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!!

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