I use my 25 years of experience teaching with a National Board Certificate, a Master’s degree in Art Education, and a BFA from Columbus College of Art and Design to support fellow art teachers, like you, in creating an environment for their students that builds confidence and sparks a love of drawing.
I want to make resources and lessons that help students and teachers at any level feel successful and empowered!
As a teacher, I wanted to show my students that there was not just one way to complete a drawing and that giving a drawing a personal touch was more important than accurately copying an example.
Instead of showing them a one, right, and only way to complete a drawing, I gave them a variety of choices and noticed that they would become more engaged in their drawing. They not only enjoyed the process of creating personalized and unique drawings, but they also came to embrace the differences when comparing and contrasting their drawings with their classmates.
Through a lot of trial and error and by synthesizing my education and experience, the idea for Expressive Monkey was formed. I remember in art school being told that “you can teach a monkey to draw”. What they meant by this was that drawing was more than just imitation. Monkeys can imitate, but we need to take the basic components and skills of drawing and use those skills to express ourselves through art. I put those ideas together to create Expressive Monkey. The monkey that can both imitate and be expressive.
My resources and lesson plans help teach strategies for drawing. By using my resources your students will not only learn that they can draw, but that they can express themselves through those drawings!
Do you want to make a difference in your student’s lives through art?
I am passionate about creating resources that support teachers in making drawing more simple, fun, and meaningful. I believe that teaching drawing can be the vehicle through which we support our students in finding healthy ways of expressing themselves and making sense of their emotions.
You became an art teacher because you wanted to share the transformative experience of art with your students.
Maybe when you were a student art was an outlet for built-up emotions. It was what helped you work through stressful experiences, or it was the thing that made you feel the most alive.
You experienced the power of art and knew you had to bring that to other children who may be struggling with similar experiences. At the very least, you knew you could enrich the lives of your students by teaching them art.
You began your career as an art educator with a very clear purpose. But then the reality of creating and implementing lessons that fully engage your students and help them learn the skills to see themselves as artists kicked in.
As a former art teacher of 25 years, I can relate to how intimidating it can be to manage all the needs of your students while creating impactful lessons! That’s why I fell in love with using drawing to show kids that art is a skill that they can ALL learn AND that is an important tool for expressing
My Vision for Your Students
I believe that students learn best when they are engaged and enjoying the process.
I believe that giving students choices and control over the outcome of their art helps them value their work and stay engaged.
I believe in celebrating the diverse outcomes of art that come from encouraging students to express themselves through their art.
I believe the joy and confidence gained from creating art can contribute to the social and emotional growth of students.
Don’t just teach drawing…spark joy!
Every art teacher wants an engaged class that loves creating art. It is not as easy as it sounds to translate our love for art to a class of squirmy kids that just wants to have fun and make something. There are kids that love art and only want to make their own ideas. There are the kids that don’t think they can draw and those who just want to be silly and have fun. How do you get them all to pay attention and try something new and a bit challenging to some?
I’ve had my share of ups and downs over 25 years of teaching elementary art and found that there are a few things that my successful lessons have had in common.
Once I put this combination together I no longer heard students ask, ‘why are we doing this”? They bought into the lesson and were eager to complete the art project. Once they were finished, they could talk about the process and the choices they made. They could explain how the work they created related to their lives.
Once I figured out how to put these ideas into fun drawing games and activities, I had students that couldn’t get enough drawing time. They wanted to draw during recess and at home. They were no longer fearful of trying a new drawing.
There was nothing I wanted more than to foster the love of drawing with a wider audience. I knew that if my students enjoyed my drawing pages other students would too. I also knew that the typical art teacher doesn’t have time to develop drawing resources on the scale needed to use in every lesson. I set out to create the drawing and lesson resources that I could only dream of having when I was teaching art full-time.
Through Expressive Monkey, I can spend time on creating drawing resources and exercises that spark the joy of learning to draw in students so that art teachers can have more time and energy to teach the lessons (and about a million other things they need to do). This also makes drawing lessons accessible for teachers that don’t have as much confidence in their own drawing skills.