Monday, February 20, 2012

Why do we need art in school?

Right now, we are working on producing a video project about arts advocacy. While searching for inspiration I found this video. Although it is not the most visually stimulating thing in the world, it has some great insight. I'll definitely be using some ideas from this video in my own. Stay tuned for my video in the next few weeks. Meanwhile, check this out!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Guest Speaker, Ms. O.

 A local teacher came to speak with us last week and give us some advice on teaching.  Ms. O. teaches at a high school near UW-Stout. As a high school teacher, she is the biggest advocate for the arts in the small town she teaches in. Her experience has taught her to take risks, be creative and to sometimes ask for forgiveness instead of permission.

One of my favorite stories that Ms. O presented us with was the story of a performance painting. At the Christmas band and choir concert, she teamed up with the music teacher to provide an example of art making through performance painting. A select group of courageous, brave, outgoing art students were selected to paint to the music of the band. While the band played, a winter painting was created on three large panels. Ms. O said that even though the painting wasn't very successful, the reaction of the audience as well as the participation of the students was the best part. No one had ever seen anything like it before, so it created a topic of conversation and really advocated for what her students do in the art room. This was a great way for her to advocate for the arts and to get art into the community.
Ms. O encouraged us future art teachers to take risks. Although we know to wait until we have been hired as an art teacher, gotten comfortable in our school and possibly even tenured, she said that taking risks to go outside of the box with projects is important to her. Taking her students outside, putting ribbons through an ugly fence on their campus, using her own grill to make an art metals project and so on are all ways that she takes risks in her classroom.

Ms. O was very inspirational because we could feel her fire for the arts, and her respect for her students in everything she said. Having a sense of humor, being flexible, allowing your students to have a say in some projects and being courageous in your classroom were all extremely beneficial words of advice. One day, I hope I can be as inspired by my students as you can tell that she is by hers!

She said, "Kids will do whatever you expect them do to" so we must have high expectations and hold our students accountable. If they say that art is hard, or that this project is difficult, that is a good thing! If you know they can accomplish their goal, they will eventually know it too.

Another great thing that Ms. O reminded us of was that kids wait 12 years for a diploma. It's like they are working for no pay for over a decade. It is our job as educators to give them a reward, give them credit, for what they do. Somehow we must publicly acknowledge their hard work or give them a credit for work they do in the summer, etc.

Art educators are the people who shape what art looks like. We are educating the children that will take what they learn from us and put it into the real world. We make the decisions that shape what the students do in the classroom and what art will mean to them.

The great thing about Ms. O is that she uses a lot of contemporary art in her classroom. She doesn't just stick to traditional art making processes, although they are still the building blocks of her classroom. She does things with unique materials, like snow sculptures, performance painting, murals, and so on. She never gets complacent in her classrooms, she is extremely flexible and works with her students to create projects that she knows they will love and be excited to participate in.

My favorite part of meeting with Ms. O was feeling her energy and enthusiasm about the arts. She has so much respect for her students, which I am positive they give right back to her.

Interview Question: DBAE or Choice?

Mock Interview Question: Do you teach a discipline based art curriculum or a choice based one?

I believe in the discipline based art curriculum. Through DBAE, I find that my curriculum has much more scope and sequence as well as integration of very important aspects of art, like art history and art criticism. DBAE allows me to structure my lessons and curriculum in a way that provides a particular beginning, middle and end to each curriculum while presenting a broad range of information regarding the art world. I think a discipline based approach helps legitimize art as an area of study because the students are not just learning about the processes and techniques in an art project, they are learning the academia associated with the history, criticism and philosophical aspects of the project. I do think that my students will have complete control of their own projects and how they solve the problem that I present to them in each lesson, just as they would in a choice based curriculum, but in my classroom they would also be studying two or more of the main components of DBAE. These components include:

Art Production, Art History, Art Criticism, Aesthetics

My students will have a choice of how they attempt each project, but I will guide the curriculum in a manner that Greer has presented the art community with. DBAE is something that not only helps me organize my curriculum and provide a comprehensive overview of art, but it gives my students the ability to learn important knowledge associated with art movements, aesthetics and so on.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Trends in art Education

As many current Art Educators know, there are many trends in education right now. Things like DBAE (Discipline Based Art Education), Professional Learning Communities, Visual Culture Studies and so on. I am personally committed to DBAE, as it is a great part of structuring lesson plans and art education curriculum, as well as Response to Intervention (RtI) techniques and Professional Learning Communities. I think it is great to be involved in your career as much as you can to make your job easier and better. While working with children, we are not only looking out for our careers as professionals, but so many children's lives as well. I can't wait to see what my practicum experience will teach me regarding all of these trends that we're learning about.

In class we were encouraged to look up this list of current trends. I found a video clip for each trend that I found to be extremely relevant, and some that were just cute or funny! I encourage you to take the time to watch them all, or at least clips of them until you get what each one is about, they're pretty great!

1. Professional Learning Community (PLC) - Teachers coming together to discuss how students learn, what they should be learning and how to help those struggling.

2.  Response to Intervention (RtI) -Seeks to prevent academic failure through early intervention, frequent progress measurement, and increasingly intensive research-based instructional interventions for children who continue to have difficulty.

3.  Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS)-The social-emotional/behavioral component to response to intervention

4.  Responsive Classroom- A precursor to PBIS and is still relevant.  The basic concept that students do better academically when we also create a sense of belonging and community at school.  Social skills and instruction is a big part of RC.

5.  Daily 5-The latest buzz word in education - Is a model for the delivery of early reading and literacy.  Daily 5 is made up of Read to Self, Read to Others, Listen to Read, Word Work and Writing.

6. UBD- Understanding by Design - The idea of "backward design" in curriculum. the practice of looking at the outcomes in order to design curriculum units, performance assessments, and classroom instruction.  This video was so funny, I loved it!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Interview: Art or Teacher?

If I was asked, "Being an art teacher, what is more important to you? Art or Teacher? Also, do you need to be an artist to be an art teacher?"

As an art teacher, the most important thing is being a teacher. I am a strong advocate for the arts and how art is a way for young children to learn by playing. However, I do think that as a part of the school system, no matter what I am teaching, I will always be working to help children learn. Being able to teach well is extremely important. I am not a starving artist who is trying to make a living by teaching. I am a teacher who is able to follow my passion of art and pass it on to those who don't know as much about art making, art history and principles of design. An art teacher's job is to TEACH art. Teaching comes first. I do not think it is required that all art teachers are artists. I do think that teachers need to possess professional knowledge in art processes, techniques and art history, but I do not think that all art teachers need to be practicing artists who are producing shows and bodies of work on their free time (though it is a dream of mine). Demonstrations are a large part of art class and teaching students how to do something, so it should be required that art teachers posses the skills needed to show students a new technique as well.