Friday, April 15, 2011

Cranes for Japan - All Done!

Yesterday my after school Art Club finished making the cranes we'll be sending to Japan. After four sessions and a "fold off" crane challenge day, we have a grand total of 342 folded origami cranes! I'm no mathematician, but the kids tell me that equals $684! It does - I checked.

They are boxed up and on their way! I'm kind of going to miss those little birds being in my room. To check out more about how you can help Japan head here.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Big Finale

Dear loyal and faithful followers,

The following blog post is a requirement of my grad class. I had to do it, or my teacher will fail me. It's wordy, but painless. There may even be a little something in it for you.

How has social networking made a difference in your classroom?

Before actively participating in a personal learning community online, I used online media as a way to gain ideas and resources to improve instruction for my students. As many people probably do, I used the internet as only a taking relationship. I search for art ideas, tweaking here and there to find things that are appropriate for my students. Now I feel more of a need to give and take towards idea sharing. I have things to share and to contribute to the art world. The thing is, I really hate when someone uses an idea and takes credit for the creative process someone else put into something. If someone feels inspired enough by my ideas, I just ask for credit, as I give to those who from which I am inspired. As an art teacher, most of our day to day creativity and artistic thought process goes to our students and the creative lessons we teach. It becomes our own art and I know at times I can feel quite possessive. That is why this class has been good for me. I am working on coming out from under my internet rock and having something to say while doing it.

How do you see an online education community changing education?

Online education communities change education by bringing together people who are passionate about their profession and connecting them to like minded-people. We can learn from those who have great ideas and pass it on to our students. However, education will only change if people allow it to change. The way students learn today is so different from the way we were trained to teach them. We have to allow new technology to bring us together and to move forward.

What plans do you have to continue developing your online personal learning network?

I need some more art peeps in my life! Building an online community of art teachers helps to connect with other crazies like myself. After starting the cranes for Japan, I found teachers who are doing the same with their classes. We've communicated through twitter about our progress and the efforts of our students. I hope to continue establishing learning communities with other teachers and artists. The more I continue to put our work out there, the more people will hopefully stop on by. Plus, I'm pretty cool and I'm pretty sure more people should get to know me. I think Cyrus eloquently sums it all up...

"For those who don't know me,
I can get a bit crazy
Have to get my way,yep
24 hours a day
'cause I'm hot like that"

It's been a fun class getting to know some pretty awesome people. See you on the "Twit!"

Monday, April 11, 2011

A Whole New Me

Social media has changed my life! Ever since joining Facebook and Twitter, I am a new person-I make good choices, I am a courteous driver, I never ever swear, I've given up procrastinating, I eat only healthy foods, and I always floss twice a day. I am virtually perfect. What - you don't believe me? It's true. Just check out my fb page and tweetie postings and you'll clearly see I am an angel.

Our conversation in Social Learning last week was whether or not social media has changed our society. I believe the social sites to which we subscribe make us think about our public appearance more and become more conscientious about what we make available to others, but doesn't necessarily change our behavior. Would you make different choices if you knew what you did last night would be smeared all over the internet? I know of a group of pharmacist friends who have a "No Camera" policy when they go out after work. Are they still doing what they would before Facebook? Most likely. But they know the possible consequence of a leaked scandalous photograph. Who knew pharmacists could get so down? Maybe I'm in the wrong profession.

So, while I believe social media has made us very aware of what we make public, behind closed camera lenses, maybe not so much has changed. In the words of Kesha, "We are who we are."

That's why I am definitely not eating M&M's for breakfast and entering this homework post a week late ;)

I stand corrected. Sorry Kesha fans. "We R who we R" is the "correct spelling of her song. That's another issue we can talk about some other time!

Friday, April 8, 2011

What We've Been Up To...

Let the music play! Fifth grade learned about the artist Romare Bearden and the influence music had on his art. Tissue paper squares created the background. Colorful instruments, cut shapes and "sound waves" and expressive lines were the finishing touches!

A variation of this lesson, but teaching the same concept, is a paper woven background. After weaving the black and white paper, we splatter painted the paper.

One of my 5th graders won a Best of Show ribbon at a local art contest with this art project. It is on it's way to the state contest, but I will be sure to add a picture of it when I get it back. Keeping my fingers crossed for her!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

It's a Cinch (Bag)

I finished the Bean Bag bag last night. This is my kind of project because it is full of inexactitude. I eyeballed a rectangle and cut it out of the same fabric as the bean bags, and lined it with white cotton. I felt like it needed some jazzing up, so I added some hearts and stitched around each one. Sew up the sides and the top, leaving room for the yarn or ribbon - and you've got yourself a bag, baby!

We're All Cracked 'Round Here

We're all a little cracked, but we all find where we fit in, and learn to accept ourselves. That's the message of the story Eggbert: The Slightly Cracked Egg by Tom Ross. After reading the story, first graders drew themselves as cracked eggs. We added details to tell a little about us and our personalities. Notice my egg cat -not cracked, she's perfect. They turned out really cute. The best part of the lesson? Kids in deep conversations asking each other in all seriousness, "How big is your crack?"

This is really pretty much a true self-portrait. Feeling very egg-shaped these days!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Numbered Bean Bags

Fickle is my middle name. Actually it’s Lynn, but I think if my parents would have known how I'd turn out, they would have made it Fickle. Or Dabble. I dabble all the time in many things. In the past year I have tried silk screening, being vegetarian, various sewing attempts, jewelry design, photo editing, swing dancing, began training for a half marathon, started the process of opening a shop, contemplated becoming a makeup artist, read up on becoming a Buddhist, and now started a blog. A few of those actually turned out pretty well. Others not so much. I'd like to think I am a little more zen now, though. My husbnd teases me all the time about my phases. I just think I have a really open mind...and maybe a little too much time on my hands.

Last night’s dabbling was to create coasters for our living room. I wanted something that was somewhat unique without looking like we're trying too hard. I tried the paper behind the class tile with zero success and had given up for a while. Then I found these super cute napkins. I love them, but I don’t love the price. So, I decided to print my own. These will be used to make the coasters.

I had some leftover practice runs and thought they were too cute to not use. So this was my new project--bean bags! I traced a tile around the number and on scrap fabric. I have lots of fabric. It’s kind of a problem.

I lined the numbers and sewed them into squares. Super easy. After filling them with beans, I sewed them up!

Next, I will need to make a little bag for them. Hopefully our little girl will have fun with them someday. We've had some fun tossing them around in the meantime.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Paper Cranes for Japan

I posted last week about starting the Paper Crane for Japan work that is happening around the world. I started working with one of my after school groups. We made "rough draft" paper cranes by watching the youtube video. And boy was it hard. I mean really hard. The kids were frustrated, I was frustrated. It looked like we might not ever have a crane that didn't resemble something smashed on the windshield. But as it usually goes with something new, we just needed practice. Today we worked again as a group and as soon as I had "experts" they became teachers and helped others. I had each person make at least 2 white typing paper cranes before passing the level and moving on to the colored paper.

What a difference a little practice can make! There were literally squeals of delight--quickly put to a stop. Can you imagine 25 squealing 4th graders? Me either.

Things were clicking and our box is starting to fill. Some students are planning on making some at home and teaching their families to make them, too. I believe one boy is planning on making 50 tonight. The power of an idea + the efforts of students is awesome.

We went from this:

To this:

Feeling Appreciated.

It's Teacher Appreciation Week and it has been as week full of thank you notes, hugs, and treats. LOTS of treats. I'm pretty sure I will have to be rolled out the door on Friday. Thank goodness for maternity pants. Elasticated waistbands are where it's at. And really, why aren't all pants made with elastic? Think of the problems it would solve. No more bending, stretching, and the deep "I'm tying my shoes" move to make pants fit. Or is that just me? It works, you should try it.

Anyway, as part of the eating frenzy, I received this gift from two of my students who obviously know me well. Yesterday I brought home possibly the best Teacher Appreciation Gift ever. It won't last long, clearly.


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Art for Japan

I stumbled upon the Paper Cranes for Japan project on the website Students Rebuild found here. For every paper crane made and sent in, the Bezos Family Foundation will donate $2 to Architecture for Humanity. The goal is to reach 100,000 paper cranes to be woven into an art installation to symbolize a gift from students around the world to the children of Japan. The effort is being virtually documented on Facebook. The website also has a helpful link to a video tutorial on how to make a paper crane. I know I will be watching this a few times. Following the little picture diagrams is not my style!

What a great idea for students! Children LOVE to do origami. Creating something three-dimensional from nothing always amazes them, and really, it is pretty amazing. This is a great way to teach about art from a different part of world while contributing to something bigger than ourselves. My after school art club will definitely be doing this, and I know they will be passionate about their contribution. Has anyone done this already? Or anyone know of any other service projects through art? We would love to get involved!

Off to acquire some origami paper, and some mad folding skills.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Are We Having Fun Yet?

Fun in schools?

Dereek Braman says so in his article. He believes school should always be fun and teachers should have built in fun activities to reinforce learning. I feel that I have the priviledge of teaching a subject that is naturally fun. There are no tests, no grades, and generally no wrong answers. (I say generally because there is always the chance someone may stick a Sharpie up their nose...not quite the intended usage). But the opportunity students have when they come to art is the chance to try something and to have the feeling of "I made it." During art class, we are teaching our students there is more than one solution to a problem. Just as there is more than one way to view the world. What we give to students when we incorporate the creative arts into our schools is invaluable. They are learning an appreciation for others while also learning about themselves. And believe it or not, it's fun.

Speaking of having fun... Cats can, too! Here's Riley, celebrating her 5th Birthday. Notice the present already opened. Meow!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Benefits of Being "Connected"

Being connected is a great thing. Especially tonight. It is probably a miracle I even have a computer in front of me right now and not one on the floor in a million pieces...but I digress.

The question we are to answer tonight is, "Are you connected?"

The answer is, "I'm working on it."

As a self-proclaimed private person, I find it difficult to put myself out there on blogland. As my classmate says, "You don't have to put your whole life out there." Good point. A second article we read tonight discusses ways to improve our usage of social networking cites. The idea of mixing personal and professional makes a lot of sense. When I search blogs, I look for ideas to inspire creativity. This includes things at home and for my students. It is all about what we decide to share. I would like to have the kind of blog where people go to be inspired or to jump start ideas. If I don't want people to know what I am having for dinner, I won't tell people what I am having for dinner.

P.S. Spaghetti

Friday, January 28, 2011


Welcome to my blog! First, a little about me. I am an elementary art teacher in Nebraska in my fourth year of teaching. Everyday is something new! Besides teaching, I also enjoy creating art for personal reasons, decorating, and dabbling in sewing. I am working towards earning credit post master's degree and am in the class Social Learning. In class, we learn new ways to use technology in our teaching and to develop our personal learning network. I am admittedly technologically challenged, though I do work to understand more and get frustrated less. This blog is inspired by the idea of the need to share with the world. I have been a blog reader, often generating many ideas from the sites of other, but this is my first step in sharing with everyone what ideas I have.

As part of our assignment, we also signed up for a Twitter account. The benefits of twitter is that it connects people with the same interests. By following others, it works to increase the people with whom we connect and to further develop our network of professionals.

Thanks for stopping by. Stay tuned for more!