Monday, June 18, 2012

Healthy dose of pressure.

The dean of the master's program I graduated from? Yeah, I'm teaching her granddaughter this week. A former professor's great niece? Teaching her, too.

A healthy dose of pressure is most likely good for the soul, but it didn't necessarily feel that way when I got my class roster this morning.

(Am I overreacting? Yes. I got hugs from both lovely ladies as they told me about how their littlest family members would be in my class. But still!)

Sunday, June 17, 2012

I survived.

First day of teaching (ever!), August 29th, 2011:

First last day of school, June 12th, 2012:

Happy-- smile intact

Differences (as noted in second photograph):
No makeup
Crazy, frizzed hair
Weight gain
Lanyard lost
Watch obtained
Wearing student artwork
Hiding from further student goodbyes in the library
One year wiser

The emotions of wrapping up my first year of teaching didn't hit me until June 13th, our professional day for final grades and cleaning out rooms. As I loaded a slew of art supplies into my too-tiny car in preparation for teaching at MICA's YPS (starting tomorrow), an overwhelming sadness hit. The empty, stripped room, the lights out, and what felt strangely ceremonial and final to me-- locking up every cabinet and drawer-- made my hour-long commute home even more complicated and painful than usual.

I'm not exactly sure where the sadness comes from-- a chapter closing? I was living for summer break and it finally comes and I'm... not happy. I couldn't fully process these emotions because once I came home on the 13th, it was time to pack... yes, pack some more. My cousin got married on June 15th, near Detroit, Michigan, so we were on the road the very next day, June 14th. We got home yesterday evening. Tomorrow, I meet fifteen new kiddos that I'll be spending the next, very intensive, week with. 

The sadness melts away as it's replaced with excitement and nerves about Drawing and Sculpture Workshops, with third-fifth graders who are the art stars of their schools. But it's also a mini-countdown to Friday... when I'll finally be able to truly sort out my emotions and final reflections and just breathe as summer greets me.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Ask and You Shall Receive: Crayola Castles & Cathedrals.

c/o Jackie Jouvenal. 

c/o Jackie Jouvenal.

c/o Jackie Jouvenal.

c/o Jackie Jouvenal.

Hi Jacquelyn:

Saw your Crayola Cathedrals at White Flint and LOVED them! Families who went to see the show came back and raved about them, too! Same with the fishies... you guys had an awesome two panels! I was so inspired as a first year teacher.

Hope it's okay that I'm attempting to borrow your idea... trying them out with third grade right now... but how did you adhere the crayons to (what looked like) mat board? Regular Elmer's? Hot glue? Any additional tips?


Kristen Dudley
Galway Elementary


Hi Kristen,

Glad you liked the display. Thanks so much. I had the kids paint a piece of cardboard either blue or black for their background. The first day they painted their background and sketched their design idea on a separate piece of paper. The second day they drew their design on the painted cardboard and filled it up with old crayons.  We attached it with regular elmers glue, but the wrappers need to be on the crayons.  If there is no paper wrapper on the crayon it will pop off. The last few days they cut out rose windows and pointed arch doors out of paper and glued them on. They also added suns, stars and grass to the background with oil pastel. Hope you enjoy it!

Jackie Jouvenal
Art Teacher
South Lake Elementary

Our take:

We approached our Crayola Castles & Cathedrals slightly differently than the kiddos at Southlake Elementary. Because our expensive, awesome watercolor paper was the only thick, substantial paper I had in abundance (because I had been saving it all year for something truly special... which never really came along), I decided to go with watercolor backgrounds.

  • On Day One we looked at and discussed a PowerPoint on gothic architecture and designed and painted the watercolor backgrounds. 
  • Day Two we drew an outline for the cathedral/castle and began to glue the broken crayons down (provided trays of Elmer's that they dipped the crayons into). 
  • Day Three we finished gluing down crayons and made doors, rose windows, etc. 

The kids LOVED this.

Added bonus? Great way to clean out your crayon bins... goodbye broken nibs and off-brand crayons! One downside: you need a TON of broken crayons to do this. I teach three third grade classes, averaging twenty-five students per class. Even with broken crayon donations, I did not come up with enough to complete this assignment with all three classes. It was a huge letdown... especially because I did not realize I would come up short on crayons and all three classes did the backgrounds before I realized that I was only going to be able to do it with two out of three classes. Ms. Kristen-Crayon: The Queen of Crayondom Disappointment :(

Monday, June 11, 2012

Quintessential Childhood Fun: Shaving Cream as Drawing Medium.

I'll have to admit, I didn't get too creative with this one. Taking a cue from my own first grade teacher so many years ago and my vivid memory of doing exactly this-- smearing foamy, puffy globs of shaving cream all over my desk-- my kinders and firsties let loose with the Barbisol. As a first year teacher I've found myself in the following position a number of times-- I think I have this brilliant, inventive original or borrowed idea-- only to find out that every teacher in the school does the exact same thing. It was so true for my end-of-the-year shaving cream explosion. I learned that some teachers were planning on doing it in their classrooms (our driving force, I'm sure: GET THOSE TABLES/DESKS CLEAN!), but I only found this out after we had already done it. Whoops. At least I beat them to it? :) And I'm positive the kids will not mind Shaving Cream Take II.

To avoid the smear-the-shaving-cream-around-on-the-table-until-it-evaporates phenomenon, I gave the kiddos verbal prompts with ideas for what to draw. Most of the prompts were summer-related, but the only one I managed to capture on film was, "Draw a... robot!"

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Calling all Billy Goats!

I am pleased to say that Operation Follow-Through is in full swing!

Today N., my future sister and brother in-law, and I traversed (and I do mean traversed) the Billy Goat Trail, located by Great Falls, with amazing views of the Potomac. There are three separate trails that comprise the Billy Goat, but we only hiked Section A. Only is a misnomer, because it's the most difficult trail. Even the Washington Post says that it's difficult (so it must be true!). Plenty of uneven terrain, jagged rocks, and opportunities to scoot, climb, jump, slide... and definitely use muscles you didn't know you had.

We didn't take any pictures, lest our camera or phone either meet a perilous death in some ravine or fall victim to sweat-damage in today's 93-degree heat, but here are some views provided by the interwebs:

Yes, I climbed that. Now I think I'm pretty cool.
Some gorgeousness. Nbd.

I'm sure there will be more Billy Goat-ing in our future. N. was in seventh heaven, taking the more difficult (or ahem, *dangerous*) ways around the rocks at every opportunity. The word on the street, er, cliff, is that we'll be extremely sore in the morning. While we were sweaty, exhausted, and sunburnt by the end, it was an amazing, exhilarating workout that beats my frequent rendezvous with the elliptical any day, in more ways than I currently have time to write about. Onward and upwards, to new hiking heights!

Or... just please let me make it through the last two days of teaching in my first year, soreness and all.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

End of the year thank-yous.

Yes, thank-yous are in order. Couldn't have made it through this year without my wonderful kiddos who donated supplies, and staff who not only donated supplies but also "donated" overwhelming support and encouragement. So today has been filled with note-writing.

I am putting my birthday present from my parents to good use-- all I wanted for my 27th birthday was a "Ms. Dudley" stamp. Throughout the year I found myself handwriting things for students (responses on their assessments, miscellaneous notes, etc.), but wanted some way to speed up the process. Not that signing my name takes all that much time, but... even a few seconds here and there helps! My mom had this custom wooden stamp made by Pink Ink Paper. Isn't it gorgeous?!

And I'll only be "Ms. Dudley" for so much longer. Gotta make the most of it!

Oh and Nate gave me a gift certificate to Anthropologie. That gift wasn't half bad, either :)