Monday, December 31, 2007

New Years Resolution

So my New Year's Resolution this year is to show caring. A couple of blog entries ago I discussed kids and violence and how I had wanted to make some difference.

I have decided to write a letter home to a different student of mine each week during the school year letting them know I care about them and I recognize their efforts. This resolution has evolved from a personal letter handed to the kid in school to sending it home so the parents can see (and maybe freak out because typically they only get negative stuff sent home) and I will also put a copy in their personal file at school. Again, possibly the only positive thing in their file.

When I look at my students, especially those in gangs or getting into trouble, I feel that they want attention. (At that point, negative or positive). My goal is to focus on the at-risk students. At this point of year, students that were successful in the beginning might start to fall behind, or get involved with the wrong kids. I need to let them know that focusing on school is the right track.

My inspiration for this resolution was my student that talked about previously. He's going to jail for 5 years-3 days from now. The last day of school before break he touched me in a way I never thought possible. He was suspended for a couple of days, and missed the mini-Christmas project we were doing. I told him he could have paper and draw whatever. He told me that drawing is getting him through his life right now. I had encouraged him previously to draw anytime he's feeling down or needs to let frustration out. He told me he got a notebook for his drawings after I told him that. His friend looked at his drawings and was impressed with his talent. I told him he's only going to get better as long as he practices. He thanked me for showing him that he's good at something and that he will continue to draw while locked-up. He ended with saying "I hope I get to see you again."
Here is the drawing he made in class that day, and I asked him if I could keep it. He signed it and gave it to me.
He explained to me the viewpoint represented his hope that God was looking down upon him. The door in the back represents his going leaving courtroom to go to jail, but knowing he will enter those doors when he's freed.
How powerful. This was a precious gift that has changed my life.
Happy New Year.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Thanks for a great birthday!

The ones that made it to the end!
Flight attendants don't play they?
Handsome Temp that put this together!
Crazy Kickers!

Richie looks frustrated!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

yankee swap brings fortune!

$10 limit yankee swap+$16 winning lottery ticket=the elliotts came up!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Saturday, December 15, 2007

the elliott gingerbread house

gingerbread house party creation

Thursday, December 13, 2007

legs a'danglin'

hanging out at lafeyette river

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

I'm proud of them...

We did still lifes in chalk pastels....
and the others are where we used elmer's glue and made a random design. 24 hours later, the kids practiced techniques with chalk pastels to prepare them for coloring their still lifes.
sorry for the crooked pics!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Thanksgiving trip

This is our nephew Colin. He's adorable, and my favorite part of hanging out with him was at this time, he was just chillin' on my lap!
Temp and I were trying to take a picture using the timer on the camera. The camera was pretty far away. He had to run threw leaves, run up a path, and halfway across this bridge I was on.

After about 4 tries, he did it!

Friday, November 23, 2007

cold hike

hiking in jersey

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Student Artwork

My kids assignment was to make an animation cel. This lesson plan I wrote on my own required they develop their own character from head to toe, give it some expression, and color it. They then they had to make a background in watercolor that their character fit in with. They took a transparency and painted their character backwards on it with acrylic paint. These are some of the first done:

It was a lot of fun and it seems like the kids really enjoyed it! I'm proud of them!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Bored on a plane again?

So Temp and I like to be crazy and creative on our flights, and this picture was one of the end products. We like to have one of us start with a little part of the drawing, I think I started with the head and it just went out of control from there: (but I like it!!)

Monday, November 12, 2007

Good news!

Salvador had a little scare. He has had a heart murmur since I have had him, but his last annual check-up gave us some scary news. The doctor suggested that we get an ultrasound of his heart, and that "she" would be concerned if it were her cat.
I made an appt. with a cardiologist, and today we went. Sal definitely has a heart murmur, but it's not too serious right now. We expected at least he would start medicine to stop the progression of his cardio-myopethy, but she said we didn't have to. Eventually it will progress, but we are fortunate it's not too bad right now. Because he has had this his whole life, he will probably live a lot longer. The typical cat is diagnosed/or develops this at around Sal's age now (middle age) and don't have much more life to live. But Sal is doing ok, and I am very pleased!! Those of you who have pets, make sure to do the annual exam, you could prolong or save your animal's life!

Monday, November 05, 2007

atlanta airport

restaurant in airport

Sunday, November 04, 2007

fire off the freeway

this was fire we saw off 59 in houston

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Monday, October 29, 2007

new art series

making your own art is about personal expression. i struggle with that. i don't like to dive into my feelings or experiences, i guess i prefer to talk about them.
being surrounded by great working artists in the past months, and knowing that being a working artist will enhance my skills as an art teacher, i decided to explore my interests. i typically draw fun cartoons, or paint scenes that have little meaning when i think about it.
i have always been intrigued by the older man's face. i have done a lot of cartooning and pencil drawings, and i want to do more. i started trying to think of why. i typically answered with "old man have wrinkles that are really interesting to draw". but now i am thinking it's a little more deeper than that. i grew up on the same street with an amazing man: Bob Tracey. he was in his 70's when i was growing up on early street, and we had an amazing bond. we'd sit on a bench in the park and talk. he has met every president since kennedy, and he was named citizen of the nation by a president, he served in 2 wars and earned a purple heart. he inspired me to volunteer, to go for what i want, to have pride. this lead me to believe that maybe those wrinkles i adore so much represent stories of the man's past. for every wrinkle is an amazing story that needs to be told.
so i have decided to do an intense art study on older men. men that tell great stories. i want to paint, collage, draw, photograph these men. the man in the picture above is a man i was taught by today for an art teacher development day. he told great stories inbetween teaching us techniques in drawing, so i decided he would be my first candidate. i am uncomfortable about asking people that i don't know to take their pictures-let alone portraits, but i got the courage today, i told him my purpose and he was honored. i was start soon on his first portrait, and future portraits i hope to also make are bob tracey and my grandfather.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Our honeybee population

Have you noticed we haven't seen as many bees around in the past year? Being that I worked at Botanical Gardens, we took notice because they were a part of our daily lives and affecting our plants. We teach lessons on honeybees, and things were changing...
There were theories about where they were, one of them being that cell phone signals were confusing the bees so they weren't able to return to their hives. I found out tonight, that was a false statement made by a doctor in Britain.
On PBS's Nature, I learned that 1/3 of our honeybee population in the past year has disappeared. Have you thought about what bees help make in our daily lives? Besides the obvious-honey, they also pollinate our flowers-which produces fruit and vegetables. The honey contributes to our peanut butter, breads, desserts, etc.
The cause of this all-CCD, Colony Collapse Disorder is said to be a combination of problems. Ranging from pesticides, virus, and malnutrition. These things make the bees sick and disoriented, and at times the bee travels up to 3 miles away from their hive to pollinate and they are too weak or confused to return to the hive.
There are just certain things that grab my attention, and this was one of them. Here is a link if you want to learn more:

Side note: I saw "Into the Wild" last night, an absolutely fabulous movie. It's about this college grad that dreams of going to Alaska-no money, no partner, just him and nature. It was a great realization of what we depend on in life. "Money makes us cautious" is one thing he said, but at the same time, love is a big part of being happy in life. I highly recommend seeing the movie.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Now carved

Temp's is a skull with sunglasses, mine is a witch on a broomstick, and Sal's is a cat on a broomstick. It was fun!!

We've made our decision

the final choices for temp, me and sal


so many choices!


Temp looks like a model here!
Good times!
Old buddies!
Laughter with good friends! Happy B-day Emilie!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Thursday, October 18, 2007


1st mobile blog. this is sal curled up in a box reminscent of Garfield

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Altered Books

Temp and I were feeling creative, so we decided to start a new project idea. A couple of months ago, I saw a set of encyclopedias on the side of the road that were extremely outdated-yet in good condition. We picked them up and brought them home in hopes of doing this altered books project with my students. Now, since I know my classes, I am teaching all one class to 127 students, and 1 set of encyclopedias won't cover all of them. So Temp and I each took one for ourselves.
Altered Books is when somebody recycles a book that typically could otherwise be thrown in the landfill-or it could be new, and makes it their own. From cover to cover, they can rip, paint, glue, collage, cut, disassemble, whatever they want to that book to make it their own.
I have decided to make mine more of a journal or scrapbook. I have memories of old boyfriend letters, invitations, photos, newspapers that span important events in my life dating back to the 80's. I was a scrapbooker at the age of 7, and people probably don't know that about me.
Anyway, I have a lot of loose stuff that I wanted to catalog, and this is my opportunity. I am going to combine my art skills with my memories and come up with a giant yearbook of my life! (Not in any special order). Each time I make new pages, I am going to blog about it. Enjoy!

Sunday, September 30, 2007


So when you have a bum foot, and you love to go hiking and hang out with nature, you need to improvise. So Templeton and I have been canoeing, for the last 3 weekends. Last weekend, we purchased our own.

It's been a lot of fun going out into the open waters. We have gone to Newport News Park, Northwest State Park in Chesapeake, and today we went to Williamsburg, the Waller Mill Park. It's so beautiful out, and we got to stop by the outlets on the way home! Here are some pics from our canoe trip (more on flickr):