Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Winky Rat Finger Puppet

Last year I did a little project with a sewing group called #SewASoftie (click here for previous posts about stuffed fish and stuffed owls). We had a fun time working on this project and we decided to do it again.  My daughter, Matisse, is going to lead the lesson this year. She is a Kid Ambassador for the group.

We talked about a lot of #SewASoftie projects but she settled on creating a project inspired by my sweet friend Erica. We took a road trip as a family last year and Erica (a college friend) was one of our stops. She is a working Artist and my daughter knows the value of being inspired by contemporary Artist.  Matisse was gifted a sweet, stuffed rat on our trip. Erica calls it a Winky Rat and it's her original pattern.  She sells them and posts about this Rat and other cute stuffed animals on her Instagram account, Honeymoon Pie

Here is how we made our inspired Winky Rat Finger Puppet.  We are sharing our Winky Rat Finger Puppet Pattern on Teachers Pay Teacher for free (Click Here). 

1) Cut the Winky Rat Pattern out of a piece of Felt.  You see the body here, but you should also cut a second piece of felt for the ears, not shown in the picture). You can draw the indicated notches on the back side of the felt and cut them out as well. Matisse found that folding the felt, and putting her fabric all the way to into an open scissors worked best for her to make the cut. 

2) To create the clothes on the rat, you will use a 5 by 5 inch piece of fabric.  Place the right sides together as shown. Sew a straight line under the chin of the rat, as shown.

3) Press the fabric down on the rat's body. You can press this fold with an iron or simply finger press and use pins to hold it in place.

4) Pull the fabric around the body to the back as shown in picture 4.

5) Stitch two lines on either side of the body to help hold the fabric in place

6) Cut the clothing fabric below the base of the rat about a 1/2 inch below.  

7) Fold the bottom of the fabric up to the back side.

8) Stitch the bottom fold to keep it secure. 

9) Clean up any little strings left on the rat. 

Matisse always loves to use the sewing machine. Adding the 'clothes' on the rat gave her an opportunity to use the machine and iron on this little project. 

10) Now we move onto sewing the Winky Rats signature... the eyes. Our inspiration Rat has one eye open, usually a button, and one eye closed, usually stitched.  Be sure to stay away from the ear holes as you stitch. 

11) After the eyes are secure, you will fold the rat up and sew a whip stitch around the edge of the rat.

12) Stich all around the rat... the clothes, chin, nose and the top of the head.

13) Poke the ear fabric through the ear holds.  You will have some gathering in the middle where the hole is. 

14) Pin the ears up and add some 'locking stitches' in the base of the ear to secure it. 

It's great to use a sewing machine, but it's always wonderful to hand stitch. It gives any sewing project a little more personality. 

Matisse taught her brother how to make a Winky Rat too. It was fun to see the difference in the fabric, color choices, and thread choices. Sawyer, Matisse's brother, sewed a nose on his and also added some whip stitching on the bottom of the Winky Rat Clothes.  I made the yellow Winky Rat and added some whiskers. 

Matisse thinks her mini Winky Rat Finger Puppet is so cute, she had to take some pictures of it on her iPod. That is when you know they are excited about their project... right??

We want to thank Trixi Symonds for hosting #SewASoftie again this year and inviting Matisse to join as a sewing ambassador.  Keep following #SewASoftie on social media and specifically on Colour Button's Facebook Page.  There is at least one new post every day in the month of July... Lot's of inspiration. 

Monday, June 18, 2018

Enjoying Summer

This last school year was a lot for me. I moved to a new school where all teachers and students were new to each other.  Our staff was made up of teachers and support staff from all over the district as well as outside the district. This meant we were able to learn so many new 'best practices' and traditions but also meant that we had to develop ourselves as a team.  All the students were new to the school and many to each other. This meant we spent many hours developing a culture and creating this new building to be a home for the kids that entered the doors every day. 

I worked with both Elementary and Middle School students... I was really excited about TEACHING this wide range of students. The challenge was Elementary I had for an hour in a 6 digital days rotation. I graded K-5 every trimester using an E (Exceeding), M (Meets), P (Partially Meets), and D (Does not Meet) grading scale. The littles were also graded in Trimester. The middle school, however, I saw every day for 45 days straight.  Art is a quarter class for middle school and graded on a traditional A, B, C, D, F grading scale. Their classes were 52 minutes running on a completely different schedule. My brain was so mixed up with this divide and shifting. 

My daughter, Matisse, came to my school for the first time ever. That was a new dynamic where we had to separate when I was a 'teacher' and her 'mom'. That took a bit to figure out, but it was an amazing experience. We rocked out to the radio every day coming into the school. We had inside jokes and I had 20 minutes there and back for one on one conversation with my daughter. I also got to know her friends and teachers well. It was wonderful, however, I discovered there was a lot less time in my day to work when I have my daughter with me. 

Because Matisse was at my school, I found myself signing up for a lot of volunteer opportunities that I hadn't in the past. I was one of our staff PAC (Parent group) representatives which required a meeting once a month.  I also found the opportunity at this new school to take on Yearbook. I also became one of our schools Union Reps, and unfortunately this year we had a 'no' vote on a tentative agreement and therefore, we held many meetings, sit-ins, extra events to try to educate our teaching staff and district staff on what would be a good compromise and why. Finally, I chose to be a coach for a program called Girls on the Run.

I wanted to do all of these things I signed myself up for.  I wanted to bring my skills to share with my new school. I was proud of my finished Yearbook, I enjoyed the curriculum and time spent with my daughter and the 40 other girls during Girls on the Run. I like educating myself on Union concerns and efforts. The PAC group was a highlight of my month. These parents bring so much amazing support to our schools (and I'm going to say it... we had a lot of laughs). I want to work with students from Kindergarten through 8th grade. That is why I applied for this job. But the listed activities didn't include my daughter's basketball, and softball, my son's choir concerts and baseball. It doesn't even come close to highlighting the fact that I want to be the best wife I can be to my husband for our whole life together and an amazing Mom to the two people I brought into this world.  There was no time for my family; my three sisters and their families, my Mom, Dad, Grandparents, Aunts/Uncles, and my Inlaws. Friends?  I remember friends... I hope they remember me.

The year was challenging.

After a meltdown and a lot of self-reflection. I have come up with some goals for the upcoming school year to help me find my balance again. I revisited my family mantra again... Goal or Soul... What are my goals, and what feeds my soul? I had to add another aspect to this idea, Time... Where should my time go at this point in my life. 

Where will I put my TIME?
  • My husband
  • My kids (and their activities-- this part of life is temporary, I want to give myself to them)
  • Myself - I NEED to be creative (watercolor, drawing, creating lessons, creating... just creating)
  • My Family and Friends
  • School- Given my students/coworkers/my tribe

What are my GOALS?
  • To provide for my family (full-time job-- or the equivalent in parts of jobs)
  • To make sure my family knows with all their heart that they are my first priority. 
  • Be known amongst my tribe (educators/art educators/artist) as a giver, and support
  • Create a healthier me (PT for my back, Yoga for my brain and body, workouts for my heart, and drawing for meditation)

What feeds my SOUL?
  • Create a love of Art for the students I teach
  • Continue to connect globally with other Educators
  • Feel the LOVE from my family in hugs, words of affirmation, and support (I know I need this in my life)

Because of this reflection and realization, I have come up with a plan for next year. I will be working K-7 (per my the schedule is given to me). I was told that this was non-negotiable if I wanted to keep working with ISD 728 as a full-time employee... so I will make sure my mindset is prepared for running the two schedules again this next school year with grace and positivity. I will continue to spill my heart and soul into teaching (there is no other way for me) I will let go of the Yearbook, PAC committee, and Girls on the Run for the 2018/19 school year.  I will continue to share on this blog, my Instagram, and Twitter when available to do so. I will go dancing, play pickleball, and go for walks with my husband. I will continue to support my kids with this interest (sports, hunting, conversations, future plans). When there is extra time, I will be with friends and family. 

To start on these efforts I will be taking a break. I will be posting again starting on July 10th when I am participating the 2018 Sew a Softie Blog Crawl. See you then.

Here are a few others to follow for the upcoming Sew a Softie Fun... 

Trixi Symonds
Founder of Sew a Softie

Follow on Instagram these participants:

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Sketchnotes and Technology in the Art Room

Sketchnotes and Technology Resource for today's Art Camp... Will update soon when I'm done running my daughter to softball ;) Leave comments if you want a link to something I talked about today and it's not found in the resource Padlets below.

Made with Padlet
Made with Padlet

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Tactile Texture Sticks

I was inspired by a post from @artwithmrsmac from earlier this school year. I was impressed with the simplicity of this tool and the size of this powerful teaching tool that will allow me to store them with ease year after year. @artwithmrsmac... This Minnesota teacher thanks you for inspiring me... Yah for the Art Ed Tribe! 

I used these sticks when talking about Tactile Texture. It was a great little 'cool down' from the activity that we had done in the hour. This support activity took 10 to 15 minutes. See the video below to get an idea of how I used the sticks.

Here are some of the tools I used to create my texture sticks. I thought about pipe cleaners and I think any pipe cleaners would work but I happened to have ordered this HUGE pipe cleaner set just to see what I could do with them.  I'm not sure at this point what else I can use them for, but it was perfect for the texture sticks :) 

A lot of our Art Rooms have a little extra Aluminum left over from students sculptures. After using a tool to press out some of the metal,  I added a little color to make it look more interesting and cut it to shape to glue onto the stick. I used hot glue gun for all of these sticks.  

Speaking of hot glue guns. I also experimented with these Cool Shot glue.  I thought this would be a good way to give students a feel for hot glue guns in a safe way. To be honest, I didn't get them out this year for student use... maybe next year. I did, however, use some of the color glue sticks to create a bumpy texture on one of the sticks. 

Tissue paper has a feeling like nothing else.  It was a good addition to this project.  I found using glue gun worked for the application but I did scorch my fingers once or twice... part of the job I think. 

These little fuzzy balls are another perfect fit. I think they worked well and I loved the bright beautiful colors.  It looks so inviting!  

I also used sandpaper, feathers, and felt. I have no tips or tricks for these three so I included them on this final image altogether. 

Overall, this was a great supporting activity for Tactile Texture.  I have posted often on Texture, please see the previous post to learn more. 

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Clay Coil Design

The 5th-grade district standards say that we should teach coil method and most of the time, clay is the perfect medium for this. This project was created to be exploratory and students had the option to add a hole in the flat piece to hang the projects as well. They are decretive pieces that really taught a ton of skills.

Tracy Hare, our visiting Artist, had tons of pre-recorded videos and handouts to help the 5th graders understand how to create so many wonderful shapes using the coil method.  These works of art were created on a foam plate while making them, however, the end result was a variety of shapes and sizes. They only had the one hour to create with clay, so every Artist got done what they could get done.

Students were asked to decorate their fired work with oil pastel and a mixture of 1 part water and 1 part acrylic black paint. Take a look at the video to fully understand the process. The decorating of the clay works took one and a half class periods (60-minute classes). For one class... I tried it all in one day, I was rushed and short with the kids because of it. Live and learn, I would suggest all the oil pastel one day and as students are working on a second lesson, pull back small groups to add the black paint and rinse the work as it shows in the video.

I think this lesson was a hit with my 5th graders.  They seemed to really like the magic of rinsing away the black paint to reveal the color again.

To see all the lesson plans that Mrs. Hare worked on without students at Prairie View Elementary and Middle School, please click here.