About this Site and Me

My photo
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.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Updated! 5th grade Ceramic Selfies

These awesome Ceramic Selfies (see previous post: here) were fired and kids painted them with acrylic paint (I caved and bought the cheap bottles at Walmart and Michaels for bright, bold colors). 

Fifth graders are answering the question: End of an era. How do you feel?

Here the slabs are, ready to dry and be fired!
After, the kids painted in the lines with black acrylic and allowed it to dry.



I was so impressed how the kids picked their colors. Most of the darker colors were not selected. Even if students portrayed themselves as nervous or scared, the colors they chose did not reflect those emotions. These kids are ready and exciting for Middle School!

When they finished, they used their original self portrait and this painted version as a digital portfolio entry, answering the question: End of an Era, how do you feel? I cannot wait to read their responses!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

What lives in the water? First grade Art and Science integration.

First graders learn about the water cycle and types of water ecosystems (Salt, fresh. Oceans, lakes, aquariums, etc)

What a great way to integrate art and science! So fun and easy. We had a fun and quick convo about creatures (plants and animals) of salt water, fresh water, tide pools, fish bowls. Students created their own drawing of their favorite ecosystem.

What lives in the water? What is the habitat?

Having iPads for research was the HUGE blessing here. Kids were easily able to pull up ecosystems and images as a resource.

We did oil pastel batik:

  1. Draw water -based creatures and habitat 
  2. Crumble paper, artistically! The more crumbles, the more batik-like it will look. Then smooth it out.
  3. Go over drawing with heavy chalk outlines (or you can do white crayon for younger kids)
  4. Oil pastel colors, apply heavy but do not go over the chalk lines (we call them Hot Lava!)
  5. Paint over with black tempera or black watercolor, dabbing off pools of unwanted color

The kids were so thrilled with their end results. They were also excited about being able to apply their knowledge and fascination to this way cool project.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Getting our printing groove on with Gelli Plates! Image heavy!

I was able to purchase six Gelli plates this year, and I was super excited to try them. My third graders were learning about organic shapes and texture, so this was the perfect way to play and explore.

Step one:
This video: making-foam-texture-plates-for-gelli. The kids loved it! I did not have to redirect at all.

We created texture plates exploring texture with organic shapes. We used up a ton of donated craft foam on salvaged cardboard. So, basically, free. Lots of glue. Lots.

My concern: only six Gelli plates with 20 kids.
I wanted each kid to have enough time to pull three successful prints.

So...six kids printing per class period.

Hmmm. This was going to take awhile. What to do with the rest of the class?

Answer: textural weavings! Another way to play with texture. All students were happily engaged and successfully finished both projects around the same time frame (about 6 rotations total)

They love it, and it took very little instruction. Keeps them happily engaged while I am working with the small group.

 Time to print! I have six kids at the back table while the rest worked on their weavings.
 I will let the pictures speak for themselves:

The very first print...


I let the kids create their own palettes, using the color wheel,  of course...

End result: the kids LOVED this. They were very successful and engaged, for many weeks.
I loved it because we knocked out two major projects at one time.

After the kids pulled three successful prints, they embellished with metallic markers.
This was a huge hit. The kids really liked how it emphasized their shapes.

 Then they mounted their final three and wired the three together for display.


Saturday, May 3, 2014

Books: deconstructed and altered and holy moley- these are amazing

5th grade

Some kids prefer creating in the hall so they can spread out and focus.
OK peeps, I have done this altered book project with fifth graders for a few years now, and I was kicking around the idea of not doing it this year...but...WOW I am so glad we did.

The kids really blew us away. These sculptures are beautiful and meaningful. And finished in three class periods. What??

This school year has seen a few changes in our Art program:  1:X pilot program and a more student-led direction. This allowed me to step back and let the kids decide how they wanted to create their altered book.

I started off the same:  the kids and I talked about how the world is changing rapidly, especially with technology. We talked about the benefits and downsides to tech and non-tech. These kids are so insightful and globally aware. It was exciting to talk with them.

Close up ^.^

So. Which do you prefer: a traditional book or a device? 

I like both.

 I have a copy of "The Hobbit" from eighth grade that was literally falling apart until I begged my librarian to repair it. That book is precious to me (haha see what I did there?)
Hello, friend. 

 I also have both Nook and Kindle apps on my iPad. I love them as I can have an entire series in my hand for those boring waits at Dr. offices. Or middle school pick up. Or anytime I don't want to lug fifty pounds of books around.

This was a great, I mean great conversation to have with the kids. To hear their pros and cons was awesome. They talked about the affect on natural resources to the carbon footprint from a device to backpack weight to the breakage from dropping a device. They talked about how much they like to turn a paper page to liking the ability to highlight and define words on a device.

Then the conversation turned to conservation. What happens to damaged or outdated library books?

Did you know that public school library books cannot be donated or sold? That they have to be recycled?
Just ONE box of "discard" books, with some old piano books from my kids' closet.  Those are fun to work with!

That really irritated the kids. I think this gen is, among many other things, servant based. They don't like the idea of beloved books being tossed. They do not like garbage polluting the world. So we talked about up-cycling (wiki:Upcycling).

This year, my only direction was to allow this sculpture express how they FEEL about CHANGE:

  • How do you feel about the huge change of tech vs. non tech? Book vs. device?
  • OR, how do you feel about leaving elementary school and going to a new school?
  • OR, how do you feel about changing this particular book?
  • OR, how do you feel about changes in the environment?
  • OR, ?
I left it wide open. And they stepped up.

I put a bunch of supplies out for them:

Craft scissors, rubber cement, tissue paper and cellophane, scrap papers, ribbon and beads, yarn, hole punchers, wooden sticks, cardboard tubes. Anything that has been collected and sitting around, I grabbed and left them to create. 

This project took 3 class periods, beginning to end. Including assessment in their digital portfolio. I was really impressed by the books they chose and how they altered them.

Final assessment with iPads

The kids were so excited and focused. Even kids who struggled at first got their groove on. These Altered Books are sensitive and well-thought out artistic creations of kids stepping into their teenage years. I am so proud of them:

3D pop ups


A duck pond!

Fire was a common theme...

Creature Feature

Another 3D pop up