Monday, December 26, 2016

Christmas 2016

Christmas projects and activities for 2016. It's first time I was able to finger paint with kids because I have real sinks for cleanup! Art Makes Kids Smart Facebook Page

Sunday, November 27, 2016

November Activities are posted on Facebook

I've added a few pictures on the Art Makes Kids Smart community page here: Art Makes Kids Smart Link for November Activities

Lots of fun art going on.  Mostly about turkeys.  ;)

Saturday, October 29, 2016

My last Halloween as the art teacher

My room is still being put together from my move.  But we managed to get in lots of projects this October.  I'm big on fun and being busy.  We did lots of painting, drawing, working with oil pastels, and tons of construction art.  Here are the pictures up at my FB page.  It's a community page and open to all so you should be able to access.  Thank you Pinterest for the ideas.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Clay Hands Kindergarten

This is an easy project and fun for the kids.  The reason it's easy is I provide the clay to the kindergarten teachers and they have a station that runs through the week for tracing their clay hands.  An adult does most of the work.   After tracing the hand in the clay slab and cutting it out, you smooth out the edges and place the hand in a small bowl so that the hand stays curved when dried.

Then they come to me and I fire them in the kiln.  To identify each hand I use the first two initials of the teacher plus a number (numbers decided from the attendance sheets).  Those identifiers are put on the back (which will be the bottom) of the hand.  Then the kiddos apply the glaze and I do a final firing.  The results are cute.  We make these for a Mother's Day present.


Wednesday, July 20, 2016

My last summer as a teacher.

This is my last summer as a contracted teacher.  By next summer I'll be retired.  I'm very ready.

I likely won't blog after this year.  I'd like to blog about my last year.  I have a bunch of projects to share and have been busy organizing my many pictures.  I'm not even sure anyone is reading this but blogging is for me anyway.  It's a way to express my thoughts and reflect on my teaching.  That anyone would care to visit here is amazing to me.

I've been in the same room for 12 years.  I've taught art for 17, five of which were on a cart.  Two actually.  This year I'm moving.

My old room was small but big enough for six tables.  I managed pretty well most of the time.  I did get cluttered a lot.  My new room is about 1/3 size bigger and I go from one sink to 4.  It will be worth all the effort of moving once I'm done.

Bye bye old room

Hello new.

Lots of stuff to unpack in August.  Then more pictures.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

This blog, moving to a new room, and entering my last year in full-time teaching. And other stuff maybe....

I haven't posted in this blog in over a year.  Other areas of interest have taken up time in my life (I'm taking jazz guitar lessons for one) and reflecting on my teaching has taken a back seat.  No, make that writing about my reflections.  I always reflect on what it is I'm doing in the classroom, I just stopped writing about those reflections.

I'm going to try to write about my last year in teaching, reflecting on things I've learned, mistakes I've made, and successes I've had.  When I started this blog, I began by posting reflections from an art class I took online.  From there I began sharing the cool things the kids were doing in class.  I at one time had a webpage but Facebook makes it much easier to share my kids work so I have been doing that for a few years now.  The webpage is no more.  There may still be broken links to it.  I fix them when I find them.

My FB page ( is a place where students, parents, and friends can "friend" me and get updates and links to my Community page ( ).  If interested, just press "like" on the community page and you'll have access to all the photo albums.  There you can see the many projects I've done in class.   As I get my ideas from some of you, and Pinterest as well as other blogs, others deserve the credit for sharing their great ideas of art experiences to use in the classroom.  Pinterest has been a life saver for me.  I love how so many of you share your ideas with folks like me.  There sure are a lot of talented teachers out there! ( )

Moving my room next year

So after 5 years on the cart and 10 plus years in a small room, I'm getting a new room.  I'll gain another 1/3 of my current classroom size so that's a plus.  They are putting in two deep basin sinks and lots of shelving in my new room.  I pack up the old art room stuff, they move it, and then I unpack it in my new room.  I hope I like it.  It will be my 28th year teaching and my first year in a portable.  But I'll have my own bathroom!  I like that part.

My last year in full time teaching

I turn 65 in March of 2017.  Since my wife has been retired for over a year now, I plan to retire at the end of next year.  What I hope to do from now until then is to reflect on my work experiences and post those reflections here.

A blog can serve many purposes.  If people benefit what the things I share, that's a plus.   But reflecting on one's work should be an activity in which all professionals engage.  It's a healthy practice.  It doesn't have to be written down but for many, that approach is best.  Part of the reason I want to write about my last year is that I think it will help me deal with the emotions of leaving the teaching profession.  This job has been a huge part of my life.  It's Saturday and still I was up in my classroom for over 2 hours today removing work from the kiln and putting the next batch in.  Yikes!  I really am pushing it this year.  School is over in 10 days!

I will miss working everyday I think.  I love what I do.  And I don't just teach art to kids.  I have after-school guitar students I teach each week.  I have an after-school chess club that's been meeting regularly for over 20 years.  And for the past 5 years or more I have acted as the crossing guard adviser to our 5th grade crossing guards.   Each morning and after school, I'm outside with the crossing guards helping to supervise and offering guidance.  I love this part of my job.

I play guitar, sing lots of kids songs, and am a pretty good storyteller.  I have dozens of puppets that I use on a somewhat regular basis.  I love doing these things and teaching in an elementary school gives me many opportunities to exercise these passions.  

And so I will be exiting a phase of my life that has blessed me beyond my dreams.  I'll still be able to sub and likely will be asked to preform in a few assemblies.  I have entertained in libraries and other schools, sharing my many songs and stories over the past many years.  I can still do some of that.

But it's time to pass the baton.  This is how I am looking at my upcoming retirement.  It's the turn someone else to do what I've been lucky enough to do.  I want to be emotionally ready to give up what has meant so much to me in my life.  My career has given me far more than I could ever give it.  And it's by God's grace that I am what I am today.  I've had the best job in the world, perfectly suited for me.  My job has allowed me to express myself in ways that truly reflect my philosophy of teaching and my love for kids. I know I will miss it.

Stay tuned.....