ebook now published!

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Portfolio of Practice is a great resource for elementary art teachers (and older as my classmate informed me) to incorporate contemporary art and methods into your studio classroom.  No longer will I teach “how to paint a symmetrical butterfly using warm and cool colors in five steps.”  Contemporary art and methods using ten artists from the Corcoran Gallery of Art Collection lifted my work as an artist, teacher and researcher.  Each art exploration is at the end of each chapter for you!


The Porch Project accepted by Kickstarter!


Hello artsaysthat subscribers,

I’m writing to share The Porch Project as my final artwork at the Corcoran College of Art and Design to be completed April 2014. The Porch Project started to emerge in my very first graduate course.  Throughout the program I have learned to apply personal meaning into my work the value in connecting my work to a community.  As part of the Corcoran Community and Horace Mann community, I created The Porch Project recently accepted by Kickstarter.
There are rewards for each level by participating (scroll down right side) in this project by November 4th.
My sincerest thank you for checking out The Porch Project!

10 Thesis Lessons

These are the 10 contemporary artists from the Corcoran Gallery of Art collection that I chose to practice in my elementary classroom studio below.  The awareness of these artists and the new art experiences were influenced by Olivia Gude’s Principles of Possibility and the use of thinking strategy:  See, Think, Wonder.  Each art experience was practiced with my K-5 students in the spring of 2013.

Contemporary art awareness was cultivated by two questions:  Where do the ideas for these artworks come from?  What materials would best represent the idea? Be the end of the school year,  my students responded to contemporary art with understanding, excitement and creativity.  In myself, a transformation in my methods and ability to facilitate conversation and not feel the need to fill up with my knowledge as I did in the past was starting to emerge and feel fantastic.  This experience of literally dropping everything to just try something new with every grade level through these artists has allowed me to never look back to my old ways and guide my students through their innate abilities.  Click on an artist below to see the PDF art exploration.  I’ll continue to use these contemporary art explorations as a foundation and always to spark something new.

Raymond Saunders        Kerry James Marshall

William Christenberry        Diebenkorn-PB

 Sam Gilliam PB         Martin Puryear and Ellsworth Kelly

Chris Martin         Joan Mitchell               Jessica Stockholder                  Warhol-Mao

15 years and 15 days


Our school is renovating and adding on starting this summer. We have been excited, worried, packing, teaching, sweating and laughing, but there can be moments of YIKES! I never look at my husbands school calendar because his last day is earlier than mine and I have a hard time looking at our calendar because its practically July 4th.
I realized my issue with this must be Transition. Witnessing at times students struggle with transition, I understand. They are engaged, focused, exploring, playing and having to stop is well…annoying! So if I know it’s coming, maybe I could make part of it enjoyable. So I looked.
There are 15 days left in the studio and I have been in that room for 15 years! Ahhhhh……a system within the transition! Now, I can be excited to close the amazing experience and shed my old habits. Each day, for this mini documentation, 15 great things about studio will be selected and taken to the trailer to celebrate the 15 years. Hope the trailer has good lighting for its first art show!

DAY 1 June 3rd: LOCATION

Having a studio classroom in Washington DC has led us to great places of learning and being part of a larger art community.

Having a studio classroom in Washington DC has led us to great places of learning and being part of a larger art community. One Million Bones will be on the Smithsonian Mall June 8th. We are proud to have helped fire the Washington DC bones!

Day 2 June 4th: SKETCHBOOKS

Sketchbooks for each grade level has been fantastic for practice and discovery. This was the first year I used sketchbooks with Kindergarten. I learned they really love paper in any shape and form, love to take their drawings home and struggled with managing the pages to last til June. So we will make our own and make mini-masterpieces from small paper basket. Sketchbooks will carry over for 1-5!

Day 3 June 5th: ARTIST LIBRARY


This artist library has been so useful for visual imagery, reading to them while working, learning about an artist and option to use when work is complete. I hope to update this library by labeling shelves and grouping the books in the new studio.

Day 4 June 6th: SPACE

The studio is 726 square feet and I finally simplified furniture and storage so that projects could be set up as needed & the school play back drop could be painted inside. The trailer will be 600 square feet, so I will hope to become even more skilled at editing, but not too much~we do some great work!

Day 5 June 7th: MOVEABLE

The ability to move the furniture around to accommodate a variety of projects!

Day 6 June 10th MATERIALS

The storage to house materials and create fun creatures!


Showing students Contemporary art this past six weeks has been fantastic. Our new studio will honestly have better technology, but I have managed to find a way to deep our students current! This beautiful painting by Kerry James Marshall updated our visual memory of history painting. I’ll share the 2nd grade responses and ability to interpret imagery in upcoming post!

Day 8 June 12th STORAGE

These awesome grade level storage shelves will be missed but replaced!

Day 9 June 13th MEMORIES!

This sweet note from one of our ESL students was in my box this morning! He knew little English, but his Visual Language is amazing. His great memory of this studio is total sunshine!

Day 10 June 14th  OPENING MESSAGE


Referring to questions rather than steps has been a real boost for students. It allows them to continue, push, reflect rather than see last step and say “I’m done!”

Kindergarten “Things that are Circular”

Today we looked at the wooden art piece by Martin Puryear “Blue Blood”. Students were excited to see a simple shape so huge! They examined everyday objects gathered from our campus, described its purpose and shared how they would put it to use. Each student selected an object to trace once, twice or more to create a design with the circle. I was interested to see the recognizable planet Earth, circles in rows, overlapping amd random patterns! More contemporary art on the way to view and inspire our minds to create new!







Spring Art News’13


Earth day and responsibility

Today we will celebrate Earth Day and the events this week. Kindergarten is on the way, tables are set and I will put together a large sculpture connecting all of their color filled bottles. Excited for the outcome to surface later today!