Monday, December 16, 2013


I finally have finished my master's research paper. It has been a very long haul, but worth it.
I wanted to share a project that we started last week with the Basic Plus class.  The students created painted paper in red and green, added some shiny glitter too.  This week we cut the papers into leaf and petal shapes and glued them down on festive red paper. I found some pretty cream beads to add to the center of the flowers. Love how these turned out!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Ink Blots

Third graders used India ink in pipets to drop ink on two separate pieces of folded paper. The students had the option of developing one or both into an image that they could "see".

I was fortunate to have Miss Swiderski as a student teacher so we were able to closely supervise the ink process.  The students were so excited to imagine their images and used color sticks to add bit of color.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Need HELPful ideas

Okay so you’ve heard me whine and complain for the last 13 months about my masters program at Boston University…one more time, it’s been tough, really tough.
I’m writing an autoethnographic research paper on wheel throwing. I’ve always wanted to learn to throw with consistency and precision.  What better place to get tips, methods and techniques than from my wonderful online community of artist educators.
If you’re an expert or struggling in this art form I’d LOVE to hear your thoughts, ideas, tips etc..
Don’t be shy, let’s learn this together!

Image from

Friday, September 20, 2013

Lines with Kinders

In past years I have usually done a two day lesson on Mondrian. We paint large black lines across our body and then paint in primary colors the next lesson. This year I have a young (er) group of students and since it's only week 3 they are still learning procedures in the art room. I decided instead to discuss line in a different way. On top of that some wonderful staff member put a HUGE stack of precut strips of colored paper on my desk. I HAVE AN IDEA!   We discussed how lines can bend and fold and go over and under.  The students were so excited. I also tried out plastic containers with sponges soaked in glue. 
Much less messy but make sure the sponges are just barely moist as water and glue make an adhesive that may not stick as well. 
An update on the master's research...10 more weeks and I won't know what to do with the 20+ hours I will have to, oh I don't know, create ART!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013


Thanks to Phyl at There's a Dragon in my Art room. She gave me the great idea of using Batik to explore shapes and color with my fifth grade students. The best secret is the recipe!  No messy, scary's TOOTHPASTE and LOTION! Seriously who would have thought? 

I have seven sections of fifth grade students (about 200 kiddos). I purchased 10 yards of muslin at Joanns (with coupon) and 5 bottles of the cheap dollar store aloe vera lotion along with at least 40 tubes of white toothpaste.  The dollar store employees think I take my dental hygiene to a crazy level.I used old ketchup containers to mix the recipe half and half. Shake well.  

The students studied shapes, overlapping, composition and using rulers and cardboard came up with a nice geometric composition on paper.  Miro, Stuart Davis, Mondrian would be good exemplars to use. The paper was taped to a piece of cardboard then a small piece of muslin wrapped around the cardboard, kinda like a present. The students can see through the fabric to their design. It's a good idea to use a sharpy on their paper design to make seeing the design through the fabric easier. 

The students then squeeze out the lotion/toothpaste mix on their lines and let it dry for 24 hours. NOTE. dry flat or the mix may run and drip. When it's dry the students can paint right on the fabric, over the lines. KEY you MUST use good quality tempera paint!!! I used Crayolas Premier paint. If you try regular tempera it will just wash off.  When the paint is dry the student washes off the toothpaste recipe.  This part is still developing, I found if you wet the work and let the water do its magic on the toothpaste and then rub, it comes off easier. Students may get a little zealous and then wash off too much paint.  

I love the idea of doing this in the late spring to keep the upper el focused and it helps make the room smell great for weeks! 
Thanks Phyl!

Saturday, July 20, 2013


Boston University was the destination for the Summer Studio portion of my masters degree.  How often we hear art educators talk of the isolation of our positions. Imagine spending 10+ days with 40 art educators, creating art and sharing, lots of sharing of ideas and tips.  A big plus was spending time in a wonderful city. I truly LOVE the city of Boston. I met and bonded with several art teacher and am sad that I wasn't the one to take the pictures so I have to email them to get a copy so I can share my new friendships with you.
I took printmaking and portrait painting as my electives. Learned a ton of different techniques

Thanks Janice for capturing this moment of yuck.
Tried a Chai tea of some sort (honestly) thought it was a creamsicle type, but ahh no.

View from the dorm, breathtaking

Food Trucks, a new favorite

Wicked smart

Homework in painting class. my favorite things 

Sunday, June 30, 2013

QR code

Have I mentioned that I am in the middle of my Master's program? Yes, and I have a week off before I dive in again. This has resulted in me being a very bad blogger. The end is in sight so hang in there with me a bit longer.  I did stumble on this QR code maker to help parents on Curricululm night scan my blog information so they have it right at their, huh?

Friday, April 12, 2013

Arts Festival Day

Lots and lots of wonderful colorful circles.
Miss Swiderski receiving a group hug from Second Grade students! 
We will miss her when she goes back to Western Michigan University. 

 Styrofoam pieces dipped in black paint and stamped.

Small clay tiles made by stepping onto moist clay with interesting treads on the bottom of student's shoes. These tiles will be grouped in a larger square and turned into pavers for the gardens.

Today was Arts Festival Day at NSE.  Every grade level came to the cafeteria for 45 minutes to create beautiful pieces of art for the school. Grades 3- 5 also made large clay beads that we will turn into a totem pole.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Native American Storytellers

Forgive my absence. Not sure what happened to March but it has been weeks since I posted. Oh, yeah that crazy Masters program that is consuming every single free moment of my life is what has happened. Hang in there with me, December will be here soon and I will be finished!

I tried a new project to support the study of Native Americans that our third graders do every year. Also our grade levels have reading buddies so I wanted to do something that celebrates the idea of reading to someone. Not all my students have had a parent read to them or have time to pass family traditions or stories down. I tell them the story of my brother leaving me while I got stung by bees (Oh no Jeff, it's now in print for the world!)

Anyway, I'm having some trouble transferring pictures from phone to email to blog so I can only get two of them to appear. I love the faces on these. You have to realize the students had only two 30 minute sessions to complete their person and tree.

 I just love the print the student added to his book!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Color Theory for Second grade

I really like this lesson for all the ahh ha moments it creates.  First the students must fold a piece of 12 x 18 paper in half both landscape and portrait style, then I say "fold to a  Party in the middle" bringing both ends to the middle. This creates 8 boxes. Then the students draw or paint black lines down the creases and add loops to the sides. Someone said they look like Easter eggs but honestly I never even thought of that.

Now they have 16 spaces and only 9 colors of paint. The rule is that they can only use a color ONE TIME. So they get so excited to mix the remaining 7 spaces. The students are constantly saying, "Look what I made!" When they are dry they can add patterns to their colors.