Friday, August 20, 2021

Professional Development: Keeping Track Of It All and NYCATA Art Teacher Art Club

I'm ramping up to go back to school next week (for me--kids show up 8/31) and part of this process is going through all of the paperwork I stuffed in crates and schlogged home with me in June. That means professional development stuff. 

I am not so great about logging pd hours. Our district uses a program called Frontline and I find it sort of challenging to navigate and I get busy and forget where I'm at in the pd process. This means, I end up with a stack of notebooks and materials that need to be entered. So, one day this week, I sat down and wrangled all of the open pd I had outstanding so I could start this school year with a clean slate!

One thing I did was create these stickers to put on my pd stuff (like notes and handouts and articles). This way, I can see where I am in the process. I printed them out on 8 1x2" x 11" Avery sticker paper, cut them apart and put the extras in my pd binder (yeah, I have a binder--I'm old school!!).

Now it's easy for me to see where I am in the process. Did I ever get reimbursed? Do I need to write the reflection? 

Look on the sticker checklist!

One of the professional development resources I found this past year was the New Your City Art Teachers Association (NYCATA) Art Teachers Art Club. I think I saw it on a middle school art teacher Facebook group I belong to. 

A couple of times a month they "meet" via zoom and art lesson ideas are presented and we can art-a-long. I love it. Sometimes I can't make it or I was just too tired from teacherin' all day--and thankfully their videos are on Youtube afterwards. 

Videos I've found helpful:

Foam Monoprinting: I do this with my students but hadn't thought to create a matrix to mount the plate and paper on. I was also intrigued by using opaque watercolors as ink versus the water soluble markers I usually have the students use.

Glue Batik: I've tried this process with glue/flour mixture and it was difficult to use. I was interested to see how this process was. The gel glue was easier to remove and this educator used fabric inks. Very pretty. Maybe art club? Or an 8th grade Choice project?

Google Drawing--Digital Mosaics: This was a surprise to me! I had my students using Google Draw for a couple of projects and hadn't thought of digital mosaics. Once I watched this, my daughter set to work creating all sorts of mosaics for friends and teachers. I was also able to have a couple of students do this remotely with great results.

I also have plans to watch other videos in the series such as: Abstract Data Self Portraits (maybe a good intro project?) and Typographic Portraits (possibly for my Photography courses).

NOTE: All of the digital mosaics in this post were created by my 10-year-old
 on her own using Google Drawing.

I know this might seem a very weird thing to say given the last year an a half, but I'm glad for Zoom--because I was able to attend these workshops by veteran teachers and learn so much. I'm glad our paths have crossed--even if it is digitally!


Saturday, August 14, 2021

My Art Teaching Manifesto

Thanks to the email course by the Art Class Curator, I've had some time this summer to reflect on how last year went, my teaching practice as well as how I want this year to go.

I'm a hands-on learner and whenever I have a large project where I need to "think big" I find the largest paper in my house, the sticky notes and start writing! These poster-like musings are legendary in our house and often take up entire walls. But I need to think stuff out and literally move my ideas around!

During this reflection process, I gave myself permission to be me and go with it. I did not put any "should's" or boundaries on this journey. It was very art therapy-like and was something I truly enjoyed. Part of that was not worrying necessarily what the finished product looked like. This was not art I was going to put in my living room or sell to someone--it is art for me to work through my thoughts and feelings.

Mediums I am drawn to (LOVE the pun!) when I'm thinking and planning are watercolors, markers and collage. I often find ripping stuff up and gluing it back together is very therapeutic! ;-)

I did a good bit of writing and as I distilled the writing down to transform it into an art piece, the big ideas stood out to me: positive energy, high standards, developing relationships with students, helping students find their SPARK! Those are all important to me and my teaching.

And lastly, we were asked to take a work of art and integrate our manifesto into it. I had a few ideas on what artwork I would choose: "The Great Wave" by Katsushika Hokusai and David Hockney's "A Bigger Splash" were what came to mind first.

I finally chose "Resurrection" by Alma Woodsey Thomas. There are so many reasons why. I absolutely love her work--the colors and pattern in her work just blows me away. She was an art teacher who started exhibiting later in life. As an art teacher and mom, I don't always have time for me and its nice to be reminded that there are seasons for everything in life and it is not too late for anything--go for it!

Parts of my manifesto mimic the one The Art Class Curator shared, but I've tweaked it and added to it to make it my own. 

I BELIEVE in the power of ART

  • I believe that experiencing art in all its facets: viewing, analyzing, discussing, sharing, and making is an OPPORTUNITY TO GROW & EXPRESS ONESELF.
  • I believe that making art can be a TRANSFORMATIVE EXPERIENCE and has the power to teach us about ourselves, our feelings, and what is important to us, and is INTRAGREL TO OUR GROWTH AS HUMANS.
  • I believe art helps us learn about cultures and environments beyond ourselves and experience the joys, pains & lives of those living in it.
  • I believe art is for everyone & by everyone, across time & cultures, reveals the human experience and art BRIDGES OUR DIVIDES & helps us to communicate, understand & RISE TO OUR FULLEST HUMAN POTENTIAL.
  • I believe that EVERYONE IS CREATIVE and art gives students the confidence and tools to develop their own personal creativity & find their SPARK to meet and exceed life’s future challenges.
  • I believe in the power of STUDENT RELATIONSHIPS & strive to see my students as individuals and get to know them by creating an engaging student-focused classroom full of POSITIVE energy where we can EXPLORE, have FUN & BE SILLY.
  • I believe an art room should be a center for HIGH STANDARDS where students feel SAFE and are encouraged to TAKE RISKS & where MISTAKES ARE OK  and seen as building blocks of true learning.

Could it be more polished? Yep. But I have a food truck and art festival I'm going to and the day is beautiful. 

I feel SO much more mentally prepared for school to start and I have focus for the year ahead. I've taken time to remember what is really important to me and my teaching.

Hopefully YOU take a few moments (or however long it takes you) to think about what YOUR focus is. 


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