Please Don't Eat the Artwork

ART WITH MS K


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Eco Summit Quilt & Craftsmanship Poster

I LOVE teacher workdays. There is nothing quite like the peaceful sound of silence which is very conducive to getting work done. I am so thankful that I just got two because I have completed an amazing display and created a cool resource for my classroom. Lets start with the display.

My principal asked me to create an installation where students could reflect what they learned on Eco Summit day. Eco Summit day was a few weeks ago and it was AMAZING. It was basically a conference about the environment and students got to attend different workshops where they learned about fuel, water, animals, and the environment. As the leader of Eco Team I was so thrilled that the entire school would get some schoolin’ about the environment!

The art teacher who was here before me had the students create this really awesome display with cool colors:

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I really wanted to create something that would complement this so I decided that we would use warm colors. I was planning to create the same type of thing but then i was presented with an ENORMOUS vertical bulletin board. I was intimidated about filling it up! So whilst I was perusing through my blog feed, I spotted Art With Mrs. Nguyen’s quilt project. I was INSPIRED and knew it would be the perfect way to display the Eco Summit work.

I showed 2nd-5th graders a PowerPoint about modern quilting artist Libs Elliot. We talked about geometric shapes and negative space and quilts. Students got to choose their colors to create their own quilt square. They got one square, one triangle, and one rectangle. They could fold and cut to create a geometric quilt square.

Those blue booklets in the pictures are what they used to take notes during Eco Summit. They chose their favorite fact that they learned and wrote it on their quilt square.

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With nearly all of 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade creating a quilt square, I ended up with several hundred pieces. I measured out my gigantic bulletin board and figured I would be able to have 25 columns and 11 rows. I picked the 242 best squares and created a pattern of colors in Microsoft Word. This felt like doing a really weird crossword or Sudoku and I actually really enjoyed this problem-solving aspect of putting this thing together.

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In the end it didn’t really matter because the colors were so mixed up that I don’t think you can really tell that it is a pattern. It still looks pretty near though! The lighting in the hallway isn’t fantastic so you will just have to take my word that it looks much better in person.

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I can’t wait for the kiddos to see it all put together when they get back from the long weekend!

I also had time to create a resource for my classroom that I have been wanting to make for a while. My art teacher friend Alex made one for her classroom and I finally made one too! This craftsmanship poster will serve as a guide to students showing how to use art materials properly.

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And now I am off to check off a bunch of other things on my to-do list. 🙂 🙂

Mrs. K

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Stitched Mandalas

When I found a bunch of burlap in my supply closet, I knew I wanted to do a stitching project with it. I have really enjoyed the challenge of teaching stitching and textiles this year to my art club. The kids were really engaged and excited about the projects and it made me want to teach the skills to my regular classes. At first I looked around on Pinterest to find ideas of what I could have the kids stitch. I saw all kinds of cute things like animals and flowers. While those were all really cool, I wanted to do something ore abstract so that new stitchers could feel more confident with their skills, especially when their work doesn’t “look like” anything. So when I saw a stitched mandala, I knew it would be the perfect inspiration.

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Teacher Sample

We began with a PowerPoint about mandalas and radial symmetry in nature, culture, design, and architecture. It was very inspiring and many students had personal connections.

We talked about how the mandala is symbolic of space and time and even watched a Tibetan Monk mandala ceremony.  Their minds were blown when they saw the monks sweep away the sand at the end which prompted a lively discussion about what it means to make art. With that, we began to create. Students started off by tracing circled onto a piece of burlap.

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Then, I did a needle-threading-and-knot-tying demo. This was really tricky for some kids who had never done this before but there were enough kids who had some prior experience so they became helpers.

 

I taught students how to use the “Paper Taco” to more easily thread their needle. Then we talked about how when you stitch, you have to go straight up and straight back down. The most common mistake that anyone made was that they tried to loop their thread around the side of their burlap. This resulted in a big tangled mess more often than (k)not. (Pun intended!)

There really was a tremendous amount of dexterous problem solving with this project. I constantly reminded the kids to be patient with themselves and with me.  They also had to be patient with each other when getting yarn because only so many kids could crowd around the yarn boxes at once. These boxes are the coolest ever – you put the yarn cone in the compartment inside and just pull the end through the slit at the top. I always have trouble with spools of yarn getting tangled up and messy so these boxes were the perfect solution!

After a few class days of stitching on the circles, we moved on to creating designs in between the circles. I showed students artwork by Elizabeth Pawle so they could get ideas for other types of stitches and designs to create.

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Textile by Elizabeth Pawle

Students were challenged to create more designs other than the regular stitch. They also chose buttons to sew or hot glue into the center. The process of stitching was very motivating for students. I had groups of 4th graders come visit me in the morning to work ore on their projects. It is now the second to last day of school and I still have kids coming in asking to work on these! But as you can see, they are absolutely phenomenal – great job 4th graders!

🙂

 


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Space Invaders 2017

I have been doing Space Invaders with grade 3 since I student taught 5 years ago. every year, this project is a huge hit. I love the math connection and the amount of problem solving that goes into each student’s design. It is always really interesting to watch them struggle through the beginning of this project and eventually create something that they are proud of and worked really hard on.

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The first day, we discuss pixel art, video games, and street art by Invader. This is always a really interesting conversation that involves questions about legality and what actually is art. Unsurprisingly, 3rd graders have very strong opinions about these topics and the debates have gotten quite lively! After finding inspiration looking at artwork, we do s step-by-step of creating a grid made of 1-inch squares. Every year, there is at least one smart-alec who asks “but Ms. Katzin why can’t you just give us a piece of paper that is already a grid?!” To which I reply “measuring is one of those skills that you learn in school that you will actually need when you grow up. You need to know how to measure!” And with that, the challenge of gridding off the paper begins.

After creating a grid, students design their space invader. It is easiest to have them think about what kinds of squares and rectangles they are able to fit into the area they have created. This can be tricky but eventually everyone gets and outline. In the past, I laboriously cut 1-inch squares from construction paper. NOT THIS YEAR. Using the cut paper squares is often difficult for students who may not have created an accurate grid. Often it was messy to glue each square down and incredibly time consuming or wasteful. So this year I decided that we would use markers. I did a quick demo of coloring with markers (make sure you color like your are mowing the lawn, if you mowed the lawn like this your neighbors would be like “what is wrong with you?!” so color in straight lines like a normal neighbor person) This always got a lot of laughs 🙂

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This is a great project to start right before testing so students can practice their measuring skills and finding area and perimeter. It was perfect timing for during testing too because coloring after taking a test for hours and hours is very relaxing and meditative.

For more info and resources for this project, visit Art With Mrs. Nguyen’s TpT Store.

❤ Ms. K


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Cakes

Second graders were wild about this fantastic cake project! We began by looking at the artwork of Wayne Thiebaud. Students compared and contrasted his paintings and noticed that most of his work looks realistic and uses bright colors. Inspired by that, they set to work! On the first day, students created a design in their sketchbooks. We did step-by-step drawing to make our cakes look like they have 3D form. It was tricky to get the lines curved just right so that it looked like the cylinders overlap. Students who really got the hang of it could add a piece cut out of the top. The next week, students drew their design onto a big piece of paper. They could add details to really personalize their cake too. They traced over all of their lines with colorful permanent markers.

The next class, students painted their cakes with fluorescent liquid watercolor. I am usually a HUGE fan of Sax brand watercolor but I must say that their neon set is not that great – it is really thick almost like glue and the colors are super transparent. It also feels kind of gummy even after it dries. That being said, these still turned out absolutely beautiful and look delicious enough to eat! The confetti background really brings the party spirit.

Nice work second graders!

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❤ Ms. K


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3rd Grade Matisse Collagraph Prints

This project was inspired in part by Mrs. Knight’s Smartest Artists as well as another teacher in my county English Avery. I wanted to kind of re-think the way I have been doing collagraphs with 3rd graders to make it easier to get successful prints. For the past few years, I have been doing a collagraph lesson based on the artwork of Jasper Johns. It is actually one of my most looked at blog posts! While it is a very good lesson, the same issue always pops up when printing. Basically, it is very difficult to get every student to create their artwork backwards on the printing plate because it will print backwards. Inevitably there are always upside-down and topsy-turvy prints that illicit disappointment from students.

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So this year I figured we would switch it up and create more abstract prints in order to alleviate some of the confusion. I was inspired to base this project on Matisse because we could include so many concepts like geometric/organic shapes, abstract art, and positive/negative space. On the first day, we looked at artwork by Matisse and talked about these concepts. I even showed students a picture of me in front of giant Matisse works at the Vatican!

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Kiddos used card stock and cardboard to create their printing plate. They drew and cut out an organic shape and used a hole puncher to create negative space.

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The next week, we talked about complementary colors and created a collage to print on. Students chose their complementary colors for a background and used fancy scrap booking scissors to cut around squares that they glued down. They also glued down any pop-ups on their printing plate so they could be ready to print on the 3rd week.

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The third week we printed.

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First, students rolled out about a pinky-sized amount of ink onto the phone book with a brayer. Then they rolled the ink onto their plate.

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They flipped it over onto the complementary colored collage and used a spoon to press down.

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Last, they peeled off their collage very carefully to reveal a print.

I am so pleased with how this project went, I feel like the amount of successful prints was much higher and that students really understood the process and concepts. Way to go 3rd graders!

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Produce in SPAAAAACE!

Thank you Mrs. Knight’s Smartest Artists for the inspiration for this lesson! 

I just finished hanging up these amazing 3rd grade paintings in the hallway — I know they will be a big hit displayed by the cafeteria 🙂

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We began this project by viewing and discussing paintings by two contemporary female artists:

The painting on the left is by Japanese artist Miroco Machiko and the painting on the right is by Mexican artist Ana Victoriana Calderon. Students compared and contrasted the styles, composition, and media of these paintings and discussed what they thought about them.

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Next, we looked at plastic fruits and veggies and drew from observation in sketchbooks.

Students could also use their memory to draw fruits and veggies that were not available in the classroom. After a sketch day, the next step was to draw the designs onto a big piece of paper. Then students traced over their lines with oil pastels. They painted the inside of their fruits and veggies with water colors from the palette. The background was created with black liquid watercolor and salt – that technique was a hit!

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They kind of ended up looking like produce in space!

This was a super fun and successful project. Way to go 3rd graders!

❤ Ms. K

 


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Flowers and Portraits

I love kickin’ off the school year with 3rd graders by teaching about Georgia O’keeeffe and her flower paintings. It is such a great project to get them back in the swing of artistic habits and creative thinking. I have posted about this project before but I just couldn’t resist showing off this year’s batch of fantastic florals!

 

First graders are also finishing up on their tissue paper portraits (original post here) and they are amazing! Once again this project was awesome for teaching primary color mixing in a new way.

Way to go 1st and 3rd graders!

🙂


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Printed Neighborhood

This project was inspired by Mrs. Knight’s Smartest Artist’s City Prints. I loved the component of students getting to trade their prints!

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The first day, students looked at the artwork of Friedensreich Hundertwasser and used his architecture and designs as inspiration to sketch their own whimsical buildings and houses. After choosing their favorite sketch, students drew it with a ballpoint pen onto styrofoam. They had the opportunity to print as many times as they wanted on any color of paper they wanted. The process was pretty fun!

When all of the prints were dry, the buildings were cut out and students could trade with their friends to create a landscape collage. I am enamored by the talent of these kiddos! 🙂

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They picked out a colorful background and used Art Stix to add details.

 

 


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Italy and Greece

Tomorrow is the first teacher workday for the 2015-2016 school year. That means that it is time for my summer-minded brain to get on board the Back-to-School train. This is easier said than done as I have had the great pleasure and fortune of being able to travel this summer. I went to cities near and far and just returned from an incredible trip to Italy and Greece. If you follow me on Twitter you have seen many of these pictures already but I wanted to put the story all together here on the blog.

This trip was months in the making and was made possible by a very detailed (possibly too detailed) google doc and strict savings plan. It was absolutely incredible to see works of art that I have grown up learning about and teach my students about. There is something very surreal about being surrounded by ruins or frescos that are thousands of years old, it makes you feel connected to humanity in the past, present, and future. This was the second time I have been out of the country and I was just as enchanted and inspired.

So with that in mind I present to you my journey abroad!

We began in Milan. Milan is a modern and clean European city that has more contemporary architecture than architecture of antiquity. However there is a magnificent Duomo cathedral in a Gothic style! This building was enormous and so intricately detailed.

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I loved riding the hop-on-hop-off bus in Milan which included an audio tour describing some of the sights.

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The next stop was Monterosso al Mare, one of the cliff towns of Cinque Terre. A friend recommended me to go here and after watching Rick Steves I was sold!

I can only describe Monterosso as magical with its lovely beaches:

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Charming town:

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Splendid views:

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and the BEST pesto I have ever had:

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I went on an amazing hike from one town to the next which led through winding vineyard hills and cliffs overlooking the sea:

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The next stop on the trip was Florence. A tour through the Tuscan countryside was first up on the agenda.

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Walking around the city of Florence was so much fun, I even stumbled across an exhibit featuring paintings and sculptures of Salvador Dali inspired by the poetry of Dante.

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The Duomo in Florence is astounding:

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Near the famous Ponte Vecchio bridge there is a hidden alleyway filled with interesting graffiti:

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The bridge itself is magnificent with its crowded street filled with shops selling gold and jewelry.

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The leather market nearby is also quite an experience:

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While in Florence I had the chance to visit the Boboli Gardens, part of the Pitti Palace. The garden has many sculptures of mythology and an excellent view overlooking the city.

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After Florence, we headed to the coast for Sorrento. Sorrento is famous for its lemons and coastal fun. The town was charming with shops, restaurants, and small churches.

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The best part of Sorrento was a boat tour to the nearby island of Capri. We got to see the famous lagoons and grottos and float once again in crystal blue Mediterranean water.

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After Sorrento, we travelled to Rome. Rome is a city of mighty magnificence. Everything there is massive and impressive and symbolic. There are sculptures in every plaza that have stories and histories. Just walking through the streets you can truly feel the splendor of one of the greatest cities the world has ever known.

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The magnificence wouldn’t be complete of course without a trip to the Colosseum! Being inside and getting to walk upon and touch ancient stones was so impressive.

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We paid a visit to the Pantheon next and marvelled at the great condition it remains in. Looking up inside you can see the domes roof with a hole in the middle. The design was stunning!

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The Vatican was another stop not to be missed. These pictures really do not capture how completely gigantic this building is.

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There was so much amazing art inside from cultures all around the world especially Greece and Egypt.

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Every surface was decorated with vibrant frescos and every ceiling was sculpted with ornate details.

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My favorite part of course was the modern art collection including Matisse and Dali!

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The very best part of going to the Vatican was climbing the 551 steps to the top of St. Peter’s Basilica. The climb was exhausting and difficult – we spiraled up and up and up through tight steep stairs until we finally emerged high above Rome and looked upon the magnificent city. What a view!

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Leaving Rome marked the end of the Italian portion of the journey and the beginning of the adventures in Greece. We started out on the island of Santorini, famous for its beaches and sunsets. The appropriately named Black Sand Beach was a rocky shore of volcanic stones.

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The sunset was breathtaking and a true masterpiece of the natural world.

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The island is covered in buildings made of white stone and there are many shops including a wonderful pottery studio with some of the nicest and more talented artisans I have ever met!

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The appropriately named Red Beach is a sight to behold with its red stones and rocky shore:

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I haven’t been everywhere yet but I am certain that Santorini is one of the most beautiful places on Earth! From this paradise we travelled inland to Athens. I was so excited to see Athens because I teach my 3rd graders about The Parthenon and couldn’t wait to see the building in real life. So first thing we headed up the hill to the Acropolis.

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From the top of the Acropolis you can look out onto all of Athens and Mount Olympus. It was a spectacular view!

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Being in front of the Parthenon was a very meaningful experience for me. I was of course impressed by all of the great landmarks in Italy but there was something about seeing this original structure marking the glory of the ancient Greeks that struck a chord for me.

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After the descent back down to street level, we visited the Acropolis museum. The museum was beautiful and it was so cool to see so many of the ancient adornments and sculptures up close.

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The next stop in Athens was the original modern Olympics Panathenaic stadium from 1896. It was really neat!

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Then we went down the street and made it just in time for the famous changing of the guard. The was the guards moved and dressed was so bizarre and intriguing!

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We got to do another hop-on-hop-off bus tour which was a grand way to see Athens. The trip ended with a glorious rooftop view of the acropolis at sunset.

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This trip was an incredible experience, I learned so much about structures and art that I have only ever seen in pictures. I am excited to bring this experience back as an influence in my teaching. It is hard to believe that summer is already over!

I’ll post some pictures of my classroom sometime soon as I get it prepared for students. I have a few neat new things I am excited to implement and share. Here’s to a great summer and a great upcoming school year!

❤ Ms. K

 


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Value Weaving Self Portraits

What do you so when you are scrambling for an end for an end of the year project that will keep 5th graders engaged and hit some overlooked standards? You make something up and keep your fingers crossed that it isn’t a fiasco. This lesson was anything but a fiasco and one that will surely be in my bag o’ classic awesome lessons for years to come.

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I needed something that would continue to incorporate craft techniques, touch upon value/tint/shade, and provide a way to show emphasis and contrast. I wanted to utilize skills we have learned already so that during testing and in the weeks after I wouldn’t be pushing tired minds too far but still present an interesting project. On the first day we talked about value and 5th graders painted a value scale.

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The next way was all about weaving. Students used the fancy scissors to cut a warp and colorful construction paper for a weft. We briefly discussed color schemes and students could choose any color they wanted but were encouraged to think about their choice and perhaps even make it complementary or monochromatic.

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The next day was a sketching day. We talked about emojis and students used mirrors to draw self portraits with an emoji twist. They picked their favorite to make into a final draft and traced it with sharpie. Then they added a thought or speech bubble.

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These turned out so fabulous, I am very impressed with all of them! I love how graphic and bold these portraits are. This was the perfect project to end the school year and to end elementary art with.

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I am really going to miss this year’s 5th grade class. I have known many of them since 3rd grade and it has been a joy to watch them grow into the thoughtful and amazing people they are. Overall this has been a spectacular year and I cannot believe that in a few hours I will be done with my 3rd year of teaching. I like to look back at my posts from my first year sometimes because it reminds me what a dream come true this job truly is for me. I started this year feeling a little burned out and kind of deflated but I feel like I am ending on a strong, positive note. I will be posting during the summer but for all of my kiddos who are reading — I hope you have a great summer and I will see you next year!

❤ Ms. K