Ceramics Lessons and Management Tips

This week was a Ceramic-stravaganza! Check out my favorite ceramics lessons and management tips posts in the links below:

Ceramics Lessons

IMG_5576 Ceramic Zoo Animals & Paper Habitats

IMG_4310 Cultural Animal Vessels

IMG_4389 Abstract Personal Interest Figures

IMG_3433 Imaginative Model Homes & Architectural Facade Tiles

Ceramics Management Tips

IMG_5232 Firing Multiple Stages of Clay at the Same Time

IMG_5221 Kiln Cart Shelf Tags

IMG_3172 Ceramics Toolboxes

IMG_3212 Ceramics on the Art Cart

IMG_5227 Glaze Trays

Getting Back Into the Swing of Things

So, here I am finally, after a major hiatus. As some of you may know, I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis last year in December, and my world turned upside down almost immediately after that. For those that have never heard of ulcerative colitis or inflammatory bowel disease, it is an autoimmune disease of the large intestine, directly related to Crohn’s disease. My digestive system, specifically my large intestine, is being attacked by my immune system. This was my first extremely severe flare. My symptoms worsened for months, and were unresponsive to treatment, and in April I was hospitalized for a month. For a few weeks I wasn’t allowed to eat anything, and I was placed on TPN, an IV form of nutrition that is delivered through a PICC line. When I was finally released to go home, I was still on high doses of IV antibiotics and corticosteroids, pain medication, and I still had the TPN/PICC line for nutrition.


I was on short-term disability from the time I entered the hospital on April 5th through the rest of the school year. At the end of June I finally finished the IV medications, and at the end of July I started taking Humira. I was scheduled for a total colectomy, but the disease started to respond to the Humira and I started to show signs of healing, so the surgery was canceled. At the beginning of August, just in time for my birthday I was able to have the PICC line removed, and I was approved to return to work at the beginning of this school year. And here I am!


The entire time I was in the hospital I was trying to stay in contact with my school, sending emailed sub plans when I could and trying to ensure that the long-term substitute was able to carry on with meaningful art lessons with my students. I missed teaching and my students so much that I realized right away that my art classroom is my happy place. All I wanted to do was be well enough to go back to work. Every day I remember how awful it was to be away, and I am thankful for every little quirk of my job as an art teacher. There is nothing like facing your mortality to suddenly appreciate all the things you used to complain about! I have enjoyed nearly every moment of being back in my classroom, and every morning when I wake up I feel thankful to get to go to work. It was a painful experience, but it made me emotionally stronger and it left me in a place of total gratitude for everything I have.

Photo Sep 25

Now that I have gotten back to feeling 100%, I am ready to get back to blogging. I thought I would start with the exciting news that I have my third student teacher this year. April started a few weeks ago and is just completed her first full takeover week. She has been focusing her lesson development on fifth grade, and our students are completely engaged in her worldly objects contour line drawing lesson. When she selected contour drawing as a possible lesson I shared the artwork of Kristy Patterson. During my Enhancing Elementary Art Expertise course a fellow art teacher described using Kristy’s work as inspiration for a contour drawing lesson, and we agreed that this was an engaging way to get students involved in contour drawing. The seeds were planted and April has been developing the lesson to engage students in discussing and analyzing the work, as well as leading them through contour drawing practice.IMG_5492
I was blown away by the improvement in the students observational drawing skills after only one class period of practice. Here is a series of drawings by one student. This definitely show the amazing improvement thirty minutes of practice can make!

IMG_5516 IMG_5517 IMG_5518 IMG_5521 IMG_5522This week students will continue to develop their contour line drawing skills by bringing in their own personally meaningful objects and creating their final drawing. I cannot wait to see how the final drawings turn out.



Wish Tree Project Update

I am getting our wishes from our Wish Tree packed up and ready to send off. While I was checking out the mailing info for sending our wishes to the Imagine Peace project in Iceland I was poking around their website and I discovered this:

My principal blogged about our wish tree close to the end of the year when the project was in full swing. The Imagine Peace website picked it up and posted it on their website. So exciting!

Also, I noticed that this post on their site had been retweeted, so check this out:

How cool is it to have your school tweeted about by Yoko Ono?

Best Birthday Present Ever

I have to say: this present was long in the making, and I’ve been eagerly waiting to see it officially in a real printed copy that I can hold in my hand.

This month’s issue of School Arts magazine contains my first published professional article. AND the image on the cover of the magazine is my own photograph of one of my students. My article: The Wish Tree Project is on pages 34 & 35 of the magazine and I am giddy with excitement. This was a fantastic and challenging experience, and I can’t wait to submit future articles. I have been subscribing to School Arts magazine every since my first year in the Art Education program at George Mason University, and it has proven to be one of my most reliable sources of lessons ideas and useful art teacher information. I love that I can view tons of archived issues through my digital subscription and whenever I am stumped I can flip through the latest issue for inspiration.

(I think that is the end of my voluntary School Arts advertisement)

Having my writing published has been one of my lifelong goals and I see this as a dream come true as well as a possible opportunity for future writing. I am so excited, and I can’t wait to share the magazine article with my students at the beginning of this school year!