It's been almost 3 months since I started this new journey into the art education world.
Boy have I learned a lot?!?
I wish I didn't learn a lot of it the hard way- but I guess that part of the process, right?
Today I want to share a things I've discovered that make teaching art a little easier- at least for me.
Maybe it will solve a problem or two in your room as well!
PROBLEM: I always squirt more liquid paint than the kids use. I'm wasting paint!
I've found that putting the paints into an air tight container will save your paints for weeks! It also saves you from washing trays all the time too. Double win.
 When the paint starts to get too low- I just squirt a little fresh color on top and off they go.
If the paint gets mixed- I embrace it.
Go ahead- Stir it up and admire the new color.
PROBLEM: Water cups are always spilling over and I don't want to spend money on those fancy "no-tip" cups.
Here's how I fixed this problem...
I use a chips and salsa tray from Dollar Tree- my go to shopping headquarters for all things genius.
It also holds my paint cups quite nicely.
Two birds- one stone.
You may not use the little ramekin cups in your room- I happened to get them all for free so this is how I make it work for me.
PROBLEM: My student's paintings are heavy and droop between the bars of the drying rack.
Here's my secret...I laminated tag board to create mats!
If you don't have tag board, I'm sure any heavy paper would work. I use these "mats" under the student's art work to create a more solid surface for drying while on my racks.
PROBLEM: Paper towels get soggy and drip when my kids are using them to clean their paint brushes.
I give each kid their own sponge- which I've cut in half to save funds.
When that drippy little brush comes out of the water cup, it goes straight onto our "magic sponge" where it gets a nice little swipe or two and there's no more messy wet paper towels!
I run them under water at the end of each day to wash out most of the paint and lay them out to dry over night so they're ready to rescue the next innocent paper towel.
Just a few helpful tips and tricks that I've learned the hard way!
Hope it helps you too!
Happy Friday Friends!
Since school began in August, we've been focusing on colors, colors and more colors in my Kinder classes. I wanted to make sure to support classroom efforts by hitting color words and color recognition with all my tiny babies before Thanksgiving. 
100% mastery was my goal.
We've been using the heck out of Miss Kindergarten's color packet!
Talk about a time saver ya'll- and it's super cute to boot!
{Love her! }
 I was definitely seeing overall growth in my groups but I needed a formal way to check for individual mastery- just to be sure. I see over 100 kinder babies over the course of 12 days- things could get a little mixed up if I only kept track in my brain.
Enter- our rainbow birdies.
I absolutely adore how they turned out!
And it was the perfect assessment tool for my records too!
Here's how we did it:
I used 6 x12 scrap paper that had been trimmed off a 12x18 piece for the Kandinsky circle project earlier this year.
Day 1- We read Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Eric Carle.
For pre-painting practice they worked in their table groups to sort colored strips of paper into the ROYGBIV order while I passed out supplies:
*Small circle tracers{we used pasta sauce lids}
*6 x 12 white drawing paper
*Black permanent markers
I used my document camera to do a directed drawing with the kiddos.
Tracing circular items can be a bit tricky for a first-timer, so pencil first was a must! 
Some kinders chose to add head feathers and wing details.
I gave them that freedom to decide.
That's how I roll.
They went back over their pencil drawings with waterproof marker.
And that, my friends, was the end of day 1.
Day 2- Since this was the first time my Kinder babies were painting- procedures were of the up most importance! I told them this was a "listening test" and they had to show me they were awesome listeners!  
I preached painting and clean up procedures until I was almost blue in the face before I released them.
We completed this step-by-step as a whole group.
I didn't want anyone to wonder off into the fun of color mixing. 
I simply told them a color and a placement {"first bird", "second bird" etc.}

It was interesting to see how many little people need more support with placement and ordinal words.
Since that wasn't my main objective- I just took note of it for now.
But, come to find out, nearly 97% of the kiddos have mastered color recognition and it's October!!
Woot! Woot!
This was a great improvement from the 63% at the beginning of the year!
I'm so proud of them!
I love data and the feedback it gives me... plus- when assessments are this fun {and cute!}- who can complain?
I recently introduced the beauty of watercolor to my 2nd graders.

As a class we read books, looked at photographs and even did some online research about the beautiful change of fall. Here's one of our favorites
Product Image

Florida doesn't get much of a true season change this time of year so I knew I had to front load and really get them thinking about what autumn looks like in other parts of the globe.

Supplies Needed:
School grade watercolor paper (I use 90lb.)
Table Salt or Sea Salt- either work well
Vivid watercolor paints

Since this was their first painting experience of the year, I didn't want to put a lot of parameters on their exploration. I gave them the paint and let them go at it!
I love watching them figure out the process of balance, layout and design.

Some kiddos were very meticulous and didn't want to let their colors mix.
While others couldn't help but "oooo and ahhh" over their color creations.
TIP: I walk around with a spray bottle to quickly and easily add water to dry papers.
This really helps me with clean up and drippy paintings!

Many of the kids began to add small drops of color and then ask for the spray bottle.
Watching the color "grow" as they called it, may have been their favorite part!!
The salt reaction was hard to beat as well!
 As they finished painting their watercolor paper- before it was dry, they sprinkled a pinch or two of  salt onto their paper and watched the color change.
The salt absorbed some of the pigment leaving you with a nice speckled look.
That was the end of day 1- we let them dry overnight.
Day 2- They rubbed off most of the dried salt and used leaf tracers to get the shape they desired. We had to trace the shapes onto the back of the paper- since not all of the salt will come off, it's a bit tricky to draw on the front of the painted paper.
Once they cut them out, we cleaned up and set our leaves aside.

I had them work in groups to begin brainstorming ideas for our FALL acrostic poems.
They came up with some fabulous words and ideas!!
The books and research really seemed to give them a jumping off point.

I'm a classroom teacher at heart so I know any chance of merging ELA or Math standards into my art lessons will only help reinforce their teacher's efforts!
It's all hands on deck with CCSS! 
They glued their leaves to black or brown construction paper and used white colored pencils to complete their poems.
I would not recommend using white crayon for this project...colored pencils are erasable in the event of a mishap.
I'm in LOVE with the pops of color!
I'm about overdue for a post don'tcha think?
We wrapped up our lesson on optical illusions this month.
I'm pretty sure I said that in the last post too...but this time I really mean it.
It was loads of fun!
Here's our shading work in progress...
My 5th grade groups had fun creating bubble wave illusions.

My 4th graders enjoyed making cool swirly thingys {do you have a better name?}.
The kids called them "mind warps".
To 9 year olds, mind warps sound much cooler than "optical illusion".
It's true.
Both projects were perfect vehicles to review the element of line while introducing shading, blending and color value.
Patterning was also thrown in there for good measure!
Never hurts, right?
They turned out really great!! 
I'll leave you with my visual plans for the next few months.

You can click on each picture to get more details.
You'll have to download the PDF Version in order to access the clickable links. 
You won’t be able to click on the pictures in Google Drive.
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