Thursday, February 11, 2016

New #Crush

This year Hassan Elementary welcomed in several new staff.  I was a little nervous to have such a turnover. Our school health clerk, a kindergarten teacher, two 1st grade, two 2nd grade, one 5th grade and a music teacher.  All of them are new... and young.  

Yep, I'm not the young teacher anymore.  I have stepped into a new role.  I remember when I was young... I said I would never be like 'those' teachers.  You know the ones.  The ones who say no, have a negative attitude, leave the minute that contract time is done.  

Well, I get it now.  After watching cuts be made, I can see where teachers don't feel valued sometimes.  After putting your heart and soul into a new initiative only to have it be cut, I can see where teachers are resistant to new things.  After being practiced at your teaching craft, I can see where it's OK to prioritize and leave work on time to get home to your family... but I don't want to be the teacher I described in the paragraph above. 

I have found the secret.  Hold tight to the teachers you experience these trials and tribulations with. Stay close with the teachers you started your career with.  You have history, a wide perspective and a bond that you will never have with others. 

But surround yourself with new!  That is where these young professionals come in.  These new staff members surround my room.  I have all new teachers around me and it has encouraged me to make connections with these amazing people.  Each one of the people pictured above are engaged and excited.  They are giving their heart and soul to teaching. They are excited about learning and ask questions.  They are willing to bond and listen.  These professionals are in love with the kids they teach and it's so obvious.  I need to be connected with these gems.

So today's #Crush, the new employees of our school.  With their help, I will continue to be the teacher I always wanted to be. 

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Heart Attack!

I have classes all over the place right now.  Some still finishing up on projects and some ahead.  I have plans that are requiring a sub for a couple of days coming up so... Heart Attack it is!  I have created stations for you k-2's.  The objective... 'I can make a heart'... but in how many ways?  Let me show you.

This is a tiny sheet of paper that I gave the challenge to my students to fill with as many hearts as they can.  I showed them a couple of ways to draw hearts and they took off.  I said I would put the highest number on the board when at the end of the class and that was enough motivation for many of the kids in class. 

Another station was these Heart Hats.  This is great for using up scrap  paper.  I went to the work room and cleaned out the construction paper scrap collection.  I put 4 staplers on the table and you better believe that these kids really ran with this idea.  They loved making their heart hats! 

Yellow: I can make a heart using the iPad (app used, Hello Colored Pencils)
Blue: Challenge Station: Fill a page with Hearts
Purple: Heart Hats
Orange: Make a heart with gems (found on last year's post)
Green: Heart Blocks (found on last year's post)
Red: Valentines Card

I did use some ideas from last year.  Here is a post of stations I did around this time, last year (click here).

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Organization #Crush

I have an organization #Crush on Alecia Eggers.  If you went to the AOE online winter conference, you know that Alecia is filled with many tips and tricks that can make your art room more organized and there for better for your and students. Even if you didn't attend the conference, Eggers has many, many, many articles online for the Art of Education.  One recent one is what solidified my #Crush. She suggested letting elementary kids get their own paint on a mobile cart.  What the What??? Let them get their own paint? They will make a mess, paint will be everywhere, I thought you wanted a more organized space Alecia???  Sure, I set up a station for my 8th graders to get their own paint but second grade? I don't know.

Fine, I will prove you wrong.  This is never going to work Eggers... I will take pictures and send you the Pinterest Fail! Can't wait.

The setup...

See the line on the floor.  That is where the students line up and leave room for others to get their paint.

I set up my cart.  I got the pumps, and gave them the demo.  I bought the cling wrap that was suggested in the video and I placed my paint trays on the bottom.  I had the brushes on the cart and placed a sign on it reminding 'A dime at a time'.  Here we go.

So it turns out she is right.   My students were rocks stars at getting their own paint. They felt empowered.  They were way better at this than my 8th graders. They cleaned up the trays and brushes as instructed.  I took the two items as they lined up for a 'ticket out the door' and all was clean and put away.  I put the cling wrap on (by the way, my favorite tip to this process is the cling wrap) and it was ready to go for the next day.  I could move it in the back room if I needed more space or leave it out... because it's on wheels.  Yep, Alecia is right, she is soooo right!  That is why she earned my organization #Crush this month.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Art Shanty Projects- Family Day

Today I asked the family to join me on the ice.  When I said this, my husband just about jumped up and down because he thought I had finally come around and fell in love with ice fishing... WRONG!  I wanted to go to the Art Shanty Project in White Bear Lake.  It was such a perfect day for it!  My kids had a blast and a half! If you look at the website you will find a TON of sponsors, the activities for each weekend and the directions.  It's open every Saturday and Sunday in the month of February and each weekend has a little different flair to it.  If you live in MN, this was a fun afternoon and I would encourage you to check it out.  I want to share some of the Shanty's that we thought were a lot of fun.

Matisse's Vote: The Moving Polar Bear.  

This giant bear was powered by bike pedals and a dozen bikers.  It was mostly recycled materials and the drivers were half of the charm. They dressed the part and tried to chase people as well as the bike seal below.  She loved the physical of this mobile Art Shanty.

Sawyer's Vote: The Music Shanty

This shack was an instrument that you walked into.  There were strings below attached from the top to the ice.  You can strum the chords and play music.  They also had microphones that amplified the sounds from under the water.  It was an interesting concept.  This shack was all black and no light could penetrate the sides of it.  The brightness in this image is the light from the ice.  Isn't that amazing?  I have lived my whole life in MN and didn't know this concept that the ice carries so much light. 

Tim's Vote: Window into the Lake (not sure if that was the name of it)

One of the shacks was darkish and had this big spear hole in it.  The hole was covered with glass but it gave this window to the bottom of the lake.  White Bear Lake appeared to be very clear.  We were there for a few minutes and a HUGE northern swam past.  It was so casual.  I loved that the fish was just chill'n in its home as a huge party was going on above it.  

My Vote: This Turquoise Little Treat! 

If I were to make a shack... it would be this one.  It was retro, turquoise (my favorite color for decorating) and had some great craftsmanship (there's the art teacher in me). On the outside, there was these cute little hand crafted and painted fish.  For those of you who don't know, when you catch winter fish and plan to eat it, you simply place it on the ice beside.  These stacked up fish remind me of playing house (or playing ice fishing in this case). Inside there were more fish.  These were little minnow-like fish made from felt, sequence and a washer on its mouth.  You could go fishing with a magnet to 'catch' these little gems.

Other interactive parts to this shack was that you could make a commemorative pin to wear.  I love it!  I made one with a fish tail on it and will wear it on my winter jacket.


On the outside of the shack was a cartoon that entertained Tim as we were doing the crafts inside.  It told a story of a family going out ice fishing.  The Dad's list was quite short with tip-ups, bait, and beer.  The Mom's list was filled with snacks, games for the kids, extra mittens and so on.  The Moms list was much longer.  It continued with some good old Minnesota humor. 

Other great shacks allowed us to print potatoes. 

We got to dance.

You walked into the Dance Shanty and you had to move your body.  It was so much fun!

We were asked to share our thoughts... 

In this shanty, we shared our thoughts or drawings.  It was fun to read others comments. And my kids loved the typewriter. 

We got to pray.

In this shanty we were encouraged to send our thoughts to the wind.  The shack was manually spun while the visitors were in it. 

This was really an amazing shack.  It was an art studio.  There was a painter inside with a painting on an easel.  It was almost like being at a zoo, but instead of an animal inside, there was an Artist.

Every now and again there was a parade of Art Cars that drove around the shacks.  There was so much action and color to this day it kept a smile on my face the whole time. 

It was fun to even see some of the families that were visiting participate in the art displays.  Check out his great penguin sliding on his belly.  Clever.

#Crush, Professional Development Book

As my series for the whole month of February, I'm writing about things, people and places I have a #Crush on.  I decided that when writing these post, I would have to include books.  I can't just choose one book so I have them separated into groups.  Today, Professional Development. WAIT!! Don't stop reading. You're going to want to hear about this one.

A couple of years ago I went to a TIES conference (the best educational technology conference in MN).  I happened to walk into a session that this man, George Couros was presenting.  He spoke about so many great ideas in such a short amount of time that my mouth was on the floor as he said his thank yous and walked out the door. This man has collected so many great ideas from lot's of educators and share them so freely with us.  I needed more. 

I sought Mr. Couros (@gcouros) out on Twitter.  At the time, I had an account on Twitter but was not a 'Twit' yet (wait, is that what they call people who use Twitter?)  Anyway, later at the New Orleans NAEA convention I was introduced to the importance of Twitter by Matt and Laura Grundler (more to come on them soon.) I seriously have to stop myself from 'liking', retweeting, and commenting on everything he has to say.  Following him has led me to follow many other great educators and twitter advocates such as his brother @courosa and educational leaders @burgessdave and wife @Burgess_Shelley, @jmattmiller, @PaulSolarz, @DonWettrick, @Thezenteacher, @STEM4ELL@Julnilsmith just to name a few.  Not to mention following the hashtag #InnovatorsMindset for amazing ideas and conversation.  He also sparked portions of the #ConnectEffect discussed in a previous post. 

This last TIES conference George was the keynote speaker.  I was not able to make it for his presentation this year but the reports from friends were tremendous. I'm one of his biggest fans for sure and now he has a book.  I have finished this once and I'm starting it again.  This time, I'm putting his words into action.  When I find something thought provoking, or a challenge (because there are plenty of challenges in this book)... I'm going to write them down and take the dare. He talks about social media as a tool and creativity as a must. He starts by explaining what innovation and an innovator's mindset is.  He continues to lay the groundwork of creating many ways to support and create innovators in our school systems. I found that this book could be used easily on many levels.  One was was as a teacher to students the other as a leader of teachers.  I found myself saying out loud often, Yes, Exactly.  Other times I found my mind questioning and challenging his words.  I believe this would be encouraged and maybe intended by Couros. It has led me to join Twitter Chats talking about the book. To get more, more ideas, and more perspectives.  A book that can make you seek more, is a book worth reading.

OK... so that's my (mostly) academic book #Crush.  I would encourage you to give The Innovator's Mindset a read.