Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Plastic Lids... (warning: this is a really long and really cool post!)

I am sort of a recycling maniac... and by sort of I mean, I am. So I saw this amazingness on Pinterest! Why not?!? Let's make a sculpture garden!

5th grade started collecting bottle plastic bottle caps and lids in September. We saved and saved annnnd saved until MAY! Yes, my classroom was taken over with lids! It got completely out of hand!

Here is just a glimpse as to the bins and bins of lids!

Let's start from the beginning of this year long project... I decided to teach the 5th graders about mandalas this year. Just a quick one day lesson on the meaning and variety of the lovely mandalas.

Interestingly, a local art center was hosting an environmental artist (Bryant Holsenbeck) who was creating a large scale mandala made from da da dummmmm.... lids and caps!

See an article (with a time-lapse video!!!) about the project here!!

My 5th graders spent an hour helping Ms. Holsenbeck sort and place the lids! What an awesome experience and oh the connections... to be collecting lids for a far away project, learn about mandalas, and then working with an artist who is creating a mandala out of lids! Timing is a beautiful, beautiful thing! 

Beautiful isn't it?

Fast forward to May... The 5th graders learn about the project (yes, I kept it a secret) that they have been collecting the lids for.

Students will be creating a mandala made from wood with lids drilled on to create the colors and designs! GASSSSPPPPPP... yes, I said the word drill!

So... students had to design a mandala that had meaning to their life. They had to be circle-ish in design and would be covered entirely with plastic lids. My wonderful boyfriend cut the shapes out from the plywood.

My school let us set aside a day dedicated to this project (OH YEA!)... In the morning, students painted the wood. **There was down time for this art project, but students were also working on a huge project in Science and L.A. on an environmental issues. So, after painting they worked on their research project.

5th graders then sorted their lids and began placing them out on the wood. I am glad we did this, because some of the design changed due to size of lids, lack of colors, or both! This was a really great process for the kids to have to experience. Students had to be flexible with the lids we had and they had to share.

9th grade came to help with the drilling process... Each 5th grader had a 9th grade buddy. It was fun to see the different groups interact! Also, the drilling was not scary at all. I was mega nervous, but they had fun with it... It was hard, but the kids did not complain (even though it was about 10000000 degrees outside that day!) I was so proud!

Check the blog tomorrow for the finished products!:)


Monday, June 16, 2014

Whoops...It got a little busy...

So summer is for playing catch up... and for an introduction to my plans for next year.

HOLD UP... I am getting ahead of myself though. I have 7 month of really cool art projects to show y'all first.

So... where do I even start?!?! These projects are going to be in no particular order...

I will start with one of my favs... Visual Journaling!!

The 5 photos above are from my own personal journal. I love the process of collecting, cutting, combining all different mediums and ideas to formulate a new piece of art work. Here lies my artistic passion. The sky is the limit with visual journaling...

My Upper School class blew me away with their journals this past trimester. Here are a few of the highlights...

What vision these girls have! (Yes, I had a class of all young ladies! Lucky me.)

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


I am so very lucky that my school believes in getting students out into the community for real hands on in your face learning! Since the 4th grade studies North Carolina history, and we are only 2 and a half hours from the Biltmore... we get to go! How amazingly awesome and fun.

For those of you who do now know anything about NC or the Biltmore here you go:
  • Largest privately owned home in the country
  • Took 7 years to build from 1888-1895
  • Built by George Vanderbilt
  • State of the art house (especially for that time) has electricity, heated swimming pool, bowling alley, and 250 rooms! 
I have gone to the Biltmore 6 times and it never gets old! The last time I went, was with 2 co-workers and when the Christmas decorations were up! How fun! Here are a few photos from my past visits. I think everyone should go for a visit if you can!

 Here is the lovely and wonderful 2nd grade teacher (Dawn) and the 3rd grade teacher (Jamie)...I am in the back super excited to be at the Biltmore!

Friday, November 22, 2013


Who doesn't love Mythology? You have drama, love, hate, and everything else The Real Housewives of whatever city is most popular these days. Our 6th graders do a big unit on Greek Mythology in Language Arts (well, they learn about Greece in Social Studies too). The students this year took a huge interest in the myths! So, I had a chance to do a mythology project for the first time!

My art class background: I try to teach the students "journaling" techniques throughout the year... and this was perfect opportunity...

First, I showed them 4 different acrylic painting method:
  • Splatter paint with tooth brush
  • Layering 2 colors of paint and spreading it with a credit card
  • Drips by watering down the acrylic paint
  • Texture Tools!
They create a technique page where they played and experimented with these different methods. I love to give the students the chance to mess around and see what happens with a little bit of freedom!

Here were the guidelines for the Mythology Journal Page:
  • Be inspired by one god/goddess 
  • 2 page spread
  • Must use colors that "make sense" with the god/goddess. Example: Poseidon - Blues and Greens
  • Must have a silhouette that would "make sense" with the god/goddess. Example: Athena - Owl
  • Must use the 4 techniques I taught them... I did not make them include all 4, they chose which would work with their page
  •  Must have a quote relating to the god/goddess - use interesting font!
They use a mythology book to find their quote. We discussed what makes for a stand out quote and a lame quote. I really like the way these journal pages turned out!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

clean up clean up everybody clean up..

O-M-G... if I had to hear THAT song everyday during every cleanup I might freak out... so I decided I would choose a song I could stand listening to everyday with every class for every cleanup for the entire school year...

Here is the song I chose for 2013/2014.  This is a live version but, I use the album for my clean up song. The kids did not like the song at first (sorry little ones). After a month of school the kids have come around and they groove when the song plays (score one for helping the youth like some decent music).

Artist: Dr. Dog
Song: The Rabbit, the Bat, the Reindeer
Album: Fate

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Colorado on my mind....

This summer, I had the opportunity to go to Estes Park, CO for a lovely wedding. What an amazing place. I have been day dreaming of going back for a visit! I hope for a speedy recovery from the floods that has devastated the area. 

Twin Sister Trail, CO

On top of the World
Twin Sisters Summit, Co

Twin Sisters Trail, CO

Rocky Mountain National Park, CO

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

3-D Family/Season Trees

Are you ready for total and utter cuteness? I hope so! This project turned out way better then expected! I seriously love when you try a project for the first time and it actually works out awesome!

In second grade, students learn all about different life cycles (seasons, plants, animals, etc.) They also do a family study and read Tomie dePaola stories. In art, we create a family tree with images the children bring in from home. The past few years we have learned how to draw a non-broccoli tree and added a season to one side and the photos to the other. It was not the most creative, but it was a valuable lesson and the kids enjoyed it!

I found this website on good ol' pinterest. Thank you for showing this project in photo form:)
In progress trees

Students created their trees using a RECYCLED paper bag, added a season with tissue paper, and then their family photos! It was hard for the kids to twist the paper bag, but it was great for hand strength! I helped them when they got tired, but the kids were able to do most of it by themselves.

I love the end result!

What a sweet family keepsake!