Thursday, September 29, 2011


You know you're a teacher when you want a textbook for Christmas.

My wonderful team leader stopped by my room yesterday to see if I'd be interested in checking out a book called the Pre-Referral Intervention Manual, or for short, the PRIM. Why did I not find out about this book when I was in grad school?! It lists intervention strategies for learning and behavior problems encountered in the classroom. Right now I'm going through and flagging some of my biggest challenges, everything from "Makes unnecessary physical contact with others", to "Blames other persons or materials to avoid taking responsibility for his/her mistakes" (big one in art class), to "Has difficulty concentrating". Then below the challenge, it lists numerous suggestions. I'm actually tagging so many pages that it's becoming pointless, kinda like when you look back at what you highlighted only to realize the whole chapter is now yellow. I want to buy my own copy, but it's pretty pricey, even used. Boooo.

It's just awesome, though. It's my day-off Rosh Hashanah reading. Shana Tova!

McCarney, S., Wunderlich, K.C., & Bauer, A. (1993). Pre-referral intervention manual (2nd ed.). Columbia, MO: Hawthorne Educational Services, Inc.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Bulletin boards, not bulletin boreds.

I'm about to revamp my strangely-sized (something like 47x47" square?) bulletin boards and I thought this would be an appropriate place to document them before I bid them adieu. I'd like to change them once a month, but that might be an unrealistic goal. They gave me so much stress back in August, along with all the other elements of setting up the room. What to put up before you know exactly what you're teaching and you have no student work to show? Not only did I (and still do) feel the pressure to have an aesthetically pleasing and visually interesting room (the art room should be the most attractive room in the school, no?), but I am the first room one encounters when they enter the school. I'm right across from the office. And there is a big interior window so that you can look into my room from the hall. The visibility is nice, but at the same time, you can't hide!

Here's a portion of my collection of art verbs (above). I actually created this bulletin board before anyone told me that I was supposed to have a "word wall". Happy coincidence! This one is probably staying up for the year because of that requirement, but I might move its location. It's in the corner of the room, above my drying racks and I don't think the kids are aware of its existence. Also, I wish the words were bigger. I was thinking about making color-coded paper rings for each grade and when I intro a new unit, we can make predictions about what art verbs we might encounter and try out and "circle" those words.

My students were all kinds of intrigued by the famous National Geographic photo of the Afghan girl (Sharbat Gula, photographed by Steve McCurry in 1984). I collected their comments on sticky notes that I kept on the back of the photo. I'll dedicate a post to that alone, stay tuned.

The painting display didn't capture nearly as much attention as the photography one, which made me a little sad. Maybe I'll do a bulletin board that is titled "Photo or painting?" and put photorealistic paintings next to photos, or photos that mimic paintings (like Yasumasa Morimura's photos that look like Frida Kahlo's paintings, for example).

Teachers and students alike love the "Feelin' It" Levi's ad (on bottom). I would have pulled it from a magazine at some point in the '90s. And I got a few questions about the Eloise illustration... the kids know the live-action movie, but are surprised to find out from me that it was a book before it was ever a movie, as I pull it down from my bookshelf.

Also, I have one additional bulletin board, not pictured here. Unfortunately, I didn't photograph it before taking down the "Art is... drawing" concept. We were notified a few weeks into school that additional curriculum visuals need to be posted in every room ASAP, so that board now has required curricular posters on it. I put it up quickly to get it up... it's not my best work. Therefore, it's uh, mysteriously missing from this post. When I improve upon it, I'll share. Over and out!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

List of notable cars from the car-loop:

  • Purple PT Cruiser
  • White Mustang
  • Bright green VW Beetle with Tinkerbell seat covers
  • Taxi complete with taxi-driver father
  • Gray van with Ed Hardy seat covers
  • Gray van with broken passenger side door so students have to be let out into oncoming car-loop traffic that gives Ms. Dudley a daily heart attack
  • Gray van with shot brakes
  • Gray van with little brother that throws a toy out of the car every day that Ms. Dudley retrieves
  • Huge RV that drops off one student, but could drop off 15, should replace a bus

Monday, September 26, 2011

Kindergarten quotes of the day.

"You smell like Ms. W__________" (his homeroom teacher).

"I really had fun today!"(As opposed to past weeks when you didn't have fun in art class?)

"Excuse me, Ms. Dudley," said while tapping enthusiastically on my bosom.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

And the beat goes on.

Today I called a female student a "he". She corrected me without much complaint. Still...

Not feelin' so good about that.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

To car magnet or not to car magnet?

I joined the PTA. They gave me a magnet for my car.

It's not in my nature... but it's so tempting.

Monday, September 19, 2011

The business of bathrooms.

Out loud, but mostly to myself: "Wow, this classroom is a mess."

First grade student: "Because we're working very hard!"

That was said while they were making these, city collographs:

However, that did not make up for the fact that one of my kindergarteners didn't quite make it to the bathroom today.

The kindergarten classrooms are equipped with bathrooms within the room, and (of course) my classroom is not. And (of course) the four kindergarten classes I teach are all right after their lunch. Small bladders + right after lunch = have to pee in art class. Today we weren't even in the classroom for half of class... we went outside to "paint" lines on the sidewalk with water. So the equation was more like: small bladder + right after lunch + playing with water outside = accident.

I reminded the student where the bathroom was, but some students can't even find it when they come from the art room, and this had the added challenge of finding the bathroom from the front of the building, coming from outside. Should have had her take a buddy. She was inconsolable, to the point she would not cooperate with the health tech and I spent thirty minutes of my fifty-minute lunch (first break in three hours of teaching) taking deep breaths with her to calm the sobs, changing her, safety-pinning her into way too large, awkward, ugly, hand-me-down jeans, bagging up the wet ones. To top it all off, her teacher was out with a sub, so she didn't even have a familiar face to return to in her homeroom.

Ultimately, she never went back to class, dad came to pick her up. She's one of three really sweet little triplets-- I teach one of her brothers, but not the other. I can't help but think that she's been traumatized because of my subpar bathroom directions... at least this wasn't one of the instances where I refused a request to go to the bathroom. Sometimes it's hard to tell when students are trying to skip out on the lesson or they really have to go. From here on out I am going to let my kindergarteners / first graders go in pairs, and more often. So far my policy has been: one person at a time and not during instruction or clean-up. I'll make the exceptions for the wee (heh) little bladders. So tricky, this bathroom business!

Also, the attractive bathroom passes I made a mere three weeks ago already look like this:

The top portion of passes has been cut down a few times already because the initial hole I cut ripped from wear and tear, so I've cut new slits and retied the ribbon... but it's cut off the images that were once there. Note to self: no paper laminated passes. Some teachers use cheap plastic flip flops as passes, and I like that idea. They'd be more gender neutral that way, too, because the flip flops would be the same color. One 4th grade teacher hilariously uses old wooden bowling pins. You really gotta go if you're willing to lug that thing around!

I need to buy some Lysol to spray the germies off these things. Every time I touch them I immediately wash my hands to detox. You'd be surprised at the amount of tattles that go like this, "So and so didn't wash his hands!" after using the bathroom. Ew. I'm not sure that I wanted to know that, but thanks.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

One of the last ones in the lot.

Ruby is very patient as she waits for me to finish up my grading. She is also very lonely, as you can see.

It feels like running a marathon. I know my finish time is going to be embarrassingly poor... but I won't give up. I can do it: Ms. Kristen-Crayon can.

The plan: document my first year of teaching (art), and the life-bits that coincide.

Welcome to the world, baby blog.