20 May 2010

reality vs. imagination.

found these two lists in meriah's room yesterday. they totally cracked me up. i'm sure they're the result of an intense discussion but out of context they made me laugh out loud.

26 April 2010

What does good teaching "LOOK" like?

This term, more than ever before, I'm wondering what does good teaching "LOOK" like...literally?
The students I'm teaching this term are the most independent and self-sufficient kids I've ever taught. If I let them, they would spend the entire term on one project...and maybe I should. This behavior, which I would have given anything to have in my classroom in Brooklyn, has left me feeling a little uneasy here in Massachusetts. Are they bored? Are they unhappy? Am I doing enough? Some days it sure doesn't "LOOK" like I'm teaching very much. I anticipate this happening more and more the longer I work here. This year's seniors have been working in my room consistently all four years of high school...so they know how things work and they are busy working on their work. Good, right? I will be writing about this more and would love to read your thoughts.

20 April 2010

Possible topics to present at next year's NAEA conference.

Are sketchbooks outdated? Blogging with students as a reflective and planning tool.
Senior Studio: Creating a critical and productive community of adolescent artists.
Back to Front: Flipping the introductory art curriculum to increase creativity.

19 April 2010

Big Ideas?

From a page in my notebook written on while I was at the NAEA conference:
clean-up: leadership roles
block play...art principles
problem finding
recyclables & supplies
homework/sketchbook - ideas, blueprints, each page a project
save more stuff (supplies)
summer - organize photos
label work in the room
check on subscriptions
check on MAEA
permission slips for pics
ART 21

Inspired Teacher.

Just back from the National Art Education Association conference in Baltimore.
As you can see in the photos above of the notes I took while I was there it was quite inspiring for me. I guess I didn't realize how much I needed a break from the daily grind of teaching. It felt great to be surrounded by people who are interested in what I'm interested in...to be a part of the WORLD of art education for a little while. It reaffirmed my dedication to the arts in education, not just education or schools in general. It's so easy to forget there is a whole big world out there. I made some great connections and plan to spend a lot of time working some of the ideas that came to me over the four days into my curriculum.
And...it has inspired me to use this blog again as a place to collect my thoughts and writings in the hopes of proposing a workshop for next year's conference.

09 March 2010

and now we are a math problem.

One day, Ms. Roberts and Mr. Bau take their dog out for a walk. Their
dog decided to be adventurous and befriend a skunk. Unfortunately,
the skunk did not want to play and it sprayed the dog directly and was
also able to wrap both teachers in the stench. The main chemical
component of a skunk’s odor is Butanethiol. The proposed half-life of
this chemical is 87 days. If it sprayed them with a full 15 cubic
centimeters of chemical, how much will still be on them after 60 days?

this question appeared on a test given monday. care to make some guesses? henry?

28 February 2010

unexpected beauty around the school.

my good friend and fellow art teacher,
amy, recently did a project with her middle school students where they used non-traditional materials to make site-specific installations. she organized them into small groups and gave each group a pile of stuff, brown lunch bags, rubber bands, string, etc. they had to figure out what to do with the stuff. the beautiful results that can now be found around the building. amy is so good at organizing groups of kids to do wonderful things.

12 February 2010

studio at school.

i made myself a little studio space in my office at school.

i've been meaning to do this for awhile now and a few days ago i finally did it.
it had been a rough morning...a kid puked in my classroom for the first time in 9 years...chaos ensued. post clean-up and in a class of seniors i looked around for a minute and every head was down, looking intently at their work. they were all doing something totally different and i had already met with each of them individually for some amount of time. i thought to myself...i'm tired and my work here is done. they are doing what i tried to teach them...working like artists. it probably won't surprise any of my friends that as a teacher i tend to hover. that being said i teach a population of kids who are a bit needy and i hear my name more than i'd like but sometimes...sometimes...they don't need me and when that happens i'm often unsure of how to proceed without feeling guilty.

so i threw a pile of stuff on a table next to them and went to work myself. something about working with the kids at school was freeing for me. i wasn't worrying about who would see the work or where it would end up. i was just playing like i taught them to do. also, i was using a lot of their cast-off's as raw materials which was hugely inspiring and gave me lots of ideas. so when they left i moved the pile in to my office and made a home for it and now i plan to try to grab a little time each day to work on it the way some people try to get outside for a walk during the workday. i suppose i should be doing that too...

11 February 2010

seeing teaching through someone else's eyes.

carrie spent an entire day with me at school on tuesday to see what it's like to be a high school art teacher. she got some great shots around my office and of amy's classroom. it was lots of fun to watch her take in the whole experience and also made me realize how much i need to get out of the classroom and talk to other adults more. having another adult around to interact with acted as some kind of a buffer and kept me from absorbing the kids' energy the way i usually do. i came home much less tired than usual...note to self.

04 February 2010

what is it about drawings by teenage boys? they are always my favorites in the classroom. of course i try not to let it show...but the details, the imagination, i just love it.
i'm always trying to figure out where they come from and why they are so consistently different from drawings by teenage girls which are fussy and self-conscious. i made those fussy drawings when i was a teenage girl and can still feel them haunting me. 3rd from the right on the top row, shaggy, might be my favorite...ever. click on it.

03 February 2010

movies as inspiration for teaching.

i've seen three movies (up, the fantastic mr. fox, and avatar) in the past couple of weeks that have made me think seriously about my teaching and the kinds of projects i do with my students. i spend a lot of time having them explore themselves...where they come from both literally and figuratively...developing images that relate to their identity and to their surroundings. these movies were all so poignant and imaginative...otherwordly...but rooted in the problems and stories of real life. they made me wonder if i spend enough time preparing my students to imagine other worlds.
are teenagers today prepared to think outside of themselves?
do you have to understand yourself before you can be asked to imagine someone/somewhere else?
the wheels are now turning as i think about how to incorporate these questions into future projects designed to stretch my students.

01 February 2010

work from my mixed media class.

flowers made from fabric dipped in wax, wet coffee filters and cupcake papers stuck to windows.

tea dyed tags hanging to dry, word search attached to packing material with zip-tie.

cupcake papers stitched to bubble wrap, sprinkles and gloss medium on coffee filter.
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