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Wrapping Up Quarter Two!

So, clearly it’s been awhile since I’ve posted and I apologize!  My students have been working really hard on skill-builders and W.O.W. projects this quarter and the results are fabulous!  As of now, I have opened the drawing, collage, painting, sculpture, and fibers centers.  Students have really loved the sculpture center, which mostly revolves around paper and found objects/recyclable materials for now.  I love my TAB classroom because all of the artwork is so different and unique, and I can tell my students really put their best effort into it (most of the time 🙂 )  Here are some of the beautiful masterpieces from the studio:



Fifth Grade Student

Watercolor & Tempera Paint

Rainbow Guitar

Colorful Guitar

Fifth Grade Student

Marker and Construction Paper

Spring Time Scottie!

Spring Time Scottie

Fifth Grade Student

Mixed Media

Henry The Penguin 3

Henry The Penguin

Fifth Grade Student


Fall Tree

Fall Tree

Fifth Grade Student




Fifth Grade Student

Collage/Mixed Media

Carnival Pie

Carnival Pie

Fifth Grade Student


Carnival Ice Cream Cone Winner 1

Carnival Ice Cream Cone Winner

Fifth Grade Student


The Wild Place

The Wild Place

Fourth Grade Student

Tempera Paint

Secret Garden

Secret Garden

Fourth Grade Student


Max 2


Fourth Grade Student


eiffel tower

Eiffel Tower 

Fourth Grade Student


I love that my students get ideas from personal experiences.  Since many of them have traveled while living overseas, they often get inspiration from places they have visited (like the Eiffel Tower!).  Max is a dog that belongs to one of my students, and she had so much fun make him into a sculpture.  While I do not give specific parameters for the W.O.W. projects, many times students feed off of each others’ ideas, coming up with somewhat themed works, like the Carnival Pie and Carnival Ice Cream Cone Winner.  I am looking forward to adding more options to the sculpture and fibers centers, as well as opening the printmaking center.  I am so proud of my kiddos!


Check out some of the finished fundraiser art!

sunny day!

“The Sunny Day”

Bobs pizza place

“Bob’s Pizza Place”



the web

“The Web”

Dark Cabin In Halloween Night

“Dark Cabin In Halloween Night”

Gray Graveyard

“Gray Graveyard”

Sun Set

“Sun Set”

nature in the medow

“Nature in the Meadow”







The Landscape

“The Landscape”

Summer flowers!!!

“Summer Flowers!!!”

I’m finished! What do I do now?

If you are a teacher, you dread and despise these words.  However, in a TAB classroom, it’s relatively easy to answer these without saying “go read a book” or “free draw.”  This week, I am teaching students what to do once they are finished with a project (versus a skill-builder or experimentation).  The first thing I do is encourage students to reflect upon their work in several ways.  If it is a W.O.W. project, they need to check the W.O.W. checklist to be sure it qualifies as one.  I then suggest them to hang it up and take a few steps back from it.  This helps to see if there are things missing, areas that could use improvement, etc.  During this time, they also often ask their peers for feedback, which I think is awesome!

Sometimes, during this step, I offer my feedback and/or suggestions as well.  I typically ask them how they feel about it, if there is room for improvement, etc.  If I think there might be areas that could use another look, I try to encourage them to take another look and explain to them why I feel the way I do.  Typically, things that both the students and I notice are areas of unintended white space, places where craftsmanship could be improved, and details that need to be traced or somehow enhanced because they were not able to be seen from a distance.
Once a student is finished with a project, they are responsible for photographing it and saving it to their portfolio on the computer, then writing an artist statement.  My art club students learned how to photograph work using the document camera last week, so they are eager to teach the rest of the students how to do it.  I thought this was going to be a horrible, pull-out-my-hair moment because there are quite a few steps involved in taking the photo and saving it to the computer, as well as uploading it to the website.  I even made a very detailed “How to” poster with each step outlined specifically.  Well, my students made me look incredibly dumb, because they caught on SO fast.  I don’t think one of them has looked at the poster yet.  Oh well, I will chalk this one up to me being technologically inept and my kiddos being super technology savvy.  Either way, it’s fabulous because it saves me from having to photograph all of their work!
Finally, an artist statement basically describes an artwork and explains why the artist created it.  This is another great opportunity for students to reflect upon their art and the artistic process.  Students may choose a “blank” artist statement format, in which they free write about their art (with guidelines from the artist statement flow chart):
or they may choose a template that includes prompts such as “I created this work of art because….” and “Something that surprised me was…”  So far, most of the students have chosen the prompts, but I think that will change as they become more comfortable with the reflection and writing portion.
Now, going back the the “I’m finished!  What do I do now?”….  I have heard this a few times in the art studio, but I think part of that is due to the fact that we are working on an art fundraiser project that has a very specific deadline and guidelines.  To battle this question, I have been reminding students that this is a choice-based classroom, so it’s up to them what to do next.  I remind them of different things we have talked about, such as skill-builders, working on another W.O.W. project, experimenting with materials, trying out different centers, etc.  Once they have this reminder, they are typically happily on their way to finding something to work on.
I know I said this in the last post, but I am seriously loving this type of classroom environment.  While we are still ironing out some kinks and details, the kids are so engaged and are really producing great art!  We are even in the midst of creating art for a PTO fundraiser, which is sort of anti-TAB-ish, since it has some fairly strict limitations, and they are still wowing me with their creativity and work ethic.  I think I am going to wait until the beginning of next quarter to open new centers.  I want to focus on adding some new media to the current centers and introduce some new techniques and concepts (especially elements and principles of art).  Check out some of these in-progress photos:
The student doing the painting above has some really interesting and cool approaches to her artwork so far.
I can’t wait to see what else she does as the year progresses.
This drawing is reminding me of Van Gogh’s bedroom painting so far.
We have not discusses perspective yet, but he seems to be figuring out at least some of it as he goes!
I think students are naturally drawn to circles and radial symmetry.
I’ve had several students from different classes creating similar compositions.
This student drew a vase with flowers, and is attaching it to another paper on which she painted a table and background.
I wish I would’ve taken a photograph of this at the end of class–he made the sphere an Earth and the background is space.  Really cool!
Absolutely amazing texture and detail on this painting–she has spent LOTS of time on it and it’s fantastic so far!

Back in my happy place :)

Back in my happy place :)

Greetings from my new school in the UK!  I am officially an art teacher again and I couldn’t be happier!  Over the summer I accepted a half-time art position at one of the schools here on base.  I teach about 230 students and am so stoked to be back in a classroom.  For those of you who have followed me before, a lot has happened since my last post which was over two years ago (oh my goodness!).  Keeping it short and sweet: I got married, started (and am almost finished with) my Master’s degree, have had a few different jobs here in the UK, and I had a precious baby boy named Benjamin!  My life has been crazy, busy, and full of excitement!

As I mentioned, I am finishing up my Master’s degree in Instructional Leadership and Academic Curriculum.  While taking classes, I have done a lot of research on choice-based teaching and Teaching for Artistic Behaviors and decided to implement it in my classroom this year.  Basically, it is a teaching approach that respects student individuality, encourages thinking like a “real” artist, and allows students to have authentic art-making experiences.  Here is a brochure I use to help explain what it is to other educators and parents:  TABBrochure

This poster also helps describe what the kids are doing in my room:


I was both excited and incredibly nervous to implement this, especially after two years of not being in a classroom.  I have been working for about a month and I absolutely love what is happening in my classroom!  The kids are loving it too!  They have the freedom to express themselves and learn as they work.  Here is a basic rundown of what happens during an art class period:

First 5-10 minutes: Attendance, introduction to concept being taught, demonstration

Next 5 minutes: Students choose what center (media) they would like to work in, and get their workstation ready

Remainder of class: WORK TIME!  Students are free to work on one or more projects in one or more centers.  Students are aware that there are 2 skill-builders (practice-type projects) and 2 W.O.W. projects (wonderful, original work of art) due by the end of the quarter.

Last 5-7 minutes: Clean-up, share ideas and art

The first few weeks have been crazy just because there are always procedural items to go over and we are opening the various centers one week at a time.  Here is a breakdown of what we have done each week so far:

Week 1: Introduction to the choice-based art studio (and their new teacher, ME!).  Media exploration- students had a white paper divided into 6 sections.  At each of my 6 tables, I had different media for them to “play with”.  They could draw/paint whatever they wanted in that square with that particular media.  After about 4-5 minutes, they would rotate to the next table.  I also had post it notes for them to write down notes about each media, such as if it was messy, bold, colorful, etc.  I made posters with these notes that are now hanging in the different centers.

IMG_0655 IMG_0656 IMG_0657 IMG_0658 IMG_0659 IMG_0660

Week 2: Grand opening of the drawing center.  Students were permitted to use white paper, along with the following drawing supplies: marker, crayon, colored pencil, conte, charcoal, and pencil.  They were introduced to the drawing skill-builders (line duplication and value scales), and were taught how to properly get out and put away materials.  We also discussed what artists draw and decided that pretty much everything we talked about fell into four categories:


Week 3: What is an idea?  We watched the video “What do you do with an idea?” by Kobi Yamada and discussed ideas and how to nurture them.  I also introduced what a W.O.W. project was and how it is different from a skill-builder and experimenting.  This checklist helps remind students what a W.O.W. project should look like:


Oil pastels were also added to the drawing center this week (which the kiddos loved!).

Week 4: Grand opening of the collage center.  Students looked at artwork by Matisse, Picasso, and Bearden, as well as collages done by other students.  We talked about how collage artists must think about shape since they are cutting or tearing and gluing.  I did a quick demo of the collage steps I have listed in my room, including how to use the infamous *glue sponge*.  I also showed them two collage skill-builder options (a magazine cut-out color wheel and a mindmap).

Week 5 (THIS WEEK!): Grand opening of the painting center.  I know, I am a little crazy to open the collage and painting center back-to-back and with so little demonstration, BUT: a. we are working on a fundraiser work of art and I really wanted them to be able to paint, and b. they’ve done AMAZING so far!  Very few problems with clean-up or anything!  It’s amazing what giving students some freedom does!  Anyway, I introduced watercolor and tempera cakes.  And by introduced I mean quickly talked them through set-up and clean-up and brush care, then set them free.

As I said, the kids are really loving this teaching approach and are creating some great work!  That being said, I will say it was difficult to relinquish my control as a teacher and allow them to *gasp* actually think for themselves instead of creating a project that looks exactly like my example (and everyone else in the class!).  I am truly seeing their personalities shine through though, which is exciting.  We have definitely had a few bumps and bruises along the way, but the students and I are both learning how to navigate this type of learning environment.  Here are some work-in-progress photos:
IMG_1150 Colored pencil & charcoal landscapeIMG_1144

Oil pastel drawing


Pencil and oil pastel fruit still life


Charcoal pencil drawing of a unicorn eating ice cream with a human dressed as a unicorn (duh!)


Marker pointillism drawing


Pencil drawing of an animal eye


Landscape marker drawing


Construction paper collage


Construction paper collage


Oil pastel landscape drawing (and below, charcoal landscape drawing)

I apologize for this being so long, but I am excited to be back in the swing of things and plan on updating more often.  Happy Tuesday y’all!


Hey there, and sorry that it’s been forever and a half since I’ve posted, but there is a TON of stuff going on in my personal life that has kept me very busy.  First of all, I got engaged in April and will be having my wedding in November.  However, in the meantime, we found out that we got military orders to Mildenhall, England.  So my now-husband and I did a courthouse marriage so I could join him in England.  Long story short, my husband is already across the pond and I will be joining him and just a few days!  The last few months have been a whirlwind of wrapping up school, packing up my classroom and our house, wedding planning, lots and lots of military paperwork, a bridal shower and bachelorette party, spending time with my family in Ohio, and missing my hubby!  

So…school-wise, obviously I will not be working in Clovis anymore.  While I didn’t love teaching ninth grade, I will definitely miss my students and my wonderful co-workers.  I will have to search through my photos to see if I have any from the end of the year to show y’all… 

I am hoping to find a teaching job overseas, either on base or in a British school system.  Right now, I am trying to become a substitute so that I have a bit more flexibility for the wedding and for traveling.  (By the way, we are BEYOND excited to be in Europe!!)  I am also open to teaching in a regular classroom in an elementary school.  Either way, I will start updating my blog more once I am there and in the classroom(s).  Depending on what I am teaching, my blog might take a bit of a turn toward subbing and/or early childhood education ideas and such.  


In the home stretch

Well, we just finished up spring break here in New Mexico, which means that we only have 9 weeks left in school!  Super crazy!  This year has definitely been a learning experience working with ninth graders.  I got new students after Christmas break, and I either have things figured out a bit more, or the kiddos are a bit more mature this semester (possibly a combination of both?).  Since I have been super lame about posting as much as I should, I am just going to upload whatever photos I have on my computer now, some from this semester and some from last.

Still Life Collages (mixed media–acrylic on paper and cardboard, map pages, newspaper):






More Self-Portraits (mixed media):







Still Life Fruit Paintings (acrylic paint on paper):








I also had two students that participated in a juried art show at Eastern New Mexico University!  I entered quite a few students, so I was pretty excited when two made it in the show.  These photos aren’t very good quality, but you get the idea….The first is a typography piece, created using words letters.  The second is a watercolor painting based on a non-objective assignment I gave.



(pencil on paper)



(watercolor on paper)

…..I’m back!


Ok….so I had a whole post typed out…and it disappeared. GRRRR!  The gist of it is that I wasn’t sure if I wanted to continue my classroom blog, but I have had requests, so here I am.  I am now teaching at the Clovis High School Freshman Academy, [a fancy way of saying the school that houses all of the 9th graders in Clovis…yes, ONLY freshman.]  Very different from elementary school, very different from Georgia.  I miss my babies, but I am beyond grateful that I have a job!  And that it is still doing what I love.  Anyway, I have some very talented students and we’ve done some fun stuff.  I have lots of pics…

First project–contour and positive/negative shapes and space….

Another project early in the year–Picasso/cubism inspired, value (light to dark):

Pumpkins…I LOVE these!  The lighting isn’t great, these are done with chalk pastel on black paper.









Perspective projects…kinda boring project, but some nice drawings.





Our latest project, which some students are still working on…self-portraits.  I have some other projects that I haven’t photographed yet, so expect another update soon.  Here are some of the self-portraits so far….









Alright, done for now, hope you enjoyed!