Friday, October 26, 2012

SmockTip #2- Head to the drive-thru!

Have a tight budget for ordering supplies? Do you envy teachers who have lots of supply caddies to organize their classroom? Have you been shocked at how expensive those supply caddies are?  If you are like me then your answer is "Yes" to all of these questions.  

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto

I recently had my Kindergarteners work on a project that I saw in SchoolArts magazine titled Building a Better Robot (January 2012 issue). This mixed media project seemed to have it all- found object printmaking, pencil drawing, coloring with marker, and shading with chalk.  I was excited about exposing my students to a variety of media while also teaching them about the concepts of foreground and background.  

Mrs. Mama

Tomorrow I will begin teaching art classes with the school's youngest group.  My daughter is part of the Nursery class of three-year-olds at the school where I work.  For me this means that tomorrow, for the first time (formally), I will become my child's teacher.  For my daughter, this means that for the first time her Mama will become more than just Mama.  

I don't really know what to expect and I have to admit that I am a little bit nervous.  

Monday, October 22, 2012

An art teacher's primary nemesis and #1 friend

Yes, I am talking about you X-ACTO SchoolPro Electric Pencil Sharpener.  I love the way that you quickly sharpen my students' pencils into perfect points every time. I love that you have a handy dial to accommodate a variety of pencil sizes, and an ample receptacle for catching pencil shavings. But why, WHY must you be accompanied by the awful sound of RIH-IH-IH-IH-IH-IH-IH-IH-IH-IH!?!?!?! 

Do you not know that elementary children can make plenty of noise on their own? Do you not know that they feel they must compete with the sound you emit by being even noisier? Do you not know how much they love hearing you at work so they accidentally break their pencil tip multiple times during class in order to visit you repeatedly, and that each & every time the noise level in the room escalates by a few more decibels? It is a vicious cycle and I can't handle my love-hate relationship with you any longer.  I truly do rely on your excellence in chiseling pencil tips but I swear I am going to take care of you Office Space style one of these days!  

Note to the makers of the X-ACTO SchoolPro Sharpener: Please have your design team develop some sort of styrofoam noise canceling armor to muffle this machine, for the sake of art teachers everywhere. Or at least send a complimentary bottle of Ibuprofen along with each product ordered! 
My mom-brain wishes that the solution to this problem could be so simple.

Art teachers have bones in their hair.

What, you didn't know that? 

It is a well-known fact amongst children that their art teacher often has bones in her hair.  You see, when you have long locks and work with painting children you are bound to end up with paint in your hair. During the course of the day the paint will dry and become a hard stick embedded in your mane. 

When you get home from work you will engage in a game of beauty parlor with your three-year-old daughter. As you take a seat in the beautician's chair for a princess updo she will exclaim, "Mama, you've got bones in your hair!"  

I think this term should be added to The Funny Dictionary. 
Hair Bone. n. the phenomenon of having something dry in your hair that makes it hard as a bone. Those typically afflicted include kids who eat syrup, brick layers who work with mortar, dogs who roll in the mud, and elementary art teachers.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

SmockTip #1- Hang on to those pizza boxes!

SmockTips are simple tips of what works in my art classroom. I hope you find them helpful! 

Dreams Do Come True

Dream Classroom
Such a great space!
I have been extremely fortunate to have landed in my dream classroom this school year.  A new early childhood center has been under construction for the past three years, and finally opened its doors at the start of this school year.  I went from having the worst classroom in the school (a former maintenance workroom turned into an art room-- it could barely hold enough working tables for the students, only had one sink, and had very little storage), to now having the best room in the entire school.

My new classroom is on the top floor of the building in a corner, which allowed for two walls to have floor to ceiling windows-- plenty of natural light!!!! I have a very large discussion area with a brand new Cleverboard mounted to the wall for lessons.  There are four extra long working tables for the students, an en-suite bathroom, a very large lockable storage room for supplies, and a wall of sinks with six faucets and a trough. 

If it couldn't get any better, I was able to order brand new furniture for the classroom as well.  What a difference to work in a purpose-built room with art-specific furniture!  

I am not saying that you need a room with all the bells & whistles to teach art effectively, but it sure is nice : ) 
Nursery students painting at individual tabletop easel stations.
These tabletop easels are great! I have enough to make 16 easel stations. They fold flat for storage.
My daughter loves being creative in the new art room!

So you're becoming an art teacher...

Congrats! You are making the move from general homeroom teacher to art specialist! Here is a list of differences in your new role that will become your reality soon enough.
  • You will get away with looking like a mess all the time.  Goodbye pressed khakis and dry-cleaned blouses, hello paint-stained yoga pants and smocks!

Monday, October 15, 2012


Welcome to Fox in Smocks!

My name is Mrs. Fox and as an art teacher I wear a smock every day. The image you see in the background is a photo of my favorite working smock, with beautiful smudges of colors and memories.

I am a homeroom teacher-turned art teacher.  The learning curve for me in the past few years as an art specialist has been high, and I am learning new things about how to best serve my students each day.  I currently teach art to children in Nursery through 2nd grade.  I have searched art educator blogs extensively, and there aren't many blogs out there for teachers in the same boat- former homeroom teacher + newer art teacher + early childhood art specialist + working mom.  So I decided that I would start documenting my adventures. This blog serves as personal reflection that will help me grow as an educator, and perhaps other educators out there will connect with my musings as well.


Mrs. Fox