Serving Your Local Organization- Do the Walk

15 11 2015

DSC_0021We just wrapped on the Arkansas Art Educators 2015 Art Convention.  I volunteered to present two sessions and to also step into a Regional Directors position.  Yup!  It’s official I am full.  I have my hands full at my school all day and the addition of all the other organizations I run, advise, host, do…I am nuts.  So what’s the big deal to load on more?!  


Okay- yes prepping for a sub for two days and preparing two sessions was a challenge.  Stepping into a position and finding my footing along the way was stretching me but I think I survived.  My sessions did not go without their hiccups with poor Wi-Fi issues but overall not too bad.  I hope some of the teachers who attended my sessions gleaned some new ideas.  I was excited to meet with the region I have been assigned to lead, about what we can do to continue to connect throughout the rest of the year.  I proposed a few art coffee meet-ups to have face-to-face discussions and encourage professional development.  It seemed to be well received.  I guess we will find out when we have our first meet up.

I was honored at a reception this year for the Secondary Art Educator of the Year and as much as I felt it was an honor I wasn’t prepared for the emotion that spilled out of me in the moment.  I was so humbled and appreciative of the selection from the other art educators.  They get it…they understand what we do as art educators all day.  We are passionate people who are driven by a calling that we cannot control.  All week as I was preparing my sub plans and my session materials, I was thinking of my undergrad college art education professor.  Dr. Ernella Hunzinker, she would have loved to see me get this award.  Her eyes would have lit up, her smile would have stretched across her face, and she would be beaming.  She believed in me before I believed in myself.  I grew under her support.  She was a tough professor and students either loved her or disliked her.  I loved her.  I truly admired her ability to meet her demands as an art education professor in a male dominated field and manage her disabilities as MS took control of her body.  She never complained and pushed herself to get it all done despite the physical challenges.

Dr. Hunzinker came to my first district art show at my first full time teaching position.  She found a bench in the hallway and admired the display I had hung of my students work.  She sat there and waited for me to find a break from a group of parents and students to visit with her for a few moments.  I wasn’t expecting her.  I turned around and I saw her.  I was so happy she came and I was excited for her to see me in action.  I was her prodigy and she was my mentor.  I sat next to her on the bench in the hallway surrounded with my first years student work and she held my hand.  I looked at her and she had tears welling up in her eyes.  She said, “I knew you would be this great.  I knew you could do it.  I am so proud of you.  You will be great.”  I was a little surprised by her tears but not her words.  I could sense her pride in me.  We hugged and she stepped out the side door and was driven away.  Not long after I received news that her MS had limited her mobility and she retired from teaching.  Not long after she passed away.  My mentor was gone.  To this day I hold that last meeting in my mind.  This memory flooded my mind when I reached the podium to receive the Secondary Art Award.  I was overcome with her memory.  I could see her face again in my mind.  Dr. Hunzinker would have been in the front row.  


So I do the walk and the talk to help elevate art education in her honor. She would want it that way. Represent and elevate others to carry on long after you are gone. This is the legacy she would want me to leave behind.

 Street Sticker

I encourage you to step up and serve your art organization and help elevate art education in your area and then I challenge you to spread it on up to the National Level.

Many ways to nurture creativity, innovation, and service.

8 11 2015

IMG_6593My philosophy is, I have so many interests and I am passionate about all of them, so why not share it with the individuals who I spend most of my time influencing everyday. It just makes sense to me. I often hear this in my mind. “Be the change you want to see in the world” and “you will be remembered by how you made people feel”. No one knows how much time you have on this planet and I want my time to count for something worthwhile. I am one person, I am just an art educator, but I want to make a difference and I can by influencing others who will continue to influence more people. In my opinion, this is the best way to spend your time.

My program at school includes many moving parts that flow seamlessly and often has students gliding between one and more of my programs.  I believe in empowering students to take charge and to explore many different interests.  So with that in mind I host several projects and programs.

It is crazy at times because while I am teaching art in a TAB studio to five different courses, I’m striving to keep creating my own art and grow as an artist. Plus, keep up with art shows, professional development, home life, being a mom…..



I find it is all worth it. You can see it in the student’s eyes when they are learning something new or they accomplish something for someone else. You can sense the pride they feel and it is contagious. So this is my method to balance.


Art Club

I am the Art Club advisor that includes our Homes for Haiti project and our Curbside Couture Recycle Runway Show, mixed in with multiple service learning projects.  This year we are taking on a project to help raise money for local area art programs in public schools.  We are painting canvas tabletop cloths for the Garden Society of America’s big Garden Convention that will be hosted here in Arkansas.  We will be painting flowers and butterflies onto canvas that will be sealed and serve as the tabletop decorations for the luncheon.  The paintings will then be auctioned off at the event and all the money raised will be given to the Thea Foundation.  Specifically, Thea’s Art Closet that helps to serve under supported visual art programs.  It’s a way to get my art students to make beautiful art for one organization and to help local art programs.  Keeping vibrant art programs alive with great art supplies helps students stay in school and helps our community grow in a positive direction by fueling creativity.


Culinary Club

Culinary Club exposes students to cooking, meeting and learning from local chefs, assists students to gain knowledge about food and quality foods, and we get to explore culture through food.  With the cooperation of area chefs and home cooks we are able to teach students how to cook great healthy food.  Today we had our first event and our focus was Sushi.  It was so much fun watching students prep the food and learn how to prepare sushi rolls and to get creative with new sushi roll combinations.  Culinary Arts is an art form and learning to feed yourself is a life skill.

Sushi Class6


Fishing Club

I am also the advisor for the Fishing Club in our school.  I have over thirteen years of experience working with young children and fishing.  This week we had the Arkansas Game and Fish education coordinator come and share how to teach youth about fishing.  We fish tournaments but we also focus on conservation and exposing other children about fishing.  One of our goals is to host a youth fishing derby to teach kids how to cast, identify fish species, and how to take care of our local resources.


Fishing Class5

As much as this seems unrelated it is not. How to keep this all working? Is to teach young people to step up and be the student directors, mentor them to be organized, good communicators, good advocates, and stretch into the world for experts to help you with your goals. Tap the people who surround you. Other teachers in the building may have a skill set and an interest that would love to help you with a project. I work with the French teacher to support our Culinary Club and I tap several professionals outside my school to help support the Art Club and Fishing Team. You become involved in the school and the greater community. You build a network of support for more opportunities to enrich the young people in your lives. You gain pride in the projects and you gain stronger bonds with your school community.   Plus- YOU MAKE A DIFFERENCE. When you make a difference so many other elements in your life fall into place.


Arts Reveal Night

18 10 2015


Bravo and take a bow! My super six artists owned the evening with the reveal of their thoughts, talents, and ideas. What started as a passing thought that I had to help bolster a few students and the new choice based studio, turned into an event that will be repeated several times this coming school year.

Here is the back stage story.

I had this idea early in the quarter for this event. I wanted to share what I was seeing, reading, and hearing from my artists in the studio. I was moved by the deep connection many of my artists had made to the Themes and how they utilized the Artistic Targets to help guide them to make decisions for the path of their work. The individual Artist Proposals and the Blendspace links had content that was interesting and the documentation of their progress was impressive. Problem was I was the only one who saw this entire piece happening. All most people saw was the finished artwork. The viewers rarely had conservation with the artist about the work of art. My artists rarely, if ever shared the meaning behind the work of art. What a shame. So much more is to be appreciated about the work when you see the whole process.

PROCESS is the most valuable part of creating art.

I have based my whole teaching career on the process. I LOVE the process and I am sad when the end of the piece arrives because the creating is over. All that is left is to display the work for others to view and judge. The connection to the making of the piece is gone. Until you begin the process of designing and creating a new work of art.


One artist had to leave early to go win a volleyball game.

So one month earlier, I either tapped a few artists or they volunteered to present. My brave pioneers- the SUPER SIX! All of the artists did different types of media and different themes. Most importantly they all had different amounts of experience.   I wanted a spectrum of artists, not just my Senior Artists and not only the very gifted. I wanted artists who have been creating in my studio and had something to say.

I knew of a passionate and talented Broadcast student so I asked him if he wanted to join me on this unique event and film it? He said YES! This young producer gathered his best crew and filled the library with equipment to film the best angles and record the best sound from the evening. I feel blessed to have such great young people who want to expand their own skill set and experience to accomplish something bigger than them. I will provide the link when the produced piece is available.

After teaching non-stop studio classes, an Art Club meeting, and my morning duty. I was able to get all of the necessary materials collected to fill the library to transform it into a stage for our artists to speak to an audience.

Photo on 10-15-15 at 5.38 PM

The evening before I painted a few banners with one of the artists and created a few photo booth props. You have to provide those social media photo opportunities. We hung the banner above the library doors so it greeted everyone the next day. I wanted to have students see that something special is going to happen.

After the last class was dismissed the same dedicated artist helped me move all the props and materials to the library. Down in the library a few more students volunteered to give me a hand. So I put them to work.

We rearranged the furniture, set up the white backdrop and lights pulled up the podium, big TV screen, and rolled out the red carpet. Next, were the flowers, setting up the homemade cookies with tea and coffee. (I had three of the presenting artists at my home to bake all the delicious cookies) We added a red velvet rope to the entrance and set up the photo booth area.

I set my computer up to cycle a PowerPoint with music showing all kinds of #Artists Hands for the early arrivals.

Soon my artists arrived all dressed up and a little nervous. They soon calmed down when the music started and they could see their artwork surrounding the area. We set up special seating for the artists on deck so they would be comfortable and could see and support the other speakers.

The audience trickled in slowly while we got our Broadcast team assembled, lights and cameras aimed at our presenters. I queued up a few of the student’s presentations and assured myself that a few technology glitches will happen just go with it. I was nervous too but I needed to be in control and focused on helping my artists give a good presentation.


The night before the Arts Reveal Night I was up a few times with fear that my artists would flop or worse not do it. Then I dreamed that the technology just wouldn’t work and all the artists’ presentations would be unavailable or worst yet…the audience would not appreciate the event.

I was so wrong on so many levels. My artists looked polished, engaged the audience, prepared a great presentation, spoke from their hearts, and made a deep connection with the audience. The audience was so appreciative of the artist’s messages and powerful voices. The passion my artists shared was goose bump worthy. The kind words and care my students expressed about the support and hard work I give to them each day was evident. I was touched because it wasn’t necessary.

The parents beamed with pride and they should! What brave artists!

Needless to say I was exhausted, my feet throbbed, and I was so happy. I came home and was so tired but my mind was racing. I did fall to sleep to wake up at 2AM to rewind the event in my head. I was so thrilled. That feeling was not mine alone. As soon as I got to school I was greeted with kind emails from parents and happy artists. I was told that they felt so validated and proud of what they did. They couldn’t believe they did it but they are so glad they did. In fact several want to do it again. Imagine that…THEY WANT to PRESENT to an audience! One of my artist said her parents could not stop telling her all night how proud they were of her. I could see it in her eyes that a new door opened and she wanted it opened. In fact I feel she kicked it off the doorframe the night before and the door won’t ever be shut again.


We need to model and provide our artists the opportunity to share their passions, ideas, and thoughts. It is such an important and necessary part of their growth.

Did it elevate my artists? YES

Did my artists feel supported and encouraged? YES

Was I nervous trying something new and different? YES

That is never a reason NOT to do it.

I am so glad I stuck with my gut.

I knew I could make this happen and I knew my artists could hold their own

and speak from their hearts and to share it with an audience.


Trying something new.

12 10 2015


This is the year to stick my neck out a bit more and to challenge my artists and myself to strive for a clearer voice.  With the new choice based studio launched and a few months under my belt managing the new system it is time to evaluate the progress.  It is grading time and I have been reading my students evaluations and reviewing the documentation on blendspace links.  It has been an eye opener for me to see what my students want to express.  This week we will host what I hope will be a new series of artist talks on campus.  I am calling it Arts Reveal Night and it is happening this Thursday featuring six talented and creative artists.  All of them have a range of experiences and points of view.  Some of the students have been with me for four years and one for only a few months.  It will be interesting to see how they choose to express themselves and discuss their own artistic journey.

Art Reveal Night invite  copy

I had three of the students over on Sunday to bake cookies to serve at our event.  We made shortbread cookies drizzled with chocolate, caramel, and lemon flavored glaze.  We cut the cookies into shapes for the Fall season including leaves, acorns, and pumpkins.  I am also the Culinary Arts advisor so having baking be a part of the event is not a huge stretch for me and it served as a great bonding experience for me and for the artists.  The house smelled amazing and the cookies are works of art.  Of course a few broke so we had to taste them and they are very tasty.  One of my artists is learning how to throw on the wheel so she will be serving tea with her tea bowls.  We have two teapots to finish up before Thursday but we think it will all get done.  The evening will be a mix of students adding their talents to make the evening a success.  I have bright and talented Broadcast students who will be recording and producing the art talk.

The bottom line is we are stepping out and striving to expand and that is the most important part of the evening.  I can say I am a little nervous but that’s always a good thing.  I will post images and the link to the Arts Reveal Night when it is all completed.

Choice Based Studio Copy

Grading…grrrr.  It is a necessary element of the teacher’s life but not a favorite.  I am navigating between my spreadsheets and the individual students blendspace links to get a complete reflection of the process to then write a written evaluation for the artist to review.  It is a time consuming process but I learn a lot from the process. Including what I can do to support my artist’s experiences and how I can challenge them further down the line.

There has been a lot of discussion about the students who struggle with the open studio format vs. the teacher directed studio.  I have experienced similar behaviors from a few of my students too.  I have students who are frozen as to what to do.  I provide a variety of online exemplars and resources but some students still need a nudge to get started.  It is not many but they do exist and as the educator you need to decide what will work best for each student to get them moving.  I have paired some students together to work side by side to motivate them, I have set up a specific challenge for the artist to tackle with materials they already feel comfortable work with, and I have helped them select media or themes to branch off past successes from the studio experiences.  It is not an easy task if you are striving not to be so directive.  I still feel at times that I need to get in there and just propose a project but I am pulling back and letting the student struggle, think, play, and experiment without too much pressure.  The amount of time you let each student stay in this cycle is hard to measure.  At times, I feel the student is not focused enough and needs a push and other times, I feel I need to let it follow a natural pace.

It often feels like a crazy fast paced space that could benefit from a second art instructor and other times it is an easy beautiful flow of artistic movement.  No two classes are the same and day-to-day it changes.

Anna F landscape

I have been following discussions on Twitter and on the Art Teachers forum about TAB and choice based studios.  I have also been reading the different ideas and philosophies from a variety of educators from a wide range of experiences.  I feel for the educators who feel pressured or in a “free fall” of how to understand or process the information out there.  It would be so confusing to me too if I wasn’t in the middle of it and had years of experience.  I caution anyone not to adopt a program or system that someone else has designed.  I feel you need to know what are your own strengths and what is your community culture.  Don’t feel you need to flip the whole show and jump in.  It’s okay to wade in and sample bits and pieces.  I think most of you will know what was successful and maybe you will be able to build a better program from what you experience.  I don’t like it when too many labels or others judge when they don’t have a full grasp of a particular art teacher’s environment.  I believe we are striving to serve of field of art education the best we can and it takes time to navigate through it all.  So take stock in what you are doing well and push into new directions but don’t do it all in one big step.  YOU need to feel confident and your confidence will carry your studio to where you would like it to be as an art educator.

Getting real in the art studio.

21 09 2015

I’ve been on this new journey in my studio with my students to provide a quality art educational program. It’s a choice based blended studio that is a multi-level course. Long story short, it’s a formal method that I’ve been doing for years in a real mash-up method.

Here is only a few screen shots of my students choice themes they have selected with specific media and artistic targets. Teenagers have a lot to say if you give them room to express it.

The heart composition is the first augmented reality piece, my student created on his own. Check out the aura at hshelnutt’s Public auras on Aurasma.

I have a few on Aurasma too, check them out on my Public Aura Channel -joyschultz.

My student made the heart beat in 3D when you view it on the Aurasma app.

After 25 years of teaching you’d think I could let it roll as I always have but NO!
I’ve created a whole new way of doing things. I have learned so much in the process like modifying code, how to use three different student management online tools, how to trouble shoot two 3D printers, and use, implement, and teach students how to create augmented reality pieces. Everyday is an adventure but the amount of real world issues my students are addressing with their art is inspiring to me. So on days that my mind is spinning and I’m exhausted don’t mind me. My brain is processing my world. Here is a small glimpse of my student’s research and ideas behind the pretty pictures.

I’ve just completed written commentary for my students evaluations for the first piece they have created.  The paperless process that I am using with Google Forms is awesome.  I now have a method to communicate in detail how my student’s can be greater than they already are to me.

Student Leadership Continues

11 09 2015

Dropping off money we raised for Haiti. Gracie Kreth Senior Student Director with Connie Fails Clinton Store Manager

Homes for Haiti is a non-profit, student-run organization that has raised a total of $68,000. It partners with the Clinton Haiti Relief Fund to help build back Haiti after the devastating earthquake in 2010. Within this program, students from Arkansas use scrap materials from their art rooms to create small pins, magnets, and ornaments in the shape of small houses. Each of these pins has a heart on the roof representing the love and support of the Haiti community from students within United States, and when wearing a pin, awareness is spread throughout the community. This organization has an extremely powerful message especially coming from America’s youth.

In fact, it is a completely student driven organization and each year, receives recognition from the Clinton Foundation. Additionally, each student leader has been honored with prestigious leadership awards. Just after the organization was established, Jami Schmidt, the first student leader, received “Bridge Builder Award” from the Clinton Presidential Volunteer Gala in 2010 and Ken Bastian Award Outstanding Community Service Award from the Southwestern Association for Episcopal Schools in 2011. Mimi Ederle assumed the large responsibility and received the Fellowship at the University of Arkansas for all her hard work. To top it off, Riley Blair, who served for two consecutive years received the esteemed Hunt Leadership Scholarship to Southern Methodist University. This year, I am the Homes for Haiti Student Leader, and will work as hard as I can to try to carry out the previous leader’s vision for expansion of the organization. As for the future, this year, I will also be mentoring my younger sister Celia Kreth to assume the position.

This year, I will focus on spreading awareness targeting the younger generations. I have contacted daycare, preschool, and Sunday School programs in the hopes of teaching children and their parents about Homes for Haiti. This, I predict, will help teach children the importance of helping others even at a young age, as well as receive some assistance making the pins by turning the lesson into an arts and crafts project.

I have big plans for Homes for Haiti, and with your help, I wish to make this one of the most profitable and effective year. I believe in this organization because I have clearly seen it make an impact over the years in Haiti. You can help by purchasing a pin at the Clinton Museum store, making a donation, or spreading awareness for this cause and organization.

Gracie Kreth

Homes for Haiti Student Director

Beyond Proud of my Students

I Believe ART can Change the World

Blended Learning and Student Management Platforms= Student Choice

1 09 2015

There has been a lot of excitement and curiosity around changing the way educators deliver content, expectation, rigor, play, and standards. I have read and watched several researchers who have made this a focus for the new paradigm shift in education. Books- Blended Learning and #EDJourney

I have been reading and researching the changes and dissecting my own philosophy for handling my specific population in my school. I have reflected on how I was trained as an art educator (DBAE), how I function as an artist, and what I recall as memorable experiences in my schooling that helps me relate to my current students.

Kelsey AP collobration

A lot has changed for teenagers and even more has changed with technology so with that as a known, of course, education needs to change. I am not afraid to modify and change to meet a greater outcome for my students. I have always been a student-centered teacher. I am proud of the rapport I have with my students and they always expand my understanding and help guide me with what was successful and what wasn’t.

I have been active on the art teachers Facebook platforms and on Twitter so I keep up with the trends, thoughts, and questions about what is going on with art education. It’s actually really interesting to see what others share. I love seeing the successes and fails, the open discussions about ideas, and the variety of viewpoints about how art education is changing.


I started this year as a full choice art studio but as I am still learning the differences between Choice and TAB, I am discovering I am falling more into the TAB philosophy. Bare in mind I don’t care for labels, I care about good education.

Last year I wrote a new curriculum to start this school year. I used to teach Drawing I, Drawing II, Painting I, Painting II, Printmaking, Media Art, Sculpture, and AP Art. I have all semester courses on a block schedule with a 70-minute period. That worked for sometime but I started to have student requests for second level experiences in courses that only offered one level. I could not support any more classes. So what happened next was the students were enveloped into other courses and I offered work for those individuals on the side to expand and challenge them. It worked for a short time but it’s not an ideal system.

New School Year New Program- Offerings this year:


In each course students are classified and placed in beginner, intermediate, and advanced level. The student’s transcript indicates the level the students are in for each of the courses. The student’s can take only three semesters of an individual course. After that the student will enroll in a different course or AP ART.

That is a lot of levels in each course and hard to track so this is where student management platforms come in to the studio. As a school we are using Haiku for all of our classes. I use Haiku as my resource page for all of the forms I need for my students to access. For example: Themes, Artistic Targets, Project Proposal Form, Assessment Forms, and Display Proposals. (formative and summative assessments)

Haiku Learning Management Platform Tutorial


I use Pinterest to create boards for my students to review for ideas and inspiration; I also offer links to tutorials, artists’ websites, and past student examples. I divide the resources into Media and Themes.

My Project Proposal Form is a Google form so I get a spreadsheet to help me track the student’s choices and artistic targets.


One of the issues I read about that some teachers are having difficulty with is the accountability for the students and the project progress. I have a different student centered platform for my students to use as an art journal/sketchbook.

It’s Blendspace. My students create an account and have control of the privacy of each lesson they create. I require my students to keep the information limited to only people who have the code to each lesson to see the link. I also have the students set the usage of the content to no one. I am teaching them early to protect their artwork and digital footprint. The students copy the code to the lesson link on Blendspace to the Google form on the Haiku page to submit with the project proposal.


I get a spreadsheet that indicates details about the artist proposal including the code that relates to the artists lesson. I can see it but no one else can, unless the student shares the link code with peers.

Screen Shot 2015-08-30 at 6.18.56 PM

I require my students to attach inspirations to the Blendspace link that can include sketches, YouTube tutorials, art websites, music, etc. I get a full idea of what makes this specific project idea come alive for my student. I also require that my students document the progress of the piece throughout the process. I am putting an emphasis on the experimenting, planning, research, and play to complete the final piece.

Blendspace Tutorial

Screen Shot 2015-08-30 at 5.58.38 PM

I do assessments on the stages of the project and conference with my students on progress, offer support, scaffolding for skill building, etc. The student proposes a deadline and we will refer to that art proposal frequently to keep the student propelling forward. I do leave room for restarting, absences, slower paced workers, and over-achievers. Everyone is working at his or her own pace with accountability.

My observations so far this year: (two weeks into the year)

The students are making very good choices on themes and artistic targets that are achievable but challenging. The amount of out of studio class time has increased due to intrinsic motivation. The quality of the art research and output is very strong.

My fears of students not working have evaporated. My students are working in the morning before school, lunch, club time, study hall, and after school. They are looking at art, finding interesting news and links to support their concepts. It is refreshing to witness and see the documentation of the student “voices” that are emerging.

Very powerful concepts with topics that is important for the artist to express in their own way.

My next goal is to create a augmented Art Gallery display in our school utilizing some of the documentation my students have accumulated on the Blendspace link to showcase the process and thoughtful research. Aurasma is the platform I recently have been trying and it is pretty easy to create.

Aurasma Tutorial – Augmented Reality

Without the element of uncertainty—the bringing off of even—the greatest triumph would be dull, routine, and eminently unsatisfying. – J. Paul Getty

The fishermen know that the sea is dangerous and the storm terrible, but they have never found these dangers sufficient reason for remaining ashore. – Vincent van Gogh

Jackson faces BY


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