Monday, October 28, 2013

The Wonders of Autumn!

So much has been going on that there has scarcely been time to think!

The lower grades, Pre-K through second have been learning about Monarch butterflies. Ask your children about the amazing Monarchs.

Some special facts about Monarchs:
They migrate from Canada to Central Mexico!
It takes them three generations to make the trip North from Mexico to Canada. Those three generations each live only about a month, but the fourth generation of Monarchs, the ones who make the trip from Canada back to Mexico, live nine months.
The Monarchs winter in the Oyamel fir trees in the mountains.
There are twelve Monarch sanctuaries in Mexico.
You can learn more about the Monarchs online at Journey North Journey North.

The upper grades, third through fifth, have been working on nichos for Los Días de los Muertos. We have been creating tooled aluminum mounts for our small boxes. This technique is known by several names. In English you might call it embossing or tooling. In French it is called repoussé. In Spanish it is repujado.

You can see the results of their work on the bulletin board outside my room. Several pieces of student work are on display in the student exhibition for Lawndale Art Center's annual Días de los Muertos celebration.

There are so many great family activities this time of year! It can be hard to choose which to attend. Many events are free. Here's a short list of things you may want to check out:

Did you know? Bank of America and Merrill Lynch debit or credit cards are good for one free admission on the first weekend of the month at these participating institutions:
Houston Zoo
Children's Museum of Houston
Museum of Fine Arts Houston

Lawndale Art Center will be celebrating their Family Day Fiesta on Saturday, November 2, 2013 from 12:00 noon until 4:00 PM.
"Lawndale's 26th Annual Día de los Muertos celebration continues with a Saturday fiesta for families and children honoring participating teachers and students whose works of art can be viewed in the Cavnar and Horton galleries. Enjoy refreshments and children's activities such as cutting papel picado and decorating sugar skulls, along with performances by Houston Grand Opera, Mixteco Ballet Folklorico and Secret Admirer Puppets."
Lawndale Art Center is located at 4912 Main Street in the Museum District. Their phone number is 713-528-5858.

Take a break from the Family Fiesta and wander across the street to the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft and take part in Hands-On Houston! 
TIME Saturday, November 2, 2013 from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm
LOCATION Houston Center for Contemporary Craft
4848 Main Street, Houston, Texas 77002 (Map)
Please join HCCC for HANDS-ON HOUSTON on Saturday, November 2nd, to create an architecturally inspired sun catcher for your window. Participants will learn to imitate stained-glass art by creating a colorful design with markers on clear acrylic. The piece will then be framed in cardstock to take home.
Before or after the activity, view real stained-glass artworks by artist Nancy Nicholson, who is currently featured in SPRAWL in the main gallery. Like Nancy and many other artists in the exhibition, we hope you will be inspired by architectural structures and the urban landscape of Houston to create a unique design.
HANDS-ON HOUSTON is a free craft-activity open house on the first Saturday of every month. Each month, a teaching artist demonstrates a craft related to the current exhibitions. Families and children of all ages are welcome, and materials are provided. This program supports HCCC’s mission to advance education about the process, product and history of craft. More information at"

Día de los Muertos at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston!
Museum admission is free all day for this family celebration of the holiday Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead)!
Discover Calaveras Mexicanas: The Art and Influence of José Guadalupe Posada on this free day! The exhibition commemorates the 100th anniversary of the death of José Guadalupe Posada (1852–1913), considered the father of Mexican printmaking.
Calaveras Creations
10 a.m.–2 p.m. (Beck Building)
Enjoy family gallery activities and art making inspired by Calaveras Mexicanas. Join in the art of papel picado (perforated paper), a decorative craft that features colorful paper cut into elaborate designs. Learn about the process of printmaking, and create your own work of art depicting skeletons and skulls like the ones in Posada's prints.
MECA, the Multicultural Education and Counseling through the Arts, will be celebrating their Dia de los Muertos Festival on November 2 from 11:00 AM to 7:00 PM. MECA is in the old Dow Elementary School Building at 1900 Kane Street. Their phone number is

East End Studio Gallery is taking part in the Celebrate Houston! Music and Arts Festival on Sunday, November 3 from noon to 6:00 PM.
"The Celebrate Houston! Music and Arts Festival mission is: “Celebrating our diversity and building a positive future.” The festival supports local artists and provides valuable education resources to benefit local communities. The mini-festival that started in 2009 is planned to become the flagship event of the Houston Museum of Culture in the future.
Celebrate Houston! will take place from Noon to 6pm, Sunday, November 3 on the Tlaquepaque Market Plaza, with activities at Bohemeo’s and the East End Studio Gallery.
The free event will offer activities to suit many interests, including:
-Live Music by Milton Hopkins and the Hit City Blues Band
-Encore Performance by Huehuetl (Jalisco, Mexico)
-Accordion Workshop by Ed Poullard (Les Amis Creole) and Roberto Rodriguez (Umbrella Man, Pistoleros de Tejas)
-Live Interview with Milton Hopkins by author Roger Wood
-Indigenous Instruments Workshop by Huehuetl
-Dia de los Muertos Art Exhibit and Traditional Altars at East End Studio Gallery
-Artists and Unique Vendors
-Kids’ Activities
-Artery Media Project Video Presentation
-Non-profit Organizations
-Green Zone featuring Environmental Education Groups
-Presentation of Houston Cool youth environmental education projects
-Information about the Houston East End Museum and Houston Museum of Culture
-Collection of “Houston Treasures” – interesting Houston stories for the Houston Story radio program, museum archives and exhibits
-Houston Museum of Culture Bookstore
-Bohemeo’s Beer Garden, Food Trucks and more
The event is presented in a format similar to the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, with high quality, entertaining cultural arts and music performances, as well as facilitated workshops and demonstrations that focus on specific cultures and regional traditions. Celebrate Houston! Music and Arts Festival is produced by Houston Institute for Culture with support of the Texas Commission on the Arts and National Endowment for the Arts.
Celebrate Houston! is additionally sponsored by Houston Museum of Culture, East End Studio Gallery, Bohemeo’s, Blue Line Bike Lab, Luz de Luna Photography Studio, Eastwood Variety Store, Scoops Ice Cream, Bright Star Productions, Houston Blues Society, KPFT and Howlin’ the Blues.
Celebrate Houston! Music and Arts Festival benefits Houston Cool. The program’s objectiveis: “By planting trees, you make Houston cool!” Learn more about the Houston Cool youth program and the many benefits of trees at
Participants are encouraged to walk and bike to Celebrate Houston! for health and for the environment. Information about area hike and bike routes will be provided for walkers and bicyclists who are interested. Attendees should also consider using Metro buses, including the 40 (serving Telephone and Lockwood), 36 or 50 (serving nearby major streets), or buses serving the Eastwood Transit Center. Information can be found at
For further event information, please visit or call 832-443-4432.
Asia Society Texas Center has their Creation Stations art-making activities on Saturday, November 16 and again on Saturday, December 7 from 1:00 to 3:00 PM. November 16 will be Southeast Asian Weaving. December 7 will be Remembrance Poppies.
The Asia Society Texas Center is located at 1370 Southmore at Caroline. The building is new and beautiful. It's a great place to spend a Saturday afternoon.

It will just keep getting better and better from now through the Winter Holidays! I'll try to keep you up to date on the most fun activities of the holiday season!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Welcome to the DZ Art Room!

The school year has started with a burst of activity!
I've been hard at work setting up all DZ classes in Class Dojo. It looks like a great way to keep track of our young artists daily work and behavior. You should have already received an invitation to follow your students progress. If not, hopefully we can get you signed up on Open House Night. 

De Zavala's Open House will be the evening of October 3. I look forward to seeing you there!

In addition to Class Dojo I'll be posting student artists' work on Artsonia. I should have that set up by Open House Night. 
We opened our art year with International Dot Day. International Dot Day takes place annually on September 15ish. It celebrates creativity. All our artists' made their mark.
International Dot Day was followed by International Peace Day. We created origami Pinwheels for Peace. 

You'll be able to see all this work and more on October 3 at Open House! I'll see you there!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Time flies when you're having fun!

Here I sit, wondering once more where the time goes.

Spring Break is ending. There are only twelve more weeks left of school. Many of those weeks will be taken up with STAAR and Stanford/Aprenda tests.

At best, I see your children for forty-five minutes a week. With the coming of test season it is quite likely that I will see them less. I am currently working on my class and club schedules for the end of this school year. I will be letting you know more, either on this blog or in the hard copy newsletter, as soon as I have more information.

Before we know it this school year will be over, but there will be plenty of activity in the art room!

For the last twelve weeks of school our focus will be on ceramics, mosaics, and fiber arts. There will be lots of things going on for the end of the year. Keep an eye out for all kinds of great art to be heading your way.


And there are lots of arts events going on for a while.

The National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA) is having its 47th annual conference in Houston this week from March 20th to the 23rd.

The Museum of Fine Arts - Houston currently has several wonderful exhibits up. One of these exhibits is Picasso Black and White. This show is incredible.

Francisco de Goya, The Infante Don Francisco de Paula Antonio

For the weeks prior to the Spring Break the third, fourth, and fifth grade students have been working on Portrait of a Community, a project that ties into the exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts - Houston. The exhibition is Portrait of Spain. It is up through March 31. The works in the show are from the Prado in Madrid, Spain. It's a beautiful exhibition with works by Francisco de Goya, El Greco, and Diego Velázquez among others.

On the morning of Thursday, March 28 the third and fourth grade vanguard classes will be going on a field trip to the museum to see this exhibition. We've been very fortunate to have this field trip given to us by the museum's education department and BBVA Compass.

If your child is in fourth or fifth grade you should have received a permission form for Artsonia. Artsonia is an online gallery. Only works by students whose parents have given permission will be visible online. If you haven't received one of these forms, don't worry. I'll be sending out another form to everyone who has not returned one.

Our online gallery is starting to look pretty good, if I don't say so myself. I'm currently working on posting art work from all of the fourth and fifth grade students.

Blobby Splotch, the Artsonia mascot, and me

Before Spring Break I attended the National Art Education Association (NAEA) convention in Fort Worth, Texas. NAEA is a national organization for art educators at all levels from early childhood to college, from art education students to retired art teachers (RATs). There were wonderful sessions ranging from hands-on activities to talks by famous artists. I presented along with Stevie Mack of Crizmac and Nancy Walkup of SchoolArts Magazine on Day of the Dead.

On the first Monday of Spring Break I rode on the bus to Austin, Texas for Lobby Day. Teachers, union members, parents and children made the rounds to talk to the legislators about restoring funding to public education. It was an inspiring trip. The last I checked legislators are not mind readers. Unless we, the teachers, parents and students, let them know what we think, what we want and what we need, they will do things the way they always have. We need to make our voices heard. There are a number of parents' groups easily locatable online and through Twitter and FaceBook. Let them know what you think of how things are going.

I believe strongly in the importance of the arts. Did you know that the state has Texas Essential Knowledge Skills (TEKS) that require the teaching of art, music, theatre and dance at all levels from elementary to secondary? For the past six years I have been one of three area representatives for Texas Art Education Association. We've advocated tirelessly for the arts and coordinated with the Houston Area Arts Supervisors.

Last spring and this fall I was a member of the Texas Essential Knowledge Skills (TEKS) Fine Arts Review Committee for the visual arts at the middle school level. It was a privilege to be chosen to take part in revising the Fine Arts TEKS.

Right now the Monarch butterflies that our third graders created are wintering in Mexico at José María Morelos Secondary School in El Rosario Community, Michoacán. Our students' Symbolic Monarchs serve as ambassadors between our communities.

Soon the Monarch butterflies will be winging their way back on their Journey North. I'll be keeping you up to date on their progress on this page. Check back and see how it goes.