La Grande Finale!

Now that our school year has come to a close, I finally have time to brag a bit about the amazing success of my classes final exam. Each student was given the task of designing their own projects for themselves, setting goals, and sketching out a plan for action. They were asked to draw from skills they picked up during the year, and they were limited to using only the materials we had explored in class. As I suspected a lot of my girls returned to painting. (Which is why finishing up with the collaging-for-paint’s-sake assignment was, albeit accidentally, BRILLIANT!) However, many of them chose other mediums and mixed them in un-expected ways. I am especially pleased to see that so many of my girls were comfortable with returning to photoshop and digital photography.





20150511_083420^Works in progress

in classroom


cloakroom^Digital meets hand drawn cartoon masterpieces!



20150520_083434^A Series of watercolor emotions.

20150520_083227^Digital Photography altered by hand.

20150520_083106^Three Studies of the Potomac River.

20150520_083031^The Eastern Shore.

20150520_082944^A Brilliant Sunset.

20150520_082848^Exploring light and a love of New York City.


20150520_082725^Detailed studies of the human face.

20150520_082646^A girls best friend.

20150520_082555^This piece is an extrodinary piece of work. This is done in sharpie and acrylic paint, and it is an expansion of a series of notebook doodles. What I love about this piece is that not only did my student spend more than 8 hours finishing it, but she accidentally began what could very well be an AP portfolio concentration.

20150520_081615^Gorgeous sunset.

20150520_081600^An Indian Elephant.


20150520_081539^A life sized mixed-media painting of a movie star type, in a real fabric dress.

20150520_081528^An impressive close-up of an eye.

julia photoshop 5

bridget photoshop 4

bridget photoshop 2

bridget photoshop 1^A series of Digital imagery altered in photoshop.

2 yellow and pink edited final

6 edited 4 final

4 eye pic final^A colorful photoshoot, inspired by color runs.




An Inspired Fellow Art Ed Blogger!

I recently stumbled across another Art Education blogger who I find totally inspiring in a whole different way! I normally follow more traditional art education blogs with lesson plans, and photos, but Cassie Stephens adds a whole new twist to hers. She uses her wardrobe as a way to inspire her students, and they must be so happy to have her as a teacher. I know I would be!

I highly reccomend taking a look at her blog:


holiday skirt


Indian Green

This week in “Art Around the World”, we went to India. But because it was St. Patrick’s day I made sure to include the color green since we had already been to Ireland this semester. Each table had only yellow and blue in separate cups.


More trains this week as Art Around the World landed in Russia. Once I had everyone’s attention we thought about our castles from last week and looked at the type of castles they had in Russia. Then we looked at the Russian flag and thought of other flags that had the same colors. “The Britain Flag!” is what one of my male students yelled immediately. I was little disappointed with how long it took for someone to point out that the American flag was red white and blue…

The pictures of trains are what google images claimed to be Russian trains.

This is an abstract approach. Here two trains are whizzing past each other:

Obviously I LOVE this one.

The Very Hungry Artists

It is lessons like this that make any teacher just smile and pat themselves on the back, and then thank their lucky stars. My Hudson Heights class is made up of a group of siblings who all love making art. This week we read The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle. We looked at how he used painted paper to create his beautiful collages on each page. Then we made our own decorative paper by creating rubbings. This was so much fun once we realized that our shoes had fun patterns on the bottom! (Except for mine, I had boring grown-up shoes) Then we cut out designs from our decorative paper and glued them down to make postcards. our postcards were sheets of bristol I had cut into 6×9 inch rectangles.

I also brought some pre-cut shapes made of colorful construction paper, in case anyone wanted to add solid colored shapes to their collage as well. What was so flattering about this Sunday lesson was that no one artist wanted to stop. They were surprised when they realized I had picked up the crayons, and ecstatic that they could keep the remaining decorated paper.

Irish Fairies, Elves and Goblins

We read a traditional folk tale about a small elf and a lonely boy getting his wish to have a friend. It was one of the short stories in the Golden Books Treasury of Elves and Fairies, by Jane Werner. It was a very old copy that I had found while digging around in my Grandmothers basement. I think it might have been my mothers. I absolutely love collecting childrens books, and to add a few Vintage ones to my collection is absolutely cool.

So after attempting to go to Spain last week and being ransacked by Pirates we attempted to hop on a plane, but due to unexpected turbulance we had to make an emergency landing in Ireland. We landed in a small town out in the Irish country side, filled with fairies, elves and golbins! (I am now on a mission to see how many countries I can put between us and the order of air dry clay I am still waiting for i.e. Spain) So once we read our story it was time to become the magical creature of our choice. I wasn’t surprised that the boys became goblins and every girl wanted to make wings. This week we focused on using a stencil and cutting out our traced shapes along the line. I eventually put our crayons then watercolor, because I had plans for us to use it again the following week.

What was most important was getting our shapes well traced and cutting along the lines we had drawn. There were wings and masks with pointy ears that students could choose from to trace.


I substitute taught an after-school class today on Roosevelt Island. It was my first time ever on the Island and I was so excited to have an excuse to go. However, today’s weather couldn’t of been more drizzly and gray. It did make for some dramatic pictures. This is looking west from the Island at Manhattan.

We read the book, Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle. And then each of us chose an animal and a color, pink for a pig, yellow for a lion, brown for a dog, green for a frog. We gathered all of the scraps we could find in those colors. Then we assembled our animal, using other scraps and eventually oil pastels to put on the finishing touches.

Studio/Classroom Space

Studio space can be something that either limits or enhances my lessons. Take, for example, the studio space that I have for my ceramics class. There is a double sink big enough for 4 students at a time, several huge table, 15 pottery wheels, and a slab roller for rolling slabs. This enables me to teach both slab building and throwing pottery. It allows me to let the students all clean up their own mess, without me having to do it afterwards.

However, a bad studio space or classroom can be extremely limiting. My classroom at P.S. 154 is small and it is also a fully functional kindergarten classroom that is occupied up until exactly 5 minutes before I get there. This is the least ideal situation I have ever had to work in and it presents many problems. Of the many, I don’t have time to set up. Additionally I have to stay afterward and re-stack chairs, move back the tables I’ve moved and sweep. Earlier I talked about the importance of having students clean up their own mess. In my Art Around the World class at P.S. 154 I do have students clean up their materials at the end of the lesson, but I never have them re-organize the room. It is not that I don’t want to make them it is that I already have them involved in setting up the room when they arrive that if I were to also have them re-set everything it would eat up all of our work time. So I stay after and that is that. It is what the space calls for. One positive thing I have discovered is that collabrative drawing are an excellent way to keep my students busy while I set out their materials.

Starting Our Adventure

On Thursday January 13th, 2011, we began a new adventure around the world in my Art Around the World class. I decided that the best place to begin, since we were picking up some new travelers this semester, would be the good ol’ USA. USA! USA! And what better place to be in the USA than New York City? Well we all know the answer, and the answer is no-where. We read The Adventures of Taxi Dog, by Sal and Debra Barracca, and imagined we were taking a taxi all around New York City, weaving in and out of traffic. (It is important to point out that these students of mine live in a sleepy part of Brooklyn called Windsor Terrace, where they  likely take gypsy cabs and car services and hardly ever get to ride in the yellow taxis. The ones with cabbies who have a conniption if they even hear the name of an outer borough.) So there we were, swerving through traffic, whizzing by the Chrysler , the Flat Iron, the Empire State building, past Central Park, up the West Side, past the Museum of Natural History, and there we were in Harlem. Where the Harlem Renesance happened, and home to the great Apollo Theater. Also the place where an Artist named Romare Bearden lived in the 60’s and 70’s. Romare Bearden being my favorite collage artist.

At this point we watched a quick slide show I had put together in iPhoto, of Romare Bearden’s work accompanied by some Miles Davis, because I thought it might set the mood. After the slide show, I had a few students share with the class one of their past experiences with collage. Then we all set out to create out own New York city, using a mix of paper and fabric scraps. Below are some photos of the work:

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