Back to School!

Van Gogh

Woo, hoo! We are back to school! After a nice, long summer break we are back in session. It was great having the extra 2 weeks off this summer. I’m very excited to be back with the kids though and ready to get to work of some fantastic art projects.  This year we are starting off by studying Vincent van Gogh at Inman and Fantasy Space Art at Washington.

In the spirit of van Gogh,  I did some sewing this summer and made a “Starry Night”  blouse.  I wore it yesterday and the look on the kids faces when they saw it was priceless!  They were so excited.

I follow an art teacher website by Cassie Stephens and they are having a “What the Art Teacher Wore Back to School Contest”  this week.  Please take a minute to go on and vote for me at the following link:     The contest ends this coming week.     Thanks!!


Earth Without Art is Just “Eh”

The 3rd Annual Art Expo at Inman Primary is going on now! It runs all week during the school day and on Thursday it runs from 8:00 A.M. until 7:00 P.M.. We hope you can attend. Please click on the following link for a quick preview. Enjoy!

Inman Primary Art Expo 2014

Art Show  14 153

Washington Art Expo is Underway

Misc.  & Wash art show 376

Washington Intermediate’s 2014 Art Expo is now underway.  If you have not yet attended,  we hope you will put it on your “TO-DO” list this week.  It runs from 8-4 daily and on Thursday,  April 3rd it runs until 7:00 P.M.

Here is a  link to a sneak preview,  but you will want to come and see everybody’s art up close.

Our Legacy Installations

Pillars of Character KCSI 005 Pillars 008 Pillars 002 Pillars 005

As an art teacher,  I have found a lot of interesting blogs and art websites that can be very helpful in the lines of professional development.  One of my favorite sites is the AOE or Art Of Education.  While reading it the other day,  I ran across an article that talked about “Legacy Installations”.  I quickly realized that we are already doing this right here in Red Oak,  Iowa.  In fact,  we have made these for the last 3 years.  While creating these works of art, the children get to experience working together as a team on a piece that will be displayed for years to come, it will be their legacy.  Some of the legacy installations we have made in the past include our bottle cap project and our Chihuly chandelier.  This year our  legacy installation is once again being made partially from recycled materials.   It’s in the form of woven tapestries that go along with the Character Counts program.

I posted about these magnificent works of student artwork a few weeks ago,  but I just wanted to give you an update on the progress we are making.  I hope you enjoy the pictures and plan on coming to our art shows later this spring to see just how beautiful they are.

Character Counts

Character counts


As we move into the second semester here at IPS,  we will be implementing various Character Counts activities with our students.  If  you are not familiar with Character Counts,  it is a program in which everyone is involved.  It is based on 6 ethical values that we all agree on.  These are referred to as the Six Pillars of Character.    They include:

1. Trustworthiness

2. Respect

3. Responsibility

4. Fairness

5. Caring

6. Citizenship

As you may recall,  the last couple of years I have done an all-building art project with our students.  This year the project for IPS will be based around Character Counts.  I am in need of a few items to help with the construction of this project as we  “Weave our way to Good Character”.

Each pillar has a specific color that it is linked to.  The 6 pillars we construct will be made of these 6 colors: Red, Orange,  Yellow/Gold, Green ,Blue,  Purple. A few samples of items we could use might include but are not limited to:

*old pieces of your child’s clothing,  maybe an old T-shirt or pair of pants no longer being worn

*small toys no longer being used (hot wheels,  a tiny doll such as Barbie or smaller,  maybe some hot wheel track?

*ribbon from a child’s Christmas/birthday gift

* hair ribbon

Please keep in mind,  the items sent,  will not be returned.  I am hoping to weave as many items as possible into our group project however I can’t promise they will all be used.  I want to thank you once again for helping us to make the art program in the Red Oak Schools A Shade Better!


WIN Wednesdays

lfkj;aewro;wj oer;iainuero 002

So,  after 26 years of teaching kindergarten or first grade,  I am living the dream of teaching art.  But art isn’t the only thing going on in my classroom.  On Wednesdays,  our district has what we call WIN Wednesdays.  The WIN stands for “What I Need Most” and that is exactly what we focus on.

Or district has implemented PLC’s,  professional learning communities.  With this we practice RTI or Response to Intervention.  Through collaboration we can find ways to better help our students with areas they may find difficult.  RTI shifts the responsibility of helping all students to become successful from not only their classroom teachers but to their special teachers and the entire staff as well.  By using this approach,  on Wednesdays we break down into small groups and focus on certain skills (literacy at this time)  that each particular child could use help on.

Each grade level devotes 45 minutes on Wednesdays to WIN.  The results our district is seeing since we have implemented this program are very rewarding.   It’s also nice to work with students in the small groups so we can get to know them better.  If you are an educator and wish to learn more about RTI,  I highly recommend the book Pyramid Response to Intervention by Buffmam, Mattos & Weber.

Building Knowledge About Architecture

Daric 008

This past couple of weeks the 4th graders at Washington School have been studying architecture. With many old homes in our town, it has been fun learning different architectural terminology. Some of the items we have talked about in class include dormers, Russian domes, Victorian turrets, bay windows, padillian windows, fanlights, columns, spindles, shingles, fish scales, siding, and the list goes on and on.

After learning these terms, we designed our own dream homes. This was really fun. We could include anything we wanted on it, whether it was a tower, columns, or a big, beautiful balcony, the sky was the limit.

One of the highlights to our study of architecture was a visit from a guest speaker, Daric O’Neal. He is the father of 4th grader, Lennon O’Neal. Mr. O’Neal is a project manager for the firm of Alley Poyner Macchietto Architecture out of Omaha, Nebraska. We were lucky enough to have Mr. O’Neal come into all of our 4th grade art classes to share his expertise. He showed us blueprints, which were pretty cool. He also showed us models of buildings and some of the tools that he uses to draw his plans.

Mr. O’Neal showed us an awesome online drawing program called Sketchup, which you can use to design houses, buildings and many other things. He said we could even go online ourselves and try this free program, which we thought sounded like a lot of fun.

Mr. O’Neal decided that he wanted to become an architect when he was a 6th grader right here at Washington School. We were happy that he decided to come back and share his knowledge with us. We also learned that one of Mr. O’Neal’s things he likes to work with in his job is the reconstruction of old homes and buildings, although that’s not the only type of architectural work that he enjoys doing.

We were happy to have Mr. O’Neal as our special guest. It was nice of him to take time out of his busy schedule to come and share his knowledge with us. It was also nice of his firm,  Alley Poyner Macchietto Architecture to let him visit us.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.