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5 Positive Affirmations Every Teacher Needs Right Now

5 Positive Affirmations Every Teacher Needs Right Now

Hello! Many teachers are in a really uncomfortable position. We are in the middle of a pandemic, our leaders don’t seem to care much about our health and well-being, and it is hard to believe that our schools are going to be able to open 

Juice Bottle Vase

Juice Bottle Vase

Hello! As the summer flies by and the school year approaches my mind is everywhere. With a tentative hybrid model proposed, but a possibility of going fully online, I feel like I should be modifying preparing lesson plans, not making crafts. But . . . 

Coffee Can Bird Feeder

Coffee Can Bird Feeder

Hello!

Soooooo, this summer has been interesting. I think the only thing keeping me sane is having to care for a toddler, and this blog. Art therapy is real, so craft therapy has to be a thing too, right? I hope my little projects can serve as a distraction from the insanity all around us πŸ™‚

Like the Craft Stick Wind Spinner I introduced a few weeks ago, this is another take on a classic kid’s craft. You can make this as simple or “extra” as you want – you don’t even have to use a can (any container should work). I chose to be fancy and use eye hooks, but if you prefer, you can just tie your string around the can before adding beads (or use a ribbon!).

Materials

-Large can ( I used a hot cocoa canister)

-Yarn

-Fishing Line or strong string

-Beads

-2 small eye hooks

-Glue

Instructions

Use a ruler and a pen to mark the places you want your eye hooks to go. My can was 11 inches long so I made my marks 5.5 inches from the rim and about 5 inches apart.

Use a little glue to attach the end of your yarn to the edge of your can, and start wrapping it around and around. Add a little glue every inch or so of wrapping – you don’t have to slather the entire can in glue.

When you get to the eye hooks, wrap the yarn around each one as you pass them, so that you don’t have a gap.

Next, cut a long length of fishing line or string (at least 3 feet) and tie to one of the hooks. Now you can start stringing your beads! I used small lime green beads that matched the green in my yarn.

Once you hanger is the desired length, tie your string to the other hook. That’s it! Fill your can with some bird seed and find a nice spot to hang it.

I hung it in the backyard and can’t wait to watch the birds pig out this evening. If you love birds check out my Faux Macrame Bird Feeder as well. Have a great week and stay safe! – Amerique

Faux Macrame Bird Feeder

Faux Macrame Bird Feeder

Hello! I had a lot of fun making this bird feeder and I am happy to share this project with you! I was inspired by the minimalist, macrame hanging plant holders I have been seeing on Pinterest and Etsy lately. I decided not to go 

“Make Empathy Great Again” – Free Coloring Page

“Make Empathy Great Again” – Free Coloring Page

Click here to download coloring page

Craft Tutorial: 12 Photo Frame

Craft Tutorial: 12 Photo Frame

Hello!

There are a lot of things I didn’t end up doing when my daughter was born, but I am proud of myself for taking a “staged” picture of her every month during her first year. Nothing fancy, just a cute bodysuit, a colorful headband and a month sticker on her chest.

Well, shes almost two, and until a couple weeks ago I still hadn’t done anything with the pictures! So, after going through the thousands of photos of her on my computer and cell phone, I chose the best picture for each month and printed them at Walgreens.

Now . . . how to display them? Back in the old days, when I went shopping for fun, I remember seeing those cool picture frames that use wire and clothespins or clips to hang photos, like a clothesline. They were always more money than I was willing to spend on something I could make. Well, I decided to make one!

I used a very cheap plastic frame that was scratched up, some yarn, ribbon and mini clothespins. Of course you don’t have to wrap your frame in yarn, and you can easily substitute the ribbon and clothespin for similar materials.

Materials

-18 x 24 Frame

-Yarn

-Hot Glue

-Ribbon

-12 mini clothespins

-12 photographs

Instructions

I started by removing the glass and backing from my picture frame so that I was left with just the frame.

Then I began wrapping it with yarn. I used some beautiful variegated yarn that was leftover from a crochet project. I used hot glue to attach the end of the yarn to the inside of one of the corners, then started wrapping, using glue every couple inches or so. This is the longest and most tedious step, and it took me several days because I had to take a lot of breaks, haha.

It soon became apparent that wrapping the corners was a pain because the yarn kept shifting and I didn’t want to use tons of glue and risk losing the soft texture of the yarn , so I left the corners unwrapped. My frame was not well made and it ended up breaking in two L-shaped pieces which I had to hot glue back together. Chances are, your frame is stronger than mine and you won’t have this problem πŸ™‚

When I was done with the yarn, I had to deal with the uncovered corners. I found some wide, beige satin ribbon in my ribbon box (yes, I said ribbon box!) and used it to cover the corners. It ended up looking really nice!

I knew I wanted my frame to be portrait orientation (vertical), so I attached the skinny white ribbon (the “clothesline”) to the long sides.

My frame was 18 x 24 and the inside of the frame was about 23.5 inches. My photos were 4″ x 6″ and I knew I wanted a little room between each row so that the photos did not overlap (and I knew the ribbon would sag), so I made markings a half inch from the inside corner, 7.5 inches from that mark, and 7.5 inches from that one (3 marks each side).

Of course, if you have a different sized frame and/or a different amount of photos you will have to do your own calculations.

Using my marks, I hot-glued three ribbons to the back of the frame. The ribbons will sag a little with the weight of the clothespins and photos so you don’t have to give them extra “slack” while attaching them.

I used my mini clothespins to hang my photos on the ribbon, (3 rows of 4 photos), and that was it – easy peasy!! Because my frame was so light I just used 2 push pins to hang it on the wall, but two small nails should be enough for a wooden or metal frame.

I am pretty happy with how my frame turned out, though I would make a couple of changes were I to do it all over again. I would use two clothespins per picture and use cord instead of ribbon, because it kept twisting on me. But I am ready to move on to the next project, and my husband and I love seeing our little girl’s first year every time we walk through the front door, so this project was a win πŸ™‚ – Amerique

Craft Tutorial: Quick and Easy Beaded Wind Spinner

Craft Tutorial: Quick and Easy Beaded Wind Spinner

Hello! I am happy to introduce a fun, all-ages craft project that will bring some color, sparkle and movement to your patio or porch (or trees)! I don’t know about you, but I have a big family and a tight teacher’s budget, and I’m thinking 

“Black Trans Lives Matter” and “Trans Lives Matter” FREE Coloring Pages

“Black Trans Lives Matter” and “Trans Lives Matter” FREE Coloring Pages

Hello! I have been producing graphics and coloring pages to share with anyone who is interested. These are my latest coloring pages: “Black Trans Lives Matter” and “Trans Lives Matter”. If there are any ideas/quotes/statements that relate to equality, empathy, human rights or unity that 

“Black Lives Matter” Coloring Page and Poster – Free Download!

“Black Lives Matter” Coloring Page and Poster – Free Download!

Hello!

I have been producing graphics and coloring pages to share with anyone who is interested. You can post these graphics on social media, and print them and the coloring page as many times as you like. (I have included a version with a white background to save toner.)

This is just the first image of many. If there are any ideas/quotes/statements that relate to equality, empathy, human rights or unity that you would like to see in my style, let me know and I will try to make it happen πŸ™‚ I am also interested in collaborating on educational anti-racism resources – let’s talk!

Click HERE to download the BLM Coloring Page

Click HERE to download the BLM Poster (black background)

Click HERE to download the BLM Poster (white background)

xoxoxoxo Amerique

Craft Tutorial: Whimsical Wind Chimes

Craft Tutorial: Whimsical Wind Chimes

Hello! I am happy to share another hanging yard art project with you this week. Last week I shared my tutorial for a craft stick Wind Spinner, and I am excited to share this fun and whimsical windchime tutorial! I think I am so obsessed 

Craft Tutorial: Wind Spinner

Craft Tutorial: Wind Spinner

Hello! I am super excited to present my first CRAFT tutorial! School is out and I am so happy to be able to focus on making my home beautiful and unique. We bought our house a year ago (May 2019) and all last summer I 

MORE Drawing Prompts that will Keep your Art Students Engaged

MORE Drawing Prompts that will Keep your Art Students Engaged

Hello!

I have one more week of instruction left before summer break πŸ™‚ It was a good, normal school year until everything went crazy, and all of a sudden I had to come up with art projects that students could do at home with very minimal materials.

In March I posted the drawing prompts I assigned my students the first week of distance learning, and I decided to close out the semester with the same thing, haha. If you are struggling to come up with short, fun art assignments to close out the year, feel free to pick and choose from the prompts I am sharing below.

I require my students to spend at least 15 minutes on each drawing and use shading techniques to express color/value, shadows and surface texture. Contour line drawings are not acceptable – my students must express surface quality. I also require them to fill a whole page of paper (I have a few students who draw very, very, small.) Drawing large also forces them to add more details.

Prompt #1: A Flower or Bloom

Go outside and find a wildflower, a flower in your garden, a flowering weed, or blossom on a tree. If your flower is very small, draw at least three of them. Include any leaves, vines or stems that it is attached to.

Prompt #2: Corner

Sit in the corner of a room with your legs out in front of you. draw your legs, and then draw what you see around them. Your body will appear to be distorted (foreshortening), but go with it – draw what you see!

Prompt #3 – Best Movie

Draw a scene from the best movie you have seen since in the past two months. Include as many details as you can remember.

Prompt #4: Friend’s Face

Draw a friend’s face from memory. This should be someone you have not seen since school closed. Don’t cheat by looking at a photo of them social media or your phone.

Prompt#5: Remote Control

Draw the most complicated remote control in your home – the one with the most buttons. Make sure to include all writing, numbers and symbols.

Prompt#6: The Oldest Item in your Fridge

Find something in your fridge that you think has been there the longest, and make a detailed drawing.

Prompt#7: Pair of Shoes

Arrange a pair of shoes so that they each one is in a different position/angle, and they are touching.

Prompt #8: Your Home

Draw the outside of your home. If you live in an apartment building, draw the whole building, not just your front door. If you are not able to spend time drawing outside, you can take a photo on your phone and work from that.

Prompt #9: Surfboard/Skateboard Design

Draw the out line of a surfboard or the bottom of a skateboard (you can look up a picture for reference if needed), and then put a unique design or image on it. You should fill at least 2/3 of the board.

Prompt #10: Stuffed Animal of Toy

Find an interesting stuffed animal or toy (it doesn’t have to belong to you) and create a toy portrait.

Well, there you have it! Next week I will post my first CRAFT tutorial and I am really excited to show you how to make a beautiful decoration for your garden. Have a great week – Amerique

Distance Learning Art Lesson: Conceptual Self Portrait

Distance Learning Art Lesson: Conceptual Self Portrait

Hello! I am excited to share a new distance learning lesson that can be executed in a variety of media. I am presenting it here as a photography assignment but you can easily make this a drawing or painting project. Overview Students will create two 

How to BE THERE for your 2020 High School Seniors

How to BE THERE for your 2020 High School Seniors

Hello! This year I am a senior advisor, and as you can imagine, lately it’s been tough. If you are a high school teacher or have children in high school, you know how bummed they are to miss so many end-of-the-year activities. If you have 

Distance Learning Art Lesson:  Shadow Box

Distance Learning Art Lesson: Shadow Box

Hello!

Last week I shared my first Distance Learning Lesson with you, a Photo Essay. If any of you out there have tried it, I would LOVE to see what you and your kids came up with! Today I want to share a Sculpture lesson that high school students can do at home with minimal art supplies. Just like the Photo Essay there is a lot of room for adjustments, so I am confident you can tailor this lesson to fit your student’s individual needs.

Generally, I tend to give students specific requirements and guidelines with assignments, because I have found that the majority of my students get overwhelmed when an art project is completely open-ended. Of course, the students who have specific and/or ambitious ideas are encouraged to go for it as long as they talk to me about it. During this time (quarantine) I am even more flexible and want all of my students to do the best they can with the materials that are available to them.

Project Summary

This project is inspired by the boxes of assemblage artist Joseph Cornell (1903-1972). Each of Cornell’s boxes revolved around a theme, often science and nature. Find out more about him here.

Students will create a shadow box that communicates something relating to their personal identity. Students will construct an open box (back and sides only) using cardboard, and choose at least ten (10) objects connected to a clear theme to go inside the box.

Constructing the Box

Students can start with an existing box or shoe box, or make it from scratch by cutting up larger boxes into squares and rectangles and attaching the pieces with heavy tape or hot glue. The completed shadow box must be at least ten (10) inches in one direction and can be as deep as you like. I remind my student that working bigger is actually easier. The shadow box should be divided into at least six (6) different sections. Students can do this by cutting rectangle pieces of cardboard that are the same depth as the box and gluing or taping them inside, creating different chambers.

Examples of Shadow Box Layouts

Students should do their best to exhibit good craftsmanship – minimal gaps, nice edges, etc. In the past I required the boxes to be covered with paint or fabric or decorated in some way , but if a student can’t do that with the materials they have on hand, that is okay too. If student choose to decorate their box, they should wait until they have decided on their theme and objects.

Theme

The theme should be somehow related to a student’s personal identity -something about them or important to them. Some ideas: favorite book, childhood memory, hometown/country, dreams and aspirations, a favorite sport, etc.

Students should collect materials from home, nature, the recycling bin, or wherever. They should include at least ten (10) objects. If they want, they can alter the objects by painting them, warping them, breaking them, reassembling them, etc.

Examples of objects

Some examples : game pieces, trophies and ribbons, jewelry, buttons, dried flowers, action figures, bottle caps, ticket stubs, shoelaces, makeup, feathers, etc. Really, anything that fits will work- last year I had a student put a pair of his old glasses in his shadow box!

Shadow Boxes should also include:

– At least three images (magazine images, personal photos, drawings, etc.)


-At least three items of text (cut out or hand written). This can include large pieces of text (from books or newspapers) or quotes.

Putting it All Together

Students should take the time to examine the size and texture of their objects in order to successfully assemble them into a dynamic composition. Students should create a focal point (area of emphasis).

Project Requirements

– Box must be at least ten (10) inches in one direction and have at least six (6) sections


-Must include at least three images and three articles of text


-You must include at least ten (10) objects


-Must create a focal point / area of emphasis

Student Examples

Student Examples from Fall 2019

How did you like this lesson? How did you adjust it? Let me know! – Amerique

Distance Learning Art Lesson: Photo Essay

Distance Learning Art Lesson: Photo Essay

Hello! Well, we just got the news that all schools in Nevada are closed for the rest of the academic year. Of course it was not a surprise but I was really holding out hope that we could go back in May! Anyway, now that 

Make a Color Square (No compass or protractor required)

Make a Color Square (No compass or protractor required)

Hello! I came up with the “color square” when I was teaching Visual Foundations at UNR. Our chair found an amazing deal on designer gouache and watercolor paper (before that primarily used dry media in the drawing department) and I was super excited for my 

5 Ways Art Teachers Can Be Super Productive (and stay on track) While Working From Home

5 Ways Art Teachers Can Be Super Productive (and stay on track) While Working From Home

Hello!

I just completed my second full week of working from home and I wanted to share some ways we art teachers can continue to be productive and get a jump on the next school year during this time. Even though we are teaching remotely, its not even remotely (haha) the same as being in the classroom. Video conferences, emails and Google Classroom are nothing like interacting with students in person, and I am finding myself with a lot more downtime than usual.

I usually always have at least a dozen “teacher” things (written on a list or in my head) that I want to accomplish, and I know that only about a quarter of it will actually get done before the end of the school year. Well, now I am determined to get them ALL done!

Every situation is different, and some of these ideas might not be an option for you, but I hope my list of tasks can inspire you to be productive while you are away from your classroom.

1. Delete Old Emails, Files and Photos

This is the easiest task, but the one that is usually the lowest on my list of priorities, and that is why I have a ridiculous amount of crap on my desktop, and 1,000+ work emails, haha. Last summer my district had a virus so our desktop computers were taken and wiped (sob!) and we were given little Think Pad laptops. They are small and honestly they kind of suck, but the upside is they are portable so I was able to take mine home. I already finished deleting old emails, and now I am going through the many, many folders on my desktop and deleting things I no longer need.

2. Update and Revise Lessons, Handouts, and Presentations

I work very hard to create packets for every project and I try to make them as detailed as possible, images and all. I also make a PPT to go with each lesson.

However, every semester without fail I find there are things I need to tweak. Sometimes its something as small as changing the dimensions of the paper students will use, or as big as adding a requirement or step.

3. Get Inspiration for New Lessons

The internet is a wonderful thing! This is the time to discover new artists, and peruse art blogs and art teacher blogs for lesson ideas. Even though I have dozens of good lessons for each of the subjects I teach, I like to introduce at least one new painting, sculpture, and drawing project each school year, to keep things fresh (for me).

4. Make Art and Try New Techniques

Are there certain art techniques or processes you have really been wanting to try and haven’t because there usually aren’t enough hours in the day? Now is the time! When things are back to normal you can introduce them to your students.

5. Discover new videos, films, and interviews to share with your art students

There are wonderful documentaries and specials being produced all the time, but I normally don’t have time to watch them. YouTube, Amazon Prime and Netflix are good place to start searching. Next week during my daughter’s nap time (fingers crossed) I am going to watch a PBS special on Basquiat that I stumbled upon last year while searching for a short interview clip to show my painting students.

What is your situation like during these weird times? Let me know how you are keeping productive from home – Amerique

Colored Pencil Basics: Try These Techniques Today!

Colored Pencil Basics: Try These Techniques Today!

Hello! This is the end of my first full week of working at home and while I’m getting a little (a lot) stir crazy, I am glad I have a little more time to devote to this blog. Last week I posted a tutorial on 

How to Create a Radial Design

How to Create a Radial Design

Hello! Like most of you out there, I have been stuck at home due to Covid-19. Teachers in my district are working from home but even though I am constantly emailing back and forth with my students (and parents, coworkers, administrators, etc.), I still feel