As this year comes to an end, I wish you lots of laughter, love and blessings in the new year!
Thank you for supporting my lil blog and TpT store!
It's been a great year!
Cheers!


http://www.ateenytinyteacher.com/2013/12/13-in-13-linky-party.html
You know me- I'm not one to pass up a good party ya'll.
So let's rewind, shall we?
 
Here's my top 13 memories of 2013...in no particular order.
 
Ringing in 2013 in Puerto Rico with my hubby and fam!
 
Our trip to Colorado & Wyoming- so gorge ya'll!
  
Buying our first home is a top memory, for sure!
The jury is still out on the renovation part of it all...ha.
 
Starting a new and crazy job adventure in the art room!
 
Completing my first 5K {ColorMeRad}
 
Celebrating our 2nd wedding anniversary!
 
Seeing my little brother & step-sister win the marching band state championship- so proud!
 
Completing my 2nd 5K {Neon Run}
 
Having my maid of honor and 2012 Olympic Gold medalist present at my school's PD.
 
Saying goodbye to 2 pant sizes!
 
Going home for Thanksgiving!
There's not much that compares with my grandma's cookin'.
 
 Enjoying weekend adventures with my hubby!
Decorating {and re-decorating} our first home for Christmas!
 
What a year...I can't wait to see what's next.
Cheers to 2014!
May the new year bring you and yours health and blessings in abundance!
I promised I would return with our 3rd and 4th grade coral reefs!
I first saw this idea over at K-6 Art and fell.in.love!
There's something about the ocean that simply seems to captivate children.
This was such a fun project- for all of us!
 
We spent a whole class just looking at different pictures and talking about the creatures that live in and around reefs. This was a perfect opportunity to discuss and clarify misconceptions about the ocean floor! So many kids wanted to add whales and dolphins to their projects so I'd highly recommend you discuss what does and doesn't actually live in or on a reef.
 
Here's a few inspirational pictures I took during my last visit to the aquarium.
This helped the kids visualize and focus their ideas.
We talked a lot about form, space and balance before getting our hands dirty.
The kids had a blast experimenting with different ways to create their coral pieces.
 
Here's how we did it.
We began by breaking the sphere into two fairly equal pieces.
With one half, they made basic pinch pots- turned them upside down and stuffed them with newspaper for support.
The other half was used to create decorative pieces such as tube coral, sea enemies, star fish and barnacles.
 
If the attached pieces were small, the kids just used white vinegar and that held up well. 
However, if your kid's pieces are large then I'd recommend scoring and using slip to attach.
 I fired the clay on a slow setting after 3 days of dry time.
It took us 4 classes: 1 to discuss, introduce and research coral reefs, 2 days to create the piece and 1 final day to paint & seal with ModPodge.
The final products are beautiful and the kids are so proud!
I'll definitely be keeping this project on my lesson plans for next year!
Hey ya'll- long time no see, right?
I've been knee deep in clay.
I got this crazy idea to start clay projects with every class and grade level following our Thanksgiving break.
Like I said... it was a crazy idea.
But, I'm still alive for now and here to share a few tips and tricks that have made my life a bit easier the past couple weeks.
 
So many teachers dread clay projects in the art room- and for good reason. It's messy, it's time consuming and every last kid wants one-on-one help. Don't even get me started on glazing and firing.
Oiy- and names! You can never read the names. 
 
Let's just say it's a big undertaking ya'll.
 
I use Amaco Low-Fire Earthenware for my 3rd-5th graders but for my little guys I use Amaco air-dry clay. This way I only have to fire half the school, plus, for me it's about the product for my older kids and the process for my little ones.
 
Today I'll share my secrets to working with air-dry.
If you don't have a kiln- this is a great product!!
First off- let me tell ya about the best darn invention since sliced bread.
It's the multi-slab cutter.
AHhh.MAZ.ING!
http://www.sheffield-pottery.com/product-p/ccamsc.htm
So many teachers spend countless hours prepping clay slabs- cutting, layering, resealing.  
No more my friends!
If you don't own a multi-slab cutter- you need one!
With one slice, the entire bag of clay is cut into perfect quarter inch slabs.
It's genius I tell ya!
Genius.
Just make sure you clean it well- it's known to rust!
 
This year, I decided to have a "clay party" afterschool and my sweet teacher friends helped me roll and bag up all my clay.
 I prepped 20 spheres into gallon bags so it was ready to go for each class.
That was a big time saver!
 
I gave each student one ball of clay and they got to work building their snowman.
We used carving tools to add eyes, buttons and mouth details.
Just like earthenware- we used slip to adhere the nose and scarf.
Most of the kids made holes on the sides to put sticks for arms later.
***
Here's a tip for slip- add a little vinegar with the water mixture!
It breaks down the clay faster and seems to hold stronger with air-dry clay.
***
The snowmen took a couple days to dry and then we used liquid tempura to paint. As a finishing touch, the snowmen were dipped into glossy ModPodge to add a touch of sheen.
This is a great substitute for clear glaze!
You can hardly tell the difference!
 
 
I'll be back soon to share how our ceramic coral reefs turned out for my 3rd and 4th graders!
Stay tuned.
 
I'll leave you with my latest clay creation!
Each Christmas the hubs and I add an ornament to our tree that represents that year.
Here's this year's.
I'm excited to get some color on it!
 
Have a fab week friends!
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