Saturday, December 29, 2012

Freedom Has a Price

Last week I sold a painting to a very special person. It was a gift and I never met the recipient but from what I heard, she had fallen in love with it and it was to be a Christmas surprise.  Here is the back story on this painting. In 2009, I had watched a number of news stories following unrest in the Middle East. One particular story grabbed me, it was a news broadcast about a woman who lost her life in a government rebellion. Her story captured my attention not just because it was the news of the day, but because she was one of many everyday heroes choosing to battle for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. From the United States and all around the world, there are people choosing to march into the fray to stand for what they believe to be right. I kept the painting in my studio for quite a while before bringing it into the open. This angel had special meaning to me and I hoped that one day someone else would find a connection to her as well. That person did.

Quote of the day:  "But then there are magical, beautiful things in the world. There's incredible acts of kindness and bravery, and in the most unlikely places, and it gives you hope."  ~ Dave Matthews

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Art Funding

Just a follow-up on the art project for Christmas. They came out beautifully and I will post a photo this week.
I want to take a moment to send a deeply heartfelt thank you to Donors Choose. Through Donors Choose and the Lily Sarah Grace Fund I have been given funding for art supplies in my classroom. The quantity and quality of art supplies would have been impossible for me to fund on my own. Through their generosity my students as well as my future students will have an opportunity to learn a skill that will bring them joy long after 4th grade.

Quote of the Day : “You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.” ― John Bunyan

Sunday, December 2, 2012

4th Grade Christmas Craft Project

This is my Christmas craft project this year. The goal for me, especially this time of the year, is this: is it easy? is it fun? will it make a good gift for my students' families? Yes, yes, yes!!!
Super easy, well I say that until we actually give it a go this week but I think it will be manageable for all levels of dexterity and creativity.
Title : Snowman Christmas Ornament
Materials:  marshmallows, toothpicks, cotton balls, brown pipe cleaners, black Sharpies, felt or yarn (for scarf), black and pink pompoms, thick cardboard for the base, clear plastic disposable cups, ribbon, glue, glitter, black and pink cardboard stock or construction paper.
Prep: I like to prep as much as possible, less opportunity for catastrophes :/   Cut cardboard circles out of the cardboard about 1/2 inch wider than the opening of the cup. Cut circles out of the black and pink cardboard stock. These are for the poms poms to be glued on to them to look like a hat (snowman or snow woman), cut strips of felt about 1/4 inch wide and about 7 inches long or use yarn. Cut ribbon in 10 inch pieces. Cut pipe cleaners in 1/2 to 1 inch pieces. On the cups, make two holes in the bottom to run the hanging ribbon through. I used the end of a soldering iron, made it very easy. Cut the toothpicks into dull ended pieces about 1/2 inch long. You could paint them orange but I used a Sharpie marker to color them orange.
Assembly Instructions: Yeah! Now the fun part :)   Have everyone put their name and date on the bottom of the large cardboard piece. Have them take a toothpick and stick two marshmallows together. Add glue in the middle to give it extra hold. Using a black Sharpie, draw eyes and mouth. Stick orange toothpick piece in the nose spot. Have them glue pompom to the brim, set to the side to dry a bit. Take felt piece, wrap around the neck and gently tie. Add a dab of glue to hold the scarf down. Stick a pipe cleaner in each side for the arms. Glue the snowman to the cardboard piece. Glue the hat on top. Pull apart the cotton balls to make a thin layer. Put glue on the base all around the snowman and then lay the thin cotton all around him.  Have the kids run the ribbon through the holes in the top and tie the ends in a knot. This is for hanging the ornament. That is it for the students. I would recommend waiting until everything dries securely before gluing the cup over the snowman. Sometimes you need to do a little fix it repair if not enough glue was used... Depending upon your class you may want to add the final touch yourself or in small groups. I bathed the outer edge of the cardboard in glue and sprinkled glitter liberally on it. And that was that !