Monday, March 25, 2013

Visiting Dryden Elementary Art Program with Tricia Fuglestad

On Friday, March 22nd, I had the rare opportunity to leave my classroom and go visit another. Our school art program is in year one of the three year curriculum cycle. Year one involves research, which includes visiting other programs. I follow Tricia Fugelstad on Twitter and also the arted2.0 Ning network and have seen the dynamic ways she infuses technology into the hands-on elementary art program she runs. Her website for Dryden Elementary is phenomenal and the starting point for her branding of her entire program.  She is a wonderful art advocate and marketer of art!  

It is difficult to decide where to begin.  I wanted to meet Tricia because she teaches with iPads in the elementary art room.  I think this is impressive and amazing to give those skills to the youngest artists while still preserving and developing their hands on creativity skills.  Advanced levels of problem solving, critical thinking and collaboration  were apparent in the way her program is run. Students also dabble in sound, music, acting, writing, art history and other media to create their one-of-kind animations and video projects.  They are also learning basic photography skills in elementary school!  This is awesome!  Tricia's development of her students' literacy skills (visual, oral, written) is evident too, in the many project that link to math, literature and more.  

I learned so much on Friday.  First and foremost was meeting a dynamic Art Educator, who is so willing to share with others and spread her love of art and technology to all she meets.  Tricia advocates for her program attending many School Board meetings to constantly keep her art program in the forefront of their minds.  This was a great take away....don't wait until you're invited, invite yourself often! 

Another lesson had to do with software on the mac that I've already got and have access to.  Tricia taught me some new techniques and tricks in both the Preview software and Keynote.  The Preview take-away was great as I just thought Preview was for looking at your photos.  There are actual editing capabilities that I didn't know existed.  Using Keynote for building animations that involve video and photography was great.  I learned about the Alpha Key tool which enables you to do some pretty cool green screen style effects in Keynote.  This tool also exists in Preview and is part of what I will try to incorporate into the Photography class I already teach. I also got the chance to play around on her iPad.  I've used an iPad before and I have an iPhone, but thinking and using it for making art is different than playing Angry Birds or Words with Friends.  I learned about several new things about some apps I've seen and have, but haven't played with.

Tricia also uses an Ipevo, which is a small inexpensive web camera that when connected to the computer or iPad can display the demonstrations she's presenting on the screen.  It also can be used for stop motion animation to capture the image.  I learned about iMotion app for iPad, Sketchbook Express, Doink and then the previously mentioned new ways to work with Keynote and Preview

I think my favorite "Ah-Hah" moment however, was the way that Tricia delivers her lessons.  They are all packaged and saved to her website so she can access them from anywhere and so that others can see what she is doing.  She often uses music or her own animated character of herself projected on screen while students are entering the classroom. This immediately engages students while directing them what to do and how to get ready.  Class is fast-paced with only 45 minutes of art once a week.  How lucky her students are to have such a creative teacher!

The website and the packaging of the lessons really got me thinking about developing one place to house all of the digital content that I've amassed and developed.  Tricia has a wiki, a blog, Twitter, Artsonia account, dropbox and more, but the difference is that it isn't all scattered.  It is all housed under her website.   The marketing and branding of her program and all the professional work she does to make that program happen is the biggest lesson I learned.  What a fantastic experience!

Thanks so much to Tricia Fuglestad for generously hosting my visit!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Tile A Mile 2013-Community Art Making and Fundraising

Every year at Pewaukee High School I host the Tile-A-Mile fundraising event to celebrate the Visual Arts and to raise money for our department scholarship and programs. I established this event in 2009 to raise awareness for our program. I also noticed that there was no Visual Art scholarship at the high school and yet, there were many worthy students going through our program and going onto college to study the Visual Arts. So it seemed we needed a scholarship.
The idea was to make art, have fun, raise money and also have a lasting community art project that would allow people to remember the event and the art department for years to come. Tile-A-Mile was born. Today the event is well established and features partnerships with local businesses who donate goods and services to help the event run smoothly. There are also wonderful volunteer opportunities to run the event. Art Club students, AP Art class students and parents come in to make it all happen. People can purchase a tile for $10.00 and then paint that tile. It becomes part of the permanent display of tiles in the high school. Someday we hope to have a mile installation, hence the name. There is also a silent auction, raffle and demos of various art techniques, which often includes a very popular clay wheel throwing demonstration. We do face-painting and also have a bake sale.
These are photos from this year's event. The event raised just shy of $2000.00, not bad for having fun on a cold, late winter Saturday. Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Teaching Animation One of My Favorite Things

Teaching Animation class is one of my favorite things.  It is one of the few classes where I just get to say "yes" to my students and where they can do anything they can imagine.  I know that should be true in any art class, but the students who take Animation are so highly motivated and turned on that it sets the bar high.  I sometimes feel I learn so much from them.  It is sad that sometimes this class doesn't run due to low enrollment. The thing is, part of what makes it such a great class is the lower class size!  I can give a lot of individualized attention to all students and they can personalize their learning experience.  Today I'm going to post our first video here.  It's not fantastic, but still really magic when you see your marks take flight and start to move! 

More to come I'm sure...I have a really fun group this term. 

Monday, February 4, 2013

Scholastic Art Awards Day at The Milwaukee Art Museum

Saturday, February 2, 2013 was the Awards Ceremony for the 2013 Scholastic Art Competition at the Milwaukee Art Museum in Milwaukee, WI.  I always really enjoy being a part of this special day that not only pays tribute to the outstanding artistic talents of students in grades 7-12, but also salutes the art educators who teach the students and assist them with the process.

I always get a bit emotional when I see my students' work on display in the beautiful galleries of the Milwaukee Art Museum.  Not many adult artists can say that their work has been displayed at a major art museum, so for students to be able to add this accomplishment to their resume at such an early age is quite a tribute to their talents.

As an art educator this is always a tough time of year.  The semester just ended and the new one has just begun. AP Art is really in full swing with portfolios due in a few short months. It is extremely busy and crazy right now and so a day that helps me hit the pause button is good.  It is also very gratifying to be recognized for the excellence that I try to instill in my students.  I find this day a chance to explore new concepts, to questions what I do as an educator (in a reflective, good way) and to celebrate what I am passionate about.

A few years ago when I entered work again and again in this exhibit and got zero pieces accepted it felt like I wasn't good enough as an educator.  I also felt our program was too, small and couldn't compete with the big fish in town.  I didn't give up however; I got involved in artist-educator programs and groups such as MATA (The Milwaukee Area Teachers of Art) and NAEA (National Art Education Association) and of course my local chapter, WAEA (Wisconsin Art Education Association).  Through this involvement I met other educators and got the opportunity to see what others were doing.  I also joined online communities of educators through Pinterest, Art Ed2.0 Ning, Twitter and even Facebook.  All of these expanded my community and gave me lots of people to talk to and learn from. I also made changes to our curriculum at Pewaukee High School.  Creating more rigor and a higher expectation for students in the art department.  We also adding new courses that were more 21st century based, teaching students about Digital Photography, Animation and more.    A huge part of being an educator is to continue your own learning and to take risks.  

So Saturday celebrated the third time that PHS students have received awards for their works of art.  I have also seen the number of high quality AP portfolios increase and the number of scholarships my art students receive rise as well.  I love the Art Museum for hosting this event and helping shine the spotlight on the hard work of so many talented young adults and their teachers.  Thanks to them!  Make sure you go see the exhibit on display through mid-March.

Here is a slide show of some of the images from Saturday.  I apologize for not citing the names of the artists on the works I photographed.