Saturday, April 20, 2013

West Tennessee Art Education Association Conference

I have just returned from Memphis, Tennessee where I taught my first hands on teacher workshop. What an amazing experience! The participants were at the Memphis College of Art on a Saturday to be professionally developed in all things assessment.

I planned the activities with the idea of Experience before Label in mind. (Kudos to you if you recognize that Quantum Learning Key!) Anyway, I have sat through my share of "lectures" so I thought my fellow elementary folks would enjoy a little music, a little hands on and a whole lot of assessment!

I modeled an Identity unit I developed several years ago in response to a Pop Art exhibit at our local museum. Designed for 4th graders, students explore the concept of Identity by looking at everyday objects and symbols. This lesson stretches the student's idea of what a self-portrait is beyond just the physical characteristics of the artists. By looking closely at non-traditional self-portraits as well as the work of Andy Warhol's use of repetition and variation. Embedded in this unit participants used idea books, essential questions, check lists, rubrics, and student self reflections. The feedback was very positive so I have decided to submit this model to NAEA 2014! Here are some of the work-in-progress that teachers created today! Imagine 100 Soup Can Self-portraits hanging together! The portraits, like people, look the same from a distance, but up close you realize that each one is an individual! Our students are not just numbers, a brick in the wall, they are people, each unique individuals.
3-D Soup Can- OH-YEAH!

So, what did I learn? 
  • I learned that I love teaching art teachers!
  • Well crafted units get the same response not matter what group you teach it to and that was just plain fun to be a part of!!
  • I have something valuable to share and so do you. 
  • We all find our voices in different ways at different times  and maybe I have found mine. 
  •  Being an ostrich (head in the sand) or a gazelle (running away) about scary stuff like assessment will not help you master it. By accepting the challenge, taking risks and trying something new, even failing, you show yourself and your students that you are a life-long-learner and you are not afraid to learn from your mistakes. What a great way to teach our students grit!!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Out of this World!

Ok- Get ready because this unit was so much fun! I found this idea in the January 2012 edition of School Arts called "Building a Better Robot". It was was like a summer blockbuster movie, it had everything! Stamping with found objects (cheap, right?), elements of a landscape (at least the way I taught it), drawing, chalk, into to perspective/space, core review of the planets in our solar system, storytelling and imagination. It was a great find so I taught it to my 1st graders last year and it was a hit!
Well, this year I had an iPad and know how to use it, so I did. I borrowed some iPads from one of my first grade teachers who is very tech-y (Thanks Mr. Tanner!) and went to work. I photographed all of the backgrounds and robots before the classes came in and put them into Dropbox (I am so new at this I didn't even think it would work). I showed the kiddo's how to use an app called Puppet Pals. They imported the stamped robot as the actor and the background as the, well, background and then recorded a puppet show that gave information they wrote on their Mission Report, two facts about the robot and where it was "tested".

What did I learn:

  •  You need more than one iPad for sure and having control over the iPads for pre-work more than five minutes before the kids come in is really helpful. 1:2 worked for me (2 kids per 1 iPad)
  • You can export from quicktime to iMovie but not from Dropbox to iMove, that I know of-I'm new.
  • Six year olds still love to make funny noises especially when they are being recorded and the ones who will not be quiet during class to save a life will be the same children you can not hear on the video!
  • I have a big mouth- I can hear my own yapping in almost every video- I need a silent quiet sign for recording.
  • Everyone else is loud too...I we need to have a sound studio or a "recording zone" so that people don't get so much background noise in the recordings.
  • I hope this video shows- If not I will repost...did I mention I was new at this? 
I can say this, I am proud of my first attempt at bring iPads into the art room and I really did learn as much if not more than the kids did! (I even taught my tech-y teacher friend a thing or two that I discovered!) Woo-Whoo! 

Stay Art-Z my friends!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Assessment Tools for the Elementary Visual Arts Classroom

It is now online! I couldn't email the presentation that I used at this year's NAEA conference in Fort Worth because of it's size, but I have had a lot of requests for it. It has a lot of great visual examples that will be showing up on my blog soon, but in the mean time, here it is! I posted it on my page. Don't worry, it's free!
TpT is a great site for resources if you haven't checked it out yet. I have used it to get ideas. For a dollar or two you can find some amazing, teacher-made resources. (It is kind of like a consignment sale.) You know what they say, time is money! Sometimes you have time to modify but not create and there are a lot of free things. The first thing you post has to be free. And it is free to sell could earn some money for extra supplies!! Just saying!