just a quick note

August 15, 2009

I found this fun website with online tools for kids. lots of drawing websites, stamps, etc. I don’t have a lot of time to write at the moment, but hopefully this can help you out!


and just in general, mrssmoke.onsugar.com is an amazing site. lots of fun new tools (we all know drea loves those!) to “make teachers nerdy”

love it.


Paper is a banal material, which is common enough for everyone to relate with, yet neutral enough to be given a new lease of life. It is the perfect blank canvas.

N55’s Walking House

July 1, 2009

doing good work

June 2, 2009


GPCP Summer Camp!

May 12, 2009


The Grant Park Cooperative Preschool is a small neighborhood preschool in Atlanta, Georgia.  This Cooperative school is noted for its recognition of the Reggio Amelia approach.  This teaching approach for small children is heavily influenced on the arts and the making of art.  GPCP is a school where the environment is just as important as what is being taught.  Children are surrounded by caring teachers and beautiful art that they have created.  GPCP’s website states their mission:

“Grant Park Cooperative Preschool is dedicated to providing children in the Grant Park community of Atlanta with a secure and loving environment utilizing music, art, language, and literature in an innovative approach that allows students to direct the learning process. GPCP is a cooperative effort in which parents take responsibility for the education of children through daily involvement in all aspects of school operations.”  picture5

“1. The child learns best through direct interaction with the environment. Learning comes through playing; and activities in the classroom have an essential experiential basis.
2. The child’s total development follows a hierarchy of stages and sequences. The program changes appropriately as the child grows and moves through stages of development. Activities are planned which address the current interests and skill levels of the children in any given group.
3. The young child’s confidence, knowledge of self, and willingness to risk grow through positive and successful experiences. Small class size enables the teachers to know and plan for an individual child’s skill level and to provide assistance so as to minimize confusing, overly frustrating, or meaningless experiences. The classroom environment is designed to maximize a child’s independence and to present challenges, which contribute to personal growth.
4. The child’s experiences, home-life, and world away from GPCP are essential to learning. Activities are planned to fully integrate home-life and school-life. These activities will stem from events in the child’s life, in consultation with parents, including but not limited to new additions to a family, illness, holidays, moving and other important life events.”
During two of the school’s summer camp sessions I will be teaching two weeks of Papermaking and two weeks of Printmaking.  The age group I will be working with are 2-3 year old preschool students.

My focus for the papermaking camp is for each student to have the hands-on experience of creating paper.  This experience will encourage coordination, organization through design, color mixing through the dying of the paper, and because children will be working side by side and helping one another they will build new social relationships.  I will also focus on the importance of recycling materials and reusing these materials to create art!
During this camp session the entire class will take a visit to near by Grant Park.  Each student will have their own brown bag to collect materials to later add to their handmade papers.  These materials can be flowers, grass, leaves, sticks, bark or other found materials from home like laundry lint or other papers that they like.  The important message to give to the students during the trip is to explore and collect from nature respectfully!  This means that we should not destroy the natural environment around us and we should collect things that have already fallen to the ground or to only pick one flower and not pick up the entire plant.  We should also be safe and careful not to pick up any hazard material such as broken glass.  And we must always remember to wash our hands!archeo-ceramica-natural-decor-resin-tile
By the end of the camp session each child will be able to take home a small photo album of their time at camp that is made entirely of the paper and art they have created.  I and the other teacher will make the book. This book serves as a way for the student to remember their time in camp and what they created.  It will be a simple three hole tied binding pamphlet made of the paper they have made.  The last day of the camp will be dedicated to the decoration of their books and afterwards we will add the pictures.I have some experience with papermaking but not very much so I needed some help.
These are some of the recipes and processes I found online:

Learn to make something great from recycled materials.

What You Need:

* Egg cartons
* Detergent
* Water
* Pot
* Screens
* Newspaper
* Any odd wool sparkles, etc. to add to paper
And food coloring if desired for color

What You Do:

1. Encourage children to tear up egg cartons, put in pot with detergent, cook on low for 2-3 hours, put in food processor, until smooth consistency.

2. Add water to mixture before and after cooking.

3. Strain through screen until desired thickness–flip over onto newspaper, put more newspaper and towels on top.

4. Cover with heavy books, etc for 24 hours. Peel off paper and let dry for 24 more hours–can also make bowls and other fun stuff–put flat paper works the best. You can also use old newspaper and other scrap paper.

* Computer Paper (unprinted)
* Newspaper (If you want a grayish colored paper)
* Magazines
* Egg Cartons
* Old Cards (For heavier paper)
* Toilet Paper
* Paper Bags
* Non Waxed Boxes (Pre-soak in warm water)
* Office Paper
* Tissue Paper (For finer paper)
* Typing Paper
* Napkins
* Construction Paper
Other recipes can be found at these websites:

The week following Papermaking, I am teaching the two-week Printmaking camp. My Focus for this session is for students to be creative and explore media possibilities.  Each student will have the chance to use and improve their drawing, coordination, color mixing and design skills through printmaking.  Students will learn multiple printmaking techniques. These include Vegetable and fruit prints, stencil prints, Styrofoam relief prints, yarn relief prints, and monoprints. During the Last class each student will be given a cardboard portfolio to decorate and store their prints.

Veggie and Fruit Printsfruitprint

This is a terrific, inexpensive way to introduce printmaking and design.  How will each print be fit on the piece of paper?veggie-rows-marsha-tudor


Stencil Prints!stencil-sheep1
Each student will make a paper cut out of any shape, paint over or through it, and peel off stencil to look at what you have created!  When students are confident in this method they can cut more complex forms.

Monoprinting is a process whereby only one print is pulled from the printing plate. http://www.kinderart.com/printmaking/mono.shtml
Styrofoam relief printsstyrofoam

This method is where you use a ballpoint pen to draw on a Styrofoam plate, roll paint or ink on it and press to paper.
Yarn relief prints!

* Building fine motor skills

What You Need:

* Scissors
* Glue
* Yarn
* Cardboard or oak tag
* Paper
* Printing ink or paint
* Crayons

What You Do:

1. On one piece of cardboard, have your students use crayons to draw an underwater scene. At this point, they do not draw in a fish.

2. On another piece of cardboard or oak tag, have your students draw a design.

3. Then, have your students outline the design with glue. Then, they should apply yarn to the glue.

4. Let the yarn and glue dry.

5. Students then apply printing ink (or paint) to the yarn design.



     It used to be a touchy subject in schools, as to how graffiti can be taught without stepping over any illegal barriers. Similarly, it has the highly negative connotation of being related to gangs. Obviously, this ideology is far from the truth.

     Here is one was way, which I have tested successfully to teach graffiti in the classroom, while adhering to state standards and educating the youth that this street art is much more than writing on a wall. My process…

Step one, redefine the term “graffiti”. I gave the students the Oxford Dictionary definition, then provided my own. This is based off personal interpretation, so it can vary teacher to teacher. However, I most notably encourage to mention brief history (when and where it came from), how far it’s spread, and the uses of graffiti:

  • Self promotion
  • Social/Political Reflection
  • Commemorating a loved one

Next, I showed an image of graffiti, specifically in Chicago to engage my students further. (This trigger can be adapted to any city you teach in) Get them to recognize how graffiti is all around them.

I went on by giving them examples of different ways graffiti is practiced and used, aside from public walls. Sketchbooks (Black Books), Canvas’ (Fine Art Scenes), and Merchandise (Toys, Shoes, & Clothing)

Sketches – Show examples of black book work, and talk about the basic materials used. Usually, it’s just pen, pencil, crayola markers, and mixtures of interesting materials. 


Canvas – Show examples of graffiti on canvas and talk about the art scene and how it’s growing. There are galleries out there that host graffiti based shows, as well as artists that make a living off of it.


Merchandise – Show examples of custom painted shoes by graffiti artists, toys (found at stores like Rotofugi and A.Okay), and even t-shirts. Ecko clothing is a great example, especially their designs from the 90’s and students are very familiar with it.


Then, I explained three basic forms of graffiti. Bubble Letters, Straight Letters, and Wildstyle. Describe each one off their visual characteristics.





The student will choose and alias or use their own name and adapt it into one of the 3 mentioned styles of graffiti.

Sketch it out on a large piece of paper, then erase any unnecessary lines.


Choose at Minimum 3 colors of any choice. Color in watercolor.


Outline in a fine point Sharpie marker.


Add details: Auras (line around the piece, usually in a high intensity contrasting color), backgrounds, characters, tags, etc.

     This lesson will act as a great advantage to any youth that is interested in the various aspects of art. As a whole, they will learn history of a social movement, which acted as a present day Renaissance with the breakthroughs of dance, music, art, and literature. Additionally, they will become educated on a contemporary art form that continues to advance and spread across the global. One great facet of this project is that it is adaptable for any student to relate to their home. Graffiti is a raw form of expression that is seen all around the streets, yet it is a growing movement in many areas of the professional art world, as well as the media. Recognizing it as more than vandalism can advance a student’s artistic understanding of the scenes around them.