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.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Tis the season: Snarky, Moody, Padfoot and Tears.

I solemnly swear I am in a good mood.

Picasso's "Crying Woman". Look like anyone you know?

Testing time is upon us. 

If you are new to teaching, or new to witnessing the, um, let's say stress (10 year old kids crying, kids needing medication for stress, kids refusing to get out of cars, kids asking to be put on prayer lists at church...yes, this is real) of elementary standardized testing, then BOYOBOY are you in for a fun month or two!

You are probably going to find that practically everyone in your building is walking around with PermaScowl and Eye Ball Roll.  You will fully live the word"snarky".  You will experience a stress level so high you can taste it. 

Standardized testing is a BEATING. For everyone.

Here are some important things to remember:

*HIDE. Hide if you can. Hide in your room and teach the kids or do your testing duty, but hide nonetheless. This is the time to lay low, no drama. 

 *SMILE once a day. Even if it hurts. Even if it's to a Snickers bar. If you succeed, try to laugh at something non-snarky. Baby steps.

*Be a source of positive energy. Avoid toxic. Venting is one thing: we all need to vent. Spreading toxic negativity only adds to the terrible atmosphere in your school. Nobody's got time for that!

*OK...this one is super hard for me: don't take things personally. Remember, if people are irritable and cranky during this time,  it is probably not about you. Or... it could be. Who knows?

*Remember why you became a teacher. It was NOT to administer small group tests. It was for the kids. It was for the love of teaching art to these kids.

*A friend sent this to me today. Take a second and read it, feel your soul grow. May is around the corner!

Back in 2006, a group of students at Xavier High School in New York City (one of whom, "JT," submitted this letter) were given an assignment by their English teacher, Ms. Lockwood, that was to test their persuasive writing skills: they were asked to write to their favourite author and ask him or her to visit the school. Five of those pupils chose Kurt Vonnegut. His thoughtful reply, seen below, was the only response the class received.

Transcript follows.

November 5, 2006

Dear Xavier High School, and Ms. Lockwood, and Messrs Perin, McFeely, Batten, Maurer and Congiusta:

I thank you for your friendly letters. You sure know how to cheer up a really old geezer (84) in his sunset years. I don't make public appearances any more because I now resemble nothing so much as an iguana.

What I had to say to you, moreover, would not take long, to wit: Practice any art, music, singing, dancing, acting, drawing, painting, sculpting, poetry, fiction, essays, reportage, no matter how well or badly, not to get money and fame, but to experience becoming, to find out what's inside you, to make your soul grow.

Seriously! I mean starting right now, do art and do it for the rest of your lives. Draw a funny or nice picture of Ms. Lockwood, and give it to her. Dance home after school, and sing in the shower and on and on. Make a face in your mashed potatoes. Pretend you're Count Dracula.

Here's an assignment for tonight, and I hope Ms. Lockwood will flunk you if you don't do it: Write a six line poem, about anything, butrhymed. No fair tennis without a net. Make it as good as you possibly can. But don't tell anybody what you're doing. Don't show it or recite it to anybody, not even your girlfriend or parents or whatever, or Ms. Lockwood. OK?

Tear it up into teeny-weeny pieces, and discard them into widely separated trash receptacles. You will find that you have already been gloriously rewarded for your poem. You have experienced becoming, learned a lot more about what's inside you, and you have made your soul grow.

God bless you all!

Kurt Vonnegut


  1. I cracked up laughing when I saw the Picasso with the caption, " look like anyone you know?" Uh, yeah... me and every other faculty member in my district! We have SGO data that we are just finishing up( handed in today) Domain 4 evidence(5 pages worth) to finish collecting ,organizing and uploading to the new teacher evaluation site for NJ ( we need to prove with evidence that we are good teachers,lol) and 3d marking period grades to do...(by the end of next week) we are all walking around bouncing into things like clueless zombies from the Walking Dead!( I am so gonna miss that show until it comes back this Fall :( My husband got me hooked this season! Hang in there! Our state testing starts the first week of May... all our mandatory "training" is the last week of April... it's the same thing every year...I can recite the "training" lines as we go through them! My favorite is: If a student gets sick and throws up on their test booklet, clean off the test and copy the students answers in a clean testing booklet, if the student feels up to it they can continue the test... Are you freaking kidding me?!? The poor kid puked! I think they are done for the day! Oh and the puked on testing booklet needs to be destroyed in a "State mandated" manner, lol...so no one can cheat( seriously? Who wants the puke test!?!) Who writes this stuff? :0

  2. I wish I could be shocked, but seeing that most of this garbage came from TX in the first place, yeah...we've been dealing with it for awhile. (They have to bag up the vomit covered test and seal it. Barf.) I am so sick of testing. We have a petition going around here to get our state legislators and Perry to take the tests themselves. ha!