Wednesday, October 29, 2014

This is why you should smARTteacher!

Do yourself a favor and head on over to the smARTteacher to share a resource and check out all those that have already been created. Each month there is a challenge with gift certificate prizes from Blick Art Materials and Crystal Art Productions. The theme for the Blick challenge this month is painting lesson plans. Last month the theme was color drawing lesson plans and I was a winner! $100 of supplies showed up at my door today. I bought some construction paper for school and my oldest son's preschool, some canvases, some gelli plates, and intense colored pencils. I can't wait to give them a try!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Kindergarten Initial Dots

This year I decided to do some more structured lessons to start off the year with Kindergarten. I was trying to cover lots of basic skills and now we've started getting into more choice. For Kindergarten's first project, they traced a circle (a dot for International Dot Day), drew their first initial, traced with markers, learned about and created lines and patterns, practiced scissor skills, and practiced using a glue stick. This project gave me a lot of information about my students' beginning of the year abilities so I can tailor instruction and see what we need to work on the most.
 Day 1- Name on papers, trace circles, write first initial, trace initial, start talking about lines
Day 2- Review and practice different kind of lines, draw lines around initial with crayon, cut out circle, glue to square of construction paper, add designs to construction paper if time allows and student chooses.


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!