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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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Turning over new soil

21 05 2015

I’m wrapping up my school year and I will soon be emersed in my garden at home but I am also tending to my new courses for next year. I’ve scrubbed my tables, culled materials, recycled extra materials, and moved furniture around. After a year long journey of planning and presenting proposals, I finally have my ideas taking root in my studio. I have cultivated community support and I have enthusiastic students ready to jump in. After creating all my google forms, securing grants to purchase new equipment, and preparing supplies; I am feeling ready.  

 Tomorrow, I plan on revising my google docs, learning the Haiku management platform, brushing up my blendspace resources, and publishing my themes to post in the studio.  I don’t know what the whole year will look like exactly but I do know how I will present the new full choice program and record the evidence of developing ideas. I have plans created for public forums to allow my students to present their process, thoughts, and their projects. It’s my hope my students will inspire the greater community with what they learned and created.  

 I will continue to share my journey as it unfolds. All I can say is I am really excited to do this.





Art shows and Awards

5 05 2015

Figure Ground Alicia 17

Our school year is winding down and I am so busy pushing out the news, collecting artwork, and gearing up for wrapping up for AP and my seniors.  We have so many art receptions in a row it gets really busy.  It is the time of the year to reap the benefits from all of the hard work.

I always present a Power Point with music to show the whole school the wonderful work from the Spring Semester.  It is also the time I share all the honors and awards with everyone.  This is one practice that takes a lot of time to prepare but my students enjoy it so much.  I also take time to write down all the accomplishments and awards that was achieved during the school year.  I recommend you do this every year and either share it with your administration or at the very least put in a file to recall what happened over the past years.

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Today was one of the last days we had with our Seniors in my Media Arts class so we celebrated by creating a fun photo shoot that included exploring Ben Heine’s Pencil VS Camera mixed in with a bright colorful parachute.  I find the activity of working together to make the parachute elevate above our heads and then sit under the colorful dome is a lot of fun, lots of giggling and amazing photos.

Our year was very successful at art show competitions and with our community service.

I am very proud of my students.  I am always impressed with what they can accomplish in a very short amount of time.

I have big plans for next year that will make all of my courses reflect more of a real life studio and closer to a full Teaching Artistic Behaviors Studio.  I have my 3-D printer coming and now if I can locate a program to help me implement the gamification workflow choice based project/job idea, I will be set.  I have a lot of research to complete and a studio to rearrange after my students leave for the summer.  I will be a busy art teacher.  I will let you know how my journey unfolds.

Ivy gysers





Recycle Fashion Runway Show Success

14 04 2015

Group Curbside 2015

Curbside Couture 2015

Sixteen art students ventured into another season of striving to create couture outfits from recycled and repurposed materials into wearable garments. We started in September and it concluded in on April 12th at the Clinton Presidential Center. It was a long journey with many bumps in the road.

If you are an artist you understand that what you conceive as an idea may not actually be the end result. Since we are not doing this as a studio art course and it’s only volunteers who participate. It limits the amount of time we have available to do the creating. Balancing all of our academics and athletic responsibilities is a challenge on it’s own. Then you add up the hours to be successful at this project and you understand why some students do not participate. This project takes guts.

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I start collecting and storing materials all year long for the possibility that the materials may be chosen to be used on a garment. I encourage people in my school community to bring in anything they might feel we could use for the designs. I have strong community support and I nurture it often. So I end up with loads of very interesting stuff.

My students will collect a lot of their own materials too, especially if they have a strong vision for the concept. This project is not for anyone who is particular about being super neat but it will require organization.

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The projects start either from an inspired sketch or by the actual materials. Our garments are created to fit the student models that have decided to be a big part of the process. Our models are not just hangers that wear our garments on the runway. Our models help with the construction, offer opinions, and dedicate hours of time to be available to constantly make adjustments to the design. The pieces are more like sculptures that move and fit like garments.

Pointers for the art teacher or students:

  • My advice to new students is to work on looking at what you like in fashion. I created a Pinterest Board for inspiration and I encourage my students to create their own inspiration board or have a sketchbook.
  • Second bit of advise is to rummage through the materials we already have in the studio for the project and figure out ways to reimage the materials in new ways.
  • Ask these questions: Can it be painted, cut up, weaved, braided, and or layered.
  • Ask questions on what can be changed? Color is an element to make a decision about, shapes are also a decision, dimensions in relation to the size of the model, what will move well and be comfortable?
  • I emphasize changing the materials so it looks like wearable beautiful garments. I want the viewers to see the garment and then wonder what is it made of not the other way around. It should surprise the viewer with how it is made and what it is made of.

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This year I sat relatively invisible in the crowd and listened to the people in the audience as my students walked the runway. I heard people say “I’d wear that!” “Wow!”, “Episcopal Students pieces are always so good”. I am bursting with pride when people say wonderful things when they have no idea I am their teacher.

The show was a success because we had created dynamic and exciting garments. I was successful because I was able to get this group through another season of the recycle fashion show. It is a season and it is a long one with many hours outside of my regular school hours. I have had amazing talks with the students at our Saturday workshops. I learned so much about them. We laugh, we goof off, and we get to know one another. We build a level of trust and I love it. It is one of the most important elements of being successful with students. Building a community around positive and active ways to create art and make a difference in their lives. The art part will be the extra.

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This year we are graduating three seniors. One of the seniors has been with me since the very first year of our venture in recycled fashion. The beginning was all new for me. I had a steep learning curve but it was fun because we were all doing it together. She has participated every year creating wonderful designs and encouraged others to get involved and take the risk. Although she may not have gotten the big prize, she has proven herself to all of us over and over. I am so very proud of her and I will miss having her in my studio.

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I will also be losing my right hand for Homes for Haiti and our runway backdrop designer for the past two years. She is our cheerleader, a model, and always offers assistance.

Backdrop artists curbside 2015

Our last senior has only been doing the show for one year and she did a great job. She did not give up and she created a fun and inspired design and it was one of the favorites of my art teacher friends.

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Lucky for me, I get to repeat again next year with a bunch of experienced and creative juniors. “Look out! We are coming hard next year.”

We not only had 16 students involved in the runway show but I had a bunch of student volunteers at the fashion bazaar selling our Homes for Haiti. We have been creating our pins, magnets, and ornament since the devastating earthquake in Haiti and five years later, $65,000 later we are still going strong. On this night we raised $80.00 at the runway show.

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This event is a great opportunity to showcase what “art in action”, can do in helping young people realize new talents, take risks at being original, and to help students find ways to make the world a better place.

Reimagining materials that would fill up our landfills and creating an amazing event that hundreds people come to see. The room was filled to capacity with viewers lining all the walls, standing up to see what all the students created.

As an art educator witnessing this was awe-inspiring. If only more individuals, who make the decisions about cutting the arts, could realize the power of art.

The transformative power art does for a community is amazing.

I always get sentimental with my students when they leave the studio. It is not so easy when you work hard for many hours through frustrations, problems, disappointments, and successes. We get attached. I know my students have had a great time and have fond memories from all the activities we have done. All the beautiful art is all gravy to me.





Recycle fashion runway show – pre show jitters

11 04 2015

  All of my students garments made it through the juried process and Sunday they make the catwalk. Pre-show prep includes email communications with participants, their parents, and a emergency repair kit.  I think I know what I am going to wear. Resolve that later.  At the runway show we are also selling our Homes for Haiti products and I have my volunteers primed.  I am calm now but tomorrow, I will get nervous but not for me, for my students. It’s a big event and it is getting bigger every year. My students have worked hard for months on their creations and wearing the garment in my studio is a far cry from a elevated spotlit runway at the Clinton Presidential center.  Our reservations for our audience closed to capacity in 20 minutes.  The first show was basically my students with 17 dresses, fast forward three years, to 155 entries. Only 78 garments will walk the runway that were created by students ranging from elementary grades through high school.  Sponsors have stepped up this year so our event has been elevated in many ways and it will be guaranteed to happen again next year.  Awards are on the minds of my students too. We are hopeful we make the cut.

Tomorrow we will meet for a nice lunch before rehearsal. This will give me time to offer my students a pep talk and to give thanks to our Senior leaders for their support and leadership.  This process takes several cheerleaders to keep us feeling positive, especially when our garments fail our ideals. I have a cool bunch of students who I know will be joining me next year and hopefully a few new faces too.  It takes a lot of organization, motivation, quick problem-solving, and collecting loads of repurposed materials to make it work. But after it is all done and I see my students faces at the close of the show….it’s all worth it.

If you are interested we will be on Instagram #clintoncenter #curbsidecouture 

I will tweet out as our day unfolds with some behind the scenes stuff and of course I be back here to tell you all about it.

Wish us luck.

  





My take away from NAEA15 in NOLA

29 03 2015
first encaustic

Encaustic Painting – Joy Schultz

This was the first time I chose a workshop to attend at a National Art Convention.  I usually have so many sessions I want to do that I feel I cannot afford the time or the money to do both.  This year I chose to do the Encaustics Workshop and I am so happy I did.  The New Orleans Center for Creative Arts was such an inspirational space and school.  Our instructor was very good and helped guide us through the basics of how to manipulate the wax medium on our panels.  It was a great way to start the convention process because I learned something new and I was put in the position of being the student.  This came in handy during later sessions on theory and practice of teaching.  I will be purchasing all the equipment and materials to do more of this in my home studio.  I really liked the process but I do need to explore it more on my own.  I am not sure I would teach it in my school studio due to material costs. Plus- I would need proper ventilation and more studio space dedicated to just the equipment for this process.  I don’t have the space to dedicate at school but maybe one day.  When I get better at this maybe I would give private lessons, it is always a possibility.

 

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NAEA15 Joy Schultz and Tim Gunn

Tim Gunn was a great inspiration for our convention and I was able to meet him and get his book signed.  I am not usually one to get too giddy about many individuals so I wasn’t planning on standing in line for an autograph. But I knew my students would have killed me if I did not take advantage of the opportunity.  So I did.  I have been working on a recycled runway show for three years and I do work with Korto Momolu on getting the show launched in Arkansas so the degrees of separation was pretty small.  I think Korto was thinking I was a little silly getting his autograph but I did it anyways.  I was among the last of maybe 20 teachers who stood in line for 2.5 hours but Tim could not have been anymore charming, personal, and kind.  He has never forgotten where he started and the value of teachers.  He still is a teacher and really wanted to take the time to validate our passion and importance of our field in children’s lives.  I appreciate his words and I am looking forward to reading his book.  I will share my book at school so my students can see it but I will place it on my bookshelf at home.

 

I was very deliberate in my choices this year to prepare for my transition to a TAB classroom.  I also have plans to acquire a 3-D printer and maybe a laser cutter, so I wanted to learn more about this in an art studio setting.  You know how it goes “best laid plans get interrupted by life”…yes, I did not plan on all the other opportunities that kept falling out in front of me.  The National Art Convention is something so many of us get so excited about attending and someone like me, who is very focused, was feeling pulled to try to get so much out of my experiences.

I didn’t get to some of my sessions I planned on attending but I did get to see and do more than I planned.  I did get to meet and listen to a wonderful and inspirational session on Chinese Calligraphy given by Kevin Hsieh, PhD.  he is an Associate Professor at Georgia State University.  I was so excited to learn more about this topic because I do have a growing population of International students and I want to add it to my mix of lessons.  Everyone was really enjoying the session and our time ran out.  He never was able to finish what he started so I was left with wanting to know more.  I do hope to get the rest of his PowerPoint and maybe see if we can get him to come to our school for a workshop.  Great speaker and he seem to be a wonderful instructor.

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NOLA15 -Joy Schultz

 

 

My last few sessions focused on AP Art Portfolio development and this is where I was struck with some of the conflicting ideas and methods.  I have listened to these particular speakers before but this time with a different frame of mind.  The AP Art portfolios are really focused on demonstrating the Elements and Principles of Design.  I get that, but I feel the exam is lacking some of the things, I feel are valuable too.  We all sat and watched slide after slide of works that are very good.  I can achieve that quality with a few of my students too but not all.  I found difficulty when it came to the reliance of formulaic methods to produce a series for the Concentration part of the AP portfolio.  I saw a series that was produced simply by using a photography app./ 12 pieces that were produced and submitted.  I understand the student selects the image to use and to apply the photo app. but it just seems too easy.  I believe more thought and execution needs to be applied but maybe I am wrong.  Even the presenter stated, “It’s not brain surgery”.  I need to really mull over what I heard and how I feel, to fully have a formed idea to change how I do things.  I then read a series of comments on our art teacher Facebook page on similar thoughts that I have been wrestling with in my head.

(Below is directly from the strand on Facebook page started by Saundra George)

Marvin Bartel’s number 5
# 5. I Kill Creativity when I Show an Example instead of Defining a Problem.

I like to show the Art History, the Fine Art Exemplar, and/or the Multicultural Examples at the end of the lesson. This allows us to use what we learn during the media work experience as frame of reference for the example. However, when not showing examples prior to media work, I must provide a better problem definition, more chances to practice the technique, and be particularly alert to students who may be floundering at the beginning of a problem because they are not accustomed to doing their own thinking. Sometimes we repeat the practice several times until everybody understands how to practice a new skill that helps them be creative. As I notice misunderstandings, I begin to understand how to communicate better.

When not showing an example, I must give students time for their subconscious mind to operate. This might mean that we discuss assignment issues and conduct practice sessions on one day and come back to the same problem on another day. Many students forget what is learned, so I ask questions to let them know that it is good to remember what is learned so it can be used again next time. Reviewing some of the practice is seldom a waste of time.

Often, if students are not accustomed to listening carefully, they feel lost if I do not show them what it is supposed to look like. In these cases, I repeat the problem definition using different words, or I ask if they would like to make some sketches of what they think might work and/or if they like to make written lists of ideas to pick from. Without an example, I may need to begin at an easier place in the process, or with only a portion of the process. Some are not accustomed to sketching and thumbnailing. They are not used to the idea that they are permitted to originate ideas from their own lives, experiences, and concerns. Other teachers may not ask this of them. When I do not show them the answers, they may need practice in learning how creative people develop ideas for their work.

It helps if I start asking about things several weeks in advance. A future challenge can be presented long before the actual production so the subconscious mind focuses on it. Creative people generally have several projects going on simultaneously at different stages of development. Creative minds, once focused, continue to work for us while we sleep, go for a walk, or while relaxing. If I fail to give advance notice, I cannot expect them to be as creative.

While “image flooding” (showing many examples) may be inspirational, it can also be intimidating and very suggestive. It can be argued that “image flooding” creates slicker work, but less creative thinking skills. It may win the scholastic awards, but it teaches us to go through life in other people’s skins. We never learn the ecstasy of achieving success based on original ideas. Also see #10 below and #1 above.

I know I will be thinking about this for sometime.  It is great to have your teaching philosophy challenged and I am so glad I do have a strong on-line Professional Learning Network.  I only wish we had taken more time to look each other in the face and acknowledge each other more.  I felt really rushed around and always looking at the Convention App.  I would have liked more time to sit in circles not in chairs facing a podium and a screen.  I feel we did exactly what we are preaching not to do to our students.  I found it kind of ironic.

I hope the next time round; we spend more time looking at each other’s faces and talking, and less on taking selfies and tweeting.  I love technology as much as the next person but I miss the face to face too.  My best conversations were with teachers face to face.  We connected in an authentic manner and gave support to each other.  The young pre-service teacher I met while painting a glass at the vendor booth- loved her energy.  Tim Bogatz – whom I knew virtually but we had a real conversation and shared our admiration for what each of us bring to the world of art education. Priscilla Wicks- who replaced me in my old teaching position, who really understands what it is to teach art in our Independent School World, and Pam Dalton who was at her first ever National Art Convention- it was so great to hear her story.  I will be watching and listening to see how it all unfolds.  “Best of Luck to you but I think you have it in the bag.”

So I guess my take away is…. the National Art Convention could be longer and happen more frequently.  We need to put our devices down and look at each other and talk.   I have more to research to apply, try and fail, and to keep connecting with wonderful art educators that challenge and push me to achieve more.

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NOLA15- Joy Schultz

 

 








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