Sooooo..... I wrote this up quite a while ago and realized that I never posted it. Better late than never I suppose!
I'm back from Seattle on a whirlwind of an adventure at the National Art Education Association's convention! These events are always amazing and NAEA really outdid themselves this year! The opportunity to see new cities, learn about new topics in art education, and re-connect with old friends as well as new ones is something that I look forward to every year.
After touching down in Seattle with some of my Wisconsin art teachin' buddies, we spent the first day exploring Pike's Place. Pike's Place is a market with loads of different vendors who sell everything from art to fish to produce. This market is well-known for the fish, particularly because of the fun that the fish-sellers have while working. They are constantly throwing fish back and forth to each other! We also took a little walk down to the gum wall and added pieces of our own!
Our 2nd day in Seattle was spent getting down to business. As the President-Elect of the Wisconsin Art Education Association, I took part in the Delegate's Assembly for NAEA. I spent the entire day working with other delegates from around the nation to edit and revise position statements. The position statements are stances that NAEA takes on a particular subject or issue. It was a loooong day of work!
The next 3 days is when the convention took place. To start off the convention, we heard a keynote speech by Nick Cave! I recently heard Nick give a talk at UW- Whitewater so I was thrilled to hear him talk about his work again and in a bit more depth this time. My kindergarteners recently did a project based on Nick so it was cool to have that connection with him. Nick Cave creates these 'sculptures' called 'soundsuits.' These suits made from found objects make a pointed statement on race. Nick sees his soundsuits as a way to hide his identity as a black man, as well as a sort of armor.
The theme of the convention this year was “Art + Design = STEAM.” With STEM being the latest craze in education, I am glad that NAEA dedicated this convention to saying “Hey! The Arts matter.” Where STEM focuses on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, STEAM adds Art into the equation. Many of the sessions I attended dealt with this idea of the incorporation of other subjects into Art. Golan Levin's keynote said it best when he said that we should be careful with STEAM. STEAM projects often result in cookie-cutter projects. Art shouldn't be used to bait students into being interested in the other subjects of STEAM, it needs to stand tall alongside Math, Science, Engineering, and Technology.
On my last day in Seattle, we took some time check out the Chihuly Glass Garden. It was A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. While I have seen plenty of Dale Chihuly's artwork throughout my life, the gardens did such a great job of showing them. Rooms were typically dark with lights cast on the glassworks. The reflections of light and color around the rooms was incredible. It was also cool to see the incorporation of his glassworks into an actual garden, with his nature-inspired artworks growing right alongside some of the things that they were probably inspired from. 1st grade just finished learning about Dale Chihuly and I can't wait to show them all of the pictures!
With another convention come and gone, it's time to start my loooong countdown to NAEA19 in Boston!
This month’s topic for the Art Ed Blogger’s Network is Student Engagement and Participation! I’ll admit that this was an article that I struggled a bit to write. When first presented with this topic, my immediate thought was that OBVIOUSLY my students were engaged and participating in class but after thinking about this, it’s much harder to put those thoughts into words! I ended up writing about a variety of different things that engage my students in class.
Artists of the Month
This is something that I am sure many of you already do but it is new to my school as of this year. Each month, I select two artworks that are put in a frame and hung in our principal’s office. She makes a big deal out of it and announces it over the intercom to much excitement! I also make certificates that the students receive for their hard work and post a picture of them with their artwork to our social media page for parents and community members to see and appreciate! My principal also extends an invitation to the parents of the selected artists to come in and view the artwork hung in her office. It’s a great way to honor students as well as create support for my program in the community! You can see our previous Artists of the Month here!
Students Calling on Students
Something I just recently began doing over the last couple months is having students call on each other to answer questions and discuss artists. After a student tells the class something they learned about the artist/project from our previous class, that student gets to call on another student who has their hand raised. This caused class participation to DRASTICALLY go up! Rather than have the same few students always answering questions, I now have loads of students who are excited to contribute to conversations so they can call on another class member!
This one goes without saying but KIDS. LOVE. CLAY…. They will do anything to use it in class. I am not someone who particularly likes to use clay and I make that known to my students. If Mr. Calvert is going to get the clay out, they need to be art room rockstars! Students are almost always on their best behavior and super attentive when I am giving instructions.
Dress Like an Artist Day
Something that was new for my school was our Dress Like an Artist day that we had last week! For the last 26 days of school, we do an alphabet countdown with each day being a different celebration. We kicked off the celebration with Dress Like an Artist Day this year. I have no idea which of my staff members came up with that idea (surprisingly it wasn’t me) but it was hugely successful with loads of students dressing up! You've gotta check out the pictures!
Mystery Art Chat
Something I use to do with my friend, Tasha Newton, who works in Fall Creek, WI was something called Mystery Art Chat. I like to compare it to the board game “Guess Who.” Our two classes would Skype each other and we would have a long list of different art materials. Each class would take turns asking the other class questions about what their mystery art material was until they figured out the material. This game was great for teaching deductive thinking and working from broad questioning to specific questioning! This game could be modified so that you could try to figure out a mystery artist, where the other class is from, etc. The students also loved getting to meet a new class!
Participating Art Teacher Blogs:
Dress Like an Artist Day
Harmony and Consolidated Elementary Art Teacher in Milton, WI. UW-Eau Claire graduate. WAEA President. Apple Teacher.