School has been out for 3 weeks now, and I'd love to say that it's been relaxing, but in many ways it has been just the opposite! I am taking a trip to Chicago next week, so hopefully that will give me a chance to wind down and sort through my mind. Remember that class that I am creating for next year, the one that's a combination of art/yearbook/photography? I haven't started the curriculum for that yet. I need to get my rear in gear! I have been scouting Pinterest for ideas, of course. My brain has just been too preoccupied with other stuff to focus on school. Maybe about... mid-July I'll get motivated. Lol! Summer. Gotta love the brain-shutdown!

Gosh, I'm so proud of my kids. Their selections are now displayed and ready for tomorrow's art show. Everything looks great! It's wonderful to see everything come together, and it's especially great to see kids stopping in the hall and gym to admire their work and their classmates' art!

5th/6th Grade Scratch Art

4th Grade

5th/6th Grade Landscape Paintings

3rd Grade Cityscapes

4th Grade Picasso-Inspired Computer-Generated Art
For some reason I didn't get all of my emailed pictures to come up, so I will post pictures from K-1st-2nd soon.
Metal tree outside of Crystal Bridges
My daughter and I took a day trip to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas. It's only about 40 minutes from our house, but I'd recommend taking a trip to check it out if you're within any reasonable driving distance, of if you happen to be passing through the area.
I hadn't heard of it before since I haven't lived in the SW Missouri area for very long and have been spending so much time working and going to school. I looked at the website and decided to go exploring the museum, and I must say, the pictures on the website just doesn't do it justice. The architecture is absolutely stunning, the surroundings are some of the most beautiful in the area. I will be going back as often as I can to just take in the surroundings and walk the trails. I can quite honestly say that this is one of the most beautiful places I've ever been.
Unfortunately,  my phone (which I was using as a camera) died early into our visit, so I didn't get nearly as many photos as I would have liked to.
The main entrance is 4 stories up, providing a nice overlook of the entire  museum.
My daughter was pretty impressed by this sculpture... moved all around, never in the same position. I couldn't really tell if it was wind powered or  electric powered.
Eleven, the museum's restaurant, has stunning arched ceilings and glass panel walls overlooking  the water.

These mocha cupcakes were delicious!
This is the drop-in art studio. Sheridan made tissue paper flowers and also painted watercolor flowers.
Here's a peek into the first gallery we went into. The black and white art on the wall was the saddest thing I think I've ever seen. Have you ever been moved to tears by a work of art? I can't remember it's title or artist, but it was depicting the burning of a black orphan asylum in New York. It's one of those things that make me ashamed to be human.

One of the art photos I took before my battery died.
I really wish I could post some pictures of the trails, they were just so beautiful. And I really wish I could take my art classes here on a field trip (admission is free, but there would be bus costs). At least when i go back I can take more photos and take them on a virtual tour!
Over the long weekend my mom was visiting for Easter. I have a big maple tree in my yard, and my mom said she'd like to make a butterfly out of painted maple seed spinners (Okay, so does anyone know what they're actually called? I'll just call them "helicopters."). We thought about all sorts of tiny art you could do with them, but only made a few of the ideas. Here's how they turned out.

We thought of at least a dozen more things we could make, but decided to stop where we were for the day. If nothing else, they can be used as a tiny canvas!

 I finally got the Kandinsky-inspired concentric circle tree display put up! The kids haven't seen it yet because I put it up after school, but I think they'll really like it! They weren't really sure what I meant when I told them they would be used to make a tree. I showed them a similar picture of a tree that was a smaller, individual art project (it was featured on another blog that I read regularly, but I can't find which one, so please claim it if it was yours!).
Kindergarten and 1st grade made little birds and owls for the tree, and 2-4 made the concentric circles. During the circle lesson, we talked about Kandinsky and his life, looked at his artwork, and looked carefully at the circles to notice how they weren't perfect, geometric circles but rather free-drawn and organic-looking.
Wassily Kandinsky seems to be a rather under-emphasized artist, in my opinion. His concentric circle painting is often replicated and the design can be found on many things. He was a breakthrough artist because he was one of the first to feature completely non-objective art, which soon gave way to more forms of organic, abstract expressionism.
And the kids like to say his name. :)
For our Chinese New Year lesson, 3rd and 4th grade made egg carton dragons after viewing videos of dragon costumes and stories about why dragons are considered lucky.
Just this past week I asked my classes to give me ideas of some things they might want to do next year. Everyone in 3rd and 4th grade said they'd like to make dragons again, and kids in 1st and 2nd grade asked if they would be able to make the egg carton dragons. I hope they won't be too disappointed if we don't specifically do egg carton dragons... but I'm sure we'll make *some kind* of dragons as part of our Chinese New Year festivities next year as well.
I have noticed a few other art teachers trying this cool idea (it looks like most of us found it on Pinterest), so I couldn't resist trying it in the classroom as well! I did this with kindergarten and first grade, and they all seemed to really enjoy it. I was afraid the boys would complain because they might not want to make flowers, but none of them had even one negative peep about it! The look great on my back bulletin board, which had to be emptied of all words and diagrams for state testing quality control purposes. These re-beautified it!

Wet-on-Wet Technique

My fourth graders and I recently played with watercolors, the wet-on-wet technique was the goal. They were scared! Lol... when they realized that the colors would not stay where they put them, they lost it. But I assured them that it would work out in the end when we added oil pastels to define shapes and add detail. They were pretty pleased with their creations!
4th Grade

By Brice P.

Today I had to teach art from a cart (well, not even really a cart, just some tubs!) because the book fair has taken over my classroom for the week!  
On the search for something not too messy but lots of fun, I found this paper line sculpture idea from a few different websites, including Texas Art Teacher's blog. The kids had a blast with it!
 K-3 did this project using paper strips and paper towel tubes cut into rings.
 The photo above is work by 3rd Grader James C.
When finished, we displayed work outside the art room door. This is 3rd Grade's display, and K-2's work filled the wall outside the other door into the room (pics coming soon). The kids have received lots of compliments on their work and several staff have said that the hallway looks great with all the color! It will remain on display until after the art show at the end of April.
My 5th and 6th grade class only meets for 43 minutes per week, so you can imagine how long it takes to do an entire unit! Our landscape unit lasted for one whole quarter, but I covered lots of standards and had high hopes that being so thorough with instruction and examples would help ensure good results. Not so much the case... with 26 kids in a room, elbow-to-elbow, using paint and being on a 43 minute set-up-to-clean-up-and-leave time restriction, they just didn't put much effort into it. But, as always, there are the few that did what they needed to do to get by with a C-, and those who strive to do excellent work. I'm always proud of my students who put effort into their art and produce something they can be proud of. Here are a few of the excellent pieces from class:
Top: Sarah B., Bottom: Alexys C.
Left: Conner R., Right: Jaden B.

The Kindergartners practiced identifying the folded edge of the paper and cutting symmetrical shapes by folding & cutting, resulting in this lovely place mat for someone they love. This one is my example because it was the only proof left of our project-- everyone was very excited to take theirs home to give to someone! I had some very creative arrangements. We did this project during one 50 minute class, then I laminated them and sent them home with the kids on Valentine's Day.


My classroom has been converted into a book fair! For some reason I thought it wouldn't take up my whole entire room and there would still be space to have my speech and special ed classes....nope. For this week I will get a taste of teaching from a cart (or a tote bag in my case). I'm not entirely sure about my other classes though. I feel kind of bad because I had boxes of toilet paper tubes, cereal boxes, and newspaper sitting around waiting for projects, and I thought they'd be out of the way...nope to that, too.

As one of the first projects for Kindergarten, each student drew a portrait of each other student in class on a 2"x2" square. I collected each of those portraits, in this case of Abigail, and made a collection of everyone's portrait of her. This gave me a good idea of where we were starting out (ability-wise), and gave us a chance to talk about facial features and differences in eye shapes, skin color, hair lengths and textures, etc. It also makes a great keepsake! I will be displaying them in the end-of-year art show along side their later-in-the-year self-portraits.

Peanut Stamps

Don't know what to do with those packing peanuts? If they're the biodegradable type, you can use small amounts of water to make them squishy and sticky and make sculptures. If they're the non-biodegradable variety, it's either reuse them as packing materials, art supplies, or toss them. Since I don't like to toss, I figured I'd use them in a way that I'd never used them before: as stamps. The backing seen here is a toilet paper tube, split lengthwise (and rolled the opposite direction to try to prevent curling). I used a regular glue stick to attach them to the cardboard in a patter, and dipped in paint to stamp with. I figured the kids would have fun making different patterns and designs, then we could display both the art made with the stamp and the homemade stamp itself.
My 4th graders made gingerbread houses as props for the school holiday music program. Students worked in groups of 3-4 kids per house.  After they'd served their purpose in the music program, we drew names to see which person from each group would take home their house.

If you're wondering about the trees in the scene...
They're made from toilet paper and paper towel tubes.The trunk is paper towel tubes (2) and the "needles" used about 8 total. I attached the needles with hot glue, and then spray painted the whole thing when it was finished. I think it would have been easier to paint the toilet paper tubes with a brush, let them dry, and then cut them into fringes and attach. But... I wasn't sure how this was going to turn out until it was done, so I didn't want to waste paint!

In addition to art, I also teach speech and special education. My first year teaching, I participated in a reading challenge against the middle school kids. Whoever got more AR (reading quiz program) points than me would be able to put a pie in my face. I had 9 pies that day...

...and the pictures were published in the local newspaper. Do you know how hard it is to get Cool Whip out of your hair and ears (and nose)? It's greasy. But, the kids will never forget it. 

In the fall, the 1st-4th grade kids made masks (they were complete and ready to take home the day before Halloween weekend). They had such a blast making them! We looked at different types of masks for inspiration- tribal, animal, festive, etc. Most of them turned out as some combination between tribal and festive looking. I did have one very cute bunny rabbit, which unfortunately I didn't catch in a photo. :(
*Sorry, some of my face blurring turned out really weird.