Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Parent Contact

Recently our principal sent us out an email that encouraged us to email or make phone contact with some of our students parents. I had already done this from time to time, but I needed a little "oh yeah" trigger in me to do it again. So I took about a half hour and sent emails to a dozen or so parents. A lot of times, as teachers, we think, oh boy, one more thing to do. We try to find the time to do it. I know when I do find the time, I always feel good after. I don't write much. Just a couple sentences. I always wonder what the parents think when they see that email sitting there in their inbox. Their child's name as the subject and from a school address. I wonder if there is a shock factor. I wonder if they think, "what have they done now..." Monday I got one of those emails with the subject box that read simply "Ali."

So, even though I know I have a pretty good kid, I still thought, "Oh crap." And then I read the email. It was from one of Ali's 8th grade teachers and her words were just what I needed to start my Monday. It was a short note, only a couple sentences. But what she said in those few sentences made me the proudest mom EVER. To get a note from someone that I don't know well, letting me know as a parent that I am doing something right and so is my daughter is a really, really good feeling.

So every time I hear a fellow teacher sigh when we are asked to give a few minutes of our time and our words, I think I will smile inside. They will never know what an impact in a parent's life those few small words, in a short little paragraph mean to them.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Claudine Hellmuth

My art one classes are going to focus the next week and a half on altered collage/ books. Right now altered collage is booming. My students are always wanting to work in collage but their idea of collage is cutting out a bunch of pictures from magazines and gluing them on to a background. I wanted to find a way to teach them that there is so much more to collage than that. After researching, I found a couple good dvds by Claudine Hellmuth. The thing I like about her is that her style is simple and easy to understand, but the amount of layers and techniques she uses gives the students a great variety and a challenge. She explains herself well and is very detailed in her demos.

Once we finish the video, we will be beginning an altered project. Students are allowed to use the provided canvas or they may bring in an old book or box to create their project.

Side Note

Love how I am sadly addicting my students to Pinterest. They are having a great time and are constantly pinning and repinning new ideas for projects in our art classes. I love that they are finding an interest in our classes outside of the traditional class day! Way to Go!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Pinterest Project

We are working on our first project based off of Pinterest. I found this one and it was perfect for Painting and Drawing Class. They were ready to move in to painting and drawing on a unique surface and this project did the trick.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Engaging the Parent

Last Thursday and Friday were parent teacher conferences. If you are a high school teacher you honestly know what that means. The best image I can give you is to think about a ghost town with tumbleweeds blowing across the classroom. It means, no one comes. There are a few parents that stroll in but usually they are here for another reason or they are the ones who have the kids that really aren't a problem and get good grades. I wondered why we as parents just stop coming.

In the elementary, everyone is at the conferences. You park yourself in the little tiny seats outside your child's classroom waiting for your assigned time and you pray that you only hear good things and that the teacher doesn't ask you if there is anything they should be aware of that would be causing an issue in school.

As a mom I have been to my fair share of conferences, every year from Kindergarten through 5th grade. Once my daughter hit middle school, something happened and I stopped going. I don't know why really. I suppose because she had all A's and I knew she wasn't behavior issue so why go and take up the teachers time. I am not sure that is everyone's reason for slowly disappearing from the realm of the parent teacher conference night, but that was mine. I don't want to be that parent that shows up and the teachers think "why is she here?" or "she is only coming to hear how great her kid is" and then part of me thinks, I wonder if they think I don't care? It is kind of a catch 22 as a parent.

So my question is, how do we as educators get our parents more involved in what their children are doing without the parent/ teacher conferences? Our school offers short awareness nights on topics such as Internet or online grading. The most recent is one on prescription drug awareness. I know as a teacher I send home emails to parents on their kids, just letting them know I enjoy having them in class, or something I would like them to work on more. Many teachers have websites and blogs such as this one, that talk about the daily comings and goings in their rooms. We even have online grading and parents have access to their students assignments and grades on a daily basis. By doing that, I wonder if we give them all the info they need so they don't feel like they have to contact us. I think about myself. What would or will get me into the school as the parent of a high school student next year. I guess I will find out.

If you have any ideas, shout them out here!

Monday, October 31, 2011


basic 10-20 second gesture drawings to incorporate in to the contour drawing

working on drawing textures

The advanced art class and the drawing/painting class attended a class at Eastern Illinois University instructed by the Art Education students as part of their practicum time. They were given a tour of the faculty exhibit and then were directed in creating a piece of art based from a particular artist. The idea of the project was to create a triptych style work. For the sake of time, the students only created two separate drawings. After cutting them in half, they were then asked to piece them back together.

The projects were created in charcoal. A little messy but fun. It was interesting watching the student teachers work with my kids. Watching the EIU college instructors was interesting. It reminded me of the time I had to do and all the fears I had facing a group of students I didn't know. You could tell who was comfortable and who had no idea how to handle the normal high school kid. Right then and there I could tell who was going to be a high school teacher and who was going to be elementary. If you have ever taught high school, you will know, they are a different breed. All in all the kids enjoyed their day and I enjoyed taking them out and experiencing some great art!

Fantasy Photoshop

by Meredith

by Alec

Photo 1 students have begun to "play" around in Photoshop. We are looking and learning the very basic techniques of combining images together to form a single image. One of the first assignments they had was to create some sort of fantasy scape in photoshop. We rely a lot on using the many online tutorials to help us learn. I enjoy them teaching me what they learn, so after they finish creating, we have a show and tell time where the students have the chance to teach us the new tricks and tidbits they learn!

coming back

It has certainly been a long time. I would love to have a great excuse, but illness and being overwhelmed at the end of the nine weeks, seems to be it. My kids have been working so hard despite my lack of enthusiasm. I hate it when you don't feel good and no matter how hard you try, you can't seem to shake it. I am working my hardest to get over it and get back to being super duper art teacher!

So today my plan is to get some student work up and to show you all how very busy we have been!

Monday, September 26, 2011


I will admit it, I am addicted! Pinterest is my new favorite thing in the whole world, or at least on the Internet these days. If you haven't been there, try it. And you shall soon be an addict too!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Sister School

So recently I sent out a request on Twitter and even a couple emails, but have no response. I am looking for a sister school art program. I would love to hook our programs together and share what we do. If you are interested, send me a note on there. How much fun would it be to brainstorm and share ideas and artwork! We don't care how far away you are!!!!!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


I don't know if anyone ever has this happen, but sometimes I simply feel uninspired. I have artistic brain-freeze. I search and scour the Internet for new ideas for my kids. Some great project that will wow me, and little miss negative Nellie (that's me) looks at them and thinks, "well that is just about the ugliest project I have ever seen", or "already done that." All kinds of things. But, nothing just hits the spot.

Today is one of those. I have been scouring and scouring and can't find anything truly cool to try with my kids. Sooo, if you are out there and feel like you might want to share with me, I am all for it! Bring on the ideas, I need them!

Advanced Art

Right now the advanced art students are working on a second portfolio piece. This particular project is open subject matter and open media. In the words of my four year old... we'll see.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


So, outside of school my very good friend and I have a wedding decorating and coordinating business. I love my job, but I also enjoy this new venture in my life as well. I get the chance to use my creative side by designing and arranging new venues for special events. I am always planning a party, how fun is that!

We work so hard to come up with creative and exciting ideas for the people we work with and for and because of that, by word of mouth, our business is very productive and exciting.

Brainstorming for us is getting together and hitting Jo Ann fabrics or Hobby Lobby and doing a little visual shopping. We also do a lot of Internet reference as well. But one thing we are so proud of is that our ideas are our own. It may take us a little longer, but then our clients get a one of a kind event and things turn out great!

I understand that "imitation is indeed the sincerest form of flattery" however when someone imitates you or your work, sometimes it is a bitter pill. We have had that happen to us recently, and I am not sure how to take it. I know it shouldn't bother me, that it should make me feel good knowing that someone else enjoys our work enough to reuse our ideas. However, when it took us a while to come up with things, it is awful tough to be OK with it. My other concern is that when we feel we give our clients that individual personalized event, we turn around and see someone else giving their client our same event, it isn't so personalized anymore.

I guess my thoughts are if you are going to be a in a creative business shouldn't you be able to be creative enough to come up with your own ideas or at least make them your own by alteration? I don't know, something to think about.

Friday, September 9, 2011

As we are getting ready to venture into the art of Matisse, Picasso, Cezanne and Braque, I always start my students out with an artist that they can relate to and they simply "get." We watch a video on Alexandra Nechita.

At the time the DVD was made, she was a high school student talking about balancing her high school life and her art. I think it is great for them to see someone who started enjoying and creating at a young age and taking her works to where they are today. Today she is still creating and graduated from college a few years ago. Her work is inspiring and the DVD is great. 20 minutes, to the point. Check her out. http://www.alexandranechita.com/

Thursday, September 8, 2011


I often wonder if anyone really reads my blog. It doesn't really bother me if people do or don't. I guess I feel sometimes as if it is more a therapeutic thing for me. Like now for instance. I find it hard to believe that tomorrow is already midterm of the first nine weeks and although I need to be grading and getting those into MMS. I can't. Right now at this very moment, I simply can't think. My head is spinning about lesson plans, grading 200 projects that all came due at once (and I am not even joking, it really is 200), keeping certain students busy who I know will find more unproductive things to do if I don't keep them focused, how we are going to get a float built and powder puff practices run if we don't have a theme yet for homecoming, getting my art club meeting agenda settled, scheduling a field trip... And on top of all this I have to go home tonight to make supper, check homework, pick up my house, give the four year old a bath, and do laundry. And now you can completely comprehend how one becomes so overwhelmed they can't do anything. It's paralyzing.

My husband used to be the one who always thought teaching was so easy. He would laugh at me when I would come home at the end of the day tell him I was exhausted. Then he would reply..its not like you do much except spend time with kids all day. .......No really he has said that to me on more than one occasion.

What I think he and so many people do not understand that a teacher wears hundreds of hats. Hats that mentally exhaust, physically exhaust, and sometimes spiritually exhaust. We are known for being cheerleaders, inspiring and motivating speakers to those students we see everyday. We are the motivation that keeps students going and doing and growing. Sometimes I wish I had a teacher that I kept in my coat pocket that I could pull out, set on my desk, wind them up and let them go. My own little motivation and inspiration when I needed it. My own personal cheerleader.

So many teachers out there feel completely under appreciated. We are asked to raise and educate today's youth. To instill what values we can with all the underlying "junk" that they already have in them from today's society. And the minute one of those kids fail, it becomes the educators fault. Sometimes I want to fire back, you try it. It is easy to lay blame, we always need someone to blame or at least we think we do. Perhaps before laying the blame, we need to step back and see the bigger picture. We are not superheros, we are people. Plain ordinary people who love what we do and try our best everyday. Some days are better than others, but still we try. So to all you teachers out there that are sitting at your desk at this very moment, completely overwhelmed and don't know what to do next, know that I am out there for you. In the land of bloggers. I get it and I get you. You are awesome. Don't forget it. Oh and thanks for making a difference in the lives of our children today.

Day 1 Creativity Challenge

Last night, while grading art projects, I did my first day creative challenge. I made playdough. You remember playdough. We use to love the stuff! Of Course, some of you weirdos out there, ate it;)

Now my son loves it and so I decided that heck, I'll give it a whirl making it. Let me preface this with, I tried making it last week and after three very unsuccessful batches, I deemed myself a failure. But it turned out so easy ,with the right recipe and so fun! Little Mr. Jake took it to school today for everyone. He was quite the proud 4 year old and I am quite the proud art mom!



1c. salt

2t. cream of tartar

1 pack of koolaid

dump in a sauce pan and mix together

2 cups water

2T vegetable oil

any additional liquid food coloring if needed

add to saucepan

heat on low/med.low and stir

it will form a ball as you stir

dump it out and knead it on the counter

store in ziplock


*thanks to one of my FB Friends for the recipe!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

30 Days of Creativity

I stumbled upon a site today that is http://www.30daysofcreativity.com/ Pretty cool really, it is all about taking a few minutes every day for 30 days and being creative. It states that creativity is like a muscle and the more we excercise it, the stronger it gets. Although this was meant for the month of June, I am going to take the challenge starting today and see what happens. I don't know if I can "man-up" to this task, but I am sure going to give it a try. If I succeed I will try and post what I do each day on here!

Photo One - Basic Image

photo by Christine A.

Photo By Aubrey L.

Photo By Jordan B.

Photo By Jordan B

Trying to decide what to teach the first few weeks of Digital Photography has always been hard. Kids want to jump right in and take pictures. I have read several blogs and lesson plans but none really fit us. We only work in Photoshop CS 2 and we really need the basic beginning. The first thing I have to do is make sure that students understand that a camera is a camera and a phone is not a camera. Then we read the camera manual. Yes, I make them read it. Heck most adults don't know all the things their cameras can do. We talk about the idea, that although it's fun to hold the camera out and take pictures, that isn't something we turn in for a grade and if you are in the photo that means you are not taking it so don't turn that in either (no I don't encourage the timer right now)

So our first project is simply about basic photography rules. We talk about Rule of Thirds, diagonal and curved lines, simplified background, etc. Photoshop basics are focused on such as cropping, cloning, using curves, and working in color. Most years the projects are pretty average. They learn the skills but don't care about taking their image much farther. This year, I am quite proud of how excited many of them are in taking a little extra time in their imagery.

On my way to go get my much needed Iced Tea with 8 splenda from Mickey D's this morning I pass by a student who is riding a UNICYCLE....to school. And I begin to think that may have been my sign for the day of what is to come! Happy Wednesday.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The "TIES" have it!

Our first project in art history, formally known as Art I was to study the artwork of Peter Max. The 8th hour class took his work one step further and created ties in his style. Pretty Cool outcome!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Drawing Class

From Ordinary to Extra-Ordinary is the book by Ken Vieth that our current project was obtained. I like this book alot. It is all about challenging my students and taking them past initial drawing into creative thinking and problem solving strategies.

The assignment was to create a drawing which would then be created from "pencils." You can draw anything, but to come up with something that would work well with the idea of the pencils created a challenge. Several students re-started once they realized their basic subject matter was not going to work. It was so interesting to watch this lesson unfold.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Is There Such a Thing as the perfect Assessment Tool?

Assessing art students and their work is probably one of the most challenging things there is in the role of an art teacher. Sometimes I think people think, we take a big stack of art and simply lay it out in piles of "a", "b", "c", and so on. Wow wouldn't that make my life simple.

Art teachers are all different when it comes to grading and I cannot pretend to think that my way is the right way or the wrong way and let me tell you, I have gone through a lot grading techniques in the past 17 years. This year is a transition year in the way that I am grading. ( I may sound from this point on as if I am all over the place, but bare with me people, I do have a point) This year our high school has begun a new style of teacher evaluation. One that not only looks at how we teach, but also how we improve, how active we are, and how much we are willing to grow. So I thought what the heck. If that kind of evaluation is going to be placed on me, perhaps I can place something similar on my students.

So this year, with every project a student turns in, they must turn in a personal assessment as well. The assessment asks them to answer questions that make them think. Questions such as how well they felt that they answered the question at hand in the assignment, how did they address their challenges, did they ask for and receive the help they needed. The assessment is based on composition, growth and progress, effort, work habits and ethics, solving a problem, and the overall impact that they think their art makes on its viewer.

In order to obtain the right assessment, I really, really researched online. I had to keep in mind the students who would be reading and answering these questions. I tried to make it user friendly. I could have used huge, super fancy wording, but really what was the point. I want the students to understand what they are answering. Once the students self assess, then it is my turn and I will assess right next to them. I want them to see how their ideas and my thoughts overlap. This is after all a learning tool. As we get comfortable with self-assessment, then I am going to slowly start tacking in some of the learning standards from my curriculum map. I want to see if the students think they are getting what I am hopefully putting out there in my lessons.

So far this years new assessment is going pretty well. The students are receptive and I am enjoying hearing what they have to say. Not to mention this is a great tool for me to make sure that I am on target in their eyes!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Artist of the Week in Art History

Peter Max. Interesting fellow. I don't remember ever studying or even looking at his art when I was in school. But you know, he is pretty darn nifty. I love when an artist has a unique background and a background that kids think are cool. Working with the Beatles, painting Taylor Swift, those things are cool to them. So if I can make it work and add in all the other great things he has done, then I make it count! They are working on sketches today and starting the project the following day. I really want to do something very cool, but I am not sure what yet. we will see!

Check him out! http://www.petermax.com/

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Welcome Back!

Another year and another great group of students! We have huge numbers for our small school, so I am looking forward to seeing some great work coming out of them. The summer gave me a lot of time to sit back and re-evaulate my lessons, my teaching, and my overall "what kind of teacher do I want to be" ideas this summer. I am not sure I came up with concrete answers, cause part of me likes who and what I teach and the way I have done it, but there are some places and things that I see stepping back that could make what I do a little stronger and possibly reach some kids I might not have reached before. This year I am looking at challenging them a little more. I want to see their strengths come through in their art. If they create a good piece, next time I want to see better. I think it is time for me to quit settling on my students being good. I want them to be great!

We are starting in our Art History classes with a project on Peter Max. Very cool guy, and very fun art for the students. I look forward to see just what comes out of their ideas! Photography is going to have a mix of old and new but first we need to learn our cameras...wow do we need to learn how to use our cameras;) Drawing class is going old school. I watched the Bernstein Bears the other day with my four year old. Yes you heard right. Bernstein Bears. Brother Bear was taking an art class and was being taught to draw circles and squares and triangles..and hated it. He wanted to draw people, places and things. His Art teacher told him to have patience and those things would come. I would have to agree.

So here we go off into a new year, so wish us luck!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Happy Stuff

One of my seniors made this great present for me over break. I love everything vintage and she does too. She created this awesome Kerr Mason jar as a "photo holder" of sorts. She used an oil and mica on the inside. So amazingly cute! Thanks Miss Ashton!

Friday, April 15, 2011


Sometimes you just have to have fun when you teach. Today, last hour was one of those times. I have an extremely good sized art exploratory class that ranges from freshman to seniors. I really like the vibe I get from them all the time but since they began this semester we have been confined to sitting at desks until today. As the Cupid Shuffle came on, I announced I did not know how to do this dance. One of them suggested that they teach me. Now in a normal teacher moment, a teacher would have laughed that off. BUT, due to the fact that it is only a few short hours before spring break, and in a few short hours before I leave for Florida I said what the heck. And we did the CUPID SHUFFLE! What great fun with those kids! Kids keep memories from school. they are not memories about reading a great book or doing a fantastic art project, they are moments like this. It will be one of my favorites too. I believe one of the kids video recorded it so as soon as I have access to that I will proudly display my new dancing skills!

Monday, April 11, 2011

In the News

The Paris Beacon News came and did an article on the Portfolio Class at PCHS. Very proud of my students. Here is the link! http://www.parisbeacon.com/articles/2011/04/07/news/doc4d9e0584c162b106625923.txt

What it Takes to Make Things Work

I am the first to admit I am not good at delegating. It takes everything in me to let go of that control and honestly sometimes to me it is easier to simply do it yourself than it is to take the time to let someone know how to help you. This weekend, while in clean up mode after prom, a great friend said. "Stop, slow it down and tell me what I can do." Sometimes we all need to hear those words from someone. It makes us step back and regroup. it also lets us know that we have great people in our lives to love us enough to help us.

This weekend, I had a great group of friends who helped Staci and I make it through prom. These ladies were amazing and stepped up to help where we knew we would falter. It started last year with a group of women who helped with Grand March. This year the group grew in numbers and helped the event run flawlessly from what I have heard. So thank you to Linda, Michelle, Denise, Carla, Pam, and Michelle. And thank you to Kevin, our head of maintenance for all your stage setting and chair moving! You guys did an amazing job. We are so happy to have you each and every year! And prom this year, we had the best turn out of faculty we have had in a long time. They of course are always awesome, staying and just keeping extra eyes out there. But to be honest, our kids were great as usual. I think one of the best things that we have ever done is to move our prom from our little town in to a different environment. The kids now have a reason to get dolled up, limos ordered and truly have a night on the town. So proud of how they are in this kind of social situation. They were polite, funny, and kind. I look forward to prom each and every year for that simple fact. The best part about my job as junior class sponsor is working with great kids, wonderful faculty members and parents, and an excellent co-sponsor!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

April 5th, 2011

Yesterday was election day. I talked in my last blog about the amazing opportunity that the community of Paris, Illinois had sitting in front of them. A once in a lifetime chance to build a new school. I headed to bed quite nervous, I did not know the outcome, that is, until my 12 year old burst into my room and said "I just got a text, it passed!" I sat there looking at her and I know I didn't believe her at first. I grabbed my phone and climbed on Face book, the end all and be all in my world, and indeed she was right. Last night I had trouble falling asleep. It seemed surreal. In only a few short years, we will have a new school thanks to all of those individuals who worked so hard to campaign and those members of our community who simply marked a yes box. This morning when I woke up I came to the realization that my daughter would be in one of the first graduating classes from this new school. I also came to the realization that I have a few short years to get a lot of work done. My daughter kindly reminded me of that when she said to me in the middle of breakfast this morning, "Mom, what are you going to do with all that stuff in your room?" And there is where reality sank in. Wow I have a lot to do. Sorting, purging, organizing. It will all have to be done. There are things in my classroom from so many teachers before me, I have yet to discard, because I, like all art teachers, can't throw anything away. So now begins phase two of this wonderful adventure. I will have to post the randomness of what is in the art room from time to time so that all of you can gain an appreciation of my newest task at hand. Thank you again Paris Community for making our young people come first!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Today is the Day

Today is one that can go in the City of Paris' history books. Today our community is given the opportunity to better the lives and education of young community. Today we have the ability to Vote YES.

A little less than a year ago, we found out that our name was up on a building fund list for the State of Illinois. We were up for a new school. The State of Illinois has money (and yes they actually have it!), money that makes up 66% of building costs toward a new high school. We, the community of Paris are voting today on a referendum to fund the other portion. A portion that will build a children a school where education and technology will bridge together and spring our students into the educational world of today and tomorrow.

Talking to a fellow co-worker this morning, I was telling him that my tummy was full of butterflies today. He said you know, 102 years ago, our community put aside fears and the thought of taxes and did something for the good of our young people and our community. 102 years ago they built a new school. I only hope that our community can see it that way today. Wow. Well said!

I was one of those people who questioned this new school at the beginning. I honestly thought, no way! No way did I want my taxes to increase, in already ridiculous State of Illinois- County of Edgar tax world. My answer for the first few months was HECK NO! And then I did something. I educated myself on the pros and cons. On the finances, and the interests. I looked at how it would affect me as someone who worked in the school, as a taxpayer in the district, and as a parent.

I can tell you the very moment that my opinion changed. I came to see my daughter who attends the middle school perform in a school play that was held at PCHS. As my parents and I walked into sit down in the auditorium, i turned and looked around. I have been in that room over a hundred times in my job at PCHS, but for the second time in my life, i was there as a parent. I watched people avoid, and then finally forced to sit in seats which the backs were broken off of, that there were no longer desks attached to, but the brackets still sticking out of, looking at carpet that was heavily stained and worn through in many spots. And then I realized it. Wow. We need help. We have the ability sitting before us to build something new, or later down the line, we will have to shell out the money into a 102 year old building to get it back up to standards and code. Which will cost more? Anyone that has restored and older home or car knows, there are points in time when you are investing more than it cost to buy new.

People are questioning the idea of what a new building will do to improve test scores and education on a whole. Education is taking off in leaps and bounds. Right now technology and group approach is where education is going. Innovative and creative. Exciting. Technological. We try our best here at PCHS, but you can only do so much with what you are given. People look back and say you only have 600 kids in that building at one time there were over a 1000. They could handle it, why can't you?It isn't about the numbers of students, it is about the quality of education we can offer. This school was not built a 100 years ago to house and run, computers, smart boards, wi-fi, laptops, computers, and machinery that we use know as everyday items in our educational process. The simple fact is, if PCHS wants to educate in today's world, we need the facilities to do so.

I hope that people open their eyes and see that this once in a lifetime chance brings to us. We have the ability to give back to our community. If the citizens of Paris could see it 102 years ago, I hope with all my heart the citizens today can as well. What could be better than that!


It's been quite a while since I have written. Alot of things have gone on in the art department. Although I am exhausted, I am so excited about the talent that we have in our little part of the world. We have spent the last two weeks working on the sets of Beauty and the Beast. If you have never been to a PCHS production, then you don't know what you are missing. Dan Lynch has the ability to bring these kids together to become something that a small town just doesn't get to experience. We have around 600 students in our school and there are over 140+ in the play, not to mention the students who paint the sets (us), students who build the sets, the orchestra pit, the lighting and stage crew, and the students who work on the programs, etc. It is indeed a site to watch happen. I believe that these sets were some of the more challenging to accomplish due to the detail and scale. I am so proud of my kids who worked on these and made them happen. I love seeing them take ownership in their work. It is a very proud moment and as usual I cried at the end of Sunday's finale performance watching it all come together. There is so much heart and emotion in it all!

In between work for the musical, we entered our work into one show this year. Normally we have three or four, but with our schedule, time didn't permit me to get it done. This year we have several amazing artists who shined in the County Wide Student Show. Millie Arp won overall 2-D for a painting, and we had one honrable mention for another painting by Emily Turner. In the 3-D Category, Millie Arp captured 1st place with a metal sculpture and Ashley Lee, a second place for a ceramic piece. These projects along with the rest of our fabulous work will be showcased in an upcoming blog.

I began going through my class numbers for next year. We have 600+ students in PCHS. At this point I have 237 students signed up for art next year. I cannot explain the feeling I get when I see my numbers go up and up. I started here 5 years ago, after coming from teaching elementary and high school at another school. Five years ago I began with 78 students in my program. Today 237. The jump in numbers of students who want to be a part of the arts is something that gives me goosebumps! I am so proud of the fine arts department as a whole for encouraging our students to dare and dream!

Today, the newspaper is coming into our classroom and they are going to highlight the Art Department in an upcoming issue. I am so proud of how far we have come and that our community is showing its support in the arts. What is dying in some areas of our country is growing and producing in our small community. Today I feel blessed!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

What Are We Working On Now...

So lots of things going on in the Artroom these days. Now that the snow days are over (crossing my fingers and toes) we are really rolling along. We have a show coming up next month and I am looking at a lot of great work to put in it.

Art I students are working on some stone mosaic and perspective drawing. I always put off perspective. Funny how we don't like to teach what we don't like. As for the stone mosaics, they are kind of interesting. Kids are running all over the place in thought on these, but I like it that way. My art exploratory students are working in oil pastel on a study of georgia o'keefe. Although they are not all fans of the flower, I have finally gotten them past the point of looking at it as a flower and simply studying the shapes, forms, and colors. They are simply amazing. I am really enjoying this exploratory class. They are only in here for a semester, but wow do they have some serious talent!

Photography and graphic design II has entered a fantasy world. And as I am typing, there are working away and I can't hear a simple conversation. They are so into what they are doing. That makes me very, very happy.

My Advanced Art girls are working hard on portfolios. They have to have it completed by the end of the school year and some of them have a long way to go. But the work is strong and that is what I want to see. Soon I am going to be spotlighting them one at a time.

Ceramics class is really doing a nice job. They have just finished hand building teapots and are working on dimensional story plates. I am really excited to see their completed pieces. They are the first group in a long time that is acutely aware of detail. YEAH!

Hand Arts class is just fun! They have finished some weaving of baskets (yes I know how 60's is that!) But they have done a great job. We are hitting another recycled project before moving onto a new project. These kids are so creative and so much fun!

Think before you react

I came to a conclusion today, that perhaps I have spent the better part of my life preparing to react. Rather than thinking before I speak, I react. I think we all do it.

We always prepare ourselves to have a reaction or a comment ready before a question is asked. Sometimes it is because we believe so strongly in what we feel. Sometimes, we might feel argumentative, defensive about our beliefs. Whatever it is we spend too much time doing it.

Today I was one the receiving end of this and the feeling was different. For the first time in my life, I had nothing prepared. I had not been prepared for a battle of thoughts or words. And to be honest it knocked me off my seat.

So now I have to decide if I am ok with that feeling. I don't like to argue. I don't even like to disagree with anyone. But in the whole scheme of things, I am really really tired of my mind constantly on the move preparing for someone else's move. Maybe I need to sit back and see how things roll in my life rather than always having a back-up plan. I am not sure it wouldn't be a good thing with a lot less stress. Let's see how this goes.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


I am trying to find ways to make history in art more fun and I have decided to throw random unique artists into our history. I like it when I can tell students things about certain artists and they look at you like...no way... that is the most fun part about teaching it.

Right now my beginning art classes are learning about Georgia O'Keefe focusing on proportion, scale, and oil pastels. This is the first time I have viewed them as paying close detail to their work and that in itself is exciting.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


Four simple letters that make up one powerful word. Photo II students were assigned a single image that demonstrates the meaning of this word. Interesting interpretations.