Art is the only way to run away without leaving home. ~Twyla Tharp

Saturday, December 14, 2013

I'm a Liar Pants

Confession #1:  I am a big, fat liar pants.
Confession #2: This is the most passive-aggressive blog post ever.

Sigh.  It's so close to Christmas and I know Santa is watching.  I haven't had the most stellar year and I feel the need to come clean.

Why the need for confession?  Well, I lied to a colleague yesterday.  Flat out told a big old fib.  It just rolled off my lips like nobody's business.  Didn't even think twice about it.

In an effort to redeem myself, I feel the need to offer up some excuses background.  I, like so many of my art teacher friends (and regular teacher friends to be sure) spend a ton of my own money for supplies in the beginning of the school year because I get very little money for supplies from my school.  It's just the way things are.  I deal with it and I do it without thinking twice.  Throughout the school year, when I see things that are on sale, or I have a coupon, or they are in the Dollar Spot at Target (can I get an amen! for the the Dollar Spot, my peeps?) I'll pick things up.  Ziploc baggies, little papier mache boxes, do dads, thing-a-majigs, metallic sharpies, ribbon. The list is endless. I like art supplies.  I don't mind sharing stuff with my kids if it means that we can do something cool and exciting and different.

My school purchase order at the end of the year looked like this: 2 reams of heavy drawing paper, tempera paint cakes in 9 different colors and 2 gallons of white glue.  That's it folks.  Supplies for 1 year and 300 + kids.  I also get to order construction paper with 'School Supply money' that I house in my room, and share (gladly) with the rest of the school, because when the other teachers use it, that means they are probably doing some cool projects in their classes.

I got a phone call from a colleague yesterday.  She asked me if I had some glitter and some glue for a project that I am sure that she needed in, oh, I don't know, 10 minutes or so, never mind that I was in the middle of a class of 6th. graders trying to put together star books. 

Instead of saying that I do, as a matter of fact, have glue in my storage closet and I do, indeed, have glitter (TONS of it!) in my desk drawer, I lied and said, "Uh, no.  I don't have any glue or glitter" and I hung up the phone.  But you know what?  I bought that glue with the $150.00 that I have to stretch between my 300+ students that I'll teach this year.  That same $150 dollars that you got at the end of the last school year for your class of 10 kids.  I bought that glitter with my own money because I saw it on sale last year and I had a coupon and I thought, even though I HATE glitter (what art teacher/custodian likes it?) I knew that on occasion I like to let the kids loose and kids FREAKING LOVE GLITTER for crying out loud.

I lied.  I could have given her some glue.  I could have given her some glitter.  But I didn't.  I was mad and selfish.  My pockets are not bottomless.  Plan ahead.  Anticipate needs. Go buy your own glitter.  Pffffft!

So I hope that Santa will forgive me my selfishness.  I could really use some love right about now.  And maybe a couple of gift certificates from Michaels, AC Moore, Hobby Lobby, Dick Blick, Sax, Cheap Joes, Triarco, Pearl, Binders, Jerry's Artarama, Nasco and so on and so on, ad nauseum.


Saturday, November 16, 2013

Mavalus Tape

Part of the job of any art teacher is to display student work around the school.  I have a lot of issues with this, one being that the art work often gets destroyed.  Most of the time it is from the wear and tear of being up in the hallways where our students line up and lean against it all day long.  Sometimes, it ends up being vandalized, but not often, thank goodness.  Another problem I have is just the sheer effort of keeping the stuff on the walls.  I have been known to walk around with a stapler and a roll of masking tape around my wrist to restick, restaple, reattach and fix artwork that has fallen off the cinder blocks or bulletin board strips that line our hallways.

I have been on a mission this year.  A mission to deliver my school from the drabs and drearies.  I often joke that my school is painted in the lackluster colors of East Berlin but OH MY GOSH!  I am not kidding.  There is a black line, at chair rail height that circles the building.  It's about 12-14" wide.  Above the line the cinder blocks are painted gray.  Not light gray or bluish gray or a warm gray.  It's painted the gray that can probably found in the bowels of a submarine.  Below the black line, the wall is blue.  Not the bright, vibrant blue that we at Albemarle Middle School know as Bulldog Blue.  It's grayish blue.  It's dark.  It's like the whoops paint that you might find at Lowes marked down for $1.50 a gallon. It's not even close to our school colors.  Sigh.  It's depressing.

At the beginning of the school year, I found a neat little one day project on Pinterest.  The link is currently broken, but here is a link to my board: Index card 1 day Project.  I had all of my classes from first quarter create a small piece of art on a 3 x 5 plain index card.  I saved them all and did the same thing with my new second quarter students.  After they finished them, I had 200 + little masterpieces.  I mounted them on 24 x 36 construction paper and laminated them. They are heavy. I knew exactly where I wanted to put them but how to keep them up there was my problem.  It was at the other end of the school.  Upkeep was going to be a beast.

See what I mean about the colors?  Blah.
Enter Mavalus tape.  OHMYGOSH!  You guys!  This stuff is insane and has changed my life completely.  I know that sounds excessive but seriously, I am so not kidding.  Over the summer, I went to the teacher store at the big old mall in the next county over and as I was checking out, the girl behind the register noticed that I had a lot of art related items and asked me if I was an art teacher.  I guess it was obvious.  She asked me if I had ever heard of Mavalus tape.  I hadn't and she convinced me to buy a roll.  I really didn't think much of it until a month or so ago when I started putting things up in earnest.

I hung some fairly heavy quilled paper initials up in the foyer.  The wind has blown in on them for weeks and they are still hanging.  I hung posters in the hallway and in my classroom.  Despite temperature changes, mother nature and middle schoolers, they are still hanging.  Over the years, I have tried everything to keep stuff on the walls.  Hot glue (it works but it's a pain to remove), masking tape (most of the time it doesn't even stick to itself), sticky tack, double sided foam tape, command hooks, silicone caulk (I'm serious), duct tape and those little hooks with the sticky, gooey wax stuff on them.  Obviously, I have tried everything.

But no more.  I have found the Holy Grail of adhesives and it's name is Mavalus Tape.  It can be found online (I got a bunch from Amazon but it's locked up in my supply closet so don't get any ideas), at craft stores like Hobby Lobby, AC Moore and Michael's and probably at your local teacher store.  Get some.  It will change your life.

Even though it sounds that way, this is not an advertisement for Mavalus tape and I am not being paid in any way to endorse the product.  It's just that good.

Mavalus tape.  My hero.  Sigh.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Continuous Line Value Landscapes

We have been working our way through the Elements of Art this quarter.  We did some landscapes using line, color and value.  I discovered that value was a difficult concept for some of my students to grasp, but once they got the hang of it, the results were lovely.  Click on the link below for the Gallery Crawl.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Positive and Negative space

We are about halfway though the first quarter and about halfway through the elements of art.  We did some beautiful continuous line landscapes that were colored in using value. I'll post some of those pictures soon.  

Today, we started prepping for some work using positive and negative space, line and pattern. I found this idea on Pinterest but I can't find the link that I got the idea from.

Students will use a template from a 3x5 index card and repeat it on both sides of a 12 x 18 pice of construction paper.  

Today, we are making zentangle resource sheets.  Using about 6 pages of different tangles that I have found all over the net, students are filling in a page of 30 1.5" squares with their favorite tangles to use on their project which they will start tomorrow.   I am looking forward to seeing what they come up with.  As always, I will post pics of the finished projects.  

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

My Art Room

We've been back at school for about 2 1/2 weeks and I think that I finally have my classroom in order, the way that I want it.  For now.

I haven't changed too much this year.  I think that I finally got my art history timeline that is above the whiteboard up in a way that it won't be falling down by Thanksgiving.

One new thing that I added is the shelving unit by the front door.  I am using it to hold the bins that I have for work-in-progress for each class.  So far, it's been one of the smartest things that I have ever done.  Kids line up along the wall in front of the door and drop their work into their plastic bin that I set out on a desk under the telephone as they walk out into the hallway to go to their next class.  When students come into class, one person gets the bin and passes out all the art work.  So far, no projects have been lost, and students know that if they didn't get their work handed to them, they probably forgot to put their name on it.  Two problems solved for less than 20 bucks at Home Depot.  Best investment I have made to date.

This is as organized as my supplies table will be this year.  My desk sits right behind it and I have a cozy little nook to sit in when I am doing my planning.  Of course, I also am trapped in there if I happen to be sitting at my desk and a student comes to me for help.

Sometimes, I think my classroom might be a little bit cluttered and busy, but when faced with the stark gray, battleship blue and black colors in the hallway, I think I am just making up for the shear bleakness in the other parts of the school.  My classroom is bright, colorful, stimulating and fun.  I especially love my little reading corner in the middle right of the above picture.  I still need to bring my houseplants back in to put on the ledge under the windows.  It's a miracle that I didn't kill them over the summer.

I am so happy to have this great space.  So many art teachers don't have a classroom at all, so I know that I am very lucky, indeed.

My theory is that I spend most of my day, the awake part of it at least, in this room, so I might as well make it an enjoyable space that I feel comfortable in.

I love looking at how other art teachers have decorated their rooms.  I think that any school's art room is the place to be!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

This Year's Art Brochure

Every year, I redo my rules and procedures to try to best reflect what I hope to do that year in the art room. Below is my art brochure for this year. I'll share it with my students the first day that they are in class. I hope that they bring it home to share with their families. As always, I hope that I have covered everything that I need to cover so there aren't any questions about what is expected but I am sure that I have left something out. It's hard to streamline everything into just one page and put it into an interesting format. How do you inform your students and their families about what is going on in your classroom? Do you send home a parent letter, let the kids know or just hope for the best?

Saturday, August 17, 2013


I teach Middle School and we don't use a lot of crayons, but I have to admit that I LOVE them. Did you know that crayola produces nearly 3 billion crayons a year? That's 12 million a day! There are over 120 colors (not including specialty colors) and blue is the favorite. I love everything about crayons. I love the colors, I love the names and I could get lost in the scent. Everything you want to know about Crayola but aren't afraid to ask. Who thinks this is the best Back-to-School supply, ever?
Today, I might just go get myself a nice box of brand new crayons. And then I will sort them by color in the box. Anyone else ever do that? Okay, just me. Never mind. What is your favorite Back-to-School supply? I'd love to hear from you!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

I walked into school the other day for a meeting, a few days before teachers officially return on Monday, August 19th.  Out of habit, I went through the office to check my mailbox (a couple of catalogs, not much else) and I glanced down at all the boxes on the floor.  One of them has my last name scrawled on it with marker.  A box from Blick art supplies

My heart leapt a little bit.  A BOX OF ART SUPPLIES.  For me! 

I don't want to admit it, but I am a little bit excited about getting back to school.

Mercy, they are going to take away my teacher card if they find out.

Who else is excited about the upcoming school year? 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

AP Art History and the AP Institute

I just got back from the AP Summer Institute at Marist School in Atlanta, Georgia.  Teachers from all over the southeast converged on this beautiful campus for a week of intense training and I am now certified by the AP Institute to teach AP Art History!  I minored in Art History when I was in college and in fact, had I taken 2 more classes, I could have had a double major.  The sound that you hear is me kicking myself.

I have always had a great love of art history and I am pretty sure that comes from growing up in New York.  I can remember from a very early age, probably third grade, taking multiple yearly field trips to visit the many museums in Manhattan.  As soon as I was old enough, I was allowed to take the train into the city with friends and we would spend the day at the Met or the MoMA.  Really?  What were my parents thinking?  I can remember getting lost in the art and thinking about the people in the paintings and what was going on in the world at that time. As I got older, I discovered The Frick, The Whitney, The Brooklyn Museum, The Guggenheim and my favorite, The Cloisters to name a few.  One quick story and then I'll tell you about my week at Marist.  When I was old enough to drive, some friends and I decided that we would drive into the city.  Thanks to my mom who let me borrow her car.  Really?  What was she thinking?  It was a brand new Cadillac Eldorado.  Seriously.  I wouldn't let me do that.  Anyway, my dad, doing what all dads do gave me strict instructions on how to handle myself.  Have your toll money ready, park in the open parts of parking garages, be careful on the West Side highway because it gets narrow and don't let the cobblestones freak you out. His strictest admonition was that I was IN NO UNCERTAIN TERMS to make a left when getting off of the George Washington Bridge.  NO LEFTS!  Bad neighborhood!  Beware!  I was 17.  What do you think I did?  Yep.  Made a left.  A big one.  But it was then that I discovered the glory of The Cloisters.  If you've never been, please go.  Please.  Tell all the art that I said "Hello" and have a nice picnic lunch on the grass over looking the Hudson.  Sigh.  It's just so lovely.

Fast Forward a couple of decades (or a few, really) and I am on my way to Atlanta, Georgia.  I've been to Atlanta many, many times but it has been a while and I have to tell you that if you have ever heard anything about the traffic in this city, and what you heard about it was that it is bad, well, that doesn't even begin to describe it.  The last hour of my trip took me about 2.5 hours or so.  I had reserved a room at a nearby hotel that offered discounted rates for those attending the Summer Institute.  By the time I got there, I was exhausted and the last thing I wanted to do was go get something to eat, but my lunch from the Cracker Barrel in Greenville, SC was long gone so I decided to splurge and got some room service.

 OMG. Chicken Cobb Salad.  Worth every penny.

I unpacked a little bit and went for a swim in the hotel pool.  I figured that since this was going to be my 'Big Vacation' this summer I was going to take advantage of every amenity. 

The hotel provided a shuttle to the school and I thought that I would take it since I had no idea where I was going.  Turns out the school was just a mile down the road and I ended up driving myself the rest of the week.  We were provided with a 'light' breakfast of pastries, bagels and fruit each morning.  Yum, but lacking the protein that I usually try to eat.  I ended up getting a jar of peanut butter to smear on my bagels each day.

Our instructor, Dr. Michael Bieze, came to get us and brought us up to his classroom where we would spend the week.  There were only 6 of us, 2 studio art teachers, 2 art history teachers and 2 English teachers, so it was a nice, small group. We got our materials, which included the 13lb. current version of Marilyn Stokstad's Art History. We spent the day discussing expectations and getting to know one another.  We looked at slides and I suddenly felt like I was in school again.  A little bit older and achier (have I mentioned the enormous hill I had to climb to get to my car and all the stairs at the school?  No? I'm not as perky as I used to be.  Let's just leave it at that).

On day 2, we went on a field trip to the High Museum to see The Girl With A Pearl Earring and other Dutch Masters exhibit.  Sigh.  Who doesn't love a field trip?  My heart leapt a little bit when we got there.  We spent the morning wandering around the museum.  It is easy to forget how beautiful and intense it is to look at art in person.  I feel so lucky to be teaching in a time where it is so easy to find a work online and project it to share with my students. It's just so convenient.  But, you just don't get the same feeling that you do when you can see the depth of color in person, the texture that builds up from layer after layer of paint, the true size of the works, to walk around a sculpture, to look behind a tapestry.  Sigh.  I was in Heaven.

The Shade ~ Rodin Located on the lawn outside the museum, this piece was donated to the High by the French government to honor the 106 Atlanta Arts Patrons that perished in a plane crash while on a trip to Paris.  Surrounding the sculpture is a wall that bears the names of the men and women that died in the disaster.

House III ~ Roy Lichtenstein 

Mobile ~ Alexander Calder

The Girl With A Pearl Earring exhibit will be at the High until September 29.  If you are planning a trip to Atlanta, please be sure to go.  And if you are driving, in the words of my niece Paula, 'Drive it like you stole it!'.

Dr. Beize drove us around Atlanta in his little beemer after we left the museum, pointing out all the amazing architecture in the city.  If anyone is looking for a business opportunity, buy a couple of 10 passenger vans, brush up on Atlanta architecture and start yourself a tour company.  There are no 'formal' architecture tours which is surprising for a city with such a rich architectural history.

The next couple of days were spent going through the vast amount of works that we need to present to our students to prepare them for the AP Art History exam.  I took the exam when I was in high school, way back when it first started and I don't remember it being half as intense.  Most of the art that we looked at was familiar and I loved every minute of being in that class.  We learned the structure of the exam, how to write questions and what the readers are looking for.  One of the other art history teachers from Spartanburg, SC shared his list of works that he teaches his students, which was so helpful.  Dr. Beize is probably one of the most knowledgeable art history instructors that I have ever had.  His love for the subject was evident and I was so excited to be in the class absorbing as much as I could.  I have copies of exam questions, Dr. Beize's syllabus, his list of works and so many materials that should set me up to win right out of the gate.  The AP exam will be changing in the next couple of years, limiting the canon of works on the test to 250.  If I remember correctly, the Summer Institute is planning a trip to Tuscany next summer where instructors will learn the new test and be immersed in the Italian countryside.  I am going to do everything that I can possibly do to go on that trip, even if I have to eat nothing but red beans and rice for the next school year. 

I will tentatively be teaching this class on line in the spring.  My district is trying to come up with ways to offer more diverse classes to our students and it seems that online learning is the way to go.  I am so excited about sharing my love of Art History with the students in my county.  I am a little bit anxious about this whole online thing, but I guess it will be good to get outside of my comfort zone.  I am also taking an online class this summer to learn how to teach online classes.  I feel confident that our intrepid instructor will have us ready by the spring to bring all of these amazing opportunities to the kids in our district.  It's exciting!  And it's scary.  But I think that is a good thing.

My only problem is trying to figure out how in the world I am going to get my students to visit some of the amazing art that we have here in the area.  We will need to go to The Bechtler Museum of Modern Art and The Mint Museum of Craft and Design and The Mint Museum and The Ackland Art Museum and the NCMA and The Weatherspoon and...Sigh.  There has to be a way.

Projected and print images are fine, but to really fall in love, you need to see it in person.

Monday, June 3, 2013

End of year

Cleaning my tables with shaving cream is always a fun way to end the year. It eats through everything that has been on my tables all year long and leaves my room smelling minty fresh. I use the cheap kind in the can that you can get at the dollar store.

We learned that shaving cream is NOT whipped cream...but his face was priceless.

We drew pictures in the foam.

We wrote our names.

Business teachers came to play along as well!  Mrs. Jones was thrilled to find out the cleaning properties of shaving cream and took some of the left over cans to try out on her kitchen counter tops.  I also highly recommend it for cleaning sticky places on your floor, in your refrigerator, your glass top range, tile grout and shower, tubs and sinks!

All in all, a fun way to end the year with one of my favorite classes. 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Summer Drawing Challenge

I am sorry that I have been such a loser pants when it comes to blogging.  The last couple of months have been a storm of trying to get things together for the end of the year coupled with not feeling too great as well.  I am sure that some of you can relate but the only thing that I have wanted to do when I get home is to pull the covers over my head.  I keep telling myself that summer will make it all okay and I hope that is true.

That being said, I know that many of my students start looking for something to do during the summer no more than 2 weeks into vacation.  After seeing all the "30 Day" photography (and such) challenges on Instagram, I thought that it would be fun to issue a 'Summer Drawing Challenge' to my students.  I came up with 25 fairly broad things for them to draw over the summer to be turned in the first week of school, next year.  For their efforts, they will receive a 'free' 100% in whatever exploratory class that they have the first quarter of the 2013-2014 school year.

I opened up the challenge to all of my students, even going as far as inviting our rising 5th graders to participate.  I asked our High School art teacher if she wanted to play along as well and she said that she would give her rising 9th graders credit as well.  We might even go so far as having a Summer Techy Challenge and a Summer Music Challenge as well.  What better way to start off the new school year than with a free 100%?

The rules are simple:

·    Draw all 25 of the Challenge prompts during the summer

·    Drawings DO NOT need to be on 25 consecutive days, but please do put the date that you drew each challenge on your drawing

·    Put your first and last name on each drawing

·    Drawings should be in a folder that you design for The Day One design (can be just a large piece of paper folded in half)

·    Drawings are due back to Miss Smith at school the first week of school to get full credit

·    If all 25 drawings are done correctly, you will receive a free 100% in your first quarter enrichment class.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Things That Break My Heart

Last week, I made these Lorax clay pots with my EC self-contained class.

I know that they are not particularly arty but I like to do things with this class that are in the moment.  I try to plan things that go along with what they are doing in their classroom or revolve around holidays and happenings, which I almost never do with my other classes.  Since Earth Day is tomorrow, I thought these would be fun to make. Tomorrow, we will fill them with soil and plant zinnia seeds while we watch The Lorax (the original, animated short one).  They will take them back to their classroom, put them in a sunny window, already prepared by their amazing teacher and hopefully, will have some truffula flowers growing shortly.

Why does this break my heart?  Because in the past week, students from my 'regular' classes have been looking at these little clay pots asking me, 'Are we gonna make these?' to which I have had to say 'No' which always gets met by a 'Why not?' I hate to tell them that I can't afford to buy already made clay pots (or clay to use in my kiln or glaze or so many other things) for my 100+ students that I am teaching this quarter or felt and googly eyeballs and pom poms so that they can make the Lorax pots, but I can afford it for the 12 or so kids in Mrs. P's class.  Sigh.  It makes me feel guilty but most of all it breaks my heart.  To tell them no.  Even though it's not my job to do cutesy stuff with them, it's not in my standards for sure, I know they like to to do craftsy stuff.  They probably don't ever get a chance to do things like this.  Budgets, or the lack thereof really stink.  Art is consumable.  And we consume a lot.  I recycle, I beg borrow and steal.  Well, I don't steal but you know what I mean.  It's rough to be an art teacher with about $1.50 a kid to spend on supplies. 

Which means, I guess, that maybe we will do some origami these next few weeks (only about 4 before we start testing) and that I will be breaking out the solar beads and cotton kitchen string to make solar bead bracelets (always popular) again this year.  And I'll be trying desperately to justify this with the common core, somehow.  Of course, I will just be wishing that I could afford to buy a bunch of para-cord and clippies for those bracelets as well.  Sigh.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Gallery Crawls

I feel so techy.  I know, it's not much but please click on the links below to view 2 very short 'Gallery Crawl' videos of my students recent work.  Zentangle Landscapes and Mandalas.  They have worked so hard and their work needs a little bit of recognition.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.


Zentangle Landscapes

Thursday, April 11, 2013

What Are the Biggest Misconceptions About Teaching Art?

This is a great post from The Art of Education site.  Please read all the comments.   I've heard them all plus some other doozies.  My favorites this year:  When an EC teacher was asked for the modifications that were needed for her students so that the elective teachers could modify the work we do in our classes for her students (it's not just us art folk that don't get taken seriously) she wanted to know why, since all we do is 'play' on the exploratory hallway anyway.  This sounds horrible, but I do my best to avoid her in the hallway now and rarely look her in the face.  (Lesson #1 Don't cheese off the art teacher) Just recently, we found out that during fourth quarter, our 8th grade students would be pulled from our classes, a week at a time by homerooms for career counseling.  So, during any given week I could be missing 2 or 3 kids or maybe more from my class who I will either need to catch up the following week or give extra time to complete their projects.  Like I don't have to give them a grade and what I do in my class is not valid. No one consulted us or asked our opinion about this and it was just sprung on us at the last minute. That's just from people that I work with.  Fellow teachers and colleagues.  I guess that is the frustrating part.  I would HOPE that they might understand a little bit more of what I do in my classroom every day.  If they don't get it, how can I have any hope that my students and their parents will?

Sigh.  It's not easy being green.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Back to Reality

I hope that everyone has had a wonderful Spring Break.  It is Sunday morning and I am finding myself in Back-to-School mode after spending the last week cruising to Nassau and Freeport, The Bahamas with my BFF.  It was a wonderful, relaxing week but everywhere that we went, I found myself thinking about my students and what I could share with them.  Does everyone else do that?  Yeah, don't answer that.  I know you do.

This is Winston, who sat outside the Straw Market in Nassau carving the most amazing figures out of wood.  He was truly an artist. Below is his almost finished Grouper.

I bought this little guitar made out of soda cans.  So many of the stalls in the Straw Market were selling these little recycled sculptures and I wish that I had taken pictures of them all.  There were cameras, airplanes, cars, motor cycles, trucks and animals.  I am wondering if there would be a way for my students to do this as a project but I am worried about their safety cutting the metal.  I may have to give this some more thought. Isn't it the cutest thing? 

Those of you who have been on a cruise are familiar with these towel creations.  Sculpture, right?  Admit it, you took pictures of your towel friends every night when you came back to your cabin, too.  Right?

 I won these trophies playing trivia on the Promenade deck.  Apparently, they are '24 Karat Gold Plastic'.  They will be displayed on my desk, at least for a little while.  I hope that my students will be proud of me.

I am glad that I was able to get away and have some fun because the most busy, hectic time of the year is about to begin.  As all my teacher friends know, fourth quarter can be a crazy time filled with field trips, testing and all kinds of activities that we don't normally do the rest of the year.  I generally see my students for about 6 out of the 9 weeks this last quarter and I try to cram as many fun and relevant projects as I can in that short time.  I have lots of ideas and as usual, am not sure how we are going to get it all done.  Never the less, I will be dreaming of floating, knowing that summertime is not far away.  Today, in the meantime, I still have laundry to do and I have to go to the grocery store since there does not appear to be a 24 hour buffet set up on my deck.

Back to reality.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

So, I am taking this online class...

and we have been doing all kinds of techy things.  This week has been all things video and story telling.

Check out a mini 'Gallery Crawl' of some student work here:

And my very first 'How To' video, featuring LaTasha twirling a kaleidocycle at the end.
Check out How to Make a Kaleidocycle by Tracey Smith on Snapguide.

Welcome to the 21st. Century, MizzSmiff!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Mandalas, Radial Symmetry, Transformations

This week we are creating mandalas in the art room. We are using reflections and rotations to create radial symmetry. Using math in the art room! Who would have thunk it! More pictures to follow.

I love this one so much!  I hate to say that when the artist showed it to me, I was totally shocked by how awesome it looked.  He got it! He really got it!

This student had done this design first , then changed his mind and started on something more ordinary.  When I saw this design, I told him that he TOTALLY needed to do this one.  This is from a student who has been apathetic in my class, at best.  He generally rushes through his work and puts very little care into what he is doing.  I hope that he didn't see me do my little happy dance when I walked away from his table.  I can't wait to see how this looks when he is finished!