Area 10 News
What a difference a day makes
Wow...what a fun day we shared at ESU 10 on February 23rd! Having a day to enjoy a hands-on event and to do so with fellow art teachers made for a great time! Before we were leaving, I was hearing comments like, "We don't have to wait till next December to meet again, do we?" or "It's so nice to get ideas from each other and actually have time to create!" and even, "I need more direction on curriculum writing, assessment...and oh, that advocacy piece!"
ESU 10 and Nebraska art teachers, statewide, are such an encouragement to each other and a wealth of information and knowledge! Not to mention dedicated as we had additional teachers drive to Kearney from Tilden and McCook for our event!
So what drew all the attention? Our neighbor and art-teacher-friend from ESU 11, Christy Kosmicki, spent the day sharing her lesson (which is also posted on the NATA website), “Sight and Sound: Gene Davis and the Washington Color Painters”. Helpful support materials and active art making gave art educators a chance to add a quality painting lesson to their present curriculum as well as offered an inspiring art making experience in the spring semester of a busy school year!
Over a working lunch we also discussed testing scores, and what art teachers can do to enhance learning after identifying needs among their students. It was presented as a great advocacy piece as ESU 10 Staff Developer, Cindy Baum, shared ideas that connect the arts and 21st Century learning needs. Once again, evidence that the arts continue to support content goals across the curriculum in the state of Nebraska.
By popular demand, teachers at ESU 10 have requested that we have another Net-work-shop right after the Fourth of July with a focus on curriculum development, advocacy and a 3-D hands-on lesson with a guest artist.
We are on a roll at ESU 10! Most exciting is the number of teachers in our Unit whom want to join the NATA organization… seeing increased numbers in their involvement with state student and teacher exhibitions and competitions… and interest in upcoming events such as Prairie Visions and Fall Conference!
Bison Project is Great Success
The art educators of the Grand Island Public Schools are always looking for ways to increase the attendance of the public to the Hall County Student Art Show at Stuhr Museum. Last December, two members from the Moonshell Arts Council attended our monthly curriculum meeting to tell us of funds they had available for any special projects we would like to do in the schools. After some brain storming, we came up with an idea that would have select students work on a collaborative, site specific, contemporary installation that would draw media attention to the Hall County Student Art Show.
Art work for the Hall County Art Show is on display from April 6 to April 28. The art teachers covered the plywood bison models with chicken wire prior to the show. On April 19th, the students spent the day at the museum covering the bison. We started the day looking at contemporary work that specifically fits the site where it is installed. We scrutinized professional works of art using alternative materials. The idea of using blue jeans, Nebraska license plates, and cedar trees supports the mission of the venue where the sculptures are installed. We learned about the history of the Stuhr Museum and why bison were important to life on the plains. Students brainstormed different ways to organize the materials on the bison and used problem solving skills on how to attach the materials on an outdoor work of art.
We would like to share our project with the art teachers in Nebraska.
How Are You Teaching 21st Century Learners?
When Michelangelo was 23 years old he created the Pieta. He stunned the Florentines a few years later with the unveiling of David, and at age 30, Michelangelo gave us the powerful sculpture of Moses. Yet when the painter/sculptor extraordinaire was in the last days of his life at nearly 90 years of age, he was quoted as saying, “I’m just now becoming the master that I want to be.”
After several years of teaching design at the university level I began my career in public school art education 26 years ago, and you know what…in my 26th-plus year I believe that I, too, am just now becoming the teacher I’d like to be!
Certainly throughout the years one crosses paths with wonderful peers and mentors, touches the lives of a multitude of students, hits a home-run with a stellar art lesson or two, and maybe even picks up a recognition here and there. But, in terms of our true purpose in the classroom I feel like this year (closer to my exit than to my entrance), I might just now be getting the hang of this master-teacher-thing!
You might be asking, “What methodology could possibly make such an impact on an old-lady-school teacher?” The answer came in facing my own personal/professional question: “What am I doing with all these academic and creative resources to make sure my students are ready for tomorrow? What about the wealth of technology and information that our student’s play with for hours each day and competes with their focus in the traditional classroom?” I continued, “How am I preparing my students to move beyond entertainment and actually use this knowledge and these skills to be prepared for the 21st century with meaning and purpose? When the arts are placed in direct competition with core academics instead of integrated, how can I promote the credibility of the arts to have a purpose in the success of their 21st century futures?”
I went right to the source and asked my students, “How do I know, you know, what you need to know?” We, teachers and students, are a partnership. I am a facilitator, but the students are why I’m here. It’s all about what our students come out of their educational experiences with as they enter an intensely demanding society!
The first day of teacher-work days this year included a presentation on “The Four C’s of 21st century Learning.” The Four C’s being: communication, collaboration, connections and creative problem solving. The primary concern was that while students are graduating with most honorable GPA’s, business and industry do not feel the students have what it takes to think outside the box.
It wasn’t rocket science or all new thinking. I, myself, have laughed for years as the rest of the world claims to have discovered portfolios or authentic assessments, or that the right side of the brain is just as important as the left. And gee whiz, maybe creative problem solving skills are as important as factual knowledge for the holistic learner! After all, hasn’t the fine arts and humanities teacher, who has to fight for the credibility of his program every year, known and supported that thinking all along!
My epiphany, after all that, simply manifested itself in some simple strategies that allowed me to open doors that lead to exciting purpose in the classroom. With some simple guidance, my students know THEY are my purpose. Their inquiries, their discoveries and their choices direct their learning outcomes.
In effort to clarify what the Learning Goals are for the day, I’ve developed a three-step process that guides each period: 1) Students first come into the room and look at the signage on the board to see what materials they need for the day’s lesson and prepare that before the bell rings. That information is color-coded by grade level. 2) A color-coordinated “movie marquee” identifies “Now Learning in an Art Room Near You” that defines our K.U.D. for the day, or in more palatable terms, what do we want the student to Know, Understand, and Do today. Learning begins immediately and the students are just as accountable to make it happen as I am. At any point in the lesson, a visitor could enter my room and ask almost any student what they were learning, how they were applying or doing and that student could respond accurately and enthusiastically. And 3) At the end of the period, our Closure often addresses the Four C’s of 21st century Learning as we reflect upon the application of our learning experience to Communicate, Connect, Collaborate, and Creatively Problem Solve.
The application of each of those approaches is the heart of not only the art lesson, but can be applied to all content areas! The point being two-fold: not only do I know where my students stand in the process of covering the material for the desired outcome but they have ownership and purpose in their own learning!
Teaching for me has never been so enjoyable and rewarding. The students are so motivated to not only be there, but totally be there in mind, body and soul! The depth of their questions, comments and artistic endeavors are rich! What they are able to accomplish is above what they even expected of themselves. Meaning and purpose = CLEAR LEARNING GOALS!
This is not rocket science; anyone can do this. I’m just glad I experienced it while the tide is high.
© 2011 Nebraska Art Teachers Association