Zentangle Trees

Wednesday, December 10, 2014
My students have been BEGGING me to try zentangle again since we made the zentangle pumpkins a few months ago.  So, we took another crack at it!  Since the holidays are fast approaching, we tried out this strategy with trees.  The first thing we did was make a triangle on top, resting upon two trapezoids.  
Zentangle Tree Pattern
Layer #1: Triangle
Layer #2: Trapezoid
Layer #3: Trapezoid
I have been researching different zentangle patterns and compiled different examples of designs to show my students.  You can download this tool here.  It really helped my students to expand their thinking and not just draw simple lines or circles.

Here are a few examples of the beginning stages of patterns and designs that the students chose to use.  It is exciting to see students of all abilities get excited and invested into this project.  Don't get me wrong though, this is definitely a 4-5 day process! Here is the timeline:
Day#1: 1st Draft-Draw the outline of the tree
Day #2: Begin inserting designs into different sections
(1 design per section!)
Day #3: Finish designs in 1st Draft as seen below

 Day #4: Students apply sharpie to Positive Space (Usually the black shaded areas)
 Day #5: Students use water colors to apply color.  If students have watercolor pencils, this can help with shading and adding lightness and darkness which is great for color contrast. BUT, since I only had about 3 watercolor pencils (ugh!!!) simple watercolors work as well.  They can always add shading when dry with chalk or oil pastels.
Here are a few examples of how the zentagle trees turned out.  I LOVE how they look!

Other than creative 
expression, zentangle benefits students by improving:
*eye/hand coordination
*problem solving
Have you tried Zentangle in your class yet? 

Top 5 Inspiring Teacher Quotes!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014
Sometimes we all need a little inspiration!  I have been digging through quotes to find my favorite and have chosen my top 5 favorite teacher quotes.  Here they are!
#5) I love this quote! First of all, I loved Lily Tomlin in "The Incredible Shrinking Woman" and "9 to 5"and have always thought she was REALLY smart. Sooooo, since I am required to give the students one hour of homework a night (I know that takes some students longer than others) I often think about how grueling homework is for the family when a child loathes completing it OR puts up a fight at home.  Just like this quote is saying, I HOPE to bring some humor and ideas throughout the day that excite a student enough to go home and talk to their family about their day.  AND even excited to do their homework is an added bonus. Not easy though!  

#4) The next quote by Oprah Winfrey is one of my favorites because it reminds me that teachers serve many roles.  They can inspire, model, be a mother/father figure, and a role model for kid that really needs it!  My favorite teachers growing up was Mrs. Smith (4th Grade).  Great things happened for me there! I was voted student council representative AND she let me sit next to my friend Caroline.  She looked at us and said, I KNOW I can trust you girls to sit together, RIGHT? With a smile... It was just a little bit of kindness from her that gave my self confidence a boost.  I try to do that for my students too.  
#3)  I love the next quote by Henry Ford!  It is PERFECT to post in the classroom in the beginning of the school year.  I think it is a great reminder of building classroom community and working together.  I especially love it if our class is having trouble at recess.  I often refer to it when we come inside and remind my students about the importance of working together.  I also love it when the class is working together on class projects etc... and we have a great groove down.  The class can feel the success!
#2) The next quote is great for ENCOURAGING your rather timid students (like I was!)  One thing that scared me as a student was giving speeches.  After taking a few speech classes like Business and Professional Speaking in college, I knew I had participated in a debate~and felt good about never having to do that again! But, I did it and I felt successful... I like telling those types of stories to my students. 
 #1) My favorite teacher quote of ALL time is this next quote....author unknown!!! I ALWAYS try to remind myself that the day will never go PERFECTLY. There are always different strategies, new techniques, and unique ideas to try that may work with some students and not others.  We can all have a MILLION tricks in our teacher bags to pull out at one time or another.  Reaching for perfection should not be the goal~only finding what is right for a particular student at that moment in time!
What are your favorite teacher/teaching quotes?

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