Saturday, January 7, 2012

Confessions of a compulsive stapleflicker - and other random ramblings

My name is Phyl and I'm a staple-flicker.

Thank goodness I have a good relationship with my custodial staff, because I have a very bad habit. I warn the kids to always leave their shoes on in my room, and not just because you never know when there will be a fire drill (which, frankly, we do NOT have in the winter anyhow). The truth is, there are probably staples on my floor, or in the hallway, near any of my bulletin boards that I change regularly. The kids all know I'm a staple flicker.

I hang something up; it's crooked; I pull the staples out and flick them aside while I straighten and re-staple the artwork. Usually I'm standing on a chair while I'm doing this, but that's no excuse. I don't pick them up when I'm standing on the floor either. Are there any other staple flickers out there among you, readers?

By the way - the photo at the top of the post is a couple of years old - it was a Lichtenstein-related project. We discussed "thought bubbles" and facial expressions and their challenge was to use both to get across a feeling without any words. The ones pictured are panic, fear, and boredom.

Now about PANIC...
I am having some serious panic of my own right now. I've been curled up with my lesson plan book, trying to sort out what comes next and everything I have planned for the year, and I realize I'm in deep doo-doo. I'm retiring in June, I have a LOT planned, and it cannot all get done. Not possible. What do I leave out? How do I decide? I want to do it all! And why do I keep bookmarking project ideas and pinning them on my Pinterest boards, when I will not get to do them anyhow?

Everyone will do something with dragons in time for our art show. Did you know 2012 is the
Year of the Dragon? And so was the year I was born! I'm a dragon!!!

We're also going to do some sort of big collaborative Chihuly thingy, also in time for the art show (in early May).

Anyhow, here's a taste of what I was hoping to get done between now and the end of the school year -

6th grade:
  • Complete our sheet rock cartouche project by the end of the marking period (Jan.20). You'll see them soon.
  • Tooling foil relief dragons. Has to happen.
  • Graph enlargement of seed packets, hoping to also make giant papier-mache vegetables to go along. I already have the seed packs but have my doubts we'll get it done. Do I do the big seed packs without the big veggies? Or skip them both?
  • Japanese Daruma - a really fun magical wishing toy, made with a plastic Easter egg and papier-mache.
  • Perspective words - an annual thing for grade 6; it may get left in the dust this year.
  • Plaster bandage - last year we made those "people in action" that took FOREVER to finish; this year maybe finger puppets - they are quicker.
  • Surreal lockers
  • Art room Pictionary

5th grade:

  • Papier-mache Laurel Burch cats - we're starting these next.
  • Drawing unit, focusing on contour line.
  • Some sort of perspective hallway if we have time. I'm afraid we won't.
  • Toothpaste batik (my former posts about this project are my #1 viewed blog posts, all the time). I'm planning for these to be dragons.
  • I was hoping to do a poster project - I have very specific poster guidelines. Not sure we'll get to it.

4th grade:

  • Currently making wampum belts.
  • Always do a coil pot project with air-dry clay.
  • Always do a cave art project that is a huge favorite (I've posted about this) so I don't want to skip it.
  • Planning to do a surreal collage that is always successful; will show the "Get Surreal" video.
  • Hoping to find time to do a Jackson Pollock mural painting.
  • Usually do an intro to perspective: "flying boxes".
  • Hoped to find the time to do a Grandma Moses project. Worried we won't fit it in.
  • Hoped to have time to make papier-mache garden gnomes. We would put them in the 6th grade oversized garden, if it happened. Don't know.
  • Planned to do posters with these guys too. Not going to happen.
  • And of course dragons. And Chihuly. I have plans.

3rd grade:

  • Papier-mache. I was planning on Kachina dolls, but it may be too much for this loopy group of kiddos. Maybe they'll make the garden gnomes.
  • Self-portraits? Not sure it will happen. We have some broken mirrors and not enough for everyone.
  • Laurel Burch project?
  • Dali project?
  • Klee project?
  • Chihuly /dragons/ etc
  • 3-D buildings
  • more more more

2nd grade:

  • Teddy Bear chairs and lots more...

And then there's 1st grade and K's, and all the books I own but will not have time to use this year. And the boxes of air-dry clay to use in grades 1, 2, and 3. That's about enough, right?

So what do I do? The fun stuff? The curricular-ly sensible stuff? The crazy stuff? The stuff with guaranteed results? Do I be a responsible art teacher or go out in a blaze of wild color and large wacky projects? How do I balance it?

And how do I tell the kids they will have a new art teacher next year? HELP.


  1. I vote for going with the "big bang" projects that you would regret not doing if you didn't do them:))) I'm sure whichever way you go, it will be the right decision, though. The ideas look terrific -- I look forward to seeing whatever your kids do.

  2. Thanks for the great laugh! A staple flicker, lol.
    A third grade teacher asked me to help with a Chinese New Year display Friday. She brought me an idea but gave me cart blache to do whatever I wanted. So thanks again to Phyl for reminding me about the year of the dragon, we'll do cool dragons.
    I will post pictures on my blog when we get them done.
    You're the best!

  3. Ha!ha! I didn't know there was an official term for someone who tosses staples! I am completely guilty of that and even worse, my custodians hate me. I've been lectured by them (insert serious, stern tone: "they ruin the floors") numerous times. I try my best to sweep them up after I do a display, but inevitably some are left on the floor and then I get *the big lecture*. Makes me want to stop making displays in the end.

  4. I am a total staple flicker! I am also a hot glue flicker- we have stone walls so I can hot glue things up (they go up to much faster than tape!) but when I peel the glue off the wall, I usually just throw the dried glue on the floor. I have a broom in my room and the best behaved students get to sweep outside my classroom. How's that for incentive?!

  5. Phyl, I hear you on the crazy lists of things to get done, and though it seems like pinterest helps to organize, it is getting wayyy out of hand with too many ideas to tackle! P.s. I try to pick up the staples, but have to admit, I usually don't look too hard...oops!

  6. I'm a staple flicker... but then I catch myself and try to be good so I end up piling the staples on my step stool or apron pockets or something similar and then usually accidentally dumping them all over the floor. It will be hard to narrow down the list! I guess try to put them in order of what you are most excited about or maybe let the students vote on what they'd like to try if you really can't decide!

  7. lol! I am one too! Just so you know the custodial crew waxed over a couple of staples on the floor. So I see them everyday! I try to pick them up but sometimes they are hard to find! Also do the projects that are totally fun for you!

  8. Oh my... I didnt know you were hang up apron.... After this year... Where have I been..... So.... Who. Going to feed the dragon in your art room.. With you gone.. To tame the beast I will must likely just eat all the poor children.... They wont have a chance.....


  9. My friend Mr. R, I just don't known how dear Lucy (the dragon) will get fed, but I promise she doesn't eat kids! After all, she's got one of her own. I'm not sure where she will go, but I will not leave her behind in the art room.

  10. So what are you going to do with this blog when the journey is all over?? I know there won't be anymore pic of projects.... So... I Guess that is the big question
    Whats next

  11. I still have lots of pics I've never shown you, from before I started blogging, so I suppose I can use them. Whatever, I don't expect to stop blogging, though the blog may change. Don't know. Lots of unanswered questions about what I'll be doing but I have ideas that may have me working with kids and art just not in a regular school situation. We shall see... Keep tabs on me, and you'll find out eventually!!

  12. You go! Too many projects is never a bad thing. Some weeks I feel like I have too many projects I want to fit in. But after what I felt like was a fail today (just not higher level thinking enough in my lesson). . . lack of sleep (Stella up at 3am) and lack of lunch, and oh so much crazy goings ons. . . I'm feeling like I've got nothing, never mind too much! Time to recharge, look through my files and old blog posts, pinterest and lesson notes (I know I have a lot on there) and get inspired or excited about my lessons coming up. We're doing the annual ugly jugs (like the annual wampum belts) even the teachers look forward to it. One is coming to class to make one herself tomorrow. Thank goodness for clay! It keeps even me inspired on the hardest weeks.