Students Leading Students

18 03 2018

Artist Workshop with High School Artists

On Thursday, March 8, ten of my art students traveled to Dover Middle School (approx. 1.5 hours away from our school) to present their research, process, and inspirations for creating their art work. The students who participated in the artist workshop were selected for their ability to present, relate to younger students, and their artistic style/voice.  I wanted themes and age-appropriate work to share with the middle schoolers.

How it all began.

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I was contacted by Ms. Jocelyn Alvey the Dover Middle School art teacher.  Ms. Alvey follows Schultz_Life Instagram and was so impressed by the work and level of engagement the Episcopal Upper School students have in their Choice Art program, that she reached out for some help for her students.  At first, Ms. Alvey wanted to Skype with our students about our process and presentations.  I knew we could do better than that so I hatched an idea to create a workshop program and take it on the road.  Anne Marie and Heather were instrumental in helping to plan the workshop and assisted with the details and materials. In the process of the workshop details I contacted Paul Leopoulos the Thea Foundation Director. The Thea Foundation provides art supplies and funds for art programs all around Arkansas.  All I did was ask him if he would provide some funds for our students to present to the Middle School art program.  Mr. Leopoulos was super supportive and wrote a check for $200.00 for the presentation.  Once approvals were made to travel to Dover, the Upper School artists prepared a Sway presentation of their work and practiced the techniques we planned on presenting to the Middle School artists.



We hosted two workshops to a packed art studio.  Several Upper School artists presented their Sway links and then we divided into small groups. Each Episcopal art student shared actual works of art with the small groups and told them about their ideas and how they created the work. We wanted the younger students to be able see, touch, and ask questions about the ideas.  Then each middle school artist was able to experiment with the new techniques we shared in our small groups.   We demonstrated a few techniques with the Dover artists, packing tape transfers, chalk paper marbling, and using images from books and painted papers.  We also provided painted papers, magazines, children’s books to cut up, and handouts about line designs.


The sessions went great and the Dover students loved the new techniques and asked excellent questions.  When the first session was about to end, Anne Marie and Matt presented Ms. Alvey the large check to inform her about the donation.  She was very touched and the Dover students got really excited about being able to purchase new materials based on what the Episcopal artists shared.



Our second session was equally packed and the word was out about the Episcopal artists so they couldn’t wait to get into the art room.  After our second session, we met up with the Dover students at lunch to continue the conversations.  As we picked up our lunch the Dover students waved individual artists to their tables.  Carter brought along paper and pencil and gave a drawing tutorial at the table.  It was difficult to see what he was doing because of the large crowd that gathered around him to see and record his work with their phones.  Haley looked through a Dover student’s sketchbook and talked about drawing.  London was mobbed at lunch to talk about all kinds of ideas.  Matt and Rodney sat with a few Dover students and enjoyed talking about school and sports.  The rest of the Episcopal students sat with Ms. Alvey and shared what they experienced during the sessions.

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We all agreed that it was an amazing workshop and how much each artist benefited from the experience.  Anne Marie thinks we should start traveling all over and presenting to other art programs.  Well, you never know what will happen next…

Thea Dover check donation

Next up is a small group of art educator’s coming in April to observe my studio in action.  I have to admit I’m a little nervous but when I mentioned it to my students they got very excited about the idea.  It just proves that if you ignite their passion and let them lead the world opens up for them.


As I am writing this I am looking through the NAEA18 Convention sessions.  I’m so looking forward to Seattle this year.  I cannot wait to all the ChoiceArt Educators at our meeting and to hear all of your successes from this school year.






Art Students Work Like Artists

21 11 2017

Reflecting on my own personal method of creating art, I started brainstorming on how to create my Artist Proposal to help my students navigate the ChoiceArt studio.  This helped me to create the work flow first and then the form was born.  I created it to help my students be independent in the studio.   I anchored the whole work flow with a Google form that I named the Artist Proposal.

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When I created the form; I hit all the essentials I needed for recognizing the individual student and identifying the artists intentions.  The form functions as a guide to layout and describe the students art concept, Theme, Artistic Targets, and to attach the Sway link code.  The Sway link supports the selected concept with research, evidence of growth and experimentation (skill-building techniques), and written reflections with photographs/videos of the process.  This year, I included my standard based assessment rubric, so my students will be able to measure what they are establishing and how much effort is required to achieve the level they wish to accomplish for the proposal.


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I have several areas where the questions are marked with required and accumulate points for completion.Screen Shot 2017-11-20 at 6.38.06 PM.png

My Artist Proposal includes several questions that my students need to answer before submitting their proposal.  The questions ask the “Why” they are making the project. What materials are you going to need? How is this project going to help you grow and develop? What was your inspiration? Why is this your focus at this time and how long do you feel this will take to complete?


I recommend you create an Artist Proposal that your students can understand and complete independently. 

I created mine to support the environment and culture, I have created in my studio.  Often my student’s create a Sway link first and then complete the Artist Proposal. My students have a clearer understanding of what they are striving to achieve, because they have already collected research, prepared sketches, and have a connection to the “why” for creating the piece.

My Google Form with the Artist Proposal then gathers the data I need to support them with materials,  I can set-up work spaces and storage spaces,  I gather additional support like research, exemplars, and skill building exercises.  The data collected from the form also shows where my students are functioning throughout the semester.  I can see when they are developing and or working for mastery.  I can see what Themes are the most popular and what materials I need to stock up on.  In addition to the Google form, I can show my students growth with their individual Sway links and written reflections.  The class presentations are the bonus content that I leverage to help my students build confidence and level up their skills and voice.


My assessment forms are also Google forms and student’s answer questions reflecting on their accomplishments.  The data collected from these additional forms help support the culture I am creating with ChoiceArt in my studio.  I am supporting the creating and thinking.  The end product is a bonus and the quality remains high because the students are engaged in the process and have a clear understanding of how to be successful.

I hope this blog post on the Artist Proposal is helpful.  I have a week to relax and then it’s on to this year’s Arts Reveal Night.  I have eight wonderful female artists lined up to present their work.  The group ranges from experienced to only one quarter of studio experience.  I know they have evolved so much but it’s time for them to step out and show the rest of our community.

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Busy times…

13 11 2017

Arts Reveal Night 2017smWow!

I have been so busy and I just wrapped up on the Arkansas State Art Conference.  I presented two sessions, I assembled three sessions which included ChoiceArt educators meeting up to greet each other, offer grade division specific sessions, and to get the ChoiceArt educators signed up for a shared folder for content.  I also presented on Design Thinking on a topic that I feel many art teachers found direct application for their classrooms from the session experience.

Getting back to my life at home, I took time to make a few magnolia leaf wreaths and bake some sour dough bread from a starter.  This always relaxes me and I need it because I will be hosting a NAEA webinar on the ChoiceArt Studio.  I am very excited to present and show how teaching Choice can be implemented in a classroom.   On my school agenda; I am hosting a recycle fashion workshop, a parent coffee about the Visual Arts program, and launching into our next Arts Reveal Night.  Presenting is important for so many reasons.

Just as attending conferences for our own development and learning so is presenting.  During my presentation at the AR conference, I stressed the importance in sharing and presenting what and how we do our practice.  I know it is more work and it is scary but we need to move past this if we want to get better.  We can only become better at what we do by sharing how we do it and reaching out to each other.  Art educators are notorious at being extraverts when it is necessary but then retreating to our safe spaces when we can.  I do this all the time.

I am perfectly comfortable with my students and working with them brings me so much joy.  I am not the most comfortable in front of a large group, writing and publishing my thoughts, and basically always pushing out my thoughts.  I am a very cerebral person and I process my ideas for some time until I am comfortable with it before letting it out.  I am getting better at it and I keep pushing on through it.

I make my students present for this same reason.  You know yourself better and why you do what you do, when you have to tell someone about it.  Artists do love to share their accomplishments with like-minded people.  Standing in front of a crowd and explaining your ideas or process is much harder.  But I want my students to do it because it will make them stronger and much more confident.  I know this because it has worked for me.  I believe in modeling what I ask my students to do and then supporting them to do it to.

I was sitting next to Dennis Inhulsen an accomplished art educator and school principal and now, the NAEA Chief Learning Officer. At the conference luncheon, we chatted about the Arts Standards that he helped to write.  He admitted that he was never a great writer but he got better by being put in the position to have to do it.    Now, he represents the NAEA all around the country and presents to educators the importance of the Art Standards.  Presenting is one of the new standards that is emphasized in my studio.  I also balance presenting with writing/reflecting on the process.  It is essential for student growth and confidence.

I walked away from my sessions and I hoped that I clearly expressed the importance of connecting with other art educators and sharing what they are doing in their own teaching practice.  I feel my role as the Co-President of the ChoiceArt Interest Group is to encourage individual voices to gain volume and confidence.  It’s not my own voice that always needs to come forward.  I want other educators who are working through how to teach with offering more Choice to their students to share.  The teaching theory of ChoiceArt embraces individuality and voices.  We help our students find their passion and elevate their voice….We need to do it for ourselves too.

Join an organization, sign-up for an interest group, write a blog, participate in a forum, post content you created and share it….just do it!

Please join the NAEA Webinar on November 15 @7-8PM EST when Nikki Kalcevic and I present Teaching the Visual Arts Through Choice. NAEA Virtual Art Educators WebinarScreen Shot 2017-11-12 at 8.24.29 PM.pngScreen Shot 2017-11-12 at 8.24.17 PM.png


Fall Season Has Arrived

15 10 2017


The first quarter has already flown by and I am measuring how all of my courses are functioning and developing.  This semester, I am teaching full choice tri-level drawing, painting, mixed media, convergent technology, and a AP Studio Art course.

Jessica H. stormy sea

I am a very reflective educator and I routinely look at my student’s art work and written reflections.  I feel I have delivered on the “how” and “what” for my students to be successful at managing the student lead learning.  The routine is established and the push to grow is evident in the research and progress documentation my students create.

 I am constantly sharing new artists with my students to help them open their minds and to challenge them to think deeper about their choices.  There are days I want to capture all of my students for a much longer time.  Time seems to evaporate too quickly when we are in the studio.

Seriously, I want to bleed one hour into another to keep the flow going.  The disruptions of fire drills, field trips, and testing has impacted these past two weeks and I feel the momentum slipping away.   Thankfully, I have established the Sway documentation and research links so we can quickly get reacquainted with our focus and dive back into our thoughts.

Caroline H. Rock View

I am so proud of the growth and confidence my students have already gained and demonstrated in class.  In our Convergent Technology class we hosted our first viewing of our collaborative stop animation for a critique.  Since we had a captivated audience, we also pitched a few of our independent film ideas to get some advice.  We appreciate the critics comments and it will only make us better.

One very important aspect of a Choice Art is to make sure students are individually growing and developing.  This can be one of the most important pieces of a successful program for student artists.  First, students need to be able to develop a sense of what they want to target to improve and also have a concept of a direction/voice they want to establish and communicate.

I received a comment from a parent who is new to our school, she said that I manage my class so differently and I focus on the intent of the work so much more than any art teacher before.  Her child appreciates the thoughtful approach I instill in the purpose of creating art.   That is a win in my book.

I’m preparing for our State Conference and getting our Choice Art/TAB teachers all together.  I hope we will all be able to connect and start sharing strategies to help us be more successful in offering a quality choice art programs. I’m also presenting Design Thinking at the conference with a focus to solve a problem many of us deal with every school year.

 I’m so looking forward to Nationals in Seattle.  It will be a beautiful area and our Choice Art Interest Group is HUGE!  I cannot wait to attend as many of the sessions that I can get to; so I can glean new methods to adapt for my studio.

Ryan W stain glass

Heading into second quarter and striving to push the limits.

Collaborative chalk mural brings us together.

18 09 2017
DSC_0464Paves 2017 Unity

“We have to get messy to make it beautiful.” – Art Educator Joy Schultz

We have been participating in a local city chalk art celebration for several years.  It supports a local organization which support students with funding and scholarships to continue to go to college or to supply arts educators much needed supplies.  The Thea Foundation was created by two parents who lost a talented artist daughter named Thea.  Her legacy lives on every day in the hearts and minds of young artists and dedicated arts educators.

I love participating in this event because it’s our first public art collab.  It starts with the first art club meeting when we decide a theme and brainstorm visual imagery to support the theme.  I let my student art club directors take the lead and I support them by moving the idea along.  I am lucky to have a well-trained and dedicated student leader, Junior Celia, for year two.  She was trained by her older sister who ran the art club before her for two years.  I strive to have the current leader mentor another future leader as the second year begins.  This helps maintain consistency and a lot less training on the spot from year to year.  The student leaders, Celia and Sophomore Bella, feel much more in control of the group and step-up in wonderful unique ways, with their own ambitions, to help the art club be engaged in the school and greater community.

Our theme this year was “Unity” and we had all of our members draw up many variations on the theme but we had lots of images that overlapped.  I needed someone to pull all the concepts together to help tell our story and support the theme.  Junior Madison was excited to contribute to the project but would not be able to attend the actual chalk mural event so she volunteered to pour over all the students ideas to create a cohesive design.

We combined our ideas with the lower school and middle school students to create one large design.  It was a hot sunny day and we had some students arrive early but needed to leave midway to attend other responsibilities so our students needed to work together to finish the final design.

We had students stop and evaluate the mural while it was evolving and they checked in on one another to see if they needed help.  The communication was between the art students of all ages was supportive and helpful.  The other two art educators and I made sure students took water breaks and sat in the shade for a breather.  I love that we had photographers pop by and ask to take photos of our students at work.  You could see the pride each student had in the mural.  We overheard comments about all the different world flags we added and the wonderful hot air balloons created by our youngest artists.  I love all of it but I was mostly struck by the students at the end that suggested that they hold hands around the globe for a group photo.  Right then and there, I realized they truly understood the purpose of the mural and the meaning of our theme.  “Unity/United”.  I could have not been more proud.

Paves the Way 2017 Unity

“Unity” Chalk Mural created by Episcopal Collegiate School art club students 1-12 grades – Art Educator Joy Schultz


What I learned after the first week.

26 08 2017


One full week of studio classes are running and I have learned a few new things for this year.  I learned that the students I had in my choice art/TAB art courses are ready to launch with ideas formed and research at the ready.  My “new to me art students” grasp the concept of choice art studio but still need direction on how to formulate the approach to filling out the artist proposal and make decisions.  My response is “What is the Why?”.  



Why are you in this studio class? Why are you choosing to work with this particular media? Why are you focused on this motif/idea? Why are you creating this?  Why?

Why do I need to know this?  More importantly, why do YOU NEED to know the answer to this question?

I spent my first few meetings with my students getting them to have a clear understanding of the studio expectations, how to interact with one another, and what will be their responsibilities to be successful.  I establish the importance of an ORIGINAL idea and how it is important to connect to what you are creating/designing.  I also ask my students to set up a challenge or a skill to level-up.  My students complete an Artist Proposal with Artistic Targets.  A series of questions are required to be completed that help the artist to form the skill building and research the artist will need to complete for evidence of learning.

For the first days of defining the individual Artist Proposals, I visit with each artist and reinforce the Themes and ask lots of questions.  I help students identify the skill-building techniques and how to work on building up the evidence of learning.

I am working on pushing my students to do most of their research outside of my class so they can utilize the art studio for the actual work to take advantage of the resources in the studio and guidance from me and the class mentors.

This week I had more students requesting to take the skill building work home and if they can work in their sketchbooks.  YES!!!  Students prescribing homework for themselves for self improvement…..Of course- YES!

I have been ordering specific materials my students want to engage in using and learning more about for their concepts.  I have more students interesting in working with digital draw pads and the 3D printer so I need to secure several draw pads for students use.  I have acquired three iPads with some apps for 3D printing and a budget for filament.  The new course Convergent Technology is humming along and we are mashing-up traditional art skills with new technology.  I am excited to get the Midi keyboard and microphone up and running to record original music, voice overs, and sound effects.  Think old school radio shows for our short films and you are getting the idea of what we are creating.

Collaborations and visiting artists is going to also be a feature I plan on exploiting this year.  It adds a whole new dimension to the Artist Studio and I believe it will keep the creative ideas growing.  Our teaching practice needs to always include changes and adjustments.  This year is no different.  Looking forward to all the new possibilities.



The Opening Matters

20 08 2017


We all want to start on the right foot.  We want our students to feel confident in enrolling in the art course, the students want to know they can be successful and gain new skills.  In a Choice/TAB studio class it is important that students grasp what is student agency.  What is required of them to be successful in the studio?  I started this past week with a collaboration project and also an icebreaker piece.  I build in assessment tools for me to gauge what the confidence level, skill set, and interest is in the course.  I believe in launching into using all the terminology and techniques needed to establish the expectations for the work. For some of my students, I might as well be speaking a different language, but I assure my students they will pick up the information quickly.


Here are my goals for the first week of class:

#1 Create a safe environment and work on a collaboration to help set the tone and share procedures.

#2 Set the expectations about original works and how to achieve independence and skill building evidence.

#3 How to document and research effectively for success.

#4 What is success in a Choice Based Studio? How are you assessed?

#5 Know the WHY in creating.

I am in the middle of setting the standard for creating original works and how to document progress, plus demonstrate skill building.  We are still using to document and I am requiring more written reflections within the portfolio documentation.  Artist Proposals with Artistic Targets will help the artists set goals for the concepts they choose to create and Themes will also guide the concept shape.  I created student based assessments to help each artist decide to what degree they would like to develop their levels of content on the Sway link.  I am striving to support my student artists to be as independent in their process as possible so I can spend my time scaffolding their learning to level up their skills.

IMG_1624I have curated content on my student learning management platform to support the development of each project. Because my courses have multi-level students, in the studio at the same time, I also utilize studio mentors.  I find this to be very empowering for everyone.  It is exciting to see students engage in helping others achieve an individual voice in their art work.  We are off to a solid foundation and I cannot wait to share what we are creating.

This week we are dedicating student works for our school permanent collection with a wonderful reception.  I’m excited we are beginning to collect works from our talented artists for the history of our school.  This year we are going to make a call out to alumni artists to participate in an art show in the winter.  The school will then select a few for purchase to add to our school art collection.  Hoping to capture a few current works from our talented alumni.

Good luck on your start of the school year.  Enjoy the eclipse!


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