Sunday, August 21, 2016

One Week Down, SALE, and Freebies!

I made it through the first week of school! Is that what you're thinking this year? Or are you still dreading that first week? Either way, you might be in the wrong place...and maybe not even know it!

This year, I am teaching art for the first time ever. After 20 years, I finally finished everything I needed to do to add art to my certification. And I moved classrooms. Again. It was AWFUL!!!
The room AFTER throwing a dumpster-full away!
Roach and mouse poop...EVERYWHERE!

At least I know what it is now!
The room I went into hadn't been cleaned out in over 20 years, but with lots of help, I got it all cleaned out and set it up my way. Then I went home and worried all summer. Was I doing the right thing? What if I didn't like it? What if I wanted to go back to second grade, or fourth, or any? But after one day, I knew. I couldn't stop smiling. It was like I'd won the lottery! I LOVE it! And now I know. After the first week, if you feel like you survived, you might need a drastic change, because I thought I loved teaching. And maybe I did, but, y'all, this is amazing! I practically skip down the halls. I have fun all day, every day. I'll take some pictures of the "after" this week!

I'm probably working harder than ever...all new lesson plans, no curriculum, just standards, weird supplies that I don't know how to use, and going from fifth graders to baby kindergarteners to TMD classes. I know, we all think the related arts teachers have it SO easy. We're wrong. They We get pulled in a million directions all day, every day. We have more hall duties, less lunch time, combined into planning, not both, more committees, and everyone comes to related arts teachers for ideas and favors. We're the first ones to fill in when a sub can't get there on time, and the custodians? They empty my trash. That's all. Meaning I clean my tables, I sweep my floor, I clean the sinks and wash the walls and make sure crayons don't get slid across the tile, jammed into the cracks, permanently. BUT, I love it! LOVE IT! I feel like, after all those years, I am finally doing what I was meant to do. It really is my #bestyearever!

Here's a FREEBIE for you, if you're a TPT seller: 

 
It's a sale banner, so if you're not a TPT seller, you know what that must mean...A SALE. Yep, it's tomorrow, one day only, site-wide, with up to 28% off. Use sale code OneDay to get the best pricing!

Now I have another freebie for all of you! It's the lesson I'm currently teaching in art, but it is all math-integrated, with some vocabulary and ELA, and a dash of self-esteem thrown in!
 
 
I know you've seen zentangles all over Pinterest, and in every book store and craft store known to mankind. They are pretty Zen, after all! This summer, I started fooling around with them and decided they were the perfect first lesson for all my art classes. They're easy to differentiate. You really can't "mess up". And they easily teach at least two of the elements of art, and can teach more. They tie in with math - think patterns, measurement, geometry, language arts - think vocabulary, and even social studies, if you want to explain Zen, as a religious practice. I'm using rectangular zentangles as covers for my students' sketchbooks. In art, this will be a three-part lesson. In the regular classroom, I'd just use parts one and two (if you even need part two). See the whole thing at my Teachers Pay Teachers store, but hurry! It's only free during the one day sale!

Have your #bestyearever and check back soon for more!

XOXO,
Brooke


Monday, August 8, 2016

It's official! I start back to school this week, and my children start middle school and high school next week. Where does the time go? It seems like just last summer they looked like this:

Now, there's makeup all over the bathroom counter, jewelry everywhere, and not a hairbow to be found anywhere! They're both excited, though, and so am I. I begin a new adventure in school this year, as well.

Since earning my masters' degree to teach, 20 years ago, I've wanted to teach art, but didn't have all the coursework I needed. Slowly and steadily I took classes to fulfill the art requirements, but still needed one more course, only offered in fall, only at one local college. My favorite bible verse is Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you," said the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans for hope and a future." (NIV) Two years ago, my principal sent out an email asking if anyone was willing to have a student teacher, who just happened to need placement in fall, and just happened to go to that one local school that offers the course I needed. I emailed him back so fast, his head was probably spinning! God sent me the best student teacher ever...Larz. 


She's a teacher in the Myrtle Beach area now. My compensation from the college was a free class. So this past fall, I took my last class needed for art. In December, our art teacher retired. In March I took the Praxis exam, and passed. I sent in all my paperwork for certification, and after a long battle with the state department, over two classes I took years ago in Nebraska, I received not only my certification, but also a job offer at my own school!

This year, 20 years after starting my teaching career, I'll be a new teacher again, in ART, and I can't wait! 
www.finearttips.com
My goal, refined through so many years in the core curriculum classroom, is to incorporate as much of each grade level's core standards into art as I can. I hope to build background knowledge of classroom standards, as well as reinforce prior classroom teaching of grade-level standards. I have found so many incredible resources on Pinterest, and have so many new followers of my Artistic Pinspiration board. Whether you teach art or not, you can find tons of ideas here for incorporating art and craftivities into your lesson plans, or just to do for yourself, family, and friends, so come along for this wild ride, as we all go back to school, refreshed and ready to begin a new adventure!

I'm excited to continue to bring you new classroom products, as well as inspiration for your own arts incorporation. A peek at my new classroom is coming later this week. For now, get ready with this little give-away!

Follow my Artistic Pinspiration board for a chance to win a custom tee shirt just like mine! Let me know you're a new follower in the Rafflecopter below:




XOXO,
Brooke

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Get Ready for Back to School!

Three Easy Ways to
Get Ready for Back 2 School

I don't know about you, but this time of summer makes me sweat. Not only the fact that it's 100 degrees with 45% humidity, but the thought of getting my girls and myself ready for back to school, really makes me sweat! If you're with me, give me a holla! Well, I've figured out three quick, fun, easy ways to at least get organized, if not mentally prepared.


"Polyvore" it Up!
My girls have more clothes than they know what to do with. Really. From Gramma's shopping sprees to hand-me-downs from cousins, to the "OH! I have to have that!" moments, they have so many pieces, but don't always know what goes together. Until I thought of this, they inevitably wore the same outfits over and over again and ended up looking like they had about 4 shirts, 1 pair of jeans, and a skirt or two. Now, they mix it up, match it up, and all the clothes get seen every once in a while. Here's how to make it fun and get them involved:
   First, clean out the dressers and closets. Yes, even that "dresser" under the bed! Okay, well, first, you might want to let your kiddos know the whole plan, or you'll never get this part done. While everything is out, get rid of the things they don't like or those that don't fit.
   Now, take photos of every top, bottom, accessory, and pair of shoes.
   This is where the fun begins. You can do this in PowerPoint, Publisher, or even Word. Choose one picture of a "bottom" and then go through all the "tops" to make outfit pictures. Add shoes, scarves, and other accessories, even jewelry. I usually do a warm weather and cool weather version with the same initial "bottom". Here's one:
The black and white striped skirt was where we started. Then we chose five summer tops, six winter tops, leggings (for winter under the skirt) and shoes. My girls love doing this!
   Last step is to print out the "Polyvore" pages you've made, and tape them to the inside of the closet door, back closet wall, or wherever you have room. There's no more, "I can't find anything to wear," or, "Honey, Mommy's really tired of that outfit...can't you find something else?"! Bonus: You can go ahead and pick out the perfect first day back outfit!



Personalize It!
     I know, it's not safe to have your kids' names all over their backpacks, lunchboxes, and clothes, but every mom and every teacher knows that every kid needs his name on every single thing. Here's my solution:  add a luggage tag to backpacks. You can find the cute single initial monogram ones just about anywhere, but, in case you're having trouble, click here. Now, you could just turn that little paper with room for address, etc. on it over and write on the back, or you can use these free editable labels. I'd go for easy, myself, and print out a bunch of labels at once! I've even used them on individual glue sticks, markers, and crayons!


     For everything else, as long as it goes inside the backpack, I think you're safe putting your kiddos' names on the item in large enough print to be easily recognized, and super cute! Grab some paint pens and Sharpies and label everything with your kids' names. Get creative, add some flowers, sports logos, or whatever your kids are into! Don't have beautiful handwriting? Cheat! That's right, cheat! Find a font you really like, type your child's name, size appropriate for the item you're personalizing, print it out, and either practice copying the name on scrap paper, or use Sharpie to trace the printed out name onto the item you're personalizing, then go over the Sharpie with paint pen. Trust me on this one...I used to work at a store where all we did was paint names on things! Bonus: Everything is labeled at once, and it all looks so cute!!!


Cook It Up!
     Have dinner ready for the first night you've gone back to school. Whaaa? Here's my favorite easy peasy recipe for chicken, rice, and broccoli casserole. Best part? You can prepare it in one pot and mix and bake it in one dish. Then just freeze it until your first day back.

Chicken, Rice & Broccoli Bake

1 rotisserie chicken, meat shredded, or 1 pkg. fresh chicken tenderloins, boiled until done and then    shredded
1 cup white or brown rice, cooked to equal 2 cups, as prepared
1 head of broccoli, cut into bite sized florets, or 1 12 oz. bag frozen broccoli florets
1 can cream of broccoli soup
1/2 c. mayonnaise
2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
3 oz. cheese crackers
2 T butter, melted

So, a little prep work...either buy your chicken pre-cooked, as in a rotisserie chicken, or simply boil fresh tenderloins for about 10 minutes, or until 165 degrees. Either way, shred the chicken with two forks. Cook your rice, according to package instructions. I use 1 cup of rice to 2 cups of water, bring it to a boil, lower the heat to simmer, adding a lid, and cook for 20 minutes. It comes out perfectly every time! Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Once you have your chicken and rice ready, the rest is a breeze! Put everything, except the crackers and butter, right into a 9 x 13" baking dish. Mix all together. Crush cheese crackers - the kids can help with this part! If you're using these individual bags of crackers, like I do, snip a tiny edge at the top of the bag to let out the air. 

You won't spill any, and the crushing is much easier. Use a spoon to break up any large chunks.
Pour the cracker crumbs over the mixture in your dish, and drizzle the melted butter over the crackers. At this point, you can use freezer wrap to cover your dish for later, or pop it in the oven for 30 minutes. Everybody's happy with this one at my house!

Hope these tips make your back to school easier than ever.

XOXO,
Brooke

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Fourteen Hours and Flip Flops

Fourteen hours. In 14 hours, my summer is over. Well, sort of...I have 2 professional development days, beginning in 14 hours. Then, I'm back in summer mode until the 11th. Two more days of professional development, a "Meet the Teacher" on the 13th, and back to summer. So, officially, I go back to work, for real, on the 17th, with kiddos coming on the 18th. It's a good thing I like flip flops!
Meanwhile, I kind of dropped the ball on getting my TpT store ready for the big sale, so my sale began a few hours late, BUT I'm extending it through Friday, just in case you are in flip flop mode, too! Be sure to use the code BTS15 through tomorrow (hint, hint...I think TpT is doing a little extension, too) for 28% off. After that, I'm offering 20% off everything in my shop.

Now, I have to ask you, is anyone nervous this year? I am so super nervous I'm about beside myself! I don't know what it is...maybe the new, new SC standards? Maybe the fact that I've never even seen three of the four textbooks I'm supposed to use? Maybe that I moved rooms during the last three days of school, which was really just a case of "shoveandhide" to get junk off the counters and floors? Maybe it's the grade-level change? Maybe the fact that I was going to be departmentalized, but now I'm not? Maybe it's that we haven't been able to get in our building since an hour after the last day of school and we still can't...until the 11th? MAYBE it's all of that!!! Anyway, I know I'm about to load up my cart on TpT and probably wing it for a few days, get those kiddos to help with the room, and just not worry. Okay, I can tell myself that, anyway.

XOXO,
Brooke

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Tried it Tuesday - Interactive Journals

This year, I'm moving back to fourth grade, but...a little secret...I'm terrified! It's been six years since I moved to second grade. Our standards have changed to the common core and from the common core. This summer, our new state standards were released, and my district is working furiously to put together pacing guides, but isn't quite finished. My classroom library, so lovingly collected and organized by Lexile, only goes up to about a 500! And that's with about 1,000 books! I have never seen the fourth grade math, science, or reading textbooks (not that I'm that big on textbooks, anyway), and just before school dismissed, I moved classrooms, removing all the non-U.S.History "stuff" from the room. Since then, I've decided to go self-contained, and teach all subjects to my kiddos, rather than let them switch around all day. My school has been a "hard-hat area" all summer, so no one can get to their classroom, either!

I need a Tried it Tuesday rescue, so I'm linking up with Holly at Fourth Grade Flipper!


So, my Tried it Tuesday? Well, I haven't tried it yet, but I'm sure going full-force! I've bought several interactive journals and plan to use them in and across all subjects. That, too, will be new for me. Yikes! I decided today that I wanted a uniform look for all the icky composition notebooks that I'm requiring students use for their journals. Although all the journals I've purchased come with covers, I just kind-of wanted my own thing, ya know? So, here it is:





You can pick up a copy of all six covers from my TpT shop, or by clicking on the picture below:

Well, I'd best be getting back to my long-range plans. Just EIGHT days until I'm back at work!
XOXO,
Brooke


Monday, July 27, 2015

Monday Made It!

Today something scary happened. I realized I have exactly NINE days before I head back to work! Nine days. Summer is fleeting, and I'm not nearly through! 

I haven't spent enough time with my beautiful daughters. We haven't gone to the pool enough. We haven't just hung out having fun enough. How can this be???
Well, to be honest with myself, I've spent nearly every day this summer waiting around the house for cable guys, delivery guys, painters, electricians, plumbers, HVAC guys, and basically every other kind of guy you might wait around on when you've just bought a house. Yes, we've decorated. Yes, the girls did get to pick out their room colors and decor. Yes, we've baked cookies and delivered them to my parents, my hubby's parents, and even my grandma. Yes, the stupid cable works now. But, really, nine days?

To have something to show for some of my waiting around, I'm linking up with 4th Grade Frolics for Made it Monday! We have been busily waiting around, after all.

The girls and I tried some mixed media artwork last week...I found some great directions here. We always have canvases lying around, so we chose some scrapbook paper, copied pictures out of magazines, gathered all the materials and got busy. I will tell you that this project took several days, probably because working on my own, while teaching the girls to use Mod Podge, wasn't easy, so we only worked for about an hour at a time. We had fun learning the process, being creative, and I'm pleased enough with mine that they might make it in our bedroom, to hang over the bed.

Clare wanted her room to be pink with an orange chevron wall. Yikes! After looking at lots of tutorials and youtube videos, I think I found the easiest one, for me, here.




After measuring, marking, and taping, I knew I wanted a monogram over her bed, so I printed out the full size I wanted on four pieces of paper, taped them together, and cut them out. Then I traced the frame shape onto the wall. It's one of Krista Wallden's freebies. If you don't follow her on TpT, you should! She is a very talented artist and always has lots of freebies. Then I painted the chevron and the monogram frame. I did find that "cutting in" along the tape caused more bleeding, rather than sealing the tape, as the tutorial suggests, so I just rolled the paint on. Finally, I used my cameo to cut out Clare's monogram and stuck it on the frame.
 
Oh my! Have I shared the best secret ever to use as transfer paper? It's Glad Press n' Seal. Y'all, it is seriously the easiest thing I've ever used with my cameo cuts. You'll never buy transfer paper again, and you can give your husband his painters' tape back, too! Okay, these pictures are from last-day-of-school buckets I made, but you get how easy the press n' seal is, right?

No Sew Window Treatments? Yes, please! 
Y'all, I can sew, but you don't have to with these easy peasy curtain ideas. The first one, I made when I first got married, and I didn't know how to sew. I used iron-on hem tape to do the whole thing. We had bought a house, and it had a black and white bathroom that was pretty dated. I loved this sheer "buggy" fabric, so I "hemmed" the sides and bottom, then ironed in a 3 inch folded-over pocket-thing for the rod. I found the ribbon, accordion folded the bottom, and tied the bows around a tension rod I'd threaded through my pocket at the top. Last week, while cleaning out the boxes upon boxes in our garage, I found that old curtain and knew it would be great in the girls' bathroom, also black and white, just like in our first house. All I did was fold it a little more to accommodate such a short window!
Below is Clare's little curtain. Again, you could use the iron-on hem tape to make your rod pocket (I sewed this one, and hemmed it, too) and hem. For this little valance, I first sewed my fabric into a big loop, like a cylinder of fabric, so that it was doubled for some extra body. Then, I sewed the rod pocket at the seam. The edges are just the selvedges, which are finished off the bolt of fabric. I made the little bunting out of some left-over ric-rack, used my pinking shears to cut the triangles so they wouldn't fray, and hot glued the whole thing together, adding some cute buttons for fun! Clare painted the birdhouse herself.



Here's another no sew project we whipped up last week. After struggling with what to do about a bedskirt, after raising Callie's bed seven inches for under-bed storage, it hit me. The fabric I had upholstered her walls with, in our rental house, was perfect! First, I measured the length of the box springs. Then I pinned the fabric length at the corners. From there, I kept finding the middle (eyeballing it) and putting another pin. When the pins were about seven inches apart, I started stapling pleats and gathers. Then, I'd pin them to the boxsprings. That's it!













The last thing we made was this wreath. I used one roll of burlap ribbon from Wal-Mart, about five feet of another roll (the green), some linen I cut off of some pants I hemmed, and some left-over buttons. First, wrap a foam wreath form with the natural burlap ribbon. Use floral pins to secure the ribbon. To make the roses, I cut strips of linen and then just kind of wound them up. To get them the way I wanted them to look, I loosened the strips and pinned them in place on the wreath, loosening toward the center as I went. Next, I hot glued some old buttons on, and last, I tied a bow and pinned it on with floral pin.

So, as you can see, it would seem I've done nothing school-related. That's why:


Nah! Just relax, take the last week or so easy, and everything will fall into place!

XOXO,
Brooke