Friday, May 5, 2017

End of the School Year in Art! Transition to Modified Studios

The end of the school year has many fun thoughts come to mind, especially in the Art Studio! Even more so, when your routines and procedures came to a screeching hault for maternity leave and you absent for 3 months! 

To keep things running as smoothly as possible, we begin to "close" down full TAB and transition to modified choices. In all honesty, this is how TAB all began for me.  I was scared and stalled numerous times until one morning, I came to school with planks and "set my caged birds free!" Tables are set up, some with "Art Traps" and hands-on activities, children are allowed to choose from what is already selected.  At the end of the year, we go from Painting, Sculpture, Collage, Drawing to STOP-MOTION, STEAM, ARCHITECTURE, ENGINEERING and FIBER ARTS.  I have some step by step sheets for students in case they need them.  I hope you find them helpful and can get full links here: and

Our Art studio has 10 iPad minis and we have "sets" set up for Stop-Motion. Key is to NOT MOVE THE CAMERA! They are exploring and learning. Next year, this will be a studio we open early.  I love the natural collaboration that takes place.

STEAM is a mix of one person hands-on activities from a wonderful grant that we received from the Pattonville Education Foundation.  We have a light board, magnablocks, emido building materials and other great things from Amazon.  In STEAM and ARCHITECTURE, students are supposed to photograph their creations.  From our grant, we added building bricks (imitation Legos) and they are a hit! I would highly suggest purchasing the window and wheel packs. I love seeing what my students have created!

FIBER ARTS we have friendship bracelets and hand-sewing stuffies.

I never really "close" drawing, painting and collage, but there is a natural transition to the "new" pre-set materials that make me feel less like a cleaning lady. 

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Opening Fiber Arts Studio

We are participating in MiniMatisse #ATCswap and in order for Fiber Arts to be open, children need to choose between a paper weaving or yarn weaving ATC. I made portable anchor charts that will be laminated and accessible in Fiber Arts Studio.  These have been very helpful to refer the children to. I have had posters in my room, but sometimes they fade into the background, so at the moment I am "rethinking" what I want viewable in each studio center.  I am excited to see what the children create!

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Getting Started with TAB... Opening Drawing Studio

 This school year, we started off by painting our sketchbooks.  The sketchbooks will be like our ARTifact books, or portfolios... they will house the skills sets and ATC's that we work on throughout the year.

We painted the sketchbooks with either a warm or cool color scheme with tempera.  One half of the room was given red, yellow, orange and white paint, and the other side had green, blue, purple and white.  Students were given a choice on where they wanted to sit. The idea of the painted sketchbooks came from Cassie Stephens!  They were able to explore tempera painting skills such as blending, sgraffito, strokes, drybrushing and we talked about tint.

The students really enjoyed painting their own folders. It gave them a sense of ownership. We used plain manilla folders.  I am excited to see how these work out.

Now that the sketchbooks are ready to go, we spent a lesson on reading the book "What to do With an Idea" by Kobi Yamada and students filled out Where Do Artists get Ideas.  This was given to me by my colleague at Bridgeway Elementary, Ms. Baumann
Now we are opening Drawing Studio! Yay!! So exciting to get going in our studio centers.  Students are working on the following handout. You can find a viewable copy We are identifying where to find Drawing studio supplies. They are color-coded and organized and children are showing their skills in the boxes.  I know teachers have a different ways of opening studios... some are more flexible with skill sets. I like the accountability of having the uses of different mediums right in there sketchbooks for assessments. I hope this is helpful to anyone giving TAB/Choice a try... you won't ever regret it!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Back to School... How I started the year with TAB/ Choice

Welcome back to school WilcatsCreate fans! We are ready to begin a fun-packed year with lots of new things. I am looking forward to learning and growing my students.

With beginning a new school year, I have been traveling through a lot of REFLECTION.  I have two big take-aways from my 2nd year of teaching TAB/Choice. The first big "take-away" from last school year (my 2nd year of TAB) was to have FAITH in my teaching. So much attention had been placed on my classroom in my 1st year of TAB/Choice, I thought to myself, "I have to be the best at this to have have people come observe me." I relied on my mentor and generous colleagues who practice TAB pedagogy for resources, assessment and planning.  I didn't rely on my own instincts to provide authentic art opportunities for children, I followed others' leads.  My students did create wonderful artworks, full of meaning with enriching artist statements, but I lost sight on PROCESS and sometimes looked at PRODUCT.  Especially with Art Shows, Exhibitions with other art teachers that are project based. I lost confidence in PROCESS.  Takeaway Number 2... forget PRODUCT! Let go of the pressure and have FAITH in yourself and have FAITH in the PROCESS!

So this year!!! I currently have had students working on Painting Skills while decorating the covers of their sketchbooks.  We talked about Tempera paint and different painting skills and terms like tint, sgraffito, blending, drybrushing, etc.   The students set to work with a warm or cool color schemes and had a lot of fun exploring sgraffito and blending. The sketchbook idea came from Cassie Stephens.

We are going to use the sketchbooks to house our studio skills, idea sheets, and ATC's!  We have joined in with MiniMatisse's ATC Swap!  We will be creating 2 1/2x3 1/2 mini art pieces to swap globally with countries like Australia, Cambodia, Germany, Japan, Scotland, Thailand, and the U.K. not to mention 80 schools from all over the United States. More about that soon!!

I hope everyone is off to a great year! I love all the comments and questions I have been getting on the blog! Follow us on Facebook and Instagram!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

2016 Legacy Project Underway for 3rd through 5th Graders

This year, we closed up studios for grades 3 through 5 to focus on a Ceramics Unit. We have a lot of special staff members retiring and "Soaring to New Adventures."  We loved how the "Only One You" ceramic installation turned out in our cafeteria, so we are working on hot air balloons for a Water Fountain Legacy project. You can see the water fountain space above.
First, I created new ceramic stamps for the children to use.

We have tons of different stamps for fun patterns.

Children rolled the clay.

Next, they used tracers and cut around the hot air balloons and smoothed the edges.

Then, students were able to add their patterns and designs.

I love how the kids made tons of different patterns.

Students added glaze. We used stroke and coat glaze to save a step of bisque firing.

Into the kiln.

 We are almost ready for the install. The paint has been ordered and we have to coat that first! Stay tuned for the end result! Watch a stop motion on how we got started!

Monday, April 11, 2016

TAB and Choice-Based Substitute Teacher Lesson Plans

The last few weeks have been a whirl-wind. I attended my first Art Educator Conferences and presented at both! I presented with my colleagues at National Art Educator Association Conference in Chicago and at the Missouri Art Educator Conference here in St. Louis. I love meeting art teachers from all over. Everyone has great ideas to share. It was amazing. If you want to see our presentation, check it out here.

I was out a few days and wanted to share what I currently leave for my sub.  I have a hot pink crate with hanging file folders. In the crate are emergency procedures, coloring sheets, extra coloring paper and lessons.  I am in the process of adding more ideas to my sub crate!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Only One You Art Mural and Installation at Willow Brook Elementary School

Just the other day I was reconnected with the author, Linda Kranz. She illustrated and wrote, "Only One You" which was the inspiration for our all school art mural and installation in the school cafe.  I have gotten notes and questions on the art installation from beginning to end from schools that were inspired by our wall. The installation has held up very well.  There have been some curious friends that have touched and taken down a fish or two, but overall, I am very happy with the longevity of the piece.  If you have any questions, feel free to connect with me through our blog, or if you have been inspired by our wall and created something similar please share photos!! I would love, love, love to share them with our students. Art can bring communities together and that would be a great lesson to share with our Wildcats!