Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Trick or Treat?...

     Some times it seems like life gives you both. I think that the real trick was played on me when I thought adulthood would be soo great! I just couldn't wait to grow up and really start living, doing all the things I wanted to do and not having anyone control my life....Boy was that every a trick!
    But then I don't really miss my teen years. People always talk about going back and reliving their high school days...No thank you! Now I wouldn't mind to have the sheer freedom of no demands that I had back then. Life just seemed to move on, there was so much that I was trying to rush through and get to the next step that sometimes I wish I could go back and tell my younger self to, "Slow Down! Life will get to you soon enough, enjoy the ride there!" But we can't go back, thats another trick on us. They say hindsight is 20/20. I guess the real trick is to see the great little treats that are all around us, to look for the good in each and every day, and to learn from our past and live each day as if it's a real treat.
     I know that I don't always see the small treats that are in my life, the blessing that I have been given. We get tricked into the joining the "Rat Race" of life and trick ourselves into believing that if we are not apart of the masses, of those bogged down with busyness, then we are not really living. Things that are not really all that important in the grand scheme of things then suck out the small treats in our lives. We are just wading through, moving on from one day to the next.  I don't want to live a life tricked out of the treats. I want to experience it all, enjoy each and every little thing that makes up my life and who I am. I want to learn from my past and slow down and treat myself to enjoying the moments that make us each and every day.

     So I guess I just felt the need to write a little, one of my small treats for myself :) I don't want to be tricked into believing that I'm still waiting to start my life just because I don't have a husband and kids. I want to enjoy this time because soon enough the seasons change and life moves on.  So do yourself a favor and treat yourself by slowing down and enjoying what is happening in the now, don't be tricked into thinking that in time things will be better later. Make better happen now in the moment that you are in. Embrace who you are in the right now and enjoy all the many treats that life hands your way...if you are truly looking for them you will find them.

~Till Next Time :)
Happy Halloween 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Using Artsonia As The New Art Room Motivator

     This year in my Art 1 classes I decided that I wanted to find a way to motivate my students and connect with them and their parents in a way that is more on their level. I also had an issue last year with letting my students take their art work home, and then they would never return it and then I was left with very little art work to display at the Art Fair at the end of the year. I totally understood their excitement at having a finished art piece and wanting to share that with family and friends. So I went in search of an alternative and thanks to Pinterest I found Artsonia. It's an online art gallery that lets me upload my students art work on to the site and then they can go and view it and share it with friends and family. I also like that it is in some ways much like a social network, something that all of the students can relate to. They even have a place to share, make comments, and even an App that the students and parents can download to their iphone.
        Taking this on I knew would mean more work for me, but after my first upload of art work I knew it was worth it. I had uploaded some of my students work and one of my students had rushed a bit when he was mounting and did not do the best job. Now I had really been preaching to them that a big part of their art work is craftsmanship and presentation. When he saw his picture up on the Smartboard in class when we viewed them as a class he made the comment that showed me all of the picture uploads and picture cropping was worth it. He saw his work and said, "Man, Ms. Latham I'm ashamed at how mine looks because I rushed and thats not going to happen next time! I want mine to look good if all of these people are going to be looking at it and if it's going to be up their next to everyone else's." And sure enough the next project that kid made sure that he took his time, used the ruler, and did a much better job of mounting his picture. He was so proud when we pulled the new projects up and his looked good.
       My students and I also like that there is a ranking system and you can see where your ranking is for your state and in your grade level. Right now we are #6 in our state for High School and overall we are #21. When we first stated we were ranking #32 overall and #9 in our state and level. But my kids asked if they could get to number #1 would I take them on a field trip and that has become a HUGE motivation. Now to move up on ranking it's a combination of things. It's a combination of how many comments our art work receives, how many pieces of art work we post, and my students involvement (such as artist statements and such). Its also amazing to see how excited my students get when they see that they have new comments or that 13 people have viewed their newly posted art work. It has really got them wanting to create and do good work. They are also a very competitive group and like to go and look to compare their work to other schools. It has helped my push them to make better art, which I love and I have to say that I am even enjoying this, watching them get so excited about it.

        I also like that I can send a link to the other faculty and staff at my school and share what is going on in the art room. Many teachers have said that they have enjoyed looking at the students art and have even joined in with me in encouraging my little artist. That really blew some of the students away, when some of the other teachers at the school left comments and said that they didn't know that they were that creative...boy talk about make a kids day!  That's what my job is all about and thats when I really feel like a teacher. On those awesome days when everyone is working, music is playing and a kid happens to look at the clock and says, "Oh man class is almost over...why does this class always go by so fast?" I heard the best thing the other day, one student said to another, "I've been watching the clock all day waiting to get to this class. I was going to check out but didn't want to miss art class." That made all of the stress, mess, consistent cleaning up and more cleaning, all the craziness, extra work, and never seeming to get a lunch break all worth it!

     So if you're an art teacher and looking for a great motivator give something like Artsonia a try. There is also the opportunity to use the site to raise money for your art room. I haven't really got into this too much but I like that the parents have the option to purchase their students art work and help out the art dept. while doing it. It's a win win :)

  Go check out our art gallery and let me know what you think. Maybe leave a comment or two for a student and make someones day.
Here is the link http://www.artsonia.com/schools/school.asp?id=131588

~Till Next Time :)

Monday, October 15, 2012

Where Has The Time Gone???


      I know most of you are familiar with Alice in Wonderland and the crazy little white dapper rabbit. Through most of the movie he seems to always be running from one thing to the next and aways in a rush and worried about being late...well I feel like the past two months this is what I have looked like and can totally relate to the poor hare. I don't know, this just may be my own conclusions but it seems that the author seems to have given him a giant watch, as if time is weighing him down and controlling him. It seems as if time has hit warp speed and seems to just fly by now.

    The past two months since my last post have been a little crazy and  many times I have even looked like Mr. Rabbit (sometimes I will confess he was better dressed then me on those days when the need for sleep won over looks) We started off this school year knowing that we were in for some interesting days. We got a lot of new teachers and not many of us were returning staff. We also were all a little bummed to find out that we would not be moving into our new school this year :( BOO!!!  But then they hit us with Common Core, and SLT's and we also got hit with a lil storm by the name of Isaac that had us out of school for 2 weeks. So now we are having to make up TIME by giving up breaks and half days for meeting and testing days.

     I really looked like Mr. Rabbit the weeks leading up to our Homecoming (our towns social event of the year!!). On top of all of this it hasn't helped that I've been dealing with migraines and stress is one of my triggers (yep, just great!).  I have been dealing with the migraines for over a year now. I was put on a medication called Topamax, which helped but the side effects where just too much. I dropped weight like nuts, now I know what you're thinking, "And how is this bad???" Well when you lose weight so much and so quickly that your students ask if you're dying form cancer there's a problem. I can't keep the weight on and then I started to lose hair, Lots of hair! Thank God I had thick hair to start with because I lost handfuls on this stuff. At this point I was ready to call it quits with the Topamax. I had also been keeping a migraine journal and looking at what were things that triggered my migraines. Skipping meals were a huge thing with me, I did it all the time. Some days I would come home and realize at 5 or 6 that I hadn't eaten all day...this is a NO NO! Skipping meals can bring one on and then I'm paying for it. Also, not getting enough sleep was also another one for me, add stress to that and you get a whole slew of craziness that I call my life. But I'm learning to deal. I'm cutting back on the stress and learning to say NO at work. I want that crazy Mr. Rabbit look to be a thing of the past. I had even gotten to the point where I was wondering if teaching was what I was supposed to be doing??? I do, and I think that this is where God has me for a season....who knows whats next?

I started a new devotional that my Mom got me to help reduce my worrying and stress. It's Joyce Meyer's Battle Field of the Mind. I just started it but it seems good so for. Its about how what we think controls our actions and how if we are negative and have doubts and worry then that is going to have an outward action. It's about how we have to submit all of our thoughts to God and remember "As a man thinks in his heart so is he. Prov. 23:7  I know that my stress is something that I have to give to God. It has been my constant battle. I was one of those kids that made list and from what my Mom's tells me didn't play well with others because I didn't want them messing up my stuff. Yep, I also have some OCD issues which don't help at all.

So now we have finished our first 9 weeks of school. I'm looking forward to this coming 9 weeks and having all 9 weeks to teach. Losing those 2 weeks to the storm really threw all of us off. Homecoming is done and out of the way...Thank God!!! And I have to say it turned out really cute. We had the theme of Candyland and I love how the decorations turned out. I do enjoy that part of my job! Here are a few pics of what we created.

My Art Club kids help paint the backdrop. I have an Awesome group!

Me, Jared, and Heidi 

My Favorite Pic of the day...me and Heidi realized we were holding hands behind Jared's back...and the lil bit of sleep we were all running on it was Way funnier!!!

Candyland Archway

Made from ideas found on Pinterest. I love the spraying all the Polly-fill pink and blue to turn it into cotton candy and I also changed my arm color as well. 

Yeah, I had a little fun with the streamers 

 Well with that I will say

~Till Next Time

Oh! Go check out some of my students awesome artwork on their online art gallery at

Im so proud of them! Many of them have never drawn, never painted, or never had an art class before.