Thursday, September 27, 2012

Sub Planning

One of the best tips I picked up during student teaching was to put anything a sub needs under a sheet of plexiglass on your desk. It has truly been a life saver in my eight years of teaching.
Under the glass I keep the basics:
  • Daily Schedule
  • School Calendar
  • Emergency Contact Numbers
  • Class counts (number in each grade at each school - needed for making copies or making sure I have enough supplies)
  • Generic Note to sub (This is also inserted into the front of each they have three chances to find it)

Monday, September 24, 2012

Pediment Poses

  • Create works inspired by history
  • Integrate modern technology to create art
  • Explore architecture as a functional and decorative art form.
  • Select visuals
  • Photocopy templates
  • Photograph students posing as the God/dess of something during previous lesson
 I budgeted two weeks for this lesson, having taught the art history component the week before and having students pose for their pictures. During the first week they cut out the pictures and glued them down. During the second session, the students learned about the three orders and embellished the capitals of each column, including the fluting. They also added a title and embellishments to the entablature and pediment if desired. I only allowed black or shades of gray marker because we discussed the columns would show their detail through light and shadow.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Keeping Track of It All

By far the most challenging part of the year has been keeping track of all the stuff. Three new buildings, new curriculum, new kids, new principals. I knew I had to pick one area and just deal with it. I started with curriculum by setting up an excel spreadsheet with multiple pages. The first page I created was a brainstorm list of all the lessons I wanted to try with elementary kids, typing them in as fast and furious as I could.

From there I went on to create a page with the elementary portion of our district's published curriculum. This became a scope and sequence and this is where I started using colors to code everything. The post it note colors in every book and lesson plan now match the column headers in the excel file. Extreme? Maybe. Remember...three schools. As I get farther into the year this will help me make sure I'm getting to it all and not repeating. As soon as I finish typing a lesson plan I go into this file and check off which standards were used. Some are obviously used more than once. If I feel that it was more of a focus the second time around, I would replace the old lesson name with the new one.

I set up a tentative plan for the first two weeks of school so I could start writing lesson plans. This weekly planner is very helpful as I'm planning what I need to pack each day for specific buildings. In the trunk of my car I have a carrier for my hanging files. I color coded those by school (different than those in my grade level colors) so I can quickly grab and go from the trunk in the morning.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Token Response Cards

Having done my undergraduate and graduate work at Kutztown University, I was no stranger to the concept of "token response." I found a new inspiration while waiting at the doctor's office recently. There was a "level of pain" tolerance chart posted for Non-English speaking patients. I decided right away that I was stealing that idea for my ELL's as well as my first grade students.  I made a few sets to have laminated so they will hold up for years to come.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Tips for Changing Rooms

In my eight years of teaching I have taught in nine rooms. These are some things that I normally do that make this process easier.

1. Measure the new space. I measure the room, the desks and empty wall space. I make a blueprint for each room. This is not to be confused with a seating chart (which I also do). This is for me so that if I am wondering if that free bookshelf someone wants to get rid of will fit in my room, I can figure it out. I also keep photos of each room in my laptop or smartphone. I also shoot a video from the center while rotating.

2. Inventory the new room. Be sure to find out if anything is going with the old teacher or has been promised to someone else. Consider all wall space. What can be hung, mounted on the surface?

3. Be open to moving desks around. I know some people don't like to move the kids once the year starts and I am not one of those people. They are in the space for 40 minutes. I am there for 40+ hours per week. It has to work for everyone.

4. Plan storage for Wet and 3D items before setting up student desks. Room flow and easy access to sinks make for better clean up and happier teachers.

5. Label things as you unpack. It's frustrating to open 10 cabinets looking for a glue gun. Even if it's just painter's tape until you can make something pretty. I label my sinks (Sink 1, 2 and 3 or Sink A, B & C). Students are divided and informed of their sink assignment during first class where a sink is needed.

6. Use the change of room as a reason to purge. You know all the people who send kids to your classroom for a paintbrush, some colored pencils or other art tools? As you're weeding things out, make a curb alert pile outside your room. Even when I'm not changing rooms I've done this. People DO want your sloppy brush and your tiny nub of a colored pencil. I send a notice to the entire building and most of my "junk" is gone in less than 30 minutes.

Saturday, September 1, 2012


In August 2012, I was informed that I would be transferred from my current position as a high school art teacher to an elementary art teacher due to programs and positions being cut. This position is spread out in three buildings on a rotating 5 day cycle. While this was a complete 180 degree change for me, I knew that I would give my students a complete 180 days of instruction. They deserve no less.
Looking back through 10 year old lesson plans buried in storage, I knew that I was going to have to dig deep. Through amazing websites like pinterest, artsonia, the art of education, mrs picasso's art room and deep space sparkle I found lots to get me started. This website is devoted to sharing the journey and (hopefully) giving back.