Thursday, May 24, 2012

Writing? In ART?

I did it! I graduated with my Master's a couple of weeks ago. Sorry to be so AWL all year, but I'm hoping to rectify that in the coming school year. 

I have my first ever student teacher in the fall. She came in so we could size each other up meet a couple of weeks ago. She seems nervous (of course) but also like she will be great once she settles into teaching. I just wish it was more than six weeks. With the kids on a six day cycle, she'll only see each class 4-5 times! I'm hoping with a student teacher I will be able to work on curriculum building, assessment, and technology. At least I was, until we specialists had a meeting with our principal a few weeks ago. She wanted to give us a heads up on the new Wisconsin State testing that is coming in two years. WKCE (Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Exam) is out, and a new system is coming. Apparently fifth graders are going to be expected to be able to sit down and type two pages in one sitting. Seriously, I know college kids that can't do that! Anyway, our principal wanted to let us know what is coming so that we can work on ways to integrate writing in our content areas. As I told her, that's easy in art if I had the time to do it, but with only 25 classes (assuming there's no field trips or snow days) a year, that's a pretty tall order. I have been working on writing integration since our meeting. She said a goal of once a trimester would be a good start for next year. Pinterest has helped me find a few good ideas. I'll share my plans now, in case any of you are also looking for more ideas, and I'll share the results and how it was taught once we do it with our students. 
1. FAKEBOOK: I LOVE this idea! I only have one wish: that I could create a school data base of these pages and the kids could link to each other's pages instead of just having "friends" listed. Perhaps in the future...My concern about this was that a lot of artists have done and said some pretty stupid things publicly that I wouldn't want my students discovering on my watch. Therefore, I am creating a class website on Google sites that has artist pages sorted by years, style, and artists. Each artist page has two works of art, a brief bio, quotes (if I can find any elementary appropriate ones!), and known acquaintances. Kids will use my site to choose an artist, create a Fakebook page and then do a project based on the artist of their choice. I just started working on this, so I only have a couple of artist pages done and none of them are published. When it is complete I will be sure to post the link so all of you can reference it too!
2. POST-IT CRITIQUE: This idea really inspires me. Kids can write a question, comment, or suggestion on a post-it and put it on another student's work of art. I'd certainly have to have strict guidelines about positive comments, but this could be amazing. I was perusing the Lakeshore catalog today and came across these magnetic clips that would be perfect for hanging the art on the white board. I happen to have my tables labeled in the same colors these clips come in. I'm going to order two sets (there's six kids to a table) and the kids will hang their artwork from a clip that matches their table color to make it easy to pass them back at the end of class. I'm thinking everyone puts their completed project up and we start another project. Then the kids go up one table at a time and put up three post-its. One question, one comment, and one suggestion.
3. I also want to start a sketchbook/journal with the kids. I was thinking of using jumbo index cards. The kids can design the cover the first day of class, and each index card can have a hole in the top corner. They'll be held together by a jumpring with a ribbon on it that matches the table color the student sits at for easy passing out. In addition to this idea of images, some days I can ask the kids to compare/contrast two works of art that are on the SmartBoard. I figure it's an easy way to get the kids focused right away when they come in the door, and keeps them occupied while the stragglers come in. With back-to-back classes it could also help with me needing to get out or put away supplies.
4. Finally, I saw this post on Pinterest about weaving with magazines and thought it would be fun to have the kids write a poem or story and weave it into a painting. This is very much in the development stages, and I've been focused on the website so I haven't given it much thought yet.

I'd definitely be interested in all of your writing integration ideas if you have any to share! I found it ironic that I've been working on all of this integration and this week a young student said I'm not a "real teacher." When I asked what he meant he said "Oh, I mean you don't teach the real stuff, like math and reading." I replied "Yes, I do. It's in every lesson, you're just having so much fun you didn't notice."


Angie said...

Art is REAL, too! My daughter told me that I wasn't a real teacher, though I couldn't figure out what she meant by it. Just in K a the time. I have used writing as a warm up, sometimes simple questions about an artwork, do you like it? Why or why not? How would you create the same work? We answer the same or similar questions about our own work as well.

Angie said...

Forgot, Congratulations on graduating!

sarah k. said...

I love your response to your student! I was new this year and while I want to continue to work on integrating writing into my lessons, when I did, it was a struggle for some students. One even said, "I'm not in Language Arts!" About once a term, I would have students describe, analyze, interpret and judge an artwork that would be the inspiration behind the new activity. Next year, I want to try to include an artist statement or too. Great goals and congratulations!

Phyl said...

Many years ago, when I was teaching high school art, I was also the yearbook advisor. I happen to be a total freak about proofreading, spelling and grammar, so I was really picky about the yearbook. So I proofread the big statement my student editor-in-chief had written, and called him in to talk over his (many) errors. He said "but you are an art teacher" (insinuating I had no right to proofread something written by a top-notch senior student in a large high school.) I said "I am a teacher. Art just happens to be the subject I have chosen to teach, but I am a teacher first." And this was long before it was a big deal to write in all subject areas.

Phyl said...

One more thing...

I use a "passport" for my 6th graders as part of my grading. For each project/assignment, when it is complete, they need to write in their passport. The writing should include a description of their work, and whether or not they feel they were successful, and why (or why not). Then I write a brief response, and stamp and date it, along with assigning a grade (sometimes I use a grading rubric, sometimes not, depending on the assignment). This all prepares them (hopefully somewhat) for the art teacher they will have next year and through high school, who will require a written reflection at the end of each assignment.

Katie Morris said...

I use artist statements a lot. I basically ask the students to tell me what they made, how they made it, why they made it, and what we were learning about. It's also good to have them write down their process steps. I don't know if your state is going to common core but I know they put a lot of emphasis on informational texts- I assume this also applies to informational writing.

I'm going to have my first student teacher in the fall as well! I'm not ready to graduate with my Master's though... I still have 10 more classes to go.

Your "real" teacher story reminds me of earlier this spring when a 3rd grade student said "You mean you get PAID to teach Art? I thought this was just your hobby!" I told her that, yes, teaching is my job and I went to college just like every other teacher!