Apr 10

“Art-a-Thon” iBook

Looking to ramp up your art program?

Look no more!

The “Art-a-Thon” is a fail-proof guide to helping your plan and implement a late night art experience for your students.  This uniquely amazing advocacy tactic has revolutionized the manner in which the visual arts are valued and supported in my district.

Go on!  Give it a try!  You won’t regret hosting an “Art-a-Thon” and your students won’t forget it!Screen Shot 2014-04-09 at 9.28.02 PM

Nov 15

State Art Conferences & YOU!

aemHave a winning lesson plan?  Maybe an awesome way you integrate technology?  Or even a simple strategy for student assessment?  I bet you do.  Ever consider sharing it at your state’s art educators conference?

Well, I dove in head first this year and signed up for not one, but two presentations at the Art Educators of MN fall conference.

And, boy, am I glad I did!  I had an absolute blast as I shared some of my BIG ideas for art educatioaem2n with other passionate and like-minded teachers.

Like it or not, we are our number one resources when it comes to professional development.  If we’re going to continue to build awareness of the arts and engage our students, then we need to make sure we’re sharing our best practices with each other.

I enjoyed my presentation experience so much at our fall conference, that I have signed on to present at the 2014 National Art Educators Conference in San Diego, California!  If you’re going to be there…look for my session “iBooks in the Art Room”!

Have you ever presented at a professional conference?  What was your session about?  Or, share a presentation topic that you found to be extremely relevant and worthwhile.


Nov 15

Fall Conference…A Professional MUST!

panel (2)panelMid-October marks a special time in our state–it’s the annual Education Minnesota Fall Professional Conference.  This year I had the pleasure of speaking to pre-service teachers on a panel with other a-mazing educators from Minnesota.

The eager students pelted us with questions for one solid hour.  Everything from interview tips to classroom management secrets…apparently they think we have this teaching thing figured out.  Truth is, I’ll never have teaching perfected!  If I think I do, then it’ll be time to quit!

What’s your best advice for pre-service teachers?  What do you wish someone had told you before you started teaching?

Nov 15

Pumpkins and Paint and Glitter, OH MY!

pumpkinsThese oh so sweet (and not too scary) pumpkins have invaded the art room!  My Chicago art trip kiddos stayed late one afternoon to decorate some pumpkins and now plan to sell their creations at a local craft fair.  Each artist will keep the profits from their individual sales and use it to help them get that much closer to the Windy City.

What’s your experience selling student artwork?  Do you have tips to ensure things get sold?

Oct 29

The Great Outdoors!

100_1778 100_2261 100_1761The fall is definitely one of my favorite seasons to head outdoors for some photography exploration.  All of the different colors and textures that Mother Nature so proudly displays provides for some really amazing nature shots.

This being the case, the October  event for Family Art Outreach was “Nature Photography and Hiking” at the Ney Nature Center in Henderson, MN.

Local photography artist Alan Hairsine greeted the group of 50+ adults and kids who braved the rain for the sake of art.  Alan gave a fantastic talk about tips for taking successful nature photos.  Some of his top tips included:

1) Look for details

2) Get a different perspective

3) Forget symmetry

My own boys (Jack-7, Will-5) had a blast trying to hunt for the ideal picture opportunity.  They really took to heart all of Alan’s tips.  Throw in some geo-caching and it was the perfect day!

What is your experience with young people and cameras?  Do you have hints for taking successful pictures, too?

Oct 02

Family Art Outreach

FAO-SeptI’ve always wanted to start an elementary art club and I was particularly inspired after attending a workshop session on the topic down in Fort Worth, Texas last year at NAEA.  I guess the biggest obstacle (in my mind anyway) was how I would deal with the oodles and oodles of kids after school??  I would want a good turn out, but I also worried that I would feel as though I was babysitting.  So out of this, the idea for the FAMILY art club was born!  Perfect, want to know why?!

1.  Students and I would have our art club, but…

2.  A responsible adult would have to come with them!  Even better, because…

3.  As teachers we know that when a parent is involved in their child’s education, the better the child will do!

4.  My own children and husband will get to come because it is a FAMILY thing.

5.  Best part: wrote a grant, grant was approved, and therefore, Family Art Outreach is FREE to the families in my district!FAOClick HERE to watch a short iMovie from the first ever FAO event!

 What are you thoughts on an art club?  Have you tried it?  What kind of format have you used?  Always looking for ways to improve!


Sep 26

Artist Trading Card Day

SarahI just love September!  Students return to school anticipating the new year and a fresh start!  Let the fun begin, right?!

I like to jump right in the first day back.  We draw, color, and even paint because let’s face it, the kids can only handle listening to rules and routines for so long.  Artist Trading Cards have been an excellent way to get kids back into a creative frame of mind!  They have choice in subject matter, art supplies and technique.  Plus, there’s no pressure because their blank “canvas” is only 2.5″x3.ATC5″!  After two class periods designated to the creation of the ATCs, I arrange an opportunity for all of my students to swap or showcase their hard work.  The kids are bursting with excitement as they run from friend to friend exchanging their mini masterpieces.  My favorite are the kids that get so involved with the creation of ATCs that they show up on trading day with a dozen or more cards they manufactured at home the night before!

I’ve thought many times about hosting a trading card exchange with students from other schools.  Maybe even other states?  Or what about from other countries?  Talk about an authentic cultural learning experience!

Have you used Artist Trading Cards in your classroom before?  If so, how have you structured the activity?

Sep 24

Special Agent Feterl

Special AgentEvery September I’m greeted with the same question from my eager little artists:  “What are we doing this year”!  So, this time I was prepared!  Rather than rattle off a bunch of different projects, media and supplies we’d be using, I created this clever little preview using iMovie to provide the students a snapshot of what the year will entail.  Kids had a good time trying to identify all of the “clues” I gave them in the video.

How do you introduce a brand new year?

Sep 20

Art Fundraisers

WebsiteIt’s no doubt that school art budgets are never enough!  If you’re like me, you’ve needed to supplement the money your district allows you in order to accomplish your art programming objectives.  There are many ways in which you can go about raising money for your cause…just do a google search and you’ll find a plethora of examples!  In any case, I’ve discovered that one of the easiest and most efficient ways to raise a buck or two has been with a company that can transfer images of your students’ art onto a myriad of products.

For the past two years, I have teamed up with Square 1 Art to provide the families in my district amazing, affordable, and personalized keepsakes!  Best of all…is their handsome payback!   My art students have helped to raise over $9,000 for our elementary art room!  Yes!  You read right, over $9,000!  Have I peaked your interest yet?  There are many companies that offer similar products, so I encourage you to do your own research and find what works best for you.

How have you had success with fundraising for your art program?

Sep 18

Animation–Art Room Rules

Check out this cartoon I crAnimationeated using www.goanimate.com to review my art room expectations.

The students had a good chuckle over the fact that my characters didn’t have necks, arms and legs!


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