Art of Ed Now Summer Conference 2016

Attended the Art of Ed Now Summer Conference online today from 11am-4pm. So much information available in such a short time. 15-20 minute presentations that spanned topics including getting messy, cultivating creativity, staying inspired, and mastering management. 

Highlights of the day included Tim Bogatz’s presentation on finding your passion and purpose as an art educator, Nic Hahn’s flipped classroom, Danny Gregory’s sketchbook scavenger hunt, Abby Schukei’s Emoji portrait lesson, and excellent classroom management advice from Michael Linsin. I can’t wait to dive into the After Pass for even more inspiring content. Who can resist a box of art supply swag and PD in your PJs? Thanks ArtofEd!

Art Teachers as Members of Collaborative Learning Teams

As part of the PLC leadership team at my school,  we have been reading Learning by Doing by Richard & Rebecca DuFour, Robert Eaker, & Thomas Many. Each time our group meets another chapter is presented and discussed. I chose Chapter 5- Building the Collaborative Culture of a Professional Learning Community. I could have chosen any chapter to review, but after scanning through the book I chose this chapter because as a specialist I frequently feel out of the loop. As the only full-time art teacher at my school, in my basement classroom with a busy schedule, it is easy to become disconnected from the rest of the school community. I rarely have time to co-plan with our part time art teacher, let alone meet weekly to discuss plans for student art assessment and intervention. Grade level teams meet at least weekly at our school and work collaboratively to meet the needs of all students, but since these grade-level meetings rely on the specials schedule, specialists are generally left out of the discussion.

I have been working this year to gather the specialists together to form a team with scheduled time to share information and co-plan, but that time has only been able to fit into the master schedule once a month, and it took quite a while to organize. We will have our first team meeting at the end of this month, which doesn’t allow much time for collaboration. Even though it is an improvement to have a schedule time to meet and share ideas, a specialists team meeting does not address the problem of never meeting with grade level teachers to co-plan.

As an art teacher I have my own standards and county-mandated curriculum to follow, so I have no shortage of material to cover, but I would love to be a more involved part of our school’s collaborative community. With our new school-wide, daily intervention and enrichment time, I can think of tons of ways to enrich the academic lives of my students by creating connections between their classroom curriculum and the world of art. Without a direct link to the grade level team planning, however, it is hard to make those meaningful connections outside of my own class schedule and set curriculum.

This chapter of the book examines possible team structures and scheduled collaboration time, and the issue of establishing meaningful connections through logical cross-curricular links was the part of the book that has struck me as most powerful so far. What a fantastic opportunity to share potential cross-curricular art enrichment opportunities. Being plugged into a grade-level team would give me a chance to collaborate to create extended art activities  adding depth and personal meaning to my students’ experience of other subject areas. We are still at the beginning of this transformation into a professional learning community, but I hope to start establishing these connections now.

How many of you are active participants in your school’s professional learning community? How do you contribute to grade level planning? How do address student enrichment outside of your regularly scheduled class times & standard art curriculum?

Here is the link to my Prezi reviewing Chapter 5 of Learning by Doing.

Blog Blogged and Conference Review Part One

Just had my second ever person blog about my blog. It’s like Googling Google.  It’s very exciting knowing that there are other people out there in the world, reading what I have to say and caring about my work and my students’ work. Check out the post on The Art Classroom here.

In other news, I just returned from the Virginia Art Education Association conference in Richmond this weekend. I attended Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and I definitely had my favorites. I will continue to review my top three this week. Here is the first:

Thursday 2:00-2:50pm- SMART about Art- by Casey Clark

I thoroughly enjoyed this presentation- this presenter reviewed interactive websites that are useful for elementary art teachers for use with the SMARTboard or interactive whiteboard. She reviewed sites that she had used in her class- some of these I have already found and used in the past, others were new to me and looked like a ton of fun. I especially appreciated Ms. Clark’s suggestion to use the SMARTboard for more than just introducing lessons or presenting new information. I frequently use my board to demonstrate worksheets or using ArtRage to present painting and drawing lessons, but I rarely use the SMARTboard for short reviews or mini lessons, nor had I ever tried to incorporate SMARTboard activities for closure at the end of class, and I would love to have interactive sites ready for student use at the end of class. Using the SMARTboard for introductions seems to really get students engaged at the beginning of a lesson, and it would be great to send students away with that same energy- perhaps with the link to an art website that they could use at home or during free computer lab time with their classroom teachers. Here are a few of my favorite links that she showed us:

The Artist’s Toolkit from Artsconnected– great for mini-lessons to introduce or review art concepts.

NGAKids JUNGLE Interactive This is just one of the many awesome interactive sites at the NGAKids website.

More conference reviews to come- just have to make it to the Thanksgiving Break and past Turkey Day.