It has begun! Students and teachers are together again! I have missed my students a lot. Seeing them in the classroom, creating and smiling. Its been too long since we had this type of interaction. There is nothing like creating art together with other people.
Over the past year I have taught students art virtually. In doing so, I have learned so much about myself, teaching, and digital space. Learning what I love and what I can let go of. Seeing what I have to offer my students, even without being in their presence. Realizing that our energies can still influence each other, even if we are miles apart.
We can create as a community. We get to gather and share. We get to feel that energy flowing through the classroom. Even though we are missing a few of our fellow artists in person, we have been able to nicely integrate both in person and digital work space!
RMS Together Again
Our PTA is the best ever, I just have to give them a huge shout out. They are so supportive of the teachers at Ridgely, and always go beyond to show us how much!
Today we had 6th grade early entry for new students to our school. Since I teach art, we have two groups of students… A day and B day students. Today we met with the A day students for 15 mins on google meets for a team building activity!
We talk about making our mark, and expressing ourselves as artists. I ask them to think of a symbol or design that would represent who they are. We discussed collaboration and how we come together to make a masterpiece. Each one of us an important part of the whole.
Since we aren’t in school… I wanted to create this same experience in the virtual world. One tool I learned about this week in our professional development meetings, was Jamboard!
Jamboard is a google app that allows people to collaborate in order to create. There are different tools, such as marker, pen, paintbrush, and highlighter. Sticky notes are great for adding text.
So students got to work on their digital class mural, making their mark and expressing themselves in the digital world.
It was so amazing watching the mural to unfold! Seeing the students mark making in the moment and how everyone was working on their own ideas and at the same time we were all working together!
I am so honored and proud to be apart of this years Maryland Art Summit as an ambassador and a creative co-host!
This year’s 2nd Annual Maryland Arts Summit is going VIRTUAL! The Summit is full of presenters with years of experience in the field.
This 4 DAY EVENT will feature everyone from Independent Artists to Arts Organization’s Executive Directors to Advocates of the community. With so much information in one space, it would be a shame to miss out.
Did I mention that it’s FREE?! That’s right FREE! Head over to mdarts.org/summit to register for this amazing event.
Between doing my own work, and getting Landyn and Element to do their work…. whoa. Element was more interested in the magic she found from dangling her pen from a strand of hair, then creating a word math problem. We took a few breaks, made rice crispy treats! Their work is to complete online packets, sent by their teachers through Google classroom. They go to school in SYCSD in Pennsylvania. It’s interesting to see the different between the two school systems approaches. I had to stop and take some deep breaths a few times.
Overall, the professional development BCPS created for us was easy enough. There were a few things I had to figure out on my own that could’ve been described better, however it wasn’t that difficult just a little time consuming.
The county has created a streamlined remote learning template for all BCPS teachers to use on their class pages. We were asked to put all of our previous materials in a folder labeled “Previous Q1 Q2 Q3”, and then create a few new pages and folders to reflect the BCPS default layout. Once those folders and pages were created in one class, I was able to easily copy each of them to my 9 other courses. There’s a weird glitch in Schoology when I try to copy folders to all of my other courses at once, some of the courses don’t receive the folder so I have to go in and copy it again individually.
All of my classes have been set up to the default template, and I am awaiting our art teacher meeting on Wednesday so I can see what lessons we have available to upload. The Visual Arts office and a team of awesome art educators have created lessons for us to use, so if we do not have the ability to create our own we do not have to. What’s nice is that we have the ability to alter or create our own if we want to!
I just finished setting up and creating my first Google Meet so that I can meet with my students!! I am so excited to see them, I’m going to send out an email to all of them to see if they want to meet up to say hi!!
I have to say this morning was a lot smoother than yesterday.
At 1pm today we had our first virtual faculty meeting! We used Microsoft teams. It was a good meeting, learned a lot about the expectations we have as teachers…
Upload 2 mini-lessons by 8am on Monday morning, with a due date set for that Friday by midnight. Each lesson should be about 20-25 mins in length,
Have a live virtual meetup for 30 mins with each class… I will only be teaching my students on Thursday and Friday mornings between 9-11:30.
Maintain 2 hrs per day of office hours for student and parent questions and concerns.
Provide students with feedback at least once a week.
This all feels a little better now that I know the expectations!
The Maryland Art Education Conference this year was split into a two day conference, with Friday being a field experience day at different museums around the area and Saturday being conference workshops!
On Friday I attended the Glenstone Museum for my field experience. This was my first time at the museum and I was blown away. I have been to many museums from Seattle to Boston, and Glenstone is by far the most unique experience I have had a museum.
Glenstone is a private museum, owned by Emily & Mitch Rales.
We envision Glenstone not only as a place, but a state of mind created by the energy of architecture, the power of art, and the restorative qualities of nature. At the core of the museum is a collection of post-World War II art, a very personal project driven by the pursuit of iconic works that have changed the way we think about the art of our time.
Glenstone is open Thursday–Sunday 10 a.m.–5 p.m. with visits scheduled on the half hour until 3:00 p.m., always free admission. They highly recommend reservations, though they do allow you in if there is space available and you have no reservation.
The museum encompasses two buildings, several outdoor sculptures and nearly 300 acres of landscape. To fully experience Glenstone, you should be prepared to spend time outside on foot. There are many beautiful trails to experience.
The artwork inside the gallery is curated in such a way that you are forced to realize you are apart of the experience just as much as the artwork.
Between buildings are many outdoor sculptures, which to me felt like little moments in time that I am put into a different reality. The way the sculptures interact with the environment and myself as a visitor, was really wonderful.
The spiral sculpture and the sound forest were such a dynamic experiences. Words are hard to find to describe the experience.
The food was delicious and locally sourced.
One of my most favorite parts of the museum was visiting the environmental center!
Their Environmental Center is a multi-use maintenance and education facility that offers experiential learning. You can learn about composting, organic landscape management, waste reduction, materials recycling and water conservation—and how to take these practices home with you.
They planted trees, understory vegetation and groundcover flora as part of their reforestation efforts. They plant only native, regionally appropriate species, which require the fewest resources to maintain and provide appropriate food and habitat for local fauna. They use local ponds as well as three new underground cisterns to manage rainfall flow throughout the property and recycle the water for landscaping purposes.
In addition to its water recycling program, Glenstone has committed to restoring the two depleted tributaries of the Potomac River located on the property. In close coordination with Montgomery County, in 2015 they implemented a plan designed to improve water quality, reduce sediment reaching the Potomac, and renew the wildlife habitat for aquatic organisms.
I am definitely planning to visit the museum again! Thank you MAEA for setting up this amazing field experience!
For the past 6 years the Historic Hampton Inc. non-profit has hosted an art show for any Maryland students and teachers to submit work inspired by Hampton National Historic Park. It was always a wonderful show, however this year we decided to work with BCPS Visual Arts office to create our first Hampton Art Experience at the historic site. I took my 8th grade GT students!
Teachers in Baltimore County signed up to bring 20 of their students to the Hampton mansion for a full day art experience. Students rotated between 2 of the 3 art stations which included:
Gardens & Light where students learned about the history of horticulture at Hampton Mansion, and about the properties of light as they created cyanotypes using natural objects located on site.
Understanding Architecture where students learned about the history of the architecture and engineering at Hampton Mansion, and were able to work on creating their own mansion, or recreating the Hampton Mansion in a drawing like an architect.
Fibers on the Farm where students learned about life on the Farm at Hampton Mansion and used fibers to create artworks that were inspired by Hampton.
My students attended the Understanding Architecture station, lead by architect Anne Boyce and Gretchen Maneval.
and Gardens & Light station, lead by Carroll Cook.
On Saturday, the student work was on display in the orangery for a reception. Families were able to come and see their students work, as well as take a tour of the Mansion!
This was by far the best art experience and we are looking forward to hosting our second experience next year.
It is the quality of being concerned with the human spirit or soul as opposed to material or physical things.
Every human possess a certain spirituality in some manner. For all of time, humans have searched for a power grater than themselves. We all have questioned and formulated a belief we had or still have in the soul. Whether is through religion or some sort of life altering experience.
So, as an art educator I naturally ask the question…how do we define spirituality in the context of art education?
Or better yet…how do I explain that the two are intertwined?
We process all of life’s experiences through themental/spiritualand material/physical. These are the yin and yang that make up existence.
When we are concerned with our soul we go on vision quests, we seek through meditation and prayer, we call to a force outside of our material world, and deep within ourselves. We have always seeked to connect to source, creator, or our definition if God.
Art is, too, this way… deep within us. Since the beginning of time we have used art to record and to express our inner thoughts and visions.
When we are concerned with our soul, a beautiful things happens… alignment. We begin to create beautiful things without a second thought. We begin to find our authentic voice, which allows us to best communicate our truth to the world.
This alignment allows for a redefining of the word art… as an expression of ones inner self, rather than only the ability to perform a skill to create something new, such as observational drawing in order to make something look realistic.
*Dive deep into the meaning of words.*
When we leave words at their base definitions, we lose a whole world of possibilities. When we dive deeper into what a word means to us, and pay more attention to the intentions behind our words…we begin to find synergy.
Art and spirituality are one in the same.
As educators we strive to assist our students in knowing themselves better, and teach them how to be creative, curious, and caring citizens. Art and Spirituality are vital parts to the human experience and should be celebrated, explored, and discovered through expressing and creating.
I would love to collaborate with you in expressing and creating a dialogue on the importance of spirituality in art education.
So, how we can assist learners of all ages to tap into their inner self to create and express themselves in whatever life experiences they have. This is the C.E.E.Q.E.R. model.
The C.E.E.Q.E.R. model is a way to use the tools around you to uncover a clearer sense of things. It stands for, Create, Explore, Experiment, Question, Express, Reflect. These 6 things bring art and science together.
Please leave your questions, comments, or ideas….lets start a conversation!
The best way to find answers is through dialogue, with others or with self.
What better way to collaborate then with an art project, so we started the school year off with a class mural.
I had each class vote on an image that would represent their class, and then I created that image using masking tape over a square board. Students then chose a color to represent themselves and stamped their hands over the board.
When the paint dried, I peeled it away to reveal a white outline of the image they chose. Students then signed their names within the white lines. This represents our classes choice to work together as a team, and remember we are apart of something greater.
This reminder is not only for the art room, but for life. When we remember our perspectives are only one of many, we can work together towards a greater goal.
So this is my eleventh year teaching art at Ridgely Middle School.
I can hardly remember what it felt like to be a new teacher… a bit worried, stressed, and anxious….
About how the students would respond, if they would understand the process, and if they would be as excited as me about it all…
About my performance and how my administration would evaluate me, and see me as a teacher. Would I be good enough?
Eleven years later…
I can say I am definitely more confident in my teaching, and in my students abilities to learn. This comes from a combination of time spent in the classroom, trial and error, a supportive team of teachers in my building as well as an amazing Visual Arts office in my county, and from a total mindset shift.
Obviously as a new teacher, one has NO IDEA what they are truly in for.
Especially in the day in age where we were transitioning from analog to digital.
I started teaching in 2008…
When we still used TV’s and DVD/VHS players.
When we wrote objectives as “The students will…”
When we used Easy Grade Pro and had to put our grades in ourselves.
When there was one desktop computer and students had to go to the computer lab to look up references.
Life has changed so much…
We have morning announcements streaming in real time on the computer
We now write objectives as “I can and I will…”
We use Schoology and all of our grades are kept online and transferred for us.
Every student has their own computer!
The mindset shift is not only from analog to digital, but from thinking about how I should be teaching… to teaching from the authenticity of who I am. Incorporating my own personal journey and passions into my classroom have really changed the whole atmosphere. The students are more comfortable and excited to come to class since I have started teaching authentically instead of teaching from expectations.
I love seeing and being apart of the shift in our public education system. Baltimore County Public Schools is one of the forerunners for leading our students into 21st century digital creative authentic learning.
Now I no longer worry about how my students or administration will respond to my instruction, as I know I am facilitating a safe and powerful space for my students to creatively learn and express themselves authentically. I am teaching them to live authentically … and that is the best lesson anyone in this world could learn.
Here is to my eleventh year teaching and to all the learning, growth, and fun that will come this year!
This past week was the last full week of school for us… two more days next week. It really doesn’t feel like summer. The weather in PA/MD has been unusually cooler than summer time weather.
My students finished their self portrait projects and they look fantastic!! I am thrilled with the quality and unique character of each portrait. They really brought the year home with this project.
I asked for feedback from them on the class structure this year. We had a station based classroom with theme projects. Choice based art education. This was my first year fully implementing a choice based class. When I asked them what they thought about the class most loved it, but some had a hard time with such open-endedness. There was always a handful of students who just couldn’t get into themselves enough to figure out what they wanted to do. Having choice for them made the projects a lot more difficult. I would never have expected that to be the case… I mean if a teacher told me I could do whatever I wanted, how ever I wanted (in the small guidelines given) I would’ve been ecstatic! But I realized this year that it’s actually difficult for some middle school students because they don’t know what they want, or have never been given the opportunity to explore and experiment enough to find out what they want and like.
So next year I will have a few more options and a little more structure in the studio and theme projects. I will spend more time teaching what artistic behaviors are, and allowing them time to explore themselves through these behaviors. In the beginning of the year I will focus more on how artists think in order to make a shift in their mindset on art and being an artist.
I also noticed this year I spent a lot of time reminding the students of the classroom rules: Be respectful, responsible, grateful, honest and kind. Next year I will incorporate these rules into the artistic behaviors and really stress the importance of these through constantly connecting each thing we do in class and as artists to how we can treat the studio and each other better.
I am so looking forward to next year already and summer hasn’t even started yet!!