Sunday, August 13, 2017

In the Art Room: Best Back to School Projects, Part 2

Hey, friends! Tomorrow is my first day back to school where I'll have kiddos in the art room and I'm super excited. One thing I love about this time of the year is coming up with fun projects that kick the school year off right. Last week, I shared some of my favorite Dot Day projects which I occasionally use as a theme for my back to school art projects. Today I thought I'd share my favorite collaborative back to school art projects. There are a lot, so get ready! 
But before we get to that, I have some exciting news. Recently, on our Wednesday night Facebook LIVE chats (to join the fun, like/follow here), the one and only Barney Saltzberg joined us. We had an absolute blast chatting with him. You can still find our conversation archived here. He has a new book out, My Book of Beautiful Oops, and is GIVING ONE AWAY! Yay! To enter to win your FREE copy of My Book of Beautiful Oops simply do the following:

* Leave a comment below. Tell me what your plans are or what you are doing on these first days back to school. Inquiring minds wanna know!

* Leave your email address. This way I can let you know when you win, yay!

It's that easy, y'all. Big thanks to our buddy Barney for this wonderful book and fabulous giveaway. Now, let's talk Best Back to School Art Projects.
I love kicking off the school year with a good book. You Be You and Only One You by Linda Krantz are two fabulous books to bring to your art room. This is a project that can be done with all of your students...and will leave you with a beautiful work of art to showcase their efforts. More on this mural here
You can find out just how we created these fish here
Feel free to bring this how-to video to your art room!
I am in love with this wild, wacky and colorful mural that was created by my kindergarten through fourth grade kiddos. It's Okay to be Different is a favorite book of mine by Todd Parr. This mural has been up for a while now...and it still remains outside my art room door. I think it's a great message for all. You can find out about this mural here
Here's a short video to share the process!
You can read about our process of creating these funny faces right here
Monochromatic selfies are a super fun way to start the school year. I've done this a couple of different times and with a couple different themes. You can find out more about how these were created here
This video really helped my students during the creation of their selfies.
Last year, we used our selfies to create this large J.E.S. sign for our school. 
On year we even made our selfies into a world map! This one took some time to do...and wasn't easy but sure was pretty once it was complete. 
Our heart mural is now a couple of years old and still hangs proudly in our school office. I love it, it's really stood the test of time. And who doesn't love the message of LOVE? You can see more about the completion of this mural here
The details on how each heart was created and by what grade level can be found here
Speaking of love, this mural was created by all of my students...they actually made it one year while I was out on jury duty. It was so awesome to come back to some amazing art! Here's the complete blog post. 
Here's the video I created for my sub to share with my students.
And here's the second video in that series. 
Probably one of the more popular posts on this blog has been this wings mural project. It's a GREAT back to school project because it's low-mess and low-stress (until you get ready to assemble that is...and then it's HOLY COW, WHAT WAS I THINKING?!). But once it's up, you won't regret it! Deets here
Here's a video I created to share with my students...feel free to use in your art teacherin' world!
I hope y'all have gotten a couple ideas for your return to school...I'd love to know what you and your sweet kiddos are creating! Also, don't forget to enter to win Barney's new book. Just leave a comment about your first day and don't forget to include your email address. Have a great week!
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56 comments:

  1. You've inspired me to try a back to school video for the first day! I'm still too camera shy to film myself do I'm going to try using PowToons to make an animation instead.

    -Marisa
    marisa.keith@gmail.com

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  2. This will be my first year as a real teacher and not a long term sub! In years past i did a short pattern lesson and had students create small squares that i would then assemble to say "Let's get Art Smart!" Or "smartest artists!" Not sure what I'll be doing this year...I have yet to really dissect my classroom. But I love these ideas and I'm excited for my year to begin!

    -Shanna
    ShannaRainaTaub@gmail.com

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    1. Hi Cassie, I am a new art teacher. I found you on Pinterest and from there it's been wonderful. I do not have Facebook, unfortunately, but I follow you everywhere else. From Instagram, to your wonderful podcast, and reading your blog, you have really helped me out with the start of this new career. You are truly kind to share with the world everything from your projects to your tips. On the first day of school I will be using your monochromatic portraits activity. It will be the first thing parents and children see when they walk into the school. I am looking so forward to seeing the smiles. If I can inspire my students the way you seem to with the passion and dedication, then I'm truly in the right place. You have no idea How you have helped a stranger on the East Coast! I check every day to see what you've posted next! Thank you so much from the bottom of my ❤️

      Denisemroz@yahoo.com

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  3. Lindsay Douglas8/13/2017

    Hi,Lindsay Douglas here and I definitely want to do some collaborative art projects. I'm thinking the Kelsey Montague wing mural to start with. I am also hoping to create a few videos about rules/procedures. My email is Beakerlinz@yahoo.com. thanks!

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  4. We start our fundraiser and first project on day one! The younger grades read and book and do a smaller project based on that to review procedures and rules. Then they begin the fundraiser, too. My email is: madeleinepinaire@gmail.com

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  5. Hi Cassie! Thank you so much for always sharing what you're doing and being such an inspiration! I am still a couple weeks away from the first day, so I am thinking of diving right in to a collaborative DOT project! I have loved the rainbow inspired murals and hoping to incorporate dots with monochromatic colored dots!
    Let me know I am the winner at behappystampin@gmail.com
    Have a fantastic school year!!

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  6. Anonymous8/13/2017

    Hi Cassie! Thanks for sharing all your GREAT ideas! I LOVE your blog. This will be my first year teaching art in an official capacity and I'm so excited to use some of your great lesson plans. The first day this year, we will be making portfolios and decorating them with designs made from our names. This will give us an excuse to jump right in doing a project while learning everyone's names.
    Thanks again, Julie Waller julieawaller@yahoo.com

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  7. Awesome post as usual!!
    We do not start until August 28th so I'm still bouncing around ideas. I'm like the person who packs five thousand outfits when I go out of town because once it's time to choose an outfit I never want to wear the ONE outfit I chose earlier to pack.
    It works the same with the first week of school I guess- figuring out ideas that I like and then zeroing in and prepping for the one I feel the best about at the time.

    My go to are self portraits because they are easy to
    Assess growth when the create another one at the end of the year... would love to put a new spin on it with monochromatic schemes

    The rest of the year will be mildly more structured ��

    Tideturns@gmail.com

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  8. Anonymous8/13/2017

    We go over procedures, share some laughs and get excited about it upcoming year! Kelly Moore Moorecrayons@yahoo.com

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  9. Heather8/13/2017

    Thx for your great ideas!!!
    I always start the year with the "Pick and Draw" game. It's a great way to show students that everyone draws differently. It gets them excited too!
    Heather Lundy
    lundy_artist@yahoo.com

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  10. I think I'm going with the monochromatic selfies this year. I've never done it before but in one project, and hopefully one class, they get introduced to monochromatic and portraiture!
    And I think they look amazing grouped together!

    Leah
    Leeack080969@yahoo.com

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  11. Hello Cassie! I am not an art teacher YET..... I am crossing my fingers to be hired on super soon. As of right now I am devouring all of the extremely helpful information you have provided. I can't stress enough how helpful your videos are! It makes me even MORE eager to get into a classroom ASAP. I also want to let you know that your delivery is amazing. You are enthusiastic and engaging without being annoying, which is a hard thing to balance.

    Elecia
    dancingpenandpress@yahoo.com

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  12. My first week of class I introduced art room procedures (including art jobs) via a video I made. This was the first time I have ever done it and my students loved it! They then practiced the procedures by creating a collaborative paw print mural for the art room. Some classes that I saw two times in the first week helped illustrate classroom rules that were turned into another video for the rest of the classes to watch this next week! A lot of fun was crammed into the first 5 days! :)
    Ashley ahmmnd@yahoo.com

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  13. I plan to go over expectations, procedures and introduce myself at my new school. Last year I started wit line but I think I am going to start with the monochormatic self portraits since I did my room in rainbow it will be fun to create a rainbow to spill out and flow right down the hall! sunmontag@gmail.com

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  14. Going back into the classroom after 20 years, this time I'm volunteering in my grand daughter's school. I love the monochromatic selfies and am going to use them for my first week! Thanks for the great lesson plan.

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  15. I'm def checking out your first day rules videos and I really want to do the wings project this year! Ktencza123@gmail.com

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  16. Ooops forgot my e-mail address helenbarbeauld@gmail.com

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  17. Hi Cassie! I am a first year art teacher!! I am planning on doing the wings collaborative project to start off the year. Working on setting up my room in centers to be choice-based! I love following you and your ideas! 2jand5rgirls@gmail.com

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  18. Home school Art with Grandma here. We are starting with color this year. Two different projects - one (color wheel fish) for 6 yr old and the other (tints and shades) for 9 yr old. They will also do separate classes. Homeschooling together creates just a little too much together time and art will be alone time with Grandma. rosicantrell@bellsouth.net

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  19. I was so inspired by your "Escape room" video/activity last year, I made my own this year in an outer space theme. I'm going to start with some fun art games and creating Kindness Rocks. Jennifermatott@gmail.com

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  20. Muchas Gracias Cassie!
    I am an excited and passionate ART teacher and can't wait for my students to come on Wednesday for their first day of this school year! I will be doing painted paper and the "Only One You" and "You Are You" lessons. Of course policies and procedures as well whilst having fun in the ART room! I am thinking I will have the kids do some "acting" so I can video during classes. We can review rules and procedures with video to make sure I got it all covered!. It could be a lot of fun and entertainment!(for me and them!)
    Feliciamerrick@gmail.com

    Signed,
    Felicia
    A Southern California Sparkling ART Teacher

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  21. I am finishing my room and geared up to make a video of expectations and routines. We will be making a heart with wings mural inspired by your Art Scouts project this summer! Thanks for being you and your Art Teacherin' videos and Blog posts were invaluable! Much Love, Sue (from Chicago) suemotto@gmail.com

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  22. I have a few weeks left of summer (phew) but your posts (along with others) are helping me get my brain in the game! I'm thinking about painting hand made sketchbooks ,3-5th and doing trading cards.... Try to connect w work since such a crazy time! Love beautiful opps and don't own a copy!
    Happy start of school year to you!
    Kbar313@yahoo.com

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  23. Anonymous8/13/2017

    Thank you Cassie!
    I used the monochromatic self portraits last year. I loved it and so did everyone at my two schools. This year I am going to do the feathers/wings and display them at our district art show this winter. Thank you for sharing all of your ideas. We start after Labor Day and now I am getting the itch to start working with my students already.
    Jackie
    jackieporter75@hotmail.com

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  24. I like to do a scavenger hunt because even though the supplies that students are allowed to freely grab for themselves have a home in my classroom, the students have a hard time remembering where they are located. You know, where can I find a pencil or a glue stick or an extra sheet of paper or the trash can!?! I want be techno and FLIP my classroom with cute videos but I haven't gotten there yet! Of course, we'll be learning rules and procedures along with a directed drawing. Thanks for your inspiration, Cassie. My email is clarkkaren213@gmail.com

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  25. Hello Cassie, First of all I want to thank you for ALL the fabulous videos and tips you share on your blog.I simply devour it all!
    My first week of class I always have a new theme for decorations and what I will be working on with my students, so they get excited for something new. Before school year ends I always do a survey to find out what they would like to learn next year. Based on their requests, I make my new lesson plans. Believe me those change every year, I never repeat any lesson and land up working on my curriculum in progress. School started a week ago. This year I started with reading "Beautiful Oops" for my students to encourage them in many ways. They absolutely loved it.We go over the rules and expectations. I have them from Kinder and up so they already know all the rules except the new students. My old students act out the rules and expectations.... it's a lot of fun and we all laugh a lot. I did and I had to reorganize student supplies. For about three weeks I throw them just ONE question about rules or expectations so they remember. For art I am having my K-4 students draw self portraits in the color of their grade. I have always had color codes for each grade level. It also incorporates the Color Wheel. I would like to post the self portraits for Back to School Night end of the month, in colors of the rainbow. These portraits will also serve as a pre test to compare their portraits at the end of the year.

    Thank you!

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  26. Tomorrow is our first teacher day, kids come Wednesday. I start with the rules and get through them quick so we can practice procedures. Every student will be helping making a color mobile for the table they sit at, this year I'm doing paper lanterns. Thanks so much for always sharing, you are always inspiring! hbeadles@mcas.k12.in.us

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  27. I'm planning on making a video of my rules and procedures so I can start a flipped classroom. We're going to make monochromatic self portraits and make our own sketchbooks after a read a loud. I do like to start with books like beautiful oops, too much glue, and David goes to school. I'm also introducing a makers space for early finishers. Ylopez1@aldineisd.org

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  28. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  29. I'm hoping to whip up a video, inspired by you, of course! I've been gifted 4 cases of craft sticks and I'm brainstorming how to use them for a community piece/school wide mural! Excited for year 8!
    A.mckee@live.com

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  30. Love your stuff! You are so fun. Well, this is year one and we will be doing the monochromatic selfies as well. I signed in with my email. Thanks!

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  31. This year will be the monochromatic selfies! Thanks for the inspiration!
    Amy
    akmanata@cps.edu

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  32. My students and I were asked to help create some art to display at a Cancer fundraising gala and a few of these projects will work perfectly. Thank you so much!!!!
    jessica.reseigh@gmail.com

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  33. Yikes! School doesn't start here for two weeks, so not 100% on what we will be doing. I usually do an assessment (they don't know that it is) and have them draw a favorite summer memory or the littles do a self portrait. It goes with the idea "Art tells stories." (rpolizotto@rsu1.org)

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  34. Anonymous8/14/2017

    We are in the third week and have jumped right to preparing for the Eclipse. 1-8
    Kindergarten is reading "David goes to School" and getting rules down.
    patcoots17@yahoo.com

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  35. Alyssa Beck8/14/2017

    I'm celebrating Dot Day for the first time! They've loved it so far (I'm in my second week.) I can already tell I'll be celebrating Dot Day next year too :)
    I tried out your line sculptures with Kindergarten today and they had the time of their lives! Half of them turned their lines into roller coasters and water slides. Very imaginative :) My email is j.a.beck@live.com

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  36. sorry, I forgot my email address... abhatty@balboa.edu.pa

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  37. Going into my 23rd year... I am going to begin this year with a Dot lesson. I am going to do a school wide collaboration of various size circles decorated in a way that expresses each students interests. I am going to offer a variety of mediums. Then hang the circles so they flow throughout the hallway. I have in the past done mini portraits, line lessons, and fundraiser lesson. I try to incorporate rules over the 1st few classes because our students do so many rules, I feel they deserve a break. Hope to incorporate more lessons based on books. And can't wait to share lessons from Art Scouts! Have a great year everyone! Kheagen@kingslocal.net

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  38. 1 week ago I agreed to be our school's interim art teacher (K-8)! ACK! I mean, of course it was a great idea... Who doesn't love jumping into something only 2 days before said job is to begin? Your site has been such a big help, and I've loved seeing all the fun things you've done. Today I painted with Kindergarten kids, and it was an absolute blast! I also read "The Dot" to each and every class to encourage them to create, create, create, even if they don't really feel like artists.
    rebekah.
    dedrick
    @gmail

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  39. I plan on doing some painted papers on the first day along with (fingers crossed) a video of my art rules, maybe a scavenger hunt for the lil' ones. And then....I'm digging the book Only One You by Linda Kranz, so there will be fishes in the works! Thanks for all you share with us!
    Ktown201@yahoo.com

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  40. Hi cassie!
    For my first week of school, my students and I are going over the rules and procedures. I know, it's so boring. but especially since I am their new teacher, I feel like I need to spend some time on this. I'd love to have a project started, but the older students are in their old teachers mindset/ routine. I actually do have a question for you- you mentioned that you sometimes have double classes.. how do your students line up and separate by classes? do you have a procedure for that? Thanks Cassie!

    Megan.dunstan93@gmail.com

    Best,
    Megan

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  41. Hi Cassie! Love your blog and instagram! I'm a big fan! This year I plan on starting the school year with a short overview of expectations and procedures, then we will jump right into The Dot!

    Postlethwaitl@wataugaschoola.org

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  42. Today is our first day back with the kiddos! It is a tradition to read, "Beautiful Oops" with every class. I am so happy to begin each year by reading this book. It sets the tone for "growth mindset" for me and the kiddos. We all need the reminder!! Of course we will review a couple of rules. I will be recording the older kids to model appropriate art room behavior to share with the littles later today. We will also begin making our sketchbooks using copy paper and construction paper. We will 3 ring punch and tie with yarn. The kids will decorate the front and that will be about it for the first day! Happy trails everyone!! rrodrigu@ccs.k12.in.us

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  43. We began the year with BEAUTIFUL OOPS! My school is K-2 and each class (after today) will have heard the song and will have watched the video of Barney in the K class making beautiful oopses. Afterwards, each table had a mystery box of items they could use to make their own beautiful oopses!! The kids loved it!! And hopefully they will remember that you can make an oops into something beautiful! ajnewman@auburnschools.org

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  44. Hey Cassie...you sure make this old workhorse look good (34 years)! I did your 'Wings' project last year, in time for our students to get their Veterans to pose in front for Veterans Day, along with a sign that stated "My Hero". It was all really touching and one of my art teacher friends was so impressed, she used the idea on a Veterans Day float! Our military families are SO important to us. What is also so wonderful, is that you start an idea, and it acts as a catalyst to so many, many others! Keep that exuberance please!! Sadly, I can no longer jump off counters and quickly scale ladders but your enthusiasm helps me to compensate! Many thanks!! Btw, I was finally able to take that trip to Italy...through you!! ylpatton@smcps.org

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  45. Hey Cassie, This is my 4th year teaching Art and we are starting off the year by creating portfolios. We have a HUGE donation of giant poster board that we get through the generosity of GP who has a local Paper Mill nearby. We absolutely Love getting donations and try our best to put them to good use. Each of our 700 students gets to create a personalized portfolio for storing their work in class and at the end of the year they get to take these home to keep. I teach K-5 so there can be a lot of mix ups without having students work in some sort of organized fashion. I would be up to my eyeballs!!

    aly06932@gmail.com

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  46. Cassie-you are so inspiring!! loriamer@gmail.com I am adding to my (plagiarized from you) posting and woot wooting word of the week this year a mantra of the week which will include growth mindset and other encouraging slogans each week which I will have the kids repeat and cheer at the start and end of class. ALSO, our new school PBIS slogan uses the acronym RISE and so my opening school-wide collaborative project this year will be giant wings and each student will make their unique feathers. I'm so excited. Thank you, thank you!!

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  47. Kim K.8/15/2017

    First day of teaching is coming up next Wednesday! This years theme will be Growing Beautiful Things with an emphasis on Growth Mindset. I will be kicking off our first day by reading Beautiful Oops and then sending students to tables to see what they can create out of a pile of torn, painted, & imperfect pieces of paper. The next class students will be making monocromatic selfies in the color of their House (we have a House System-think Harry Potter at my school). These will be displayed on our brand new bulletin boards. I will save them once they are taken down and use them to show growth at the end of the year when we learn about and create self portraits. Thank you for always encouraging and sharing your wonderful ideas with all of us!

    jkemmady@hotmail.com

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  48. Cassie, my art teacher colleagues and I talk about you on a first-name basis! We say things like, "I was reading something Cassie wrote about yadda yadda yesterday." Or, "Cassie uses so and so brand of chalk, I think I'll try those." And, true story, my friend asked me how I'm setting up my new art room (yay!) and I replied, "Well, I literally just read the eight routines Cassie uses, and I'm setting up my room pretty much using them as my guidelines." Which brings me to my first day of school! - whew...so yes, I've been on a cart for years, so this is the first time I've had an elementary art room! So, the kids have a lot to be introduced to this year. But, to keep it predictable for them, so far my plan is a game I play with the elements of art. I have three baskets (one with adjectives, one with colors, one with elements). The kids pick a word from each and I write them on the board to describe something to draw. For example: "bumpy orange line" or "angry green triangle". I usually draw an example on the board, then they draw on their papers with markers and crayons. I also save the papers, if the kids don't mind, for collage scraps later! They love when I draw something crazy on the board for different combinations. Thanks for all you do to keep us going Cassie! arttvillanova@gmail.com

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  49. Hello Cassie! I am going to use your monochromatic self portrait video for all of my classes and create a school-wide mural with the portraits. Are portraits will be on a circle and we are going to make them as leaves into a big tree. Thank you for being an inspiration to us all!

    jpaitsel@horrycountyschools.net

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  50. Hi Cassie,
    On my first day of school (21st), my plan is to cover my tables with butcher paper, then read My Beautiful Oops. After I read, I was going to have them drop splotches of water color on the paper then create it into something. I would love to have my own copy of "My Book of Beautiful Oops". My email is judavis@irvingisd.net

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  51. Hey Cassie!!!! I love Beautiful Oops. I will have a "Beautiful Oops board in my room this year for happy mistakes to be shared :)

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    1. and my email is nachtule@gmail.com

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  52. Hi Cassie, I have really enjoyed everything you share about teaching art. This will be my 7th year as a k-8 art teacher. I am really excited for this school year with new inspiration! I love collaborative projects where everyone creates a little piece if a big artwork. I have never participated in international dot day but I do read The Dot to some classes each year. This year I want to try to partake in International dot day so on the first day aside from introducing a few routines students will decorate a paper plate to add to a tree landscape like the one you have shared. I have the halls lined with large butcher paper about 6 feet tall, ready for this project! Each grade level will have one mural. I have two classes per grade level. I can't wait to see the results!

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  53. Jennifer Sorrent8/20/2017

    Hi, Cassie, thank you so much for your fun, inspiring words of art teacherin' wisdom. I use your blog as a resource often and laugh through your videos. A sense of humor is priceless when teaching the K-4 set. I plan on making painted paper portfolios to get the year started, and turn them into suitcases. Then on to Dot Day and selfies. My email address is jen@jenandom.com.

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  54. Hello there! I really enjoyed your blog. If you're interested in other online educational resources, you can try this: Free Online Tutoring Thanks and good day!

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Thank you so much for your comments. I appreciate each and every one :)