Thursday, October 18, 2018

Sewing a Recorder Case

As I mentioned in a previous post, I'm presenting at the Wisconsin Art Education Conference Oct. 25th and 26th. I'm very excited to have the opportunity to present on several topics. One workshop I will be teaching is "How to Make a Recorder Case". I did this with my 4th graders last year and I have been asked several times to provide details for the lesson. I have put together a lesson that is student ready.

A lot of my Teachers Pay Teachers lessons are a PDF when downloaded, and then bring you to a Google Slideshow. This slideshow is divided into 5 parts. 

1) Supplies (one of the slides is shown above)
2) Preparation, what the teacher needs to do to prep for this lesson
3) Student Samples (one slide is shown below)
4) Instructional Videos, there are five of them listed below
5) Final Steps  

The videos that are included are also divided into segments of this lesson. 

1) Threading a needle
2) Practice Sewing
3) Drawing a Pre Plan
4) Sewing Shapes
5) Closing up the Recorder Case

These videos are recorded directly above the hands so students are able to get a clear picture of the instructions. The videos have good lighting and audio. They are designed to show students directly.

I have added this lesson to Teacher Pay Teachers to share with you. I'm excited to share that I will be throwing a sale on this item and many of the others that I'm presenting on in Wisconsin on Oct. 24 and 25th.  Be sure to visit than for the 'best deals'!

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Wisconsin Art Education Association Feature Speaker

I have been working hard the last couple of months to get ready for a big event coming up later in October. I have been invited to be a featured presenter at the Wisconsin Art Education Association Fall Conference. The theme this year is 'ART FOR ALL'. I love this theme because it really embraces all aspects of the Arts in Education. I can't wait to see the many ways this theme is interpreted by some of the other speakers! 

I will be joined by many other AMAZING Art Educators throughout Wisconsin as well as Bob Reeker and Jeanne Styczinski. I have had the opportunity to meet Bob Reeker several times in the last year and I'm can say he is fabulous! I have no dought that he will bring an excellence to this conference.  Ever since seeing Jeanne's name on the list of speakers I have been following her work too. She is quite the illustrator and her work is featured throughout Wisconsin on a regular basis. 


I will be presenting two, 1-hour sessions right away. I'll be talking about Artist Trading Cards at 8 AM and then Learning Through Play later at 10 AM on Thursday. I'm passionate about both of these subjects so I'll be pressed for time in the hour... but I'll try to share every bit of information that I can in the time allowed! 


Then I teach three sessions that are 2-hours long, and hands on! We will be sewing a recorder case (or at least getting started on this project. We will be creating family portraits with drawing and watercolor. And finally, learning about sketchnoteing and how to bring it into your classroom. All three of these sessions have been selected because they were successes in my classroom, so I can't wait to share them with the conference attendees. 


I have attended the Wisconsin conferences in the past and let me tell you, it's amazing. These hard-working educators put on one of the best Art Education events of the year. It's worth taking a few days off Oct. 25th and 26th to connect with your tribe! Check out their website to see how to register

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Colorful Table Wreaths

Recently I moved into my new/old classroom.  I left for a year to go to another school and now I'm back.  I am working on redeveloping my classroom. One of the first things to go were the color table indicators hanging in my classroom.  I bought them years ago from a party store... you know the kind... the honeycomb tissue decorations?  Anyway, they were lovely and worked well, but now it's 5 years later and they are faded and full of dust... well, they had a good run but they had to go.

I wanted something new, something quick, and something cheap. I was inspired by the Dollar Tree! I bought the nine floral foam wreaths for my tables and walked out with not much of a clue what to do with them.  That is when I ran across my inspiration on the Gelli Plate Website. I love it!! If you haven't spent time exploring their website, it's worth an hour (or hours) of your time.

Refer to my requirements... something new- check, something cheap- check, and something quick-no... if I created the Gelli Printed Paper, it would have taken a long, long time (but would have been fun, don't get me wrong).  I compromised with my crazy HUGE supply of scrapbook paper (I mean sickly, huge... lots of paper... lots). So... I started by separating the paper into color groups.  Not a pretty picture, but certainly part of the process. 

I created a template and started cutting... and cutting, and cutting. I created these little piles of color groups.  I tried to make them random by dealing them out like playing cards and then putting them back together in a pile of 'like colors'. I would say I cut about 100 leaves for each wreath. 

Then I gathered the rest of the supplies. The glue gun, hot glue sticks, paper clips, and string (they come in a little later. 

Before starting a wreath, I brought each leaf through my two fingers to create a curve to the paper. 

Then I started gluing. You can see from the picture below, I started with the outside of the wreath and then moved to the inside. Adding a second layer to both the inside and outside was helpful. Then, on the top... I filled in with leaves going in different directions and creating a ton of overlap. 

I created the primary colors (red, yellow, blue), the Secondary colors, (orange, purple, and green), then two neutrals (black and white, and earth tones) and one pink (because I like it). You can see that I was intentional of the colors that I chose to also continuously reinforce my curriculum with even the decorations in my classroom.

How did I get these wreaths to hang?? I'm glad you asked. Again, I was working on a shoestring budget so I used paper clips as my hangers. By bending them as you see below, I glued three clips to the 'bottom' or once hanging, top, of the wreath.


Strings were measured out so they were consistent. I ran the string through the clips. 

I was able to level the wreath out with the string and added a small not on the top to keep the three points together.

Then... I repeated... nine times. 

The wreaths are hung and the kids noted the change every hour since I have placed them in class. Because these little crafts were made and not bought, there is a little extra sense of pride. My students wanted to know how... I told them I would be posting. I know some kid, and their parent will create one of these for themselves. If so, share a picture and let me celebrate with you! 

Share how you used this idea. 

Twitter: @MiniMatisse
Instagram: @MiniMatisseArt

Monday, September 17, 2018

Collaborative Paper Quilt

I'm a person who is often inventing my curriculum over and over. I love the creative part of lesson plans. This year, I was greatly inspired by Don Masse of Shine Brite Zamorano who does a collaborative paper quilt every year with his students. I have always been impressed and this tradition is a highlight for Mr. Masse's school.  This year, as I moved schools, I thought... keep it simple, let the kids play, create something beautiful together... This led me to Don's collaborative lesson.  

Here is the deal... I believe that we build off from each other's ideas.  You will often see me highlighting other educators and Artist who have inspired my lessons. I'm sure it's never taught the same, or with the same emphasis, or even materials... That is why we share our ideas, to see where the seed can grow. Don planted this seed and over the years so many people from all over the world have planted that little seed into their own communities and classrooms. LOOK HOW IT HAS GROWN!!

I also believe that if you are going to use someone's lesson, share your tips and tricks with others too. So, here it the slideshow that was presented to my students (K-5) to teach this lesson. When going through the slideshow, you will see our inspirational Artist, Libs Elliot, as well as Don Masse and the links to his students' work. My students would ask me, do you know Mr. Masse, after I had introduced him as one of my BFF's. "When do you see him?" "How can he be your friend, he lives so far away." This was a great opportunity to talk about how I learn from educators and Artist all over the world. They would also ask, "Will you take a picture and show your friend?" Will I? Heck yes! I'll also share it with the whole world if you don't mind. 

Here are a few additional tips and tricks. 

I used the best paper cutter EVER. Every time I put this out there I have people ask... Where?? How?? I need one.  I get it.  I had to cut the white paper with my own 'traditional' paper cutter and it took me, no joke, 4 times longer.  So, yeah... get your self one. They ROCK! (click here)

When I was creating this lesson, I wanted to check off the list that I had reviewed with all my 3rd-5th graders how to glue with a glue stick and white glue. With my 2nd graders, it was an introduction to white glue... and with my K's and 1st graders... we used glue stick only for this lesson.  The 4th and 5th grade would laugh when they heard how I presented the instruction of the glue stick in my YouTube video... I would joke and say, "I know, Right? Well, this is how I teach my littles. You can teach little people in your life in the same way." They would all laugh and think that this was a good idea. But really, many of my 4th and 5th graders are still working on this skill of gluing and all the little tips and tricks really help. 

I had placed a tray at every table with the extra paper. They would put their scraps in there and I would add some little papers here and there. It allowed for the rainbow effect that you see on the wall. I would only divvy up certain colors at a time. The trays also had the scissors and glue in it so it was easy to pick up.  At the end of the day, I would go through all the trays and clean up the paper sheets and get it ready to go for day 2... then 3 and all the way through the 6th day of my digital day rotation. 

For my littles, I had them practice cutting a triangle together. It was many of these kids first day EVER in school (or in my art room) so we really broke it down... "Here is a square, everyone turn it and show me a diamond. Great, now pur the top corner and the bottom corner together.  Now press it down on your table. Now, what shape do you have??" They would call out together, "A triangle!" I love the wonder and enthusiasm of K's. 

I never said, "You're Wrong". See this is the first day in Art Class for these buddies... If a student didn't 'follow the rules', I would let it go. This was not a formal assessment, they will all look amazing on the wall, and if the kid is proud of their work, so am I! 

I would ask students to arrange their 'mini' quilt on a table when completed. This would give the work a little dry time and allow me time to arrange it on the large format after the students have left. This way we both got to practice our composition. As you can see below, I measured out the paper before attaching the individual sheet. I also numbered and marked it for the connecting points so it would be placed upon the wall correctly

I took some training on a practice called ENVoY this summer and I started implementing it right away. One of the practices of this is to have the directions posted on the board.  I'm sure there will be a LOT more writing on some of the ENVoY tips and tricks but in the meanwhile, check out their website

Because kids in the Art Studio have different times that they finished up (Art is an hour long at my school), I was sure to have some 'play' available. I had blocks, toys, cleaning tools, books, and free draw. Only some opportunities were 'opened' depending on the time left in class for the students. 

I had the quilt slowly growing over the last two weeks... this allowed for everyone to see the progress of the Art Project. 

I shared my lesson plan slideshow with my staff. This allowed them to understand what we were doing in class and what to expect.  It gave credit to the Artist, Libs Elliot, and the inspiring teacher, Don Masse. Plus, it gives others the opportunity to collaborate with you... as you see here, a coworker and friend of mine brought in a quilt that her grandma made and she shared it with her students and myself.  It was awesome and filled my heart. 

I labled the work and tried to educate more people with some little tidbits on Libs Elliot and pictures of her work. EVERYONE that uses the school (sports, scouts, and so on...) is in this area of the school at some point.

And yes... I took a picture with the Artwork. I was so proud of getting this done, up, and displayed! It was a big job but yep, I celebrate my students work too... That called for a picture upon completion.