Monday, August 30, 2010

My Classroom

I have been enjoying other art teachers' blog that are showing their classrooms as we are all spending to much time getting them clean and organized for our students so I decided to show a few pictures of my classroom. This is my room at my home school, as my other classroom isn't as inspiring. I share that room with the music program, and we are both very careful not to overtake the other person's program.

From this picture, the main entrance of the room is on the right. My classroom is very unique, just like my school. The school was once the high school, then it was remodeled into a middle school and elementary school. Finally, it was remodeled into the elementary school it is now. Needless to say, we have some features that most elementary school do not have. Like an auditorium. My classroom used to be the stage. They put a wall where the curtains were and added sinks and shelving. In this entryway, I hope to create a mosaic out of recycled things with my kids above the sink. I also usually have paper feet taped to the floor in green, yellow, and red to help them not get too close to each other when waiting their turn for the sink.

From the first picture, if you take a left you would enter the main classroom area. I have five tables, which I have labeled with colors. Last year I tried just colored paper taped to the table and they were ruined by Christmas. I replaced them with drawn crayons on colored paper and they were ripped up by spring. This year I made paper mache crayons out of packing tubes, plastic cups, and the lid to the tube. I used roll paper instead of construction paper, hoping that it would take longer to fade (and the color is nicer). I found precut vinyl letters in a filing cabinet and used those to label each color and hung them from fishing line.

Above the shelves on both sides of the room I have a sheer black fabric with silver sparkles which really makes the room cozier. I added art that I created, mostly from college, samples of 3D projects, and miscellaneous items that could be used for still life work. I usually keep two of the shelves in the above photo empty for 3D storage, but got a HUGE donation of house paint and didn't have anywhere else to put it.

A closeup of one of the crayons above the student work tables.

In the front of the room I posted the Elements and Principles of Design. The yellow bulletin board is used to display the samples of projects each grade is currently working on. Every grade likes to see what the others are working on, and then the samples are always where I can refer to them if needed. The small pieces of colored paper in a binder clip on the white board are changed at the beginning of each day cycle (we work on a 6 day cycle) to represent which table is my helper table. They pass out the supplies for me. The magnetic letters spelling ART are my discipline program. When they are not focused I move a letter. Their goal is to keep as many letters as possible. For every letter they keep, they get a square colored on my chart (not pictured, I haven't made this year's yet!) and when they reach certain points on the chart they get a prize. Last year the prize was getting to sit wherever they want for one class period. I haven't decided if that will be the prize this year or not. If they loose all of their letters, they have to be silent for the rest of the class period.

I have picture labels on all of my supplies~well, the large containers. Then I have smaller containers of the same supply for each table which are stored next to the larger ones. Under the clock is the Willow River pledge and the district's learner qualities. We focus on one quality each month to reinforce positive attribute that students can show. September is "Caring," and I am going to help out with the first all-school meeting, introducing caring through the Pinwheels for Peace program!

I found this article on Whole Brain Teaching on The Teaching Palette last year, and I am still thinking about it! Must be a good idea if it's still resonating with me. I have revamped my rules (which I think were a little too much for the kids) to reflect the rules in the video and I'm going to give it a shot this year. I haven't decided if I'll be quite so active with the older kids or not, but I think K-3 will love it~and remember it!

The Teaching Palette is also hosting a showcase of art classroom organization. If you are interested in loading your classroom photos to their Flikr group click here before Sept. 25.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Blog Award

My blogfriend over at B Art Z has given me a blog award. Thanks so much! I am so glad to know that my blog has been useful to you. Now it's time to share the love:

1. Thank the person giving the award
Check out B Art Z for lots of great inspiration! Thanks for the award!

2. Share 7 things about yourself
1. I have been married for seven years, but we have been together for 13 years. How often do you hear of a couple dating for five years, and still being engaged for a full year before the big day? We're a little different than the norm.
2. I have two beautiful little girls. Gracie is 2 1/2 and Brianna is 10 months.
3. I also have a personal blog where I show Gracie and Brianna's adventures. It includes art projects that I have found on the web for preschoolers if you're interested in that.
4. I am starting my sixth full year of teaching elementary art, but it's only my second year at my current district.
5. I am starting a Grad School Cohort next weekend and am excitedscaredanxious about it.
6. I get to start teaching our CID students in small groups this year. Although it was my idea, and I really WANT to do it I am also excitedscaredanxious about this because I really want to make a great positive impact on these children.
7. Since graduating from college in December 2001 I have often wondered if I made the right choice in becoming an art teacher. Since coming to the Hudson School District I know I made the right decision. HSD's support and encouragement is amazing, and I love my district and my job very much.

3. Pass the award on to 15 deserving bloggers
This is the hard one, and honestly, the reason I've been kind of putting off this post! Not all of these will be art education blogs, as I also get inspiration from homeschooling blogs, preschool blogs, and creative parents. Here they are, in no particular order:
1. ARTolazzi
2. Billie Monster
3. Childhood Magic
4. Confessions of a Homeschooler
5. Crafterhours
6. draw, paint, and cut
7. Fabulous on a Teacher's Salary
8. Kids Artists
9. laughpaintcreate
10. Mini Matisse
11. Mod Podge Rocks!
12. Modern Art 4 Kids
13. Painted Paper
14. TeachKidsArt
15. That Artist Woman

Well, that wasn't that hard. There's actually several more I'd like to list! I hope that my list gave you some new places on the 'net to find ideas. Thanks to everyone that shares their ideas. You are an inspiration to me, and my students!

Saturday, August 21, 2010


Because it is my second year at my district, I was required to attend inservice this past week. We all start this coming week. While waiting with one of my principals for our meeting to start, he asked me if I've heard of Prezi. I hadn't, so he showed me the site. It's great! It's a presentation site that flows better than most~it's not linear. I watched the video tutorials on the site and created this Prezi on Laurel Burch. I figured since I already had info on her, it would be an easy place to start. I'm not sure that it's complete~it doesn't have much info on her life, just the YouTube video and lots of images, but you will get the idea of what Prezi is like, and if you'd like to explore it for use in your classroom.

Here's my Prezi, as is. To see it, click on the play icon, then float your mouse over where it says "More" and click on "Autoplay."

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


Have you ever found a great idea online and thought "I've got to do that sometime!" Finally the time rolls around when there is time to do the project, and you can't find the post!? I hate that! I have found the perfect solution~Tumblr.

I have spent the summer exploring the aspects of Tumblr. It is wonderful! It is almost a combination of Twitter, Facebook, and public Bookmarks. I like it so much that I have now made an account for my professional life in addition to the one I have for personal use. When I opened my account, I went to the "Goodies" section where they have a "Share on Tumblr" button for my toolbar. Now, as I am surfing the internet whenever I find something I want to remember I simply click on the button. I save everything as a photo, that way when I want to go back and find something it is easy to scan the archives for the photo I'm looking for and find the link to the original post. You can also follow other people, and see their posts on your dashboard. If you see something you like on their site you can click on "reblog" to easily put it on you account too. In addition to all this, you can have your blog automatically post to your account and you can have your Tumblr posts automatically post to Twitter and Facebook. If you want more information about how to start an account in addition to going to Tumblr you can check this post that got me interested in the site.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

YouTube, Smart Notebook, and TPT

I recently found an interview with Laurel Burch on YouTube. I decided that I wanted to be able to present it to my students within the Smart Notebook that I already had created about Laurel Burch. After a couple days of frustration and many online searches about how to embed a YouTube video in Smart Notebook, I found this blog post. Finally, one that worked! If you have also been curious about embeding YouTube videos in a Smart Notebook file, I would suggest that blog post.

Also, have you heard of Teachers Pay Teachers? It is a great web site for teachers to find new curriculum and share thier ideas with other teachers. As it sounds, some of the items are for sale and some are free. Check it out!