Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Google Drive in the K12 Art Classroom

As an incredibly busy person, whose ambitions often run away from her, I'm a huge proponent of working smarter not harder. Honestly, I think just about everyone is a proponent of that. Along the lines of the working smarter vein, I've simply got to talk to about using Google Drive in the Art classroom.

I know. I know. As teachers, we've been hearing about the awesomeness of Google Drive for a minute. And, some of us, may have even attended some of the Google for Education infomercials. . .Oh! I mean conferences (actually, the conferences are pretty cool, but mostly targeted at the newbie tech user).  I attended one of the conferences, and I spent most of my time re-examining Google Art Project (which is incredibly epic and useful; if you haven't checked it out you should get on that. Now.). What I failed to do, was spend any time giving Google Drive any regard. In fact, the only time I've seriously used Google Drive was when I wanted to share 8GB of lesson plans and didn't want to send 30+ emails. I figured as a teacher of visual content, I just didn't have much use or time for an application aimed at primarily word processing type ventures. 

I was so. so. so. wrong. 

My roomie, Mi, at NAEA this past year is a Google Drive Maven. Mi teaches elementary art at a Title I school in the metro Atlanta area, and she uses Google Drive in her classroom every day. When she told me this, I thought maybe she was exaggerating. . . But, when she started showing me what she could do with Google Drive, I was a believer! We sat in our rented condo in San Diego and Mi started pulling up document after document in Google Drive of carefully thought-out artistic responses from elementary students. I was astounded.

Fast forward to this summer. I'm in the midst of re-writing my class website and brainstorming about possible ways in which I can increase meaningful feedback from my students. . .And, manage the daily responses of 300+ students. So, I sent Mi a little email, and asked her to explain to me one the ways in which she utilizes Google Drive. Mi asks her students to fill out a "Ticket out the Door" as a closer to her daily activities (I'm sure you are familiar with this practice). But, she offers the students three different ways in which they can complete this task: 1) they can go online, click on a link, and fill out a Google Form, 2) they can fill out a slip in real-time and turn it in, and 3) they can use a mobile device scan a QR code posted in the classroom that links the to the Google Form. Mi is then able to login to her Google Drive account and view a spreadsheet of the student responses that she can organize in a manner similar to Excel (and I'm pretty sure you can export the spreadsheets to Excel, too). Below, is a picture from Mi's classroom website detailing this process to her students. 
image from Mi's class website, found here. 
Is this not the most genius idea?! And, before you get all naysayer about the access to technology for students and/or language issues etc.; I would like to remind you that Mi teaches in a Title I school and is asking this of students aged 3rd grade and higher. In addition to this genius, Mi is able to examine responses of students over the course of a year if she so chooses! Talk about being able to examine some data!

I knew I had to get in on this level of awesome. So, I've already designed my own exit slips in Google Drive for next year using almost the same process as Mi. Additionally, my advanced students are required to keep a log of artwork created/time spent engaged in art-like activities outside of the classroom, and are expected to achieve at least 2000 minutes over the course of the school year (this is mandated by my district). This past year, keeping track of paper logs was i n s a n e. So, I decided to try out allowing students to log their minutes using Google Form (which is what Mi is doing with her exit slips). 

I've taken screen shots of my process and posted them below with some directions. I hope you consider utilizing Google Drive in some manner in your classroom next year; there are soooo many applications for it. And, honestly, I like how easy it is to track data. Can you imagine how awesome it would be to show this kind of data -as an Art teacher- to your principal?! Do you already use Google Drive in your classroom? If so, please share! And, if you do decide to use Google Drive next year, let me know! I'd love to be able to tell Mi just how many people she has inspired.

Here is the front of my classroom website, complete with link to the Exit Slips (circled).
class website found here
This is what the students' see when they click on the Exit Slip link.

This is what the Exit Slip page looks like to students (I've pretended to be student Leo DaVinci). 

Once a student clicks on "Submit," they see this confirmation.

When I login to my Google Drive account (you already have one if you have a gmail account!), this is what I see.


I am able to click on the title of my Google Form, "Exit Slips 2014-2015 (Responses)" and see a spreadsheet of student responses to the form.

Pretty, amazing huh!?

But, you may ask, "How do you create such forms?" It is really simple, and here are a few pictures to help you out. Back in your Google Drive account, click on "Create" and choose, "Form." You will see something like this.
Google has designed the process of making a form extremely intuitive. It is much easier to go and "play" with it, than it would be to follow any directions I might give you. Once you are done creating the form, click on "Send Form" and the form is officially created and you will be given a URL link to the location of your form online.

I mentioned above, that I plan to use Google Drive to track my advanced kiddo's log sheets for outside-of-Art-class-time. Here is what that looks like.

First, they will go to our class page (on the class website). 

Once they click on "Log Link" they will be redirected to the page below which allows them to log their time. 

Enjoy Guys!!



Monday, June 16, 2014

Stop-Motion Animation Inspiration

Y'all know I'm all about some good ole stop-motion animation, right?

Nancy Walkup, editor of SchoolArts Magazine, linked to this incredible stop-motion animation today. All too often, when I'm teaching stop-motion animation, the truly excellent stop-motion-animation-as-art examples are either too inappropriate or too highbrow/aesthetically-irrelevant for my students.

This one hits the sweet spot of being incredibly well-done, having multiple viewpoints, being aesthetically relevant, epic, funny, and appropriate. Pin it/store it away for your next stop-motion animation unit!

P.S. Here's a link to an interview with the animators of this film. It is pretty interesting and compelling; plus, they talk about their process of filming, creation of characters, and lighting too!
Fight! from Marc James Roels on Vimeo.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Critical Multiculturalism Readings


I like to talk quite a bit about critical multiculturalism. As a teacher of diverse students, as a child of missionaries, and as a person of the planet. . .I find the study of equity and inclusion to be compelling and necessary. Below, are a few of my favorite readings on critical multiculturalism. Some are free, and some require a subscription a specific journal and/or database. If you are currently an enrolled university/college student and/or employee, you will most likely be able to access many (if not all) of the articles below through your educational institution's databases access (and/or through your educational institution's subscription to SagePub, EbscoHost, and JStor). 


Readings related to critical multiculturalism:
Allen, J.B. (2008)

Almeida, D.A. (1997)

Art Education for Social Justice                                                  
Anderson,T., Gussak D., Hallmark K.K., & Paul A., (2010)

Banks, J.A., McGee-Banks, C.A., (2003)

Britzman, D.P., Gilbert, J. (2004)

Toward a Pedagogy of Compassion                                        
Carson, T., Johnston, I., (2000)

Celebrating Pluralism                                                                     
Chalmers, G., (1996)

Celebrating Pluralism Six Years Later                                       
Chalmers, G., (2002)

Black Feminist Thought                                                                 
Collins, P.H., (1991)

The Power of Multicultural Education                                     
Graham, M.A. (2009)

Gorski, P.C. (2009)

The Pedagogy of Poverty v. Good Teaching                         
Haberman, M. (1991)

Knight, W.B., (2006)

New Directions in Multicultural Education                             
Ladson-Billings, G. (2004)

The Case for Culturally Relevant Pedagogy                          
Ladson-Billings, G. (1995)

Lee, C.D. (2009)

Start Where You Are But Don’t Stay There                           
Milner, H.R., (2012)

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Art History Memes: A Project about Context

You'll never view this artwork the same way again. . .Will you?!?!
My students are obsessed with memes, those funny little internet pictures that seem to go viral. In fact, I use memes to deliver my rules every fall. But, increasingly, I'm seeing artists and other creative-types harness memes to delve into more interesting, thoughtful, and provocative ideas.

I follow a tumblr called, BitchFaceArt. Name notwithstanding, it is a pretty compelling tumblr. Essentially, the curator takes famous artworks and places text over them that forces the subject matter into a modern context. The results are totally hilarious (see below). 

From BitchFaceArt
From BitchFaceArt
It got me thinking. . .Students, upon first viewing an artwork, always make interesting comments about the context. What if I allowed the students to use -carefully curated- art history images and create their own memes inspired by (again the carefully curated) images from BitchFaceArt (and I never shared the url with my students btw!)?

Well, I did. . .And, it started a remarkable dialogue about the original context of the artworks. The students were able to select from a set of over thirty famous artworks, and used Pixlr-O-Matic to add text. Next, students had to research the artwork, and the original context. Finally, students uploaded their art history memes to our class edmodo and they had to include a brief description of the original context of the artwork in the comment box. Students were required to make thoughtful comments on at least three of their classmates works. 

The kids LOVED this.  . . And, I love that it got them learning about art history in a meaningful, relevant, and student-driven manner. 

Below, are a few of my favorite creations from this project! 
















Here is a list of the artworks I used: 
After the Ball by Stevens
American Gothic by Wood
Autumn Leaves by Millias
Ballerinas by Degas
Christ in the House of His Parents by Millias
Dance Me to the End of Love by Valentino
Four Studies of a Negro Head by Rubens
Girl with a Pearl Earring by Vermeer
Girl with Gloves by Lempicka
Portrait of a Nobleman with a Falcon by Holbein
In the Conservatory by Manet
Isabella and a Pot of Basil by Holomon Hunt
James Wyatt and His Granddaughter by Millias
The Card Players by Steen
Jitterbugs by Johnson
La Coiffure by Degas
Jesus by La Tour
Lady Shallot by Waterhouse
Marius at Minturnae by Drouin
Mona Lisa by Da Vinci
Portrait of a Child with a Drawing by Caroto
Portrait of Gachet by Van Gogh
Portrait of Sarah Siddons by Rosetti
The Banjo Lesson by Turner
The Flower Carrier by Rivera
The Idle Servant by Maes
The Pioneer by McCubbin
The Scream by Munch
The Singing Butler by Valentino
War by Rousseau
Young Woman with Unicorn by Raphael


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Art of Education Summer Conference!


Are you attending the Art of Education's Summer Conference?

I'm so (SO!) excited to announce that I will be presenting at it! Jessica (the owner of AOE) has put together an incredible conference designed to inspire, provoke, and get you excited about your next school-year. I hope you will attend; I'm really looking forward to Teresa Gillespie, Ian Sands, and Cassie Stephens' presentations.

I hope to see you there!

And, if you are interested, here is a bit of information about my session (oh, let the controversy begin!).

10 Things You Need to Know About Teaching at a “BAD” School

Teachers frequently use charged language when discussing students and school environments; all too often, we identify schools populated by the poor, at-risk, troubled, and/or children of color as being “bad.” Our language and actions perpetuate a cycle of inequity that puts communities, families, students, and teachers of so-called “bad” schools at a severe and constant disadvantage. This session covers 10 common misconceptions about “bad” schools, and what we, the teachers, can do to overcome them. 

Monday, June 9, 2014

Harnessing Free Web Apps to Drive Student Learning to the Next Level

Hey, everyone! I'm presenting at my local district conference about cool web apps, and I thought I would share with you here!

Session Description:  There are so many free applications that are either designed for or can be re-appropriated to take student learning and projects to the “next level.”  Perceive how educators can utilize the internet to source ideas for project outcomes, expand professional learning communities, and modify digital apps to suit the technology needs of specific classrooms.  The purpose of the session is to use technology-based apps to demonstrate how educators can use student-relevant technologies to drive student learning.



Thursday, June 5, 2014

The Skittles 8-Bit Portrait Project


Why skittles!art in the classroom? Well, why not? Candy is a ubiquitous material in student lives. Art is all about getting people to think differently . . . Why not combine the two and make something awesome? This project easily lends itself to focuses on math, science, consumerism, pop art, composition, color, and socially-minded themes. Hopefully, the tips and tricks below help you to embark on your own skittles!art journey in your own classrooms.



Teacher Preplanning
Skittles!Art isn’t for the easily intimidated. This project takes an extensive amount of preplanning on the parts of both the teacher and the student. However, the preplanning makes the ultimate process of creating with skittles (an already daunting task) manageable. I strongly recommend having several groups of students working on the skittles!art portraits while the rest of the class works on another project. Then, as groups finish their portraits, you can cycle another group into beginning their portrait. That way, everyone gets an opportunity to create a group-based artwork, and you keep the skittles chaos down.
1.       Determine how many skittles!art portraits you intend for your classes to create.
a.       The average 2 foot x 2 foot skittle portrait (the best size for pixelated images printed on 8 inch x 11 inch paper) consists of 2,304 skittles.
b.      I recommend purchasing the 41oz size bags of skittles as this size offers the best price per skittle.
c.       The 41oz skittle bags sell for approximately $7-$11 per bag.
d.      I did a bit of math, and the 41oz bag of skittles has approximately 1,120 skittles in it.
e.      Depending on your school culture, you can also encourage students to purchase skittles.
2.       Determine how many students you will put in each skittles!art portrait group
a.       For middle school, group work is best
b.      I recommend groups of 3-4 students (3 is ideal)
3.       Determine what project the students not currently working the skittles!art portraits will be creating.

Introducing the Project to Students
1.       Define 8-bit Art and demo the project by showing the skittles!art PowerPoint presentation. http://www.slideshare.net/ksumatarted/skittlesart-and-8bit-art
2.       Show students the video demonstrating how to pixelate and skittle-ize an image.
3.       Discuss what kinds of images might be most interesting visually and thematically to skittle-ize.
4.       Assemble students into groups.
5.       Have students source/create base images for the skittle!art.
6.       At the computer, ask students to use Pixlr or Adobe Photoshop to pixelate and skittle-ize their image.
7.       Print the image in color on an 8 inch x 11 inch sheet of paper.

Student Preplanning
1.       Get the skittles sorted by color & store in 2.5 gallon ziplock bags (you’ll have a ton of volunteers for this!)
2.       Have students use a ruler and draw a grid over their printed pixelated image.
3.       Have students complete the “Skittles Art Preplanning Sheet”
a.       This sheet helps students make connections to preplanning and math
b.      This sheet helps students determine how much money they need to create their artwork
4.       Have student use information from the worksheet to cut a piece of cardboard and create a grid of the same proportions based on a 0.5 inch square (the size of a skittle).
5.       **optional** Have students use colored pencils/markers to color in the cardboard grid according to the skittle colors.  

Skittle-izing the Image
1.       Provide the students with hot glue and white school glue (both work).
a.       Hot glue=instant gratification, but it dries quickly (sometimes too quick) and leaves “spider webs” all over the work.
b.      White school glue=longer drying time, but it leaves no weird “spider webs.” But, if students apply to thickly, the skittle color will run and pool (it looks super gross).
2.       Allow students to problem-solve on their own how best to get the skittles onto the cardboard grid. This skill is closely aligned to the STEAM engineering problem-solving process.
a.       My students discovered it worked best if the printed color picture was folded over to only show the “line” of the grid currently being assembled.
b.      One student would count out how many of each colored skittles were needed and in what order.
c.       Another student would gather those colors.
d.      Another student would glue the skittles down.
e.      You can see a video of my students engaged in this process here: http://youtu.be/JRkDVOtbdIQ
3.       Each approximate 2 foot x 2 foot skittles!art portrait my students created (in groups of 3-4 students) took 12 hours to complete.

Finishing the Work
1.       Seal the work using a plastic-based resin. I have –in all honesty- not done this yet. But, after a bit of research, I found that plastic-based resin has been used by other skittles!artists, and is used to cover food used for props in dramatic enactments.
2.       Have students complete the “Skittles Selling Your Artwork” worksheet.
a.       This worksheet helps student to understand how artists price their work.
b.      It connects the project to the career of artists.
c.       This is also a STEAM-based connection, as part of the engineering process of STEAM asks students to make connections to the real-world market.
Secondary Project
1.       While my small groups were working on the large-scale skittles!art portraits, I had my other students create 8-bit artworks using skittles at their tables.
2.       They had an inspiration-based hand-out wherein they could examine 8-bit art. http://www.scribd.com/doc/228337152/8-Bit-Drawing-Prints
3.       Students created the 8-bit art at their tables, and they could option to glue it down, or to keep it temporary.
4.       Once completed, students were asked to take a picture of their artwork using a mobile device and upload it to twitter or Instagram using the hashtag, #skittlesart (if they had an account).

Last Thoughts
My students and I had such a blast creating these artworks. It was tons of fun. Here are a few of my lasting thoughts:
1.       No, students didn’t eat up all of the skittles. Once I explained just how many people had touched the skittles, they were pretty repulsed. A social stigma developed about eating the skittles; I definitely encouraged the stigma of “it’s gross to eat these handled skittles!”

2.       I gave each student the equivalent of a “fun-size” bag of skittles (from a fresh, unsealed bag) on the last day of the project. They knew they were going to get this; it made the whole “don’t eat these skittles!” thing a bit easier to manage.

3.       There will be skittles e v e r y w h e r e. Embrace it, and get some brooms. Make sweeping up skittles a regular part of this process.

4.       While the skittles are sorted according to color, my students found it easier to keep a small cup of the color they were currently using near them. Think of it as putting paint from a large container onto a paint palette.

5.       If you lean on top of the skittles!art, the skittles will get crushed. We learned this the hard way.

6.       If you make a mistake, you just tear up that skittle and put another down.

7.       The purple-colored skittles (the color used for darkest values, outlines, and blacks) goes the fastest. We had 40lbs of skittles, and we were picking up half-crushed purple skittles up off the floor to use!


8.       How did I, a Title I school teacher, afford this project?! Simple, I was asked to be a camp counselor for the STEAM camp at my school. I agreed to be a camp counselor if the school would provide me with the funds to this project (which I closely aligned to STEAM). The school was happy to do that! I’ve been waiting THREE years to do this project. Now that I have a positive, proven, outcome. . .I intend to collaborate with math and science teachers to share the funding burden and to seek out some grant funds. 

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Looking Back on 2013-2014 School Year

Here are my hands-down favorite things that went down during my 2013-2014 school-year.

I played GISHWHES again, and held a Robot Dance Party.


I taught 46 kids at a time. Whew. Intense.


The kids interacted with my artwork using mobile devices and social media. 

I was named Georgia Middle Level Art Educator of the Year by the Georgia Art Education Association.

I totally dressed up like Medusa for Halloween. 

 My selfie-ruining game got strong.

Over 50 of my students won awards of recognition and/or placement at juried exhibitions, shows, and student-art publishing. 

I went on a leadership-building camping trip with other education colleagues in my district. And, not only did I not freak-out; I was named a team-lead (wha-what!). 

I got to teach some awesome kids tons of totally cool art things (and stuff), but one of my year-long favorites was teaching them how to egg-tempera. 

My baby bro got his doctorate, and I got to be there to hear the first time he was called,"Dr."

Snowpocalpse, Atlanta-Edition, happened. It took me 6 hours to get home from work, and I couldn't leave my home for another FIVE days (here is a pic from the very last day of homebound-dom).

I got bored being stuck at home alone during Snowpocalypse. So, I became Louise Brooks. Then, I made my kids do something similar at school for a project (natch). 

I got to present at the NAEA Convention with Cheri Lloyd. . .Who may be one of the hands-down coolest people ever. We became insta-friends!
artwork by Tricia Fugelstad
I was hired as an adjunct professor of Art. You can call me Prof. Z. 

Their shirts read, "I'm Hers."
The last full-month of school, my colleagues recognized me with this. 

I taught this wonderful woman in high school. It was an absolute pleasure to attend her Undergrad Senior Exit Show. I was so impressed with her work, I cried (and I totally don't do that!).

I love my school's tradition of walking out to the edge of the property and waving to the kids on the last day of school.

I spent a lot of the year grinning with kids and then, and praising their crazy-awesome ways like this:

And, while that was so incredible, it kept me busy and sometimes made me feel like this: 

But overall, I gotta say, I feel this way about the school-year. . .Because, no lie, I believe I have the best job in the ENTIRE world!


Thanks for letting me share this year with you. I'm Looking forward to sharing the 2014-2015 hilarity, bedlam, awesome-ness with y'all.