Tuesday, April 16, 2013

How to Make Your Life Easier: PLAN, PLAN, PLAN!

Planning has been the single hardest thing for me this year. I came to our school being the 4th art teacher in 4 years... Needless to say, there was no curriculum for me to use. I was excited at the idea of so much freedom with my lesson plans, but scared out of my mind at how much work that would be. Here's a few tips for those of you just getting started, or those who need some inspiration:

1. Pinterest is your friend. I have used so, so, so many ideas from the beautiful world of Pinterest. Type in a certain grade level and "art" and you will find so many ideas. Or be more specific in your search (i.e. "4th grade sculpture") for a narrowed search. Follow other art teachers! Follow me (Kiley Edington)!

2. Use your plan time wisely. "Plan" time doesn't always mean plan time for art teachers. We are not only art teachers, but also janitors and setter-uppers. So use the plan time that you can plan with wisely. I love the site Planbook. It only costs $1/month, and you can set up all your classes and just fill in what each class is doing every week. Print it out, hole punch it, and you're ready to go.

3. Find ways to make set up time go quicker. In other words, work smarter, not harder! Set things up the afternoon before a busy day so you won't be stressed in the morning. Have supplies already together (on the counter, in bins, boxes, etc.) for each grade level so you can pull them out quickly.

4. Make a yearly month-by-month calendar for yourself. I do a vertical column of grade levels on the left side, and months going horizontally. You can either fill in on the computer or by hand after printing. Having a general overview of the year will help you stay on track!

Hope this helps. Please leave any feedback you may have for staying on top of planning!

Mrs. E

Monday, April 15, 2013

2nd Grade Spotlight

Good afternoon!

2nd graders have been hard at work. I love working with 2nd grade for a few reasons: their enthusiasm, their skill level (seems like a big jump from 1st grade), and how sweet they are. :) I wanted to share a few projects we've been working on...

The first is a clay project based on Van Gogh's landscape paintings. I found this on Pinterest, and the original source of inspiration was over at artprojectsforkids.org. These pieces are in progress; we will finish painting next week. I love them already though!

The next project is one that we finished a few weeks ago, also based on an Impressionist painter, Claude Monet. This idea was also not my own--I found it on Artsonia (Cathedral School). Students started with a watercolor background, then drew a bridge in pencil. We used oil pastel to layer on the bridge, trees, etc. I love to see their imaginations at work.

That's it for today! Please feel free to comment, follow, and/or pin my pics!

Mrs. E

Friday, April 12, 2013

Curriculum Ordering, Giant Chickens, etc.

Today was a conference day so I had time to catch up on some things. Woohoo! Finally finished my curriculum order for next year... Um, maybe I'm a nerd but I find it quite enjoyable. Shopping for the art room, who doesn't like that?!

In other news, this big guy (or girl, I guess) just entered the art room. Drew it for our librarian for a reading competition. If the students read a certain amount, our principal will do the chicken dance. So fun!

That's all I've got for today. Happy Friday!

Mrs. E

Thursday, April 11, 2013

CLAY: Organization


Let's just talk a bit about clay. Clay and I haven't gotten along in the last few years. Growing up, I loved working with clay and my art projects always turned out great. However, college made me scared of it.

I took Ceramics I and everything changed. The expectations of a college-level project are much higher than elementary (go figure), and even high school. I'd never used a pottery wheel before, so that was my biggest challenge. I remember coming out of the studio furious and covered in clay from head to toe. People, I had clay in my armpits! Needless to say, I think I made a C in the class but I was happy to have it over with and didn't care. I thought I'd never have to deal with clay again.

Here we are, 3 years later, and I see clay on an everyday basis. I could probably write a novel about all the things I've learned about how to teach clay, organize clay, cut clay, fire clay, etc.... but today I will focus on the organizational part. I will do a series on the others if anyone is interested!

Ok, on to some pictures because my rambling is getting old...

Room setup is key!! Having a center table for clay demos and supplies has really helped. I have students stand around the table (with hands in pockets or behind backs) to watch demonstrations.

This is a closer view of the center table. No, it's not pretty but it does the job. Under the table are tools, place mats, aprons, etc.

Plastic bags are your friend. Just make sure they don't have holes in them. I only see students once a week, so we have to store them in bags to keep the moisture inside.
Close-up of aprons. White ones are smaller, black ones are larger. Have them easily accessible!
Clay tools in an old jar. Nothing fancy, but students can easily get to them and see what's available. This class did not do a good cleaning job. :)
Shelves... I am constantly rearranging them but they are so helpful for drying purposes, holding green ware or glazed pieces that are ready for firing, etc.
Cookie sheets! I use them ALL the time. They can hold quite a few pieces, and they are pretty sturdy. Also, the clay won't stick to them as it dries.

I also use a lot of copy paper box lids. You can use them to store glaze, fired pieces, or just for transporting from the kiln room to the classroom. A cart also comes in handy for that!
Another box lid used to hold kiln props. I usually have them more neatly organized by size, but this week was crazy.
More kiln prop organization
Slip bowl covered with foil. I've been using the same slip bowls for 4 months... just add water when you need to!

That concludes my clay organization post, but I will be back with more clay entries, because there's a LOT more to talk about!

By the way, does anyone else have trouble lining up and spacing pictures on this thing? Wow, it's annoying.

Have a terrific Thursday.:)

Mrs. E

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Wacky Wednesday

As the day comes to an end, I look back and think, Where was my sanity? I had no patience with these kiddos all day! Wednesdays are hard for me. Although I only have 5 classes, Tuesdays are brutally long and leave me feeling like I have nothing left to give by Wednesday. On top of it being Wednesday, I had my first kiln fail today... half of a 1st grade class's pinch pots exploded. I'm resolving to have a better attitude next Wednesday!

Moving on... I wanted to share a few things I've done around my classroom to help me stay organized and sane, especially on days like today. :)

Small chairs on carpet for the little ones. I know this seems like a no-brainer, but when I started out the year I just had students sit on the carpet at the beginning of class. With many sensory issues, this did not work out as planned. Hitting and screaming ensued, so our Pre-K director suggested chairs so that everyone has their own personal space. A life saver!

As any art teacher knows, remembering to tell every class everything is a challenge. I made an announcement spot on the board, and told them to check it every day when they enter the classroom. I think it's helping... although not many students have brought back portfolios.

**Do you use portfolios? I'm thinking about abandoning the idea...**

A bulletin board dedicated to color... I use this A LOT. Color is such a fundamental part of art, so it always comes up in conversation. Having this board helps so much!

Smartest thing I've done all year. This job chart corresponds to the numbers at each student's place on every table (1,2,3,4). I rotate the numbers every week, so students get really excited when it's their turn to be the Table Wiper!

Well folks, that's all I have for today. Hope your Wednesday was better than mine!

Mrs. E

Friday, April 5, 2013

checking in

Hello friends!

It's been a good long while since I've written on this thing... I've noticed that everything in my life happens in spurts. Not something I'm proud of, so I'm trying a new thing called "consistency." It's a brilliant concept.

The last year of my life has been a series of changes, one after the other. Between switching jobs to buying our first house, I've not had much time to reflect on any of it. I am now officially an art teacher, and the past few months have been so humbling.

Kids can bring out the best and worst in you. Being around 500 students each week can be quite testing on my patience. It is also the most rewarding gift I could ever ask for. I believe God placed me here, with these children, to share His love. The biggest thing I've learned is that it's not about me. And the moment I begin to make it about me, things start to go haywire. My mind gets fuzzy, I feel stressed and overwhelmed, and nothing seems to go right. When I surrender every moment, every lesson, every word that comes out of my mouth to Him, it all falls into place.

Well, that's all I have for now. My brain is fried (being the end of the week), my fingers are tired, and my eyes need a break from this computer screen. Hope you all have a blessed weekend!

Mrs. E

A year later...

I started this blog a year ago with the intentions of filling it with lesson plans, classroom management tips, etc. However, my aspirations for being a teacher who takes the time to blog didn't work out as planned. Now that it's April, I thought I'd look back on the year thus far and share some insight from my first year of teaching.

What I’ve Learned in my 1st
Year of Teaching

  • A little grace goes a long way—for your student and yourself.
  • Don’t sweat the small stuff. Sometimes letting go of a little control will give you more peace of mind than holding on to it.
  • No day is perfect, but learn to find the good in every day.
  • Seek out godly wisdom. You don’t have to know everything.
  • Children have a way of exposing your best and worst moments.
  • Children want to be spoken to in a loving manner. Barking at them does nothing but make them feel insecure and fearful of you.
  • God places us in challenging situations so that we may not only grow, but also learn to trust Him more with every detail of our life.
  • Sometimes taking 2 minutes to sit down and say a prayer is the best thing you can do for yourself. You will immediately see a difference in the way you present yourself to others.
  • The art room will never be as sparkling as the first day of school.
  • Pray about lesson planning. Coming up with new ideas can be a challenge, but God knows what He wants you to teach, and loves it when you ask Him.
  • When something doesn’t work the way you planned, laugh about it and try another method or throw out the idea altogether.
  • Don’t be so hard on yourself. You are not here for yourself, anyway.
  • Give students responsibilities. They love to help, and they feel awesome about themselves when you give them the chance to do it.
  • Having a quiet time in the morning before school is quite possibly the most important thing you do all day. Preparing your heart for what God has in store will help you to see things through His eyes.
  • Coffee is your friend. Caffeine in general is your friend.
  • Say a student’s name when addressing them. This will not only help you remember it, but will make them feel special and loved.
  • Stay organized as much as possible. Set out materials at the end of the day and you will thank yourself the next morning.
  • Laugh at yourself when you make a mistake or forget something. The kids connect with you more when you don’t pretend to be perfect.
  • Recognize the people around you who have more experience. Watch and listen to the way they interact with kids.
  • Just because you’re scared doesn’t mean God won’t call you to do something. In fact, He probably will.
  • Just when you think you can’t make it through another day, a holiday, snow day, or sick day will happen.
  • Speaking of sick days… Clorox, Clorox, Clorox. When you think you’ve Cloroxed enough, Clorox some more.
  • Fake it ‘til you make it!
 What insight do you have to share with other teachers out there? Art teachers, any wisdom you have for transitioning between age groups? Classroom organization?

Have a great weekend!
Mrs. E