Friday, December 5, 2014

Christmas Cards for 2014

You would think that since I retired six months ago, my Christmas cards would have been snipped ages ago.  Not so.  I've busied myself with everything but snipping.  Once I got down to crunch time though, I enjoyed the task.  This year's batch are pleasing to me but they are more simple than those done in years past. Here are a few of them.






Friday, November 21, 2014

Godzilla Needs Warm Butter Too

I enjoy window shopping on eBay.  Often I find myself looking for deals on cast iron cookware.  This morning I came across a listing today for a Descoware butter warmer.  The photo for this listing has to be the best eBay photo I have ever seen.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Be Kind to Your Art Sub

What a different experience it is between teaching in my own classroom and substitute teaching in someone else's.  I am venturing out into the world of substitute teaching these days and am getting a new perspective into the world of subbing.

I have seen rich and full lessons left for subs and I have seen overly simplistic ones. The intent of giving a sub a super simple lesson plan is kind.  Teachers don't want to give someone a plan that is beyond the sub's capabilities to teach.  However, when I look at some of the lessons I have been left, I know that some are wildly inadequate.  Recently, I was given a page out of School Arts magazine about "expressive line."  It was a lovely idea, and I have incorporated it into lessons in my own classroom.  However, as a stand alone lesson, it was not appropriate for an hour long lesson for 6, 7 and 8 year olds.  If I had taught that lesson, I can imagine that even the most engaged kids would have lasted 15 minutes or so.  I find it hard to picture the more fidgety kids doing more than a line or two.

What will happen in your class when your students have 45 minutes...or 30....or even 15 minutes left after a lesson? When you set up sub plans, ask yourself if you would teach that same lesson.  Ask yourself how long your students would actually be engaged in that activity and what will happen with the extra time left over.  Is it really an age appropriate lesson? Leave books and activities for the students to use when they are finished with their work.  Leave a dvd player and art videos.  Leave books for the sub to read aloud.  Prepare for that unencumbered time when problems are prone to occur.

Instead of rushing around at the last minute, why not work now to set up a folder of good lessons or a "sub tub"?  Get yourself prepared for that emergency sick day.  It doesn't have to take hours and hours to get this together.  Go over to my art sub lessons blog and find links to ideas other people have already used.  There are tons of Pinterest boards linking to sub plans.  If you want fully formed, age appropriate art sub lessons, check out my shop at TeachersPayTeachers.

Be kind to your kids and your subs.  Please plan well for them.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Back to Snippyville

It seems that my time these days is filled with everything except snipping. Though I am retired, I have felt as though I have no time for my artwork. Now that the holiday season is here, I have got to get to work. Christmas cards won't cut themselves.So, it's time to head down to Snippyville to get my work done.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

New Vocation? Weeeeeeeeeeell....

Forgot to post this from last week...

Today was my first day of substitute teaching.  I had been curious to give it a try, though I wouldn't say I had been "chomping at the bit" to do it.  My district says that if you sign up to sub, you have to sub at least ten times in a six month period.  They actually want you to sub every time they ask you to sub, but I am thinking that is not going to happen.  I want to be able to sub if need be, but I don't NEED to do it now.  It's just the most money that I can make in an hour with the flexibility of working when I want to.

I wheeled my briefcase-on-rollers to school, loaded with "Where's Waldo?" books for early finishers; art videos I downloaded during my art teaching years; and several of my sub lesson plans that I sell.

The teacher had left me copies of lesson plans that I had seen over the years with the note that I could choose to do whichever I liked.  Since I was given some sort of choice, I decided to pull out one of my own lessons.  With my own lessons, I know exactly what to expect.

My preschool classes were fine.  I had three of them.  I adore preschool, so I knew that was going to be fun.

My first, second and third grades were okay too.  The teacher didn't leave any info about behavior or IEPs, so I was winging that part.  I did a lot of reminding kids to listen and not speak when I was teaching.  That was pretty constant.

My take away from that experience is that I need to print out my rules and expectations.  At the beginning of class we can talk about the fact that this is Ms. Johnson's class today and that I may expect different behavior than their usual teacher. If I implement my own behavior model, even for that day, the parameters will be clearer than if I just try to guess at their teacher's.

Sunday, August 31, 2014


It seems very odd to me, but I haven't quite gotten hold of what I am supposed to be doing now that all my pals are back at school.  Don't get me wrong, I have no desire to join them, but I feel as though I am spinning my wheels a lot during the day.  My retired friends encourage me to not sweat the feeling that I should be accomplishing great things.  That's tough.

For the past 30 years I have recorded what I need to do for every hour in the work day.  Teaching a different class every hour of the work day made me very time oriented.  I even feel a bit freakish about how much I am a stickler for being on time and about organizing my day.

The first official act I took as a retiree was to buy myself a plan book. It makes me feel as though I have meaningful things to do and helps me keep my plans straight. I do wonder if I will ever outgrow the need to constantly plan and keep track of the minutiae of my day.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Tidy Retirement

I am wondering what retirement holds for me.  Though I have have 30 years' worth of summer vacations, off from school with which to practice, they have been spent with deadlines in mind.  Parts of my summers were always spent trying to reinvigorate my lessons.  The creative part of me got a good push because the time to do it was so short.  It was a kind of "now or never" thing.

My first day of retirement, I got some of my goals knocked off my "to do" list.  I applied for substitute teaching and I checked out an artisans' gallery.  The subbing will be an occassional thing, meant to fund vacations and play.  The artisans' gallery didn't look that promising.  The artist behind the reception desk said that it was pretty slow there.  His lack of enthusiasm didn't inspire me into donating 20 hours every 2 months and for giving up 30% of my sales.

So now I am looking around online, checking out all the arty stuff I have not had the time to oogle at the last few years.  What's etsy like these days?  How are crafts fairs doing now?  Are there any teaching or craft sales opportunities I don't know anbout?

Hopefully, in retirement, I will be inspired to do a heck of a lot more than to keep a tidy house.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Retirement.....the Rest of My Life Begins

The last weeks of school were tough.  For one thing, everything that I didn't give away or haul home, had to be packed up for summer storage and cleaning.  Three days before the end of school, I found out that the room I was in was no longer going to be an art room.  So, I had to go back and pack everything ........... EVERYTHING........... in boxes and on carts so it could be moved downstairs.  Ugh.  A little more notice would have been nice.

Then there was grading and finishing projects.

And there were parties.  Retirement parties and gatherings.  This was the nice part.  The instructional assistants gave me a party.  We ate all sorts of dishes from their home countries.  We danced and we laughed.  Three of the I.As, who were from Egypt and Iran, belly danced!  It was so much fun.  I am going to miss those ladies so much.

My art, music and p.e. team honored me at our end of the year picnic and that was a lot of fun.  More laughing. Lots more eating.

The art teachers served by the closest high school took me out to eat at my favorite restaurant.  I love that bunch of ladies.

The school honored me and the assistant principal, who was also retiring.  We did a crazy dance routine in orange wigs.  We twerked.  We Wu Tanged.  We Stanky Legged.  You would not believe what we did.  It was a big hit.  (I would post the video but I don't want to see myself on some tv show as "crazy old ladies twerking.")

And then the school board honored retirees at a formal ceremony.

On the last day, I took pictures with special friends and missed photo ops with even more special friends.  I crammed my truck with way too many books and supplies that I just couldn't leave behind and I drove myself home.

Now the unpacking begins and I am left figuring out how to spend my "golden" years.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Eleven Days Left

Third graders... I have taught some of these kids since they were in preschool. I will miss spending time with 8 year olds who must be the happiest people on the planet.

The time is flying by faster than I would have imagined.  As of this morning, there were only 11 days left in my full time teaching career.   It is incredibly exciting, but I admit that it is a little scary too.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Retirement Countdown

A second grader asked me today why I had a picture of Sacajawea on my door and why she had a number by her. "Is that how old she is?"