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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