Never Say Never

It could be that summer vacation is starting to feel too long (I know, sounds crazy, right?)…

It’s probably because on July 8th, I was part of a Connected Learning discussion at Arcadia University…

It’s probably because at that discussion I learned about CLMOOC and joined in on the fun…

What Art teacher could say no?  Not me, I jumped right in…
Make Cycle 1: Collaborative Coloring Book
coloring page  
#SilentSunday photo post

and I’ll be joining Thursday night Twitter chats @RadnorHSArt.

It’s probably because I keep making things
Anything creative to connect with my students, inspiring them to be makers, can been seen at RadnorHSArt

Personal things (my students don’t need to know everything I do) can be seen at Traderjeanie

Lastly, my small businessArt Recycles has a new home and I am in the process of creating again.

So here I am, BLOGGING when I said that I’d never blog again.  (#ED677’s lasting impact)

However, I’m compromising with myself; less words, more photos and links.



The equity piece that I became more aware of and focused on improving since mid-semester was making sure that art is accessible to everyone.  (Inspired by Letters to the Next President 2.0)  I blogged about art equity on March 14 as we “unpacked interest”, writing a letter to the school board.

The timing of this assignment coincided with my students selecting courses for the 2017-18 school year. Before students make their schedules, teachers are responsible for recommending courses.  I spend an entire class period going over the art electives that will be offered the next year which leads to the following comments; I want to take another art class, but I won’t have room in my schedule next year. Or, I am taking X amount of AP’s next year, so I need a free period to study.  

I cannot change graduation requirements, I cannot change the importance many place on AP’s, all I can do is change how I respond by making sure that the work that I do with my students is visible in the halls of the school and beyond through connections with the community. And that’s when I began to put equity into action- Art is for everyone!  The Keith Haring Project, Britto project, Earth Day wind-bells, etc.

The 10 self/world connection activity made me think about my teaching practices when it comes to CHOICE!  Choice has been something that I struggle with, so after I vlogged about it, I sought information and other points of view about a new trend in Art education called TAB- Teaching for Artistic Behaviors.  I follow a group of Art educators called, The Art of Education through social media (twitter and Facebook) I am an active participant in this group.  Since ED677, thinking about equity and connected learning, I have decided to give TAB a try next year.  I just spoke with my colleague about my plans to teach our intro class called, Art Studio 1, through centers.  This is going to require a complete restructure of my classroom (I spoke with the custodian yesterday to request peg boards and shelving, no turning back now) and a lot of prep work for me this summer as I plan to create QR codes in each center with links to resources.  I am finally ready to try this because I realize that students need more choice to make connections to things that they are passionate about. And this choice may actually help bring up enrollment numbers. I will also have my first student teacher next year, she will be instrumental to the success of TAB, I’m sure it will be important to have another teacher in the room to manage and maintain the classroom space.  I also plan to teach her all I have learned this year about equity and connected learning; she is excited to begin her career, a perfect candidate to mentor through connected learning principles.

I wish that I had written direct feedback to my peers’ blog entries directly to them in the comment section.  (I really appreciated it when I received feedback here.)  Often after reading peer entries, I was inspired by what I read to do something new.  I responded to many of them in my blog, but I am not sure if it was read by them, or if what I wrote came across the way I hoped.  I found reading everyone’s blogs to be reaffirming, reading them confirms what I know to be true; teachers are amazingly dedicated and willing to do whatever it takes to help their students be successful.  The passion everyone has for their content area was also evident.  I wish that I did not miss the last two Bluejeans meets because, although it’s an awkward thing to see yourself on screen, it was through these meets that I felt most connected to my classmates.

When I decided to re-enroll at Arcadia this spring, I did so to complete my masters to make a lane change. Knowing that we’d like to buy a new house, I need to earn my full salary potential, two classes is all that has stood between me and a raise (for 14 years!).  I thought I’d be taking an art class of some kind, but the one that I signed up for did not run due to low enrollment (ironic how that even happens at the college level).  Like so many other times in my life, the path I thought I would take, took a turn for the better.  This course was exactly what I needed, it refreshed my take on what’s happening in my district and enlightened me with ways that I can adapt to weather this storm of program cuts.  I am going to keep connecting art to EVERYTHING!  I am going to constantly check my practices to make sure that I am doing what’s best for my students.  #ArtMatters

Thanks for a great class, I’m glad that we’ve connected on Twitter, there you will find me continuing this work.  Peace out on this blogging stuff though 😉

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… 



Sharing Gathering Thoughts

Clicking on the wrong Blue Jeans link Thursday night connected Samantha, Jamie, Tosch and I for a bit until we realized that we weren’t being joined by everyone else.  As convenient as it was to take an online class verses driving to Arcadia, I realized Thursday night that I  missed the traditional classroom atmosphere and the opportunity to get to know a few of my classmates beyond the course.  In 2015, I attended Moore College of Art’s, Teacher Summer Institute.  It was an amazing week of collaboration with art teachers from all over, not just the Philly area.  We stayed on campus for the whole week, learning from one another, making and discussing art.  Through social media I still keep in touch with 3 women that I met that week; I’ve asked for advice about National Art Honor Society, I’ve cheered one of them on as she accepted a position at the same school that I student taught, and I’ve given advice to one of them as to why an entire batch of tiles had cracks.  We connected that week and continue to, often.  If any of my ED677 classmates want to make an art connection or need artistic advice, contact me!  I am always game. 


Once I joined in the correct discussion, I realized how passionate everyone is about their work.  Not that passion did not come across in weekly blogs, but the blog was an assignment.  Hearing about everyone’s final make went beyond an assignment, it’s practical- it gets the doing, not just talking about it. 

When I listened to Jamie’s make, “Where’s the food source” I totally related due to an experience I had with a student who benefitted from the backpack program.  I am going to talk with our guidance counselors, who I assume are in charge of collecting the food to  fill the backpacks, about including them in receiving some of the proceeds of our annual Empty Bowls dinner.  Typically these proceeds go to the local food bank, because of Jamie, I realize that our Empty Bowls dinner can give back to people within my school.  I never would have thought of that!

I appreciated hearing Samantha’s passion for theater, I believe that all of us in the arts feel that way, and I hope that she will find a teaching position that allows her to teach both English and theater. 

banksy I wonder how Alan finds the time to create so much artwork.  I tend to put off making art until summer vacation; I hope that life slows down soon and that I’ll be able to consistently do more.  Alan, keep drawing, your images are powerful and inspiring.  I’m sorry that I missed hearing your share directly from you, I did hear you mention memes, and would imagine that Banksy is more your style…

I have many friends in the foreign language dept. at my school.  After hearing Samantha K. speak about the multicultural night, I realize that I definitely need to make it a point to connect the Spanish teachers.  We could start with one like minded project, the Day of the Dead; I’d even like to take their trip to Spain some time! 

I’m going to try to NOT hold a grudge about STEM nights… I do wish that the A would be included, everywhere.  Art has been inclusive to science, FOREVER!  How do you think photography was invented!  As a clay artist, I know more chemistry than most people (okay, not chemists) since I had to make my own clay bodies and glazes from raw materials in college. I loved that!!!!  I tell my students all the time that, Art and Science and Art and Math are good friends. 


I am Designing for Equity

What was blogging like?

Blog, Blog, Blog…

I will never blog again. 

When you’re not a writer, blogging is HARD.  I don’t feel like I expressed who I am as a student or educator in my blogs.  When I read my peer’s blogs, they seemed so much more sophisticated than mine, I felt as if everyone else expressed insightful connections to one another and I could not compete.  It took me forever to go through all of the requirements in each assignment post (especially when assigned to some of those links like Storri and NWP Digital is,  I got really into them and hours went by before I knew it.)  By the time I’m done with the readings/links/videos and peer posts, I just want to put what I’ve learned into action.

This photo shows my “map”, I didn’t post it before because I didn’t think it was a map.  But this is me, stacks of notes all over the place, they are my “thinking maps”!  Writing down key points all semester definitely lead me to make connections.  I know that because, since this class began, the lesson’s that I have planned for my students and the conversations that I had with administrators and colleagues have never been more clear to me that ART MATTERS. And sometimes, I don’t even realize the impact of this course until I am having conversations and I hear myself giving credit to this course .

I always have a full plate.  It’s how I thrive.  Every Friday, a University of the Arts, art education graduate student volunteers in my classroom.  She is always amazed at everything I have going on, she asked me this week if I documented all of the things that I do.  She suggested that I take photos and add things to Linked In.  (Linked In? Isn’t that what you join to find a job? It seems like a college student idea, because, I am not looking for a job.)  I told her that I’d need to hire a secretary to do that, because I am a “do-er”. I do one thing and then I move on to the next.  I feel as though my students’ work documents all of the things that I do, which is why I am constantly displaying it.  I know her suggestion was for me record my ideas (I think to share with her classmates); in my mind, I do share, on Twitter and Instagram because those platforms work for me.  Twitter and Instagram- a limited amount of writing, photos (I love to take photos, and a picture is worth a 1,000 words) and clever hashtags, I can do that! (BTW, I’ve been writing these 2 paragraphs for an hour and 20 minutes- yikes!  Not a writer)


Let’s talk about those Small and Big Moves

As an Art teacher,  the courses that I teach are electives, (and we all know how high schools work) some of my students did not elect to be there.  Art is MY thing.  I am an artist.  ED677 got me thinking… what do I want out of my courses? The answer, to make my students creative thinkers and problem solvers. I want my courses to engage my students so that they are ambassadors to the cause, “Art Matters”.

posterSmall Moves

Every winter, just before 8th graders are tasked with creating their freshman schedule, my colleague and I ask our students to answer a prompt, “I take Art because” on a selfie. We print them out and hang them in the halls for the 8th graders to read when they attend “Winterfest”- the night they come up to the high school with their parents to preview electives and clubs.  The first year that we did this prompt, I was so disappointed by the recurring responses; I take art because… it’s fun.  It’s a break in my day. It’s relaxing.  The second year, I knew to expect these responses so I was a little less disappointed.

This year, when I printed out the same responses, I responded to them differently.  Our students are stressed out!  They have full plates!  Plates filled with parent expectations, college admissions, relationships, friendships, jobs, etc.  This year, because of ED677, I was happy to read that my courses are fun, relaxing and a break in their day.  It’s actually kind of awesome that my students think this because I know that the assignments that I design are challenging and that they require my students to be creative thinkers and problems solvers. I am meeting my goal.


Then I began thinking about Big Moves!  I wanted my students to experience something that no other class could offer, hence the Keith Haring Project that I previously blogged about.  I wanted my students to be creative thinkers, problem solvers and to experience what it was like to create art in a public space.  I wanted to provide them with an assignment that connected them to a “real” artist’s experience, and the results were better than I could have ever imagined.  My students were so “freaked out” about making art outside the classroom that one of them actually went to her guidance counselor about it!  Others were more communicative to me, prompting me to come up with locations that were less visible than main hallways just to get them out into the hall.  In the end, when they reflected, they told me how great the experience was and how glad they were that they overcame apprehensions.

That lead me to the Britto Project that they are working to complete now.  Britto is an artist who addresses social causes through positive imagery.  I introduced this project at the same time that our principal came on the loud speaker to address inappropriate behaviors that had been occurring.  His words made me sad, and I was thinking about how they made my students feel, and I decided then and there that the Britto project was going to reflect all of the wonderful things about our high school.  We are going to turn the conversation around.

greatnessUsing the app BaiBoard 3, students created a list of all of the things they loved about our high school, this list was projected as students added to it.   By the end of this week, inspiring compositions that point out the positive side of our school will be on display in the hallways, creating connections of positivity to every viewer that sees them; students, teachers, administrators and staff.

And that’s a big move.  Getting the fun, the break in the day and the relaxing feeling that art creates out of the classroom and into the whole school so everyone, enrolled in an art class or not, can benefit.  I had students that I’ve never spoken to, approach me in the hall (after the airing of the Keith Haring Project, it played on our morning announcements), to tell me how cool this project was.  I got to share with them how nervous I was to be filmed- just as nervous as my students who were nervous about making art in the hallway.  I cannot wait to hear the conversation that the Britto compositions spark!

And there it is, connected learning and equity principles- Art is for everyone, in the flesh.  And there is so much more work to do, and that’s what my Final Make is going to be about, making sure that Art is for everyone, so stayed tuned for me on Thursday night.



Connected Learning Slide Presentation

We attend monthly PLC’s in our school.  May 2nd is our last meeting of the year (yippee!), I plan to share this presentation with my group.  The members of my PLC cover a variety of content areas, I think this slide presentation will leave my colleagues with something to consider over summer vacation, leading to a whole new PLC subject in 2017-18.

I loved this course, I’ve learned and applied a ton, I just have a hard time putting it all into words and blogging about it (It’s 12:20 am; a completed blog post, 4 hours and 25 minutes later)







Shared Purpose


Shared purpose learning in ED677 is centered around equity and connected learning; through weeks of assignments, we have been motivated to reflect on our own practices, discovering and acknowledging the work that we do in our classrooms to inspire our students to engage in learning  that is meaningful both inside and beyond our classroom walls.  By sharing on our blogs, we have collaborated and inspired one another to continue our work of striving to meet the needs of all of our students in equitable and creative ways. 

“Shared Purpose is a Project of Humanity” -Danielle Filipak

I really connected with her point of view of shared purpose; grows organically out of need, students then have a collective investment and it produces imaginative work.  Danielle defines shared purpose as, adults and young people coming together to engage in a project that means something to them, naturally, it’s not imposed.  I really appreciated her enthusiasm and inspiring responses to the students’ questions. 

Harry Potter Alliance

For the second year in a row, Harry Potter won our HS’s March Madness: Battle of the Books: Heroes verses Villains.  (The first time Harry won, it was Battle of the Books: Classic vs. Contemporary.)   The great thing about BOTB is that it generates a lot of discussion about reading, English teachers love this!  My homeroom students were less than thrilled that Harry Potter won again, many students commented that he’s the only character the majority knows.  I’ll admit, I was also disappointed,  I was rooting for Katniss (girl power), however after reading about the Harry Potter Alliance and watching the TedX video, I say, “Congrats Harry, well deserved.”  I think our school could use a new club, Potter Heads. 

The Boggs School, “No Water, No Life”
To take a problem like poverty and exaggerate many of its stereo types to make a point was not lost on this group of grade school students.  Using a documentary film narrative to investigate and expose the story was brilliant.   I especially liked the student interviews at the end, just like real movies.  There is power in replicating media that we take seriously, and these students addressed a variety of issues that many people would think was lost on youth. 

Creating Spaces for Students to Make Laura Fleming (Digital Is)
My high school has “free periods”, 9th graders are assigned study halls but 10-12 grade students are allowed to leave (open campus), sit in the hallways, go to library or cafeteria.  Lately, this freedom has resulted in many discipline problems centering on class cuts and noise in academic hallways.  I am 100% convinced that maker spaces are the solution; students need a place to decompress, tinker, geek out.  Every time it’s suggested, it comes down to funding; staffing and supplies, but to me, that seems small when the outcome has the potential to be great. 


This year a group of students approached me about Vans Custom Culure’s shoe design competition.  Talk about Need for Deed.  All I did was facilitate; students communicated with one another through our LMS Schoology, collaborating ideas and arranging work time.  I kept my room open twice a week after school for student to work on the shoes, and they independently submitted the work over our Spring Break last week.  I am so proud of this group of students, some of whom I have worked with and others, I have not.  The Art Center felt like a maker space for these students, and they did great work at little cost.

Be You House
It just makes sense that education should be this way!  Interest driven, peer supported, socially motivated, openly networked and production centered.  I have a lot of disengaged students who would excel at the Be You House, including my own son…

The implications of shared learning …keep fighting for the good fight.  A growth mindset is not just something we need our students to have; educators need to have it too.  Education is fluid, so must be its practices.





Unpacking Interest

Letters to the Next President 2.0 …
You can tell by the passionate writing that each author has a strong interest in their topic.  I noticed that the authors have a solid understanding of the problems we face as a society.  I chose to read letters under topics that I am most interested in; the environment, school and animal abuse.  As I read letters about climate change and fracking, I am convinced that the authors know more than our current president; I hope that these young students continue to question policy and act to seek change in their future professions.  I wonder how many of the authors will become activists and/or policy makers.  I appreciated this student’s passionate writing about the outdated approach to education, emphasis on competition and lack of creative opportunities.  I remember feeling the same way as a young person and even today as an educator.  This studnet’s letter promted my assignment…

Dear School Board Members,

This fall, you quietly made the decision to reduce our HS art program when you replaced a full time art position with a .3.  I understand that budgets are difficult to balance, but so are the educational experiences of a young student.  By cutting the art program, you took learning opportunities away from our students, replacing a full time teacher with a .3 directly and negatively impacted students.  You justify the cut in the art program by pointing out that art is still available to students, on the surface, that is a true statement, but not a clear picture.  Without the .7 staffing, you reduced the opportunities for art to fit into student schedules, leaving students with free periods which are actually missed opportunities for learning. 

The art classes at the high school teach to the whole student; our curriculum not only addresses National and State art standards, it also incorporates, reading, writing, math, science and advanced uses of technology.  Art inspires students to think critically, evaluate and problem solve.  When students heat metal in order to bend it into something functional or review the outcome of ceramic glazes after firing, they are applying science.  When students mat and frame their artwork, they are applying math skills.  When students curate a digital portfolio, reflecting on their artwork and defining who they are as artists and creative thinkers, they are practicing skills that they will need in order to prepare college and job applications. 

When budget cuts affect the arts, again and again, it creates an imbalance of educational opportunities. One of the district’s core values…  “There is a direct connection between the pursuit of one’s passion and the joy of learning”, if you truly believe that- support the arts.  Maintain opportunities for students to fit art into their schedule, please stop taking them away.

Art Matters

What are the implications for this kind of letter writing?  It makes the author take a stand, inspires passion and personally makes me want to pursue the topic further to ensure that there is change.  Letter writing like this creates advocacy and hopefully inspires action.

What are the implications for equity?  Since there are so many different topics that people feel connected to and passionate about, letter writing like this gives voice, attention, to a variety of subjects.

What do I think about my inquiry?  When learning is driven by interest, students commit.  Students go beyond expectation and share their experiences, without being required to do so.  When students share, they inspire. We are living in a revolutionary time, through inventions in technology every student is a maker and can share their work around the world.  When students are given the opportunity to learn driven by their interests, learning becomes something for everyone. It levels the playing filed, no one is the expert or keeper of knowledge.  Everyone contributes, everyone grows through the process.

Weekly Share (inspired by Chapter 1: Interest- Driven Learning)

I’ve been working diligently to create authentic art experiences for my students and art connections between students who take art and those that do not.  Since art is an elective, and my high school offers a variety of electives to choose from, I’ve been seeking ways to get art out of my classroom and also ways to expose everyone to the learning that takes place inside.  Keith Haring was the perfect artist to use, he believed that art is for everyone.  With a little help from a colleague who runs the TV studio… Check out this video, The Keith Haring Project (there is a little shout out to this course in the interview.)

Students were then asked to reflect upon their experience in a voice thread.  First they were required to reflect on their expeience of creating art in a public space. Secondly, they had to describe the meaning behind their artwrok.









10 Self/10 World Questions

10 Questions that I have about myself as a connected teacher

1.        Do I teach to the whole student? Am I designing lessons that teach my students more than Art skills? 

2.        Am I discouraging my students from pursing Art as a profession since I became a teacher? Am I teaching my students ways that they can earn a living as an artist?
Erik L mentioned Classroom Connect in his blog, and a light bulb went off when I read what it was about.  I know many local, working artists- a virtual interview would be a great way to connect my students to artist, right in their studios!  New goal, connect my students to working artists.

3.       Am I making my students want to be a teacher, whether it’s in Art or another content area?  Do my students think I like my job?

4.       Am I connecting enough with my students to inspire them? Are my students inspired by me?

5.       Am I participating in enough continuing education opportunities?  If I participated more in my content area, would I still want to teach?

6.  Should I give my students more choice? Can I give up this control and still produce enough work to fill display cases and district exhibitions?

7.       How can I design lessons … do I design lessons that provide the right opportunities for all of my students since my classes are heterogeneous- variety of ages, variety of skills/abilities, variety of experiences?

8.  Do I create lessons that facilitate connections within my classroom community? Do attend to all of my learners including those with special needs?

9.   What motivates me to advocate for the arts?  Breathing? A paycheck? 

10.  Does flipped learning help me connect with my students?  Or does it disconnect us?


My stance– Students should connect with their artwork.  My wobble– do I give my students more choice?  How do I do that, and if I do, will I get the quality of work I am expecting (do my expectations come from fear of what my administrators are expecting?)

Teaching for Artistic Behavior (TAB) is gaining momentum. The pros and cons of choice



10 questions that I have about designing for connected learning and equity

1.    What are my students’ interests?  Skill levels, experiences? 

2.    Where did their interests come from?  Is it my job to inspire new ones?

3.    What motivates my students to get involved beyond course requirements? 

4.    How can I design meaningful opportunities for my students beyond the classroom? Do I have the time/energy to facilitate this in a meaningful way? 

5.    Is it enough to just provide outside resources that connect with classroom experiences? 

6.    Do my administrators see the importance, I am after all, “only an art teacher”?  How do I prove the importance?  Do I need their support? Do I seek their support?

7.    When does incorporating technology become too much?  How do I handle parents who complain that I am too technology focused?  Is that such a thing in 2017? 

8.    How do I share classroom experiences?  How do I make/acknowledge the participation of individuals equitable?  Safe?

9.    Is it always my job to provide equity and connected learning or it is the whole school’s?  A community effort?  A building goal?

10.  Is connected learning ahead of its time- is too liberal?  Is it understandable to parents who argue that there was nothing wrong with the way they learned math by memorizing facts? 


  • When I saw this video, it made me think of connected learning.  One drawing connected to another, to another with a simple change in view.
  • Here’s a little free style/rap for you… I try to inspire my students to learn in a variety of ways, love this video.  Wish I had more time to do things like this!
  • How Art connects feelings to wordsThe Emoji!



Every day I wobble

I found myself nodding in agreement with Garcia and  O’Donnell-Allen’s chapter What it Means to Pose, Wobble, Flow from Pose, Wobble, Flow: A Culturally Proactive Approach to Literacy Instruction.  Isn’t P/W/F the mantra of a growth mindset?  I live for this “uncertainty” in my classroom, it’s what motivates me daily.


wearing my heart on my sleeve

I can identify my teacher stance as Art Matters.  I am constantly making sure that everything I do in my classroom teaches students skills beyond art production.  Art matters, because my students don’t just make art in my classroom room; they read, write, learn and practice new technology skills, etc. through the content of art.  There is a myth that high school art teachers are totally in their element because they teach to students who are interested in art; however, very few of my students will go on to art school after graduation.  I teach to a wide variety of students so it is my job to teach to the whole student, that’s where equity enters my classroom.  I am not “just an art teacher”, art is my content.

The wobble happens constantly in my classroom.  My students always want to know if the upcoming project is “easy”.  I always reply that projects are challenging because it’s my job to challenge them.  High school students want to do well, they want the A on their report card; they earn that A in my class, it does not come easily. I constantly refer to my students as creative thinkers and problem solvers, not artists.  I constantly tell them that it’s my job to expose them to new learning experiences, and that hesitation and uncertainty about their work is part of the process.  The flow is when they work through that and they discover the magic- Art.  Luckily, I have a great rapport with my students.  A retirement at the high school level provided me with an opening to move from elementary art to high school art- many of my current students had me way back when.

I found myself thinking about curriculum writing while reading this week’s assigned articles.  I actually enjoy curriculum writing because it’s a great exercise to take a stance, are current courses relevant?  Start the wobble, what needs to change?  And find the flow through reflection and adjustments.  I connected with Anne Lamott’s idea that writers should, “write books that they wish to come upon”; I design courses and lessons that I would want to take.

leh2162’s Storri, Not What I Imagined made me wonder if this is what it will be like to have a student teacher.  I plan to have my first student teacher this fall, I feel that I am ready to be a mentor, however I also have concerns like the ones presented in this storri.  My fear is that new teachers have this ideal that they can facilitate engaging lessons right out of the gate, what they don’t realize are the steps it takes to build a foundation for a dialogical classroom.  I give credit to this new teacher for wanting to really engage students in higher thinking activities, but also support the veteran teacher’s reservations and need to gain back control.  Many of my high school students would not be able to preform at the writer’s expectations without the lesson broken in chucks with clear expectations such as a culminating activity.  I wonder how I will handle this type of situation…  One thing I know is that, professionally,  I am ready for a student teacher.  I live for the wobble, I am willing to “perch on the cliff and jump with only a vague sense of the wings one might build in order to soar” (Fecho, GLOBALIZATION, LOCALIZATION, UNCERTAINTY AND WOBBLE: IMPLICATIONS FOR EDUCATION) and I will work diligently to ensure that my student teacher soars as well.


clean up

Context Matters by Angela Dean is making me questions my use of memes in my classroom.  Last year, my classroom became so unkempt, I resorted to spending hours on-line finding humorous memes to get students to clean up after themselves. The truth is, although it was the students who did not clean up after themselves, the mess was the result of unstated expectations from the teacher with whom I shared my classroom.  It was really this teacher’s classroom management that I had an issue with, not the students.  Proper clean up time was not factored into class time, students were always rushing to get to their next class. Proper clean up procedures were not in place and there were no clean up expectations stated.  The memes helped last year and totally work this year because that teacher is no longer in my classroom.   Even the custodian thanked me for keeping the room much cleaner this year as he pointed to one of the memes.  I wonder, are the memes still needed as friendly reminders to be responsible for supplies… if I were to remove them, will the mess slowly resume, or have I done my job of setting expectations?

I enjoy reading the stories on Storri, I will bookmark this site and will definitely share it with my peers!




Connecting, sharing and inspirations- Find your Tribe

  • Tosch’s almost rap made me think of this video…
    Get your children involved in the play 😉 I know I muster incredible courage when my children are around.
  • If Angela Dean is correct and context matters, imagine a personal handshake with your teacher!  Awesome.
  • Mrs. Kelly’s poetry slam story is exactly why I took on the Vans Custom Culture contest.  I did not need another task on my plate, however, every student deserves an opportunity to shine.  Our first meeting to design Vans for the contest is this Wednesday, wish me luck!
  • The Art of Education is a must follow for any art teacher.
  • Fran is a colleague and friend.  She is one of the most positive people I know.  She has great insight and her energy maintains my flow.  She writes a blog, From the Instructional Coach.
  • Charlene is a colleague and friend, she teachers Spanish and is an ELL teacher.  Charlene often suggests art classes to her ELL students because she agrees that Art Matters .  Recently we welcomed Samuel to our school, he is enrolled in two of my classes.  I am thrilled to work with him, his enrollment in my classes was Charlene’s doing, she knew that we’d be a good fit.



THE GAME! The make, READ and Share

semi formal


Wow, after ED 677 Blue Jeans chat on Thursday, I gave serious thought about how I approach life.  I kind of think of  life as a game and began to wonder if I’m doing life all wrong… So I thought about a few current life situations and realize that I LOST!  Not only am I playing THE GAME, I am playing several games and now that I’m aware of it, I have apparently lost.

Game 1- Parenting.  Last Friday night, my 14 year old casually tells my husband and I that he’s taking his “girlfriend” to a semi-formal in a week (the semi formal was yesterday).  Surprised (because he’s a bit of a wall flower) I said, “what are you wearing?”  and he replied, “a suit”, and the game was on.  He does not own a suit, or a tie or dress shoes!  This was going to cost me some money!! I kind of thought that maybe he’d get cold feet and tell me that wasn’t going to go after all, so I waited until Wednesday to ask him if he got tickets.  His answer was, “Yes”.  OMG!  He probably needs to get her a corsage, right?  So Friday morning, I call and order one, totally waiting until the last minute because I’m still thinking that it’s not going to happen.  The game was still on, Friday after school, he and I headed to Macy’s and went suit shopping.  I’ve never purchased a suit for my child before, so I, played the game of acting like I knew what we were looking for in a suit so that he’d be confident.  After a chat with the tailor, we had the perfect suit for him.  Check them out!  When did he grow up on me?  Yep, totally lost this one.  The cost of his outfit $280, the boy I see in this photo, priceless.


I require my students to use technology, a lot.  Besides a tool for making art, it also provides them with opportunities to learn apps and acquire skills to use any and everywhere.  For my MAKE tonight, I thought I’d create a video of me explaining the second game that I’ve been playing, and now lost.  I am sharing my video through Viemo.

Game 2- Love it or List it

What I’ve learned about myself playing this game?  I am highly competitive, I am in it to win it!  I may procrastinate along the way, but in the end, I get it done.

Mitchel Resnick talks about the “Little c”, in his article and as an Art teacher, I couldn’t agree with him more.

“My focus here is on what researchers have called “little c” creativity – that is, creativity within one’s personal life – not “big C” Creativity that transforms the boundaries of an entire discipline or domain. The goal is not to nurture the next Mozart or Einstein, but to help everyone become more creative in the ways they deal with everyday problems.”

As an Art teacher, I constantly point out that it’s not my job to make students into artists; it’s my job to make my students creative thinkers and problem solvers. He’s a great video of how Art education is so much more than teaching students to be an artist!

Keep on Playing

On Tuesday, we met our new superintendent.  He introduced himself with a drawing his now 12 grade son drew of him when he was in Kindergarten.  He’s kept it all these years, art matters!  Why Children’s Drawings Matter

Little c  Imagine: How Creativity Works

Here’s a creative game that could be played in a variety of classrooms to teach vocabulary.

Lastly, rethinking play as passions.  Here are a few people I follow on Instagram who clearly have taken play to a higher level…

🎨 @howard__lee Curated by 📡 @yesladypheOnix #TheYesUniverse

A video posted by ## ## (@artfido) on

Quick one • Have a good weekend! #art #Visothkakvei

A video posted by Visothkakvei (@visothkakvei) on