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Paintbrush Rocket | Welcome to my classroom 2012!
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Welcome to my classroom 2012!

Welcome to my classroom 2012!

This summer I worked very hard to get my classroom feeling fresh and new for my students and me.  I am very lucky and grateful to have such a great space for my students… yet, it was in need of a fresh coat of paint and some new colorful bulletin boards and signs. The effort paid off!  The kids love it and I feel reinvigorated in the space!  If you spent hours on Pinterest this summer like I did, you might recognize some of things…


Mona Lisa has become a great icon for teachers.  Several years ago, a former student teacher of mine hung Mona in her classroom and asked her students to “Sit like Mona”. She probably borrowed the idea too.  I tell my students that Mona is the perfect student!  She is always sitting quietly looking at me while I teach. I found on Pinterest a few different versions of “How to be MONA-ificent”.  The one I pinned gave credit to @Scott Russell.  This description is perfect and my students completely buy into it! They all enjoy being noticed sitting like Mona… perfectly quiet and in student mode.  She is a great art room mascot!  We love Mona!

You might notice the markers around the boarder.  I have a hard time throwing out worn markers, so I up-cycled them into a boarder.  I used packing tape on the back and the velcro hangers to mount them.  I plan to fill it in, just need to wear out more markers!

Classroom Set Up - 04

These crayons are “vintage”.  My mother, who was an art teacher for 32 years painted these for her art room when I was 10 years old.  That makes these 30!  They still look great!  When she retired, I insisted on having them for my room.  I have displayed them on and off, but saw someone on Pinterest display some with the paint swatches from the paint store.  I do not know who I borrowed this idea from… I thought I repinned it, but can not find the pin.  If I will do, I will give credit!


This is my classroom theme!  It has been my classroom theme since my 2nd year of teaching.  I had an artist-in-resident come to my school, Steve Fessler. He is a wonderful painter.  Once day, he was working with a student of mine who wanted to paint nothing but Pokemon.  Steve was trying to get the student to think more creatively and said, “I have seen a million Pokemon… Show me something I have never seen before!”  Right away I wrote it down and made a banner with his wise words to hang in my classroom.  In fact, there is a photo of mine circulating on Pinterest that has the quote above a bulletin board with a banner that says, “Create”.  Funny… I did not post the photo to Pinterest, but I see it once a week!


This wooden box used to house some old prints that were donated.  I asked to keep the box and made this plaid design with Duct Tape.  Three of the 4 sides have unique plaids on them.  It now houses all my paint shirts for my students.  It sits in the hall and they grab one on their way into the classroom.  I went a little crazy with Duct Tape this summer.  I also used it on all the rubber base boards in my classroom.  They were looking dingy.  I livened them up with all different colors!

  • Mrs. Impey
    Posted at 18:38h, 16 September Reply

    Love it! I started using Mona Lisa this year too! The counselor has been coming over to do an anti-bullying art project with the kids and she can't believe how well it works already! I wish I had known/thought about it earlier!

    I LOVE the idea of the art smock box outside the classroom!!! I have mine in a regular old hamper on the counter but it's kind of an eye sore! I may have to steal this idea from you! LOVE IT!

  • Katie Morris
    Posted at 20:25h, 16 September Reply

    Looks great! I've been thinking about trying the Mona Lisa listening thing, too. I bought a print in a wide gold frame over the summer and haven't done anything besides hang it yet.

  • Paintbrush Rocket
    Posted at 20:43h, 16 September Reply

    It truly is amazing how well it works. I only wish I had added to the list of MONA-ificent, “Tall listening posture”. I verbally add it for the kids who want to rest their heads and comment how alert she is with the tall posture.

    If you have a chatty class who is having a hard time quieting, I say things like, “Wow… Mona is the only one listening”. Then as they start becoming Mona like, I point out all the good Mona's. Kids love a game… it has a game like quality to it.

    To get the kids excited and into Mona if you have not used her before… have some fun and decorate her. I usually dress her for Halloween and then by season. I am going to try to decorate her in Notre Dame colors for football season and see if that keeps momentum going.

    Have fun with Mona!!!

  • CMae
    Posted at 22:43h, 19 September Reply

    We Use Mona Lisa as a get the class quiet tool. When they are too loud, I holler, MONA!!!! and the kids respond “LISA” and all is quiet for me to have their attention again! 🙂 works wonders!

    You got a smart board!!!! I don't really want one, I want a document camera those are more up my alley for demonstrating so all in the class can see better! I love your rug, that's definitely new since I was in your room last! Where did you get it from? I desperately need a little carpet to read to my kinders on. Did you have room for it in your “budget”?

  • Paintbrush Rocket
    Posted at 19:08h, 20 September Reply

    I love the MONA… LISA. I am going to have to use that one!!!

    I thought I wanted a document camera too… however once I got the Smart Board, I changed my mind. We use “Notebook”, a software for Smart Board. It has an image capture camera on it that lets you borrow an image… even if it is protected from printing. You can't import the images to iphoto or a document, only to Notebook for educational use. I have “image captured” lots of photos from flickr and etsy. If the photo is decent quality, it is perfect. Just something to think about. I love this method. But I am sure a document camera would be fun too!

    I ordered the carpet from Flor. Each square was about $12.00. I do the Square 1 Art fundraiser each year. I saved some money for the carpet and LOVE IT!!!! Totally worth the money. It was under $300.00 and most rugs from the school catalogs that size were that or more. DO you have a parent booster club to ask? I bet they would help out with something like that.

  • ArtMuse
    Posted at 22:52h, 22 September Reply

    I love your blog, I found it through 'paint and paper'. Thanks for sharing your classroom bulletin boards and such, I love the crayons with the paint swatches 🙂

  • Miss
    Posted at 16:57h, 25 September Reply

    I, too, love the Mona Lisa poster/classroom management technique. I've actually never seen it before, so I will happily be pinning this to my Art Room board. Thanks so much for sharing!

  • Paintbrush Rocket
    Posted at 17:14h, 26 September Reply

    Cassie… I LOVE the “MONA!!!” “LISA!!!” It works sooooo well!!! I started it with kindergarten and I can not believe how much fun it is to get their attention! Yay! Thanks for the GREAT tip!

    Thanks to all for the comments too!!!

  • Patty Palmer
    Posted at 12:02h, 20 October Reply

    What a wonderful tour. Thanks for sharing your art room!

  • Jujujems Art and Photo Studio
    Posted at 13:48h, 20 October Reply

    LOVE the upcycle of the markers and the paint swatch bulletin display with your mom's vintage crayons! In fact I love it all and may have to “borrow” quite a bit of it! I've been looking for something like Mona-ificient too! Way better than a “classroom” super star. I will definitely be dropping by more often!

  • Paintbrush Rocket
    Posted at 21:57h, 20 October Reply

    Thanks! CMae suggested above saying “MONA” and the kids say “LISA”. I swear, it is the best method of getting the kids attention! And they love it! It is so cute too! It is time to decorate Mona for Halloween. The kids love it when I dress her up for the different holidays!

  • Katie Lawson
    Posted at 13:08h, 21 October Reply

    I absolutely love your site! I love how you make seemingly complex art projects graspable for kindergarteners! 🙂 I am recommending it to people all over FB & Pinterest. 🙂 Please don't be offended—I hate to point this out but I am always so irritated when people don't tell me stuff I messed up. On the poster it should be you're an artist not your. 🙂 I read through all the comments before commenting first. It is an awesome poster though! 🙂

  • Paintbrush Rocket
    Posted at 21:30h, 21 October Reply

    Oops… YOU'RE right! Darn… I hate those tiny mistakes. It is kind of you to recommending me!

  • Art on my hands
    Posted at 16:50h, 27 December Reply

    Love your posters, love the Mona Lisa idea. Mind if I copy?

  • Scott
    Posted at 13:48h, 03 February Reply

    Great classroom! Saw this on pinterest and followed – now I have a new blog to watch! Thanks for the comments about the Mona Techniques from me too! My classes love MONA…LISA! She's the perfect art student!
    ~Scott Russell

  • Kristen
    Posted at 01:38h, 11 December Reply

    Thank you for sharing your art room decor! I have been teaching art for three years and am still trying to get my bearings about where to store things and what to put up with very limited wall space! Although I made a poster of art elements, I was wondering if you would share with me where you acquired yours? I have seen those before and searched around the web but can't find them. I really prefer the poster version to my home-made ones. Thanks again.

  • Roberta Camargo
    Posted at 23:05h, 19 August Reply

    Perfeito!! Lindo o seu trabalho!

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