Grid Drawing: The Pros and Cons and the Tips and Tricks

Grid Drawing: The Pros and Cons and the Tips and Tricks

Let’s talk gridding for a moment. Grid drawing is a staple of the art room. Some love it, some hate it, and I am here to say your feelings are valid no matter where you fall on the spectrum. I did grid drawings in My Art I classes earlier in my career and moved away […]

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What’s In Your Art Room’s Emergency Stash?

What’s In Your Art Room’s Emergency Stash?

At one point early in my teaching career, I bought a plastic pencil case and started stashing things I found I needed personally- things like deodorant, tampons, a toothbrush, and a sample of toothpaste. And I added to that stash over time- a water bottle, granola bars, and lunch money were some additions. And, well, […]

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Projects that are “For the Birds”

Projects that are “For the Birds”

Going along with our theme of birds this week, the following teachers shared projects on the topic of birds. 1. My mentor teacher, Jane Napolitano, did these chicken paintings with her advanced art students in her Art Major class. For three years, students took a field trip to a local teacher who kept chickens. The […]

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Ten Artists Inspired by Birds

Ten Artists Inspired by Birds

I am sure I am not the only one to marvel over how a cardinal’s magnificent red pops against the winter snow. Or to be amused when a bright yellow checker taxi cab-looking bird (a finch!) lands at my kitchen window bird feeder. What is it about birds that capture our fancy? Do we dream […]

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New Year’s Resolutions and the Art Teacher 

New Year’s Resolutions and the Art Teacher 

Welcome to 2024! I don’t know why, but there has been something about getting older- and maybe wiser- that spurs me to make New Year’s resolutions. After all, you can’t reach a goal if you don’t set it, right? Teaching can be very rote. It’s easy to fall into a rut. It’s easy for the […]

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Animated Shorts for the Holidays

Animated Shorts for the Holidays

Have some time to kill this week? Consider an animated short. All of these animated shorts are festive and age-appropriate for 5-12. We have previewed and put our stamp of approval on all these, plus our comments. What can you learn from an animated short? Composition, storytelling, form, lighting, character development, etc. If you want, […]

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Combating “The Great Holiday Art Room Supply Heist”

Combating “The Great Holiday Art Room Supply Heist”

There are predictable times of the year when teachers treat the art room as their supply closet. Before winter break is one of them. It starts innocuous enough, with a knock on the door and a request for 25 sheets of green construction paper. Maybe you owe that teacher a favor or happen to have […]

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Shop Art Teachers! Check out Art Teacher’s Etsy Shops and Side Hustles

Shop Art Teachers! Check out Art Teacher’s Etsy Shops and Side Hustles

In the next few weeks, I will share art teachers with a side hustle with an Etsy or website shop. Do you want to be highlighted? Send us (info@myartlesson.com) your information. Let’s support our fellow teachers! 1 Artist Teacher: Becky RamseyShop: Becky Ramsey – Studio 506What do they sell? Pet portraits, Photography, and PaintingsLink: https://www.artpal.com/beckyramsey?fbclid=IwAR0mlxP_GGeJ9GQAM-dRHFjplNK9hQ5Nyu81t1AEDZlobAYhOCm9kUazHkc 2. […]

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The Art Teacher’s Guide to Letters of Recommendation

The Art Teacher’s Guide to Letters of Recommendation

Have you been approached to write a letter of recommendation? It’s yet another item on a teacher’s list of things to do. I don’t know about you, but over my years teaching, the requests grew from writing letters for the faithful few art stars who were going on to study art in college to students […]

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Halloween Meets Art History

Halloween Meets Art History

Let’s visit Halloween of the past. Why? Because Halloween has so many creative opportunities. Now, as an art teacher, I was always called the creative person in the house. But, it turns out, my husband’s creative side was just laying dormant until we had kids and until Halloween. It had to do with a deficit […]

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How to Win at Teaching Still Life Drawing

How to Win at Teaching Still Life Drawing

1. Make it Contemporary Still life can come off as boring, but it doesn’t have to be. Still-life drawings and paintings are a mainstay of the art world. Why do artists turn to still life again and again? The magic of still life paintings is that they show us a new way of looking at the […]

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What Odd and Unexpected Items Can Be Found In Your Art Room?

What Odd and Unexpected Items Can Be Found In Your Art Room?

We all know that no art room is complete without a hairdryer and iron! But are there other everyday items that are staples in your classroom? I had an art colleague who had preserved fish in jars. At the time, I wasn’t aware of Gyotaku, commonly known as fish printing. I asked art teachers what […]

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Systems and Strategies for Maintaining Your Art Room

Systems and Strategies for Maintaining Your Art Room

In my first art teaching job, I took over for a man who failed to get tenure. His classes were out of control, and the state of the room was all the evidence one would need to know things weren’t working out. Running a well-kept art room is one of those things no one thinks […]

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Late Work Policy Options for Art Teachers

Late Work Policy Options for Art Teachers

Projects turned in late are always a struggle in teaching art. As one art teacher laments, “I have tried so many different ways of handling project due dates and find it so frustrating. I am getting fewer projects done in a year than I used to, the progress is slow and I am still not […]

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First Day Activities for Art Classes

First Day Activities for Art Classes

1. Art Teacher Audrey Chitsey Brewer has her Art 1 students fill out a brain profile map to help her get to know them. Her Advanced Art students draw one without a template. Her template for Art 1 is available for free on TPT under Art Icebreaker. Her Pinterest board for Advanced Art Icebreaker can […]

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Art Class Syllabus: Essential Ingredients and Creative Twists

Art Class Syllabus: Essential Ingredients and Creative Twists

Nothing says the start of the year like creating- or updating- your class syllabus. At baseline, a class syllabus can be a pretty dry document. It typically includes your contact information, course information and summary, prerequisites, and core requisites, required materials, course objectives, assignment list, academic policies, and classroom policies. Before launching into your syllabi, […]

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Advice for New Art Teachers: What We All Wished We Knew Our First Year

Advice for New Art Teachers: What We All Wished We Knew Our First Year

We all have first-year war stories. For me, I was fresh out of art school, and the ink on my teaching certificate hadn’t even dried yet before I accept my first job in a small regional high school in upstate, NY. It was a relief after a month of hearing my older sister repeating, “And […]

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The Art Teacher’s Expected And Not So Expected End of the Year To-Do List

The Art Teacher’s Expected And Not So Expected End of the Year To-Do List

How do you end the school year? Whether you are wrapping up now, or if you have a few more weeks left, do you have an end-of-year strategy? Because how you end a year can make a difference to the start of the next one. Whether you’re just finishing your first year or your twentieth […]

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Resources for Playing and Learning About Color

Resources for Playing and Learning About Color

1. Color Game – Method of Action This website is a color-matching game. Method of Action was born in 2011 and was a collaboration between María Munuera and Mark MacKay. They created these games as part of an online course for learning design by practice. 2. The X-Rite Color Challenge and Hue Test The X-Rite Color Challenge […]

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One Hit Wonders: Projects You Can Do In A Day or Two

One Hit Wonders: Projects You Can Do In A Day or Two

How many times have you sat at your planner and wondered what to do with half a class on a Friday afternoon? Or had one section of an art class that was inexplicably a day ahead of another section? Or facing the revolving door of attendance that is the end of the school year. So […]

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Strategies for Destructive Students in the Art Room

Strategies for Destructive Students in the Art Room

A common complaint of art teachers is the destruction of art materials by students. You know the behaviors; particularly the bent or broken rulers and erasers that you find carved, stabbed, or broken. Middle school is the age where these behaviors seem to peak but it’s still evident in lower-level high school classes. In my […]

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A Dozen New Hacks For The Art Teacher

A Dozen New Hacks For The Art Teacher

Every art teacher enjoys a good art teacher hack. A clever or elegant way to make life easier? Yes, please! Art teacher Aaron Shirley uses a 3-D printer to make his own art room tools. He writes, “For example, Linoleum Cutter Handles can be around $5-10 each depending on where you order, these handles cost […]

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Fall in Love With These Valentine’s Day Art Lessons

Fall in Love With These Valentine’s Day Art Lessons

I have to confess I held a certain disdain for holiday art projects. Over the years, I softened those stances. It’s dark and bleary in February here in New England and Valentine’s day comes just at the right time to distract and entertain us. Plus, some great artists were inspired by Valentine’s Day themes. Jim […]

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Helping Your Students Cope with Perfectionism

Helping Your Students Cope with Perfectionism

There are certain personality types you will come across while teaching art. One is the perfectionist. Sometimes spotting a perfectionist is obvious but other times it’s not. Perfectionism may take the form of a student who fills your trash with beautiful work because nothing he or she creates ever feels “good enough.” It may be […]

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A Dozen Strategies for Coping with Art Teacher Burnout

A Dozen Strategies for Coping with Art Teacher Burnout

Let’s talk about teacher burnout. Burnout is a state of chronic exhaustion that occurs after prolonged periods of stress. Art teachers are no strangers to burnout. Lack of support for the arts, extra demands on art teachers, and poor supply budgets has always been stressors for art teachers. Added to that are problems made worse […]

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Everything an art teacher needs to know about scratchboard

Everything an art teacher needs to know about scratchboard

What is scratchboard art? “The Scratchboard technique is a two-dimensional, subtractive process. It involves the use of abrasive tools to directly remove a surface layer of one value (typically dark) to expose the second layer of a contrasting value (typically white). The values within the artwork are predominantly achieved by varying the amount of surface […]

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Teaching Typography: Great online resources and games

Teaching Typography: Great online resources and games

A Crash Course in Typography: The Basics of Type Teach yourself and students critical design info like Typefaces vs. Fonts: Difference?  If you or your students are intimidated by typography this site is for you. KernType: A letter spacing game” This game will teach you what kerning is and will have you learn like a […]

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Art lessons inspired by type

Art lessons inspired by type

I went back to school for graphic design and fell in love with type. I love projects involving type; you don’t need a graphic design background to do many of these lessons. Zentangle-inspired letters Check out Margaret Bremner’s blog for inspiration as well as Mr. MintArt’s blog.      .  Text portraits and figures Check […]

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Practical and quick ways to respond to “I can’t draw”

Practical and quick ways to respond to “I can’t draw”

Last week I wrote about strategies for how to combat, “I can’t draw.” As teachers, we don’t always have all the time we would like to convince every student that, indeed, they are capable of drawing. So, instead, we must reach for the words or actions with the most impact. These strategies won’t solve every […]

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One teacher’s Halloween tradition

One teacher’s Halloween tradition

Do you need a quick, inexpensive idea for Halloween this year? I have inspiration for you then in the form of art teacher, Megan Henry. Henry has a tradition you might want to start. She’s been doing art history-inspired cardboard masks. Not only is this a super fun Halloween idea, but you could also definitely […]

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Strategies for combating “I can’t draw”

Strategies for combating “I can’t draw”

I don’t know why people need to announce they can’t draw. But they do. It comes from students, parents, colleagues, administrators, and total strangers as soon as they hear I am an art educator. And it comes in such strange forms. “I can’t draw a straight line!” “I’m not talented in art.” But I can’t […]

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10 Art lesson ideas inspired by fall

10 Art lesson ideas inspired by fall

As long as there have been artists, artists have found inspiration from their environment. I live in New England and the fall season is particularly inspirational and is hands down my favorite time of the year. The leaves change color, the apples are ripe for picking, birds are migrating, folks are stocking up on candy […]

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25 Activities for your art room early finishers

25 Activities for your art room early finishers

There is no worse phrase in the art room than “I’m done. Now what?”  It’s inevitable that some students will finish before others.  While we can close the gap to some degree, we can’t avoid the reality of early finishers. If you teach middle school or intro high school classes you know it’s imperative for […]

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Narrowing the divide: The art room’s early finishers & laggards

Narrowing the divide: The art room’s early finishers & laggards

What to do with earlier finishers? Students may start a project all at once but each student will cross the finish line at a different time. Some students are always slow, careful, and deliberate in their work while others may be spontaneous and quick-paced in their approach. Some students do the bare minimum while others […]

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Figure it out: Inspiration for figure drawing

Figure it out: Inspiration for figure drawing

Let’s talk about figure drawing. Figure drawing is hard! It’s also hard to get a classroom of students who aren’t confident with their drawing skills to get excited about figure drawing because very few people do it well off the bat. Drawing the human form takes basic drawing skills plus an understanding of the human […]

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How do art teachers experience and manage imposter syndrome?

How do art teachers experience and manage imposter syndrome?

Let’s talk about imposter syndrome. Most of us have been there at some time or another. I experienced it on occasional parent’s night and once while driving the school van for a field trip. It would only hit me on some parent’s night, I guess to keep me on my toes. While I was comfortable […]

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To loan a pencil or not to loan a pencil? That is the question

To loan a pencil or not to loan a pencil? That is the question

When I was in my first years of teaching my now husband and I had an occasion to visit Ikea. In the store was a desk with golf pencils and paper so customers could take notes of product items they wanted to buy. All I could see was FREE pencils. I shamelessly filled up my […]

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Back-to-school art teacher hacks

Back-to-school art teacher hacks

You have one shot at getting the right planner for the year. Art teachers like Planbook, a web-based lesson planning system that encourages students, administrators, and other teachers to interact with a teacher’s plans. Try it free for thirty days. Erin Condren Planbooks are also highly thought of. This planner, similar to the Eric Condren […]

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Collaborative projects to start the year

Collaborative projects to start the year

As we think about what you might start the year with, we often naturally turn to collaborative project ideas. Why use collaborative projects? Well, first, it is a great way to get to know your students. Who are the leaders? Who has good communication skills? What personalities work well together, or don’t work well together?  […]

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What’s in a name? Name designs to start the year!

What’s in a name? Name designs to start the year!

Some teachers like to start the year with a project involving students’ names. It helps you learn each student’s name and makes identifying students during those early days a breeze. You can use these as stand-alone projects or create the designs on sticky label paper to mark their portfolios. 1.Blogger Katherine Scott Maghini does these […]

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Moving levels? What you need to know about transitioning

Moving levels? What you need to know about transitioning

In the US right now we are seeing a record number of job openings. People are quitting or changing positions, reflecting continued strength in the rapidly growing labor market. Employment of high school teachers is projected to grow 8 percent from 2020 to 2030. In some areas, administrators are reporting small applicant pools to hire […]

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12 Books to Inspire and Entertain the Art Teacher

12 Books to Inspire and Entertain the Art Teacher

Books and art were the mainstays of my childhood summers. What can be more entertaining than a book about art? I have compiled a list of 12 books for Art Teachers to jump-start your summer. From books to inspire artists to books that delve into art history through fiction, you will be thoroughly entertained and […]

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How art teachers can be allies to LGBT+ students

How art teachers can be allies to LGBT+ students

June is Pride month. Did you know that a recent survey showed almost 14 percent of middle and high school students identified as having a sexual orientation other than straight and about 3 percent identified as someone whose gender identity did not correspond with their birth sex? We’ve come a long way from my days […]

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Saying goodbye? Thank you? Gifts for the Art Teacher (or even a special Senior)

Saying goodbye? Thank you? Gifts for the Art Teacher (or even a special Senior)

I have always enjoyed the challenge of gift giving. What can you buy that will thrill and delight a person. What can you give that says you know that person, you tuned in. For one friend, it was the pop-up James Taylor book (she loved both his music and also collected pop-up books) that I […]

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Keeping Students Creative in Summer

Keeping Students Creative in Summer

While school breaks for summer, students often fill their schedule with “fun.” Camps, day programs, and vacations are all the stuff summer evokes for many students and parents. I am often approached towards the end of the year by parents and students to ask about creative options for the summer. For parents and students, I […]

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End of the Year Hacks to Make Your Life Easier

End of the Year Hacks to Make Your Life Easier

Then the end of the school year is in sight. Congratulations! Now is the time to clean and organize. So, this week we have a dozen end-of-the-year cleaning and organizational hacks to share. 1. Rulers Recently an art teacher was asking for ways to organize rulers. I used a pegboard and hangers (you can find attachments […]

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Ten End of the Year “Lifesavers”

Ten End of the Year “Lifesavers”

The end of the year always brings a certain kind of stress and chaos. Portions of students missing for testing, field trips, and whatnot. Early finishers. Lack of motivation- for students and teachers! You just want to call the year done, but you know the phrase, “It ain’t over until it’s over.” So, some ideas […]

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Ways to Recognize your Art Students: Awards, Honors, and Senior Send-offs

Ways to Recognize your Art Students: Awards, Honors, and Senior Send-offs

As a department chair, it was both my honor and privilege to give out awards to art students at my school. In my first year, I carefully picked out lovely medals (I like these medals, https://amzn.to/3FxYQVS (image 1) sold in a ten pack on amazon) and certificates (I like these https://amzn.to/3Pb0mBL and https://amzn.to/3wiF3Wf plus holders that […]

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Part II: The Nitty-gritty of School Art Shows

Part II: The Nitty-gritty of School Art Shows

So, last week I started talking about art show planning. This week we are talking art show nitty-gritty. The nitty-gritty includes figuring out how to best display the work, gathering the work, how to hang the work, and more. I’m exhausted just thinking about it! Display Panels  Ideally, every school would invest in quality display […]

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Part I: Planning for a Successful Art Show

Part I: Planning for a Successful Art Show

Spring conjures up many images. Cherry blossoms, baby animals, longer days to name a few! For the art teacher spring conjures up Spring Showcases. Ahhh, only a school art show can both instill pleasure and pain at once. There is nothing like seeing all your students’ hard work on display to make you feel proud. […]

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Ideas and Advice: Acing the Interview Demo Lesson

Ideas and Advice: Acing the Interview Demo Lesson

Once in my career, I was asked as part of a school’s interview process, to come in and teach a lesson to an art class. I was given a little background on what the class had been doing and given a 45-minute period to present my lesson. The current art teacher and principal would observe. […]

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Making a school gallery

Making a school gallery

One of the things I proudly accomplished as an art teacher and department chair was starting a school gallery. At the time, I had a promising art student who was killed in a car accident. As I struggled to come to terms with her death, I proposed starting an art gallery in her memory. The […]

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Tips and tricks for linoleum printmaking

Tips and tricks for linoleum printmaking

Linoleum/relief printmaking can be a great project to include in your curriculum. I found my high school classes usually enjoyed relief printmaking and for students who enjoy processes, it can be especially rewarding. There are a lot of high-level thinking skills involved for students. For teachers, relief printmaking requires a lot of prep, materials, and […]

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Twenty five NEW ideas for your art club!

Twenty five NEW ideas for your art club!

Utilize Tate Museum’s project packs. The packs offer a range of activity ideas to explore with learners of different ages and levels or to spark further collaborative activity ideas of your own. Bookbinding! There are so many good resources out there, like this one. Consider having students make a sketchbook. That could be an activity […]

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Staying in art education: How to navigate these stressful times without abandoning ship

Staying in art education: How to navigate these stressful times without abandoning ship

So, you’ve had some daydreams of quitting your art teaching position. Then you remember student loans, family obligations, mortgage payments, etc, that keep you showing up at that job. My husband calls this the “I Owe, I Owe, So Off to Work I Go” factor.  Maybe you are ready to throw in the towel but […]

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How does an art educator make a career change?

How does an art educator make a career change?

Last week I wrote to you about signs you may need to think about a career change (Read that article, here). As I already mentioned, changing careers is a process. As entertaining as those social media posts about quitting may be, quitting one’s career shouldn’t be an impulsive act but rather a well-considered plan executed […]

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Do you need an exit plan from being an art teacher?

Do you need an exit plan from being an art teacher?

When I started to teach it was the early 90s and I was 22. As most new young teachers are I arrived at my first job with a large dose of idealism. At my school, there were a handful of teachers just marking time until retirement. You would not see these teachers doing extras like […]

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Cell Phones: Can’t Live With Them, Can’t Live Without Them

Cell Phones: Can’t Live With Them, Can’t Live Without Them

In 2006 I returned to work after being home with my youngest daughter for two years. When I returned to work, I faced a new challenge; cell phones were now in the hands of high schoolers. Literally, on the first day of school, I had to contend with a student talking on their cell phone. […]

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How can you use a Cricut in the art room?

How can you use a Cricut in the art room?

There are a variety of cutting plotters, or computer-controlled cutting machines you can buy these days, the most popular types being the Cricut or Silhouette machines. I have been hearing more about the possibilities of a Cricut for the art classroom. I decided to get up to speed a few months ago by taking a […]

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Art Teacher Organizational Hacks  for the New Year!

Art Teacher Organizational Hacks for the New Year!

1. When you need a smile  Have a file in your desk where you keep all those positive notes you receive. The thank-you notes from students, parents, administrators, or whomever. The notes which touched you when you received them and even now remind you that your work is valuable. Every day, in big and small […]

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Love Etsy? Love Art Teachers? Look no further for your holiday shopping!

Love Etsy? Love Art Teachers? Look no further for your holiday shopping!

I will confess to an Etsy addiction. Everyone in my family knows that an Etsy gift card is the go-to gift for me and I receive as much enjoyment from the browsing as I do the buying. Unlike Amazon and other online shopping experiences, you not only get a unique gift but have the added […]

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Gratitude fillers for Thanksgiving week

Gratitude fillers for Thanksgiving week

Thanksgiving is all about gratitude. It’s fine to admit you are grateful for the time off from teaching! Maybe you have 2 or 3 days at school this week and you need a filler. I have some ideas for you. Watch these animated shorts about gratitude and create a storyboard with your own gratitude-themed story. […]

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Art Teaching On the Cheap

Art Teaching On the Cheap

Way back, at the beginning of my career, I was hired by a regional school system. I graduated with my art teaching certificate in May in addition to a raging case of mononucleosis. I desperately wished to be employed and out of my parent’s house by September. With a little luck, I both surprised my […]

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Tips to prepare your students for a portfolio review

Tips to prepare your students for a portfolio review

I am happy to say as a teen I attended a portfolio review day and it left no emotional scars. My students have gone to portfolio reviews and events like National Portfolio Day and most walked away from the day encouraged and excited about artmaking and their future. I see it as my job to […]

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Interview with Artist James DeRosso

Interview with Artist James DeRosso

How important was art education to you when you were school age? In the 7th grade I had a fantastic art teacher with a huge classroom filled with every kind of art material. The walls were covered with art. Sculptures of clay and paper-mache sat on most shelves and even hung from the ceiling. She […]

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My advice for taking over an art class successfully

My advice for taking over an art class successfully

We are teaching in unique times, my friends. There is a nationwide labor shortage and that includes educators. Substitute teachers are scarce. Teacher morale is low. Turnover is high. I’ve noticed in my art education group, I am seeing comments that many teachers are landing their first art teacher position during this shortage. In addition, […]

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Parent’s night: A survival guide for new art teachers (and anyone who ever gets nervous)

Parent’s night: A survival guide for new art teachers (and anyone who ever gets nervous)

I have a confession. I still get a little nervous on parents’ night. For a profession built on public speaking, it’s a terrible thing to be hit with a sudden case of stage fright.  How do we manage? While we can’t prevent nervousness, we can make sure we feel prepared and have systems to rely […]

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Art Teacher’s professional goals: More than just busywork

Art Teacher’s professional goals: More than just busywork

As teachers, we love to see our students grow and learn. Our students aren’t the only ones growing and learning though. Our professional growth needs to be attended to. Maybe you work for a district that requires teachers to set yearly professional growth goals. Maybe your school requires “SMART” goals. SMART is an acronym that […]

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Should you consider a National Art Honor Society Chapter?

Should you consider a National Art Honor Society Chapter?

I have a line on my resume that reads “Planned and initiated a chapter of the National Arts Honor Society.” It’s a humble little line. As Department Chair of the Visual and Performing arts, I also had my hand in initiating honor societies for theater and music as well as for art. It was a […]

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Five Ideas for Substitute Days

Five Ideas for Substitute Days

If you are fortunate to have a computer lab, carts, ipads, etc. available to you, there are a lot of educational options out there on the web for substitute days. 1. Pixel Art This instruction website on pixel art is a one stop shop for everything a student would need to know to create Pixel […]

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Ten tricks to remember student names

Ten tricks to remember student names

Do you look at a class, stuffed to the gills, and feel overwhelmed at the the thought of committing to memory all those names? And i’s not just one class, but many classes? I had a new administrator one year who magically new my name. “He’s one of THOSE people,” I thought. Well, my husband  […]

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What to wear? The art teacher’s dilemma

What to wear? The art teacher’s dilemma

When my oldest was little relatives bought my child a new Barbie Doll. Not just any Barbie Doll, but Art Teacher Barbie. We had a good laugh at Art Teacher Barbie! First of all, she was wearing heels! Strike one, art teachers are on their feet all day.  Barbie was also wearing a tight skirt, […]

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Classroom Expectations

Classroom Expectations

A while back, a teacher suggested tackling classroom rules through memes. Which made me wonder, could it be done through art history memes? So, here is what I came up with. Use them as-is, modify them, add to them and let me see what you come up with (info@myartlesson.com). While you’re going through them, feel […]

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Everything you ever wanted to know about sketchbooks

Everything you ever wanted to know about sketchbooks

I was never one of those artists who carried around a sketchbook. I am not sure why but I can say I was intimidated by the perfection of a sketchbook- the binding, the pages, the potential of each crisp white page. Would I make something worthy?  In truth, I  was more of a sketch-on-a-napkin sort of […]

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Icebreakers You Won’t Hate

Icebreakers You Won’t Hate

An icebreaker is an activity, game, or event that is used to welcome and encourage conversation in a class. It’s the beginning of the year getting-to-know-you activity. An icebreaker can run the gamut from painful and awkward to fun and engaging. A well-done icebreaker can go a long way to set a positive vibe for […]

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Hacks to make life easier come school start

Hacks to make life easier come school start

As a teacher, I often marveled at how other people manage their 9-5 jobs. How did they ever make it to the doctors or pick up that jacket that was “Dry Clean only?” During my parenting years, I was always grateful to be able to be with my children over the summer. On the flip […]

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Summer Reading: Books about Artists

Summer Reading: Books about Artists

Book: The Agony and the Ecstasy: A Biographical Novel of Michelangelo Author: Irving Stone Synopsis: A compelling portrait of Michelangelo’s dangerous, impassioned loves, and the God-driven fury from which he wrested the greatest art the world has ever known. Book: Rodin’s Lover Author: Heather Webb Synopsis: The tale of Camille […]

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Summer Reading: The Professional Books

Summer Reading: The Professional Books

Book: Classroom Management for Art, Music, and PE Teachers Author: Michael Linsin Summary: Teaching 400-600 students every week presents the ultimate classroom management challenge, one that if you’re unprepared for can bury you in a mountain of stress and misbehavior. Classroom Management for Art, Music, and PE Teachers is a proven solution that will transform […]

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Transition to summer mode

Transition to summer mode

The other day, a teacher confessed to having a difficult time transitioning to summer mode. She described feeling adrift and isolated. My first instinct was an incredulous “Why?!”  I recall the first few days of summer bliss as I slept passed my usual up with the sun September to June lifestyle. Then I was reminded […]

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Movies, documentaries, and shows with art and art history themes

Movies, documentaries, and shows with art and art history themes

1. Exit Through the Gift Shop Where can I see it? Amazon Prime, Rent 3.99 Own 7.99 Time: 1hr 25 min Rated: R Summary: Shop owner Thierry Guetta’s project to document the underground world of street art takes an unforeseen turn when he meets Banksy, who in turn films the shop owner’s attempts to be […]

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More Art Teacher Hacks

More Art Teacher Hacks

1. Clever Art Awards! High school art teacher April Eason recycles old trophies for my Art awards each year. 2. Ruler Skills Hack Middle school art teacher Jackie Dehring is on a quest to teach ruler skills! Don’t we all know how necessary that is? Dehring uses scrap vinyl to create a ruler on her […]

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Things to consider before you accept the job!

Things to consider before you accept the job!

You’ve ran the gauntlet. You’ve crafted the resume, practiced your interview skills, and dressed for success. The triumphant moment has arrived and you’ve received the job offer! It is a thrilling moment but not the end of the story. Not every offer is accepted and not every yes to a job offer ends happily. Maybe […]

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Real life Art Teacher interview questions

Real life Art Teacher interview questions

The end of the year is in sight and administrators are turning their attentions to hiring for the next school year. If you are job hunting you may be wondering how to best prepare for interviews. Here is a list of questions art teachers have reported being asked in interviews or using when being involved […]

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Interview with Artist James DeRosso

Interview with Artist James DeRosso

How important was art education to you when you were school age? In the 7th grade I had a fantastic art teacher with a huge classroom filled with every kind of art material. The walls were covered with art. Sculptures of clay and paper-mache sat on most shelves and even hung from the ceiling. She […]

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Reverse Image Search 101 PLUS some pro tricks and tips

Reverse Image Search 101 PLUS some pro tricks and tips

I’ve written on this topic before but there is a constant demand to educated art teachers on this topic. Let’s cover this reverse image search thing again, and some other nifty ticks as well. Let’s say a student turns in a work that just isn’t plausibly theirs. How do you prove it?  We are going […]

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How to be a good administrator to the arts

How to be a good administrator to the arts

At the most essential level a school attempts to provide for each learner’s optimal academic, emotional, physical, and civic growth. To be an administrator in a school requires passion, dedication and much hard work to ensure all the moving parts of the educational machine are running smoothly.  So tell me, what is the health of […]

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Who appreciates Teachers ? (Where the deals are for teachers)

Who appreciates Teachers ? (Where the deals are for teachers)

There has never been a time when saying thank you to educators has been more essential. As we approach Teacher Appreciation Week (May 3-7, 2021) it’s easy to reflect on the challenges this past year has brought. Teachers are a resourceful group and without a doubt, we have proven that throughout the COVID crisis. There […]

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Parent misconceptions of art (and how to respond professionally)

Parent misconceptions of art (and how to respond professionally)

As an art teacher, conversing with parents about art class can be an adventure. Parents can have some odd misconceptions about art and their child’s growth potential in the arts. If you’re an art teacher you may have heard some of the following questions and comments from parents. “I can’t draw a straight line.” “I […]

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36 Days of Type

36 Days of Type

Have you heard of 36 Days of Type? Me neither! But as a graphic designer and art educator, I approve! 36 Days of Type is a project that invites designers, illustrators and graphic artists to express their particular interpretation of the letters and numbers of the Latin alphabet. A yearly open call exploring the creative […]

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Five artists working on environmental issues

Five artists working on environmental issues

1. Young-Deok Seo South Korean artist Young-Deok Seo uses recycled bike chains to create stunning sculptures. Note: Some of his sculptures show nudity, edit or use discretion. 2. Zarria Forman Zaria Forman documents climate change with pastel drawings. She travels to remote regions of the world to collect images and inspiration for her work, which is […]

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So You Want to Be An Art Teacher?

So You Want to Be An Art Teacher?

This week I saw a question in an online art teacher forum from a principal who was asking about becoming an art teacher. The person was certified yet admitted they had little art making experience, didn’t have a stash of art lessons, or feel able to put a portfolio together. I am going to […]

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One Teacher’s Drawing-a-Day Challenge During School Shutdown

One Teacher’s Drawing-a-Day Challenge During School Shutdown

I ran this article March 29th of last year. When the going gets tough, artists get drawing. At least that is what one artist and educator did. Heidi Hurley committed to a drawing a day until everyone was “back in school full time.” Well, like many of us, Hurley is teaching both live and […]

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Diagnostik

Diagnostik

Mélissa Nadeau is a high school art teacher in Laval, Canada for 17 years. She is also the creator and organizer for an upcoming virtual show of student work created in response to the Pandemic. Mélissa Nadeau contacted me last week after My Art Lesson ran the post, One year with Covid: Artistic responses in […]

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One year with Covid: Artistic responses in art lessons and student artwork

One year with Covid: Artistic responses in art lessons and student artwork

Every generation has events they experience collectively that leaves a mark. Man landing on the moon was one. Nine-eleven is another. We can now add Covid-19 pandemic to the list. The pandemic has now stretched out over a year and has taken a toll in ever facet  of the human experience. In our dual […]

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Practical Matters: Paint Distribution

Practical Matters: Paint Distribution

When I was a new teacher I enrolled in a master’s program shortly after I began teaching. Towards the end, I had to pick out a topic for a thesis. The topics were things I perceived as esoteric. Here I was during the day struggling with teaching a nonexistent curriculum with nonexistent supplies. I was […]

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Black Artists to Get to Know

Black Artists to Get to Know

Here are ten black artists you might know already or might want to get to know and incorporate into your curriculum. Kehinde Wiley 2. Faith Rinnold 3. Simone Leigh 4. Amy Sherald 5. Charles McGee 6. Titus Kaphar 7. Jean-Michel Basquait 8. Jacob Lawrence 9. Louisiana Pettway Bendolph 10. Mark Bradford https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I5mhdCvhDtQ&feature=youtu.be       […]

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50 fabulous Art Club ideas

50 fabulous Art Club ideas

They say great minds think alike. Well, here is a collection of ideas pooled together by art teachers everywhere. If you have a great idea, write us, and we’ll add your idea. Meanwhile, here are 50 ideas to get you started. Some can be done virtually, and some with low or no budget.  Inktober during […]

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Everything you want to know to launch and run a successful Art Club

Everything you want to know to launch and run a successful Art Club

Let’s talk about the art club. If you’re an art teacher you would be the natural person to supervise an art club. I know in one of my schools a student approached me about starting an art club and I have to admit, I groaned. Of course, I want students to make great art and […]

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Creating a community in your online art classes

Creating a community in your online art classes

January represents a time of renewal. A time to look to the New Year and start fresh and build new habits. This calendar change, the world seems more then ready to put 2020 to rest. The new year brings us hope. As we start second semester on this optimistic note, many of us will start […]

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Food as a Muse, Wayne Thiebaud turns 100 years old

Food as a Muse, Wayne Thiebaud turns 100 years old

This month, on November 15, artist Wayne Thiebaud turns 100 years old. So, this month I have some related content if you should opt to do a Wayne Thiebaud-style project. Preparing the content made me reflect how, in my house, November is all about food. First, we enter November on Halloween’s heels, candy wrappers from […]

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