Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Teacher inspired by Maroon 5

You don't have to know me long before you find out that I'm a HUGE Maroon 5 fan.  I have liked the group for years, listen to their music, continue to turn up the song SUGAR no matter how many times they play it on the radio.  No, I'm not one of those fans that knows everything about the band other than the fact that Adam and I are the same age (I think).  I like this fact because it's fun to think about what he has done with his life in the same amount of time as I have had in this life.

My husband bought be tickets for my birthday and last night was the BIG night.  It was me, Tim (my husband) and a couple other thousand middle age women celebrating the music from this energetic band. I had a smile on my face the whole time. I couldn't help but analyze what made this concert the best concert I've ever been to.  Besides the fact that I love the music, and can appreciate the band members... what made it so great, and how can I apply it in my profession as an art teacher? Here is your spoiler alert.  If you are planning on going to his show, you should maybe skip the rest of this post. 
Why Adam and I are alike.
(Embrace the cheesiness of this PicCollage)

  • Assure a Great Opening Act- Magic was the opening act.  They played their lesser known music with a reggae sort of beat... It left the audience chill, calm, and relaxed.  The whole stadium was smiling with anticipation while listening to this group play their hot music.  They ended their set with 'RUDE' and the crowd went wild (side note, I couldn't listen to the music without singing my music parody about Glue)  In my classroom? It's important to make a good relationship with homeroom teachers so they are willing to pump you up.  Having classroom teachers support starts the relationship with each class off on the right foot. 
  • Preparing the Stage- Magic finishes up and about 30 guys are immediately on stage.  They are moving the set and revealing a glass floor.  I sat there in awe as they transformed the stage.  There was a man sweeping the stage to assure that it would be safe to perform on.  These guys don't have the 'big name' they are not recognized as playing a part, but boy do they.  In my classroom?  I think about the custodial staff that I'm so honored to work with. I have a great team behind me, making my room 'safe' for me and my students.  At my school, we have wonderful Administrative Assistance who put in the orders, create a school atmosphere that is up beat and welcoming.  They decorate the lounge and help us celebrate. These are the people that I appreciate so much because they make my 'big show' possible. 
  • A Grand Entrance- The stage filled with smoke... the lights flooded the area with green and white. There were jungle sounds filling the space. The floor opened up and each band member stepped foot on stage greeted with an amazing roar from the crowd.  The band began it's set with Animal, and my mind was blown! In my classroom? Well, I'm planning on talking to my principal about a trap door, fog machine and maybe some Christmas lights... but if that falls through, I want to be there to greet each student as they come in.  I will continue to stand by my door for every class giving them something to look forward to. 
  • Making us Feel 'Seen'- Adam bounces from one side of the stage to the other.  He would point at us (well, I'm pretty sure he was pointing at me) and yell out to each area of the arena.  He made us feel as if he was sharing this night with us, each one of us.  In my classroom? I try to do this but it was a good reminder to make sure every student feels 'seen'.  With a case load of 800 ish students, this task can be difficult.  I like to do thinks like smile at kids giving me eye contact, highlight a table that is working hard or a student who is helping another.  At conferences I made the time to write one or two lines about each student.  I wanted my students and their families to know I see your kids, I love your kid. I will continue to share ideas with you of acknowledging students. 
  • Starting with ACTION- The first 20 minutes was filled with song, energy, shifting lights.  The band transformed the stage over and over.  Each song had a different flavor because of the creative geniuses that manage the sound, lights, and special effects. In my classroom?  I want to give the kids action right away... Invite them in with a warm up, an activity, a prompt.  I have done this so far this year with my Monster Mediums.  The MM's are done now so I've been working on establishing some new table jobs.  NOT as exciting as the monsters.  I need to get back to an action grabber something to grab the kids right away.
  • Introductions and Appreciation- There was a break after about 20 minutes where Adam took the time to introduce the members of the band.  Each group member did their little solo and we celebrated each one.  Then he said with sincerity, thank you, to us his fans. He let us know he appreciated our support and enthusiasm several times throughout the concert. We were giving him and the band back as much energy as he and the band was sending our way. In my classroom?  I want to celebrate the students in my classroom.  They create the energy.  They bring celebration to my classroom. They give me reason and purpose and for that I am grateful. I want to let them have their solo, giving them a voice.  Perhaps allowing them the chance to teach, show off their hard work or simply share a story.
  • Allowing the Audience to be the Audience- I have mentioned this a couple times on this blog but my husband and I do not have a cell phone.  Last summer we inherited a flip phone from my father-in-law who passed away and we have put some minutes on that once and a while.  We carry it when we are away from the kids and we have a babysitter... umm... so last night :) We don't leave the kids to often. Anyway, because we don't have a phone, we witness the mass addiction our culture has to their phones.  The Maroon 5 concert was no exception. Adam and the band embraced this fact. He requested the whole crowd to put the flash lights on their phone and hold it up.  It looked like a sparkling, starry night.  In my classroom? I allow my kids to be kids.  Kids like to move around the room with out stepping on lines, make a game of it.  Kids like to crawl on the floor, allow them to work under their tables sometimes.  Kids like to make weird noises. Allow them to make a puppet and give it a weird sound.  Let kids be kids as Maroon 5 let the audience be the audience.
  • Teach Mindfulness- This made my mind swim with affirming understanding. After he played with the audience for a while asking for the cell phone light, he shot the crowd and idea.  Adam proclaimed, "Now, put your phones in your pocket".  The heads of the crowd looked to each other like, What?  What did he just say?  I was amazed (and than again not) that so many people were still not able to put the phone down.  He even called a couple of people out on it.  He said, "You control the technology, don't let it control you." Maroon 5 wanted us to be present, to be mindful of the music, the performance, the moment.  In my classroom? We are so lucky at my school because we have a Mindful coordinator.  If you are unclear what that job entails, watch this 60 minute clip on Mindfulness by Anderson Cooper.  It's a powerful idea and we at Hassan celebrate it with our students and staff. We ask our students to take a breath, to acknowledge their feelings, their body, their mind. I understand that this will be a concept brought up many times at the National Art Education Association conference this week.  I'm looking forward to picking up more tips and tricks of how to bring this into the classroom.

Maroon 5 (Photo obtained via Facebook)
As I mentioned, Adam and I are the same age... what has he done with his life in the same amount of time as me?  He has built a career, developed fans, become famous for his skills, and seems to be passionate about his trade.  I'm happy to say I have done the same.  I am an Art Teacher, every student in the school knows who I am, I am known for being innovative and energetic in my classroom, my students know I love my job and I verbalize that all the time.  The Maroon 5 concert left me feeling happy and appreciating the time I spent at the concert.  That is my wish for my students, I want my kiddo's to leave feeling happy, feeling they loved the time they spent with me in art class. Adam was voted most Sexy Man once upon a time... Umm, well I guess we aren't totally the same, but we do share some qualities. Thanks for being an inspiration Maroon 5! 


Saturday, March 21, 2015

HELP, HELP!!

HELP!!  My trade with Japan fell through!



I posted a couple weeks ago that we were trading with a school in Japan. The art is sitting in a house near, Hiroomote Elementary, Akita, Japan.  Sadly as it arrived, the school reviewed it's policies and was unable to trade with us.  It's sitting in the home of my coworkers sister.  I am really hoping for a trade in Japan but at this point, we would do any other country outside of the USA.  Let me know if you would be interested ASAP!! 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Optical Illusion- Radiating Circle



Optical Illusions continue... This is the third project I did with my 4th grade.  If you recall, I'm having each class do a different Op Art project.  The inspiration for this one was found on Nefotlak- Amazing Instructions! I taught this group using Nefotlak's great step by step instruction.  Then I asked them to use Sharpie to color in the work.  I had 150 artist using my sharpies for about 3-4 weeks.  So you can imagine, that the next time the students came in, there were some sharpies that just didn't work any more.  My instructions were to use only one color... but we improvised due to the failing markers.  I think the multi colored works of art are equally as stunning.  We discover great things when improvising.  


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Optical Illusion- Checkered Line



Another 4th grade Optical Illusion!  This one was inspired by an artwork I found on Etsy.  I had the kids create a grid.  In each box they placed a large shape and in each of those shapes, a second smaller shape.  They drew a line from one side to the other going through each shapes.  Sometimes they had to introduce a second or third line.  They then checker boarded the design. This one was really successful.  I will do it again!