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Monday, February 23, 2015

Quarterly TpT Site Wide Sale!

WOOHOO! It's that time again! Time for TpT's quarterly site wide sale!

Go purchase all those items you've been wish listing!
If you're like me, that's a LOT!! =)

Click here or on the picture above
to go directly to my store and begin shopping!

Thanks for stopping by!
Happy Shopping!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Walking on Sunshine

There are so many great ideas floating around on the internet! Recently I came across this idea from 5th grade teacher Constance Massey. She had a coworker who was having an especially rough time, so she created this basket to cheer her up!

This "Sunshine Basket" could be used to cheer up a sad coworker, share some joy with others before testing, and so many other things!

How would you use this basket?

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Using Graffiti as Review in the Classroom

Looking for a new, "cool" way to allow students to review? Try a graffiti wall! You can truly use this for any topic or subject! I've tried it with 4th, 5th, and 6th grade students - but I could see it working from about 2nd grade all the way through high school seniors.

I always start this project by having a brief graffiti discussion. The students all know what it is, but I explain that we are only going to graffiti appropriately in the school! This means I shouldn't hear or see anything on their desks, in their lockers, in the bathroom, etc. While this extra step might seem like a waste of time, I haven't had any issues - so I found it worthwhile for me. :)

Next the students and I briefly brainstorm the topic at hand. The graffiti below is based on the story King George that was in our reading series. 

There are a few different ways the graffiti can go, and I was always pretty lenient with mine. You can require only pictures, ask for just words, allow only one color, give a time limit for each drawing, require a certain amount of participation from each student, or a multitude of other factors.

I always told the students they needed at least one idea on the board.

When each student was given one chance to come up to the board, I then allowed them to come up a second time if they had an idea that did not already appear to be represented.

After our graffiti board is done, I always go around the room and ask each student to explain their contribution. (This part could certainly be omitted if time were a factor, but I don't think the end purpose would be as strong then.) It never ceased to amaze me the comments like, "Oh, I forgot about that part!", "Oh yea...", or "That reminds me of..." The students really listened to one another, and very rarely did I have to add any major events from the story to their graffiti wall. Honestly, I was able to take a back seat and act as more of a spectator than teacher during this time --- YES! =)

One of the best parts with these graffiti walls in that you can leave them up for the test/quiz if you want, or simply erase them and take them down. Many different students told me they pictured the graffiti walls in their heads while taking their quizzes, so I know these stuck with many of the students!

There are other variations of the graffiti wall that can be done in your classroom as well. Allow students to work on these individually at their desks. When they are done, the class can circle around to look at everyone's OR you can do a brief sharing out loud. These could also be done quite easily on an Activboard to allow them to be saved for reference before semester tests. Another option is for students to be grouped up, with each group sharing their project with the entire class at the end. A final option would be to allow students to create their graffiti walls right on their desks using Expo markers (but test to make sure these erase well before you go this route!).

I'd love to hear how you currently use (or plan to use) graffiti walls in your classroom!
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Sunday, February 1, 2015

Heart Art for Valentine's Day

I don't know about all of you, but I've ended up teaching art classes in nearly every single school I've worked at. Typically I try to get at least a 30 minute session in once each week, but you know how it goes... If something needs to be skipped, it was often art. :(

However, I quickly realized that if I could find art projects where the students were on their own for at least half the time, I could get a lot accomplished in those 30 minutes! Below is one of those projects!

I told my students to make any animal they wanted, but they had to be made out of heart shapes (it was nearly Valentine's Day after all)!

Here's what they came up with!


birds & mice (eek!)


bunny rabbit

Ok, so this is obviously not made out of heart shapes, but it was another random Valentine's Day project that I had a picture of. We traced our hands and added hearts were our fingers would be for a Valentine's Day bouquet for mom. I heard they were really well received!

Looking for even more cute heart-shaped animals? This picture or this one have some cute ideas!

What's your favorite Valentine's Day art project? Tell me about it or leave a link to where I can find it below!

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Sunday, January 25, 2015

Misc Art Ideas {Part 2}

I promised you more random art ideas, so here you have it!


This actually started as part of a paper plate. (This makes it easier for the kiddos' work to keep it's shape.) We then followed the Roy G Biv pattern to put our colors down. Finally, we tied corresponding beads to the ends. 

Sometimes simple is the easiest way to go. I found a template for the hat online and let each student draw in their own face. There were some interesting cats! 

This is another one of those fairly simple construction paper projects. I like to let the students have some creativity, so I simply make a model, set out construction paper, and let them at it. Some of these ladybugs looked identical to mine - while others took on a life of their own! However, I'm totally fine with each student getting to show their own creativity. 

Dang, another picture that turned upside-down on me...anyway...
 This can be done with nearly anything. You can tell that I had a fish coloring page of some sort, but this could just as easily be a hand-drawn item. You then take small pieces of construction paper (cut up or ripped) and use them to "color" your design. I wish I had the students' finished models of these because they turned out super cute! 

Doesn't everyone love a paper plate snake?!?

For this project we were simply given construction paper and told to make a 3D effect of sorts. You can't really tell from the picture, but the heart pops out a bit as well. 

I made this as an elementary student - eek! We were told to either trace an outline on the paper plate OR freehand it. (I'm a chicken who had to use an outline.) 

Do you notice the horse theme in my artwork? Yes, I was obsessed as a child and haven't gotten much better as an adult...

This is simply a paper plate lightly colored yellow, hands traced in yellow as the background, and a very ugly face (missing an eye) that I put on. Simple, but serves it's purpose!

This is a project I did in 5th or 6th grade. Each of those little squares has something in it. Mine was a pattern of eye patch, treasure chest, and captain's hat. This way they all kept with the school theme of Pirates that I was going with. I remember this taking at least two art classes (back when we had an art teacher who came into the room once a week). I hated this project at first, but it hung in my bedroom for many years after I did it! =)

This frog is actually made from 1.5 paper plates. I then painted them, glued them together, and used construction paper to add the rest of him. I think I used this as an end-of-year card collection box at one point in my elementary years.

Please tell me every teacher has a room/corner/garage/something that looks like this?! 

Since I currently live in an apartment, I don't have a lot of space for the school "stuff" I have accumulated. Therefore, I use my parents' storage shed. This is what it looked like last summer when I decided I needed to clear some things out. I kept what was absolute necessities, but had a HUGE rummage sale (and gave a LOT away) to get the piles down a bit. I really should take an "after" picture so you don't all think I'm a complete hoarder...

There you have it! Part two of my random art ideas blog posts. 

Which one was your favorite? And which one do you think you'll be trying in your classroom soon?
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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Misc Art Ideas {Part I}

Thanks to Pinterest, it seems we have a never-ending pool of ideas to choose from. But, even with that being said, I would like to share some random art ideas I've done over the years. 


Rudolph Bottle Nipple Ornament - You can find directions for this here. (Although mine used wiggly eyes and a pom-pom.)

This was simply a drawing I did in college based on a photo. I only did this once in my classroom, but it's something I truly wish I had done more often. No tracing allowed! =)

Even as an adult, this project tends to "get" me each time. You draw out lines that are relatively square/rectangle throughout the entire picture. Then you draw figures (or trace them like I did). From there you want to color every other one. I know I messed up a few times here, but you can still see the circle, oval, and horse if you look hard enough.

In my Art Methods course, the professor told us we were going to listen to music and to draw the first thing that came to mind. Literally about a nanosecond later, the music started AND STOPPED! All I had done was one little, random sketch. We were then instructed to fill our entire sheet with that sketch using any color we wanted. Talk about random art! 

I've always liked this picture. The back side is the opposite, but it's so fun working with positive and negative space! Want an even cooler activity than this one? Try looking here!

I don't remember the purpose of this piece, but I do know it's kinda funky and I like it. =)

No lie here - this piece was FUN! We were given a random tub of "stuff" (sponges, mardi gras beads, paintbrushes, etc.) and told to pick one. I immediately grabbed the beads. We were then also given some paint and told to "go"! I swirled so much paint around on this paper, and had an absolutely blast doing it!

Confession time... (and I don't think I've ever told ANYONE this, so please be kind!)

While working on swirling the beads around during my Arts Method class in college, we had the dean walking around to see how things were going. I was using yellow paint and accidentally flicked some on the backside of her gorgeous gray suit. It was just one little fleck, but I was entirely speechless. I didn't know how to tell her, plus she had already walked past me and was getting ready to leave the room. Oops! Dearest dean, I am truly sorry and I hope you were able to get that little speck of paint out!

This was a two day project. First we painted the sky using blending techniques (which I am obviously not very good at!). The next class we came back and added some other drawings and texture to (you can really see this in the grass). There was no glue allowed, just white paper and paint. There is much more of a 3D effect on this one when you look at it in person. 

Sometimes it's simply fun to take construction paper and make something simple. =)

This piece took me HOURS, but I've kept it for nearly a decade now. Doing my name was the easy part, but I thoroughly enjoyed the random camouflage coloring behind it. =)

Speaking of camouflage, this one was inspired by the picture above. We had to use primary and complimentary colors (plus our own shoe!), but it was another project I really enjoyed working on. 

I'm not sure how this project turned upside-down, but there is it. This was another two day project. Again, during the first one we painted the background (sun, rainbow, grass in this case). And then we came back and added some rain. I believe I used a toothbrush to do this. 

This kite is not truly functional, but it made the cutest bulletin board display! We cut a design into a piece of construction paper (actually two pieces), and then we put tissue paper in between them. Add some yard for a tail, and you're all set! 

This is such an easy project, but a fun one at that! Take any bright color crayon and completely color a piece of paper - any size. Then go over it with black crayon. Finally, take something to "etch" your drawing. I think this is a great way to use up older crayons in a fun way!


I warned you that this post was going to be random! Last year I came across a tote of art ideas and just snapped a bunch of photos. So be on the lookout for another random art post soon!

Do you have a link to your favorite art project? I'd love for you to leave it in the comments below so I can check it out!

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Sunday, January 11, 2015

Getting Our Youngest Learners Comfortable with the Mouse

Technology use is on the rise! {like you didn't already know that...} Yet we have some students who are so used to swiping the ipads and phones they use, that they have not yet developed the necessary computer skills to be proficient with keyboards and using a mouse.

That's why I've developed this new product! Students will gain comfort with manipulating a mouse by using this product. {And they'll have fun doing it because they will be creating fun pictures!}
Check out this YouTube video to see what I mean - 

Like what you see? You can download the school bus for FREE to see if it works for your students, just click HERE or on the picture below.

The full product includes the following picture for each month:
August - school bus
September - apple tree

October - jack-o-lantern

November - turkey
December - Christmas tree
January - snowman
February - heart person
March - pot of gold with rainbow
April - bunny
May - ice cream cone
June - turtle
July - watermelon

Ready to give the full product (with one new picture each month) a try? Then purchase the full product HERE or by clicking on the picture below.

What are your thoughts on this project? Do you think it would be worthwhile in your classroom? I'm hoping to make a second set of pictures, so what pictures would you like to see in the next product?

Thanks for checking it out!