Monday, August 8, 2011

Quick and Easy Stamps!

I've been about doing a mudcloth project with third grade since it ties in with their science soils unit. My goal was to mix different types of soils with paint and notice the changes in consistency, color and other "scientific properties." Of course there will be painting, but I wondered what it would be like if students could create their own stamps and work a little printing into the project. 

I've always wanted stamps for certain occasions, etc. but wasn't sure of a way to make them with ease. This is something you kids can do in 10 minutes and certainly, it's tons of fun. 

Foam sheets with an adhesive backing. I bought these at Michael's for about five bucks:
Clear plastic that you can cut (I used cardboard since I am working from home, however clear plastic will allow you to see where the stamp is being placed)

1. Take one sheet of foam, peel the back and stick it to the front of a second piece of foam. This will ensure the stamp is actually thick enough for stamping (I learned from my mistakes last year). 
2. Cut the foam into squares if you are distributing for a class
3. Draw on your design. I used a Sharpie and unbelievably it smudged a little. I am sure pencil could work just fine.
4. Imprint designs in the foam that you would like to see on the stamp.
5. Cut the design out and using a dull pencil or the back of a pencil,  
6. Peel the backing and attach to a small piece of plastic/cardboard
7. Ink and stamp!!!

There you have it. Super easy stamps that can be made by your kids for any occasion!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Need an affordable document camera?

Check this thing out: 

If you have ever had the chance to use a document camera in your classroom, you know the power it holds! Everyone being able to see exactly what your doing without making a trip to the demo table. Sadly, I haven't had the chance to keep one in my room, but that won't stop me. I've found the iPevo Point 2 View USB camera. I did some extensive youtube searching and I think this may just be the choice for me this year. At a price of 68 dollars, how can I resist? It seems to work just like a document camera without the cost. I'll be having some of that!

As I viewed all of these youtube videos it seemed everyone was consumed with showing how it can project their ipod with clarity. This got me thinking...could there be any games or activities that I could play with using my fancy, new document "camerish" device and my ipod?

I went on the hunt and although I didn't find everything I hoped for, what I did find were some cool apps that you could play with when there is a little free time left in the class...or while you waiting for that teacher that just isn't quite on time.

First up...
#1 Kid's Art Puzzle: Sliding Slices!

This app is way too fun! Simply open the application, pick a famous piece of artwork and start sliding the pieces around to get the image back to its original position. I will say, this was a bit difficult for me until I found the "settings" tab which let's you choose the level of difficulty.

#2 Ed Emberley's Shake & Make:

This little app offers a lot of fun. It is another puzzle game. You pick an Ed Emberley drawing, shake the ipod and the image breaks and falls to the bottom of the screen in multiple pieces. Your job is to move them up the screen and lock them into place to recreate the image. I've got to say, this is a little time consuming, but fortunately there is a hint button at the top that lets you see exactly what the image looked like BEFORE it broke into all those tiny parts.

#3 Doodle Find

This app is not necessarily as educational as the others, but if it involves any type of visual discrimination, I'm game. This is by far the most addictive of all the apps listed. I've found myself playing it at least once a day. Your mission is to find as many objects as possible within the small time window given. It is fast paced, so this may be a game for the upper grades.

#4 Let's Create! Pottery
Now this one I haven't had the pleasure of purchasing just let. I need to drag out that iTunes gift card I have lying in some purse...somewhere. I did want to mention it though due to its stellar reviews and the video I saw on here on youtube. Most of my students have never even seen a wheel so here they can manipulate and at least get to experience it virtually. I look forward to adding this to my collection.

What about you? Do you have any apps or super deals to share. Be sure to comment. I'd love to hear what you've found!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Easy Murals

Last year there was a blog buzz of murals going around. I wanted to purchase a few, but just couldn't come to terms with buying YET ANOTHER thing for my classroom. I had to get creative and I found a way to make murals in a few easy steps using any image (I would however suggest something fairly large, such as wallpaper sized for reasons I will mention below). We made 5 murals last year, from second grade to fifth...all with outstanding results! Right, enough about me. Let's get to it!

1. Find an image that you would like to "muralize!" I suggest something will simple line work, and even better, with a limit color palette. This will make for less confusion with your younger grades. A great find for simplistic, yet beautiful images is Dover books (Pictorial Archive Series). They sell what I call image catalogues for just about every topic in the world and they come on a handy cd of all the images so you can pull them right from the disc.

2. Place the image into word, pages, or whatever program you have so that you can resize the image. Make it large enough to fill the page. This will be your visual reference for the kiddos. Print enough copies that you think your class will need in color. I shared one copy for every two students.

3. Go on over to Ignore the scary man with a hammer and follow the steps. Upload your picture, decide how many page you want it to be and whether you want letter sized, follow the prompts and download the PDF that comes up. This will be your mural. It will look pixelized, but since the kids are going to color over it, no one will even know.

4. Print! All you have to do is print in black and white. If you can print without a border your life will be much easier. I couldn't so I had to trim all of the borders off, then I got lazy with the following ones and left the white border in. I actually ended up really liking the segmented look.

5. Write a number order in the corner of each page. This will save you later.

6. Pass out the pages and the photo reference you made earlier and let the kids color away. I used oil pastels with stunning results. If some one finishes early, I usually have extras that they can work on.

7. Once you have compiled them, lay them out on a large piece of craft/butcher paper in order. I let the kids do this last time. Then I just hot glued them down and voila!  A beautiful mural without a lot of work.

I hope this is helpful and it give you the freedom to mural as you wish!

NOTE: You may be wondering how I got the gridded reference on page two of the reference document. If you are tech savvy you may have the ability to do an image capture with your computer. I used Snap and Drag for Mac to capture the poster preview on Blockposters. I then took the image and resized it in Pages (the mac equivalent for Word). I hope that isn't too terribly confusing.

Example: George Rodrigue's Blue Dog Series

Monday, July 25, 2011

Polish Wycinanki

Wycinaki (pronounced with a v at the beginning) is the Polish form of paper cutting. The colors and designs vary by region. I love the symmetry and detail involved! I made these with third grade two years ago and WOW, the results were amazing! It is simply something you have to try, even if it is only for your own fun.

It seems straight forward to me, but let me know if a demo is needed. I can always do that.

Happy Cutting!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Tiki with a Twist

I found a fun blending project to be used with just about any grade. The steps to drawing are simple and offer room for a lot of artistic interpretation. Simply start at the brow and work your way down. Blend in the colored areas and top off with wood texture. Voila!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Laurel Burch Cats

Ever since I found the amazing work of Laurel Burch, I have been mesmerized. Her use of color throughout her work is amazing (I love all things bright and colorful...I am much like a small child).

I have seen this done on other blogs, but can't give a direct link as it has been years since I have seen it. If you created this please let me know so I can credit you.

I made a little drawing guide for those students who may need extra help (I would put it up on my Activboard) or for those kids who are out for the day.

I've tried painting, oil pastel, a mix of the two without promising results. I think I may do tempera this year if I try it again.

Laurel Burch Cat Reference

Clay Pigeons

I loved this story the first time I read it. I've seen paintings and drawings, but I have never seen them done in clay. I had the chance to make some clay birds this past year using a similar slab process, but I wanted to try this for the upcoming year. First grade would be my intended audience. Yes, it uses templates...please don't scold. ;) I try to limit my use of templates, but for this it seems to work.

Simply download the PDF, print on tagboard and you have yourself a project ready for the making. I would use bottle caps to make an indentation of the outer eye and marker lids for the inner. I would have them free cut the wing. Enjoy!

Clay Pigeons PDF

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Room Signs

I made some signs to go above famous art prints around our room that highlight the media used in that particular work. I am missing printing and digital. For some reason that file is corrupt and I will need to do a redo. Are there any others that I am missing? Let me know I can fill in the gaps.

Signs 1 & 2

Signs 3 & 4

Signs 5 & 6

Behavior Forms

I am refining my consequences from last year. What can I say? I am still learning and I'll be honest, I was firm at first... then lightened up too early. It definitely wasn't out of control by any means, but definitely not the atmosphere that is 100% conducive to learning, so this year I will implement the behavior reflection sheet to add to my consequence list. I have created two, one for the lower grades and one for the upper. Maybe you can find this useful for your classroom?

Lower Grades Behavior Form

Upper Grades Behavior Form


Grading is tricky with the upper grades for me. I never quite managed how to let the kids see what I am grading them on other than what I mention in class. I tried extensive rubrics and spent countless hours creating, then I came up with a generic rubric that highlights all of what I am looking for...with the addition of objectives. I am planning on using these for the upcoming year by printing out an oversized poster (ever used It is a must!). All I will have to do is write up our objective(s) for the day and voila! Major time saver in my book.

Here are my examples. Let me know if you would like changes so that it can be yours too!  I've lost the original file of the first two rubrics! ARGH! They were from so long ago... However, the two page rubric has a completely blank column that could be of help to some. Sorry about that!

One Page Rubric

Two Page Rubric

Kindergarten and First Hand Rubric

It's a Beginning

I have been desperately trying to figure out how one starts a blog... particularly in the summer months when there isn't a lot going on (for me anyway). I decided it might be a good idea to just start going through the oodles of files I've managed to create over the past two years and maybe post some of my classroom management tools, signs, whatever I come across. I hope that the next few posts prove to be helpful.