Thursday, February 7, 2013

We Bring Work Home

You know you are a teaching artist when you bring your work home. My dog is doing a great job of not stepping on these 70 sunprints drying on my floor.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Making Assumptions

Well, I started a new residency last week. That familiar excitement and anxiety crept up on me. I couldn't wait to get back in the classroom, back into what I enjoy doing, back to teaching art.

This residency was no different from the other schools I teach at. Similar demographic, familiar neighborhood, same grade level. I even worked with this same classroom teacher last year. These are fourth graders in a lower socioeconomic neighborhood. This isn't foreign to me. I teach in the neighborhood I live in and hang out in. These kids could be my neighbors. I treat them like my friends. I try to learn their names. I make an effort to get to know them as much as I can during 90 minutes once a week for 7-weeks. Which, really, is not much at all. Since I don't have a lot of time to get to know my students, I often make assumptions based on prior experiences with other classes. This time I assumed wrong.

Me with too many cameras.
I am a photographer. I teach about photography. Really, the main thing I love to share with my students is how super cool photography is! That sounds silly, I know. But photography is something a lot of us take for granted. We have cameras on our phones, at our fingertips at any moment. I like to start my residency out by visiting that idea. I ask my students to "Raise your hand if you've ever had your picture taken." I assume that every hand will go up because, so far, every hand has gone up. Next, I ask my students to "Raise your hand if you've ever taken a picture." Again, I assume that every hand will go up because, so far, every hand has gone up.

There was a student sitting at the front of the classroom. While all of his classmates' hands went up with pride, his hand did not. Was he not paying attention? Maybe he doesn't understand English? Perhaps he didn't hear me? I repeat the question differently. "So, keep your hands up if you've taken a picture with a camera before". He is staring off and not raising his hand. I assume he must not be paying attention so I attempt some classroom management techniques. I walk up to the table, put my hand on his desk, look at him and ask him directly "Have you taken a picture before or had your picture taken?" He looks at me sheepishly and says "No."

My heart sinks down. I feel guilty. I feel embarrassed. That teacher panic sets in where you don't really know how to bounce back or how to fix the situation. All that internal dialogue is happening. It seems like 5 minutes has passed, but really it's only been 2 or 3 seconds. And I proceed "Well, I am super happy to tell you that you will get to take a picture!" and I move on quickly to the next part of the lesson.

No big deal.
No harm done.
But I can't stop thinking about this fourth grade boy who has never had his picture taken. I find it really hard to believe. I feel sort of shocked. Maybe he was lying? Maybe he wasn't paying attention? Or, maybe he was telling the truth? How has he never taken a picture before? Maybe his family doesn't have a camera? Maybe he is Amish? Wait, the Amish don't live in California...

It's hard not to make assumptions about the students we work with. Making an assumption is an easy shortcut when we are only working with these students for such a short time. I wonder though, if when we make assumptions, we are cutting our students' learning short.

Friday, September 7, 2012

I was inspired by our session last night and I wrote a Big Idea for my photography unit that I wanted to share with you all.

Photography is being able to take and look at photographs with an aesthetic eye and communicate thoughts, ideas, and emotions with intention.

I broke it down into smaller objectives and elements (which I won't include, let me know if you'd like to see the complete list).

Visual Literacy

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Here we go a-blogging!

Yeah for Lori! Thank you for setting us up with a communal blog!

Let's get started! I posted a link to a very inspiration commencement speech that I'd love for you to look at and post some thoughts! 

l am also going post a link to a site with info about 21st Century Skills- the basic underpinnings of Core Standards. 

 I would love to hear how things wrapped up last night! I am sorry that I had to leave early! 

Also from my notes from other workshops that lend themselves to grappling with connecting lesson plans to the standards. You may already be familiar with these but I wanted to bring them up again because of what Wendy said about working backwards (teaching what you know and love and then finding the standards that apply). I think many times our teaching goals (specific standards) will become visible AFTER the lesson takes place.

Benefits of Arts Education: 

1. Sensitive attention to Relationships (learn how to see & experience)
2. Problems can have more than 1 solution
3. Goals don't always proceed the means
4. We know more than we can articulate (but you can demonstrate that knowledge through the arts) 

Last....a link to something light-hearted that you might enjoy! 


Welcome Teaching Artists!

Hi Ladies, 

Welcome to our teaching artist online forum. Hopefully we are all able to post, share, and comment easily. Please let me know if you need help with anything.

To get us started, I just wanted to share a story KPBS did on the Summer Teacher Institute the CARE Program (which is one of the programs I teach for). I figured it was an appropriate share since we covered the Common Core Standards last night.