Thursday, October 28, 2010

As an art teacher you are asked to do many different things…

As an art teacher you are asked to do many different things, such as create some ribbons for Halloween awards. Well I cheated and created computer generated ones, printed in color, now laminating, cutting out, hole punching and adding a ribbon to the top… out of breath yet.  I’ll download the file later incase anyone needs last minute ribbons.


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Recycled scrap Lamination

I have been working with what to do with scrap lamination (all that stuff that is left after cutting things out). I used some of the stuff collected to create Halloween garland. Depending on your schools Halloween rules, this may be a fall garland. Leaves, pumpkins etc. opposed to ghost, skeletons and bats.

Use permanent black (or colored) markers to draw your theme. Mine s Ghosts. If doing leaves or pumpkins you could just use different colored permanent markers and no paint.

step 1 drawing:  SAM_4244

Step 2 Paint: Oil pastel or just color in with Permanent markers. I use white oil pastel and white tempera paint.


Step 3: Cut out and hole punch the tops of design


SAM_4250Step 4: string to make garland. I use funky looking yarn

Sunday, October 17, 2010


One thing I have changed in my classroom is my portfolio system. I used regular folder and they are not big enough. I tried the stapled poster board which fell apart and was bulky to store. 

What works for me I found the using a 18” by 24” of construction paper folded into a folder. Color coded by grade and decorated by the student. Then laminated for durability, works the best in my classroom.

18” by 24” paper folded in 1/2 and bottom folded by 5 inches


I place a name tag with the students info. on the inside, for the younger K-2 I put a tag on the outside as well.


Decorate and Laminate. If you don’t have a laminator you could use contact paper. Or use a more durable paper like walpaper or poster board.


How we use the portfolio n my art room.  I have regular classroom desks in my art room. Folders are color coded by grade and then kept in the desk . I also use them on the drying rack to hold the art work and when dry then the art pieces can be placed back in the folder and go right back into the desk.


I also use the site. I take a picture with the art piece next to the name tag. That way I know whose art oiece it is without having a list of names that I loose. I just crop the name tag off . All done and very efficient,


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

What to do in 15 minutes?

Today I came in and was told I would only have each 8th grade for abut 15 minutes (really 10 by the time they come in), before they went to an assembly. They are working on landscape paintings and I am not going to get paint out for about 7 min. of work time! The assembly is a good one from our district attorneys office about internet safety etc. I knew they had one from 9-10, well it had to be moved t0 10 – 11 right in the middle of both art classes.

SO I pulled out one of my lessons, I keep for unexpected surprises. For little kids 15 minutes is a lot of time to get something done and keep them active. For middle school, 15 minutes is enough time for trouble!

Here is a great lesson that is a stand by  that I’ve done many times, but I tweeked it with a bit of technology. The kids actually hang these drawing on their lockers! They like them that much.

1 line portrait:

I show them this video : about an artist that drawing using a GPS device. Just watch and see why this captivates a middle school art class!


I LOVE THIS VIDEO! It gets the middle school kids engaged and excited about a simple 1 line contour line portrait they create without picking up the marker. I use to get groans and complaining. Now they get all excited and love the end product!  I keep this for a day like today 15 minutes of learning and fun!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Art Room Organization

This “organization” word I have been working on for well since I started teaching. It’s the only thing  get on my review from the principle every year. I get the GREAT for everything. BUT…organization. He knows art is messy, I have a small room that I teach K-8th in, no storage, one sink and limited supplies. He knows all that so it has never counted against me and every year he says I see improvement.  It’s true I see areas that I need to figure something out it. Well my goal this year is hear WOW!

This summer I researched how to organize my art room. Took the things that worked and got rid of all the things that was working OK or not working and got rid of it. Yes… I got rid of my big metal school desk. Replaced that area with with large shelves shaped in “L” and turned into a cubby space (like a little closet) against the wall. On the wall side I put short shelves, hooks, and still working on adding things I need. 

This “cubby” is the place I store all the art supplies, books, stuff I don’t need to use all the time or I don’t want kids and others into. Stuff I use to put in the built in cabinets in the back of my room. Now that space I put all the stuff that I used frequently, watercolor, pencil, crayons etc. I use to put  that stuff on another shelf and of course  all the kids got into it and messed it all up.

Now on that shelf I got a whole bunch of little baskets and separated everything into little individual use baskets. Instead of a bin of markers, now its 10 small baskets of markers, crayons, oil pastels etc. the kids get a basket and put it back. I found little changes made a huge difference.

After the little rant is a list of changes I made:


A little rant

***Not always the kids during art.  The room is also used for after school program, scouts on the weekend and Icon painting classes (they didn’t get into anything), CCD class (my sister uses my room so she used things. I didn’t mind).  Well it comes down to A LOT of other people use the room.

So I just needed to change things around. The reason my room is used is I am easy going and really don’t care who uses the room. I don’t go yelling at the other program about things unless something was broken. When I do I am polite and nice and I have always had the stuff replaced, usually with something much better!

That old saying honey vs. Vinegar. It’s how I ended up with 5 boxes of really good brushes. Scouts used my brushes didn’t wash them. So I mentioned it to the scout leader. Who happened to know the Michael's manager and got me a supply of brushes.  When others use my room they use it like an art studio and use the things. They know if they run out of white paint, I am not going to freak if they borrow some. Because of this I come in and find all sorts of donations or left over items they didn’t use. Paint, gold leafing, 2 boxes of matt boards etc.

It may be my room during the school day, but it is part of the parish and diocese. Space is limited. It is up to me to make them room more usable. ***


1. Got rid of a large desk switched to a small drop leaf desk that just holds my laptop, a paper holder and pencil cup. Let word out to the parents and got a real nice used desk.

2. Got rid of the big rectangle tables. Yes I liked them but you couldn’t move around the room and the larger classes had to squeeze together. I just went with regular school desks. Lucky me they had an extra 24 desks, most had been carved or written on. So I Laminate 18” by 24” construction paper and make mess mats that are color coded by table arrangements. I also have a assigned sets and they put their portfolio in the desks. You can buy mess mats if you don’t have a laminator. I also have seen them made out of flannel backed plastic table cloths cut into 18” by 24” rectangles.

3. Used a shelf and created individual bin of art supplies.

4. Got from Dick Blick  the Brush Mate Brush Cleaner the kids don’t use it but I do clean all the brushes at the end of the day really quickly and they are clean!

5. Put a divided pencil holder on each table set, that holds the basics. Pencil, erasers, pens, a pair of scissors. etc. what ever is going to be used that day.

6. Got a few of those plastic storage drawers to hold the yarn, ribbon, and al those little items chenille & popsicle sticks

7. When using clay I set wire cube shelves up for storage and then I can move them or take them apart if I’m not using them.

8. New brush holders the big square kind and smocks kids and adult size, a parent donated the money for them.