowest.


I LOVE MY PLASTIC SHELVES!!!  They are light weight, easy to move, easy to store....AND CHEAP!!!  Sometimes you have a lot of supplies for a project that need easily accessed (sewing ugly dolls!!) & sometimes you have messy projects that need to dry (plaster strip projects/paper mache).  You can easily move these around your room for temporary storage & distribution centers.  When you are done with that type of project...move them to an out of the way location or take them apart for easy storage.  


If you have followed me for any time...you've seen this "hack".  I get flack for it by some who say it wastes too much space.  Well, you find a way to make things work if you like the way it helps you & your students be more effective & efficient.  I actually had shelves built in my room for the very purpose of holding these!  You could also do this as a temporary thing with the plastic white selves mentioned above.  The boxes store easy and really don't take up that much space.  As I said....you make things work if you find value in them.  And I find value in my yarn boxes!!!!  


Hope you found something in this post that sparked your interest....or gave you an idea for your own room!  
Have a great day!!

October 07, 2018

Sunday Devotional With Mr.E: Worry

Artists worry.  Artists worry about having enough money to afford creating.  Artists worry if they and their art will be understood.  Artists worry if they will find a venue and an audience for their work.  Artists worry if they are good enough.  Artists worry if they've sold out to be acceptable.  Artists worry.  I know that there are many that think artists are care free, go without in order to create, don't concern themselves with what others think, create for themselves unfettered by sales or acceptability by the main stream....etc.  However, worry does not improve any of these situations.  Concern can promote action that impacts for the artist's betterment.  Worry stiffles any real change that could benefit the artist in their pursuit of their passion. Worry defeats the worrier before failure has a chance to yield it's lesson.

Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?  Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?  Luke 12: 25-26t

Believers have reason to deny worry's place in their life, yet instead many seem to welcome worry like an old friend.  Why is this?  Do they not know the promises scripture repeats about God's care & provision for those that are his?  Do they not believe those promises are meant for them?  Have they never felt God's arms around them in the midst of their struggles, uncertainties, and pain?  In Luke we see the amazing reminder that worry does not add to our lives one single hour.  This is not a call to be reckless.  This is not permission to deny wisdom, wise counsel , reason, and intellectual application.  God gave us a brain!  He also gave us the opportunity for faith.  We can trust him.  We can lay our worries at his feet and walk with freedom and purpose in each and every situation.  Worry is real, but does not have to be our reality when we walk with the Lord.

October 05, 2018


When we rewrote the Scope & Sequence for the Elementary Visual Art Educators....we wanted to embrace our new state standards we were implementing(I was on both teams.).  One component that was lacking from our last Scope & Sequence was collaborative projects.  Now most teachers will do one or two collaborative "type" lessons during the year.  We really wanted to up our game though, and give our students an opportunity to work with one another in a real & meaningful way....in the spirit of true art making.  

There is a lot left to interpretation in the Scope & Sequence because we want teachers to embrace their strengths and do what is most meaningful for their group of students.   

Here is what I'm doing with my 3rd & 4th Graders.  
I'll keep you posted as we move forward with this project!

  • I selected the groups.  Some may want their students to choose, but my students don't always make the wisest choices....and with attempting this project...I wanted to avoid possible issues.
  • Students share theme ideas & try to make connections between their various themes.  They had to select one theme that they all had to be able to agree upon. (This was easier for some classes than others!)
  • Students had to agree upon a medium. (Once again...this was easier for some classes than others!!)
  • Each individual artist had to write 3 to 6 sentences sharing how they were going to use the theme in their work.
  • Individual artists had to create 2 to 4 sketches of possible ideas for their project.  
I walked around the room and meet with the groups as they were planning.  We discussed their themes & I mediated for several groups that just could not agree.  Most of the time it was a very simple "fix" for them to all agree!  They just couldn't see past their own ideas to connect with their group.  

I'm very excited to see where this lesson takes us!! 

October 03, 2018

Nashville Art Educator Exhibition 2018

Here are some of the works that appeared in the exhibition that opened last night at Nashville State Community College.  There were about 30 visual art teachers (of our almost 150) that participated.  I hope that the event will continue to grow and more teachers will participate in the years to come.