Monday, February 8, 2016

Drum Dream Girl

The book "The Drum Dream Girl" by Margarita Engle is a wonderful story with gorgeous illustrations. When I showed my music teacher she immediately agreed to collaborate with me. Since she does drums with second grade, I created a project for that grade.

We will end with a partner activity where students will respond to their classmate's work using haiku.

Saturday, February 6, 2016


Riding the wave of the classroom discussions of Martin Luther King's Dream Speech, this month I introduced two dream inspired projects. My first graders began a painting unit. For three weeks students created sheets of paper using marbling, wet on wet, gradations, squeegees, stippling, blotto, diffuser paper and more.

During the last class, I read the book "Dreams" by Ezra Jack Keats. The students were excited to search for "their" techniques in the book. I like this reversed format of ending with the book instead of starting. We focused on an illustration of the apartment building where everyone is dreaming. We used their paint explorations to fill each window where someone is dreaming.

The second lesson is a collaborative one I started with our music teacher. During their lesson last week, I read the book The Drum Dream Girl by Margarita Engle. We talked about discrimination and determination. The illustrations in this book are so vivid and layered. The students loved searching for patterns as I read. I find that if I give them a job while reading, whether it be a word to listen for, or a specific thing to spot, it increases their engagement. In this case, they were on the hunt for patterns, and were to give me a quiet "thumbs up" whenever they spotted one. The music teacher reinforced the use of repetition and patterns in music. We will be following this up next week with scratch art illustrations of a drum of their choice.

Sandy's Circus

Now available in my TpT store:

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Calder Inspired

I've been working through paper sculpture with my kindergarten students since we returned from winter break. We started off with the loop project as a collaborative project after being inspired by Faith Ringold's Quilting Bee. We talked about being part of a community and contributing to a whole, even if you don't get to keep it. Great lesson for this group.

Next, we moved into other paper sculpting techniques using a round robin format for six centers. This no prep lesson is a new favorite. I placed one paper sculpting technique on each of my six tables. The students had a 6x6 base and unlimited scraps of white (recycled) copy paper. They had to figure out by themselves how to make the technique and then mount it on their base. Every five minutes I rang the bell and they got a new sample to try.

A finished base with 6 techniques

 Poster used to introduce paper sculpting techniques

The six samples, one for each table.

Last week I read "Sandy's Circus" and they made circus people using pipe cleaners and beads for the hands and/or feet.

We extended further into Alexander Calder this week as the students created planar sculptures and abstract animal sculptures after being inspired by a picture of stegosaurus. Lesson plan adapted from pink stripey socks.

Kindergarten sample of Planar Sculpture using at least 3 shapes.

Kindergarten Calder Inspired Sculpture

My "Alien" Calder Inspired Sample

Could do this lesson next October as a Spider:

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

iPledge Allegiance to


So excited to be one of the teachers selected to pilot the new iPledge program. One of my schools will receive an iPad mini for students to begin to document their work and share it to our online gallery. So very excited to move this task off of my plate, and onto theirs!  Our school will be a Leader in Me school next year and I'm thinking that students may have the chance to be the gallery curator. Maybe my 5th grade students will rotate through that job and upload for my 1st and 2nd graders. 3rd and up should be easily trained.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

First Online Conference

Super excited to receive my swag box this week. After 3 snow days and (2) 2-Hour Delays this conference is just what I need to jump back into the second semester!

Looking forward to a great day with the art of education!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Borrowed Totems

My colleague shared a fantastic lesson that my 2nd graders just finished this week. I read mouse paint and the students put a dab of each primary color on one side of the paper and then another primary on the opposite side. We folded the paper to create the secondaries. The next week, we turned the blobs into totem poles.