Category Archives: Art

Thanksgiving Craft: A Thankful Book

I am thankful for Pinterest. 😀


I am also thankful our three littles still love to do art projects and craft with materials on hand.


I am thankful for the sweet words they chose for their thankful pages in these precious books!

I am thankful for crafts that are keepers!


Though we can’t ever be too thankful, I will share a bit more about this little project that consumed some of our morning. I can’t take credit, so let me credit the original source and please click over there for detailed instructions and much better photos LOL!


I did make some adaptations, because I was out of rubber bands and hadn’t saved any environmental cardboard (great idea though!) for the colored feathers.


OK, aside from the fact no one should run out of rubber bands e.v.e.r., let’s focus on the positive. I’m instinctive and immediately went for the loom bands for a *temporary* fix until the Prez comes home tonight with the appropriate rubber bands.


I also pulled out our scraps from previous projects for the colored feathers, and they went to work making them out of torn paper, torn tissue paper, cut-up pieces of felt, cut-up cardboard and parts of a pop-tart box that was discarded in the recycling trash can yesterday.


As I noted above, please go to B-inspired Mama for detailed step-by-step instructions.

This craftiness was perfect to me because:

  1. it requires writing and/or narrating (for little ones you could write it for them as they narrate their story)
  2. it encourages thinking creatively as the story is written/narrated
  3. it encourages  illustrations from various mediums (markers were their preferred choice but colored pencils also work and paint would as well)
  4. it serves a purpose other than just another craft (that could potentially end up in the round file tomorrow—this one definitely won’t!)
  5. it required the use of scissors, glue sticks AND liquid glue
  6. my kids ages 9, 9 and 4 all LOVED this project which is really my ultimate goal.

So what are you thankful for today? PLEASE share in the comments! I love to hear from you!


Multiplication Facts with Visual Demonstrations

If I’m being completely honest, I’ve been slightly afraid terrified of teaching the times tables. Now that I have two 3rd graders in our one-room schoolhouse, I can’t avoid the times tables anymore. Who knew, though, they could be so much fun?

Recently, we reviewed some arrays and then we combined art with math for a hands-on approach to the why behind multiplication. If you’d like to try Multiplication Arrays with a City Skyline with your students, please check out Elementary AMC and download the freebie recording sheet while you’re there!


After my 3rd graders completed their own Multiplication Skylines, they traded papers and used the last column of the recording sheet to check each others’ work and record the correct color of the array shown on each building. They really loved this math lesson, and they wanted the photos printed for inclusion in their math journals!

To continue our study of arrays, we used small cubes one day to work out problems of our own choosing. They had to then show the problems on their papers using blocks and write out the equations as well.


Again, this was just another way to explore the why behind multiplication in a hands-on approach. Though my children were in 2nd grade last year, we don’t really follow the CCSS closely so arrays are not something we spent a great amount of time on last year. I do feel they are mature enough now to grasp multiplication and so far they are loving it! It is always fun when one of your students has a lightbulb moment like one of mine did and then said: “This is really just adding the same number over and over again.” I didn’t tell them this right off as I was hoping for them to see the patterns for themselves—love it when this happens!

I recently updated a resource I created a few years ago. Now my Multiplication Charts include facts through 12 x 12. It includes 3 color charts and 2 black-and-white charts for printing ease as well. If you’re not following me on Facebook, why don’t you consider liking my page? From time to time, I will offer Flash Freebies like I’m about to do for the next 5 minutes with this resource below. Please go LIKE Page Protector Printables and More on FB to find out about flash freebies, read valuable content and find out about my newest resources in my TpT store.


Please Share in the Comments: How do you bring multiplication alive for your students?


The Trumpet of the Swan: Book Talk Linky

Joining up with Deanna again a couple of days late to talk about our current read-aloud: The Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. White, who also wrote Charlotte’s Web, which we read last year and my middle littles read on their own now.


I have to admit I don’t think I’ve ever read The Trumpet of the Swan before, though I assigned it to Mo a couple of years ago. He loved it and has been known to read it as of late (though he might not admit it publicly). It is a great book, especially for learning how we can have differences and yet are still worthwhile and as worthy of love as the next person (or swan in this case).

Louis the Swan was born with no voice. The book never really explores the why behind this, other than his father and mother having a couple of exchanges about him being “deaf and mute” (which he later proves he isn’t) and calling him “defective.”

I was taken aback at first until I thought through the time the book was written, 1970, and how every decade has led to more understanding and also more appropriate terminology regarding birth defects. Since all three of my littles were born with birth defects, some on the inside with their hearts/ears and some on the outside with skin tags and cleft lip and palate, this book has proven to be a great discussion starter.


We’ve talked about how Louis felt when he realized he couldn’t “talk” or trumpet like the other swans, especially his brothers and sisters born the same time as him. We’ve also talked about how the words used in the book didn’t sound so nice and we’re glad people aren’t called “defective” anymore.

I highly recommend this book for a read-aloud in any class IF the teacher is able to explore the discussions suggested above as well as use it to spark thoughts on how best to treat others with perceived and obvious differences, which in reality should be just like everyone else as much as possible!


If you have reluctant listeners or if you just want to add some more learning and creativity to your read-aloud time, encourage your children to grab a blank sketch pad and colored pencils/markers/crayons and work away while you read! Li’l Miss worked on her picture (above) through several days or reading about Louis. If you have access to a real trumpet, it adds some great fun to the book as well! I still have mine from marching band days YEARS ago and my littles love to toot on that horn! In the book, Louis’ father buys him a trumpet which helps him find his voice! I want say more so as not to spoil the book, but Louis also goes to school and learns to read and write!

Louis is very inspiring and quite a funny swan too! He goes on many travels, and we are not quite finished with the book, so I guess I should have waited to share, but Mo filled me in on the ending and it will not disappoint! We are about 4 chapters from the end, and my three littles—ages 9, 8 and 4—are still enthralled and want to read a chapter each morning and night!

I’m linking up with Mrs. Jumps Class for Book Talk Tuesday (on Thursday LOL)!



Some Craftiness Does the Heart Good!

I’ll give a gift to anyone who can tell me which movie has this quote, which seems quite applicable to my blog at the moment:

This place is a tomb! I’m going to the nut shop where it is fun.

OK, now don’t go and google it! That would be cheating! As for the gift, I was just kidding! But if you know it, do share! It is a fun movie that always makes me smile. 🙂

So, in an effort to take away the tomb feeling around here, I thought I’d share another more practical (and fun … well it was fun) reason why my blog is collecting cobwebs.

IMG_7933 Continue reading


Artistic Pursuits

Wow, starting back to school has certainly limited my blogging time! I guess that is as it should be!

I wanted to share a few photos of artistic pursuits in our homeschool the first couple of weeks. Tomorrow will mark the end of week 2!

First, our back door was really on my nerves. Just being honest. With eight family members, it doesn’t take long for shoes to pile up. Just one pair each totals 16 shoes and our oldest is now wearing a size 10. So … one sunny afternoon (sun these days is rare which is a whole different post), I *encouraged* our older three boys to construct a shoe rack. They actually did a great job after a bit of back and forth as they began. Here is the finished product (and please ignore the broken flowerpot that needs to go away except I keep thinking I can somehow repurpose it–broken clay pot picture frame?). OK, back to the finished product.


Now my oldest is going to build another one he says for the other back door. I do love it!


For this next set of photos, I have to give a shout out to an amazing product I found at Teachers Pay Teachers, specifically the Art Task Cards Complete Set, which can be found in Renee’s store.


I stocked up on these at the TpT Teacher Appreciation Sale last May, and I’m already convinced it was money well spent. Continue reading


First a Library … and now an Art Gallery in our New Home

I have seen this idea all over Pint*erest, but I never seemed to have a large enough wall to do it at our old house. I decided recently that the wall between our kitchen and library would be the perfect spot for an art gallery.


I didn’t need to search far for beautiful artwork. I have saved special works over the years and in recent months. All but one of these works of art were created by one of our children.

By Curly, at age 9, 3rd grade (now age 14)
Continue reading


Art Appreciation

This summer we will continue with school: math of some sort, writing, reading aloud and independently, being outdoors (science), and ART!

I am LOVING my replenished PayPal account. I am not spending anymore money on school items than I already have, which has not been too bad, except with excess in my PayPal account. I made two large sales this week, so my account is happy (and I am too!).

I had my eye on something at Homeschool Buyer’s Co-op, and so far I’m very happy with the purchase (after having it but 2 hours!).


I purchased access to Mark Kistler’s on-line Art videos through the Co-op for just $39.95. You can purchase them at Mark’s site for $99 or for just under $40 at the Co-op. No catches really except an activation fee of less than $2. Oh and you can purchase with PayPal, which as I mentioned is what I did!

Here are some drawings done by my 9-year-old son this afternoon. These were his first time to view the videos.

**I might have accidentally gotten sloppy joe sauce on this one while photographing it while eating. Oops!**


He is very artistic, but these are amazing to me! Mark encourages the children to add details and make the drawings their own using shadows, backgrounds, and details that are unique.

Needless to say, so far I’m impressed. You can go HERE to read more about Mark’s lessons and to see the amazing deal at the Co-op, which as always is totally FREE to join.

My only problem might be that some people are “fighting” over who gets to the computer next for a video art lesson!


Meanwhile, I had my sights set on some Draw Write Now books, particularly Book 2 and Book 3, but I didn’t want to spend $10 a book.

To my amazement, I found the two I wanted on e*bay for LESS THAN half of regular price for one book (for both books!) and they are LIKE BRAND NEW. I got them today, just two days after winning the bid (no one else wanted them which was to my advantage!). 🙂


As I predicted, my two 1st graders … well, as of tomorrow June 1st … couldn’t wait to open them up and start drawing. What I didn’t expect was the excitement over writing as well as drawing! Last year’s copywork lessons have reaped some big fruit including patience from my little almost-graduated kindies!


These go along with the history time period we’ll be studying this year as a family, so I’m excited to find them so cheap! (In the back, they do have an *extra* section, which is where Li’l Bro found the airplane instructions.) 😉

Here’s to Happy Drawing this summer!