Hello all! It is bittersweet for me to announce that the 2016-2017 school year was my last year teaching art. I definitely can't say it's my last EVER, because I just love art education too much! It was my original plan to start my own business, a community art studio (kind of like wine and paint places, but more family-friendly). But as you all know, sometimes life gets in the way of our plans. My grandmother passed away, my school flooded and the school year was abruptly cut short, and I was thrown smack-dab in to not having a job! I didn't get to say goodbye to my students, some of whom I'd been teaching for 8 years. (Luckily, I live in the general area of the school and get to occasionally run into them in the store!) Long story short, I fell into depression and many of my days were spent in bed, just because I couldn't muster up the energy to do anything else. Finally I perked up and began the search for my art studio space.
     Again, no luck. I had a very specific idea of what I wanted my business to look like, and I just wasn't finding a suitable place here in my small town that was affordable enough for a starter business person. Just as I was thinking that I'd better give it up and start applying at schools, I found VIPKID!
     VIPKID, if  you have never heard of it, is a company that contracts with teachers to teach one-on-one to Chinese students in an online, English-immersion class via video conference that resembles Skype, but with an area for slides to show for the lesson. The hiring process was a bit exhausting but went quickly, and I am now happily teaching English to sweet little Chinese students every morning! This has given me the opportunity to work from home, have more free time, and make enough money to pay my bills. I couldn't be happier! If you have teaching experience and are interested in finding out more, please click here! I don't think you will regret it! Your degree doesn't have to be in the field of education to apply. I get to set my own hours and days, and YES, I wear my pajama pants while I work. Business on the top, PJ's on the bottom. 😁
     So, that being said, this is the last post I will be making here on my Art Teacher Lady blog until I find myself in the art classroom or studio once again! It's been a pleasure!
     Please join me over on my new website, where I will be sharing posts about online teaching, minimalism, travel (and travel/art journaling), and living a simpler, slower life.

"What are we going to do today?"
Almost every kid knows that that's the one question that sets me off. If you walk in my room for class, I PROMISE that you won't leave without figuring out what we're going to do today. And I really, really, really don't want to tell every single kid, individually, what we're doing as they walk through the door and ask. So, instead I point to the board.
Along the top is a timeline for Visual Arts (my 5th-8th grade elective class), because they tend to ask what project they're doing next.
The main part of the board is dedicated to each class, with an example for each grade level.
3rd grade was starting a new project and I had the example to show the class, in case you were wondering. :)

2nd grade students were given a challenge: Use scrap paper and party streamers to create a portrait, realistic or abstract. Here are the results:

You'll notice I accidentally photographed one of the portraits twice. That particular artwork is a portrayal of the student's grandfather with chickenpox, according to her! Another artist, according to him, created Elvis. I bet you can pick him out!
I really love giving kids an idea and some materials and turning them loose. They're always so creative.

So I kind of came upon this project by accident. I was pouring some plaster into molds of world masks. I had some left over, and seeing how quick-setting plaster of Paris tends to be, and how non-wasteful art teachers tend to be, I decided to see what sort of print would turn out if I set up some plaster in a foam plate that had a design drawn in it.
A quick drawing, the remainder of the liquid plaster, and sure enough... the outline comes out very nicely (I was skeptical seeing how shallow the pen lines are, even at the deepest you can make them without creating a hole in the plate). On the first design, I covered the design with metallic paint and called it done. Mind you, this is probably nothing new to anyone else... but I was pleased with my discovery nonetheless. :D
But wait! Dry plaster scrapes away pretty well with clay tools and even popsicle sticks... so we should scrape away the background and add texture before adding metallic paint, right? Yes. So it's our experimental project in Visual Arts (5-8). Here's the carving with a layer scraped away (without detailed outlining at this point):
 Like I said, I used leftover plaster mix for this so it wasn't very thick, but you can take that into consideration when pouring it, depending on how much contrast you'll want between the positive and negative space. Since mine was pretty thin (and especially thin along the edges), some of the edges broke off.
We are detailing around the subject, and using sand paper to smooth down the scraped away areas, but the texture will still be contrasted against the smooth, untouched area inside of the main subject. The next step is to add in any additional texture, smooth away any extra lines or mistakes, and paint with metallic paint to finish it off. Be looking for posts of finished artworks! I'm so excited to see how all of these turn out.
Kindergartners finished their bugs and added them to their chosen spots on the "Bugtown Boogie" dance floor. This turned out really cute! The kids absolutely loved the book, Bugtown Boogie by Warren Hansen. I love the variety of bugs that kids made- flying bugs, spiders, bees, stink bugs, lady bugs, and bugs that haven't yet been named! They were proud of their class's buggy dance party artwork!

My kindergartners have been working on dancing bugs! We watched a read-aloud on Read to Me Las Vegas and the kids love to sing along... "The Bugtown Boogie..... shaking up the woods tonight!" The book featured a variety of bugs all having a good time at a dance party that was found through a little door at the bottom of a tree in the forest.
Some bugs have wings, some have antennae, some have dots and stripes, some are stinky (see green bug above- that is stink coming from his behind!)

Now we have to place all of our bugs into place on our "Bugtown Boogie" class page which will be displayed at the art show.

Time Flies!

My gosh. Has it really been a year? And yet I've been getting a steady stream of followers... so thanks to all of you who have been faithful and interested! Honestly, what brought me back around to my blog here is that I have been working on making a class website (through Google Sites) and I just haven't figured out how to post to it like a blog, rather than deleting previous pics and adding new ones in their place. There's no archives to scroll through, it's just whatever happens to be posted at the moment. Then I thought.... "Hey, I should make a blog instead of this website." And then my brain said, "Well you already have one. Why don't you just keep up with that one rather than making a whole new one?"
And here I am.
So! Let's get right down to it. I've made it through most of the not-super-exciting basic stuff, and we're starting to get juicy in the art room. My Visual Arts kids just finished up their first big-ish project, paper name sculptures! They turned out pretty nice.

We used hot glue to secure them to the cardboard base, then paper slit adjoining to hold the other letters on. The letters are made out of heavy watercolor-ish paper (which my supply company calls tag board, which we know isn't right-tag board is supposed to be like thin cardboard, right?).

4th graders have been working on radial balance and they really made some creative mandalas. There were a couple that especially stood out:
 This kiddo, really... he has a knack for this!^^^^^

Alright, well I'll be going for now (because plan time is over), but I'll be posting soon about my new classroom management methods, which is working out well.
Bye for now!