Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The Choice To Go Choice-Based

“If you get 25 of the same thing from students, it's not a project, it's a recipe.”
     So I read the above quote over on one of my favorite art blogs artofapex.com  and it seriously messed with me...like made me stop and go, "Oh WOW!...Geezz (hand-smack to face)." 
Seriously this blog, the teachers, and the projects blow my mind. I will admit that a dream of mine would be to spend a week just hanging out with Ian Sands and observe him in his classroom. 
     
     But anyway back to what this post is really about... I'm trying to wrap my head around a teaching concept called TAB: Teaching for Artistic Behavior; otherwise known as Choice-based art education. TAB classrooms treats students as artists and allows the students to decide what kind of art they want to make based on their interests and their own ideas. Most TAB teachers have their rooms set up with centers for different materials that students can use freely to create their artwork. 

     I experimented a little with this the last few weeks of school when the seniors left and I had smaller classes. I let my students pick their projects and medium and I was beyond surprised at what they completed. Here are just are just a few of what they created when I just let them loose:






     Now I'm reading books and trying to figure all this out for the new school year. I read this great article if you're interested in checking it out Teachingforartisticbehavior.org.
     I know that I need to rearrange my classroom and figure out how I'm going to tackle things like grading and lesson plans. So for now I'm researching, reading, pinning, and planning while trying to wrap my head around all of this and how it will all play out in my classroom.  But I feel that I have to move into this direction and start teaching my kids how to be artists and not just produce "art recipes" that I assign them.  I'm a little freaked out about all the changes, releasing control, things failing terribly, looking like I don't know what I'm doing to my students, and just the extra work I know I will have to do initially. But I'm also looking forward to this new adventure, pushing myself to be a better teacher, providing an environment that fosters creativity in all students, and  helping to create students that are better artist...I mean, really isn't that what its all about anyway??

~Till Next Time :)

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Enjoying My Summer Break With Some DIY

     I may have mentioned previously that I was moving. It's not a big move by any means, just next door. I moved out of my tiny trailer to the cottage my parents were living in till they got their house done. Its like twice the size of my old place. Now it didn't have a kitchen and needed some fixing up. So since I am giving my passport a rest this summer (first time in 8 years I haven't left the country) I thought this would be the perfect time to do some DIY and Pinterest projects. The first project was to build a cabinet and some open shelves for the kitchenette I wanted to add. 
I had some help from my Awesome Dad to install the heavy countertop. Now I know that many of you think your Dad is awesome but well...mine is not only Awesome but I'm pretty sure he can do anything! 

So I built simple open shelves for the bottom cabinets. In this picture you can see that I still need to get my sink drains and water hooked up. I also decided that I wanted to go with open shelves instead of cabinets. I love how they turned out! I was even more excited that all of this was very cheap since my Dad donated the wood for the bottom cabinets and I got the shelves and brackets all on sale. I found the brackets for the shelves at Target on clearance and got them for around $1 each!! A little white spray paint and Wow! I love how all the colors of my dishes really POP on the white open shelves. Makes me Smile :)

I also got this cube storage on Sale at Target and it fit perfect under my counter. I added some cute colored scrap paper to the backs and some baskets and Love the outcome! 
The baskets are from Wal-Mart and the cute tins are from Tuesday Morning 


Now my kitchen area is really small and I wanted to find a small kitchen cart/island for it. I looked at a lot of them online and most were running somewhere between $150-200. So then I looked through Pinterest to see what ideas I would come across. There were some cute ideas but I hit gold when me and my friend Sammie went shopping at Treasure Hunts in MS. and found this great little treasure.
This is a cart that Target sells for $149 and I got for just $39!!

Now I wasn't a fan of the color or the hardware but I loved that it offered a great spine to build on.
So I used the vaseline method to distress the cart, some spray paint, some washi tape, and some old antique pulls I had for the drawer and door hardware. Love the completed project!

I was also able to snag this awesome orange stool at Garden Ridge for only $20 and super happy with my little island and breakfast spot!

Here are some other pictures of little things around my new cozy little cottage:
Love this sign to go by my coffee pot!

My coffee mug pallet shelf that one of my students made for me in shop class. Love how it displays my mug collection...well some of my collection haha!

An old clock that I decided needed a little bit of a facelift

Working on a gallery wall above my bed...its not done yet, and Yes, that is a Unicorn above my bed, and Yep, I sleep just fine :)

Still got a lot left to get done and I'm sure I will be posting more soon. This was all I had pics of right now. I'm pretty excited to get my wall done with all of my art that I have picked up on my travels. I'm doing a travel gallery wall and using this quote to go with all the beautiful paintings and art that I've collected. 
Love this quote!!!

It's always one of my favorite things to do is buy art from the local street artists. One of my favorite is from my trip to China and I bought it while walking the Great Wall. I even got to watch the artist finish painting it and that made it even more special to me to watch her create art right in front of me while I was taking in all the was around me. Just one of the many reasons I love to travel!!!

Well...

~Till Next Time 

Friday, May 30, 2014

Hello Summer!!!

     Well, I wrapped up another year and looks like that good old summer break has finally arrived...I'm still not feeling it. A friend told me that it would sink in once I sunk into my bed and didn't have to wake up to an alarm...well did that this morning and all it did was screw me up and make me think it was Sat. 
Anyways...this summer is a little bitter sweet. I was so happy for the break (I mean really what teacher isn't counting down the days!?!) but knowing that this would be the first summer in 8 years that I have not traveled at all...well that was a hard blow! I'm trying to be mature. I know, I know.... Yes, me the girl that wore a Magical Unicorn Mask the last day of school has a mature bone. Well, its a very small one but hey give me a break... I'm trying to use it. I decided that I would not travel this year and focus on paying some of the bills that I have managed to run up living the "Life."

     So I will be chilling around the house this summer, maybe trying to finish some unfinished projects, work on my little cottage and do some fun cheap stuff. Maybe I'll get back to blogging and working on my One Little Word...I don't know? I do know that I am going to enjoy that fact that when its summer I don't know the day or the time for the most part and the actual date is really reaching. I don't eat and pee based on a bell, and lesson plans are things I pin about! 
So I hope that you are enjoying what we teachers call summer freedom and embrace the summer full force...I know I plan to, even if I won't be getting a stamp in my passport :(
Here are a few of my Fav summer laughs




~Till Next Time

Sunday, March 23, 2014

What I've Been Up To

   So I haven't really felt like blogging lately...I haven't really felt like journaling, picture taking, or working in my Smash Book. I feel like I'm in a bit of a slump. But the best way to get out of a slump is well...to just get out by doing it.
 But I have been doing good at getting in my gym time and I'm making A's in my pottery class, so I guess there that. haha!

Our first project was to do a Slab Tile Puzzle 

Here it is finished. 

Next we had to create a rattle that we would burnish instead of glazing. We had to have some areas that were carved out and then use a smooth river stone to burnish it. We are going to fire it in the kiln once on a low fire then fire it in a outdoor fire pit with paper, cow manure, and hair to give it a pretty shiny black look.
Here is what it looks like right now unfired with just the top of him burnished so far.

This is the whole back burnished.

This was the inspiration. One of my students did this for their grid project and I thought it was a cat. Come to find out after I made my rattle I showed a picture to my kid and she was like, "Ms Latham...he's not a cat!" Seems he's some type of cross between a cat and a raccoon or something. Anyway, while I was working on it my pottery teacher was giving me a hard time about it, he likes to give me a hard time since I'm an art teacher taking his class (it's all in good fun), and so I named him Mr Johnson :) 

We just finished up our first 9 weeks. I can't believe how fast this school year is going by. I do have to say that I am counting down till the summer break. 
So I decided to add a little "something" to my exam 
Here was me and my lil friend wishing them luck.
Someone thought he was cute! haha
Here is my half way point...Mr. Bingley cheering them on. 

haha!!! So there was an arrow with the words "Invisible Leprechaun." Haha...some of my students decided to make him visible.
 These cracked me up!!

 I've been working on getting everything together for our Arts Fest which will be May 8th. A student and I worked together to create the image below to use to create flyers, postcards, and t-shirts for the Arts Fest. It's going to be an art show and spring concert put on by our kids. I'm pretty excited about it. I'm trying to have some interactive art display, an art make and take, we will be selling concessions, possible selling some artwork, raising money for Convent House by selling Houses of Hope, and then enjoying a band concert by the SPHS band. I think it's going to be a great night for our school and community!


Work has been going good. I have to say that this has been my best semester for me. Every semester is different just like every class and student is so different. I have had more creative classes, and smaller classes, but this year my attitude is different and that is making the biggest difference!! I have really been working on making sure that my priorities are in the right place, that I'm using my planning period more productive, and I'm learning that I can't do everything and I'm more productive if I choose to focus on just a few things then try and divide my time and energy across a lot of different things. I'm not as stressed and so I'm enjoying teaching and the job more. I have made myself leave the grading at home, not do lesson plans on the weekend, and not overload my plate. I have been making sure that I'm going to the gym and taking time for me, and yes this all is helping me to be a better teacher. I think that we are better teachers when we like what we do, when our students think we are happy to be there, and when we are not spread so thin that we are meeting ourselves coming and going. 

As a part of my word Flourish I've really been working on being healthier and I've been doing a few things to do that. 
I've been going to the gym at least 3 times a week, I've been using my Mom's dehydrator to make my own fruit snacks, and I'm about to join my cousin and some friends for the AdvoCare 24 Day Challenge. I'm doing it more as a cleanse and hoping to maybe lose a few pounds in the process. 

Hope that you all have a very Happy Week!!!

~Till Next Time



Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Last Of The Peeps

I'm sitting her sipping some Green Chi Tea and eating the last of my Peeps since I't looks like I'm giving up C&C (Cakes & Candy) for lent. I know (as I shove another Peep in my mouth) how in the world will you survive 40 days with no C&C...and what they heck you're not even Catholic? 

I read a great book last month called Wonder Struck and in it the author talks about the beauty of lent and how it's not just for Catholics. Here is a great blog post by her at http://margaretfeinberg.com/lent So I decided to participate in Lent this year. Now Lent is not something new to me since I grew up in South Louisiana. I remember my first real discussion with someone about Lent. I was 17 and working as a cashier at the local IGA. Most of the girls I worked with were "Good Ol Catholic" girls and when Lent season rolled around they started talking about the possible things that they might give up for Lent. I remerber one girl saying she was going to give up smoking, another cokes, and one drinking, while another said she was thinking about giving up sex with her boyfriend but thought that was just too much. haha!! Now here I am, a Home schooled A/G pastors daughter and they ask me what I was going to give up. You see almost EVERYONE in South LA is Catholic...unlike North LA where they are all Baptist and so they just assumed I was going to be observing Lent as well. So they asked me and well looking back my reply may have been a little self-rightous but it was the truth. I told them, "Well you see I'm Assemblies of God and well... we give up smoking, drinking, and premarital sex all year long." LOL!!!
I know that for many Lent is just a way to feel like they are paying some type of insurance in the hopes that God will overlook all the other things that they have done. But for many it's a way to fast and observe...which 
"originally, Lent was designed as a time of preparation and worship for the believer. The forty days before Easter were set aside for penitence, prayer, and self-denial. - See more at: http://margaretfeinberg.com/the-wonder-of-lent/#more-12773"
 And really who of us couldn't use a little self-denial?? So I really started to pray and ask God to show me something that I could give up for lent. Now I know that a lot of people are giving up Facebook, Twitter, their cell phones, and other such items. I even thought about these things...but they just didn't seem to well seem right. Then as I was again asking God what He thought I should give up thats when I thought C&C for lent (I happened to be eating a Russell Stover's Chocolate covered marshmallow heart that I got in an after Valentines sale). Now this will not be an easy thing for me since I'm a cupcake, candy loving kind-of girl! I love Sour Patch Kids, Peeps, all things Chocolate, just about all sour candy, and I happen to think that Cupcakes can fix anything! I also have moments of weakness when I just have to have a Chocolate DingDong...and yes they fall under the Cake category. I also had to Google if fruit snacks fall under the category of Candy...seems that there is a great divide on that subject. So in my hopes to Flourish more this year, as well as practice self-denial as a way of spiritual growth, I will, as a non Catholic, be observing Lent. 
So what are you giving up for Lent?



~Till Next Time
 

Trying Some New Things

     So with the new year (Can you believe we are already in March!!!!)  I have been working at trying some new things. 
I read about a Swap Party in Flow and thought, "Hey, I think I will try this...it looks like a fun night." So the Swap Part was a huge success! Everyone said how much fun they had and all seemed pretty happy with the swaps that they made. I think more then anything we all enjoyed a girls night out chatting, swapping, eating, and we even played some Trash Train (a domino game). 
I had so much fun that I have already started to plan another party for in April, a My Favorites Party.
 I found some great info on these sites for a My Favorite Party    http://fificheek.blogspot.com/2013/12/how-to-host-favorite-things-party.html

I've also been trying some new natural acne remedies in the hopes of not having to get on prescription meds. I't seems like the war with acne has been one that I've been battling for as long as I can remember! I've also tried EVERYTHING!!!!!! I did Accutane twice! I've been on birth control (all the different kinds) multiple times, and I've of course have tried all the different creams, washes, and make-ups that are supposed to be the "Miracle" fix for what tends to look like an alien hatched an egg on my face. So I went agoogling and found 7-secrets-to-cure-acne-without-chemicals. So I've been using her Honey Cinnamon spot treatment, Honey cleansing method, and Oil cleansing recipe.

 I'm still breaking out but its only been about two weeks since I started this new method. I have to say that the idea of using oil on my already oil slick face totally freaked me out but It's awesome and I don't find that I'm as oily as I was. I hope and pray that this will help! 

I've also been trying some new Chia Seed recipes and one of my favorites so far is this 

Tropical Chia Seed Pudding *Sorry not the prettiest pic! But it's delish! Ingredients 1 Tbsp chia seeds 1 medium banana 1/2 cup of fresh diced pineapple 1/2 cup of mango diced (I use the mango fruit cups in light syrup) 1/2 cup of almond milk Directions In a blender blend banana and almond milk. Pour blended mixture into a dessert container or bowl. Add chopped pineapple and mango with juice. Stir in 2 Tbsp of chia seeds. Mix very well. Pop into refrigerator to set up. The longer you let it set up the better it tastes. I generally let it refrigerate over night.







Besides parties, natural facial treatments, and seed recipes, I have been trying to work on me and all the many crazy facets that make me who I am. A lot of what I've been trying to work on are some of the things that I struggle with and some of the items that I listed as some of my One Little Word actions. I struggle with not spending and I even challenged myself in my last post with a list of items that I said I would not buy. I ended up having to download the book for my book club (I did try to get it from the library but it was always checked out and I'm on a time limit here!) and I also had to buy some makeup. But I haven't bought any of the other items on my list. I did have a sweater in my hand that was on sale at Old Navy, but I resisted and walked aways with NO sweater! (Yay me!) I have continued to reduce my clutter...which the Swap Party helped with since I brought and got rid of a lot more stuff then what I came home with. But as my kids say, "The struggle is still real," and I have a long way to go. 

Besides personally trying new things, I'm also trying new lessons. I just finished block printing with my Art 2 kids. I did block printing back in high school but haven't done it since. Then when I moved into my new classroom I found some block printing supplies from the teacher before me and thought, "Hmm...I need to use this some way." So I've been wanting to do a printing lesson with my kids and the month of Feb seem to be the right time. We were looking at Kente Cloth and African inspired cloth for African American History Month in my Art 1 class. I had students chose a geometric pattern inspired by Kente cloth that they looked at, as well as, one Adinkra symbol to create their own pattern. This seemed the perfect lesson to expand for my Art 2 class and have them not only use the elements from the Kente cloth and Adinkra symbols to make their own patterns, but have them carve blocks and print their pattern. Here are some pictures of the process: 



Love this kid...and yes they all gave me permission to post their pictures. It was so cute when I asked they
were like, "Really you write about us??"





Thanks to Youtube I found out that it is a lot easier to carve the linoleum block if you heat it. Check out those new and shiny heat guns I got with my new classroom :)

Here are the finished Kente Cloth Inspired projects








I love how they turned out and my kids were very happy with the end results. I hope that we will be doing some more printing later this semester. I loved all of their designs so much that I used them as a background for a painting. It's not quite done yet but I will post it as soon as it is. 
~Till Next Time