Saturday, December 16, 2017

STEAM Project: Mark-Making Machines


Are you looking for an engaging project that will provide lots of discussion, movement, creativity and problem-solving with your artists BUT not take for-eh-ver to do? Well, I have a project for you!!

Here are a couple of Grade 8's Mark-Making
Machines with a bit of the display. 

My grade 8 art students began trimester 2 with an exciting art and engineering challenge! I began the activity with a discussion of the most basic art element--the mark. Students discussed and decided upon definitions for "mark" and "machine" and were then challenged to either work individually or in teams to create mark-making machines. Their constraints? The machine needed to use K'Nex building tools (I had a HUGE bucket of them), an art supply from the classroom (paint, markers, pencils, etc.) and use a simple machine (lever, pulley, wheel and axle, wedge, inclined plane or screw).

Students had two class periods to create, test and revise their machines. The process was messy and exciting and really got everyone moving, talking, sharing and working together. A great discussion about "what is art?" ensued as well as a larger discussion of "why?"--as in, "Why are we doing an engineering project in art class?" Students were able to brainstorm skills that they needed in this fun engineering challenge that they would be using this trimester in art class (and throughout their educational career): creativity, resourcefulness, grit, perseverance, working with others, problem solving and more.

By the end of day two, students were required to pass in their machine, an example of the "marks" their machines made (some of the pieces were quite beautiful!) and the video they created of their machine in action (they used iPads to take their videos). I had a hunch that this project would make a great display in our school's lobby so I wanted to make are I had the students give me the "fodder" I would need to showcase these machines!

I was able to create a QR Code for the videos of each of the machines and put them on the finished display, so visitors can scan the QR codes and see the machines in action. Here are a few of the videos for you to see:

This project was a fun way to start of the trimester! ENJOY!!

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Getting Ready For A New School Year--LINKS TO CHECK OUT!

Hi there!

We start school later than many of you, so as of September 8th, I've just finished my first week back. I wanted to post links to a few resources I found online that I used to get my room ready. I think you'll find them useful--I surely did!

Stuff I Did For Me:
I love to be prepared and have nicely organized "stuff" but I don't think I need to reinvent the wheel. There are so many teachers out there that have wonderful ideas for classroom organization that I'm constantly "Pinning." Even though I teach Middle School Art, I do not only look for solutions that art artroom- or middle school-exclusive. I think we can find inspiration anywhere! This year, though, I wanted to actually DO some of the ideas I "pinned," so here's what I have done so far:

Organizing Files: I really loved the "30 Minute File Cabinet Makeoever" that I saw at Kate's Science Classroom Cafe. I had all of my files from last year in hanging file folders, but they weren't easy to find and just weren't working for me--I tried her system and LOVE it!!

Detail from "30 Minute File Cabinet Makeover"
from Kate's Science Classroom Cafe

The To-Do List: I love post-it notes and use them constantly, but sometimes (ALL THE TIME) I misplace them or lose them. This Fancy To-Do List Printable from The Colorful Apple is a perfect idea that will keep my post-it To-Do's organized! I printed this form out, laminated it and have it as page one in my teacher binder (what I use as a calendar and plan book). Love it!!

Detail from The Colorful Apple

My Plan Book and Calendar: Yeah, I'm not so good with remembering dates. I am notorious for showing up somewhere at the wrong time or or on the wrong day. But this year--It's going to be different!! I am also known for buying a planner, using it for approximately three months and then discarding it. Perhaps that is why I am horrible with dates and times....hmmmm....Anyhow! One of the teachers at school uses The Happy Planner and I found this Teacher Edition at Michaels and knew I had to try it (I mean, it comes with stickers and everything!). I am SO HAPPY I did! I can actually use it as a plan book and it is so nice to be able to layout my plans for my art classes in an easy-to-see format. I also use this for my personal dates and reminders as well. I am happy to report I haven't missed an appointment yet (although it's only been a month!).

Detail of The Happy Planner, Teacher Edition

My Toolbox: I love office supplies and when I am working I like to have what I need nearby. I saw online that teachers were making these teacher toolboxes and I knew that when I got my own classroom I would be making this ASAP! Last summer I made this and I loved it. It's right by my desk and I can reach it easily. I cannot live without it. It helps that is is SUPER cute thanks to the printables from Teach Create Motivate at Teacher Pay Teachers.

Detail from the Teacher Toolbox Printables
From Teach Create Motivate

Emergency Sub Plan (Notans): Planning for a sub is hard--especially if you (or your kids) are already sick. Last year, I had a pet emergency one morning and before I could take my cat to the emergency vet, I needed to go in and write emergency sub lessons--talk about stressful!! This year, I got smart! I found this Notan Lesson from Teach and Shoot and thought it would be perfect as an emergency sub lesson. So, I printed out her handouts (enough for every student in my four classes--in case I am out on a day when I see all four of the classes I teach), cut black paper squares and white paper (enough for all of said students to create this lesson) and took ALL of those things along with a copy of the directions I had laminated and placed EVERYTHING in a clear plastic tote labeled "Emergency Sub Lesson" and placed it in view near my desk. Glue sticks and scissors are always available in a prominent area of my classroom, so I didn't need to include those. WHEW, now I am ready in case of an emergency absence. I think this project could last two class period in my room.

Detail from the Notan Lesson
From Teach and Shoot

Easy Desk-top Paper Organization: This simple desk-top solution for daily materials organization from Juice Boxes and Crayolas seemed like a great idea to me. I usually use tagboard file folders for my papers that I need to copy and a desk-top bin for papers to file and another bin for papers to grade. This just seemed like what I was already doing, but more uniform. It seems to be better for me.

Detail from Juice Boxes and Crayolas

Well, that's it for now! What did YOU for yourself to get ready for this school year? Post your ideas in the comments section below (with a link) so that we can be inspired!

Here's to a wonderful start to the new school year!

It's Conference Time in NH! FALL 2017 NHAEA Newsletter & Conference Info

Hello again! It's Fall Conference time here in NH!

I have been going to the New Hampshire Art Educators' Association (NHAEA) Fall Conference since 2011 and really love it. It's a great opportunity to connect with other educators in the state and they always offer so many wonderful sessions.

I am the newsletter editor for the NHAEA and here's the Fall Newsletter which has the conference information. This year's conference theme is "Champions of Constructive Change." I know some of my followers live too far away to attend, but if you live near Southern NH (the conference is in Manchester, NH), think about attending! Also, check out the newsletter and see what we are up to in NH!


Spring 2017 NHAEA Newsletter


It's been eight months since my last post!!! YIPES! I cannot begin to express how bad I feel about that! I am generally bad about blogging over the summer (with four kids and a countless number of neighbor kids over, I just can't find the time!). I actually LOVE blogging and this is something I do for "me" so I thought it was high time I got back to it!

WHEW! I have missed you all! So, let's get caught up! First, I'd like to post the other New Hampshire Art Educators' Association newsletters I created in the past year (my last post was about that, so it's as good a place as any to start, I think!).

So, here is the SPRING 2017 NHAEA Newsletter I am editor of. The info is a bit outdated NOW, but it is great to have it archived on here and for y'all to see what we are up to in NH. Some highlights include: Scholastic Arts and Writing Awards 2017, Youth Art Month (YAM) celebrations from around the state, and our NHAEA Annual Member Reception held at the Currier Museum of Art!


Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Getting Involved: My work with the NHAEA


You know it's been crazy 'round here! I'm in my first year of teaching in a public school and my focus has been embracing my first year of teaching and learning as much as I can about my job. That means saying "NO" and not overextending myself (because I have four kids as well, so I'm pretty much overextended at the get go). Saying "no" is hard for me--I'm THAT person. You know, they one who steps up and does the thing that needs doing, brings the snacks, starts the committee, etc. But not this year (Um, and it is killing me a bit, but it is also nice to focus on my work and kiddos and hubby). SO if you are wondering why the blog is sssssllllllooowww to be updated, that's why. There's only 24 hours in a day people. :-)

HOWEVER, one commitment I did say "yes" to last year, was being the newsletter editor for our state's  chapter of the National Art Educators' Association. The New Hampshire Art Educators' Association (NHAEA) publishes a paper newsletter three times a year and as editor, I am responsible for that and attending board meetings monthly. As a graphic designer and blogger, I have always felt that communication is key to a thriving group and since the art teachers of the NHAEA are spread out all over NH, the newsletters help to strengthen our community of educators and help us to learn from one another.

HOW THIS HAS HELPED ME: I'm not going to lie, being involved with the NHAEA has been a bonus for me as well. I started going to NHAEA events while I was a grad student and was able to:

  • Meet lots of art educators--hey, we don't get out much and sometimes we are the only art teacher in our school--it's nice to connect with others like us!
  • Get LOTS of ideas that I incorporated into my studies and my after-school and substitute teaching gigs and now into my own lessons in middle school
  • Network and hear about long-term substitute teaching positions and more permanent art education positions
  • Get support when I was worried I wouldn't find a job
  • Find friends to travel with when I went to my first national conference
  • Meet one of my student teaching mentors through the organization

I decided to step up and become the newsletter editor because the position was open (the former editor was looking to move on to bigger and better things) and I had a background in graphic design. I LOVE graphic design--it is my art--the way I express myself. I thought three newsletters per year would be a doable commitment for me and it actually isn't that bad--the deadlines are far less strict than the graphic design world. And....I love it. I miss doing design work and laying out the newsletters is actually fun for me. The NHAEA newsletters aren't going to win any design awards but I try not to stress over the minutia and have fun.

I've attached the newest newsletter for you to check out. It's the smallest issue of the year, but it's still got some great stuff in there--there is a lesson on Mixed Media Idioms by our NH Art Educator of the Year, Mary Ann Lessard and you can see what the NHAEA is up to.

I STRONGLY ENCOURAGE you to get involved with your local chapter of the NAEA. It's good for you and good for them (the organization) and for your students!

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