Monday, December 23, 2013

Doctor Who Fixes Rudolph's Nose

My kids love the Animation Chefs. This month's animation challenge "Pick Rudolf's Nose" asked viewers to animate how Rudolf got his glowing red nose. The kids got right to designing and came up with several shorts. Being a Doctor Who-Aholic, my favorite was this one created by my 15 year old. Check it out. We love using the iStopMotion App. It's easy to use for all ages.

You have til midnight to enter the contest. Get those kids working on this fun winter break activity! Great prizes for the winners. Visit for details.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Exit Slips in No Time

40 minutes is a short amount of time for any class. And in my art room it seems to be gone in an instant. As soon as we get seated and set up, I feel like it's already time to clean up and line up again. Zoom! Sometimes I feel like these kids are just flying in and out of my room...And don't let the door hit you on the way out!

Seriously though, time is tight. And when you add other things into the mix besides just the art it really puts the pressure on. One simple thing that has really helped with integrating Marzano's Instructional Model into my classroom is the exit slip.

Element 13: What do I typically do to help students reflect on their learning? One strategy suggested for this element is using exit slips at the end of class in an effort to get students to respond to questions about their learning immediately after the teacher is done. Here's how I do it.

I currently use two types of exit slips. One says "Tell me three new things you learned today". The other says "Tell me one thing you liked about class, and one thing you would have liked done to help you understand the lesson".

Depending on the grade I am teaching I mix it up a bit. Obviously I wouldn't have 1st graders write out 3 new things because they would never get it done in time. For them we might write three new words.

Exit slips are a great way to monitor the student's understanding of new knowledge. Try them out in your class. You'd be surprised what some of your students have to say.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Say "Yes!" to Cafeteria Chow

Why? Because the kids LOVE it! I of course cut in line of all the students, push them aside, and say "me first" as I'm doing it. Seeing me outside the Art Room is a big treat. And surprising some of my students by plopping myself down next to them feels great for all of us. Smiles all around the table. Opportunities for social time with students are few and far between. You gotta take it when you can.

What's on the menu today? Turkey, stuffing, and and mashed potatoes with gravy! A little protein and a lot of carbs.

And for dessert I'll dive into the all the sweet treats my students have been bringing me all week long.

This is a great time of year for all of us to show appreciation to each other. Stop by your students table at your next lunch break. They'll love it!

Pinch Pot Snow Men Don't Blow!

In celebration of winter, my third grade classes decided they would like to make clay snowmen. Three rolled "clay" balls stacked on top of each other with carrot noses, black to hats, and thin stick arms was the request. Hello...explosion? It would be a Snowman Apocalypse in my kiln with parts flying everywhere.

I wanted them to be able to do a 3-d snowman that would be manageable for their age level in our short time frame, and with less chance of destruction and disappointment. And then the pinch pot hit me! Brilliant!

Here is a quick overview of my steps in the creation of our clay snowmen for any of you out there interested in doing this kind of project in your art room.

1. Give each student a piece of clay. Size depends on your preference.
2. Have the student split the clay into 4 pieces. No these should not be equal.
3. Three of the pieces are going to be used for your pinch pots and the last piece for the details.
4. Ask your students to roll 3 sizes of clay balls...small, medium, and large.
5. Each one of these balls is turned into a pinch pot. Name goes on the inside of the biggest pot.
6. They will score and slip each pot together biggest on bottom, smallest on top.
7. We rolled tiny clay snakes to smooth into the creases for added protection.
8. The extra piece of clay can be used to make eyes, nose, mouth, buttons, hat, scarf etc...
9. Remind them everything they stick on has to be scored and slipped.

I poked a pinhole in the back of top and middle snow balls "pots" after the students were done to give it an even better chance of survival. Fire, glaze, and fire again and there you have it. Cute little snowmen perfect for a winter clay project. Check out the pics below to see what some of my students created. We chose colors not typically seen on snowmen since we were making "art"! 

Happy Baking!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Jingo - Artist's Bingo Fun and Educational!

It's the week before our much anticipated 2 week winter break. My students started their own mental vacation at the beginning of this week, and I must admit my mind has been trying to mentally check out as well. I usually run my lesson plans straight through the school year and celebrate all the hard work with a special art party during the last week of school. This year I thought I'd mix it up a bit. Instead of struggling through the week attempting to keep my "can't wait for break" students focused, I decided we'd play Jingo.

Jingo is a great Art related bingo game I picked up a few years ago. I have two versions. One features famous artists and the other features items related to the artist's studio. It's a fun game for the students because bonus points are given for each game's winners. I sneak some education in there by quizzing the students as we go for double bonus points.

Here's an example: I read the description of either an artist or the item listed on the card. Students raise their hand when they think they know the answer. I remind students they are not to guess...I tell them that if I am reading them the description it must mean that we learned about this in class. It's wonderful when my students are able to access information they learned in previous years and apply it.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

An Hour of Code Prezi for Younger Kids

I noticed yesterday how much my older students liked the Prezi I made for them for the "My Robotic Friends" Lesson Plan by ThinkerSmith. My younger students worked on the Binary Baubles Lesson Plan. I wanted to create a Prezi just for them to help get them excited about the activity and the Hour of Code.  I'm using it for k - 2, but you could use it for any grade really. Happy coding!

Click the screen shot to go directly to this Prezi. Thanks!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Hour of Code Day 1: Tweaking It

So at the end of Day 1 I have to admit I'm feeling a little brain dead. What I realized was that these kids have NO idea what to do with code. Even in its most simplest form. I focused on two awesome ThinkerSmith lessons to use in my classes this week. Being the Art Teacher I see ALL students from grades K - 5. Since my Art Room does not have computers for students, both lessons featured were from the section titled...

No device or internet? 
Try 'unplugged' computer science

I used the My Robotic Friends lesson with 3rd - 5th graders.

It is slow going but they LOVED becoming programmers and robots for this lesson. Since I only see each class for 40 minutes we still leave the class as beginners. But it was enough to get them excited about coding and eager to check out the website.

To encourage them even more to keep up with the Hour of Code after they left my class I offered extra points for any students who participated in activities on the website.

Recommendations for a class short on time: KISS! (Keep it Simple Silly)

The Binary Baubles lesson I taught to my K - 2nd graders.

Even Kindergartners were excited to learn code with this great lesson.
I did tweak it for the different ages to keep the lesson challenging enough to keep them interested but not too challenging to make the goal achievable.

Highlight of the day: Sit and Stand Binary Code! 2nd graders did really well the the binary code so I thought I would throw in some movement. I grouped teams of 9 students who had to form a letter based on the code. We made colored in boxes sit and empty boxes stand. One student stand in the middle of the line with their hand raised. This person is the space. The rest of the class has to figure out what letter they are as quickly as they can. This was the best activity of the day by far. I LOVED it!

Click the Hour of Code icon below for a direct link to their website.
Let's get these kids coding!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

A Prezi for "My Robotic Friend" Lesson by ThinkerSmith

I put together this Prezi to coordinate with ThinkerSmith's great lesson plan, My Robotic Friend. Looking forward to sharing this Hour of Code with all my students this week. Will keep you all posted with pics and feedback from the experience we have in the Art Room. Keep in mind I teach K-5. It should be interesting to see how each of the age groups process this lesson.

Click the screenshot below to access the Prezi. At the end of the presentation there is a link to the ThinkerSmith lesson plan. Have fun with this and get those kids Coding!

The Hour of Code 2013

No device or internet? Try 'unplugged' computer science!

I am so excited to introduce my art students to the world of code. I don't have computers in my art room but that won't stop us from taking part in the Hour of Code! There are several GREAT lesson plan ideas for teachers who are interested in participating but don't have access to devices. These activities work hand in hand with the Think, Pair, Share Strategy. Let's get some collaborative minds thinking and engaged!

As an added bonus, prizes are given to every educator who participates. What an awesome week we have coming up. 

Check out the Computer Science Education Week website by clicking below and get your students coding!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Bon Jovi meets Doctor Who!

This is a great montage. Love the scenes they chose for it and love love love the song.

"Because We Can" is a GREAT song by Bon Jovi.

We use it as our theme song in the Art Room.

Our favorite lines? 

I don't want to be another wave in the ocean. 
I am a rock not just another grain of sand.

This is especially relevant in Art. Why? You're students know. Just ask them. :-)

Resource for Powerful Multimedia Lessons

Check out this link with great resources for Non Linguistic Representations and how to create more effective and powerful multimedia lessons. My students love the dynamic Power Point presentations I put together for them at the beginning of our units. Student growth is accelerated by drawing them in visually, appealing to their hunger for technology, and providing them with critical information in a fun and interactive experience.

ActivInspire Summer Institute

Friday, November 22, 2013

Students LOVE Contemporary Art

Just finished a 6 week unit on Contemporary Art for my elementary students. Why don't we teach Contemporary Art more?! They loved it! The best part about Contemporary Art is that when I am teaching the students about new artists most of them are still alive! We tweeted a picture of a student's art based on Julie Mehretu's art to her on twitter. The students were thrilled when she replied to us. Even just a "LOVETHIS" meant so much to them. What a great experience for them to interact with an artist they learned about in a lesson. Have you taught your kids about Contemporary Artists? If not try it out. You never know what might happen.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Humpty Dumpty Parkour Stop Animation Movie Short

The Animation Chefs contest inspired us to create this Humpty Dumpty Parkour Stop Animation Movie. My own children and I spent hours creating this short 10 second movie but had a wonderful time working together on the concept and creation. It was a fantastic creative venture made with love. Check out the Animation Chefs online Enter their contest to win a FREE iPad mini.
And make one of these cool movie shorts with your own family!

Doctor Who meets Van Gogh in my TARDIS

Sunflowers Tardis

Doctor Who meets Van Gogh, a set on Flickr.

My Art Room has merged with the TARDIS this year bringing my students the ultimate time traveling experience. For us, TARDIS stands for "The Art Room Discovers Incredible Skills".

Check out my Doctor Who meets Van Gogh set on Flickr to see what happens when my students Learning Goal is...Incorporate Doctor Who's TARDIS with Van Gogh's Sunflowers to create a unique piece of Contemporary Art. Brilliant!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Spice up your Learning Goal for your 21st Century Learners

Get your students excited about about your new Learning Goal and preview new content in a fun way for your 21st Century Learners! Power Point offers so many great features that are easy to use and entertaining for your students!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Girl Scouts Computer Expert Badge

Are you a Girl Scout looking to earn her Computer Expert Badge? 

Watch this great video to find out how fun and easy it is to make that happen. 
Made by a fellow Girl Scout! 

Friday, October 18, 2013

Monkey Mind with Doctor Who, Art Class, and Humanity

As a Doctor Who fan who not only watches the show but has completely transformed my art class into the TARDIS this year, it's obvious that Doctor Who is on my mind a lot. I found myself thinking deeply about connections between the show and art in general the other day so I thought I'd share some of my discoveries.

First I thought about the characters. They are for the most part aliens. And then my mind wondered...what is alien in art? Art that is foreign to us. Art that to us is not really art. What language do these aliens speak on Doctor Who and what is the language of art. Can we understand all the languages in a piece of art. Do we have to know the language to understand the meaning?

The Cybermen are evil aliens. Why do we see them as bad? Is it because they want everyone to be like them? Conformity and assimilation is their goal. For creative people this is the opposite of what we strive for. Creativity NOT Conformity!

The Doctor says "I don't have anything to lose". What do we have to lose as Artists? Don't be afraid to make "happy accidents". This is art we have nothing to lose. You are making something out of nothing. That in itself is Extraordinary! Let the creativity flow we have nothing to lose.

"Fantastic!" "Brilliant!" "Be Extraordinary!" All words used by the Doctors. All words we should think about in art. When encouraging my students I use these words. At the beginning of the year I asked them if anyone had ever said they were extraordinary in school. And usually no. The answer is NO. Because we don't have time during the school day for "Extraordinary". 

But we do in that Art Room. In my TARDIS (The.Art.Room.Discovers.Incredible.Skills) we have all the time in the world. The sky is not the limit. There is not limit. In Doctor Who they travel throughout the universe in space and time. Is the universe ever finished...will our art ever be finished. Who says it has to be finished. Art does not have to be finite. Is that scary? Are we scared of the unknown. 

Doctor Who himself is an alien. He regenerates, transforms into a new Doctor. How does our art regenerate? How do our students transform throughout the years and how does their art evolve? It's a constant evolution in Doctor Who and for our students and ourselves it's the same. We are all regenerating or transforming throughout our lives. The show is a creatively colorful and entertaining representation of the evolution of ourselves. And not necessarily throughout thousands of years. But throughout our own lifetime. Isn't that fantastic? Isn't that brilliant. That we are constantly changing.

Aren't our lives in fact extraordinary?

Thursday, October 10, 2013

What Am I Teaching Them? These art students of mine.

I've been reflecting on my teaching a lot lately. Probably has a lot to do with reading "Becoming a Reflective Teacher" by Marzano. But it also has a lot to do with the underlying theme I am noticing in all of my art lessons. I'm still working this jumbled riddle out in my mind but here's where I'm at now.

I'm not just teaching them art. I'm teaching them the art of THINKING. And we all know this as art teachers but, as I evaluate myself by recording my lessons and watching them multiple times it seems to be so much deeper.

Teaching them to think. To think. To think. Not to memorize. But to think. These are life lessons they are learning in the Art Room. And it's not like teaching them in Math or other disciplines where the pressure is on because the test is coming. It's a relaxed setting where they test themselves by trying to interpret the information they are seeing.

They want to know. They want to learn. They want to open their minds to new things. And it's hard. And it tickles. And they scratch their heads and they FIGURE IT OUT! Because they are given the opportunity to really use their minds and THINK! And it natural and organic and it comes from them.

And they leave this class with their mind a little more open. The machines a little stronger. Their brains functioning a little higher. And every time they come in it's a little more and a little more. And they know they can think. And they know they can figure things out. And they know they art THINKING! Because I have helped them learn what real thinking is. And this is what I am teaching them.

Creativity NOT Conformity!

Beth :-)

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Sir Ken Robinson: Do schools kill creativity?

Sir Ken Robinson: Do schools kill creativity?

We should all be listening to this and asking ourselves this question. I know the answer. Do you?

Creativity NOT Conformity!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Thinking versus Knowing

A student brought me this piece of art last week and asked me if I thought it  was "done". 

We reviewed what she had done and discussed where she may be able to add more and the possible effects. 

I took a picture of her "unfinished" piece and she went back to her desk to work on it. By the end of class she declared she was "done"!

Below are the before and after shots. It's a great illustration of thinking versus knowing. Can you spot the difference? How does it feel when you transition from thinking to knowing? Imagine the feeling for your students.

Tomorrow starts a new week. How will you open your student's minds?

Creativity NOT Conformity!


Friday, September 27, 2013

Sticky Notes on Foreheads? Yes!

This week has been all about interpretation and and how each of us may see art differently based on our observations and individual experience.

Critical thinking and reflections were the big ideas this week, and where the standards came from for my lessons. My last class of the week was fifth-grade and I had to share with you the experience we had exploring art and interpreting the paintings we saw.

After we went over our essential question, learning goal, and scale, we got right into interpreting the art on display. Where do the sticky notes come in you may ask? I used them to assess where my students fell on our scale of understanding after the lesson.

Here's the breakdown:

Students are paired together with a partner and given a sticky note and a piece of art. Working together and using observation and experience, they interpret the work of art and write it on the sticky note. 

This is where it gets fun. One student puts the sticky note on their forehead and holds the work of art up for the class the see. Their partner reads the interpretation to the class. 

We started out with all groups standing and as each one presented they sat down. I gave feedback on whether they reached our learning goal and we discussed where they now fell on the scale of understanding.

They LOVED it!!!! Last class of the day...last class of the week...5th grade....LOVED IT! The energy was so fantastic I was sweating lol.

Here are some pics of how it played out. 

Love ending the week feeling awake and alive with the energy I get from my students excitement to learn.

Hope you all have a great weekend!

Be Creative,


Friday, September 20, 2013

What I Learned this Week

1. When you take the fear out of creation anybody can make a work of art.
2. Allowing kindergartners to change their water out when they're painting within the first five weeks of school is not a good idea.
3. If we want our students to be self-sufficient expectations need to be high.
4. Starbucks at 5:04 on Friday night is okay. Especially if your son has a 7:30 flag football game.
5. Having a 15-year-old daughter driver rocks. Chauffeur anyone?

Hope you all have a wonderful and relaxing weekend see you Monday!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Open House Opens Minds

The Dot connected families like never before. We had open house at school tonight and it was one of my best experiences as a teacher to date!

As you know we celebrated International Dot Day this past Sunday. Students worked all week creating their unique dot to add to our universe. The outcome was visually stunning as the dark black paper was transformed into a universe full of creatively colorful dots that lit up the entry way to the art room.

I asked my students to invite their parents to come into the art room to create their own dot during open house. To my surprise three fourths or more of the population of our school brought their families in to create their own unique dot.

Parents who normally would have shyed away from creating something for fear of doing it wrong were encouraged by their children. All they had to do was create a simple dot. And, that one simple act would mean so much to our school universe.

Families ended up creating dots and grouping them together, in effect creating connections that will remain ingrained in our entryway even after the parents have gone. 

It was truly a sight to see my art room overflowing with families eager to create with their children. I love being an art teacher because of amazing experiences like these!