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
Visual art and arts integration with a techie twist!
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