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RMS after Quarantine

Today I went into my classroom to grab a few things.

It was like the twilight zone.

I felt like the kids would walk in any minute!

It felt so familiar, yet students working in the classroom is such a distant memory.

I took pictures of some unfinished artwork; that really had me feeling disappointed and sad. The students were doing so well and created so many amazing things that they just had to leave behind.

It felt like I’m living in two realities at once.

Such amazing artwork… So much to look forward to. My only hope is that the time we had together taught them how to be creative no matter how good they thought they were at “art”.

I miss my students and my classroom.

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Remote Education

Wow. Yesterday was tiring.

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…

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  • 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!

Happy day 2!

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Everyday is a good day…

Especially…

When you notice how far left and right you can turn your healing wrist.

When you finally can zip your pants half way up with your healing wrist.

When you can carry your cup of coffee with your healing wrist.

When you have loved ones willing to help when in need.

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#clearthelists

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Nature Mandalas

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6th graders went outside and created nature mandalas with our student teacher Anne Scott, which were inspired by Morning Altars artist Day Schildkret…

I have quite an unusual mission: To make impermanent earth art every day. Ever since I was five years old, I have been creating art with the flowers, leaves, berries, and bark right outside my front door. This has always been a way for me to feel connected, both to my imagination and the whole earth. About five years ago, after a big break-up with my partner, I started this as a daily mindfulness practice to heal my heart, help me feel gratitude, connect with the earth and make meaning in my life. However, this art wanted to have a life of its own. Over the last decade, I have created over a thousand small and large earth installations that have inspired an international movement of people to get outside and make earth art. I even have a book coming out this October! And, here’s the unique thing: Every single piece of art I have made no longer exists and that is its power: Learning how ephemeral life truly is and to love what is here right now.

Students watched a video where Day describes a little about the process of morning altars and how it can transform our perspective.  Then we went outside and walked the land to gather our own natural elements.  We also provided the students with flowers, beans and strings. My student teacher lead the students to create group nature mandalas!

This was such an awesome day for this assignment. The sun was shining and it felt like spring.  The outdoor classroom tables and benches that were created by George Washington Carver Center for the Arts students created were the perfect place for the groups to work.

Each team member of the group had to direct a specific ring of the mandala, sharing with the students how to place the materials.  I found that a few groups decided on all rings together, while others really stuck to the one ring per person.

When it was time to clean up, the students were sad and disappointed that they had to clean up their mandala. Taking a picture of their mandalas before they cleaned them, seemed to relieve their anxiety of having to disassemble it.

Check out the video we made!

 

Earth Month is off to a great start!!

<3

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Caring for our Watershed

This year my green club students wrote proposals for a contest called Caring for our Watershed,

Turning ideas into environmental solutions!

The CARING FOR OUR WATERSHEDS program asks students to submit a proposal that answers the question, “What can you do to improve your watershed?” Students must research their local watershed, identify an environmental concern and draft a written proposal containing one realistic solution. Community judges select the top entries to compete at a final, verbal competition for cash prizes.

There were three proposals written and submitted, each part of a large project to turn our old ‘glen” area into an inviting and restorative outdoor classroom.  The Glen area is a large wooded area that is surrounded by our school and looks out over our athletic fields.  This area has 8 benches that are worn down and torn apart. My students see that there is so much potential in this beautiful space.

They created a proposal that restored our bluebird boxes and benches, build a pathway and secured trash cans in specific locations along the path, and created a rain garden near a storm drain at the bottom of the hill. These three proposals are completely feasible, it’s just a matter of funding and permission from the county school board.

We heard back from the company this week and we were not a finalist, however we did win $500 towards our ideas! This is so exciting because the projects are coming together on their own. Ridgely’s awesome assistant principal Matt Rosati has volunteered to build our bluebird boxes, and a couple salad tables, and now we have money towards starting our next step to completing our projects!

In addition to receiving $500 for our student project, we were invited to the Student Environmental Action Showcase on April 23rd, 2019 at George Mason University Center for the Arts from 10AM-2PM to participate in their poster presentation, network with peers, and participate in activities throughout the showcase.

There is also an opportunity to have funds matched for projects up to $1000!

I am so excited to see what we accomplish in the coming year!

<3

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Last full week

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!! 

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12 more days of school…

It does not feel like there is only 12 days left of this school year!! I have started cleaning, clearing and organizing my classroom!!

Believe it or not, I really enjoy this part. I am all about organizing things, I just can’t always find the time to do it! 12 more days to get this room in order!!

In the mean time, my 8th grade students are doing Intuitive painting! We experimented with tools and techniques to create the background color for our paintings. It was way too much fun!

The students are totally enjoying working the hallway…. I like it too. It makes the classroom a lot quieter and the kids in the room can focus better. Those in the hallway are getting more work done as well!

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My 8th grade GT art students are working on their self portraits, and they are turning out FABULOUS!

There are so many amazing things happening here… and we only have 12 more days of school, which is really only 6 for my classes to finish because I see them every other day!

We got this!
<3 Ms. Valentine

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7 Deadly Sins: Mixed Media

Michael Bell and David Modler presented a hands on workshop at the NAEA convention in Chicago that was the highlight of my convention experience.

The workshop began with each participant in a group of 4, there were 7 groups…this would work perfectly for any classroom.  Each group received a laminated card with one of the seven deadly sins. We were asked to keep the word a secret from the other groups, as we would be guessing at the end who had which word.

To begin we were asked to brainstorm anything that came to mind when we thought of this word…this would help us start to feel the word which made it easier to visually represent the word. The group I was in had the word Greed.

Once we had finished brainstorming, each of the group members took turns making marks while being blindfolded for 3 minutes. The first two people used vine charcoal and only made geometric shapes, while the third person was able to choose any material they wanted while making lines, and the fourth person created texture with any material of their choice.

After we each blindly made marks to express our word, we discussed what we wanted to do with what we had to make it feel and look more like greed. We started brainstorming the symbolism of our lines shapes and colors, and began adding more definition to our design. Each group member had a minute without being blindfolded to add to the work what they felt showed our word. We then began to work together to finalize our piece…

The results of each group were truly unique and individual but each group really captured the energy of their word. I knew quickly this was something I had to try with my students!

When I returned to school on Monday, I had revised the activity to be age appropriate for middle school students and instead of using the 7 deadly sins, we represented the emotions Love, Happiness, Peace, Excitement, Anger, Hate, and Loneliness.

My students did an AMAZING job visually representing each word, and they all enjoyed themselves. A few students in each class asked if we could do it again! Not only were they able to show each emotion using only colors, lines and shapes…they were also able to talk about how it represented their word!

This would be a fun activity to do with teachers as well, perhaps for a professional development activity. Teachers could use the 21st century learning skills as their prompt.

Collaborating to create one piece of art could sometimes be seen as a challenge, one person might have a hard time letting go of their concepts and ideas. Blindfolding each group member worked to help everyone let go of their expectations and to be in the moment, while taking turns created a space for change. Spontaneity helps a person to let go and be present in the now.   This was a perfect example of a theme directed intuitive art making process.

<3 Thank you Michael and David!

 

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Halfway through…

The second quarter has come to an end, that means we are halfway through the school year already. It’s hard to believe!

Second quarter was full of fun! Students created so many amazing things, using their skills and imagination.

8th grade gt students completed their mantle of the expert art presentations which were amazing.

 

They also created many amazing sketchbook assignments, practicing their drawing skills. Student chose at least 3 personal objects to draw from observation, realistically using shading to create form. Then they were able to create a background for their work.

 

8th, 7th, and 6th grade art students worked on Letting their Imaginations fly, for the PTA Reflections contest. Looking forward to finding out if any of them won awards for their work!

 

 

After flying around for a while, students landed to focus on shading and observational drawing in order to assist them in their upcoming still life drawing.

 

The art department hung a student show at the Towson Deli, like we do every December. It is so wonderful being out in our community, sharing the amazing things our students are doing.

 

Students also created Anti-Drug Posters for the State’s Attorney’s office contest. The task was to create posters to share the affects of drug and alcohol abuse. We will found in February if anyone received an award!

 

Outside of the Art studio, a lot happened at RMS! Teachers and students got together for an amazing canned food drive before thanksgiving, raising over 5,000lbs of food for those in need in our local community! In doing so two teachers got pied in the face as a result of a contest to see which homeroom could bring in the most food!

 

There was American Education Week, where students Raised their hands for SUCCESS! Each student created a hand that represented 3 goals they wanted to be successful at this year. Students and parents both created hands that were displayed in the halls.

 

And last but definitely not last, students at Ridgely teamed up to bring christmas to younger less fortunate students in our school system. Every year the SGA holds a Holiday Benefit party for about 25 kids from one elementary school in Baltimore County. It’s a beautiful thing seeing our students give so much of their love and time to these children. Seeing their faces light up when they arrive and are greeted by 100+ middle school students who are all there for them. There were stations for the students to rotate through… craft making, face painting, snacks and story time (with me!), Santa visit, and dance time. After each station, students then went back to their groups and opened their gifts!

 

So far the year has been amazing, I am really looking forward to the second half of the year!