Monday, October 20, 2014

2nd Grade Dots

 My primary students don't start off the year with full "choice". We spend a good amount of time just getting used to seats, procedures, etc. and I also try to do some projects that help me gauge where the students are and what I might need to cover to help them. The first project of the year for K-3rd was a "dot" project for International Dot Day. 2nd graders start off making a painting with a "dot" theme. However they interpret "dot" is up to them. In the second class period, the students have pretty much free reign when choosing other materials to add to their dots. Paper, oil pastels, markers, crayons, and yarn are popular. This year several students took advantage of the paper strips I had cut for weaving and used them in interesting ways.
I know that some more structured teachers probably see these photos and think of the mess... I used to worry about that as well! The students really do a pretty good job of cleaning up their supplies when they finish. That's one reason I call a single table at a time to line up. I don't call a table until they have everything cleaned up and put away correctly.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

How to Bake Half a Cake

Over the summer I finished another graduate course and realized I was half way done with my Master's degree. I figured that was cause for celebration, so I decided to bake "half a cake". I am totally stealing the idea from a Facebook friend who makes half cakes for her kids' half birthdays. 
My favorite kind of cake is orange cake. I combined a basic yellow cake recipe and an idea from the Cake Mix Doctor to come up with this recipe. It's super easy. Since I was only making "half a cake", I cut my usual recipe in half.
My 3 year old loves to juice the oranges. The best part of this recipe is that after you've mixed the dry ingredients, you can just dump in the rest. You don't have to cream the butter and sugar first.

 My mom's trick for removing cakes from the pan is to line the bottom with wax paper. Works like a charm.
I had enough batter to fill my cake pan and have an extra cupcake.
The wax paper makes sure the cake slides right out without sticking to the bottom.
While the cake was cooling, we mixed up the frosting. The frosting is made with butter, cream cheese, orange zest, orange juice, and powdered sugar. So, technically it's a fruit and ok to eat any leftover frosting. :)

 After the cake was cooled and I removed the wax paper, I cut the round in half. This is where I should have ignored my impatient child for a minute and taken the time to level the cake. They stack a lot more nicely that way.
 Frost the top of the first layer, stack the top, then frost the top and edges. Delicious!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

KAEA Awards

Last weekend I attended my state's annual art education conference. I enjoyed catching up with friends I only get to see once a year and attended some great workshops! At the conference awards banquet, I was honored to accept the 2014-2015 KAEA Outstanding Elementary Art Educator of the Year award.
I'm bring awkward back...
My nominator wasn't able to attend so one of the KAEA Co-Presidents presented the award. You know how kids sometimes accidentally say "Amen" after the Pledge of Allegiance? Well, I almost said it after my thank you speech...
 Here is a group photo of all but one of the award winners. We didn't catch the Art Enhancer in time and he had already left. Pictured from left to right are:
Karen Gerety Folk, Outstanding Museum Educator of the Year
Bob Cross, Outstanding Retired Art Educator of the Year
Cindy Balthazor, Outstanding Middle Level Art Educator of the Year
Me (Katie Morris), Outstanding Elementary Art Educator of the Year
Jennifer Hudson, Outstanding Secondary Art Educator of the Year
Tina Murano, Outstanding Overall Art Educator of the Year

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Art Bulletin Boards to Instruct, Engage, and Advocate

I presented a workshop at my state's art ed conference over the weekend focused on bulletin boards. I love my bulletin boards. They come in so handy when I want to create displays to help introduce new concepts or review with my students, to advocate my program, and to get students and staff interested in our art room happenings. My presentation has almost every bulletin board I've created since I started teaching and some practical tips. Check it out, and let me know if you have any questions!