At the start of almost every art class (pre-K through 2nd grade) I read a picture book related to the lesson. There’s a magical quality in the air when kids raise their eyes in wonder and let themselves be drawn into something that isn’t even on a screen. A telling moment for me is when… Read more »

Name that Kid

I’m sometimes asked, with more than 900 students in our school, how do I remember all the names? Out of context, like at the mall, it’s not always easy (no comment on whether it’s easier or not to remember the kids whose names you have to say the most: “Bob, this is not a splatter… Read more »

Happy New Year!

As a teacher, I’ve never understood why the New Year begins in the middle of winter. September is the true start of the year. At least it should be. The air is crisp, the kids are fresh, and all the markers have the correct caps on them (this last item is particularly important!) In my… Read more »


A couple weeks ago I introduced the next project: “Kids, this is going to be very special: a tile mosaic mural created by the entire fourth grade that will be permanently mounted for display in the front entrance way! Amazing, huh?” “Uh, sure, Mr. Roth. Whatever you say.” “Of course, first we have to collect old… Read more »

Yellow Snow (Not THAT Kind)

It’s fun to play with kids’ minds. Every winter, I read first graders the gorgeous Jan Brett book, The Mitten, based on the Ukrainian folktale . “What color is snow?” I ask, and they all shout “White!” Of course snow is white. That’s why Baba tells Nicki not to drop the white mitten she made him; in the white… Read more »