Thursday, February 13, 2014

Becoming Someone Else

Due to snow and ice, I haven’t left my home since 5:30 pm on Monday evening (it's now Thursday evening). I’m an introvert… I can self-entertain for hours, but at a certain point, cabin fever set-in. So, after 25+ hours of graduate homework, four books, cooking all the food that could be cooked (ever), I decided to become Louise Brooks.
It surprised me just how “inside Ms. Brooks’s head” I had to get in order to even get something semi-decent. She was a really sad person. Super sad. Anyway… While I was working on this (somewhat insane for a 32 year old woman) journey, it occurred to me, “This would be a great high-school Art assignment.”  The assignment being, “Go home. Find a photograph of someone who intrigues you, and become that person. Take pictures of yourself as that person, and then do a short write up about what it was like to briefly be that person.”
You could use Cindy Sherman as an influential artist for reference…  

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Using Technology to Drive Instruction in Art Class

I'm kinda in love with Technology.

I remember seeing the scene wherein Kip serenades Lafawnda at their wedding and thinking, "Lawd. I don't wanna, but I sure do relate to Kip!"

It seems as if I'm always on the lookout for ways to utilize technology inside my classroom.  My students are digital natives, and they interact in a digital world; they LOVE when we use technology. Buuutt, I've also noticed a huge drop in self-efficacy when we work on digital assignments. I hear a lot of "will you help me?" which translates to, "will you do this for me?" Ugh.

I've been using my classroom blog/website (made using Weebly) more and more to drive instruction (  I still spend time delivering the information and modeling the digital project. But, I also post all of the visuals, videos, presentations, and directions on the blog.  It is great because students whom need review and/or have been absent have instant access to the original content I share (especially if I use Screencast-o-Matic to record the demonstration). The students seem to really like it, and I love not having to depend upon printed out directions (I still do print out directions when they are more intense as it can be hard to toggle between screens!). It helps develop self-efficacy, because the students have a central place to gain information. It also is a wonderful way to extend learning. For instance, during our unit on graffiti the students wanted to learn more about Banksy. So, I uploaded a presentation to the blog for them to peruse before/after their work session (and they actually looked at it!!). Some of my students are so enterprising that they print off the directions from the class blog on their own time and bring them to class.  WHAT IS THIS AWESOME MADNESS?!

My 8th grade honor students are earning a high school Art credit, and (you can get to their page on the "VA Comp" link on my class blog), are required to make and keep a portfolio per the class standards. In order to fulfill this standard (and avoid a year's worth of art rolling around the classroom), they are keeping digital portfolio websites. I like this option because they can continue to develop this website into high school Art classes. Weebly allows teachers to "control" 40 student websites. So, while my students are totally responsible for the creation of their own sites, I'm able to manage the content (and delete as necessary).  I'm really proud of this accomplishment. It was tough at first, but it is great practice! Honestly, I see my future self relying upon this amazing resource more and more.

How do you use technology to drive your instruction?

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Why I Will Never Charge for My Lesson Plan Ideas (or why sharing is so dern awesome!)

Three years ago, I was still teaching K-12 Art at a private school. During that time, I made a lesson plan post about turning color wheels into hot air balloons. It is one of my more popular posts.

An internet Art-teacher friend, Sadie, saw the post. She sent me an emailing saying she was going to teach the lesson plan in her class. Earlier this week, Sadie sent me images of her students' works.  Wow. She took my cutesy project, and made it about 100 times better.

My original hot air balloon lesson plan

Sadie's hot air balloons

Sadie's hot air balloons
And, this is why I love sharing lesson plans and will never charge for them. Sure, I often see a lesson plan posting on the internets that seems derivative of one of mine, but so long as the person isn't pursuing monetary compensation for sharing, I'm happy. Sure, being cited as a source is nice, but honestly, I'm more interested in the collaborative sharing.  Isn't is incredible that we are able to share and collaborate in this manner? . . across time and geography. . . and all for free!

I think the amazing works of Sadie's students is evidence of the amazing world of online Art lesson plan sharing.

So, many thanks to Sadie for sharing!

P.S. Don't you want to do her version of the lesson plan like tomorrow?!