September 29, 2019

Sunday Devotional With Mr.E: No Excuses

Even though I had amazing training during my university experience....even though I've been teaching for a LONG time....even though I'm confident in myself as an educator....there are things I avoid teaching.  There are supplies that are extremely messy and challenging to control in the hands of young artists.  There are processes that have multiple layers that can challenge the constraints of a once a week class of 20+ students. There are things I'm just not good at ( or think I'm not good ).  I'm full of excuses for my avoidance of things in my classroom.  One of which is origami.  I have struggled in the past with creating anything through paper folding.  I convinced myself I just couldn't do it.  I also convinced myself that it would just be too challenging for my students. This made me feel better about my excuses.  Then I watched my practicum student teach an origami lesson.  I watched my students "get it", and their excitement for this form of creating.  My excuses didn't seem to hold up as well as I once convinced myself.  So the next following day I decided I would put aside my excuses, and I would try something I personally had great fear and apprehension about.  I told my students I was nervous about the project, and that we would be learning together. You know what?  It was so much fun!  The students loved it.  I loved it.  Why had I been so afraid?  It is amazing what we can't do when we convince ourselves that we are unable.  

Moses said to the Lord, "Pardon your servant, Lord.  I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue."  The Lord said to him, "Who gave human beings their mouths?  Who makes them deaf or mute?  Who gives them sight or makes them blind?  Is it not I, the Lord? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say."  Exodus 4: 10-12

So often we think of Moses as ....MOSES: AMAZING SERVANT OF GOD & RESCUER OF THE ISRAELITES.  However, if you were to read Exodus 3 & 4 you would see just how many times Moses tried to make excuses for why he couldn't do what God was asking of him.  I had a flannel graph image of what the Burning Bush experience was like when I was a child.  God speaks through a burning bush to Moses.  Moses says, "Yes God!" Then Moses heads off to free the Israelites.  However, this is not what happened.  Moses basically told God why he couldn't do what was being asked of him....several times over!  This makes me feel a bit better that one of the heavy hitters of scripture actually struggled with doubt.  God doesn't call the perfect (They don't exist!).  God doesn't call the pretty ok (They don't really exist either!).  No, God calls you, me, and Moses....the messed up, under qualified, and excuse makers.  It is in God & God alone that we have the ability to do what he asks of us.  He wants us to be available...not overly qualified.  He will equip.  He will empower.  He will guide.  He will be there with us no matter what.  We can not let fear of being "less" keep us from moving forward in our faith journey.  He loves us perfectly in our imperfection.  He wants to see us step out in faith & trust Him. 

Do you hold back in stepping out in faith because of doubt? Is there something in your life that you need to trust God with and stop trying to live it out in your own strength? 

September 28, 2019


So I repurposed the students beginning of the year project into a large bulletin board & seven large frames we have hanging in our main hallway. The kids are "rediscovering" their faces they created!! It has been a great seeing their excitement. 

If you haven't seen my post on this project...check the link below! 

September 26, 2019

Inspired by My Practicum Students

I am not an origami person.  I've done "some" in the past, but have never taught an origami lesson to my students because I never felt it was my "thing".  One of my practicum students this semester asked if she could teach an origami lesson.  I told her to have at it, because it was something I never did with them.  I watched her teach the lesson to two second grade classes, and they LOVED it!!!  So I decided I'd go ahead and teach my other second grade classes her lesson.  

I HAD SO MUCH FUN!!!!  Now I'm not saying I'm now some origami master, but I think I might try to include some origami into my curriculum!

September 22, 2019

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: GIFT

Our schedule this school year has me seeing all my classes once a week except for two.  I have one 2nd Grade & one 4th Grade twice a week.  This creates a dilemma of what to do with  the "extra" day.  I decided that we'd use this time to create art that would be gifted to the school (collaborative projects to beautify the building), to elderly in our community, and possibly area hospitals. Once I shared this idea with my students, they were excited to use their art to brighten the days of others. Sometimes students are very possessive of their creations, and you never know how they will respond to "giving" their work away.  I actually feel their more excited to create for others than for themselves.  I hope they will carry this with them throughout their life. 

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God's grace in its various forms.  If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God.  If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.  To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen. 
1 Peter 4:10-11

We all  have gifts, talents, and skills that can used to minister to & serve others. Sometimes we become possessive of our time, talent, and finances.  It is not always intentional.  Life is busy.  Life can be challenging.  We get so inwardly focused at times that we neglect to look up and see the needs around us.  This is something that Jesus NEVER did.  He had his eyes & heart focused on the world around him.  He saw not only their basic needs in life (food, finances, health..etc), but he saw their hearts' need for a Lord & Savior. He met people where they were & ministered to their needs. This is the life he has called us all to as well.  We must freely give our gifts with a gracious and loving heart in order to be the people God has called us to be.  It is not an is an opportunity to be Jesus to the world around us! 

September 16, 2019

Under The Sea Collage: 3rd Grade

3rd Grade created under water landscapes in collage this past week.  I was really excited by some of the ideas the kids came up with .  I do see a need for my students to be cutting & gluing more though.  There were many kids that seemed to still be struggling with the fine motor skills needed for such projects (and beyond).  Here are some of the awesome works students created!

September 15, 2019

Sunday Devotional With Mr.E: Building Up

I believe it is my honor, privilege, and responsibility to help encourage and develop present and future art educators. In no way do I feel like I have "arrived" as an art educator, and have some "right" to bestow my knowledge.  I do believe that I'm a fellow traveler on a unique path that has been down the road a ways.  Because of this I can share my experiences...both successes & failures.  By doing so, I grow through my personal reflection that is required in order to share with others.  I gain new insight into my own teaching through watching others teach. Those who I'm blessed to work with bring their own strengths and knowledge that I learn a great deal from.  I also see these relationships as a way to have a greater impact in art education.  Building up other art educators allows them to reach their communities in a more powerful way. We take with us those who have invested in us, and they are a part of our investment in others. 

How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in?  And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard?  And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?  And how can anyone preach unless they are sent?  As it is written: "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!"  Romans 10: 14-15

Our faith is often spoken of as a walk or a journey.  While we "travel" down this path....we encounter those who are building up our faith through sharing their journey with us. They share both their successes and their failures.  They encourage us, challenge us, and call us out on our "stuff" when necessary.  At one point...they too were in a similar place in their journey and someone invested into their life.  It is a cycle of giving that does not come from a place of obligation, but a place of appreciation for those who impacted their and the power of transformation that happened because of it.  As we walk down this path...we too will have the opportunity for building up others. DO IT.  Don't wait till your stronger, more faithful, more grace filled, more merciful,  or more giving.  Share where you are & what you have to share.  Remember the boy with the bread and fish....and what the Lord did with that!!!  We will never "arrive" this side of glory....give what you have while you have the time to give it.  Trust are impact the world around you! 

September 13, 2019


International Dot Day is Sept 15th "ish"....but since it falls on a Sunday this was our target day for finishing our large collaborative project. I decided we'd try to do something a little different with our project.  In the past we've done flat 2-D dot projects...which were awesome, but were very similar to the rest of the world's dot projects. I wanted to create something "different".  So using a foam structure as our base....the fun began!  Students(K-4th) each created a monochromatic "dot".  We talked about value...using pressure to create lights & darks... and we talked about patterns & designs.  That is a whole lot of info/skills in a single dot!! With the help of my amazing practicum students....we hot clued wire on the back of the dots.  I wanted to be able position the dots & have them at different lengths.  I had some students help with placing dots & determining which colors we were in need (observation & counting of dots yet to be placed)

This is in the front of our school as you walk in!!  Everyone will get to see & admire the dots!!
I love watching the kids try to find theirs!!

I'll try to get more close-ups next week!

September 12, 2019

Still Life: 4th Grade

I have so many new students at my school this year that I was really wanting to see where their drawing skills were.  My kids have always loved picking "fruits & vegetables" from my stash of still life we went that direction for this first observational drawing.  I was pleasantly surprised by the skill they displayed! Check out their work.

September 10, 2019

Turtle Collage: Kindergarten

There was a time...long long ago...that kindergarten students had a good working knowledge of using scissors & liquid glue.  Those days are no more, and it is up to us as SUPER ART EDUCATORS to teach our youngest artists how to use these tools of the trade.  As a way of introducing new media & tools, I keep the kinder-artists' projects very simple.  Sticking with simple shapes, and not giving them unlimited choices of paper will allow for you keep the main thing the main thing!! 

For scissors I teach my kids to play follow the leader.  The scissors are the leader....and their other hand follows behind hold thing paper as they cut.  The leader is always in front & the other hand never gets in the leader's way.  For glue I do the ever popular....DOT DOT NOT A LOT!  I also teach my students that the orange part of the bottle ALWAYS touches the paper when they apply glue.  I also teach them to scribble scrabble the glue out once they've done the dots so it is a thin & spread out layer of glue.  YOU WILL ALWAYS....ALWAYS....have those students that you need to reposition their hands holding their scissors.  YOU WILL ALWAYS.....ALWAYS.....have students that use too much glue.  That is life as an elementary SUPER ART EDUCATOR!!!  They will get it...eventually.  


September 08, 2019

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: HEAT

Heat is a funny thing in art.  There are many situations where heat is a good thing & necessary for the specific processes to actually come to fruition.  Glass, clay, bronze casting, enameling, and a host of other art forms would not exist without extreme heat.  However, heat (and lack there of) can also destroy some materials, change the consistency of the supplies, or cause stress on a work because rapid drying or cooling.  There has to be a familiarity with the media and how heat will impact it.  This knowledge will allow you to avoid temperature fluctuations that can delay, derail, or destroy your art making.  It is just another facet of what an artist must consider as they communicate through their creating.  

But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's Power may rest on me.  That is why for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.  2 Corinthians 12:9-10

We get stressed.  We feel pressure.  We fall short.  Life has a way of turning up the heat on us.  Some seem to thrive when this happens.  Even if they "get burned", they seem to have an amazing resilience that allows them to bounce back quickly.  Others crumble when the struggles of life present themselves.  This is not a judgement call on any particular struggle. We all deal with things  in different ways.  Like heat...what seems like nothing for one, could ruin another. However, we must have an understanding of both our situation and where our strength comes from to be able to get through it.  Sometimes we deny that there is a struggle.  If we do not acknowledge the difficulties we face...we deny God the opportunity to be the Father, provider, and healer he wants to be in our life.  We must be real with what we are going through.  This is not just for our own sake.  Christians are too often characterized as hypocrites because we are unwilling to admit our pain, mistakes, and our struggles.  If we can confess our weakness to God and the world....we can begin to see his grace meet our needs & work through us to reach those he has placed in our path.  

September 06, 2019


Who is participating in Dot Day?!? 
My students really enjoyed doing a collaborative project around The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds, and that they were creating something for it along with thousands of other children from around the world!! When I told them we were going to do it again this year...they were all in!!  

Here is a sneak peek ...stay tuned for the final project next Friday!!  

September 01, 2019

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: Impact

Art has the amazing ability to impact viewers.  This impact can be revolutionary, enlightening,  a gentle reminder, absurdity, shock, or deeply emotional (as well as a host of other responses).  Achieving this can be accomplished in a number of ways.  The content of the work is often the greatest conduit. However, artists employee a host of other "tools" to create impact and leave a lasting impression on their audience.  Size, color, contrast, proportion, and so much more impact how work is perceived. I think of Color Field paintings which appear to be canvases of limited or even single color palettes, but evoke deep felt responses. This is often due to the sheer size of some of these works.  While other work my impact us because of connections we make with it to our own life.  No matter the reason, the impact of art is real & often personal. 

But Ruth replied, " Don't urge me to leave you or to turn back from you.  Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay.  Your people will be my people and your God my God.  Ruth 1:16

I love the book of Ruth. It is such an amazing depiction of love, loyalty, and the power of personal impact. We are not given a great deal of information on the relationship Naomi had with her daughter-in-law, Ruth. However, we do know that Ruth is willing to give up everyone and everything she knows from her homeland to stay by Naomi's side. To me, this is the result of the personal impact Naomi had on Ruth's life. If you have not read the book of Ruth...take some time and do so. Not to give away the ending....but Ruth is the great great great great great great (I'm not really sure how many "greats" it is) grandmother of Jesus! So Naomi's relationship with Ruth had a direct impact on our faith journey as well!

How do you view your relationships? Family, friends, co-workers, or even strangers...what impact does your relationship with those around you have? Are you a gentle reminder? Are you shocking? Are you enlightening? Are you familiarity in a world that seems less familiar each day?  Are people drawn to you? Do they feel safe with you? Are they inspired by you? Will the impact you make on others' lives make a difference for the better?

Time to look in the mirror and ask yourself....