Category Archives: classroom

A Change is Gonna Come…

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Summer break is drawing to a close and there are big changes on the horizon for my family. I’ll get back to that. 

I have had such a fantastic summer that’s also been a bit of a roller coaster. This year, I decided not to return to my summer job that I’ve had for 7 years. I loved the job and it provided me with extra “summer fun” money but it also required a lot of time away from my family and a lot of time spent with kids, some of who were also my students at school. After 12 years of teaching and 7 years of this summer job, I decided I wanted (needed) a break from everything and took the summer to spend how I wanted. My daughter and I went on several trips, we did a big family vacay, and I got lots accomplished around the house that I had been avoiding. 

We went to Beaufort, NC for a long weekend to explore the sights and the food of the coast. It was beautiful and I can’t wait to go back! 


Then we spent a week driving to art camp and exploring a cool city! Art camp at the Greenhill Center was great and she enjoyed her time there – I enjoyed a new coffee shop each day! 


Our family vacation was so much fun and I loved spending time with my sister and her babies and my mom and dad all under one roof. 


We also went to see The Little Mermaid live and it was awesome! I would have stayed for another showing right then. 


For the first time, I feel like we were able to really make the most of every day of summer break!

Now, getting back to that whole, a change is gonna come thing…

My husband has been working for a company an hour and a half away from home for a year and a half. He loves his job so much and it really shines through in the other parts of his life. We had discussed moving closer but it was not in the immediate plans. But we all know how the best laid plans go. An opportunity was placed in my lap that I could not pass up. An art teaching job at one of the best schools in the state! And it just happens to be in the city he works. It was still a difficult decision and one not made lightly. I have chosen to leave my current school system and my family and I are moving and embarking on this new adventure together. We are excited but also very sad to leave such a great life of having amazing friends and family so close by. Luckily it’s still only an hour away so we will get to visit and hopefully we will get to share our new city with them. 

I think about my students I’m leaving behind and I get so anxious about their future. I hope my quiet, shy students who tear up at a strong “teacher look” continue to gain confidence in themselves with the help of compassionate teaching. I think about the babies who I snuck pencils and crayons and markers and paper to and pray they will continue to get supplies that help them create outside the classroom. I think about the kids that search me out in a crowd for a hug or a high five and they will think I left them without a backwards glance. But then I remember that I work(ed) at the best school ever with the most caring teachers ever and they will get the hugs they want and the supplies they need and the gentle looks and the guiding hand. It’s so hard to say goodbye when you’re leaving something you loved. 


In the words of Sam Cooke:

“There have been times that I thought I couldn’t last for long

But now I think I’m able to carry on

It’s been a long, a long time coming

But I know a change is gonna come, oh yes it will…”

Cheers to a new year, new students, new adventures, and an old love for all things ART. 

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Tinker Boxes to blow off STEAM!

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Tinker Boxes to blow off STEAM!

Oh man, I have been so excited to share these little boxes of fun with my students and with you all. I love hearing all about STEAM and how other regular classroom teachers are integrating art into their classes. I’m all like, “Welcome to my world. I told y’all it was fun over here!” 

So anyway, I wanted to create some projects and lessons where the ultimate goal wasn’t to take a perfect little picture home to mom and dad to hang on the fridge. I wanted the goal to be one of social interaction and creative design. Teamwork and imagination.  It’s all about the process, baby! 

The thing that finally got me moving on my idea about this was our school’s family engagement coordinator brought me some empty sight word flash card boxes. They were pretty small but they were brightly colored and had a cute little yellow handle. There were only 10. What can a teacher of 650+\- do with 10 little boxes? 

💡 

I started by finding that bag of random stuff that people give you… you know the one. It’s filled with bits and pieces of scrapbook stuff, toys from kids meals, lost puzzle pieces, marbles, dominoes, etc. Yeah, that one. I divided it up between 6 of the boxes (I have 6 tables in my room) and then set to making some prompts. I know I could throw caution to the wind and let the kids just have a go with no prompts but I want to keep a loose grip on the reins.  I think it would be best to have a common goal at each table so we don’t bicker about step 1. 

There are so many great places to find prompts, resources, and ideas for materials for this sort of thing. Here are a few of my sources: 

A Wrinkle in Tech
Stem of the Month (TPT)
Left Brain Craft Brain
Education Closet
So I put this all together, made my prompts, laminated them, and got ready to try it out…

They LOVED it. Of course they did. I say this not because of my amazing boxes of random crap, but because kids love to tinker and play with little things, and use their imaginations. After they completed the tasks, we cleaned up the boxes and then traded for a new box. We only traded once in the 45 minutes of class. 

I shall not lie to you – there were arguments in some of the groups. Kids have strong opinions about stuff, especially what the propeller of an airplane should be made from. But it was opportunity to work on social skills and learning to talk through problems instead of yelling, whining, and fussing. But that’s what’s so great about STEAM and art class in general: it’s applicable to real life. Problem solving (with people and machines), designing, creating, sharing, giving, taking, directing, leading, choosing a good leader, being a great team player, and the list goes on. 

This was a wordy, lengthy post and I apologize. Here’s some pictures: 

A mini rocket and a big rocket

A large house

A robot 

An airplane! 

A glimpse of the action

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Here’s a few shots of some of our first projects. Reviewing elements with fourth and fifth, learning more about the color wheel and practicing zentangles with third, and using warm and cool colors, shapes, and lines with second. The year is off to great start! 

Tinyartroom is on Instagram!

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After years of bombarding my friends and family on Instagram with tons of photos of my students’ artwork , I finally decided to create an account just for the Tinyartroom. If you are also on Instagram, please follow me at @tinyartroom! (So thankful that name was available. : ) 

  
  

Boards Galore…

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Nope. Just four. Man, bulletin boards take forever and mine aren’t even elaborate!
This one has some precious kinder snowmen on it with a few snowman ice cream cones as well. This board is in my classroom which is why it’s so tiny.

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This board is showcasing some awesome one point perspective drawings by 5th grade. I was so impressed with some of their themes and their execution of said theme.

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This board is another snowman board and this one is in the entry of our school – or as our database manager once called it, the loading dock. Haha!

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And one more board of scoops…

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In progress…

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This is my board right now and we have lots of new projects happening but they are all “in progress” so I promise I will post about each one when we are finished! 🙂

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Last day before winter break

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What we are up to today…

Learning to draw an Elf on the Shelf! Every class I’ve done this with has loved it.

This is the awesome site where we watch the video to draw along with Rob. Art for Kids Hub

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We made Christmas trees out of the scrap box! So much fun!

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More elves!

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Finishing up reindeer paintings – they look awesome!

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Some of this…
I love the thoughtfulness of the gifts I receive!

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Oh, and PS – it was Polar Express/pajama day! Love my team!

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What a fun, crazy, and exhausting day. I’m going to finish it off with candlelight yoga at one of my student’s mother’s yoga studio and then a big bowl of pho from my favorite Thai restaurant.
Cheers to Winter break and a Merry Christmas to you all!