Archives for the month of: August, 2012

Back to school… yes, it’s already that time of year again!

If you’re a teacher looking for an excellent, easy back to school lesson idea — and what teacher isn’t? — then you’ve come to the right place!

Lesson Idea: Create Personalized Calling Cards

For this little lesson, all you will need are some blank cards (index cards without lines will work just fine here and you won’t have to cut anything), some drawing tools (crayons, markers, pencils) and an ink pad with washable ink.

The idea here is to have every student in your class create a “calling card” that represents them. Talk for a moment about what things make each one of us unique. (Things we like to do, things we like to eat, music we like, pets we have, places and people we love, etc.) To reinforce language arts, consider making a list of some of these things as your students mention them.

Ask your students to create their special card and to include the following on one side: Their name (first and last or just first, it’s up to you), drawings and words of things that make them unique (you might want to give them a specific number of items here), and their thumb print (that’s where the washable ink comes in).

Depending on the age and ability levels of your students, modifications can be made to take this from a very simple art experience, to a much more sophisticated design problem that will challenge older students. Reading a story first about how we are all unique and special might be a wonderful introduction to this experience of card making. Asking students to reflect in a journal about their creative process while designing their cards can be a meaningful culmination to the project. Allowing students to select, cut, and glue magazine images on their cards in addition to their words and drawings can also be interesting if you choose to get that involved.

Once finished, these cards will look great displayed in the classroom, or on each child’s desk, or can even be used by the teacher to select students at random for special jobs or to answer questions.

If you’d like to be the kind of teacher who effortlessly brings meaningful art experiences into your classroom on a regular basis — check out the classes I offer through Fresno Pacific University. You won’t be disappointed and your students will love you for it!  🙂



Like so many people around the world, I’ve been watching the Olympic Games. Yes, I’ve cheered on the swimmers, divers, and gymnasts, just to name a few. But what’s really been interesting to me is the design of the Olympics. The art of the Games, if you will.

From the Opening Ceremonies — to the various competitions — to victorious Olympians receiving their medals of achievement, I have been captivated by the art and design of the Olympic Games.

Clothing design is a special favorite of mine. From the Parade of Nations during the Opening Ceremonies, to the uniforms and warm-up/cool down clothes of the athletes — it’s interesting to see how countries represent themselves on clothing. In my opinion there have been several standout examples so far. The red and yellow dragon theme designs… the wild prints that several countries have used… sparkles… graphic elements, etc.

Then there are the various Olympic arenas. Personally, I don’t care for the color of the gymnastics arena or the volleyball courts, but I’m sure those selections made sense to somebody on some level.

And what about the logos? The block-y looking “2012” that I was unable to decipher until I asked my husband what it meant… NBC’s “London” logo that it shows during broadcasts… the font chosen to say “London 2012” at many of the event arenas…? Oh, and don’t forget the beauty and simplicity of our most enduring symbol of the games… the Olympic Rings. Brilliant! Love it or hate it, people spent time imagining and then creating all of these things and more for the games. I’ve made this point before and I’ll make it again:


Even at the Olympic Games. As teachers, we can help our students see this. Even if you don’t feel comfortable teaching an “art lesson”, how about helping students see the simple fact that art is everywhere in their lives? Help them begin to think about the idea that someone, somewhere had to first imagine an idea in their mind before it could be made into a reality and then shared with the world. Imagine the critical thinking that has to happen as options are explored and decisions are made about — well, virtually everything! Imagine fostering that kind of thinking and creativity in your classroom. You can.