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Writing Project Idea

November 15, 2018

Cornett’s Book Corner

The Creativity Project: An Awesometastic Story Collection would be a great text to use with students in upper elementary and middle school. Its goal is to inspire collaboration, reading, creativity and writing. The editor, Colby Sharp, is the cofounder of the Nerdy Book Club and is currently a 5th grade teacher. You’ll definitely want to check out the Nerdy Book Club’s blog for more great book recommendation ideas, too!

The Creativity Project originated as a way to recognize the excitement around taking ideas and molding them into stories. Colby challenged more than 40 popular authors and illustrators to develop 2 different story prompts. Next, each participant selected another person’s prompt to complete. As you can imagine, the results are very interesting! There are a variety of stories, poems, comics, and illustrations in this text. Additionally, The Creativity Project contains a set of incomplete prompts that students can build their writing off of as well.

Just think of the possibilities. First reading and enjoying the stories in this book as a class could occur. Next, perhaps working whole group to model completing a prompt together would be fun. Then have students select prompts to finish from the story to then edit and share aloud. These could be bound into a classroom book and shared in a classroom library, especially if you see multiple classes of students a day. Lastly, why not start the same project from scratch with your own students originating their own prompts and then completing someone else’s? I’m thinking students could even vote on top submissions and give awards for different categories. I personally like the idea of prompts being anonymous and therefore students would not know who they are connecting with creatively until the end of the project. I also like that students can work at their level or interest area- focusing more on words and art or comics and poetry, too.

Standardized writing prompts seem to sometimes suck the life out of student writing. This project would hit ALL the standards in my book, and in a fun way! The Creativity Project has a five star rating on Amazon– what more could you ask for? GO! Write now!


Art Creativity Motivation Uncategorized

New Year! New Art Goals!

January 29, 2018

So, it’s a new year which means many of us are making a year long list of resolutions that we intend to achieve and I hope each of you do! I set many goals for myself every day; don’t drink Dr. pepper, don’t eat the donut, don’t yell, don’t lose your cool, choose kindness, WWJD, and may other daily goals that’s just too many to list. I do have one very important goal for myself professionally and personally.

My 2018 goal- Do not let fear of failure consume me.   

Professionally, how can I make this happen? STOP BEING AFRAID OF NEW MEDIA. If I’ve never used a particular media before, most likely I’m not going to try it because I’m terrified of hundreds of sad faces and failed projects. One thing I enjoy about being an art teacher is that the students think I’m an art genius ( I can assure you that I’m not), but I mean come on, would you want to see the disappointment on their sweet faces?  In college, we’re taught how to teach lessons you can do with your kids, but have I tried some of these with 20-25 students? NO.  Do I feel comfortable and confident enough to teach this lesson? NO. So what can I do about it? EDUCATE MYSELF. I can’t expect this change to happen magically. So I have vowed to attend as many conferences, watch as many webinars, listen to as many podcasts, and make as many messes by myself. Not letting fear consume me professionally allows my students to have the best art experience possible in my classroom!

Personally, I could go on and on and on, but I won’t! Something from my top 5 is, STOP BEING AFRAID TO GROW ARTISTICALLY. I love going home to create art, paint, craft, sketch, and color in those fascinating coloring books and I tell myself to start sharing my artwork with people more.  I have somewhat done that, but I fear rejection and lose confidence in myself so quickly when something doesn’t go the way I planned. I often feel stuck and that I’m not progressing artistically.  So how can I make this better? MAKE ART DAILY. I can’t expect to become this art making genius like my students think I am if I’m not putting in the work to become better!

So, what are your goals year and what are you going to do about it?

Art Creativity

An ARTful Summer!

July 23, 2017

So, what does an art teacher do during the summer? What does any teacher do during the summer? The idea of relaxation, binge watching your favorite shows on Netflix, family vacations, or laying out by the pool to soak up the sun is always nice to think about and maybe even do for a few days, but we all know there are things that need to be crossed off of your checklist!

Summer break is something we all look forward to, but when it finally arrives the only thing I can think about are the changes that I can make for my students and for myself professionally. As an art educator, I make it a goal to educate myself in my own field and in grade level standards. I use this time to become familiar with fresh ideas I can implement into my classroom routine. Along with some fun in the summer sun, here are a few things I do each summer break to ensure that I’m ready for a new school year!

Implementing the A in ART

You might think as an art teacher I  have all the time in the world to create, right? Not this art teacher. When you’ve had a busy school year like me while trying to obtain a master’s degree, creating art seems impossible. But now that summer break is here I have enjoyed creating art for art’s sake, artwork that reflects me and how I have grown as a person.  People sometimes think when you say you’re an artist that you can draw or paint anything, which isn’t true. To remain a great artist, one must practice and fail. Can you believe I’ve actually enjoyed that process this summer?

Reading up on the R in ART

I’ve done a lot of reading this summer for personal enjoyment and for professional growth. I know that it’s healthy for me to have a mixture of both so I’m not feeling overwhelmed and stressed about work during the summer. Yes, I want to grow as an educator, but I still want to relax, right?

Here are some books that I’ve read so far over the summer that you may enjoy!

From the Dorothy Must Die series by Danielle Paige, I recently finished the third novel in the series, Yellow Brick War. I just started reading the fourth book in the series, End of Oz. The entire series thus far has been a GREAT read! If you are a Wizard of Oz fanatic like me, you’re going to love how Danielle Paige took a classic novel and made it into a modern war story between two worlds.

Ron Clark’s book, The Essential 55, is also something I believe all teachers could read. No matter the grade level or subject area, you can take away so many new practices and ideas and implement them into your teaching.

The T in ART

Yes, teaching is still something I enjoy doing over the summer. Whether it is teaching myself or coming back to school to teach some of my students, I feel that I still need to perfect specific teaching methods. Teaching art means that I am going to be teaching the same lessons to the same grade levels for a few days. This allows me to critique myself, fix what I saw went wrong so my students can obtain the objective better. Luckily for me, during the summer I get the chance to work with ESP LEAPS students, a program created for students to be tutored during the school year and also during the summer. I get to experiment with new lessons, implement new activities and projects, and incorporate new standards into art lessons that I don’t have much time for during the school year. Even though I feel that teaching is a gift granted to some of the most caring individuals, the learning never stops and the job is never finished! Even in May!

What summer routines do you have in place to ensure that you are well rested for a new school year but also on your “A Game”?

Art Creativity Uncategorized

Creative School Breaks!

July 5, 2017


As you’ve read in previous post here on Tenspire, us educators enjoy and fully take advantage of school breaks, especially summer break. School breaks are for relaxation, restoration, and still some work for educators. Sometimes, this can difficult when your own children or children you may baby sit begin shouting, “I’m bored!” and wants to color, play outside, watch movies, and everything else a kid enjoys doing over break.  If you’re too busy to go out or you’re living on a budget there are creative art activities you can do at a low cost or with household items you have at home.

Let’s check out a few…

Squirt Gun Painting!

Most likely, if you have children you’ll have water guns laying around. Instead of filling them with water, fill them with watered down paint or liquid watercolors, using their favorite colors. You can use any size or color paper and lay it on the grass to avoid a mess. Pick up your water gun and begin creating abstract art pieces! Just as simple as that! 

Glitter Goo!

Slime was all the rage this school year. Weekly, students walked into my classroom eager to show me their silly putty or goo that they had made in ESP or in their homerooms. So, I’m sure it’ll be a hit when creating with your munchkins over any break! All you need is…

  1. Glitter glue of any color. Make sure it isn’t washable glue.
  2. Water (equivalent to the amount of glue you are using.
  3. 1 tsp of Borax.
  4. 4 additional oz. of warm water (dissolves the borax)

Keep stirring until you have a gel-like substance and store it in a Ziploc bag or container. And Walla! You have Glitter Goo!

The Famous Coloring Books!

The content and images of coloring books have definitely changed since I was a child. The images are very detailed, creating a zentangle design that is mesmirizing and attracts all age groups. These coloring books are also themed and can tell a story. You can purchase a Harry Potter colroing book, The Secret Garden, Wild Savannah, Animal Kingdom, and many more themes that may seem interesting to your children. If you can’t find a coloring book in stores that you like there are numerous pages online that you could print off for free.  Not only are these for children, but some coloring books are specifically for adults! Coloring a few pages a day can be very relaxing while your children are playing with Glitter Goo or creating water gun abstract art pieces.  

On your next break from teaching, try one of these activities to keep everyone around the house busy and entertained! What are some activities you have done with your children or even for yourself that you have found to be enjoyable?  


Art Show Mania

June 23, 2017

Art Show Mania!

Art shows! There is so much that comes along with preparing for an art show. Even though my co-workers can find me in the hallways frequently hanging up new art projects throughout the school year, my mind is constantly on what will be hanging for Fine Arts Night in March, what artwork I can submit for the City Hall Art show, and what can I do differently next year to help me better prepare. It can be messy, stressful, time consuming, and frustrating all at the same time. And honestly, I haven’t found a way to better prepare myself. I try to do different projects each year which require different preparation. Even though overwhelming emotions can come from it, it’s one of the most rewarding experiences as an art teacher. Seeing the reactions from co-workers, the students, and their families reassures me that I am appreciated and my job of educating students about the arts has been accomplished.

So what all does it take, you ask? SO MUCH. But I’ll give you the basics…

Art Show Prep

The first step that I take when preparing for an art show is to make sure I have artwork representing each grade level. It’s important to showcase what each grade level has created over the course of a school year. I choose 1-2 projects from each grade level to display, something unique and new, a project that I’ve never done before.

Next, I begin to think about where each grouping will be hung and how to display. This seems like such an easy step, but I take my time when thinking about the placement for each piece and where it will look its best.  When the artwork is displayed, I always include a descriptor with each project, describing the artist and the artwork that inspired the project. I feel that this is important for viewers because not everyone has background knowledge on the visual arts.

Last, I go through each class bin and take out projects that will be displayed. This can be stressful because eventually I run out of space in my classroom! During art show time, you can always find stacks of art in each corner of my room. Once I have pulled all of the pieces I need, the beautiful artwork fills the hallways and the gymnasium, ready to be viewed on Fine Arts Night, my favorite night of the school year!

Let’s skip the clean-up aftermath…

This year’s Fine Arts Nights was one of the best for me as an art teacher. I displayed new art projects, recruited students to help me prepare, and received a ton of support from parents and co-workers. I believe the highlight of the show this year was all of the clay projects that were included. This was something new that I had never done. My fourth graders created beautiful clay pots. My fifth graders created colorful impression bowls, and my sixth graders created clay food such as cookies, pizza, tacos and burritos. The clay projects are everyone’s favorite, but not everyone gets to see how creative my students can be with three-dimensional artwork. This school year has been full of new ideas, projects, and experiences. I believe that on Fine Arts Nigh,t it confirmed that this school year and many professional choices were a success.

Art shows can definitely be crazy, but it is the greatest time to show everyone what your students have learned and how they’ve grown artistically as artist, but also how I have grown as an art educator.


Studio EE4 is Closed!

June 11, 2017

Closing out the school year for all teachers is a busy time, especially for an art teacher. “What might make it difficult?’ you ask? Well, I’ve taken it upon myself to do way too much and try new things at the end of the school year! What was I thinking?! But hey, I enjoy being challenged and ended up learning some new things during the process that can be useful for next year. Below are some yearly routines I do with my students at the end of the school year plus some new endeavors!

Art Portfolio’s

At some point I have to pass out every piece of artwork back to the students that they’ve made over the school year; time-consuming for me but so exciting for the students because I’ve been hoarding it all year long (WHOOPS!). My students and I discuss the importance of preserving their artwork and how it will be appreciated by their family and friends to view their art progression over the course of the school year!

JPE’s favorite art things!

Even though I do this every year, I am still surprised to read some of the responses I receive. The last art class of the year is for fun, free-drawing (because I never let them) but most importantly, reflection. The students write on a post-it note their favorite art project, what they’ve learned, and what they want to learn next year. I love reading these from each student because it helps me grow as a teacher and to create more engaging and effective lesson plans.

T-Shirt Contest!

The students have been more excited about the school t-shirt contest more than any project we’ve done this year, even more than clay (which is a HUGE hit). The 2017-2018 school year is the 10th anniversary for my school and our PTO wants to celebrate by hosting a t-shirt contest. Easy peezy, right? WRONG! After giving the students detailed instructions and requirements for the t-shirt, it has been very amusing to see Batman eating a birthday cake, Minecraft worlds, Lego superheroes flying over the school, and many more. Hopefully, we can find a winner soon!


This school year I hosted a behavior competition with my fifth-grade classes because they needed it. I needed something that would promote positive behavior and this competition definitely caused improvement! I chose three classes with the highest behavior percentage on Class Dojo, a system-wide behavior system we use within our school. The class that received first place got to tye dye shirts with me, and I haven’t done this in ages! I was nervous and excited about the mess and I can’t wait to see the kids reactions from this! Hopefully next year I can use this as an incentive with each grade level to promote positive behavior!

How do you close out your school year? Anything new that you may have tried that was just too overwhelming at the end of the year?

Art Creativity Integration Uncategorized

Famous Art Projects around JPE!

May 23, 2017


The last few post here on Tenspire have focused on some of my “go-to’s”. I have written about go-to sub plans, go to artist when lesson planning, and go to resources that help me develop new ideas. What about go- to lessons? Are there any activities that you feel that you must incorporate into your lessons each year because the students seem to love and learn from it? There definitely are some projects for me that I do each year because not only do I enjoy teaching it but I admire how hard the students work and how much care they put into these projects. No matter what I try to change up and present in a new way I have to teach these lessons because the students look forward to entering a new grade and getting the chance to make the artwork they’ve seen hanging in the hallways from previous school years.

POW! 4th grade Onomatopoeia’s!

Each year with my fourth grade students we create onomatopoeia collages inspired by the artist Roy Lichtenstein and various comic book series. The students LOVE this lesson, and so do I! I mean, who doesn’t love looking at comic books with their students? The students create a background and chooses an onomatopoeia to create with paper using primary and secondary colors. I wrap up the lesson by giving the students blank comic book panels, allowing them to create their own comic book story with multiple onomatopoeia’s. The students love sharing their original comic book stories with their class. This lesson also hits on a few of the fourth grade standards due to the use of the onomatopoeia and the writing component during the comic book panel section. Every school year I hang these in the hallways and love the reactions I get from students, parents, and fellow staff members. Check out the pictures below!


Clay projects! 

Clay time is the messiest but most productive time during the school year! As an art teacher it’s one of the most tiring months because of all the preparation but it’s worth it once I see how excited the students are when creating their projects. I do clay projects with every grade level and each grade level does different project. The most famous projects I do with clay are the second grade clay pendants and third grade clay monsters. No matter what grade they are in the entire school loves seeing the students wearing the clay pendants or carrying their clay monsters home every year! Check out the pictures below!



Getting to Know the Art Resources

May 13, 2017

In my art room I have numerous resources that are available to me, books, posters, art textbooks, and resources left from my amazing mentor teacher.I’ve ordered items before and have been disappointed in the past with the lack of information provided or the low quality of images that I’ve needed to use but there are a few that I use consistently and daily when it comes to lesson planning. This post will focus on my favorite resource I have in Studio EE4. 

Getting to Know series:

I was never familiar with this series until my first NAEA (National Art Education Association) Convention in New York City during my junior year in college. I remember finding a vendor with these books and dvd’s and bought as many as I could, instantly loving the illustrations and how easy of a read it would be in my future art room.  The Getting to Know series is not just something for art teachers, but can be used my music teachers and grade level classrooms as well.  This series was created by author and illustrator Mike Vienza. These series of books and dvd’s teach students about influential people, places, ideas, and events that made a major impact in history artistically, musically, and politically. I’ve never used the Getting to Know the Composers or Presidents series but have heard from other teachers it’s a great resource to use. 

Getting to Know the Artist books gives a brief biography over numerous artist in the art world in the past and present. The books are kid friendly and have very appealing illustrations to keep student engaged. I love using these books in my room because the students love seeing the artist in story format and the concept of what we are learning is easier to grasp with certain grade levels. The students learning about their inspirations, seeing the artist’s early works, and seeing how the artist developed over the years. Some of the newer books also have quizzes that you can copy and use to wrap up a particular unit or lesson. I use these quizzes for multiple grade levels and lessons and tweek questions as needed. I also love to use these books at the beginning and end of the year to introduce and wrap up what artist we will or already have discussed. Each of my 6 tables gets a different book, a set of 10 questions, and a free draw prompt all related to the artist they have been given. 

Valid and user friendly resources are a great asset to the art room. This series of books and dvd’s shows students that the process of art making and the development over the years can make them a better artist with each lesson!

Art Integration Uncategorized

Arts Integration Resources

May 2, 2017

In my previous post I mentioned that I have numerous resources available to me in my art room but only some are used consistently. As a new teacher one of the hardest things for me was deciphering what resources showed validity, what resources had enough appropriate information for elementary students, and what to start teaching. The Getting to Know the Artist books and dvd’s have helped me tremendously in my room with art lessons, but that isn’t the only thing that helps me when it comes to lesson planning. An effective and engaging lesson plan derives from more than one resource. From previous post that I have made here on Tenspire I have shared the importance of art integration and a few lesson plans and projects that I teach to my students. With arts integration, I use various resources with for each lesson. There are two things I consistently check each time that I make a new lesson plan.

Collaboration is Key

The first thing I check and read thoroughly are the grade level standards for the topics I choose to cover. Whether the art lesson incorporates writing, reading, science, or social studies, I go to those standards, read every line, and figure out how I can put that into my art lesson. With arts integration, collaboration is key. My first year teaching, the thought of collaboration with grade level teachers or even asking them a question about their standards frightened me. I took it upon myself to look online at the standards but did not have an understanding of what some of these standards meant, how it is now being taught, and the academic vocabulary I needed to use in the art room so students could make a connection. My second year at this school I had built up the confidence to ask teachers for paper copies of their standards and what ideas they had for me and the art room and they were willing to share ideas and teaching methods with me. I will randomly ask teachers what they are doing in their rooms or they will let me know on their own.  Having paper copies of grade level standards seems silly since I can access these online, but paper copies allows me to highlight, jot down notes, and organize them in the order I would teach them in my art room. Grade level standards are something I look at weekly in my classroom.


Another resource I use consistently in my art room when creating lesson plans is a book that I purchased at the beginning of the school year titled, Arts Integration by Deborah Holland. This book is amazing! It’s geared more towards elementary level, in my opinion, but these lessons could be changed to accommodate a secondary level if needed. This book has more than 20 of art teacher Deborah Holland’s best lesson plans. These lessons integrate art with math, science, social studies, and language arts. I love that each of these lessons are new for me or provides me a new way to teach something I have taught in the past. These projects also include every art medium such as clay, paint, watercolors, pastels, and more. The book gives me step by step procedures, materials needed, and resources that I may want to use when teaching.

There are many more resources I use when focusing on arts integration but these two are the first things I pull out of my file cabinet each time and they’ve proven to be successful each time!

Art Culture

Famous Fine Artist’s!

April 20, 2017

Art education is a very broad term when it comes to educating students about the arts. This includes photography, graphic design, visual, and book arts. This is a lot to cover and include in lessons during a school year. My goal is to expose my students to various types of art throughout the course of their elementary years with me. There are a few go-to artists I teach my students about every school year because I feel they encompass what it means to be a fine artist. Below is a list of artists I include each year in all of my lessons. Some of them I have briefly written about because, not only are they my favorite, but there is something about each of these artists I believe my students can relate to.

My Go-to Artists

Cindy Sherman– Sherman is an American photographer and film director. She’s most famous for portraits of herself dressed as other roles or characters such as an author, director, make-up artist, hairstylist, and model. Cindy Sherman’s photography is great inspiration for a photography lesson in the classroom. Also, her success as a woman shows students and young ladies that not all artist are men and only painters; there is a place for women in the art world as well. In today’s age children and even adults take selfies or download apps that filter or change our faces into animals or another person.

Frida Kahlo– Frida’s work moves and motivates me more than any other artist known to man! I love and admire her confidence as a woman and her outlook on life regardless of the unfortunate events that have happened to her. I love showing some of her portraits to my students when we are learning about self-portraiture and how to convey an autobiography in the picture with visual imagery. She is also a major topic during Hispanic Heritage Month in my art room.

Andy Warhol– Warhol was an American artist who was a leading figure in the Pop Art movement, which is one of my students’ favorite art eras to learn about each year. His works explore the relationship between artistic expression, celebrity culture, and advertisements which became more popular in the 1960’s. Warhol used a variety of media, including painting, silk screen printing, photography, film, and sculpture and all of those are visible in his artwork. Warhol’s work has inspiration behind many printmaking and advertisement lessons I do with my fourth and fifth-grade students each year.

Even though these aren’t all of the artist I teach my students about, I feel that these artists listed and described are so relatable to my students. Their artworks are a huge inspiration behind numerous art lessons I have created to engage my students and to incorporate pop culture.

Vincent van Gogh

Claude Monet

Pablo Picasso

Georgia O’Keeffe

Jackson Pollock

Keith Haring

If you could incorporate an artist inspired lesson (reading, writing prompt, arts and craft activity) into your grade level classroom who would it be? Why?