Showing posts from January, 2012

Classroom Organizers aka Tool Boxes

Last summer my good friend Renee found this shelf at a garage sale.  Then my good friend Carol's husband was getting rid of these great blue plastic boxes at work. Yeah for me! I now have "Toolboxes" at NSE. The students are assigned numbers in their classrooms and I numbered the boxes 1-30. Now each student is responsible for their number toolbox. Inside each one is an eraser, scissors, a couple of pencils and sometimes a tool we are using a lot like permanent markers. I find that students are very protective of their boxes. I will make a big deal if a student tells me someone wrote on "Their" eraser. I simply look in my mysterious black binder that has all the numbers and say in a huge disapproving voice, "I will have a word with the student in the last class who is number __. " And of course the student gives me that "You get em Ms. S" look.
I find that NSE students are taking better care of materials than the students at my other schools…

Cool Hands, Warm Heart

I have seen this lesson on so many sites so I have no idea where the credit goes for first invention, so thanks to many.  I started this lesson with Kindergarten and realized how tracing our hands is tough. So I did something I rarely do and had first grade do the same lesson. I guess in 21st century terms we'll call it assessment.  I review tracing skills by reminding them to have their pencil pointing towards the ceiling to avoid martian hands. Then we discuss cool colors and decorate our hands with those colors and aim for patterns. The next week we talk about warm colors and create our hearts, cut them out and add to paper. This lesson covers about half a dozen skill points and they love do I


Thanks to who gave me the idea for this bulletin board. When our district kicked off the new school year, teachers spent time "Tweeting" each other as part of our break out session. While I lOVE lots of technology I am still a bit old school and like paper and pencil in hand. My oldest son is a SUPER senior in architecture and I remember him telling me how some students struggled with perspective drawing because they had learned only in a computer program unlike Jeff who learned the way I did over 25 years ago. Just today I had a teacher ask me advice about her son's college direction and I always say, "Tons of kids want to be game designers or graphic designers, do them a favor and make them take a ceramics or sculpture class, they need to experience 3D, hands on." Okay, off my soapbox. This was just a fun idea and by 2:00 the board was FULL of ideas on how "Awesome" a teacher is or how a grade level "Rocks!" …

Clay Houses

Another great idea from Pinterest. I cut slabs of clay for my special Wednesday class. There are 8 students that are in 2nd and 4th grade and three incredible aides that assist the students.  We started by talking about shapes, We cut our slabs into a large square, a large triangle from the scrap and then smaller squares and rectangles from smaller scraps. I set out textured rollers, lace, and an assortment of textured objects to give the houses dimension. (This was a favorite part for the students, experimenting in textures) Then we scored and put water/slip on pieces before we added them together. The students were able to complete almost all of the project themselves with reminders about what steps went next and that is a true measure of success.
 I can't wait for them to dry and for the students to glaze. Stay tuned for our final masterpieces!

BAD hair day

It seems like many classes have been painting lately. We talk a lot about the projects and color choices etc... but I have a few terms/techniques I like to use to help my students learn about taking care of our materials. First, water tubs are called "Hot tubs" and we fill them half full of cold water.  This hopefully prevents overflowing waters and most spills.  When we paint we try and do Five laps around the hot tub and carefully wipe our brushes. We don't knock them on the side or we will splatter water dots on our friend's artwork.  Now brush care has always been a problem. I talk about the gentle way we should treat our brushes by painting on the top of my hand softly as if petting a baby chick. This is a good reminder that I am just demonstrating and we DO NOT paint on our hands (seems like there is one in every class) Also, we don't smash our brushes into the paint...we are gentle so our brushes don't have a BAD HAIR DAY!  I'd love to hear any oth…

Clay Owls at CE

All three schools are finished with their owls. Seems like they go on forever but three schools and 200 4th graders takes a lot of time. For some crazy reason I had three grade levels in clay at the same time. The kilns were running non stop! Ha, I know better but I just love working with clay and it is a favorite of every student. I think it's because they get so much paper and pencil in class that they crave 3D stuff.