Art Project: Painted Salt Dough

I’d wager that most–if not all–teachers in early childhood education have made play dough before. There’s hundreds of different recipes out there, some of which include ingredients like cream of tartar, various oils, hair conditioner, and require cooking. I found a salt dough recipe that requires no cooking and only three ingredients: flour, salt, and water. I also discovered something even more exciting: when microwaved, this dough hardens and can be painted with watercolors! Read more for the recipe and examples.2014-02-28 15.35.01

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Arts, Arts Integration, Early Childhood, Early Childhood Education, Education

Art Project: Zentangle

2014-04-02 15.32.54In recent years, I’ve been hearing and seeing a lot about Zentangle, “an easy-to-learn, relaxing, and fun way to create beautiful images by drawing structured patterns.” Some arts educators had begun to use this method with their students, and I was curious how my K-1 kids would respond to it.

I cut some paper squares, sharpened a bunch of pencils, and briefly explained to them the premise and technique, emphasizing that it is meant to be fun and relaxing. I often try to take the pressure off the kids to create “perfect” artwork, as this age is prime for kids to get frustrated and discouraged. Then, I let them get started. More student work after the jump! Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Arts, Early Childhood Education, Education

Arts Integration: New Perspectives

Art is hard.  Teaching art is hard, making art is hard, and finding time to integrate art is even harder.  I’ve just spent twelve weeks in a second grade classroom, and I now can see the challenges faced by public school educators more starkly and honestly than ever before.  Coming into these classrooms with the freshest of eyes and brightest of ideas, I had lofty goals for the classroom.  And then I realized how time works in the school day. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Arts Integration, Assessment, Creativity, Early Childhood, Elementary, Multicultural Education

Features of my Imaginary Classroom

I don’t have my own classroom.  But since I started student teaching, I’ve been compiling a mental list of things that I’d have in my classroom… if I had one.  No, not “if.”  When–because I will.  I have worked with many marvelous teachers over the past five years, and there are some things I’ve seen that I will definitely hope to replicate.  And there are many things that I have not seen in classrooms–things that mean a lot to me, personally–that I would love to implement.  It’s time to start typing up that mental list.  Here are some features of my imaginary future classroom. Continue reading


Filed under Arts Integration, Comics, Elementary, Literacy, Multicultural Education, Pets, Visual Literacy

Three weeks of Kindergarten

It’s been over four weeks since I last posted, and I apologize profusely.  I started student teaching three weeks ago, and it has wiped me out.  Like, “I want to go to bed but it’s only 6:30pm.” Tomorrow will be my last day of kindergarten, after which I will be starting 2nd grade.  The second graders are students with whom I’ve already worked in a small capacity, but I’m super excited to be back with them.

Kindergarten was a fun, different experience, though. Despite having dealt with preschoolers, first graders, and my own kindergartener of a brother, it was rather startling to walk into a classroom of 17 five- and six-year-olds with an incredibly wide range of capacities.  Continue reading


Filed under About Me, Early Childhood Education

(Not) Saturday Links

There will be no Saturday Links post today.  Why?  I think my standards for articles online have increased, honestly.  When I started this just a few months ago, I thought everything I read was brilliant, amazing, novel.  But now I’m realizing that things found on the internet are somehow both fleeting and cyclical.  While fads come and go, other topics remain static and bloggers say the same things about them over and over again.  It feels like there’s nothing new that will actually, y’know, last.  Of course I realize that I’m one of them too… someone with few authentically new, creative ideas.  But I’m okay with that, for now.  I’ll keep trying and I’ll get there someday.  And yes, I know that I’m sounding a bit elitist in this post, and I’ll probably look at it in a year and place my face in my palm, thinking that I knew nothing back then, but that’s also okay. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under About Me

Where Did My Creativity Go?

Lately, I’ve been drawing quite a bit.  I enjoy it, it feels productive, and people see my work and tell me how creative I am.  Wait.  Creative?  Yesterday I worked on a drawing of a cardinal that I figured would make a nice greeting card.  The process felt safe: I’d drawn cardinals before, I was using colored pencils and pen–generally things I am comfortable with.  I pulled up some reference images online, did a quick sketch, and set off to reach my final product.  Does this sound creative to you? Continue reading


Filed under About Me, Arts, Arts Integration, Assessment, Creativity, Motivation