October 14, 2021

Just a friendly reminder...

 I decided to place a mask on the mannequin head in my classroom, and see how long it took for my students to notice!! Every class there was one(or more) that noticed the change right away. Now I want to start making little changes around my classroom to see just how observant they are! Haha 

October 13, 2021

Vinyl From Dollar Tree

 My classroom is right outside the 3rd/4th grade bathrooms. Besides being a stinky location...it is high traffic. Students in the hall look in my room like they are visiting the aquarium. It can be extremely distracting at times. I didn't want to completely cover the window, but just break up the area so my students don't notice the students looking in because the visual noise. I found vinyl at Dollar Tree, and thought I'd try that out! It isn't the thickest sheet, but for my needs it is totally fine. I know a lot of people use vinyl with their Cricuts, but I'm curious for what other purposes I could use it for in my classroom! 

October 09, 2021

Full Circle

 This is Ms. Baker. She finished up her elementary practicum this past week. I've had many practicum students over the years, but Ms. Baker is not an ordinary practicum student!! She was actually my student when she was in 1st grade!!  I'm hoping she'll be back for her student teaching placement!!! 

October 07, 2021

Creative Fun From Our Librarian!

Our wonderful school librarian is encouraging creativity & I'm here for it!!! She challenged the faculty/staff to decorate a pumpkin like one of their favorite book characters. I made mine from tag board and cardstock (some people are using real pumpkins & others plastic. I love the Pout Pout Fish books. So this was an easy choice for me! I love things like this that bring our faculty together in creative ways. Maybe you can encourage your teachers/staff to do it as well? Ours are on display for the month of Oct, but you could just do it for a week.

October 05, 2021

Kev Munday Inspired

If you are not familiar with the work of Kev Munday.....please check out this link! 


October 03, 2021

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: Model Encouragement

Encouragement is such an important part of my job as an art educator.  Though you have to give students honest feedback to help them to grow/improve....you must be careful to do it in a way that will not cause them to become discouraged.  Discouragement is often the reason people stop pursing artistic endeavors (visual, music, writing, and performing). There are times that this can be challenging.  We don't want to lie. We don't want to overly inflate elements of the work that truly need greater attention and exploration.  The encouragement needs to be directed toward the artist. 

 "I really like the ideas you're sharing through your work." 
"Your perspective is unique and special."
"I love the effort I see you are putting into that project."
"You are making interesting choices."

Your goal is to build up the artist.  When they feel valued, encouraged, and cared about you are able to address the parts of their work that needs extra attention, without discouraging them.  It does no good to tear down an artist to the point that they feel they are no longer unable to to improve upon their work or doubt their skills.  The goal is to impower students to create & improve upon their creations.  

A beautiful side effect to actively encourage the artists in my classroom is having students begin speaking words of encouragement to their peers.  They may mention something about their work, but often it is directed toward the artist and their efforts & ideas.  Though many are natural encouragers, modeling this behavior to our students will build a foundation of encouragement in their lives. 

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
1 Thessalonians 5:11

EVERYONE is in need of encouragement. It seems to have become a lost "art".  Words of affirmation, admiration, and appreciation are greatly lacking. This is not only in "the world", but within the church and amongst believers.  Our world has become obsessed with negativity. Spewing hate, hurling insults, and divisiveness creates a toxic environment where no one wins. People feel more disconnected, dissatisfied, and disenchanted. Growth & progress are hard to come by in such an environment.  Love, kindness, connection, and encouragement are needed so desperately.  

As believers, we must live differently. We have been called to be & do not as the "world".  We need to look at situations & individuals through the eyes of Christ. Our response should be one of love & compassion.  Encouragement should flow from the core of who we are because what the Lord has done for us.  If we do not see it happening in our own life, we must make a conceited effort to make it happen. If we do not see it in the lives of those around us...we need to model encouragement to others through a genuine heart for the people God has placed around us.  If we don't "feel" it, ask God to give you a deeper appreciation for those around you.  Ask him to let you see their gifts, talents, and skills, and their past, present, and potential impact.  As we become more purposeful about encouraging others...the behavior will become a habit.  This habit will be noticed and begin impacting those around you. Can you image your circle of friends/family/coworkers all encouraging and appreciating those around them. How would that impact individuals, groups, and communities? 

September 26, 2021

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: Old & New

Many artists are inspired by the things of "their" past or the things of "the" past. Events, both good and bad, can yield amazing inspiration.  It can provide content and context for amazing artistic endeavors.  There is a "comfort" and working from what has already taken place. Ideas, symbols, mood, individuals, circumstances, and even color can be already prescribed and easily adapted.  Others artists live for invention and innovation.  The new excites them, and they want little to do with things of old.  It could be that that they don't want to be accused of doing what has already been done, they have a deep desire for what is to come, or that "their" past  or "the" past is not something that they wish to explore or exploit through their work. Whatever the case might be, the challenge of creating something new is stepping into the unknown boldly.

I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your wonders of old.

Psalm 77:11

See, I am doing a new thing!  Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?  I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. 

Isaiah 43:19

Reflecting on the past can be both painful and empowering.  Many have experienced traumatic events (even within the church) that changed the course of their lives. Though this is understandably painful, so many find strength and mission through the overcoming.  God is able to redeem our struggles, and helps us to flourish despite our past pain.  Some use these experiences to connect with others in similar situations, and help them to process through the past & find peace in the present. The past also allows us to see when God met us where we were.  Seeing his faithfulness allows us to approach new situations knowing he is there.

As much as the past can guide us in our present and future....God often wants to do a "new thing" in our life.  This too requires us to trust in him.  We know that when he guides us in new circumstances that he will provide a way.  When we find ourselves outside of our comfort zones, we find ourselves before our God in a new way.  We can no longer rest on what we know.  We must rest in the arms of our Lord.  

In the old & the new....God is there. 

September 22, 2021

Anything interesting happen at school today?

 Oh...there was that one thing at bus dismissal. 

I've been at my school for 21 years.  This was a first!!! ha ha  
We think it is a TN River Otter. We are a good mile & a half from the river, but there are streams near our school.  

September 21, 2021

Inspired by Kev Munday

It has been challenging to record YouTube videos this school year! Lots of reasons, but I won't go into all that in this post!  If you have not looked at the work of Kev Munday...please check him out! 
My students LOVE his art. 
This project is great for reinforcing overlapping, theme, and host of other concepts in art! 

September 19, 2021

Sunday Devotional With Mr.E: Don't "Brush" It Off

 Most painters rely on traditional tools to create their masterpieces. Brushes are crucial tool for a majority of painters. The size, style, and quality of brush are of paramount importance.  However, brush maintenance is also a crucial element to a successful painting.  If you do not take care of your brushes, you will shorten their usefulness & life expectancy.  Allowing paint to dry can create an unbending non receptive surface for paint to transfer to or from. Paint brushes left to soak to long can begin to loosen the hairs and cause shedding to occur. It can also ruin the finish on the handle of the brush which makes it extremely uncomfortable to use. Improper storage of one's brushes can cause the bristles to bend in a way that causes great difficulty.   An artist knows that to be their best they must not neglect the "house keeping" aspect of their craft. It cannot be "brushed off".

All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.  
2 Timothy 3: 16-17

With all my heart I have sought You: Do not let me wander from Your commandments.
Your word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against you.
Psalm 119: 10-11

Believers can become neglectful of important "disciplines".  Some believers may just not like "disciplines" of faith because they feel too much like work.  However, if we neglect reading God's Word, praying, fellowship with other believers....we are setting ourselves up for a life that does not have the power, impact, or the vibrancy God intended.  Like the ridged bristles of a brush that has not properly been cleaned....we become ineffective in our faith.  We are not able to be used by God as he designed us to be.   Even though discipline may feel like work at times, you quickly realize the importance, impact, and joy faithfully seeking God out in His Word, through prayer, or even having a mentor relationship can bring to your life.  Like the artist knows they must be disciplined in cleaning their brushes to be able to use them to their full potential...so the believer must know that Christian discipline allows them to live out their life of faith to its full potential. 

Do you want to learn more about Christian Disciplines & deepening your walk with the Lord?
Check out Celebrations of Discipline by Richard Foster & 
Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life by Donald Whitney. 

September 17, 2021

Scarecrows At Cheekwood: Nevelson

Cheekwood's annual scarecrow display is now up!!  If you are in the Nashville area...stop by and check them out. I'm hoping it lasts.  We've been getting a lot of rain in Middle TN, and it seems like that might continue for a few days.  Though I painted it, tapped it, glued it, and top coated it with quality product...at the core it is still cardboard! The other one beside mine is my best bud's scarecrow. We decided to be inspired by the same artist (Nevelson), and are playing tug-of-war. 

 Here is what we contributed to the event! 


September 16, 2021

Staff Fall Paint Night

It has been 2 years since we had a faculty/staff paint night at my school.  I had cellulitis, we had a tornado, a global pandemic...lots of things kind of got in the way!  One thing I knew...we had to bring paint night back!!! It is such a wonderful time for faculty/staff to enjoy one another's company, decompress, laugh, and a whole lot more!!  I have my teacher donate a couple dollars and I furnish all all the paint and canvases.  I create stencils (this year with the help of my practicum students) that allow those a little less confident with their drawing skills to feel successful.  I encourage everyone to do their own thing, and I float around the room and help them if they run into trouble.  We have hair drier stations set up so that they can do a quick dry to get to their next layer.  If you aren't doing paint nights at your school...think about giving it a try!  It really allows others to see you as an art educator...in a new light! 

Ms. King was so proud of her beautiful painting!! She has always come to the paint nights but struggled to finish her work and get it to a place that she really loved.  This was her paint night though...she finished her work and it was wonderful!!! 


September 13, 2021

Louise Nevelson Scarecrow

 Have my students working on a Louise Nevelson inspired scarecrow that will be on display at Cheekwood! Praying my "construction" skills will be good enough to have it last for a month or two in the elements!! We are gessoing it, spray painting it, and polyurethaning it. Hopefully that will be enough. 

September 12, 2021

Sunday Devotional With Mr. E: Without Words

A work of art can tell a story that a book could never contain.  I have stared into a painting and felt like I was not only experiencing the moments being captured, but the back story that led to those moments. I've also returned to a work, and gained new insight & felt as if I had discovered more of the story that I thought I already knew.  I've pondered how time "dealt" with the subject within a given work, and what happened next.  It is also interesting how a work of art can bring peace to one, but challenge another.  It is a beautiful thing when art speaks to the heart...right where that person is at in their journey.  Without words... art can speak volumes to those who are willing to spend time in it's presence. 

The heavens declare the glory of God;
    the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
 Day after day they pour forth speech;
    night after night they reveal knowledge.
 They have no speech, they use no words;
    no sound is heard from them.
Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,

    their words to the ends of the world.
In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun

Psalm 19: 1-4

There are times in our life when we feel distant from God.  

There are times where we wonder if he is still there.  





What do we do when we feel like God is not there?  We acknowledge it! We tell him how we are feeling.  Once we've said all we have in our hearts to say.....we close our mouths & open our eyes.  We look to see God at work around us.  If we are struggling to see that....we look to nature (Which has always found a way to praise the Lord).  The Earth still spins.  The Sun still shines. The stars are still in the sky.  The moon still lends its reflection to show us the way in the night. Birds take flight.  Flowers dance in the breeze. God is still there.  We see his handy work. We see the master artist who took so much care in creation...surely he still cares for me and the things that concern my heart.  Without words...God speaks to me through his creation.  He reassures me he is still God, he is still on the throne, he is still in control....and he still cares for me. Without words...he reminds me my story continues and he is not done working in & through me. 

September 09, 2021

The Be(e) Mirrors

I found these great mirrors at Dollar Tree, and knew I had to use them in my class.  Students face the mirrors when they line up at the end my class. We've talked about what each one means, and what it looks like in the art room.  I hope that it is a good reminder to them each time they line up to leave and see themselves in the mirrors! 


September 05, 2021

Dollar Tree Find!!

 At my local Dollar Tree, I saw the 24 packs of  skin color crayons! That is better than most places I've seen. I don't know if they'll be in your area, but it's worth a check!

August 30, 2021

Projects This Rotation: K-4

In some previous posts I titled it Projects This Week/Lessons This Week, but that wasn't exactly right.  Our special area schedule is on a 4 day rotation. There are only 4 related arts teachers utilized in our schedule (library & guidance is not in our rotation). So 4 of our 5 grade levels are split 1 1/4 classes.  So every 4 days I have to have new lessons.  Anyways...if anyone is a regular reader, I didn't want you to be confused by my posts. 

Working on "I CAN USE SHAPES TO MAKE ALL KINDS OF THINGS"!!  We read another Pout Pout fish book to get us started (the kids love them!!), and then I showed them how to draw a variety of sea creatures using basic shapes. They are allowed to create their underwater world however they want.  After giving them drawing time...I showed them proper marker use!  

Last rotation we went over LANDSCAPES, and talked about foreground, middle ground, and background.  This rotation we're looking at cityscapes, and creating some colorful pictures using marker.  They could make a futuristic city, old crumbling city, or however they wanted as long as they had a foreground, middle ground, and background. I reviewed proper marker use with this group as well.  

We are continuing on with our collage landscapes.  Last rotation we focused on full covered of the sky & ground.  This week we are adding in our details. They could add animals, make it a farm scene, add a cabin, have people camping....however they wanted.  We also talked about how size & overlapping help show depth in a landscape.  

Last rotation we worked on basic watercolor techniques & vocabulary.  This week we looked at variety of fish, watched a video of fish swimming (I wanted them to know how a fish works, because though you might think you know...it never hurts to see them doing their thing, & students created our own (or imaginary fish if they wanted to go in a unique direction.  The students worked on layering color, wet on wet, and wet on dry.  We are going to spend another class time on them to finish them up!  

August 29, 2021

Sunday Devotional With Mr.E: Different & Specific

This past week I was painting with my 3rd and 4th graders.  As I was doing a quick demonstration of the day's project, I told them that I'd be providing them a variety of brushes, and that they should use the right brush for the job.   As I walked around the room, I had to remind them that I had given them a variety of brushes, and that they should use the big brush for big spaces, medium brush for medium spaces, and the small brushes for small/thin/detailed spaces. After saying the same thing to several students, I asked the class to stop what they were doing and give me their attention.  I went to my document camera and pulled the brushes from my water cup to show the students exactly what they had.  I then showed the class why, how, and where I'd use each of the brushes.  Each brush served a different & specific purpose that was important in the creation of their paintings.  Without them... it would be more challenging and less effective.  Knowing the purpose and practice of the different brushes will yield a stronger work of art. 

 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach;  if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.

Romans 12: 6-10

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.

1 Peter 4:10

There are times that we do not realize or embrace how God has wired us.  We may look at others and feel they are truly serving God, but feel we have little to offer.  Each of us has been given gifts/talents/skills that the Lord desires to see used for his glory & to minister to/serve others. Our gifts are different & specific.  This is for a reason.  The body of believers is meant to work together to fulfill what the Lord has give us to accomplish.  Each has a beautiful and unique contribution.  Like the brushes I gave my students, one brush could be used to create the entire painting, but it would not be very effective.  The painting would suffer because of it.  We are all different. We have different personalities, skill sets, strengths, passions...just as God designed us.  We have a specific purpose in God's plan.  It may not look the same as mine.  It might not look like anything you've seen before.  THAT'S OK.  As we seek God...to know him & serve him...we will see more of who we are meant to be.  As we grow in this,  we will grow in the confidence of who he has created us to be.

August 27, 2021

How Did Your Week Go??

 A local pool and spa business has a giant inflatable duck for advertising. We call him duck-duck. As I came over the hill on my way home today from school, I saw duck-duck and realized he was the perfect expression of how I was feeling from a very long long week! Thank you duck-duck for speaking for me when I had no words!

Also friends...can we please be about the business of encouraging and building one another up?  We will not always agree on everything, and that is ok.  We need to support, celebrate, and encourage each other to continue reaching students through arty goodness!!  

August 26, 2021

Learning Loss in the Visual Arts?


 Hello Friends!  I'm very curious to hear about what you are seeing & what you are doing in light of "learning loss" that has happened during the pandemic/virtual learning.    I know that it will be different everywhere because our situations are different.  I feel we need to be having these conversations so we can help one another as we navigate these waters! 

 Some students have not been in the building since the beginning of March 2020, and we had about a third of our population remaining virtual the entire 2020-2021 school year.  One of the first things I noticed once students were back in my room was that they have forgotten how to be together & how to work together.  This is going to take time.  We have to be patient with our students as they reacclimate to school life. Those of us who taught virtually know that not all the students were not always in environments conducive to learning.  Plus, they were often without social interaction with peers. A classroom teacher and I were talking about this, and felt that  if we could help them get back in the rhythm of school....that the learning would jump by leaps and bounds.  I truly believe this.

That being said, we are charged with educating our students.  We need to provide activities that meet our students where they are at, and not where they "should" be in a "normal" school year.  Now, many would say this should be what we do all the time, and to a point...I agree.  However, we all know that there is some expectations that we have of what students can do by certain points based on age/grade.  I know that many of my students did not have access to  art supplies (even though I made art supplies available at different points while virtual).    Lack of exposure/experience does cause us to reevaluate what we are teaching, how we are teaching, and when we are teaching.  There may be a project I LOVE doing with third grade.  It isn't that I can't do that project with them, but I may need to provide some projects that will lead them into that project so they are better prepared for the media, concept, and/or technique. I want them to be successful & feel confident in their work.  It might just take some time to "warm up" to those big heavy hitter projects we love so much!!  Also, consider how you can break a project down so the students can be more successful.  I usually do a landscape collage with my 1st graders.  However, they have had little opportunity to create collage, use scissors, and learn how to successfully apply liquid glue.  To throw them into the project like "normal" would not provide the best experience for them to be successful.  So I broke it down.  On day one I show the students examples of different landscapes, reintroduced the idea of foreground, middle ground, and background, and then had them create the "base" of their landscapes.  The base was a blue sky (unless they wanted to do sunset...had a few of those) & a couple different greens to create the ground.  They had to completely cover the picture starting with the sky color first.  The next class time students will be adding their details (trees, rivers, ponds, buildings, plants, animals, clouds..etc).  This will yield a better/successful result. I really want my students to feel confident in what and how they are creating!  

Most of all....your students need YOU!!!  They need your smile.  They need your encouragement. They need to feel safe.  They need our boundaries.  They need our expectations. We provide so much for our students that is not factored into testing/GPA's & such. They need us to gain back what they have lost. 

August 23, 2021

This Week In Art K-4

I love doing a fish unit with Kindergarten!!  It is a great way to review shapes and explore all the different media (crayons, markers, paint..etc).  I always read The Pout Pout Fish Books!! 

Landscapes with 1st!  Upping the expectation that students have a Foreground/Middle Ground/Background in the work.  In Kindergarten it was enough for their to be a Foreground/Background.  I use 3 lines to start the drawing & then let them build on it from there. 

Landscapes for 2nd Grade, but they did theirs in collage.  If you do attempt this...don't be surprised if it is a bit of a struggle.  I try to get my students to lay down the base (sky, hills, middle ground, foreground) before they add the details into their landscape.  With all the virtual and such that happened over the past 2 yrs....we will revisit this lesson later on to give them another chance at success!

3rd & 4th get some practice with watercolor.  A majority of my students did not have watercolor at home.  We are really starting a square one, and that is totally fine!!  I want to build my students up so they can have success in their future paintings.  They really did enjoy getting to paint...even if it was just an exercise!