Category Archives: 8th grade

IPEVO for the Win!


So, last week my awesome Tech Facilitator, Maureen Davis, shared with our faculty a cool giveaway from IPEVO. They make interactive teaching tools like document cameras. I have been borrowing a fellow teacher’s doc camera this year because I don’t have one of my own. It’s really helpful when I want to show them a new technique or anything really that I can’t do up on the board (ie, watercolor painting). It’s a camera that I can focus on what I’m showing them, project it up on the wall so they all can see while staying in their seats and not have to crowd around me. You know that always leads to a little pushing and trying to get the “best seat”. I’m know I’m entertaining, but really, we don’t have time for that. 🙂 So, I was a little iffy about this because how often do people give away things completely for free, no gimmicks, no trickery, no follow ups? Well apparently that does happen every so often and this is one of those times. My wish was granted. I now have my very own document camera that is worth $69 and all I had to do was ask for it. They have other things too – ipad pillows, lights, speakers, cases, and more. If you want something, sometimes, all you have to do is ASK!



Happy MLK, Jr Day!


The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.
-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


Deep Space Sparkle: A Letter to New Art Teachers


Deep Space Sparkle is one of my favorite art blogs to read. She has amazing art lessons and she is so well-organized. I was perusing her site today and came across this letter to new art teachers. I am now in my 8th year of teaching so I don’t consider myself new, but it was a great reminder of my early days. I look back and just feel so sorry for the students I had my first couple years of teaching. For all of the classes that I taught before I discovered all of these awesome blogs. Art teacher blogs are so real and so helpful, it’s what inspired me to start my own. I love sharing lessons with others, especially those new teachers who feel totally lost in what to do and how to do it! One of my favorite things to tell new teachers is that it is completely fine to take ten classes to get a project done, if that’s what you need to do to feel calm and accomplished. My biggest mistake in my early years was trying to rush through a project and feeling like there was a deadline. I finally realized (aka, it was explained to me by a very wise Kindergarten teacher) that you just have to offer it in very small steps. Trying to run around with paint and brushes and papers and small children everywhere will only put you in a tailspin that ends in you, flat on your face, with children standing around you, staring at the wreckage. 🙂 Here is Deep Space Sparkle’s letter to new art teachers that I agree with whole-heartedly!!!

Word Portrait Websites


I work with one of the most awesome technology facilitators in the world and she is always sending our staff super cool websites.  Some of her latest finds have been very art-friendly.  I did a project very similar to this with my 8th graders (when I had 8th graders) but it was a little more hands-on and less “sit back and let the technology do the work.”  But as they say, “Work Smarter, Not Harder.”  This would be a great way to incorporate literacy into your art lessons.  Just think about the possibilities: Verbs!, Similes!, Adjectives!, poems!, Short stories!, spelling words! – All made fun by incorporating ART.  smART, right!? 
Check these two out:
You Are Your Words

Christmas cards for soldiers


My 5th and 6th graders are creating Christmas cards to send to soldiers stationed overseas. I was collecting the first batch and saw a couple that made me laugh. Surely this will put a smile on the soldiers’ faces when they receive them!

Do you think this was a visual wishlist???

I would call this style: “Canadian Elegance” 😉

8th grade ROCKS!


8th graders always seem to like doing this project because it allows them to express their personalities, no matter what their interests are, and work with their friends. I start out by looking at some “famous” guitars and their players with the class and discussing what makes the guitars stand out. Is it the guitar or the guitarist? Then we look at some funny and weird guitars – lego guitar, bigfoot guitar, etc. I put the kids in groups of two or three and they have to design, on paper first, a guitar that expresses some part of their personality. Then they have to actually create this guitar using cardboard and any other found materials (kind of Picasso-esque.) Each year the guitars get better and better! This year, one of my favorites was the brick wall guitar. The cheeseburger and hotdog guitar just make me laugh. : )

Right Brain Hands


This is another find and you can find it by looking up Malissa Wright on the site. I loved this lesson and enjoyed creating an example myself! I’ve taken pictures of some of them as they progress, so I’ll continue adding until they are complete.

8th Grade Word Portraits


I like doing this word portrait project with 8th graders because it allows them to draw something they are interested in (themselves) and it marks a special time in their lives. Some kids are self conscious about drawing their pictures so big – we do it on bulletin board paper that’s approximately 3′ x 2′ – but the school loves it when I put these on display and parents love them too.

I start by taking their pictures and then using the ActivBoard to blow them up so that they can trace just the basic lines of their bodies, head, and face. While they are waiting, I have them work on a list of at least 20 words to describe themselves and things they like. These are the words they will use to create their portraits. Once they all have their pictures traced, I give them sharpies and they go over all of the lines, using the words. From far away, it just looks like a basic line portrait. But close up, it shows their personality. : )