Saturday, December 13, 2014

STEAM & Arts Integration Conference

Just a few more weeks until the upcoming STEAM and
Arts Online Pre-Conference and Conference! 

I will be presenting in both parts so be sure to look for my presentations.
If you were at the FAEA conference a few months and weren't able to get into to my workshops here is your second chance.

Check out what I'll be presenting...

Poetry: Painting Pictures with Words

This workshop demonstration shows how easy it is to incorporate Common Core Standards into your art room in an effort to support your fellow teachers and enrich your student's depth of knowledge. Marzano's teaching methods are incorporated seamlessly and efficiently. The Learning Goal for this lesson is, "I will be able to compare the similarities and differences between the Elements of Poetry and the Elements of Art". These connections are then used to create a design that successfully integrates elements from each of these subjects. Tap into your creativity as you paint pictures with words, and leave confident and inspired to bring a little "Core" into your core subject!

Hiding the Veggies in the Art Room

How “hiding the veggies in the art room” keeps student minds healthy and strong in the academic world. Interested in STEAM but not quite sure how to incorporate it into your classroom? Trying to find a way to mix in relevant art history into these types of lessons? Do you want to see real life classroom success stories? Then I’ve got what you’re looking for, and a little Escher and Dali too. Join me for a session that will help fill your art class with STEAM this year!

During the workshop I discuss integrating science into art lessons by: 
1 - using the scientific method for a mural color challenge (student centered/teachers hands off).
2 - using empirical observations and inferences to interpret works of art

Integrating math into art lessons by:
1 - discussing Escher's tessellations and symmetry
2 - organizing students to solve cognitively complex math challenges related to geometry and other mathematical concepts.

Technology by:
1 - showing how technology on a budget can create amazing works of art. All you need is an iphone, a photo editing app, and a plastic bag!

All of these are taught in conjunction with art history and techniques for a truly integrated and memorable experience for students.

All participants will receive my interactive power point presentations for a full unit of coordinating plans free! You could be done planning for the rest of the year! 
Does it get any better? :-)

Can't wait to hear from all the great presenters! "See" you there.

Friday, December 12, 2014

I Say You Write A...ISYWA?

It's a new game for our Art Room! 

We call is ISYWA...aka I Say You Write A...

In an effort to speed up the "review" time in class, I have created a new game. It's quick, easy, and very effective for monitoring. Those of you who already use white boards for this purpose can attest to how effective a tool white boards are for class monitoring and engagement.

Here's the deal. 

Students work together with shoulder partners to respond to words I say.
For example: If I say candy their response may be sweet, butterfingers, cavities etc...

Of course my words or prompts are all art related.
Once I say the word the teams have 20 seconds to come up with a response.
They may have to write a word or draw their response.
All boards are held up after 20 seconds are up and then it's their partners turn to write.
(this can also be done with a 1 to 1 ratio of white boards for individual monitoring/tracking)

They LOVE it! It's a game and they have no idea how beneficial this is for both them and me!

If you are an art teacher just think of all the quick checks you can do.


and the list goes on and on...

Monday, November 3, 2014

STEM to STEAM Fills me with Pride.

Reflective Teacher Challenge Day 3
What are you most proud of to date in your teaching career?

I absolutely love finding new and inspiring ways of integrating Art into STEM. 

Researching standards from multiple subject areas is both fun and challenging. This past weekend I spent countless hours researching space related standards for science in grades k - 6. I have to say I was shocked to see how little we expect these kids to know! Really! Are we living in the stone age?

After thinking and overthinking how I would combine space in science 

with space in art...

I decided to broaden my learning goals for my students and came up with integrated concepts I am really excited about.

"I will be able to use the elements of art to create a visual representation 

 of my understanding of space."

Of course the understanding part is scaffolded between grade levels according the standards but that's the jest of it. So excited to start this unit! It was a great day today as every class spent the day outside exploring or place in space.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Educating What Out of Them?

The Practice of Science in Art is a 7 week unit my classes just finished up this past week. While helping my students make connections between these two subjects, I made a surprising connection of my own.

First, a brief review of the weeks leading up to my new revelation...

All grade levels participated in this unit at an appropriate level based on their own science and art standards. The learning goal below was for my second grade classes.

I will be able to be able tell the difference between empirical observations and inferences, and use empirical observations and inferences to interpret works of art.

We started with science and had a bubble experiment. The students LOVED it! And everyone was excited to participate and share their findings.

We transitioned from science to art with the introduction of Salvador Dali! Dali claimed that aliens send him messages through his mustache that would tell him what to create. So students created their aliens and waited for the messages to be sent.

First graders received a message that they were to create a self portrait. But not a regular self portrait. They were to imagine they woke up one morning with a Dali mustache. Their self portraits were to illustrate the face they would make when they looked in the mirror. 

The students LOVED it! And everyone was excited to participate.

At the end of the unit I asked students to interpret their own art. Look at them write!! The students LOVED it! And everyone was excited

UNTIL... I told them they were going to present their interpretations in front of the class.

And THAT was when I made my own connection. Ken Robinson always talks about educating the creativity out of children. And I agree 100%. But last week I had another realization. It's not just creativity that's being educated out of these kids, it's more than that. 

I reflected on the thoughts going through my head. Trying to figure out exactly what I was thinking. I couldn't quite get my mind to put something together for my mouth to verbalize or my fingers to type so I decided to do what I had been telling my students to do for the past few weeks during this unit.

What had I empirically observed? 

Students were excited to create and make discoveries but embarrassed to present their findings to their peers. I reminisced of when my own children were young and trying new things. The smiles on their faces as they made new discoveries and the excitement in their eyes as they shared these discoveries with anyone who would listen to them. And I mean anyone. Little kids LOVE sharing what the know with the world.

I highlighted these key phrases as our unit progressed noting the gradual decline.

And everyone was excited to participate and share their findings.
And everyone was excited to participate.
And everyone was excited

What could I infer from these observations?

That something happens when kids start school that shuts down their enthusiasm to share what they know. That something happens in school that not only erodes at their creativity, but at their self esteem and confidence to communicate in front of others. Is it just that getting older we become more conscious of the way the world views us or is it something else, and is there anything we can do about it?

I have my own theories but am looking for your thoughts. Please comment and let me know what you think and if there is anything we can do about it.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Learning is Boring!

During today's 5th grade art class we discussed the topic of 6th grade, and how when kids leave elementary school they seem to really start hating school. I asked them why they thought that was.

The top two answers?

School is boring! 


Learning isn't fun!

To which I responded...

"Learning IS fun!!! Don't you have fun learning in this class?"

There was a resounding "Yes!" followed by, "But this is art class."

I shot right back at them "You should be having fun learning in all your classes!"

An response came from the back of my class that made me stop mid step...

"Then my other teachers are doing something wrong."

So I asked them. "What would make learning more fun?"

The students had so many ideas that I stopped what we were doing and headed straight for the board. I said let's write your ideas up here and see what we come up with.  What should we call this? They came with a blend of fun and learning and created a new word...

Furning: How to make learning fun.

A few minutes later it was the end of class but students were still at the board. 
And below you can see some of the ideas they came up with.

more field trips, fun games, more experiments...

dance, recess everyday, iPods and iPhones...

better motivations and more freedom...

Great thoughts! And honest. And the teachers at our school are wonderful! And they are fun. But I think with all the demands and changes and new standards and new tests and new teaching methods and new students and new zoning and on and on...I think with all that we as teachers are facing, that the fun has been taken out of teaching.  And the natural result of that happening is that the fun in turn has been taken out of learning.

"Having fun would make school AWESOME!"

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Growth by Pushing Past Fear!

This weekend was our annual FAEA (Florida Arts Educators Association) Conference in Daytona Beach. I have wanted to share my lessons with other teachers to help inspire them to STEAM Ahead with 21st Century Learning but have always found myself held back by fear. Fear of teaching to my peers, fear of the unknown, fear of being judged or criticized.

I faced those fears this weekend when my family made the painstakingly long, 1 hour drive, trip with me from Orlando to Daytona. The week prior I had considered canceling several times and even on the drive over I found myself looking for exits that I could take to turn around.

But by pushing through that fear, I was able to share my cross curricular teaching practices with fellow art educators whose creations are seen in these pictures. 

The mixture of Art and Poetry allowed these educators to be transformed into students who were free to express themselves without fear of judgement. Just as I had been set free to share my lessons without fear of judgement or criticism.

The illustrations and words were woven together to create a singular work of art that expressed the passion educators are usually too busy to take the time to create.

It was a wonderful weekend of collaboration, growth, and expression for presenters and attendees alike, and I am eagerly looking forward to the next chance I have to both inspire and be inspired by more amazing arts educators!!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Monitor! Monitor! Monitor!

Day 29

How have you changed as an educator since you first started?

One of the big things I would get deducted for on my observations was the monitoring piece. I either was inconsistent or didn't do it at all. It was so easy for me to justify my lack of monitoring by telling myself I only get these kids for 40 minutes once a week and that we have a class packed full of learning so there was no time.

I was WRONG!

I can monitor, and very easily and quickly. TeachThought had a great article on formative assessment a few months ago, and Edutopia had one just a few weeks ago. 

Some of the assessment listed I implemented immediately in my class and I put a very BIG reminder to myself on the walls in the front of the class.

With these visual reminders as prompts, I know am able to use quick and fun formative assessments to monitor my students throughout the lesson.


Last week we were discussing Empirical Observations versus Inference. A few students were still struggling with the difference. So I picked "Act Out" I had 2 students who understood the difference come to the front and act out each one. Other students in the class had to guess which one they were. I then had the students who were confused come up and act them out. 

It was quick, engaging, FUNNY, and memorable! Best of all I was monitoring them and assessing on the spot in a fun way.

Let me know if you are interesting in hearing other ways I quickly Monitor in my Art Class. Would love to share!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

What's a Weekend?

Day 27

What role do weekends and holidays play in your teaching?

I'd like to say I spend my weekends and holidays playing with family and recharging so I can feel refreshed and ready for each new week. I'd love to say that I create wonderful memories with my children on these weekends. But the truth of the matter is that my weekends and holidays typically look like this. 

I took these pic just now.

I've been working on a 9 week unit that incorporates Dali...

Into the "Practice of Science in ART!" Notice my wooden man is always ready to help with the creativity portion of the work. ;-p

I am working on finding more balance in my schedule but it's extremely difficult. As a single mom, my weeks are filled with driving my awesome kids to practices, attending their games or meets, grocery shopping, cleaning (or not), homework help and the list goes on an on as you moms know.

I am going to set a personal goal for myself right now. 

IWBAT (I will be able to), Marzano people you get this lol, find a way to make my schedule more efficient so I can spend the time doing this...

From the Dali Museum in St. Pete

Friday, September 26, 2014

They've Got What I Need!!

Day 26

What are your three favorite go-to sites for help/tips/resources in your teaching?

Love these guys! The Animation Chefs have taught me SO much about making movies!!

Edutopia and TeachThought are my favorite sites for PD in my PJs! I love learning from great articles found on both sites and have had tremendous growth as a teacher from the learning that took place because of the resources found here!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Lions and Tigers and EOC's in the Elementary Art Room OH MY!

This year, for the first ever, my elementary art students in grades k - 5 will all be required to take an End of Course exam.

Here are my concerns.

What's in My PLN Mix?

Day 22

What does your PLN look like?

I love interacting with the best teachers on social media sites and around my community. 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Doctor Who?! Sherlocked!

Day 21

Do you have other hobbies/interests that you bring into your classroom teaching? Explain.

Yeah baby!!! 

I LOVE the BBC. 

My two favorite shows are...


And here my friends is how I bring them into my class room...

Last year

This year

In addition to the outside decor, the inside working of my classroom have also been transformed. The theme is incorporated into everything we do. Last year our lessons took us time traveling with Doctor Who. This year we have mysteries to solve. 

I love the fun we have in class together!!!

Curating Art: A Job for Teachers and Students

Day 20

How do you curate student work–or help them do it themselves?

I am the curator of the Art Gallery at our school. Throughout the year I rotate pieces from the varying grade levels and projects to keep our gallery "fresh"! The picture below is from our Poetry in the Art Room unit. Students, Teachers, Parents, and Administrators love walking these "hallway galleries" looking at all the creative works of art.

Once a year we have Renaissance Night. It's the BEST night of the year. Almost all the families at our school attend this night for the Arts. The cafeteria is transformed into an impressive gallery, eliciting awe and marvel from all of our visitors.

In addition to these traditional forms of displaying student artwork, I encourage students to curate their own "galleries" on our Edmodo page and on their Instagram accounts. I love to see what inspired pieces students create at home, when art is not a required subject but a creative outlet for personal expression.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Student Interviews in the Investigative Art Room

TeachThought Reflective Teacher Blogging Challenge

Day 19: Name three powerful [ways] students can reflect on their learning, then discuss closely which one you use most often.

In my Investigative Art Room of Sherlock Holmes, I have a border listing formative assessments inside magnifying glasses. At any point during the lesson, I may point at one of these magnifying glasses and ask students to do what is listed inside. This works really for me because it is a constant reminder to monitor their learning. It also works really well for my students because they never know what I am going to ask them to do...and they LOVE surprises. Sometimes ;-p

The motto of our class this year is "Magnify Your Learning". These visuals cues are a creative reminder that we aren't just brushing the surface on things we learn. We are going deeper this year into true understanding and connections between the Art Room and their other academic subjects.

Below I have listed my top 3 student reflection strategies:

Identify Critical Information

Exit Slips
Don't mind the water leak from all the rain this year.

Some sample exit sleeps filled out by students after we had our first lesson about Contemporary Artist Diana AlHadid.

My all time favorite! Students love this one too. Students are strategically paired together and take turns being the interviewer and interviewee. Connections are sealed with this strategy as students are put on the spot to come up with questions and prove their responses. The class enjoys watching students "perform" and many happy laughs are heard 
as students do their best to take on their roles.