Small scraps and weekend links athglitter.com
Small Scraps

Small Scraps & Weekend Links

free choice art day athglitter.com

This Week’s Highs

  • I have been having “Free Choice Art Day” in my art room this week (and last). I have these days at the end of every quarter. I love these days, even though they tend to be a bit chaotic, but the students get so creative and they have a blast. I wish every day could be free choice day.
  • I had a parent of a 4th grade student tell me that her son is loving art for the first time. I have never had him in art before, and I am told he is expressing interest in drawing and other activities when he previously thought art was no fun. I do not have to tell you how great this made me feel.
  • Due to snow days and early release days, it has been quite awhile since I have seen my Kinders. When I saw them this week, they told me that they wish every day was art day. Love them!
  • I had my mid-year evaluation meeting with my principal and assistant principal. It went wonderfully. They were very complimentary and rated me “highly effective” in more than one area. They praised me on my handling of a challenging class and my rapport with students. Although I have been teaching for quite some time, it is hard for me to really know how I am doing, so it feels good to hear this feedback. And while I was flattered, I was also slightly insulted for our profession, when the comment was made that they wish they could take me out of the art room and put me into a general classroom. As if the art room does not deserve good teachers too. But I tried not to take it that way since I know they had the best intentions when they made the remark. But still, you know?

Free choice art day athglitter.com

This Week’s Lows

  • It seems like everything was due this week, SMARTR goal updates, grades, mid-year evaluations and self-reflections… it has been very draining.
  • I was hoping to have my classes back into the swing of things after our BIG blizzard, but we continue to be interrupted by assemblies, fire drills, fundraisers and assessments.
  • I had a sub in my room for 30 minutes while I was at my mid-year evaluation meeting, and I returned to a scene that can only be described as disastrous and chaotic. My room had not been that trashed since… ever.

warm hearts student work athglitter.com

Weekend Links

  • This interesting article discusses whether or not creativity is really as welcomed in the real world as we are led to believe. It’s a good read.
  • How many times have we seen this? Happens all the time. So annoying, but can anyone really explain why it bugs us so much? I can’t.
  • Someone transformed Van Gogh’s The Bedroom painting into a real room, now available on Airbnb.
  • Totally crushing on these shoes.
  • I love the use of color in this living room.
  • I did a variation of this lesson by Painted Paper with my Kinders this week, and the results were so adorable.
  • I made these warm hearts, seen on Art Projects for Kids, with my 1st graders. They were fun and very successful.
  • My recent attempt at controlling yarn tangles. It was very successful, until the sub fiasco I mentioned above.

Hope you have a great weekend! Don’t forget to follow Art Teachers Hate Glitter on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest for more behind the scenes photos, anecdotes and lesson ideas.

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Small Scraps

Small Scraps ::facepalm::

Alternate Title: 6th Graders, the New 1st Graders.


I was watching this 6th gradelansburygiphy student in class the other day. He was struggling to wet his paper towel with a spray bottle. I watched in amazement as he squeezed the trigger over and over, with nothing to show for it. After each attempt, he glanced at the bottle, excuse me, he glanced at the empty bottle, and then tried spraying again, clearly confused as to why it wasn’t working. He finally got frustrated, set the spray bottle down and walked away with his dry paper towel. Guys. He was standing next to the sink. The functioning sink.

Continue reading

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Small Scraps

Small Scraps: Things Students Say

With my K-2 classes, I begin the new school year with an introduction/review of how to draw people using basic shapes. I was demonstrating for one of my second grade classes, prompting them to give me body parts to add and the shapes I could use, when we got to the point where all I had left were the arms. “What’s missing?” I asked the class. Hands shot up around the room, but this one eager boy jumped from his seat, and shouted, “shoulder pads!” Continue reading

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Small Scraps

Small Scraps: Frustrations, Funnies, & Fabulous Praise

“But what if we don’t want to do that?”

I had a 3rd grader ask me this absurd question after I introduced a lesson the other day. As in, I don’t want to do this lesson, what else do you have lined up for me? I can’t tell you how many times I have students ask me versions of this question. Since when did it become optional to do the lesson the teacher is teaching?


I have a particular 2nd grade class that always argues over who is at the end of the line. It’s usually the same three students. It doesn’t matter where I place them in line or how I call them to line up, the moment my back is turned, these students are at the end of the line, pushing and arguing over who gets to be at the end. Finally, determined to resolve the problem once and for all, I asked the classroom teacher if she has a specific line “ender”, my intention, of course, was to be able to say, “so-and-so is the line ender, problem solved.” The teacher replied to me, “We do… it changes every week… I don’t know who it is this week… I guess I could check…” So, you have classroom jobs but don’t actually check to make sure they are being done? Actually, that explains a lot. I now understand why I have so many difficulties with your class. Thank you.


The other day, while my 4th graders were working on coil pots, one girl came up to me for help and complained that working with clay was ruining her manicure. Her friend responded, “Well, you know we have art on Tuesdays, you should have waited.” Meanwhile, I’m thinking, “For real? You’re 9! Maybe 10. What are you doing getting professional manicures? Go get dirty. You have plenty of time to worry about your nails when you’re a teenager.” I’ve never had a manicure. Why? Because I work with clay and paint on a daily basis. Shortly after we convinced pretty-nail-girl to work the clay herself, the friend asked me, “why did you decide to become an art teacher?” “Because I like to work with my hands and get dirty,” I replied. Pretty-nail-girl sneered a little.


We give 6th grade assessments in our county. All students participate, and then we’re asked to submit a random sampling of the work (chosen by someone else). We’re not allowed to assist the students with their work, so you can imagine the range of work that gets done. At the end of the assessment, I watch as students turn in their projects, and I often cringe and think, “Ooh, I hope they don’t pick yours. Were you not even listening to the requirements?” And every year, without fail, the students who were the least successful are the students who are randomly selected. It pains me to send in their work when I know that there are so many stronger pieces that could have been chosen. So. Many.

The work is then scored and the data is used to assess… something. I’m not really sure of the details. I just know that the data is used for something. They used to score each school and each teacher based on these assessments, but they stopped doing that. Thank goodness, but that doesn’t stop me from feeling embarrassed when I submit photos of the poorly crafted work. I want to amend my submission with, “But wait! Look at all this good work that was made. Wouldn’t you rather assess this?” Welcome to the state of education today.


Lately, I find that bad behavior is being brushed off and explained away with excuses (by classroom teachers and administration alike). “Well, we’ve been having a lot of snow days lately, so you should expect the students to be off.” “Well, keep in mind it’s the week before break, so you should understand that the classes are going to be squirrely.” Well, this is our (1st)(2nd)(3rd) full week of school since (snow days)(break) so you can imagine the students are struggling.”

Whatever happened to accountability? If you keep explaining away bad behavior, when do students actually learn how to behave? If we don’t hold them accountable for their behavior, ever, why would they choose to behave? It’s getting pretty aggravating.


A 2nd grade class was cleaning up, and one girl noticed that there wasn’t much work for the Floor Cleaners to do since there wasn’t any mess. She explained, “it’s not like someone gave birth under the table.” Huh? Say what now? Okay then…


I was talking to my art teacher cohort’s long term substitute today. She’s subbed long-term for me in the past, as well as for other art teachers, even though it isn’t her field. Today she kept going on about how much work is involved in teaching art (not in a complaining way, but in an understanding, sympathetic way). She compared it to what regular classroom teachers do, “anyone can photocopy a math worksheet, but what you art teachers have to do for prep is unbelievable, and physical, all the lifting, bending, paper cutting… there’s so much prep work involved.” She’s great, for so many reasons, and we always appreciate the extra mile she goes for us. I sometimes wish we could get regular classroom teachers or administration to fill-in for us for a week. What an eye opener that would be, am I right?


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Small Scraps

Small Scraps: The One with Pictures

Fall is here, so you know what that means…

Fotor_141411047298996 Orange is a popular color again. It only happens once a year, so until that first snowflake hits the ground, live it up, orange. This is you time to shine!


I have the best art room sign. Ever.

Fotor_141454494374466One of my classrooms is in a resource room this year. It’s located in a hallway that acts as a pass through from one pod to another, and it rarely gets used. At the beginning of the year, teachers and students were having a hard time finding my room, “is this the art room?” “I don’t know, is it?” “Is she the new art teacher?” “I dunno.” After watching the ninetwentieth person hover outside of my door, unsure, I decided to make a sign. I used what I had on hand, what I had on the table by the door, in fact, and there you have it. The most beautiful art room door sign you will ever see. And it’s the only thing on my door. I feel like it’s something you might see on a high school math door.  I thought about making something nicer, but I just haven’t had the time yet. Plus, I kind of like it now.


What do you have for paper towel dispensers in your school?

Fotor_141454505622780We have these, and I think they are the absolute worse. I prefer to snag a roll of towels from the custodians for my classroom, but I still have to use these in the faculty bathroom. Speaking of the faculty bathroom. It took me about three weeks before I realized I had been using the men’s room. In my defense, the sign next to the door just said faculty. It’s not my fault the “men” sign was above the door jam. I only realized my error when I went into the faculty bathroom across the way and noticed the air freshener, container of potpourri, feminine products and pretty smelling soap. In hindsight, I kind of preferred the no-fuss of the men’s room.


I recently asked my first graders if they knew what a newspaper was…

“A newspaper is what, in a funny show on TV, a dad takes into the bathroom to read while he uses the toilet.” I was so shocked any of them had even heard of newspapers, I just told her she was correct, that’s exactly what a newspaper is for.

On a personal note, I’m saddened that my daughter will never experience the joy of carefully removing the funny papers from the Sunday paper and spreading them out on the living room floor.


I recently had this exchange with another first grader (always the first graders).

1st Grader: “What if you really want to work on your art but you have a loose tooth and it keeps wriggling?”

Ms. ATHG: “Is it distracting?”

1st Grader: “No. Can I get a drink of water?”

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