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”.
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.
Using 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)