*To help with the extra work for the art teacher, Duane suggested giving your parent volunteers a name like APA (Advocate Parents for Art).
*Peter London seminar on yoga and drawing from nature.
*For deeper engagement consider the following:
What are you going to aspire to?
Let go of?
Problem Solving....Deeper Engagement.....How?....What am I discovering?
Does this affect clasroom behavior? Does the work improve? Is teaching becoming more joyful for me?
I am not here to "prove" myself. I am here to "improve" myself. With that thought in mind, I have three goals that I am aspiring to.
"Let Go" of being the "Teacher" and "Embrace" becoming a "Guide For Learning". Have my students take more responsibility for the learning so that they feel more ownership and become more empowered as artists and citizens within our school community.
By reducing my role as the person of authority, students will become more self-sufficient as problem solvers, fulfilled, creative, resourceful, and independent. I will be able to observe and assess students, while assisting those students who are unable to work independently. Currently, my teaching is very teacher directed and the students are very dependent on me as the authority figure in the room. I realize that my children are still very young, but they are very dependent on me to help them solve problems large and small that they encounter from finding materials, to following directions (posted on the board), behavior issues, and making decisions regarding their art. It's not that I don't want to spend time with my students every minute. I love what I do, but when I am the one helping them solve the problems that they encounter, I am robbing them of the feeling of satisfaction one has when you figure out something on your own. Additionally, what happens when I am not there?
Some strategies to accomplish this goal include:
*Presenting students with options regarding materials and have them select the supplies with which they would like to work. I call this "Choose Your Own Adventure". (I relate it to the book series in which readers choose their own ending for a story.) This idea came from Karen Carroll's lecture on Deepening Engagement during STI.
*Giving students the opportunity to decide (in certain situations) where they will be most comfortable working.
*Surveying students about their interests, backgrounds, experiences, etc.
*Have students vote.
*Encourage and reward students working independently and together to solve problems (as opposed to being dependent on me.)
*Say "Yes" to students who wish to take risks in their work.
*Modeling and role playing ways for students to solve problems and be resourceful in the art room.
*Treat our classroom more like a "lab".
*Wear a button stating "Ask 3 Before Me" or put some students on a "budget" in which I provide them with 2 chips that they can "spend" when they have a question.
"Let go" of judgment and "embrace" reflection so student learning becomes more instrinsic and meaningful.
When students are responsible for their thinking, they have ownership of their learning. As the teacher, it is very rewarding to see children internalize their learning and build their self-esteem. Although I have occassionally used rubrics as a method of self-evaluation, the majority of evaluation is done by me.
I am working toward achieving this goal with the following:
*Allow students to reflect/think on their learning and self-evaluate.
*Expand journaling/written statements with 4th and 5th graders. (I already use journaling with my third graders).
*Celebrate student thinking (Quantum Learning-"If it's worth learning, it's worth celebrating.")
*Have students give titles to their art.
*Utilize rubrics more consistently as a self-evaluation tool.
"Let Go" of the "old" and "Embrace" the "new" by incorporating the use of technology in my teaching.
By increasing the level of technology in the classroom, I am truly preparing my students for the 21st century and providing them with new opportunities for exploration, discovery and creaytive expression.
For me, this is a ongoing struggle both personally and professionally. As soon as I get comfortable with some form of technology, something new is available. However, as I become more skilled with technology, I become a more proficient teacher; making better use of the resources available. Currently, technology is my greatest area of weakness.
Some specific strategies to accomplish this goal include:
*Become more comfortable with the development and use of power point in my teaching.
*Utilize digital photography more often in professional communication, lesson development, etc.
*Develop a professional website for increased communication with parents and students.
*Become more familiar with the promethean board in order to increase student awareness of art in our world.
* Make use of the computer lab to provide students with the opportunity to explore art websites and online activities for children.
Since the completion of the STI, I have encouraged my students to work more independently and take risks in their work. I am saying "yes" to student ideas. I surveyed older students in the beginning of year to get to know them better and prepare to assist them in their journey to express themselves meaningfully in their art. I have begun offering more choices. I am attaching examples below of a fourth grade unit on Picasso's Cubist Portraits. Students created self-portraits with mirrors, but selected materials and colors that express their interests and feelings.
Updated Evaluation 3/29/10
Delegating more authority to students has become more commonplace in my teaching this year and I regularly use the term, "Choose your own adventure" in my lessons. A recent example of this is the origami unit I am currently teaching to my second graders. The lesson began by having students look at examples of various examples of origami to find similarities. Some student comments included "They all are made by folding paper or "They are all shapes with straight lines".
Next, we utilized "bump" reading to learn more about origami. When it became time for students to begin creating their own origami, I gave them options. I provided students with the directions to create a dog and they "taught" me. Next, I presented different stations and explained that students may select an origami animal they would like to create. This was beneficial in two ways. It provided children with the ability to "self differentiate" by choosing the easier option of the dog (which many students chose) or the more difficult options of cat or rabbit (which some students chose). Additionally, students were empowered to make their own decisions.
Throughout all of my lessons, I am saying "yes" and encouragng students to work wherever they are comfortable.
4/11/10 Another (very simple) change aligning with Goal 1 is just informing students where various materials are located throughout the room so they can solve simple problems on their own. The children are becoming more independent and enjoying it. I didn't realize that I was encouraging the children to be dependent on me. Having children solve simple problems on their own provides me with more time to assist those in need. By utilizing the "budget" plan, students have become more independent.
I am utilizing self-evaluation rubrics, reflection statements, and journaling in my lessons. Additionally, I am providing more opportunities for students to give titles to their work, which is providing me with greater insight to their thinking. Finally, I am trying to include more opportunities for cooperative learning in a "lab" environment. A recent example is illustrated with my second graders. Instead of introducing symmetry in snowflakes for a paintng/printmaking unit, I provided samples of snowflakes, paper, and pencil. Students worked together as a group to make a list of identical characteristics (symmetry, 6 sides, repeated lines, patterns, geometric shapes,etc.) and read them aloud to the class.
Updated Evaluation 3/29/10
I am regularly incorporating the idea of making my classroom a "lab" for discovery and examination as part of empowering students. I am incorporating more reflection and extension of art ideas and concepts. With my second grade origami unit, children had choices regarding various animals to create. At the end of the unit, students are writing a story about their animals and how they ended up together. This activity provides students with another venue for expression and provides me with another assessment tool as students write about "Families or Friends" (Showing relationships).
4/11/10 The second graders have completed their "Pocket Pets" and their stories. They are wonderful! The children worked enthusiastically on both and I was amazed at the creativity, the problems, (current issues like eviction, earthquakes, homelessness) and kindness in their ideas. One student wrote a story about the bunny neighbors next door who lost their house and had no place to live. The dog family invited them to live with them and they became a "family". Another child wrote about a boy who took his cats with him on a plane to China (where origami was invented) and the kittens fell out and were lost, but eventually they were reunited.
I have just begun (1/21/10) taking a course on Thursday nights called "Infusing Technology into the Classroom". I have also attended a workshop training session on the promethean board (although I didn't get much out of it) and a session on website design in my hopes to improve my skills in technology and the application of those skills in my classroom. My intention with my website is to, introduce myself, showcase student art, provide links for parents and students for art exploration and discovery (ngakids), and provide information for parents to improve their child's creativity and fine motor skills. I am currently working on this, but I have been having problems uploading photos.
Update Evaluation 3/29/10
As part of my technology course, I began working on a "wiki" which I hope to include in my school website, which is still incomplete. I have discovered that the BCPS website is very limiting, so this should provide me with more flexibility with my downloads. Additionally, I have made a few more ppts, (one of which will be included in the BCPS D2L site since I am currently working on a unit collaboration). I am still quite clumsy, but improving.
I recently learned that I will be teaching in the new "West Towson" school next year and I will have my own laptop, elmo, and promethean board. Consequently, it is imperative that I learn more. Even though I attended a workshop, we barely "touched the surface" of possibilities, so I intend to continue appropriate coursework during the summer.
While researching information on developing creativity (which I want to include on a website as resource for parents), I realized that this topic would be an excellent topic for a thesis paper. I think it would be interesting to contact various creative people to see what experiences their parents may have provided them with that encouraged their creativity.
I have thoroughly enjoyed participating in this online project. It has forced me to take time to reflect on my students' learning as well as my own professional growth.
I recently began a printmaking unit based on Adinkra, a printed cloth made by the Ashanti people in Ghana, Africa. Our third graders had recently read a story called "The Talking Cloth" and I wanted to create some meaningfull connections with art and reading. In my quest to make my class less teacher directed and more of a " Lab" atmosphere for discovery, I organized four trays (1 for each group) with each tray containing all of the necessary materials to make Adinkra prints. This included gum erasers as our "gourd" printing blocks, samples of Adinkra symbols, carving tools, markers, practice paper, etc.
I explained to the class that they must work together in their groups to figure out what they would be learning today using every material on the tray. The students immediately began studying all of the objects and discussing possibilities. It was very exciting to listen to their conversations! At first, they couldn't get past the idea of using an eraser for anything other than correcting mistakes, but slowly, they used inductive thinking skills to figure it out. The looks on their faces? Priceless! One third grade boy stood up and said "Wait a minute....we've seen something like this before....that's it! The Talking Cloth!!!