If you are an art teacher, you probably have heard of The Art of Education website. They have great ideas, classes, lessons, an online conference and more! I was REALLY surprised when I was informed today that this blog has been nominated for "Best Rising Star Art Ed Blog." I know- crazy, right?
If you'd like to vote, here is the link. Thanks for reading my little blog!
I sat at the small table and opened up my briefcase. I was ready to teach my students, and I was nine. Those “students” were my two younger sisters, they seemed to enjoy it. My teaching expanded to the neighborhood when I opened a free summer camp for all of the neighborhood kids. I planned activities and games for everyone.
Teaching was my destiny. My first grade teacher gave me reading groups to lead because I could read. In middle school and high school, teachers had me help other students. In 11th and 12th grade ceramics, I was in charge of all of the firings and glaze mixing. When I was a teenager, all my summer jobs were camp counselor jobs. I was always with children. Naturally, I went to college to become an elementary education teacher. I minored in art, which was convenient later when I decided to get my Master’s degree in art education.
My first year of teaching was in a small private school teaching Kindergarten. The next year, I was lucky to get a first grade position in a public school and I taught first grade for 8 more years. It was during this time I realized I really wanted to teach art, so I got my Masters degree and certification in art education.
After those years of teaching Kindergarten and first grade, an elementary art position opened up and I grabbed it. This year is my twenty-first year of teaching elementary art.
All that teaching experience is great, but I am on this leadership path because of Twitter. Really! I became a connected educator about three years ago and once I realized I could learn about educational subjects I was interested in, I was hooked.
Without even realizing it, everything I learned online led to me to become determined to make some changes in my school to use tech to improve student learning. (My assistant principal said there was no stopping me!) It was impossible for my elementary students to create and get their work off of shared iPads. Apps that were supposed to be easy to use were not. As their art teacher, this drove me absolutely crazy! Student iPad use was SO limited, students were using them as worksheets. Drill and practice has a purpose, but I had learned through my online connections that students needed to create with technology, not just fill in blanks. When I realized that no one else was going to fight for what was right for students, I had to push things in that direction. Partly because of my leadership, all teachers and students have their own Google Drive accounts this year, and my colleagues have had relevant tech PD, created and delivered by myself and other teachers.
For the last two years I have been recognized in my district as a teacher leader. Some of my connections on Twitter are educators who live right here in Fairfield County. These educators are now friends who I turn to for support and advice. One suggestion they gave me was to get my admin certification so that I could touch more students. At first I thought they were crazy, but the more I thought about it, the more it made sense for me. When I mentioned it to my building administrators, they agreed. When I complete this certification, my vision is to someday work as a technology coordinator, arts coordinator or curriculum/PD director.
I am a creative, innovative and passionate educator. My vision is to advocate for students to ensure they get the most out of their time at school and become lifelong learners. I’m no longer just playing school with siblings: I hope to help shape an exciting future for student learning through art and technology.
At the beginning of this school year, I was planning an arts integration period with three fifth grade teachers. In our school, these are once a week sessions we call HOT Blocks. Classes work with their classroom teacher and me for about nine weeks to learn reading, writing, math or science concepts through art.
I have worked with fifth grade teachers in the past, but I never taught this difficult concept: the phases of the moon. The classroom teachers explained that year after year, many students get confused with the order of the phases. When I first thought about teaching this, I got a wee bit nervous. I really did not know much about it! I had one thing going for me: I did know the concept of waxing and waning, but that’s about it!
During our first session, I worked with each class in their classrooms during their moon phase lab. This was a great learning experience for me to see how the students are taught and what they are expected to know. It also gave me some time to really think about how we could teach this effectively through the arts. At last I had an idea: groups of students in each class could show what they know about the phases with skits, (live or on video), flip books, or stop motion video. Since there were three different classes, I decided to limit the choices within each class to simplify the instruction needed for each one.
One class decided to do one live action play together. They needed to brainstorm ideas, write a script and create all of their props. They included facts about the moon phases, two aliens and facts about our solar system. It was awesome!
The second class created green screen videos. I made a wall and floor of an empty classroom green, shot the video with my iPad, saved it to Google Drive and shared it with the students. They edited it in iMovie and the DoInk green screen app. The result were some cool videos where students were stepping on the moon and acting as newscasters reporting about moon phases. It was pretty awesome, and they did all of the editing themselves.
Phases of the moon flip books and a stop motion video were created by the third class. Both of these ideas were a challenge: the flip books required many drawings (more than the students wanted to draw!) and the stop motion video group needed to create all of their props and solve problems while they were working together.
The best part of this arts integration unit was that the students took control of their own creation and learning. Here are some reflective quotes from the stop-motion group:
And I learned too! When I look up at the moon now, I can identify each phase and if the moon is waxing or waning. Now I know as much as a fifth grader!
What are your arts integration ideas? Let me know in the comments below.
This was first published on Education Closet
One of my favorite things to do is ask my elementary students, “What is Art?” To start this particular conversation, I actually hold a little rubber duckie in my hand and ask, “Is this art? Why or why not?” and I have the children turn and talk. During most art days, my students create art, but it is important to think about and talk about art too. Yes, we do look at fine art and learn about many of artists who have their paintings or sculptures in museums… but when I show a little duck like this to my students and ask, “Is this art?” it starts a stimulating conversation. We discuss how they probably have one (or more than one) at home, the colors, what it is made of, the people who made it in a factory and the artists who designed it. Some students believe it is art and some do not. Then, comes the fun part! I show them one of Florentijn Hofman’s ducks.
Once they see this image of Hofman’s giant duck in Osaka, the conversation changes. Is this art? Why or why not? Woah. Students turn and talk again about this duck. Has their opinion changed? If the little duck isn’t art, is this big one art? (And vice versa) Many questions are raised as well: Who made it? Why is it so big? How was it made? Why?
Images like this can be humorous and thought provoking, they can engage students and get them thinking and speaking about what they see, what they know and what they want to know. Thought provoking images can be used as lesson and discussion starters in any classroom, in any subject. It is terrific fun to kick start a lesson with an engaging image and task like this, it is something which really gets your group thinking. I have used unusual images as an art making prompt, teachers could use an image to start creation of visual art, music, movement, writing… the ideas are endless.
Here is another one of my favorite images I have shown to students, created by artist Mike Ross:
Cool, huh? It is SO interesting to watch student faces when they first see this image. Turning and talking can get very exciting, all the kids want to say something or ask something about this one!
It’s a truck, but wait… it is two trucks… and they are stuck together? And it stands up? Is it a sculpture? Can you go in it? How does it stand up? Will it fall over? Is this art?
And if this sounds like fun, it is, but looking at and analyzing images is important for students to practice. Scattered throughout the Common Core State Standards for reading informational text are references to illustrations, so students need to practice looking, talking about, thinking and describing what they see. Here are just a few, kindergarten to twelfth grade:
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.K.7 With prompting and support, describe the relationship between illustrations and the text in which they appear (e.g., what person, place, thing, or idea in the text an illustration depicts).
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.1.7 Use the illustrations and details in a text to describe its key ideas.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.4.7 Interpret information presented visually, orally, or quantitatively (e.g., in charts, graphs, diagrams, time lines, animations, or interactive elements on Web pages) and explain how the information contributes to an understanding of the text in which it appears.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.6.7Integrate information presented in different media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively) as well as in words to develop a coherent understanding of a topic or issue.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.11-12.7Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in different media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively) as well as in words in order to address a question or solve a problem.
What are your ideas for using thought provoking images in the classroom? I’d love to hear them!
This was first posted on Education Closet.
With the new school year in full swing, I’ve been thinking about some tried and true arts integration ideas that are great for student learning and pretty easy to do. Here are some lessons that I co-taught with a classroom teacher during a HOT Block elementary art integration period. These are once a week sessions when a class comes to the art room with their classroom teacher to learn reading, writing or math through art.
2. Fourth grade book character sculptures
These students, in addition to writing some information for a book report, created a book character sculpture out of low fire clay. After it was fired, the students added all the details for their main character with different materials, being sure to add all the important items the character needed in the story. If clay is not available, students can create a drawing or collage of the character instead.
3. First Grade Charlotte’s Web Character “Studies”
After listening to Charlotte’s Web in class, first grade students discussed all of the character’s details and had a mini art lesson on drawing each of them. I used basic shapes to show students how to draw a person, pig, rat or spider. These drawings accompanied their writing about their favorite character.
4. Third grade math/art stop motion videos
Student groups wrote math story problems, created all of the pieces needed and animated them using stop motion. We used iPads with the iMotion app. See all the videos here.
5. Second grade illustrations
After writing a nonfiction piece in their classroom, second grade students created a precise illustration to go into their work. They used accurate labels so that readers could understand all the important details.
Your turn: what are some of your most successful lessons? Let me know in the comments below!
This was first posted on Education Closet.
Elementary art essentialist, arts integration teacher, techie, and HOT School educator. I began my career as a kindergarten and first grade teacher.