March 30, 2013

3 ways to stretch your art budget

My most recent post about ordering art supplies attracted much thought to our art budgets.
We all know budgets are being cut left and right.

Most of the things in an art room will always need to be replenished.
We live in a room full of consumables.
Clearly I can't keep the same markers in my room for years.
We buy. We use. We buy.

The question is how to creatively stretch your budget.

I have roughly 350 students.
And $700 in my budget.
That means $2 a kid.

The three most important times for me concerning supplies are
April, May, and August.

It is in these months that I do the most to stretch my budget as far as it can go.
Here is what happens.

April is when my bulk order list is due to the office.
My art budget account must be cleared out every year as it does not spill over into the following school year.
I usually sit down with three art ordering brochures.
My go-to places:
 local district supply
// blick //

I make lists. Compare Prices. Tweak lists as I go along.
I clean out my entire budget.

So you ask
Do you go over budget?

All the time.

This is where May and August become important.

On the very last few weeks of school I make an announcement to all my students that I want their lightly used art supplies.
I ask them to test out all their supplies and it they seem to work then to bring them all down either on the last days of school or when they come and see me in art for the last time.
You would be amazed what you get.
Everything from scissors, glue, erasers, markers, colored pencils, sharpies, highlighters, dry erase markers...
It is Christmas in May.

Things get donated to a large cardboard box that has different organizational tubs in it.
My fifth graders help "clean-up" the art room.
It is their job to organize this plethora of supplies into my cabinets.
That really helps bring in supplies for free.

Two important things happen in August.
One is our "back to school night".
It is on this day that I put out a sign that looks like this.
I put the things I need most on a wish list and display it for parents to see.
They take a post-it note as a reminder and I always get stuff brought in.
Parents know things are tight.
A lot of them are willing to help us out if it helps their children out.
Also, remember that everything is cheaper when it is August.
So put off buying markers in April and make a Wal-mart run on school supplies.
It will save you a fortune.

Finally in August I start my // Original Works // program.
Scared to try something like this on your own?
Don't be.
I did it by myself on my very first year of teaching.
They make is very easy.
(and it gets easier every year)

I have doubled my budget every year I have done this.
So if you would like to have some extra cash to buy something special 
try a fundraiser.

Those are just 3 ways that I stretch my art budget every year.
Hope that helps!

(note: I am not being paid to promote any of these stores or programs)

March 27, 2013

ordering supplies

I sat down today and continued to write out order forms for supplies.
This year I diligently wrote down ideas for things I would like to buy when they occurred to me.

That came in really handy today when I was searching through my art supply brochures.

Last year I added a page to my blog called
It is located on my right sidebar. >>
If you haven't seen it check it out for some of my favorite supplies and last year purchases.

As I am working on my order I am wondering
What are you ordering this year?
What can you NOT live without?

Stay tuned for a post in the near future about my order.

March 23, 2013

update: google friend connect - google reader

This is an update to // this post // on google friend connect and google reader.

I want to say thanks for all the comments and suggestions.

Lots of us art educators are in the "waiting" phase to see what happens.
I went ahead and added many new gadgets to my right sidebar.

Let me just say that I am not super happy about having to do that.
I like one or maybe two direct ways to connect to a blog.
But hey...
I'm not google.

So I get no say in what will happen in the next few months.
Thus I have decided to be proactive.

I caved
(much to my displeasure)
and created a  // google + account //

Google has been so kind as to create a new google + gadget which is now also on my right sidebar.

So here is the deal...
Follow me.

I don't care how...
sign up for email
join google +
follow me on // bloglovin' //

Truly it doesn't matter.
But let's still be friends?

March 22, 2013

african serengeti

I was inspired by // this pin // several months ago.
The only problem was I wanted to do it with my first graders and it looked a bit hard for them.

I know some teachers are really opposed to tracers.
I am not one of them.
Sometimes we all need a little help.

We spent our first day talking lots about African animals, geography, and environments.
Let me just say this.
My first graders can really hold a conversation.
I love hearing them talk about the animals and hear their stories.
At the end of that first day we did a watercolor wash using one of my favorite // supplies //.
Tempera Cakes.
The goal was to create a sunset or sunrise.
We also worked a little on their color blending.

On day two we drew a horizon line on our paper.
Then we got to select what animal we wanted in our Serengeti.
We traced our animals so their legs were just slightly under the horizon line.
Some kids chose to do two animals...
but that was prefaced by:
the animals can't overlap
you had to leave room for a tree
We used detail brushes to paint our animals SLOWLY.
Then we used medium brushes to paint the land.
We free-hand painted tree trunks with the medium brush.
And we added branches with the detail brush.
I showed them how to make leaves by dotting with the brush.
Now if you have time (which none of my classes did)...
you can add a border on one side of your artwork.
This can be done with a piece of cardboard using a printing technique.
I was so proud of these first graders and how amazing their artwork turned out.
And wow.
They have gotten SO many compliments.

March 21, 2013

every time we say goodbye...

As I have mentioned
// here //
// here //

My sister and her family were moving away.
This past week my mother and I delivered to their new digs the last remaining package...
my niece.

Although the trip was extremely bittersweet,
I will cave and admit that I love the temperatures quite a bit more than what we have here.
I'm currently looking out the window and...
it's snowing outside.
I digress.
Some spring break.

Boy oh boy.
Snow was not a problem in toasty Arizona.
Or as my niece calls it,
Everything left me breathlessly hoping for Spring to follow us home.
I could get use to this.
We did a little hiking and lots of relaxing.
It was a right of passage for this little two-year-old.
On her birthday no less.
But she rocked that hike.

Maybe this move has some perks.
But gosh.
It sure was difficult getting dropped off at the airport and not having them coming home with us.

March 16, 2013

google friend connect - google reader

Can I just say that I am lost?

Most the time when something goes awry with the blog I am able to figure it out quite easily.
But since I have apparently been under a rock for awhile...
it came as quite a surprise today to find out that
Google Reader
and possibly
Google Friend Connect

will be no more very soon.

I am a little shocked that more of us aren't blogging about what we are going to do?

I've read a few posts on
// feedly //
which is basically a stand in for Google Reader.
So maybe that is mostly solved.

But I am more irked about
Google Friend Connect.

How are we suppose to
"grow a blog"

Should I go ahead and remove my
Google Friend Connect widget 
to make the blow to my heart easier in the months to come?

What are you all thinking?
How are you planning to solve this problem?

Should I tell you all to start subscribing to my email widget on the right-hand side of my blog?

I just don't know.
Maybe you do.

March 13, 2013

monet water lilies

I saw // this // really beautiful pin last year.
My third graders have been studying the Impressionism art movement.
We just finished some Post-Impressionism Seurat portraits.
Now we've moved on to Monet.

On day one we start out by watching this video:
If you don't own // all these DVDs // I suggest you splurge and get them!
The kids love them!
(I secretly do too)

This project also calls for one of my favorite // supplies //.
You'll also need water and paintbrushes.

Next you'll need  a large sheet of watercolor paper.
Encourage the kids to work quick and show brushstrokes just like the Impressionists.
See it on // the vine //.
(sorry for the sideways view)

Not gonna lie -- the student's watercolors turned out beautiful.

On day two you'll need 4 x 4 and 5 x 5 pieces of green construction paper.
Cut out lily pads.
Add details with construction paper crayons and flowers with tissue paper.
Crowd and eye pleaser.

March 11, 2013

op art checkerboard drawing

I've been working on several Op Art lessons in order to expose my 5th graders to European artists and art.
I set up my lessons last week with an introduction to Op Art.
We watched part 1 of "Responsive Eye" Exhibit on YouTube.
These videos do such an amazing job of bringing Op Art home to the kiddos.
Plus...they will make you chuckle!

Afterwards we headed to the computer lab where the kids got to explore this website:
// Illusions //

After the kids had a good grasp on this art movement we dug deeper into individual artists.

Last year I taught my kids about contemporary Op Artist Henrique Matos.
You can see last year's version // here //.
I decided to switch up the product this year.

After learning about Matos we started to set-up our artwork (which was inspired by many pins).
Students traced two (or more) circles onto a 9" x 12" piece of paper.
Then the students make notch marks at ever half-inch around the whole paper.
Connect the lines and make them as straight as possible.
Make sure to skip over the circles as you draw the lines.
See the whole process for making the convex lines in the circles on
// the vine //.
The students get to pick a unified color scheme to complete the checkerboard Op Art drawing.

March 3, 2013

growing up and saying goodbye

I think this is the first time I've ever been able to write a title before I've written the words for the post.
This week is the start and end of something in my life.
A commencement of something beautiful.
The cessation of something beautiful.

I first wrote about this // here //.

This particular week in the history of weeks throughout the years has not been so loving.
The past has littered this week with
job loss
fractured friendships
broken hearts
dissolution of a support group

all while sharing the week with my
day of birth

As one might guess,
I have a tendency to hold my breath and brace for the unexpected.

This year is different though.
Because the unexpected has been
coming way to quick for my taste.

A little over 70 days ago I found out my only sister was leaving town.
Not for a trip.
But for life.
For now.

With her goes my only niece and brother-in-law.

You know that feeling you get after your birthday when you know the celebration is over.
When you look ahead at the next 365 days and wonder what is ahead.
I already have the feeling.
And my birthday hasn't even happened yet.

And so on this the start of
my 27th year...

I embark on a new journey.
One that is minus three prominent characters of my story.

I've stood in this spot before.
When you're suppose to be happy but really your heart is broken.
When you smile through tears.
When you must purposefully rewrite the story mid-way through.
When you dare to imagine a different life then the one you dreamed of.

But that's how I know I am going to be okay.
I've seen this play out before.
Almost like it was preparing me for this moment.
The story does end well.
Even in the absence of the ones I love most.
The cessation of this chapter will most definitely bring
something beautiful.

March 2, 2013

complex weavings

I wanted to share some of the wonderful weavings that my second graders made using the strips from
First we created our looms from a variety of color choices.
Students put the ruler at the top of short end of paper and drew a STOP line.
Students put their name, teacher-code, and the word STOP above the line.
Then they turned the ruler vertically and drew lines that were the width of the ruler.
Making sure they didn't go past the STOP line.
The vertical lines (which are horizontal in this picture) were cut up to the STOP line.
Strips of the same color were woven in.
We then wove smaller strips on top of those to make it a more complex weaving.
The last bit of class glued the strips down on the front and back- side to side.
These all pretty touch my breath away.
So pretty.
There is more to this project but this was step one.