Thursday, October 31, 2013


This is a pop-up book that is super fun.  Lots of things going on, on each of the pages.  The book is written and illustrated by Maurice Sendak in collaboration with the master of pop up books, Matthew Reinhart. While I'll be honest, it you are looking for a good book to read, you might look elsewhere.  But, no matter, because this book is highly entertaining.  You will want to inspect each page, because the engineering of this pop up is amazing, as well as the illustrations!  This is a perfect book to introduce when you are wanting to dive into a pop up art lesson, no matter the season.  It will open a whole world of oppurtunities to their imagination.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Widow's Broom

This is another must have!  Chris Van Allsburg, need I say more?  We know him best from Jumanji and The Polar Express, both extrodinary books.  And, in my opinion, this book is every bit as good.  This is the tale of a broom, who once belonged to a witch.  It loses it's power suddenly during flight and the witch and the broom fall to the ground below.  Minna Shaw finds them in her garden. Minna  helps the witch to her home, where she wraps herself up in her cape and falls asleep.  At midnight she awakes and calls for another witch to get her, leaving her broom behind.  The broom helps the widow out in various ways around the house, but the neighbors aren't thrilled about this.  I don't want to give to much away, you'll just have to read it to find out the rest!  

Monday, October 28, 2013

Halloween Night

This book, Halloween Night,  written by Marjorie Dennis Murray and Illustrated by Brandon Dorman is a fun spin on The Night Before Christmas.  The illustrations are incredible!  We have had this book for 4-5 years and it is probably requested the most by my kids, of all our Halloween books.  A witch and her friends prepare the haunted mansion for the trick or treaters, only to scare them away.  But, they don't let this ruin their good time.   This book will not disappoint.  This is a great book to add to your personal  or school library. 

Friday, October 25, 2013

The Witch Casts a Spell

Fall is here, hurray!!  I LOVE this time of year.  At our house in early September, we break out the whole display of Autumn attire that will adorn our house for the next 2 months.  We also have a selection of books that our family loves.  We put them up in a special place and they only come out once the autumn garland is hanging about our house.  It is one of our simple pleasures. This is such a great book.  Our family loves reading (or singing, I should say) along with it and looking at the great artwork.  The illustrations are kind of a folksy style,  with great colors.  Although I don't traditionally do holiday art at school, this would be great inspiration for schools that do.  This book is a must add addition to your collection.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Why did it take me this long to figure out...Hello!!

Well, I am a little embarrassed but, that isn't anything new for me.  So, I have been teaching 16 years, and I would have thought this would have come to me sooner.  For kinder, we always do projects where they can practice their cutting skills.  I have them make a few of the shapes by tracing, but I do the majority, so they can consentrate on the cutting part.  I always do the same thing, find an object and trace 125 for one shape, repeat for a second shape, before you know it I've traced 500 or more, and then I despise the artwork...because my hand hurts.  It just dawned on me a few days ago that I could take an object and stamp it rather than trace it.  I did about 700 shapes in about 15 minutes, and my hand didn't hurt.  So, if you are spending hours tracing shapes for your students, save yourself some time and pain and stamp those shapes.  Your hands will love you for it!!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Ripple Leaves

This is a study of cool and warm color families.  Day one, of the project was to draw out 3 leaves and cut. Day two, the students finished any cutting needed and glued tissue paper down.  Day three, students trimmed tissue paper from the leaves and glued them to the background paper.  If they still had some time they began adding the ripples with washable markers. Day four, they continued adding the ripple lines and finally they misted their paper with a water spray bottle.  The spraying really needs to be monitored closely.  The kids tend to want to get really close.  They will have a much better result if they have about a foot or more of space between the spray bottle and their paper.  You want a light mist to cover the paper. This was done in the 4 class periods (50 minutes) with 2nd grade.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Pointillism Leaves

The pointillism leaves is a project that my teaching partner has done for a long time.  In the past, the background was kept white.  For a little change we decided that watercolor would be a nice touch behind the leaves.  To begin with, we open our lesson talking about George Seurat. The first step of the lesson is to draw out the leaves.  We have papers that have copied leaves of all kind on them.  The students use those to draw their leaves, some overlapping is encouraged.  Then, we begin the color process.  I like Georgiana's take on this lesson, she has the kids do very small circles rather than dots, which I have done before, and seems to take forever.  Plus those dots start to become jabs and before long we are tossing markers.  This technique fills the paper more quickly and no markers are damaged in the process. We encourage the kids to use 2-3 colors on each leaf, but to make sure overlapping leaves have different colors.  This project took us 4, 50 minute lessons.  

Monday, October 7, 2013

Beach Break!!

This was a last minute excersion to the beach.  I just celebrated my 30 something birthday. And my Ellie turned 7 on Friday.  We decided that since we are at a new school and she hasn't had a chance to make a lot of new friends, we would make the beach trip a part of her birthday.  My Mother-in-law lives in Corpus Christi, just minutes from the bridge to Padre Island.  We always rent a condo on Mustang Island, but usually sometime in the summer.  I will never do that again.  Everyone is always sunburned, there are tons of people and the condo prices are high.  This was so much better. Yes, it was nice and warm,  85 is a whole lot better than 105!!  The waves were pretty rough because of tropical storm Karen, but not bad enough to keep us out of the water.  We had a great time, I think the beach trip will be postponed till fall every year!  FEELING REFRESHED!!

Here is what she brought home a few weeks ago.
If you can't read it, here you go...
The Beach is my favorite.
I love the beach.
I wish we would go there.
I miss you beach.
Notice the shark swimming in the picture, don't worry he is friendly and just playing with our family.
I mean, who can deny this sweet little person something like that!!

Ellie, the birthday girl enjoying the water (above).
Lucy lasted about 5 minutes before Daddy took her up stairs.  The water rushing up didn't settle well with her.

Savanna enjoying the beach.

Ellie about to dig into her birthday cake!

Stealing kisses from my little TMNT.

Savanna and I hunted for the smallest shell, it was pretty close!!!

Pretty sunrise, right before it rained.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Stamped Hearts

The stamped heart lesson is one of my pinterest finds. Here is the link to Artsonia, and to
                                Pleasantdale Elementary School
                                                              West Orange, New Jersey

For a slight change, we added a simple line background to the hearts.  I really enjoyed this project with the kids.  It has a lot of steps, painting, tracing the hearts, cutting the hearts, stamping objects, drawing/ practicing lines, and gluing.  These were done with first grade, and we spent three, 50 minute sessions on this lesson.