April 30, 2012


So I'm preparing for some blank walls that will hopefully be in my future.
I have seen so many inspiring things (via pinterest) that could go on blank walls.
Not gonna lie.
This next craft was a little time consuming and costly.
But worth it in the end.
Pick out many photos that you like. 
Mine consisted of friend portraits, family portraits, self-portraits, artsy photos and landscapes. All pictures I have accumulated in the last few years.
Once you have the photos keep them in a file on your desktop.
Time for editing.
Now that Picnik is dead. My favorite spot is PicMonkey for quick edits.
Edit all the photos to your liking.
Time for Photoshop.
Note: I thought I could find a store that would print single photos at 4x3. Wrong. They only print doubles in wallet size. 
So now I ventured to Photoshop to get two 4x3 photos on a 4x6.
Open up a new background at 300 resolution and sized at 4x6.
You will need to do this twice, one for vertical photos and one for horizontal.
Use your ruler guidelines to divide it in half.
Open the two photos you want to use.
Use the Move Tool to drag that photo onto this background.
The photo you drag over will more than likely be too big.
Go to Edit, Transform, Scale and size it to the correct size.
Do this process with both photos.
Save your 4x6 as a jpeg.
Do this with all the photos. Upload all jpegs to a store that prints photos (like Walmart).
Once you get the photos printed, cut them in half. You now have wallet size photos.
Organize into vertical and horizontal pictures.
Buy some over-sized frames at 50% off! Hobby Lobby! Take the collage matte out the frame on the right.
Use the back of the poster already in the frame as your background.
Utilize mounting squares and a ruler to lay out your photos.
I did all horizontal photos in one frame (it held 50) and vertical in the other.
I wish the final picture didn't have to be blurry, but I'm still a bit of a mystery.
You get the picture though. Literally.

April 27, 2012

Line Landscapes

I pinned an idea like this sometime over the last few months.
I thought I would implement it next year but something overcame my lesson plan book---
---4 weeks left!
I literally starred at my plan book for 30 minutes today trying to figure out what to teach and when to teach and how to deal with the 9283592 interruptions that always happen in May.
I decided to try out this lesson for second grade because I didn't think it would take much time.
I was right.
I probably could have had them finished in one class period, but I drug it out by taking them outside to view a real landscape and by showing them time lapse videos of landscapes.
The concepts for this project:
Warm and cool color families
Line Movement and Line variety
Perspective (size)
I let them choose a horizontal or vertical landscape.
I let them choose where their landscape was located.
Pretty impressive work for my "almost 3rd graders".

April 26, 2012

612 classes later

Welcome to Fine Arts Night
My wonderful fourth graders helped me out by creating an advertisement outside our school for FAN.

This was my big surprise which I already did a post about. (see here)
It was a big hit! It worked as a great backdrop because band and strings performed their songs right in front of it.

It was a great night.
Now on to the end of another school year.

April 18, 2012


American Regionalism
I came up with this lesson for two reasons:
1) Fourth graders needed to learn about American Regionalists
2) I needed an easy and fun lesson to do while dealing with the stress of FAN (Fine Arts Night).

Loved the results.
1. Do a sketch on a small piece of paper - scale it to a larger size  (12 x18)
2. Use black glue to to outline all your lines
---Black Glue (Elmers and Black Tempera - you can make other colors too!)
3. Let dry
4. Use chalk and a tissue to blend colors
It only took two classes (60 minutes each)
They loved it too!

April 17, 2012

Fine Arts Night Surprise

I knew what the big surprise was going to be at Fine Arts Night after seeing this.
So for about the last 3 months whenever a class finished a project early, we would work on making our own portrait.
Each student got a 6 x 6 piece of white construction paper.
Each table got a basket filled with tints and shades of one color. (crayons, markers, colored pencils)
Assignment: draw yourself, try and leave no white space.
I didn't have kindergarten do this project because they were already doing portraits (see here)
Fifth graders were given the task to create intermediate portraits. I used their portraits to make transitions from one color to the next.
I didn't want one long piece of black craft paper, so I divided it up into sections.
When I reached the end of one paper I left a tab at the end. Then I would begin on the edge of the next paper. I used Elmer's glue to tack the art down.
It took about 2 hours to put the whole thing together (300 portraits).
As luck would have it I got to the end and was ONE short of perfection. So I whipped out the baskets and quickly drew me. I figure I will make it a black and white photo and put it on the learning statement. The can search for me (although, I am pretty sure I am in the easiest place ever. Oh well!

One week from today is the day!
Cheers to not totally losing my mind in the next 7days...

April 12, 2012

Organizing Fine Arts Night

Just about every blog I've read in the last week has made some mention of Fine Arts Night.
I figured I would share my own strategies for how I make that night a reality.

3-4 weeks out
These are the prep weeks. 
When each class comes to visit me, I pull their box (paper box lid) of artwork down.
We sort all the artwork into piles for each student.
I inform the kids they get 3 artworks on display.
One is already set - their clay piece.
Some classes have another set piece (2nd- Mobiles, 3rd -Trees (see here))
All the other grades will give me 2 artworks of their choosing.
Note: I select the 3 artworks for K & 1st grade.

These labels are my lifesaver.
I always know if an artwork is for FAN if it has this label on it.

All the other artworks not chosen are put back in the box lid. --see Day of--

2 weeks out
All artwork in the entire school comes down. The hallways looks dull and boring.
Note: I still had artwork hanging up in the hallways when students selected their artwork. So if something was out and the student wanted it for FAN, I just put a sign-up sheet on the board. Right after the class left, I went out in the hallway, tracked down their artwork, and put a label on it.
So -- labeled artworks get put in my FAN pile back in my room.

1 week out
Slowly start to put artwork out...I try not to get it up too early because it ruins the surprise.
All mobiles get hung from ceiling and tree sculptures go out on display.

2-3 days out
Clay goes out on display on the tops of the library bookshelves.
Note: I talk to the kids, warn the kids, and send little spies out to the library to make sure clay doesn't get touched.
Color coded. BEST IDEA EVER. Plus I color code everything the whole year so students know what color to look for.
Artwork gets labeled with class signs and has learning statements placed with them.

Day of:
On FAN I have my 5th graders come down, take a box lid, and go to each classroom with it. They place the pile of artwork that was not chosen on each respective student's desk.

I hang up the surprise artwork --you'll have to wait and see--

I put an easel up at the front of the school with this sign. Notice the color coding. :)
Kids take the clay piece and pile of artwork on their desks home at the end of FAN.

And yes -- I am crazy -- I even create a movie that is playing on repeat in the art room. It shows all the artwork done throughout the year. 

And that friends, is how this art teacher puts on a Fine Arts Night.

BIG NEWS - As I mourn over the loss of Picnik Photo editing in 7 days...I have found a suitable replacement:
(and of course, Photoshop)

April 11, 2012


Thanks to my twenty-five followers.
It might seem like nothing much in the huge world of bloggers...
but you all are special to me.

New craft post coming soon. :) Stay tuned.

April 7, 2012

How we've grown

First time they've felt a pen in their little hand as it slides across the crisp construction paper.
First day smelling the mixed aroma of paint, paper, markers, and glue that generally defines my art room.
First day of art class ever.

It is a new experience for many for them. 
You spend the first few months teaching and re-teaching the little ones how to hold scissors and what 'dot dot dot not a lot' actually looks like.

But that first day. They are just themselves.
They don't know what a good artwork is. Their creativity has barely been defined or explored.
When my Kindergartners step foot in my room in August I put them right to work with one rule
...they get little guidance from me on that first day.

Assignment One:
Draw a picture of yourself. You get a pen and a piece of paper. See what happens.

It's precious really. Each one so different from the next.

One of the last assignments of the year:
Draw a picture of yourself again. You get a pencil, markers, and paper.
Show me how you've grown.
Show me what you've learned.

The result.
A beautiful expression.
Creativity defined.
The perfect showcase for my Kindergarten classes at Fine Arts Night.

April 5, 2012


First grade teachers informed me that they were studying insects in their classroom.
I was looking for a new lesson to try out and I stumbled on this awesome lesson over on Margaurita's blog.
I had one class make bees, one made dragonflies, and one made beetles.

For the bees we used yellow model magic. We took sharpies and drew on the black lines. Then we added the pipe cleaners for legs and wings. Now, I changed my mind on the eyes halfway through. Instead of the googly eyes, I decided to paint the eyes onto each insect made (I did this after the kids left). I went through and made two dots using white tempera paint and a q-tip, then went through and put two black dot using black tempera and the back of a paintbrush. So quick and easy.

We also made environments for our bugs on 6 x 6 paper. So cute!!

I don't have pictures yet of the dragonflies and beetles, but they will be up on display at Fine Arts Night, so you will see pictures of a TON of stuff in about 3 weeks.