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 29, 2015

Lewisville ISD Elementary Art Show, 2015

Every year, we put on a HUGE district-wide student art show, separated by levels. It is SO COOL.

There is a highly acclaimed, competitive High School Student Show, where students can win prizes and scholarships, a Middle School Show, and, since our district is so large, 2 Elementary shows. Middle and Elementary shows do not compete. 

These are held in a brand-spanking-new, sun-filled, beautiful local community gallery located in The MCL Grand Theater in Lewisville, TX. 

At the elementary level, we have 2 awesome Gallery Committees, who measure and make sure each art teacher is given a set spot. These spots rotate every year. The Committee creates name tag templates, invitation templates, and announcements for all of us to share with our school community. THEY ROCK. Everything flows so smoothly!

We are given 8 large foam boards on which to attach our work. Not the most elegant solution, but it does save the gallery walls. Over the years, we have become pros with tacking T-pins and yelling/stapling on uncooperative foam board. 

The Donald wall. Yes, we hang from floor to ceiling. It looks like an art room explosion. 
So happy we have great display areas for 3D work!

We hang the show after school Tuesday-Thursday, and have an Opening Reception Friday night. It is a special occasion and many of our kids come dressed up and have a special dinner. So sweet!

Normally we have hundreds of families show up for the Opening Reception, but a lovely thunderstorm kept many home last Friday evening. Luckily, the gallery is open Tuesday-Sat as well. Each show stays up for almost 2 weeks. 

Love this! 

All in all, I had about 80 children represent my school, from Kinder through 5th grade. Selecting the art is hard work, I tend to do it 3 weeks before the show. I usually pull about 100 pieces. I pre-cut Kraft paper the size of the foam board and go from there. Many times, I bring in other teachers to help select the finalists.

Planning placement at school. This takes HOURS, with the mounting and moving pieces around. 
Also, DOUBLE CHECK the names to ensure you have the right kid. 
Yes, I have given an invite to a kid and left their art out of the show, and it is an awful, terrible day. 
My husband gets to remind me every year...hahaha.

Yes, it does take planning to put on a show like this. You really do need to pull art all year. 

Yes, it is a lot of work to properly mount, label, make and hand out invites, hang announcements. 

Yes, we all tend to bring too much art and stress about how to hang it all.

But, as always, it all works out, and it is such a huge success!

Check out that smile, I mean, come on!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Sunset Silhouettes: integrating art with science, (or how a serendipitous meeting with Nancy Walkup turned this age old project on its head).

Last year, I realized that Nancy Walkup (Editor of School Arts, Elementary Art Educator of the Year, TAEA, 2010, former Elementary Director of NAEA and current director of NTIEVA, at UNT. Annnnd Nancy and Pam Stephens, authored "Bridging the Curriculum through Art: Interdisciplinary Connections", a GREAT book about appropriate art integration) lives 30 minutes from me. Thank you Facebook! So I invited her to my school...

...We had a blast...

...Which led to Nancy creating Summer Professional Development for the Art teachers in my district (Lewisville ISD). Nancy talked to us about Design Thinking and STEAM, with   paper marbling with silhouettes as our hands-on project. This is a project many elementary art teachers do at some point, as it is a great way to teach color theory and silhouettes (and all the cool things you can do with those). Check out Pinterest or deepspacesparkle-sunset-silhouettes for examples. Her inservice was awesome!

See here for my full post:  Summer In-service with Nancy Walkup. But here are the highlights:

STEAM inservice, focusing on density and physical properties.

Making sure the new Science TEKS (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills) are integrated.

Nancy, doing a demo on paper marbling.

The resulting conversations, as we were all excited by the outcome...

Yes, it must be this brand and type. The chalk does not rub off when dry! Crazy!

Happy Nancy scraping chalk into trays of water...

Gentle swirls help demonstrate the objectives...

Place the paper on top, and pull for marble effect. Success every time! 
Even ghost prints were super cool.

So of course I had to try this with my second graders, who usually do a sunset silhouette painting to learn about color theory.

I bought 3 finger-painting trays and the Prang FreArt pastels. 
The kids rotated in quick groups of 3 while the rest of the class continued working on a different project. 


This year, I decided to introduce Architecture, especially along the horizon line. Second graders are learning about geometry and geometric shapes in math right now, so I decided to integrate this by incorporating complex and simple geometric shapes for buildings and windows.

We also talked about the importance of glowing lights, and negative space. 
Not going to lie, I was curious how second graders would handle negative space.

Here are some photo examples I used, focusing on cities with interesting architecture along the horizon line, and complex shapes. 

And here's where we talk about negative space...

Check out this fun:
They used scissors to gently scrape their colors onto the water. 
Heavy pieces sunk to the bottom, unusable. The fine dust stays on top of the water, for a time, so the kids have to work fast.

Once the paper is dry, the chalk does not rub off! So awesome.
The kids created their cities on black paper, and added details with white oil pastels and black fine point markers.

And here's the final product! So proud of these kids!

This student wanted to show the various neon lights of a city.

I think they understand negative space...wow.

Here a student wanted to show the "gleam and glow"(her words!) so she rubbed the pastel to get a glowing effect.

I love how robust and integrated this project has become, with just a few minor changes. Thank you Nancy!