Monday, October 24, 2016

Ken Shelton

As I mentioned in my last post, Kenneth Shelton was the keynote speaker at our Nebraska Art Teachers Conference and he was awesome. You can find out more about him on his blog, on twitter or on instagram but here are some things that stuck with me.

His first presentation with iPhone/Droid photography. It was such a fun session that really made us think about the "story telling device" that is our (and our students) digital device. Here are my takeaways from that presentation.

  1. You should MAKE photos, not TAKE photos. Taking 20 snaps and hoping one turns out is taking photos. Looking and composing an image is "making" photos.
  2. Don't worry about capturing EVERYTHING, just capture the RIGHT thing.
  3. Enhancement is perfecting your images while manipulation is changing your image. It is okay to do both when you are capturing the things that matter in a way that tells the story.
  4. Challenge students to make photos with a theme (ex: location, time, character, story, face in place, abstract, symmetry, texture, lines, etc...)
  5. He shared some of his favorite apps and they were: photoshop, snapseed, lightroom, procreate, google nik collection, golden light. He recommends having more than one and using them often.
  6. Here are some of my photos from this session.  Can you guess which one was lines, texture, symmetry and perspective.
On Saturday I was able to take a second session that focused on the power of voice in the digital age.  This was a really engaging and thought provoking session. I think I took 2 pages of notes... and that was writing as fast as I could. Here are some of my take aways.
  1. Are you asking your students "google-able" questions or questions that make them think?
  2. It's not a digital footprint, its a digital tattoo. - just think of all the screen shots that exist of tweets and posts that have been deleted. There will always be a faint trace of your past online.
  3. Share your communities STORY... and make sure you are the curating the story. You can use visual storytelling (a single image), digital storytelling (gifs or moving photos) or cinematic narrative (a moving video).
  4. Publish your story - If you don't share what you are doing, someone else might and you might not like what they say. 
This video is impressive but doesn't have a story

This video has a story...
Notice the difference?

Make sure you are telling your STORY. Help you students tell THEIR STORIES.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

NATA 2016

2 weeks ago I was able to attend that Nebraska Art Teacher Associations Fall conference in McCook, NE. It was such a wonderful time.

#1 The landscape is ABSOLUTELY beautiful...

#2 The Community of McCook is a hidden gem. They are a progressive small town who values the arts (and I think their art teacher Deb Goodenberger is a huge reason why). They also have the only Frank Lloyd Wright house in Nebraska with the Sutton House. We were able to tour it and wow! While I might not have agreed with everything FLW did, he sure can design a house. 
The history of the house is shared with every 5th grader as Mrs. Goodenberger has them tour it every year, even though it is a private residence. It has been a house, an apartment building, a doctor clinic and then fully restored to a private home. You can read more here or here

#3 The Keynote was AMAZING! Kenneth Shelton was so good. It was a small group of us and he really connected with everyone and shared his wealth knowledge. I will be doing another post about him as there is too much to share right here.

#4 The state of Nebraska has some really great art teachers in leadership roles and they work really hard to promote the arts and art education in the state. From Deb Goodenberger who organized the event to our Co-Presidents and past presidents. Everyone there was advocating for power of art education. It is always challenging to give up classroom/weekend time to attend conferences but after spending 2 days surrounded by your peers you are rejuvenated and ready to rock.

#5 And then this happened. I was honored as the Nebraska Middle Level Art Teacher of the year.
It is such an honor. I don't really have any way to explain how much it means. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Pumpkin Spice

I am on our school's social committee and this year we are trying to "shake things up" a bit. 

Our first attempt was to sponsor a pumpkin spice challenge. Staff was asked to bring in their favorite pumpkin spice recipe. Judging went down at 9 am.

We definitely had a hard time choosing. Very yummy stuff all around. 

Most Creative Use of Pumpkin went to Mrs. Abler who made an amazing Pumpkin Butter! It was so yummy on crackers with whip cream. 

1st Place went to ME! I made pumpkin cheesecake struesel bars for fun but ended up victorious. 
(I didn't not vote, just sat in on the tasting)

2nd Place went to Miss. Riese and her yummy Pumpkin Pie Muffins. They had these amazing little cinnamon chips in them - Yumm! 

It was a lot of fun to do something new... especially on a cold, wet fall day! 

Monday, October 10, 2016

Get You Thinking Share #4

As a mom of two little girls this article really got to me. After reading it I couldn't help but think of the relationships of the girls in my classroom. It breaks my heart that girls go through so much. 
It's easy to think, "I made it through this junk when I was a kid and so will they." The truth is we all carry scars from this time in our life. Understanding that and having some compassion can go a long way! 

I was also excited to see these articles posted at the bottom of the page. I think this might be a site worth saving. 

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Right Brain vs. Left Brain

As art teachers we know the struggle of the left brain vs. the right brain.
photo credit
In 6th grade I feel my students really start to change into I can't draw, I am worried about what others think, preteens. Therefore we spend a lot of time talking about our brains in 6th grade. We talk about how the left side of our brain often gets more "time on task" while our right brain is better at art stuff. We do lots with our brains in 6th grade... and so to start the year I had them create left and right brain drawings.

They started by drawing one thing they love right in the middle of their folder cover. Instead of a brain we illustrated the saying "they have ________ on the brain." Then they add things to the left side of their image that shows how THEIR left brain works. They finished by adding things to the right side of their drawing that shows how the right side of THEIR brain works.
We talk about how playing football is both... memorizing the x's and o's of the plays is left side of the brain while enjoying the act of playing is a right side of the brain activity. We talk about how the measuring and following a recipe when baking is a left side of the brain activity while choosing the colors and frosting are a right brain activity. It really is fun to listen to the kids as they discuss how the activities they enjoy use both sides of their brain.
To finish the assignment they colored the image and handed in some really neat images.  You can check out more of them over at our artsonia site.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Elements of Art Cubes...

Every year our 5th graders study/review the elements of art throughout the year. Therefore, when we start 6th grade I like to have them do a quick review lesson. This year we created element of art review cubes. (you can read more about them here)
Students created an element of art cube illustrating Line, Shape, Color, Texture, Space and Value on each side. (we left form off because we were building a form)  When they were put together, we made this "Elements are the building blocks of art" display.
** Yes, stacking student built blocks did test my Jenga skills**

Monday, September 12, 2016

Get You Thinking Share #3

We are doing all kinds of things in the art room already this year and I can't wait to share with you but nothing is DONE yet. You can see our "in progress" work by following me on twitter @carlisleartclas and stay tuned for updates. Until then I will share another great Friday Share article.

Business Insider published this article showcasing the importance of creativity. They also shared 7 steps to help EVERYONE be more creative. Even as an art teacher I found myself thinking, "I should do that."

A great big thank you to my principal for sharing this one with all of us.