Art Matters: My Final Make

My Spark Page (final make) can be found here.

How did I get here…

I think it was when I created a video in response to our assignment 10 questions I have about designing for connected learning.  The video is too large to share on Edublogs free version, it’s too large to upload onto Vimeo… it is now on my Google drive, but I have no idea if anyone can see it…. The jist of the video is me wondering if Connected Learning is too liberal of a concept.  Will connected learning be another educational buzz word that sticks around for a few years only to be replaced by something else?  The way I see it, Connected Learning groups together the best of prior educational buzz words like differentiated instruction and project-based learning.  So with that in mind, I began to focus on how I could use ART as a vehicle of inspiration, action, change to benefit not only those participating but everyone within our school community

Truth is, I have been doing this in small ways; connecting with like minded teachers like our librarian and now my good friend Michelle.  Michelle and I began working at the high school the same year, we both came from the elementary level, so collaboration was something that we were both used to.  She and I instantly connected when she told me to feel free to use the display cases in the library foyer (it’s a great spot to feature my students’ work!)  We constantly find ways to collaborate, for example, her student book club read I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson and I taught them how to make sculptures like a character in the book.  Our first One Book One School was one big endangered species collaboration and this fall we invited elementary students to the high school; she read them “spooky” stories and art club members taught them how to create Ed Emberly’s “haunted house”.   All great work, however, those examples of collaboration only reached a small amount of students. 

Empty Bowls is all about connecting Art with a social cause, ending hunger.  This year (admittedly before ED677) making handcrafted bowls not only connected students and teachers within our school community, but for the first year ever, we went beyond.  Empty bowls became a PTO MLK Day of Service activity and reached people who have never been involved before, making our dinner a super success.  This year, besides a local bakery, the Franklin Fountain heard about our dinner and contacted us about donating ice-cream- that was HUGE! 

Then I got bigger with my ideas… The Keith Haring Project.  I involved the TV studio (more students), they recorded the process of my students making art in the hallways- 1980 Keith Haring subway drawing style.  Students in the halls saw the creation process first hand and everyone in the school watched the video on the morning announcements.  Now Art making was reaching a larger audience and making bigger connections! 

The Earth Day opportunity came from Michelle again.  Her children go to Wayne Elementary School, she’s on the PTO and they were looking for creative ideas for an Earth Day activity.  I am thrilled she came to me. Michelle knows that not only do I have ideas, I seek opportunities to make creative connections. 

I was feeling great about all of my accomplishments this year, and then we got our course enrollment numbers.  Enrollment is down, again.  Why? How can I get that to change? 

My Spark Page (final make) is my year in review of why Art Matters.  I tweeted it.  I shared it with ED677.  I shared it with my grad school volunteer.  What I really need to do is share it with my principle, my curriculum supervisor, probably even our new Superintendent, because I need to keep reminding people that Art Matters.  Art matters just as much as STEM and just as much as AP courses. 

I took ED877’s gathering advice, to connect with my colleagues.  I know that I’ve been doing so, but hearing from you- to keep reaching out, got me thinking.  What I realized is that I’ve been connecting with like minded colleagues, the ones who know me because they appreciate the art on display in the hallways.  How can I connect with EVERYONE?  How can I get everyone in the building to see the impact Art has on their students; the mathematicians, historians or philosophers?  Some students are known for their athletic accomplishments besides academic, I want them known for their artwork as well.  I’d like to work with a chemistry teacher to create a glaze that can be used in the Intro to Ceramics class- that’d be an awesome connection.  I’d like to work with a French teacher to create art like an impressionist.  I’ve got a ton of ideas and can offer many meaningful ways to connect disciplines, but how can I get those teachers on board?  My course final- students’ digital portfolio presentations!

AS1 Final-upaz60 The final in all of my courses is a digital portfolio presentation.  Students can choose an app of their choice to create a digital portfolio; however, Keynote and Spark Page are the only two that have been used so far.  The last slide of the portfolio has always been a photo of the artwork that the student was most proud of and an explanation as to why.  Seemed logical; however, after taking this course and the advice of ED677, the last slide is going to be different this year.  This year, students will be required to share their digital portfolio with a teacher that they trust.  Students will be required to photograph the teacher while they are looking at his/her digital portfolio, and teachers will be asked to write a comment to the student about the work.  The photo and comment will become the last slide and hopefully it open the door to inter-disciplinary collaborations, connecting more students to art!

It seems only fair that if I am going to require my students to share their digital portfolio, that I should share my final make.  Looks like I have some emails to send… 



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