Student Teacher Blog
As a group of student teachers starting in the Fall we are able to experience the start of a school year. Teacher work week, the week before the students begin, is a whirl wind of activity. The school is quite like a bee hive with teachers buzzing around here and there preparing for the school year. There is much excitement in the air and teachers are refreshed from their summer break. One of the projects I helped with was preparing for a “get-to-know-you” first class assignment and display. My co-op teacher came up with a display idea for a group of bulletin boards that stretch the length of one hallway in the school. There just happens to be six of them, one for each grade. She had the idea to create easels with canvases out of paper. On the canvases butterflies would appear to be painted on a canvas, but as they moved toward the right side of the canvas they would begin to look 3-D. Then they would fly right off the canvas and across the rest of the bulletin board. Each student in the school would make a butterfly with their name on the front to add to their grade bulletin board display. That is just what we did. I got to make all of the easels.
Then the first week of school for the students began and we were knee deep in butterflies. It took us both until the end of the third week to have the butterflies finished and added to their displays.
At my school there is a special ed preschool class. Instead of lumping them into the kindergarten I had the idea of letting them create larger butterflies to hang in between the bulletin boards. You can see those in the above photograph.
I was very impressed with many of the students’ finished butterflies. Here are a few for your viewing pleasure.
I’m extremely fortunate to have been placed with a cooperating teacher who has years of experience. Over the years, my co-op teacher has gathered a number of resources – both in her classroom and on the internet.
Her room is full of realia, artwork, and inspiring photos. It’s impossible to not be inspired in this artroom – it is overflowing with visuals. She also has an extensive library of artbooks and related children’s books that she uses for her lessons. She has collected examples and objects from all around the world, that make the learning experience hands-on and inspirational for the students.
In addition to resources in her classroom, my co-op teacher has already taught me about three wonderful online resources that I wanted to share.
A free online lesson plan building site – where you can add images, videos and other visuals to a lesson page. Lessons can be shared easily, commented on, and collaborated on. I have been using this for my lessons this past week, and it’s a wonderful visually-oriented way to share images and lessons.
A free online art “museum” where you can upload student artwork and share galleries with parents and students. The main focus of this site is to create products with the student’s artwork on it, for parents and families to purchase. However, my co-op teacher uses it as an online gallery of student’s work. The wonderful thing about this site is that it creates a personal page for each student – and collects all of their artwork from their entire school years. Students can view, share and comment on their’s and other’s artwork. It’s also a great resource for viewing lessons and other artwork from schools around the world.
A free site where you can build, search and present rubrics. I’m often stumped on appropriate wording for rubrics, but this offers a great tool for creating rubrics and assessment tools. I have yet to explore it in great detail, but it has helped me a lot so far
I hope these resources are useful to others, and that it’s inspirational to learn about all of the wonderful art resources that are out there in the community.
My first unit of the semester is a contour line drawing and watercolour painting unit. I wanted to teach this unit for two reasons: 1) the students will have a chance to draw each other and become comfortable enough to possibly make friends the first week, and 2) the students will start their year in the art room with a project that is not intimidating.
Students partnered up to “take a tour” of each other’s face and to then draw their partner using a continuous/contour line. They were instructed to follow a few simple tips on the first day of the unit and to just “practice using their eyes as much as possible”. The following week (this week), I am introducing them to artist examples and going more in depth about technique and the reason behind contour line drawing.
They have improved tremendously, and it’s exciting to see them work so hard on getting the details and really looking at their partner. This exercise in looking will serve as a great start to the year, and I look forward to teaching them painting techniques next week.
What I am learning the most through this unit is that collaboration can be a difficult thing to teach, but it pays off. The classes that I am teaching through collaborative projects are much more in sync with each other and have control over their behaviour. It’s great to hear them encouraging each other and working together well.
Here are some images of their work so far:
We are all settling into our placements as Student Teachers throughout the area. Much of the first week has been dedicated to meetings, planning lessons and setting up art rooms. Before the student’s arrive, a lot has to be done to prepare for classes.
I have been spending the week cleaning, putting up posters, revitalizing dry paint, and learning how the school runs as its own system.
It’s been interesting to observe how classroom teachers and resource teachers set up their classrooms. The environment of each room really does affect the mood of the students and teachers – and my cooperating school has done an incredible job at creating a warm and inviting environment for returning and new students.
One of my fun “breaks” from meetings and cleaning was creating a display for the students who walk past the art room. It was a fun project to work on, and allowed me the opportunity to chat to people as they were passing by.
It has also served as inspiration for a few discussions with students as the enter the school, and a way for them to get to know me.
I look forward to filling the halls with student’s artwork soon as well.
Ceramics I students talked about opposites they have experienced in their lives and pulled symbols from their stories. Then, they positioned their symbols around a pinched cylinder to create movement. The project required the creation of their images through the use of coils. This was proven easier for some and harder for others. While some students who have trouble with craftsmanship found an easier time with the coils, others had trouble wrapping their heads around it. I then allowed the students to use some slab pieces as long as the majority of the piece used coils. For the finishing, the students had to mix one color of glaze with black and white to create values. They had to use these only these values to glaze their piece to learn the element of value.
Last night was the student exhibit. I couldn’t have been more proud of my fellow student teachers as well as my students. As I walked the halls and navigated the crowd, I felt myself getting emotional. Seeing my students show up and pull their spines straight for pictures with their artwork made my heart swell. Despite all frustrations throughout the nearly 19 weeks, last night was a reminder of why we’re all here.
It was an awesome experience to be able to meet the families of the students who came. I learned a lot about the children as well as their backgrounds and felt fortunate that I had a good amount show up. Beside the students, seeing my two cooperating teachers was of course a pleasure. The closer I’ve gotten to graduation the more gratitude I hold for all the time and energy that was poured into my learning. I couldn’t have been more fortunate in my two placements and can truly say I have two wonderful new friends.
On a less sentimental note, the prepping for the exhibit was a learning curve but I totally have a new appreciation for post-it notes. I LITERALLY don’t think I could’ve held it together (mentally) without all the planning behind it. I’m grateful for all the work everyone put it so that it ran so smoothly.
As I submit my last blog post and go into finishing out my last day of teaching, I’d like to say to my fellow and soon-to-be teachers: NEVER forget why we are here!
Before people started arriving! SK and I decided to create this “#selfie” booth last minute! It was a BIG hit.
My cooperating teacher and I; ART SOUL MATES. We took this picture at the #selfie booth.
Pre-exhibit. I’d like to send a thank-you letter to the maker of “post-its.” Never underestimate the importance of planning!
The welcome sign
Part of the display
The student art show is the culmination of all of our hard work over the past semester. It finally feels official but yet it’s all coming to an end. Words can barely describe how amazing it felt to see everything put together. I am so proud of all of us.
Visitors enjoying my student’s art work
One of the most rewarding part of the night was getting to see my students. Particularly the elementary students, who I haven’t seen in 8 weeks. Seeing the excitement on their faces was priceless. I had the opportunity to talk to the students and parents about their work. It was fun to ask their students to tell their parents about the art work and the process. Some were able to remember everything but some needed a bit of a refresher.
A student showing his parent his art work.
I can’t believe our undergraduate journey is coming to an end. I look forward to what comes next but I will have fond memories this experience. What a wonder ending to this journey, seeing all the students faces and the work on display makes all the long, sleep deprived hours worth with it. Congratulations Class of 2014, commence awesomeness!
Art with a Function:
Unfortunately my 8th graders didn’t finish their amazing ceramic sculptures in enough time for the show, but here is a snapshot of what they have been working on and have been finishing up this week.
Students started off their clay unit learning about the basic clay techniques: coiling, pinching, and slab. Learning the three functions of art: physical, social, and personal, students looked at Pre-Columbian funerary vessels and urns in relation to the contemporary artist Vipoo Srivilasa and created functional works of art. Students explored physical and visual textures within their pieces and created their vessel stemming from two personality traits.
Students learned that artists can use their work to teach others. Looking at Kara Walker and silhouettes as narratives, students used silhouettes to communicate resolutions to social injustices in the world and within their communities. Learning about the different meanings of colors due to associations and culture the students used color as symbols to convey emotions based on the issue they addressed. The project was a tedious, but the students had strong opinions about the issues they addressed and worked very hard. Through this project I learned to be willing to be flexible and to make changes that benefit the students and overall results of the project. Initially I had a different idea for the backgrounds, but being reflective and considering student interest, I adjusted the project to have painted backgrounds. They were overall pleased with the end results.