Saturday, August 16, 2014

Day of the Dead Unit and Free Fonts!

 This is a page from an easy reader included in the unit.  There are two  readers; the other is a classroom big book that is also nonfiction.  The best part of the big book is that it's jam packed with real photos.  Talk about increasing student engagement!  It's a must to see and read to your kiddos!  Also included are math and literacy centers, for Kinders and Firsties.  They'll practice math skills such as number order, greater/less than,  graphing, tens/twenty frames, and more.  The literacy centers included are ABC Order, beginning letter sounds, rhyming, and syllables.  There are also many other activities and craftivities available in the unit.  Please take a look at the pictures to see what's included.  The unit is half-off until Monday, so grab it quick!  

I also finished another graphic set, Christmas Kids!  Honestly, I hate to even think about snow right now.  But I just couldn't overcome the urge to draw these little cuties!  They are also half off until Monday. 

And now for some freebies!  I just got done making these two fonts that I'm happy to share with you for free.  They are both curly swirly, so they're fancier than most I've made.  But I really like how they turned out!

I hope you all have a wonderful day friends!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

22-Day Drawing Challenge

I've been drawing ever since I can remember.  I was one of those kids that had a gazillion art projects scattered around the house, with my Mom not knowing what to do with all of them!  Finally, she made a clothesline across my room and hung them all up that way.  But I can vividly remember how bright they were and all the different mediums I would use:  paint, crayons, markers.  Once I used my Mom's fuschia fingernail polish on the bathroom walls for my masterpiece.  NOT a good idea.
But what I remember most is the way art made me FEEL.  I was happiest when I was drawing, creating, painting, anything that involved that creative part of my brain.  I know I'm biased, but I always have my "ARTDAR" on when I get a new crop of kiddos every year.  I search out those students that excel in art or those that have a passion for it and I nurture their desire for art all year, in any way I can.  I honestly have at least one student every year win an art scholarship because I'm so passionate myself about it.  Just think about it...Art might be their ticket to a better life!  A better job, being a better problem solver, being able to think outside the box...the list is endless.
So I'm urging you today, as we all begin school, to find those one, two, three kids that love art and help them with their passion.  Show them how to draw something, more art books in the library, slip them an expensive marker, whatever!  It doesn't matter what you do, the fact that you're helping to build their passion is act enough.

So I'm helping you today by passing along this printable I created for those students that we have that are ready for an art challenge.  You can use this printable in many ways...Have them choose a topic at random.  Follow them one by one, toss a coin and see which box it lands on; I'm sure you can come up with more ideas of how to use it!  I plan on using it for fast finishers (um, quality fast finishers!  Not those that are rushing through work to make some art!)  and having them keep a sketchbook or notebook for their extra work.  Or the pages could just be in a folder, but try to have something tangible at the end, just in case they do want to apply for a scholarship and need some kind of artwork.

This printable is a 22 Day Challenge of things they are to draw, however they want, with whatever they want.  The bottom line is that they will be drawing and nurturing their passion for that natural desire within them.
I'd love to hear your thoughts about those artists in your class and if and how this printable will be of use to you!

Have a great day friends and do something artistic today for me, would ya?

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Day of the Dead, Polka Dot Papers and a Freebie!

 I was a busy bee last night...creating more graphics for all of you to create with!  I just uploaded the following two sets of images to my TpT Store:

These are Day of the Dead Skulls and come in the colors shown, including the line art skull.  They were soooo much fun to create!  You can find them half off for the next 48 hours, here.

I also have these digital papers for you, called Color-on-Color Polka Dot Papers.  There are 13 papers included in the colors shown.  They can be found here.

Finally, I have a freebie for you!  This is a printable you can use with your kiddos to share about their Summer Breaks.  This would be a perfect way to get them to use description in their writing also!  
You can download the freebie here.

Here's to a wonderful Wednesday friends,

Monday, August 11, 2014

Customized Teacher Sign

Paula Shaw...If you're reading this, turn off your computer right now!  This is not meant for your eyes and I don't want to spoil your SLANT box surprise!
Ok, now that she's gone, here's what I made her for her Slant box this month.  Slant box stands for Sending Love Across the Nation to Teachers and is put on by Lessons with Coffee each month.  It's when teachers are paired up with each other and we send gift surprises in the mail to each other.  It's really fun and I've had some awesome partner so far.  This month I had to make a box for Paula Shaw from Paula's Place.

So I'm also hooking up with 4th Grade Frolics:  Monday Made It, as I made some of Paula's gift this month.  Check this out friends...

In a nutshell, I took a blank canvas and painted it black.  I cut out glitter circles and Mod Podged them on and painted white dots around them.  I added some glitter sticker dots and glitter tape, painted on her name and added some bow holders.  It took me forever, but I'm so happy with how it turned out.  I really, really hope she likes it!

I also got her the goodies you see above and I created her two personalized Mini-Me clip art figures that resemble her!  I think she'll get good use from the things I got her; I hope she likes them.  
If you talk to Paula, don't let her know as her gift is in the mail all the way to Australia.  That's where she lives so it will take a while to get there.

Go see the other wonderful Monday Made-Its by clicking on the link below!  And have a wonderful Monday my friends,

Saturday, August 9, 2014

SLANT Box Love Sunday

Recently, I participated in Lessons with Coffee's SLANT Box Exchange and had an awesome time!  SLANT stands for Sending Love Across the Nation to Teachers and the purpose is to send a box of goodies to a teacher that you're paired up with that lives somewhere in the nation.  

This month I was graciously paired up with Abbey from A Teacher Mom.  I was so giddy when I got her box in the mail.  I was like a child on Christmas morning!
This month's theme was "Sunshine" and these are the goodies that Abbey sent me!

I was so happy to get these wonderful gifts from Abbey with a sweet note attached.  I'd like to thank her form the bottom of my heart for sending me some love this month and I really appreciate the time she took to be my partner!

Tomorrow, I'll show you what I sent my partner Paula, for Monday Made-It.  She hasn't gotten it yet, so don't look Paula if you're reading!

Later friends,

Friday, August 8, 2014

How to Take the Best Blog Photos and a Free Font!

My poor Mom...She's one of "those" people that are technically challenged, especially with cameras.  There's been many of times which I've wanted her to capture that perfect moment of my son and I on film, and well, it just didn't work out how I would have liked.
So I've ended up asking some passerby to take the photo, which probably hurt her feelings.  But, for instance, we were at a craft show and a certain musical star just happened to walk passed us.  What?  Hurry and grab the camera ma.  So she's fiddle-fartin around, trying to turn the darn thing on.  OMGosh, take the picture already.  Well, let's just say, I got a few more seconds to hang onto my fav musical star, while she tried to figure out the camera.  So, in the words of Pete the Cat, "It was ALLLL good!"  
But now to your blog...There are some certain do's and don'ts to taking the perfect shots for your blog.  Here are a few tips I've learned along the way, that I'd like to pass along to you.

You do not need to be a photography expert at using your camera!  But, by at all costs, know how to turn it on quickly (Ma, that one was for you!)  No, but seriously, at least know the basic functions of your camera.  
Such as:
~the power button (Hee, Hee)
~how to focus manually and auto focus
~auto settings on your camera, such as outdoors, indoors, fireworks, etc.
~how to delete photos
~Where the flash button is

And, this is an extra tip:  take MANY photos!  Your first one might not turn out.  Your second one might not be the best either.  Take as many as you need to get that perfect shot.  Your blog is something you want to look its best.  Always.

You'll want to use NATURAL light as much as possible.  So no taking photos at night!  Try to do it on the weekends during the prime light times, like in the afternoon.  Most of us aren't home during the day, so that's why I said wait until the weekend.  The natural light makes everything look so much better...your subject, the background, everything.  Turn off that flash unless your camera tells you to turn it on.  And if it does, you probably shouldn't be taking the picture in that light in the first place.

No, I don't expect you to have a professional backdrop!  But here's the trick I use:  go to the dollar store and pick up two white, foam core boards, or poster boards will work.  Use one for the back and one for the bottom of your subject.  Here's an example:
In this example, I have a white board on the bottom and I just propped up everything against my window shades to get some instant white light!  Choose a spot in your house where you have the most light and can make a little studio space.  You can also use a white sheet in the background.  Or I've even heard of people using boxes and wrapping them up in wrapping paper with pretty designs and using that for the background.  If you choose that option, don't use something with a too busy print.  It will take away from your subject.

Next, zoom in as close as you can to your subject.  Use your camera's zoom feature, and get up close physically.  But be careful...if you get up close make sure the photo is in focus too.  Some cameras have a micro function button for these type of photos.  You want as much of your subject in the photo as possible and nothing else really.  And make sure you have nothing unexpected in the background.  For example, if you're taking a picture in your child's bedroom, pick up the toys in the back!  Fix that bedspread so it's flat!  Pick up any clothes laying on the floor!  You get the point.  Get in close, close, close to your subject.

Straight on isn't always the best angle for photos.  If you're trying to emphasize the side of  your subject, for goodness sakes, get on the side or turn it so you can get what you want in the photo.  Try different angles, like high above, level with, or on the side.  Be careful with this one too though...You don't want a picture that's not level.  By this I mean, if you have a picture with a horizon line in the back, you want the line to be level.  It will just look better!

I hope these tips will help you take better photos for your blog!  If you have any other tips for readers, please leave them below.  I'd love to read and learn from your tips also!

If you like the doodle numbers you saw above, I just finished updating this set in my store.  And the best part...They're only a $1.00!  You can get them here.

And finally, I have another font for you today!  This is another basic one that will work for virtually anything.  

Have a nice day friends!
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