About this Site and Me

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Flower Mound, TX, United States
Hi, I am an artist, wife, mom, gamer and the Elementary Art Educator at Donald Elementary, a sweet and wonderful school in Flower Mound, TX (outside of Dallas). This is a great place to see how we are integrating studio habits with technology and interdisciplinary connections. I also love to share my "wisdom" (Re: Experiences. From mistakes.) about teaching Elementary Art. I love what I do, and I've been doing it for a long time. Creating and teaching Art is what I live for. Enjoy.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

5th grade ceramics: Self portraits vs. Selfies

I have become fascinated by the subtle differences between "self portrait" and "selfie", especially when kids explain the terms.

Encouraging my 5th graders explain or demo self portrait--- immediately every kid has a yearbook smile and a Mona Lisa stance. The term suggests formality. Ages of Masterpieces.

Yet say the word selfie, and duck lips appear. Hand poses, head cocked. And then...personalities pop out. Quiet and shy, scared and nervous, confident and ready. Social media ready.

So I threw out our latest challenge, as it is April and standardized testing is upon us. (OH! Hey! This signals to the kiddoes that school is OVAH. Oh, wait, it isn't??) They are all heading to new schools next year, whether to the neighborhood middle school(s) or moving or whatever, everyone is facing a big change.

Our theme?

The end of an era. Show me how you feel.

This needed to be a ceramic portrait. The kids were instructed to use emotion, expression, unique clothing, an interesting perspective, something to show us how they feel about the end of elementary school.

*disclaimer*...maybe, juuuuust maybe, there is a slight chance that this was influenced by the fact that my daughter is graduating high school in a few weeks, and maybe I might be a little melancholy and maybe I thought what mom or dad wouldn't love a ceramic portrait of their baby leaving fifth grade? 

We used the iPads to create digital selfies, something most of the kids already had in their camera roll, just saying, which were printed in black and white.

In the interest of Why Re-Invent the Wheel??? I showed them Blick's awesome video:

The beautiful thing about using videos as your demo is that the kids GET IT. You don't have to re-do. These kids today learn everything from videos, so you are speaking their language. 
tracing the photo with Crayola markers--

Using the ribbon tools to softly carve...
allowing the clay to dry....

Stayed tuned for AF: After the Firing. The kids and I are super excited about these! 


  1. What a great way to merge social/new/traditional media! Great project!

  2. Using markers to transfer, what a great idea! Can't wait to see the results.

  3. Thanks guys! I would love to say that I came up with these awesome ideas, but nooooooooooooo. I am excited to get these puppies fired!

  4. Wow! What a great idea. It sounds like your kiddos had a lot of success - can't wait to see the final version!