Friday, August 30, 2013

How About a Hand

This is a clay piece our elementary art team leader did at one of the Texas Art Education Association Conferences about 5 or so years ago, and brought back to teach us.  I did this with my 4th graders for about 3 years in a row.  The students are each given a ball of clay, then use a tool to slice into the clay 4 slits to make the five fingers.  From there, they just use a pinching technique to form the fingers.  They could stop observe their own hand and keep on working.  The hardest part is forming the fingers into a hand gesture if that is what they want.  Sometimes the fingers get thin and break off, which is easy to fix with a little extra clay and water. Also these are a little thicker than some clay pieces, so they will need a little extra drying time.  I decided to have the kids paint these with a lighter shade of acrylic paint, then decorate them with sharpie.  The first year we used only the thick sharpies, but later we added the use of smaller tip sharpies, which look much better.  These are my examples, because the kids liked them and took ALL of them...the nerve of them!!

This one is for all my UT friends, hook 'em.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Symbols on painted cardboard

This is a recycled cardboard art piece that I did over the summer with my art camp kids.  They started with 3 pieces of cardboard. They chose a symbol like heart, peace sign, flower, lightning bolt or even a letter, like the first initial of their name.  On the first and largest piece of cardboard the backgrounds were painted with blue and white blended acrylic paint. Then, they decided on the main color of their symbol on their second piece of cardboard.  They could add in touches of other colors, and then use fabric paint for a more 3-D looking paint effect. Their last piece of cardboard could be any mix of colors, as long as it didn't have the main color they used in the symbol.  After their pieces were dry, I cut the background cardboard down to strips for them and their symbol pieces into smaller squares and rectangles.  I placed each kids pieces in a  zip lock bag with their name on it.  The next day they played with their cardboard pieces until they liked their compositions and glued down the pieces.  This was a good project to do with a group of 20-25 kids.  I don't have pictures of all the different symbols the kids did, but here are a few. 


Peace sign



Saturday, August 24, 2013

COOL, I got nominated for the Liebster Award!!

So to be honest...until just a few days ago I didn't know what the Liebster Award was or that it even existed. Thank you so much to Mrs. C from Rainbow Skies and Dragonflies for nominating me!  I am grateful that someone even thought of me for this award!  Please go to her site to see lots of inspirational art at Rainbow Skies and Dragonflies!  She is a seasoned teacher with lots to share.


I agree with Mrs. C that being an elementary school art teacher can be a very isolating experience.  When I started out there were only three elementary schools, each with an art teacher, in my district.  It wasn't just the projects that could feel overwhelming, but organization of materials, budget questions, how to store artwork in an organized manner, and the list goes on... Now, my district is busting at the seams, in 13 years we went from the 3 elementary schools to 13, and two more to break ground very soon!  But, back then, talk about feeling alone.  The only thing that I felt I could really ask for help from other teachers was discipline issues.  The blog community is definatly a wonderful tool that brings all of us together.  From the new teachers with fresh new ideas to the seasoned teacher that has tried everything in the book and knows best teaching practicing. 

Now, the Liebster Award, I really had no idea, so... I went hunting.  Here is a little explanation of what the award means.  This is from Ashley at We Loved Here.
The Liebster Award is given to up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers. So, what is a Liebster?  The meaning: Liebster is German and means sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome. Isn't that sweet? Blogging is about building a community and it's a great way to connect with other bloggers and help spread the word about newer bloggers/blogs.

One of the things I need to do now is pass on this award. My choices (in no particular order, they are all great bloggers!)...

1.  Elizabeth at Painters of Dreams
2. Mrs. Johnson at Elementary Art Rocks
3. Candice at Candice Ashmen Art
4. Samantha at The Fine Arts Studio
5. Danielle at Art Room with a View

Now I get to tell you 11 things about myself:
1. I grew up in a tiny cotton farming community in west Texas, a small, blink and miss town on I-20, Roscoe, TX. The school mascot is the Plowboys, so yes, I was a Plowgirl.
2. I only drink fru-fru coffee!
3. Cat person...they kill mice, and snakes, and other creepy critters!
4. I'll take extreme heat over extreme cold any day!
5. Dark chocolate, yum.
6. My favorite food is Mexican.
7. When I was little, I wanted to be a flight attendant.
8. Speaking of planes, I once jumped out one, really, what was I thinking!!!
9. I have a small obsession with circles.
10. My favorite color is purple.
11. I'm not grossed out by too much, I can handle farting, burping, boogers, vomit, pee, poop, but DO NOT show me your tooth that is about to fall out of your mouth!!  The one you can literally push over with your tongue.

So now that you know a little more about me, hop on over to Elizabeth, Mrs. Johnson, Candice, Samantha, Danielle, and Mrs. C's blogs and have a look around!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Grey Mouse by Anke de Vries

This little grey mouse is feeling "blue".  So to feel better he paints himself a variety of ways, and each time he is laughed at by the other animals. Finally, he dives into water to escape a swarm of bees, and he is washed clean.  Then he meets a friend, another grey mouse.  Here the mouse discovers self acceptance, what a great lesson for kids to hear!!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Do Unto Otters by Laurie Keller

This book is not an art book, but it is a book that is a must have for art teachers and classroom teachers, parents and grandparents.  This book about manners is a good tool to reinforce the daily teachings we try so desprately to bestow on our children.  It is so cleverly written, you will want to reread again and again. The illustrations are fun, and you will see something new each time you read.  There is plenty of humor to keep all ages engaged and happy!  Please forgive my pictures, this is a personal book of mine, and it has been read a thousand times, yuck, sorry!  

Monday, August 12, 2013

Art by Patrick McDonnell

This is a very cute book, probably geared more for K-3.  The illustrations are clever and the character "Art," who loves art, is adorable.  This is a good book to have for a 5-10 minute window of time.  Art, the character, creates a fun world for himself, out of his doodles.  Another book that celebrates the creative minds of our children.  Your students will oh and ahh over these fun illustrations and as an adult and mother, the ending is my favorite part, very sweet!  

Friday, August 9, 2013

The Incredible Peepers of Penelope Budd

What a wonderful book (my girls and I love this book).  Although, I really believe the lesson here is more for the adults. In this book, Penelope Budd has one eye blue and the other brown.  She sees things in a different, unique way.  This book is a celebration of the imagination of so many children and why we should celebrate these fun imaginative little people.  Sometimes, as an adult, it is a good reminder to try and look at the world through the eyes of a child. Things would be so much more pleasant if we just took the time to do this!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013


This is a great book to have in your classroom.  It combines art history and math in a fun way.  It is creative problem solving, where kids are looking for patterns to find solutions to the "riddle".  I love using this book with all ages.  It is a great time filler when you are done with a project and you still have a few minutes left of class.  I used this with all my K-5 kids.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Back to Reality!

We have just returned from our yearly summer vacation in Manitou Springs.  Every year we try to stretch it out a little longer each time.  It still seems to go by so fast.  This year, it was really hard to return.  The weather there was perfect, while a few days were a little warm, most days were in the 80's and even some in the 70's.  As soon as we crossed the Texas line coming home, we hit 100 degrees.  So hot...this is when I start wanting school to start.  We start to feel trapped in our house to get out of the heat.

Someone figure out how to keep an eye on her mommy!  

One happy little girl.  While she does love pink, she also loves all things dinosaurs, dragons, sharks and eagles!

While you can feed the giraffes here, this giraffe almost helped himself to a phone.  I was turning on my husbands camera when a large slimy tongue almost licked my face and started wrapping it's tongue around my hand and the iphone (with a bright green metallic cover on it).  I quickly scared Melvin here away with a nice little scream.  Everyone around us got a kick out of it.  Giraffe cute, slimy tongue not so much  :(

Day at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, best zoo ever!!

Lots of great sculptures and artwork at this zoo.

My little sunshine enjoying her day at the zoo.

Seriously, why do my own children photo bomb their own pictures???

Ok, finally a picture for mom, with no crazy faces!

Travel up to Pikes Peak on the Cog Rail.

Aren't they precious!!
Little piece of heaven. Although covered by the clouds in this picture, on a clear day you can see Pike's Peak.   So relaxing!

Horse Derby, at the old Penny Arcade!  So much fun, and yes my daughter beat all these old timers!!

I think they finished this in about 30 seconds.
Peanut mustache!

Love going to see the Rockies game!
Playing in the creek, behind the house, creating lots of memories.
Driving by Garden of the Gods, isn't it breathe taking!

Last pic before driving away from our little getaway.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Superheros and Art Apps

So I got a chance to play with a few apps and I personally had fun adapting these pictures.  This was the Mike Esparza lesson that I did with my 3-5th graders.  I picked one of the Wonder women pictures from my students art pieces and uploaded to one of the camera apps. With simple cut and paste techniques, I added in my oldest daughters picture.  Once this was done and I was happy, I added this picture to yet another picture app. Here I could futher adapt and enhance the picture.  This was my first attempt on my iphone, but now I am getting the itch to have ipads in my classroom.  Paint FX and Instaeffect are the two apps that I used to alter these pictures.