Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Did I Flourish in '14?


I can't really say that there was a great flourishing that went on this year haha!! I really had to stop and think about what did happen this year and...well not all that much. But here is what I did come up with:
 I moved from my little trailer into the cottage which was only right next door. Haha But I was able to move up to a Full size bed instead of the twin I had been in. oh and to my friends...the change in bed size still has no clued in the universe, just saying ;)

Watched some more of my babies leave the nest and
finished up my 6th year of teaching

 Did some yoga
and was pretty proud to be able to do this pose!

 Did some cooking, tried some new things, and did some healthy eating.

 Made a lot of art this year and that I was pretty proud of! I even sold a few pieces and was asked to contribute to a mural for the hospital.

 Had some fun close to home

 Stuck to my gym time and focused on being healthy.

Made some changes to my classroom and pushed myself as a teacher.

 Went back to the AG campground for a few weeks.

 I took a ton of pics of the popular Mr. Bingley  

Drank a lot of coffee!

 True to my "Mountaintop or Valley" self I even had a brief moment were I thought about leaving teaching for nursing...yeah that was a quick moment and then I realized that I would really miss teaching and sometimes you just can't run from what your meant to do.

This year wasn't any splashy amazing year. I didn't travel, didn't win any awards, and I still remain single (I know, Shocker right??)
But I feel like it was still a year that showed growth, I learned more about myself, who I am, and what I want to be.

 I didn't really know what to expect with wanting to flourish but one thing I did find is that my happiness seemed to come and go with my mountaintop and valley moments and I realized that in the coming year I want to find Joy no matter what road I may travel. 

So my word for 2015 is Joy.

I'm going to stop comparing myself, 
my job, income, relationship status, house, life, and passport to others. 

I'm going to enjoy the journey, whither it's a view from the top or walking the valley below. I'm going to stop focusing on the end and enjoy the middle.

I'm going to recognize that I am very Blessed and try my best to bless those around me. 

I'm also going to focus on being grateful for I am blessed with. 

And I'm going to remember that no matter what 2015 may bring I can have joy because I know that God is in control of it all.

Happy New Years!!!

~Till Next Year

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Cute Nails...It's a Jamberry Review

     So lets talk about nails, cute nails! Now being an art teacher reeks havoc on my manicure so keeping my nails cute is not an easy job. About the only thing that I have found that last is a gel manicure, but I just done't want to pay the $35 and then all I get is a single color. If you know me I love patterns, colors, and designs so when I stumbled across Jamberrynails I fell in love! Now I know I've seen Jamberrynail parties on FB, also on blogs, and magazines. So Jamberrynails are a nail wraps that come in all kinds of cute patterns and designs. In the past I have used Sally Hansen Polish-strips They work good and lasted pretty well. 

Here is a pic of some I just did recently
I added the pink on top of the Sally Hansen Polish-strips so it wouldn't look like I was an AL fan or anything haha! They were on for about a week and besides the fact that I'm rough on my nails they did pretty well. The only thing that I didn't like is that they are very limited in their designs.

In comes Jamberry. I love all of the designs!!

I ordered these cute mint and gold striped ones.

 I got my package in the mail a few days later. For $15 plus shipping you get one regular sheet which includes 18 Jamberry nail wraps.

Ok, so I get them in and clean my nails. I watched the online Youtube video on how to apply them and then I jumped right in...well I jumped right in after I got a my pair of small scissors, blowdryer, and cuticle stick. After reading the instructions (yep, this girl reads instructions) even after watching the video. I wanted to get my moneys worth. Now one thing that I didn't have was the alcohol wipes but I thought, "Well no big deal." So after sitting with my blowdryer  I got most on without any major problems. The big difference between these and the Sally ones was that they are thicker and not actual polish wraps.

I love the look but did run into some problems. 
I had a little bubbling on the sides and the tips of a few nails.
This could be because I didn't use the alcohol wipes and maybe because I didn't trim them enough so they wouldn't touch my cuticle. There is a bit of a learning curve with these! I did see that they have an application kit and small heater that you can buy to help you put them on...maybe if I had bought these it would have been easier???

Wed. rolls around and one of them peeled off. But I put it back on hit it with some heat and seems ok. 
Now I have been rough on them...I wash my hands a lot at work, scrubbed my hair, took a bath, cut into one with an x acto knife at work, got paint on them, hot glued a few (and my finger) while working on a project.

There is enough in the pack to do my nails again and I can't wait to try it again (with all the steps) and see how they hold up.
Also, I got a TON of compliments on them. The best had to be from a student when she asked if I had painted them this way haha!! When I told her that they were stickers for nails she was like, "Oh because I was about to say Ms. Latham you got too much time on your hands!" My kids seem to think that I don't have a life outside of my classroom and that I would sit around and paint tiny stripes on my nails in very very neat lines. LOL!!!

So the $15 seems a bit much but if I can get two manicures out of it then its not that bad. 
I'm also hoping the application process gets better.

So I'm thinking of having an online Jamberry party...anyone interested???

~Till Next Time

Monday, September 8, 2014

Who's Really The Teacher Here??

     Yep, I hold the teaching degree in my classroom but I'm not the only teacher there! Embarking on this new path of Choice-Based has been a huge growing process for me and my students. I'm learning so much from my kids! Today was one of those days when it hit me that my classroom is like a living growing thing. It is changing and evolving along with the needs of my students and....well that just excites me! It's scary because as a teacher we want to look like we have it all together to our students and make it look seamlessly.

     Today I had a great conversation with my Art 3 kids and we had a talk and figured out what worked for them and for the grade book. You see, I want them to have freedom to create but I still have to have grades and do things like report cards and such. The kids have been working and working hard on LARGE projects but there wasn't much in the grade book to show for it (don't even get me started on how the grade book, grades, and tests, drive a school...thats another story!!). So today, the day before interims my two Art 3 kids asked me to have a chat. They said that if you looked at the grade book that it looked like they hadn't been doing anything in art class. So we talked about what we could do to fix that and they came up with some ideas that were really good!!!  They suggested that besides just the projects that they were working on in class that I could assign a weekly Sketchbook project, that would maybe specify that they have to use certain Elements or Principles of Art and or maybe a particular art technique. They would then have to write an Artist Statement and explain how they used Artist Behaviors when creating their project. While having this conversation I was so proud of my kids and what they were coming up with!!

     This new way of teaching for me has me making new changes every week, talking to my kids more about what they need or how they think the class could be better, or changes in the flow of the classroom setting. I've also gotten a lot of help from my colleagues and this is pushing me to read more on TAB and Choice-Based learning. Its all been a breath of fresh air for my classroom and a little bit of work for me. But overall I think it's making me a better teacher. So tomorrow is another day...I wonder what they will teach me tomorrow?

~Till Next Time

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Choice-Based Classroom in Full Creative Swing

So this is whats been up in room #197. The art room has been in full creative swing and I'm starting to grade some of the fist projects done in our choice-based classroom. 

The theme was vintage and the centers open were the Drawing Center and the 3D Sculpture
Yep, I got a pin-up girl haha! This was huge for this student, and considering she's only had my art one class and no other art I was very proud of her. She used the grid method and color pencils.

Grid method, Sharpie, and pastels

Paper doll and the student then designed her clothes.

This student chose her image and then Zentagled it. She used metallic color pencils and Sharpies.

So the paper macha started on the Chuck Taylor

So the girl that made the paper doll is now moved on to making a dress. She's going to make the skirt all out of pages from magazines and is in the process of paper maching the base to build on.

So it seems that we haven't been able to get Pinterest unblocked at my school yet so this is my fix for that...Inspiration binders in each center. I took my Pinterest Boards and printed them out. Now my students who are stuck can look through the binder and find a project or something to inspire them. 

Here is a shot of the 3D Sculpture Center. Don't you just love the giant colorful dico/snowball hanging from the ceiling? When I was asked why? My reply was, "Why not?" Haha!!

The Collage Center

So I love my new classroom set up and it seems to be working good and flowing.

And to open this Thur. THE POTTERY CENTER!!! YAY!!!

 Now some of you might have seen this in one of my earlier post. It's my thicket out the door board. Now it never fails but every year I learn from my kids and make adjustment to the classroom based on my students needs. One of my kids made the comment that the post-its will fall sometimes and that it would be better if they had push-pins. Also, I had the post-its on top of my filing cabinet and it seemed there was pens and post-its that I was always straightening. So now I moved it to the pegboard by the door and there's a place right next to it for a basket of post-its and pens. This has been a great way for me to check on what my kids are doing in their chosen centers and to use as data for understanding what additional help some of my students may need in a center or with a technique. So far I'm reading them at the end of the day and then collecting them at the end of the week. Each post is worth a point.

 I have three Art 3 students and here is what 2 of them are working on

 This is the base of a 4ft by 4ft city. There is spray foam, paper maching, painting, collaging, and cardboard construction going on.

 This students is painting and Zentangling this poster size project.

Besides that I'm trying to stay with my 5 work day week, in the past I've worked a 7 day week but NO MORE!! I also had our first Art Club meeting and trying to get all the balls rolling that go along with the club. Here is what I designed for our club shirts.
 Yep, thats all post-its from my kids. haha!! I have one kid that leaves me a new one every day :)

Well that's whats been happening in room #197 (aka: The Bat Cave)

~Till Next Time

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Collage Project & Trying to Figure This Choice Thing Out

     A new center opens tomorrow, The Collage Center!  I'm hoping and praying that the unannounced intruder drill does not happen and screw up my lesson...Ain't Nobody Got Time For That!!! 
     So I wanted my kids to do a completed project with the introduction to this new center. So I came home and did some brainstorming, looked at my data (hahahaha!!!!! Yeah right, like that happened...well I did reflect on how some of my kids were struggling with inspiration and based my decision on student observation. Does that count????) anyways I decided that we all needed to complete a project from start to finish and this is what I came up with. A collage were they student has to choose an animal that they either really like or represents them. They needed a quote, or at least 6 words that represent them or inspire them. Then using a canvas board they are going to create a background using paint and mixed paper. They then need to play around with placement of their items and decide where the wording will go. Here is a few pics I took as I worked on the example.

    So this took me about an hour and half to do. I used a canvas board, some paint, pages out of an old atlas, scrapbooking paper, Sharpies, my new Gelliarts printing plate, and a little Distressing ink Timholtz I love this stuff and the look it gives your designs!

I'm hoping that this project and the introduction of some new materials will help inspire some of my kids. Its seems that some of my kids have really been struggling with coming up with ideas and inspiration for projects. It's weird because some kids have just really took to the Choice-Based classroom and have really WoWed! me, while others seem to be a bit adrift at sea and are really not sure what to create. It seems that a lot of them are sticking to what they know...The Drawing Center! Now I'm cool with that if that is truly what they want to do. But many of them I feel stay there because they are too afraid to branch out and try something new. I do have a few that are paper-maching, doing some mixed media, and creating cardboard sculptures. But I want MORE!!!! I want freaking creativity oozing out into the halls. I want Big, Bold, Experimental artwork...and right now, from a lot of them, I'm getting color pencils :/

Oh, and another thing I'm finding in a choice-base classroom is that we're into the 4th week of school and some are just now moving onto their 2nd or 3rd project. Now I do realize that there is more involved in making some of these projects, but man my grade book is not looking all that great right now. Oh, well it's not about the grade book right?? Well, that's what I tell myself but my administration says something else altogether haha!!

Ok, I have coffee cart duty in the morning and that means a very early morning for this girl. Need to get my butt to bed!

~Till Next Time

Monday, September 1, 2014

Life and Labor


Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.

     Happy Labor Day Yall! So I'm sure most of us are off today and I for one am very thankful for any holiday that gives me an extra day off! Never really looked up the history of Labor Day before, just kind of figured it was a day to honor those that have worked and contributed to our country through their hard work and taxes. So I Googled it, and seems I was pretty spot on. Maybe at some point in one of my history classes I heard about this...who knows? So in honor of Labor Day, lets talk about crazy jobs! What have you done? What has been the best and worst (come on, we all have had that job from hell!), and what is your dream job?

     My working career started at a very early age, I had my first paying job at 12. I grew up in a family of 5 kids and we all had chores, but we didn't get paid for them. My parents saw it more as an indentured servant type of deal haha!!
Growing up I really did use to think that my parents had all us kids to fold clothes, clean house, and load and unload the dishwasher. Now I realize they wouldn't have needed us to do it if it was just them. Oh the knowledge that comes with age! 
Also, growing up in a large family with a stay at home Mom and a Dad that is a full time pastor we didn't have a ton of money. Growing up if we wanted the fancy Doc Martins or Girbaud jeans we had to pay for them. I quickly realized that I would need a way to fund my spending wants. Oh and FYI if you are dying to relive your early 90s look you can still get yourself a pair of these babies online. I know some of you are now off to relive your youth! haha!!! 

So anyways...lets talk about jobs!

     My first job was cleaning a camp for one of my Dad's friends. It was a 3 bedroom trailer and I was 12. Thanks to my Mom and how we were raised I could clean house! I made around $30

    I then to went on to do what most kids do, I worked with my Grandparents. Who hasn't worked for Grandparents?? I loved that gig! I cut her grass and ironed for her. If you can believe this I ironed my Grandpa's handkerchiefs. He always had one with him and Grandma always made sure they were ironed. I got paid well and the working conditions were Great! 

     At 16 I got a job at the local grocery store, the IGA. I was in Homeschool and so I was able to work the morning shifts and then I would go home and do school when the after school kids came in. I ended up working with all of the older ladies  since I ended up with the 7 to 1 shift. I also got to be on a first name bases with all the little old men that would come in first thing in the morning for a paper and bread and milk. I worked that job for quite a few years and learned a lot about working with the public. 

Now I've always had a love of shopping and this contributed to me working many jobs. While I was still working at the grocery store I would also baby sit on my days off, still worked for Grandma, and I would work with my cousin cleaning yachts at the marina. For a 16-17 year old making $20-25 dollars an hour was good money!! 
    But one thing I learned for my time cleaning up after people that are rich and use to having someone clean up after them is not what I wanted to do. I also cleaned hunting camps and WOW! Thats even worse!! Men who are drinking and killing things and use to having maids and wives do not clean up after themselves at all!! And for some reason they seem to think that when you're at the camp anything goes. Like lets pluck ducks in the bath tub or kitchen sink...really?? Lets walk around with mud covered boots, get drunk and puke in the tub, leave inappropriate magazines and movies laying about, and what the heck while we're at it lets cook with every pot in the house and then leave them for the cleaning girls to wash. Yep, some of those days of cleaning up that sealed the deal for me that I would never be in a cleaning position as a job.

     Once I finished up with high school it was time to get a big girl job. I was still cleaning houses here and there and working at the grocery store, but I didn't want to go to college and my parents were like, "Well you need something to support yourself." So after thinking about what I liked to do I decided to go and take a floral design class. I had taken a college course on floral design when I was in high school and really loved it. I was also pretty good at it and thought, "This would be fun!" It may have had something to do with the movie "Bed of Roses" with Christian Slater (who wasn't in love with him??) So I took the class, passed with flying colors and got hired on with the local florist...the week before Valentines! Now my deep hate for red roses steams from this time in my life. Just starting out all I was in charge of doing was unpacking flowers, cutting them for the buckets, and cleaning up. I also made tons and tons of bows. Now during Valentines rush we processed 1000s of roses and one of the fun things you have to do with them is de-thorn them. This is not fun! Also, roses have a bacteria in/on them and if you stick yourself, which happens often when you are cleaning them, your hand swells up and makes for a very un-fun time. So I worked as a florist, both full-time and part-time for almost 5 years. Now during this time there were times when we were very slow and I worked other jobs. I was those big characters that people rent for kids birthdays. Yep I played everything from Winnie the Pooh, Mickey, Minnie, Barney, Tigger, and Elmo. I also did this for festivals and let me tell you how NOT fun it is to be in a hot suit, you can't see, and to have drunk people come up to you and say, "Oh, let me tickle me some Elmo!" 

It seems that I have always been working and in most cases done multiple things while holding down other jobs.
     I've cleaned houses, yachts, and camps.
Watched kids, and old people.
Been a camp counselor and lifeguarded for 6 summers.
 Was a camp cook at an AG campground in Alaska.
Painted houses.
Youth Pastored for 2 years.
Picked oranges.
Worked at a framing shop.
Worked in collections...yep, I was the person calling you if you didn't pay your bills.
Worked at library for 2 weeks...found out that was not for me! 
Worked Craft shows.
Worked in a wood-shop.
Florist for 5 years.
Dental Assistant, hygiene coordinator, 
and dental lab tech for 5 1/2.
Went through orientation and worked one week on the OR floor at a hospital in West Monroe.
Was a Cashier and Customer Servies at Lowes.
Worked at American Black Fridays and floorsets forever changed me!
Worked as a tutor for ADD and dyslexia kids.
I even tried my hand in small business and made and sold my own soap and bath products and also had my own ceramic shop at one point. 
      I'm now on my 6th year of teaching and during the last 5 years I have taught, World history, World geography, U.S. history, Civics, Sociology, Psychology, Economics, Fine Arts Survey, Pottery, and Art 1, 2, and 3! 
     I also realized that this is the first time that I've only worked one job with no side jobs! 
But then I guess it's all at how you look at job may be a teacher but I find that as a teacher you are so much more. 
As a teacher you also tend to be a:
event planner
guidance counselor
life coach
security guard
crisis manager
maintenance consultant 
Etiquette and hygiene instructor
data analyzer
and of course
most feel that you should also be an entertainer.

By far the worst job for me had to be in cleaning and my favorite so far is teaching art. All of my jobs have taught me something along the way, have helped me build character, taught me about working with people in the public, and helped shape me into the person I am today. I've meet many great friends through these jobs and found out a lot about human nature and workplace friendships. I've learned that even the worst job can still be ok if you have the right people doing it along side you. Pay does not always constitute wither a job is good or not but it sure does help!

So what is my dream job? Well, that would have to be a millionaires wife...I just know I would be darling at it!! 
Or I would absolutely LOVE to work at Flow Magazine! If someone from Flow happens to read this I would be an awesome addition to your team!  

So what has been your worst job ever? What was, or is your favorite job? And what do you consider your dream job? 

~Till Next Time

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Favorite 5 Friday

 I've been neglecting my blog lately....something I tend to do.

 Well, here is my 5 of my recent Favorite things.

1. Food
Iv'e been trying some new recipes and found some that I love. I really haven't cooked a lot but I started lately and really have been enjoying it.
  I tend to Pin a bunch of things and I've decided that I wanted to start going through my Mmm Looks Good Enough To Eat board and find out if they really are good enough. 

Been playing around with making my own Spring Rolls

I also tried this dessert called Empty Tomb Rolls and wow they were amazing!!!

Ok, I stumbled on these while shopping the other day and WOW these things are very dangerous! They are soooooo good!

2. Coffee & Tea Bar
My new Favorite place in my house is my new coffee bar. I've always wanted one and now that I'm in the cottage and have some space I was able to put it together. I love my coffee mug shelf that one of my students made me and looking at this picture now it makes me laugh since it seems to sum up my life...The globes (Travel) & Coffee...yep thats all a girl really needs right??

3. The Phantom!!!!!

 I'm so excited!! Got my tickets and can't wait to see it in Nov.

4. Yoga
I've really been enjoying my yoga time and love that I have a class that I can go to twice a week. I've also been doing it at home and trying to get in some yoga time at least 3-4 times a week. I love that it makes me feel strong and how great I feel after doing it. I've still been getting in my gym time and glad that I am feeling healthier then I ever had.
Here is a pic my instructor took of me doing the Crow pose. I'm still working on being able to do a handstand.

5. Anything Monogrammed!

 Yep I did it...I got my debit card designed and it has my monogram on it! Love it!

 So I love that me and my family tend to think that anytime is a good time to give a surprise. I guess me and my sister get it from my Mom. This was my most recent surprise from my sister.
I know you're jealous!

So that is just a few of my Favorite things. 
Here is a peek at some invitations that I created for my upcoming 
Favorite Things Party. I can't wait, I'm sure it's going to be loads of FUN!!!

 ~Till Next Time