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

One week under my belt with a Full Choice Studio

23 08 2015

I have officially launched my full choice studio.


Yes- it was scary but I feel I worked over my ideas of implementation over and so far we have been experiencing only minor glitches in the system.  The glitches are mainly due to use of browser choices by students that don’t like to play nice with my Google Form or Blendspace.  Haiku is a great platform to populate all of my resources and my students are able to access my Pinterest boards but only if they sign up for a free account.  Blendspace is working out great and my students have adapted to populating their resources, inspiration, and videos easily.  As the students make progress on their projects they will take photos of their work and add the photos to their Blendspace link.

This week we will wrap on loose ends from our glitches and move forward from our warm-up projects.  Students will have submitted project proposals with a Blendspace link on a Google Form to me by the end of the week.  I will be able to view their Blendspace links and see what Theme and Artistic Targets they have selected.  I helped my students select deadlines based on their proposals and we can revisit the deadlines as the dates move closer to the students proposed dates.

I had the opportunity, at Open House, to share with my student’s parents the whole concept of a full choice studio plus the student management platforms. The parents were all very excited and amazed at the blended learning opportunities I was providing their children.  Many of the parents understood the importance for their child to participate in the process of selecting and planning their projects. 

  I feel that if you would sketch a image of my parents, while I was explaining my course this year, it would have been one of wide-eyed adults and their hair blown straight back.  The over all expression from my parents was “Whoa!”in a good way.

Now- I know I am going to have hiccups on the journey of this blended learning process but I will be able to adjust as it goes.  My new exciting news is that I am experimenting with augmented reality to help me promote the studio process.  I will be documenting my students doing the work and then layering over an image of the final project.  It will help showcase the process while the viewers still see the artwork.  Eventually, my students will add this process of creating Auras to their art show displays to increase awareness of their artistic processes.

I am also excited by all the choices of directions my students have selected on the pathway of choice.  I have a couple of students interested in the 3D printer, throwing on the wheel, animation, and all mash ups of monoprinting techniques.  It’s an exciting place, a happening place, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

If you are interested in blended learning check out:  Blendspace, Haiku, and Aurasma.

Also if you are not on Twitter…what are you waiting for?  #artsed #k12artchat

"From Within"

“From Within”

Full Choice Art Studio

11 08 2015

CGbbbjuUAAAHStT copy

This seems to be what so many art educators are tweeting about and it has lead to many to reflect on what they are doing in the their art classrooms. I’m going full choice this year but only after a year of research and years of having modified choice in my artist studio. Making the change to a choice based studio does require a change in systems for you and your students. It also requires a lot of research and front-loading to have a successful program.

To help make my transition move along I am using two student management platforms that serve different functions. Blendspace is one I am using to set up lessons, professional development, and student portfolios. I like this platform because the sharing features are customizable for me and for my students. Link codes can be shared to create a single class sharing, only people with the link, or to the public. The information on the portfolio can be limited to full sharing and for viewing only. Collaboration can also be selected to meet the needs of the portfolio. Blendspace provides an embed code that I can place onto our other student management platform- Haiku. Our school has purchased the platform for the whole K-12 program to meet our needs, as whole school, but there are free accounts that also function well.

My biggest advice to anyone looking into transitioning to full choice is to do your research. Examine how will this be introduced not only to the students but also to the administration and parents. How will you be implementing choice to the studio? Stations, themes, media, and or calendar?

Warning: there is NO one best way to do this. You need to customize the implementation to best meet your goals as an art educator, your personality, space, and budget. There is NO lesson plan that will be passed out to you to fit your individual program.

You can find art educators that have a program that they have created to meet their needs but you still need to make the systems fit your situation. #TABchat

Screen Shot 2015-08-11 at 1.58.35 PM

I am using a blended classroom because I am in a one-to-one computer school with a purchased student centered learning management platform. I am also using Themes and Artistic Targets. My students are in one course designated by discipline i.e.: Drawing, Painting, Printmaking, Sculpture, and Mixed Media. I do teach AP Art but that is another animal to deal with outside of the choice based studio. I have all three levels of experience in the same course at the same time. One room school style and it works.

Screen Shot 2015-08-11 at 1.57.29 PM

I have formative and summative assessments on a Google form that is embedded on Haiku, along with resources and tutorials. I have Google forms created to submit proposals that provide drop down menus for Themes, Artistic Targets, level, media, area to attach links, and presentation submission. I have placed the designing, planning, implementation, and presentation in my individual students hands. The Google forms will send me a document to keep my students information in one place so I can carefully craft workshops, reflections, exit tickets, and working/ final critiques.

It will be my 26th year of teaching and I have to tell you, I have never been so fired up to implement this program. I am sure there will be tweaks and modifications to be made but I will be designing it along with my students so I know I will be able to create the best learning environment for them as possible.

Books that I recommend you read to help you form some ideas and some validation to make the changes include: #EdJourney A roadmap to the future of education by Grant Lichtman

Blended- using disruptive innovation to improve schools by Michael B. Horn and Heather Staker.

Twitter followers hash tags: #artsed #K12artchat #DTK12Chat

I will be blogging throughout the school year on the bumps on the road and the successes that will follow.

Have a great new school year.

Summertime Professional Development and Some Down Time

16 07 2015
My Summer Mess- Home Studio

My Summer Mess- Home Studio

Yes- it is true it is summer and teachers have time to relax and enjoy a unscheduled day but there are many of us that are working to improve our craft during the summer while we refresh.  This summer I am able to enjoy running around flea markets, gardening, trying new restaurants, and creating a few works of art.  I have even completed a trip home, took in a few art gallery shows, and completed a few home improvement projects.

I also faced a fear this week and went on AOELive on a podcast!!!!  Tim Bogatz asked me if I would participate at the NAEA convention and he is such a nice guy I said, “Yes.” I will confess I am not really thrilled to be on camera and I prefer being behind the scenes. But I feel I do have a lot to say about art education and where education should be heading to benefit our students and the greater community.  I listened to the podcast and I was surprised my “Northern” accent, my students poke fun at me for, did not seem so pronounced and that I actually found talking about what I think pretty easy.  I still am not real comfortable on camera so I have not watched myself and I may never do that.  Anyways, I do hope what I had to say was helpful to some art teachers who are trying to make changes in their curriculum.

While I was listening to my podcast I also listened to a few other art teacher podcasts including AOE Founder Jessica Balsley, Cassie Stephens, and Ian Sands.   I found a few strands that seemed to link our chats together.

One is to follow your passion, two don’t be afraid you don’t maintain a perfect work/life balance (it will sort out eventually), and follow your instincts.

I feel we are all passionate art educators who want to improve not only our student’s work but to educate, share, and support others.  Another similarity is that we find ourselves holding ourselves accountable through our individual journeys that we document on various platforms.  It has helped all of us all to have a clearer focus, stronger voice, and a vision we wish to share with others. The Art of Ed Website

My Iries

My Iries

While I am still enjoying my summer I am also knocking out my Professional Development. This includes a few online courses, a text-#EDJourney, Twitter Chats #K12artchat, and presenting an art teacher session next week. I have been preparing for my session and it has forced me to review lessons from my past.  I was able to review photos of my students in the studio from over ten years ago and it makes me so happy to know I am still in touch with so many of my students today as young adults.  I love it.

I am hoping to get in a few more entries on this blog and to clean it up a bit with new information. It’s always a work in progress….

I hope you are enjoying your summertime and continue to learn and grow. And if Tim Bogatz or Andrew McCormick asks you to do a podcast…say YES! It’s a lot of fun and they are asking because you have something you need to share.

After 25 years….how my path has changed.

1 06 2015

Gracie K buildingEnjoying a fresh bowl of homemade guacamole with chips, I am reflecting on my school year. Wrapping up the twenty-fifth year of teaching art and thinking about how much I have changed my teaching style.

I really didn’t think I would make it this far. There were times of transition from being a middle school art teacher to elementary and then on to high school that I never thought would happen. But by far, the biggest change was my leap from public education to independent school education. Choosing to leave the public school system to a college prep school was not a popular choice among my public school teacher friends. It was a risk to leave the comfort of public school, there was a comfort because I was a public school student and I had predictable transitions to steer my career. I was in a comfortable position that I could have ended my teaching career at but I wanted to continue to grow and complete my Master’s degree. There was a time I thought of pursing a Doctoral degree in art education to follow in the footprint of my college professor and mentor Dr. Ernella Hunzinker.   But now so much has changed in education. I am very happy I followed a path that I chose not out of fear of change or job security. Because that has all changed in public education. No longer is art education valued in many schools nor is advanced degrees honored in school systems. It is very sad and I believe a dangerous decline in education. As an artist and an art student, I don’t think I would have survived middle school or high school without the opportunity to immerse myself in the art studio. I found my strengths, my value, and my future in the art studio. This is no different for many of the Fine Arts students I know.   How can this be happening in American schools when we have so much research on the ways minds work and how creativity is a valued as an asset to be a successful individual?

As a public school art educator I learned to be resilient by working with small budgets, large class sizes, and inferior working spaces. I learned it isn’t always what you are teaching but how you make the individual student feel. Yes, standards need to exist, along with skills, art history, and fundamental use of tools and equipment. But you need to tap into who are your students, what is it they need to be successful, and how do you the educator make the experience memorable and applicable to the students?

ECS quad full

My teaching style has also evolved over the years and at times I felt I was going rouge with my ideas because it didn’t fit the DBAE style of teaching that I was educated to implement in my studio. I found that the students had better ideas and learned more when I scaffold the learning and then let the students believe in their own strengths and let them go. Let them fail and try again. It’s not really failing, it’s practicing, pushing, discovering, and triumphant successes. Successes can look very different to everyone and it is my job to help my students to understand their successes in the journey of the discovery.

Angtuaco Little Friend 3

As I think back to my start as a long term sub in a middle school in Waukesha, WI and then the small school district in Reedsburg, WI, I remember the excitement I had in setting up my art studio. Decorating the walls to help guide my students and the lessons I was going to explore with them in the classroom. I remember how scary it was to run my own space and direct my own students. I remember the first day I walked into my studio at the University School of Milwaukee as the MS and Upper School art instructor in a highly respected prep school in the area where my father grew up as a child. The overlap of family history was unique and the opportunity to grow and build a stronger visual art program catapulted me to where I am today. Today, I live in Little Rock, AR and I teach in a small and very young prep school in the middle of the city. I am instrumental in writing curriculum, building partnerships with the Clinton Foundation, raising money for local and global organizations, and earning Arkansas Art Secondary Art Educator in 2015. I do not take that lightly and it is an honor to be recognized because I am in a small school in the State of Arkansas, I am a Northerner in a Southern territory, and I am again making changes to meet the needs of my students that runs against the norm. I have always pushed, challenged, and changed my program to meet the needs of students. I do it because I love what I do and I want to offer a quality program to my students. What works for me in my space may not work for others because we are all very different educators. We all need to find what works best to reach our students.


The changes I am implementing in my studio will fit much more into meeting the needs of all of my students. I have created a program to not only meet a variety of disciplines but levels of discovery. I will be able to continue to be the only Upper School art teacher in the studio. I am going to function as their resource, cheerleader, coach, mentor, and fellow artist in the studio. It’s an exciting time to be in my studio. We will have two 3-D printers, two sewing machines, one surger, one printing press, two potter’s wheels, in addition to all the traditional tools and materials. Yes- It will be a lot going on but I don’t really know how that is so different from teaching in two different elementary schools in two different studios with five grade levels, and 400+ students. At least I am in one space in one school. I am also functioning on a one-to-one computer school with multiple digital platforms to document and store all the progress of each student. I’d say I am ahead of the game.

William C hardedge

Within my first week of summer I have already slept almost a whole day, didn’t realize how much I needed that until today. Feeling awesome. I updated my Haiku digital platform for my studio launch in August and I completed two proposals for submission at NAEA16. I am super excited to go to Chicago and see my Art Education PLN group. I feel supported and challenged by all of you everyday and I am so thankful for all the friendships that started with a single tweet.

We need to continue to learn, grow, and share to keep arts education moving forward. WE do have multiple challenges ahead of us in the future but as art teachers we face them everyday with grace. Here’s to many more years in the art studio. I am sure of one thing and that my path will always be evolving and that I should never underestimate where I might end up.



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