Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Traveling on down the road...

Another stopping place on our travels through Northern Arizona was the Petrified Forest. We had often passed the signs driving on I-40 but never had time to stop.

This National Park is a drive-thru with several marked stops throughout the Park.

Most of the petrified pieces were located by the visitor center stop...

As we drove through the park, we saw odd & wonderful contrasts of color and shape...

Some petroglyphs...

..and a partial glimpse of the Painted Desert in the distance.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Children's Literature: Authors and Illustrators

If you don't follow KB Connected you might want to check out a recent post of hers that provides a website listing many of our favorite children's authors and illustrators

One of my favorite authors/illustrators for read-alouds to my boys when they were young was Patricia Polacco. Her rich Russian background led to beautifully detailed paintings telling her stories. I had the good fortune to meet her in person a few years ago and see the 'keeping quilt' featured in one of her stories.

I'm looking forward to exploring the sites and discovering new facts about my favorite illustrators to share with my students...

Sunday, June 26, 2011


This past weekend our family went on a 2-day road trip to see some sights around Arizona.

First on the list was a favorite - Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon.

If you ever make it to AZ, right after the Grand Canyon, you must visit this beautiful city with the Red Rocks...

Just north of the city is Oak Creek Canyon, with towering sycamores and the lovely Oak Creek

flowing through various campgrounds, picnic areas and private, secluded homes...

I couldn't resist taking pictures of all the textures and patterns at play...

Mother Nature can't be beat for design inspiration...

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Game Day! Day 3 of Vocab in the Art Classroom

On the third day of class, we began to put together some of the work done previously to create games.

A simple matching card game was made from our vocab lists. Jo and I made our K-1 game using illustrations with the word.

The other groups matched words with definitions.

We used colored index cards, 4"x6" cut in half and used different colors for different grade levels. At my school, we have a great group of parent volunteers every Tuesday morning so I anticipate having them make multiple sets for my classroom when school starts up again. I'll color code the diff grade levels & within grade levels have a diff line/shape design on the backs which is easy to do before they're cut up. That way, each table group in a class will have their own set. It should be a great way to review terms at the end of every grading period (or long term project) - especially as we scramble to finish projects in time for report cards - a great way to occupy those early finishers...

When all the cutting & matching was done, lamination was the last step. Again, my parent volunteers could do that for me...

I mentioned another game we learned about in a previous post - 'Save the Pig' which requires only something to write on - whiteboard or chart paper.

Magic Letter, Magic Word uses the same materials but the teacher supplies the word - posted/written - and asks the students to name as many words as they can that describes that term.

Points are awarded for every answer BUT bonus points for more thoughtful replies - notice the asterisks? Teacher determines what merits bonus points...This could be a quick fill-in game when you have a few extra minutes at end of class.

More ideas to share later - this post is long enough....

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Day 2 of Vocab in the Art Classroom

On Day 2 are agenda was as follows:

Jeane, an art colleague, demonstrated how she uses vocab cards with her students. The large cards feature an illustration and the word she's teaching.

The card is held so the word is covered then the fold is opened to show the corresponding vocab word.

In addition to showing the card & pronouncing the word (breaking it into syllables) she uses TPR - Total Physical Response by creating a gesture to go with the term. So students would associate the visual - word and illustration - and experience physical movement with the word.

Paper in different colors are designated for different vocab - for example: artists, basic art terms/principles & elements and media/materials.

Our district uses a 'grammar wall' in every classroom to help develop English vocabulary.

This 'wall' can be used with our vocab - using sticky notes, we can post our words after we identify its part of speech.

Our groups began typing up the word lists and matching with illustrations. Those who weren't typing began folding the stacks of paper, cutting up the word lists and gluing everything together...busy, busy, busy...

Taking the Plunge

One of my goals for summer blogging was to setup Twitter and Facebook accounts to increase traffic to my blog.

Deep breath.

Mission accomplished! My twitter account is listed as: handsheadnheart and my facebook account is under Nancie Kay. Please add a comment if your blog is linked to either site as well!

I still have to do more tweaking but my tech experts won't get out of bed for few more hours yet - high school & college boys need their rest I guess...

Friday, June 10, 2011

Day 1 of Vocab in the Art Classroom

We covered so much this past week, that I thought I would break down what we did in separate posts. Here's our agenda for Day 1:

Our group of 12 art teachers split off from the larger group which included PE and Music teachers. We studied our pacing guides (developed over the past 2 summers) to work on our basic vocabulary lists. Groups of 2 - 3 art teachers concentrated on the various grade levels - I worked w/Jo and John to write up the list for K-1. Others wrote for Gr.2-3, 4-5, 6-7-8.

There were great discussions on what to include, what to leave out for now and how to write it (ex: media/plural or medium/singular). Once lists were created on this day, vocab words were written on large index cards to keep handy in classroom to review and to use for quick vocab games which we learned about on Day 3. Cards were labeled and sorted by both grade level and grading periods.

I chose to write my words in color according to grade level (K-yellow, 1st-orange & so on thru the color wheel) so as to readily identify them. Grading periods are written in upper corner.

I have a 4x6 metal index file box & dividers gathering dust on a shelf in my room that will be put to use as soon as I can get to it...

Here's a summary of our first day...

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Art Vocabulary Games

My brain is pretty much fried after 3 days of classes on incorporating more vocab into our lessons. We have been busy building our vocab lists based on our state standards and pacing guides...

Today was entertaining though, because we learned some new word games - Save the Pig looks interesting & fun - a PC version of hangman...

Draw a pig, then the blanks for the word's letters. Kids name a letter - if correct it goes on a blank & they get to guess the vocab word. If incorrect, erase a part of the pig hence the name "Save the Pig!!!"

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Thank You!

Just checking the stats on my blog and I wanted to send a very grateful shout-out to

Mini Matisse
Mary Making
Art Project Girl
Her Dabbles
Barbara's Thought of the Day
A Faithful Attempt
There's A Dragon in my Art Room
Art Lessons from Belgium
The Elementary Art Room
Ateliere Creative

who have so kindly added me to their blogrolls! I appreciate the referrals from your sites...

I have found wonderful blogs to add to MY blogroll from my many visitors!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Art Vocabulary Class

Started a class today on using vocab in the artroom. We're using the book Building Academic Vocabulary by Robert J. Marzano and Debra J. Pickering.

Today was spent getting to know the other Art, Music, Band and PE teachers in class from across the District. Making posters with our small groups that summarized a chapter...

We also put together a first draft of our proposed art academic vocabulary. More to come in the next few days...

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Some of My Favorite Things

Several artroom blogs have listed their favorite products used this year so I thought I would list some new and some old favorites here...

The only type of tempera paint I use is Crayola Artista II Washable. Mainly because that's what our district stocks in the warehouse but also because I have good results. Creamy consistency, mixes well to achieve secondary and tertiary colors. The paint is purchased in pint sizes. The fluorescent paint is great too!

A few years ago, our district bought another brand of fluorescent paint - Omega - and it's just gathering dust on my shelves. Thin, runny paint. I used to do Amate bark paintings with 5th graders but this paint did not show up on the kraft paper we drew our composition on. Took 3 coats of color applied OVER a dried white tempera base to show the characteristic bright colors. Way too much time involved!

For years now I've used old tennis balls on the base of my stools and tables to cut down on the noise. This year, Staples donated some 'chair slippers' to one of my colleagues so I snapped some up! Supposedly, these are an improvement over tennis balls - we'll see - but I'll gladly take FREE!

My weaving needles worked great for our woven pouches - I even brought out the 5" size for those who were handling the smaller size safely. I keep them in this upside-down box with a hole for each needle so I can keep track of 'em after each class. Only 2 needles 'walked out' of my room this year after 6 weeks of classes and no injuries were reported...

About 4 years ago, a fellow teacher brought me some of these clear plastic trays that were a byproduct of his wife's job as a home health care nurse.

He asked if I could use them - Could I USE them? How did I ever get along without them? I use them to sort supplies (markers, colored pencils, oil pastels, etc.) into 8 sets ready to pull out of the cabinet and give to table groups. I also use them to setup any wet media prior to class - paint, clay, printmaking, etc.

I bought a set of these step stools from IKEA when I moved to my current school 8 years ago and IKEA opened a store here. They were only a few dollars each, very sturdy AND washable. My kinders can easily move & use them at the sinks to reach the faucets, soap and paper towels.

My favorite brushes are these from Royal Brush - Big Kids version with 3 sizes of rounds (green handles) and three sizes of flats (red handles). I've used these for 3+ years and they are holding up exceptionally well. It was an expensive purchase (I ordered 3 sets at approx $75 each) at the time but I was so frustrated with the Prang watercolor brushes stocked by our district - they were so floppy - barely ok w/watercolor but didn't hold up well with tempera. I have certainly gotten my money's worth!

I plan on ordering more this summer - just a dozen of each kind to replace the few that have gone to paint brush heaven...

And last but not least - book rings. As we all know, the key to a great art teacher is great organization. There is no commercially produced 'lesson plan' or 'seating chart' or 'class record' book that suits our crazy, creative ways. So like most of you (I suspect), I create my own every year to keep track of the 700 or so students that trek in and out of my room.

Book rings are sturdy enough to hold up to the daily necessities of recordkeeping and referring to standards/pacing guides that help keep the wheels turning. Next year, I'll upgrade to COLORED book rings I snagged a few months ago - that ought to jazz things up a bit!

What are some of your favorite things?

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