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.


Spring Time Fun

14 04 2017


I really love seeing all the evolutions by students create from the choices they make in the art studio.  Offering choice through themes and artistic targets allows my students the opportunity to select areas of interest, materials to explore, and levels of inquiry.  I have witnessed students repeating the motif, materials, or theme to dig deeper and improve skills.  When the lesson was teacher directed, my students did very little connected thinking from one piece to the other, and often didn’t get another opportunity to explore the media a second time.  Now, I have students perfecting designs, experimenting, and pushing all kinds of possibilities.


I’m loving how independently my students find their supplies and move forward on their art work.  My students ask very good questions about the work such as “why are you doing that?, “why are you using that?”, “what does this mean?”.  My students expect the artist to know why you are creating, what is the purpose, and is it original.

I am excited about the possibilities of seeing my youngest students evolve within the choice based art program.  I have seen an increase in application of their knowledge that they researched to achieve goals they set for themselves to complete an artistic target.  In one semester the growth in student independence and initiative has grown.  The confidence to speak to the class about their ideas and possible creative solutions is gaining strength.  I’ve noticed an ease in which my students now preform tasks in the studio that required so much direction and set up; to a simple rhythm in the space.  In other academic areas my colleagues have noticed the cross-over and blending of our curricular areas merging them closer together.  This merger is being promoted not by me but my students.  My students are experiencing, seeing, and talking about the connections.  The importance in offering choice and self-directed learning is beginning to take hold.

Ben Triggered

The school year is quickly coming to a close and it will be time to celebrate all of our accomplishments.  We have done very well this year, claiming many awards, scholarships, and accolades.  I am most content in seeing my students happily working independently, caught up in deep thought, and working through a task they designed.  I love that several of my students have embraced an entrepreneural spirit, when thinking about their art.  They have taken to setting up websites and controlling their own social media brand showcasing their style of art.  I could not be more excited for the possibilities of this new found digital platform control, mixed with an ambition, expressing their voice, sharing their ideas/passions,  balanced with a creative drive…..there is not stopping them.  Art can change the world to be so much better.

I believe it.

My Summer Professional Development- Self Imposed!

30 06 2013

ImageYes- I purchased REAL Books and I am reading them in between fishing trips, gardening, teaching fashion illustration classes, baking, cooking, painting furniture, and helping the local animal shelter.  My summers are about redoing lessons, finding inspiration, and fueling my passions.


I have four books read already and each one has been helpful in my quest to create Project Based Lessons.  I have to say Teach Like A Pirate by Dave Burgess was my last book to pick up. I am so glad I did.  This book reads like how I think and how my mind creates new lessons.  I am creating ideas while I am doing all the above activities.  Truthfully, my mind never really stops striving to do a better job.  My motivation is an internal drive for self satisfaction not for praise, $, or recognition.  I do it because I do feel dedicated to the groups of students who are in my studio.  I love what I do:  writing/designing lessons, thinking of projects, and creating examples for lessons.  What I do isn’t really work.

One of my favorite parts of the book written by Dave Burgess is when I read the chapter on Passion.  I am a passionate teacher, artist, mother, wife, and art advocate. I cannot separate them.  I then read the next chapter about Immersion and I recognized me.  I am often hard to find in my studio because I am right along side my students. I’m into it!  You can find me dancing, singing, playing, laughing, and learning with my students.  I want them to love what they are doing as much as I do.  Yes- my students think I am “crazy” but they keep coming back!

I love the quote- “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.” Ralph Waldo Emerson


The list of ideas to craft a lesson was excellent.  I do several on the list but now I am striving to support the ideas more and achieve a few on the list I have not tried.   I have a list of ideas already created and a few lessons to start the year right.


If you are feeling like you need a boost I would assign yourself some good books to help ignite your passion.  Here is the list of books I read so far:

  •  The Passion-Driven Classroom- Maiers and Sandvold
  •  Catching Up or Leading the Way- Zhao
  •  What Great Teachers Do Differently-Whitaker
  •  Teach Like a Pirate- Burgess


Here is a link to another blogger who has identified a few more books to help inspire you too.

 http://schinkten.blogspot.com/  Check it out.  


ARRGGGG!  Feeling Like a Pirate Already!

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