Saturday, August 27, 2011

First Week Reflections...

Wow! This last 2 weeks has been a whirlwind. I am finally settling into my crazy schedule between 3 schools. I have learned a few things at the elementary school. First, I need to have more patience. Second, I need to be flexible because the kids love that! And finally, if I assert my needs, administration rises to the occasion.

I found that in the first week the kids are all adjusting too. I went in to it immediately expecting them to respond, be focused, etc in art class. That was an unrealistic expectation on my part. They are adjusting to a new teacher, in some cases, new classmates, and a new schedule...for anyone that can cause you to be less focused. By the second meeting, the students were much more focused, and it seemed that they were remembering what the behavior expectations for school.

Fifth grade getting inspired by Arshlie Gorky's abstractions.

Kids were refreshed by my flexible approach to the art projects. I heard a little bit about their former teachers expecting them to be "perfect" and do it "her way". This hurts my heart! After all, the art room should be the one place in school where kids can make projects their way! I had to remind classes of this. "If I wanted a photograph of a person, I would give you a camera. Draw a person the best you can. I want a drawing." This relaxed them! "You want to make your cityscape with flying lollipops? Sounds great! In art, anything is possible!" I could see a sense of excitement come over them...and it spread like wildfire. The creativity was so awesome it made me want to cry with pride. I released something in my students. I am helplessly addicted to teaching art!

Finally, I am learning that when I tell my principals things that I need and want, they jump to accommodate me. This is a bit different from the high school, where administration has so many teachers and students to handle. At the school where I am teaching in the cafeteria, my principal is working on getting me a portable sink and has ordered me a dry erase board on wheels with storage! So, I am learning that she who asks may receive, so I will have to keep that up.

I think it is also important for me to stay organized. Writing things down is really helping. I switched from an electronic planner (my phone) to an old fashioned planner and it is working better for me.

Whew. Hopefully I will have more to share with you soon!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Day Before School Prayers, 8 p.m. Bedtime!

I sooooo have many other things that I should be doing right now, with school starting tomorrow, but it is therapeutic to put it out in the world. My classrooms are as ready as they are going to be for the time being. I am finding I am a perfectionist. I want everything to be like its been there lived in for years...the impending start of school has forced me to quit nesting and just put down the to-do list and be ok with just ok. The students will have comfortable spaces and lessons prepared for them. So, that is good enough. The posters didn't all get hung, the procedure signs didn't get made. But, I will still be a good art teacher!

Once I let it go, I actually feel great! But I am still going to bed early so I can be at school bright and early at 6 am. (sigh)

Pray for me! I pray my instincts kick in and I work out things last minute when they come up. I pray that I stay on time. I pray my kids show up on time. I pray that I don't forget anything. I pray I keep up with journaling so I can stay organized. I pray most of all that I can make kids better people through visual art. I pray they learn something about themselves. I pray that they are proud when their work is hung up. I pray that their parents get excited and buy frames for their artwork. And  most importantly I pray that God provides the guidance, patience, and inspiration that I need to make this a terrific year.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Art Room Organization Pics

The Teaching Palette

I found this fantastic blog called the Teaching Palette. I haven't fully explored it yet, but check out this photo show on Flickr that art teachers shared about organizing an art classroom. FANTASTIC!

Organize Your Room!

Happy Cleaning!

Intro to Design Students Alter Books

As a summative assessment for my Intro to Visual Design students, I allowed them to do an altered book. My librarian was pruning away books that were just going into a dumpster or into teachers' private collections. Rather than throw them away, I thought it would be a great lesson on recycling, re purposing, and creating assemblage multi-media type work. It was cathartic for some students who chose subject matter that they hated so they could symbolically cover the pages with things they liked better. Other students chose subjects they enjoyed so they could incorporate the subject and writings in the books into the compositions. Students were challenged with creating 8 spreads (two open pages). They did not have to do anything to the outside, but if they did, they were awarded extra credit, and almost all the students did. While we worked I allowed the following you tube playlist to loop on the projector. Students who were stumped and not sure how to continue, could check out a video for ideas.

I also have a few books that I shared with them (I'll post the names later as they are in my classroom and I am at home).
Here are their creations: