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.

Friday, January 9, 2015

5th grade: Magazine Half Drawings

It was December.

It was the month of the 5th grade Holiday Program.

It is a sacred cow in our school. Lots of rehearsals, mostly during Specials. This is a collaboration between the 5th grade teachers and Specials, we all help out. We all give up precious time. We all help with costumes, crowd control, props and backgrounds (me). We all listen to the kids sing the same songs over and over and over...

But still-

The kids were going to be missing Art. A lot. And they needed to create some art.

I needed a super, way cool art project for them to work on during flexible times: modified classes, indoor recess, working at home... Something that would excite them and keep them engaged. And this year we are focusing on Observational Drawing, so I decided to try The Half Draw.

Anna, 5th grade

Paulina, 5th grade

Garrett, 5th grade

Admittedly, this is a project I haven't done since I was in middle school (80's!). I was excited to see what the kids would do with my stack of pre-cut magazine pictures (I had a recent donation of Martha Stewart's "Everyday Food" and "Birds and Blooms" magazines, both have glorious photographs). 

I was blown away. They really seemed to enjoy the peacefulness that settles during drawing. They enjoyed focusing on the textures and patterns. They created gorgeous works of art that demonstrated they were thinking and observing as artists.

It was a calm balance to the heavy demands of their performance!

Anoushka, 5th grade

Beth, 5th grade

Liberty, 5th grade

Bella, 5th grade

I was really excited to see how some added other elements, imaginary worlds inside their picture. I was super happy to see their attention to detail, texture, pattern and shading. This was a cool, fun project to do during a crazy time.


  1. How do you handle the wasting of materials? I can just see my kids whipping through consumables in a week...

  2. Great question! And one I struggled with my first few years of teaching.
    I spend a lot of time at the beginning of the school year going over rules and procedures (one of them being: We treat our precious, expensive supplies with respect), and, super important, I remind them weekly. Wasting materials is not an issue now that I think about it. I think it's due to a few reasons:
    • I am always telling them to act like artists and look with artist eyes. If you are acting like an artist, your entire outlook changes. In fact, I rarely have kids throw away papers and start over.
    • They are in charge of cleanup--I am not their mother (The only thing I clean are the brushes as my sink is tiny and I want those brushes clean! )They have to clean up everything properly before I let them leave my room. Even if the classroom teacher is at the door. Thankfully, my teachers will support me and make their kids hurry up and clean.
    • Over the years, my students and I have built mutual respect towards each other and the art supplies. In fact, they get irritated if an oil pastel is dirty or the watercolors were not cleaned properly by the previous class. My response is, “Wow that stinks. Now you have to waste your time and clean up someone else’s mess” as I hand them a wet wipe.
    But mostly, it goes back to your rules and procedures. These are not a onetime discussion; they are daily, weekly reminders. Even If you have to stop the class for a few minutes to remind them, it’s necessary.
    Sorry this is so long, but it’s a great question. Hopefully I answered it. And I hope you are enjoying your summer!