Monday, September 1, 2014

First Art Lesson

I loved all the ideas on Pinterest for doing a lesson after reading The Dot. I did it K-5 and let my 4th and 5th grade use watercolors. The other grades used markers. They turned out very nicely, don't you think?!

Each grade level had a different colored frame. I posted a key under the display.

What lesson do you like to do for the first week?

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Computer Lab Makeover

Hello, again! As you recall, I have a new position which includes TWO classrooms this year! I spent most of my time on the art room, but here is my quick computer lab makeover!

The name of our lab is the Discovery Lab. In the past, little detectives with magnifying glasses have been used on passwords cards, etc. So...I KNEW I would go with a Spy/Agent theme!

Here is the outside door:
Very self-explanatory!  I used the yellow caution tape along with the black letter wall decals from Dollar Tree. I made the little "scan here" sign and the magnifying glass.

When you walk in, the "front" of the lab is actually the right-hand wall. (*see title pic above) I ordered the two large agent cutouts from Oriental Trading. My DH helped me hang them up. I made two badges for them to wear and gave them names (mainly for my OWN enjoyment, I'm just teaching K-5 for pity sake!) They are:
Special Agent Tera Byte and Special Agent Jay Peg.
(Get it????)

Ok, for the biggest project in the room...the window treatment. 
I used blue and black plastic tablecovers from Wal-Mart. I figured out how to efficiently make each panel. Hopefully you can follow along: Instead of folding and hole-punching each section, then stringing yarn or ribbon through to gather it, I put a piece of package tape between two of those blue chair backs, with sticky side up. (the length of the section needed). I quickly stuck the plastic tablecloth to the tape, overlapping a little each time to produce the ruffle effect. Then I simply took the taped ends off the chair backs and taped it to the wall. When I had all the sections up, I went back over the top edge with the CAUTION tape!

Under the window, you can see the Tech Word Wall. It has magnifying glasses for the letters. I will try to post a better pic of it!

This is the view of the left wall (*back of the room):
As well as the Discovery Lab, I call it the CIA. It stands for Computers In Action. To the right is our school mission statement. To the left of this picture is the teacher work area.

Bulletin Board close-up:

We have the school's color printer (for teachers) in the lab. LOTS of papers end up never being claimed. Here is the sign I made for them:

Inside door:

Lastly, the rules are posted on the cabinets above the entrance:

I dressed up as Special Agent Smith for the first week of classes!

There you go! Off to a great start in computer technology!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Setting Up My Art Room...Pt 2

Well, last time I told you about my amazing art room rug project!
Now for my art room reveal! Here goes...(*BTW, my room is shaped like a trapezoid!! No kidding!)

Welcome to the art room! 
I created the fun banner that hangs over the double doors. I also printed out different paint splats and cut them from construction paper, then laminated. I love how it turned out!

To the left of the entrance, in the hall:

When you open the doors, this is the front of the room:
The color words are displayed on mock "paint can lids"--tied up with coordinating ribbons. This was something I worried about all summer (getting enough paint lids to do this project). I finally compared my print out to a gallon paint can lid and discovered it was too small! Glad I didn't waste time gathering up the real lids! Ends up, Wilton's 12 inch Corrugated Cake Circles were a perfect fit. I glued my printouts to them, leaving a small (1/2 to 3/4 in) margin. Then, I wrapped tin foil around and rolled it in, forming the lip all around the "lid." :)

Display to the left of the Promethean ACTIVboard:
This idea came from Mrs. Picasso's idea! See the original pin here.
I made the giant 3-D paintbrush from the inner tube of my 5x7 rug. I wrapped bulletin board paper around it and padded the tip end with some paper towels. I shredded some black paper and glued in the end, then wrapped the end with foil. I hung it from command hooks with fishing line. I will be putting up the I Can statements under each grade level and a sample of their weekly projects.

This is to the right of the ACTIVboard:
I loved incorporating the rules with the word, artist. I also wanted them to reflect the WBT rules---and they are:

To be an artist you must:
A-always follow directions quickly
R-raise your hand for permission to speak or leave your seat
T-tidy up (make a scrubbing motion)
I-imagine it (we do a two-handed example popper for this one--pulling TWO ideas out of our head)
S-smart choices
T-teacher kept happy

I also keep a scoreboard up for all classes. After the first class, I saw my MAJOR fail with my design! (*There are TWO classes of each grade!) I will post my updated version soon! Forgot to take a picture of it.

This is the wall to the right of entry.
Art planning books and resources are kept behind the rainbow curtains on the shelves. Art picture books for lessons and enjoyment are on the display shelves. You can see our meeting carpet (discussed in previous post). 

Here is a closer look at the shelves and display.
I used colored duct tape to spruce up these old shelves! The colored binders will be used for organizing lessons by grade I develop them (*sigh). Atop the shelves are samples of art projects before my time...

This is another version of my WBT rules. Rule 1 is about being responsible: Follow directions quickly, do your best. Make smart choices for all the rest. Rule 2 is about being respectful: Raise your hand, wait your turn. Keep your Dear Teacher happy so we all can learn. Rule 3 is to keep us safe: Walk or sit, don't push or hit. 

Pierre the Art Room Puppet helps me review the rules with the children each class for K-2. I used my Scholastic Bonus Points to get him for FREE!!! Woot woot! He was a surgeon in his previous career! A good teacher friend gave me the sweater off her back teddy bear's back. I ordered the beret off Etsy, and made the art apron from white felt.

You can also see my little bucket of Art Smart rewards. I will be giving these out for on-task behavior, helpfulness, or improvements made in behavior or skills. The little papers sticking out are my Art Room reports. I can quickly let the homeroom teacher know how their class did in art, as well as a tear-off Art Smart "award."
This is what the form looks like:

Doors (inside view):
When the kids line up at the end of class, we discuss if they were "ARTIST"s again. If they were (and won the scoreboard game) they get to put up a paint cake into their class watercolor pad. When the watercolors are full, they get a "free art" day.

I also write who earned ART SMART for the day and tell why!

Here is my desk area and display above:

Back Wall -inside Right:

Closer up of the Word Wall:

Back Wall, Inside Left:
From this view, you can see the supply shelves along the wall edges. I have 8 tables with 3 chairs at each. I used colored duct tape around the tables edges and had to spray paint 4 of the group buckets with spray paint made for plastics to get all the colors I needed! I poked a hole in the small trash cans and hung them on the legs of the tables from a Command hook.

This is the Montessori art area. Our PreK is a Montessori school. They will be coming to art class next week...wish me luck!!! :)

Nothing really new here...this is the fire exit and exit to playground. It is the left corner of the front wall and left side wall.

View standing by fire exit corner:

For the first week, I dressed up as Madame Smith- Ze Art tea-Cher!

Hope you enjoyed my art room tour!
I spent a LOT of time on Pinterest finding ideas to incorporate into this fun and artsy space!

Click HERE to see my Elementary Art Pinterest board!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

New Classroom Theme Sets

I want to develop a few more classroom theme sets before school starts again. Here are 4 ideas. 
Vote on your favorite! Most votes gets done first!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Setting Up My Art Room...Part 1

I am transitioning from first grade (*sob) to Art and Computer Instruction PreK-5th Grade.

Besides having to clear out my beautiful camping classroom, I have get to set up TWO new classrooms for the upcoming school year.

I've been pouring through Pinterest pins and finding things I want to incorporate. One thing our previous art teachers didn't have is a meeting rug! Well, excuse me! Coming from 1st Grade, how could I NOT have a meeting area for my youngsters!

Dilemma: Have you priced cute art rugs?

Momeni Lil' Mo Hipster Ivory Splash Rug (5' x 7')

at is $299!

I had a very specific need: 24 little bodies with their own place to sit AND something way, way cheaper than $300!

So, I saw posts about painting on carpet! LIGHTBULB moment!

Here is my art room rug for under $50! 

I started with a 5x7 carpet from WalMart for $19.97

Next, I printed out 3 paint splats and traced over them onto 3 Plaid make your own stencil sheets.

I used a spray glue to coat the backs of the stencils and laid them out on the carpet. I applied one coat of white. I used Plaid's Folk Art Multi-Surface (fabric included) acrylic paint and a trim roller.

I decided I better space out my stencils better before painting them all, so I cut 7x10 pieces of paper and positioned them on the carpet (not exact).

Much better! Now I could finish painting all the splats.
 I let the paint dry overnight. I couldn't WAIT to see the rug with colorful splats on it!

Day 2:
I used the same three stencils and decided on a paint scheme.
Here you can see I only have blue left to paint.
Here is the finished rug! Notice the bookshelf behind it...
All, in all, this rug cost around $50!

Project 2: Plastic Tablecover Shelf Curtains

I won't go into how I made the curtains...there are several posts about it out there...but I must say, I LOVE it!!!!

I will post more pics of my new art room soon! Stay tuned!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Sneak Peek...My New Writing Camp Kit

I can't wait to get this set finished...
I am soooo excited to get back to writing workshop in my classroom!
I'm not using this writing process pocket chart, so I stuck my new posters in it! I LOVE my camp acronym!
I will be doing a short 30-min. workshop and meet with one set of students a day. (*4 days a week). The other 3 groups will do one of the other activities.
I already do guided reading and math, so I'm thrilled to let this spill over to my writing time.
I will post the link when the set is finished! Until then...
look at how cute it is going to be!
Better yet, follow my TpT store to be notified when it is added!
*Update: It's been added! Click the picture below or here.
(Also, I changed the A to Active Writing)

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Insights into Starting School Too Early

...and by early, I mean YOUNG!
Our school recently held our annual Kindergarten Round Up day. Parents and their little babies *(not literal babies, mind you) tour the school, meet the teachers, and learn about the program.
In my experience as a 1st Grade teacher, I have seen the benefits of starting school at a later age, and the harm inflicted by starting too young.
Let me begin by telling you about my early "school" experience.
I was blessed with a educator mother who knew the value of play. She took a break from teaching and stayed home with my brother and I until we were both in school.
As a small child, the outdoors was my classroom and my own inquisitive mind was the curriculum. My mother would delight in guiding me to find answers to my ever growing list of questions.
"What kind of bird is that one?"
"What kind of tree is this?"
"Why does it rain?"
"What do these letters spell?"
I can still remember to this day when I finally put together a string of intelligible letters, spelling out my cousin's name.
With that being said, I did not start first grade until I was 8 years old. By that time, without any "formal" schooling, I could read, compute math correctly, and write in cursive. My teacher put me into second grade within the first 2 weeks. Luckily, I was in a multi-grade classroom and it was not a shock for me. I still had the same teacher and friends. <3
I have always LOVED school and learning.
It makes me sad when my students don't have the passion I do.
My very best year teaching was the year I had an "older" class! Five of my students were 7 when the school year started, and many more had fall birthdays. What made it different, you ask?
Let me tell you:
They were READY. Period. They could focus and sit still. They could handle being away from mommy all day long. They could handle working with partners and in groups.
They realized the world did not revolve around them alone, there were others that had needs too. They could wait their turn and share. Life was grand!
Fast forward to a year with a few "young" ones--not a whole class full mind you, but a couple are all it takes!
              • Poor attention and focus
              • Lack of empathy
              • Poor time management
              • Lack of social skills
              • Over-dramatization
              • Lack of motivation
              • Poor motor skills
              • Lack of patience (*need instant gratification)
              • Uncooperative
              • Demand lots of attention (*often negative)
              • Tears, tears, tears
You notice I did not mention academics. These children are often quite bright! They have been pushed to learn and recite their ABCs and count to 100. But they have not really developed a true love for learning. And when children are not ready to sit still, follow directions, and cooperate with others, it can lead to a poor outlook toward school. They may look around the room and notice all the other children can follow directions. All the other children can cut out the pieces nicely. All the other children can sit nicely on the carpet and not interrupt...on and on. But, why can't they? Feelings of low self-worth develop and can continue throughout their academic years.
Believe me, it is far easier to challenge a bright student that is READY TO LEARN than to discipline a bright student that can't exhibit self-control.
Please, take it from a veteran teacher, give your child the advantage--not the disadvantage in the classroom!
And please, don't consider skipping Kindergarten because your child is a genius! There is some truth to the old adage:
"All I really need to know, I learned in Kindergarten!"

 First grade teachers expect that the students coming into their room have already been exposed to these things! The academic level is stepped up in first and there isn't room to teach some of the basic skills that were taught in Kindergarten!
Let's give the children time to play.
Time to learn.
Time to develop into the creations God designed them to be!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Long Overdue...

I know, this is long overdue!
I can't seem to keep up with this blog lifestyle!
I'm still dealing with a back I pulled on the last day of school last year...plantar fasciitis, and now thyroid problems! Yikes---getting old is definitely NOT fun. (*turning 47 this year).
Plus, I was out sick the ENTIRE last week in December...
which means I missed--
our school Christmas Program,
finishing our awesome Christmas Traditions Unit,
our classroom performance of the 23rd Psalm for Chapel,
and our Christmas Party!!!!!
I was beside myself...and just had to *let it all go!
Now, we've missed 2 1/2 days for snow that was supposed to be only flurries! Penguin Presentations and Party postponed until Monday!
What a year!
Well, onto some uplifting news.
We are starting our biggest unit next week, my very favorite --our USA unit. It is a 4MATted unit (look up Bernice McCarthy and 4MAT) I created on the study of Symbols-of Self, School, Church, City, State...and mostly, Country. It lasts 6 weeks and concludes with a marvelous program for parents, friends, and neighbors.
These are 1/2 the characters--both first grades participate in this program.
I've also been trying to get some more products listed on my TpT store. Head over and check out my penguin products!


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