Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The Art of Education, Summer 2016 Art Ed Now, National Online Conference

It's that time again... AOE has just announced the official lineup for the Summer 2016 Art Ed Now presentations.  We have some BIG dogs here!!

Very excited that AOE gets living, practicing artist to present at these conferences. Romero Britto is going to present, I can't wait to hear what he has to say.  Should be great! Danny Gregory the sketchbook king himself will be presenting. He has written a book called, Shut Your Monkey and I have mentioned his podcast on my blog before, but if you haven't checked it out, Shut Your Monkey is some good listening.  And, Michael Linsin is the author of some great Classroom Management books.  When I was teaching and taking classes for AOE, his books were critical to some great conversations and ideas.  I also subscribe to his blog and love the uplifting tips and tricks he gives.   These guys are going to Rock this Conference.

I'm actually presenting twice. I will be in the morning in the first hour presenting on Flipping the Classroom.  I'm really excited to have the opportunity to share verbally what I so often try to explain on this blog.  Flipping the classroom is a critical piece for my instruction these days and I can't wait to tell you why!! 

Later in the day, I have been asked to present for Art to Remember.  I do their fundraiser in the fall and they thought I would be a good fit to present a lesson that might be the perfect fit for your Art to Remember fundraiser. If nothing else, you will get to play with the fun materials that will be sent to you in the SWAG box that I'm sure is coming soon to your doorstep.  We will be using Jack Richardson's PlayColor sticks... They are really fun! 

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Bit-O-Bio, MP4 Video

I'm feeling the love guys!! I broke out this new idea to the world a couple of days ago and I have had an amazing response from so many of you.  Thanks for  the support.  In case you missed it... Check out my announcement of Bit-O-Bio. I have been asked about the MP4 video included in the TPT package. I made a little sample so you can get a feel for what the layout is like, see below

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Bit-O-Bio, A Bit of a Biography

I'm so excited to introduce my newest adventure.  I'm calling it Bit-O-Bio.  This is going to be my new 'Moster Medium' or '#ProcessPigs'... This year I'm concentrating on Biographies of Artist.  What do I mean by all that... Let me share. 

Several years ago I gave a presentation at the AOE (The Art of Education) online conference on Monster Mediums in my classroom.  Feel free to view it below but basically, I wanted my students to know that the word medium means "materials used in an artwork".  I would introduce them to a 'monster' hanging on the wall every week. Then the kids would guess the medium of the monster and because this was our daily warm up, every student was able to use the word medium in their normal vocabulary by the end of the year. 

I did the same thing with Process this last year.  Check out any of the many videos of #ProcessPigs that I created. Students K-5 were able to talk about the 'process' of their own artwork in a sophisticated way by the end of this year because it was part of our daily 'cool down' in art class. 

This next year I'm tackling Art History... As you might have caught in the video above, this was part of my long-term goal.  If you have been watching my Instagram account, you know that I'm working on these paintings of Artist.  They are my own style and I'm loving ever minute!  I plan to create a video for each artist.  These videos are going to be 2 to 4 minutes long giving some highlights of the artist life.  I will be hanging the artist image in my classroom and each week as the students come in, I will have the video play at the start of class. As a wrap-up at the end of class, I will quiz students about what they have learned.  

I have just completed my first Bit-O-Bio, A Bit of a Biography.  Of course, I had to do it on Bob Ross... anyone who knows me, knows I love this dude!  In the past, I have been asked if I would sell my Monster Mediums or #ProcessPigs... I would love to, but I would have to quit teaching to make the beautiful works of art.  This time, I have made my images and videos digital so I can share them with anyone else who would like to implement a little more art history into their classroom.  I will be adding new artist throughout the summer.  I am selling them on TpT (Teachers pay Teachers).  This is what you will get if you buy a Bit-O-Bio.

I have made a video introducing the artist. This is a short 2-4 minute video with kid-friendly language. It highlights some 'kid-interesting' facts. I draw the story in the recording so it kind of shows drawing process as well.  

I took a picture of the key images and formulated some review questions.  My plan is to show the image to my kiddos so that they have a visual prompt as well as a verbal question. I will give these as students are lining up, or maybe for a brain break.  I plan to also have these posted outside my room for teachers to use as they line up to come into the classroom. 

The images are what have been feeding my creativity this summer. I love the fact that I have been able to think about these great Artist, research them, and create a simple explanation to share with my students.  The process of these paintings has been so much fun because I'm learning how to use photoshop yet I am still being true to my hand skills with watercolor and drawing.  I also feel that I'm being true to my 'style' of drawing.  I compare these artworks to ones I did even in high school and I see lots of similarities. 

So, check it out!  I hope you can use them, and if not, I'm having a blast getting ready for my student this fall! 

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Book Reflection: Wired to Create

Wow, did I learn a lot about myself with this book, Wired to Create: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Creative Mind by Scott Barry Kaufman and Carolyn Gregoire. I actually listened to this book the first time a month or so ago, but I'm listening again... as I create this summer. 

Here are some of my takeaways... 

I have a messy mind.  Yep, that's how this book describes a creative brain... messy.  That really is a true statement.  There is so much chatter going on in this head that there is no way to get it all out or act on every idea.  This was right away in the book, it talked about people who are highly motivated by their activities. Again, yes, that's me.  I'm often asked why I put my heart and soul into Art Education... I guess this is it.  I love it, I'm highly motivated to create, and this makes me happy.  
The authors suggest that we might want to rethink Thomas Edison's famous quote, "Genius is1% inspiration and 99% persperation" they called this quote a 'gross simplification'.  Inspiration and preparation play an equal role.  People who are passionate about their job put in more perspiration. 

One of my favorite chapters was about daydreaming. For those of you who follow my Instagram account you recently saw my notes from my training in mindfulness and Yoga Calm.  Our district has a Mindfulness/Yoga Calm employee.  She trains staff and students on how to calm, deal with anxiety, and find a balance in life. I have wanted to go to training for over a year and finally made time to do so.  This chapter on daydreaming challenges some of the ideas that Mindfulness introduces.


Wired to Create suggests that daydreaming is an invaluable tool to find out what we think and feel. Daydreaming is considered to be 'thought intrusion', 'undirected thought', and 'mind wondering'... All somewhat negative connotations. This book suggests just the opposite, it says, "Not all minds that wander are lost."  I love this idea.  The book does not deny that mind wandering can be harmful when the goal is to focus on things such as reading comprehension.  It does challenge mindful practices.  To be mindful, it is suggested to put out all other thoughts. But in this book, it suggests that if one does so, and doesn't let their mind wonder, the creative muscle will weaken and may dimish over time. 

Another chapter that really struck me was a chapter on the idea of solitude. In a world of constant social interaction, our culture views a person who enjoys solitude to be an antisocial person.  I would not consider myself to be that at all... but boy, do I love my alone time.  Susan Cain, the author of, Quiet: the Power of Introvert in a world that Can't Stop Talking is mentioned in this book due to her Quiet Revolution.  Quiet Revolution is an online website that advocates for Quiet in the day for employees and students who may need that time/space in their lives for creativity.  This is so, so true.  I miss quiet in my life.  I remind myself that there will be a day that I may wish all the noise in my life to be there again, but at this point with young kids and 800ish students in my room in a week... I love a break. 

This book made me feel normal for craving that, for wanting quiet, and time to think. For wanting to daydream and having a messy mind.  It made me understand that I don't have to suppress my thoughts and feelings... Rather, as suggested by a good friend, embrace what makes you, you.  Don't wish it away.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Summer Art Challenge

Are you up for a challenge?? You know I love to do a challenge now and again when it works into my life.  Right now I am planning on attempting Tim Needles challenges thought our #K12artchallenge.  He has some amazing and creative great ideas and amazing celebration of posts from our #PLN (Professional Learning Network).  Check out his post on Everyday Renaissance.

Word is that next month Visual Journaling with David R. Modler and Eric M. Scott.  They did a challenge last year and it really pushed me out of my comfort zone.  I'm looking forward to participating when I can this summer. I'm sure the challenge will be posted on their blog in July... you should bookmark it now. JournalFodderJunkies

The current challenge is from Team Grundler... BINGO baby! We in Minnesota love our Bingo and this is a fun way to keep the creative juices going over the summer and connect with your #PLN.  Join us on social media and I guess with this one... you can actually win a prize! Let's do it people!!  Here is the post from the #k12artchat team, Matt and Laura Grundler