Monday, July 21, 2014

Inspiring Kids: Career Day 2014

On one of the last days of school we had CAREER DAY!!!! One of our lovely counselors Mrs. Woodson had been working hard for the past several months to gather guest speakers from all over our city! I even had the honor of having a speaker in my classroom during 4th and 5th grade.

Mr. Maurice Walker talked about OPTIONS. When most students graduate from high school and he shakes their hand to congratulate them he asks one question:

So what's next?

And the top response seems to be IDK, or as the rest of us understand I DON'T KNOW. From there he proceeded to give the students a list of four OPTIONS (in no certain order) of what they can do after high school. He went through each one and the kids had some great discussions.

1. Get a JOB
2. Military-Air Force, Marines, Navy, Army, Coast Guard
3. Trade/Technical School
4. College

I think that sometimes as adults and educators we often forget that there are multiple options after high school, not just the one that we've chosen. Everyone needs an option that works best for them. I really enjoyed hearing some of the students say what they really wanted to do after high school, whether it was the Military because his father was in the Army or College because they wanted to become an art teacher (I cried a little here), it's good for them to know they really do have options.

Do you discuss with your students what options they have after high school?

Monday, July 14, 2014

Summer Slow Down: The Art of Education Conference

This summer I'm not just relaxing next to the ocean on a beach in Africa...okay yes I am technically doing some wonderful de-stressing right now, but I am also thinking about continuing education because we teachers are life long learners. They have great for classroom management, organization, lesson plan, anything you can think of really!

The Art of Education is a great website which holds so much information for the Art Educator! Each year they hold an online conference which I will be "attending" for the first time this summer! The great thing about this conference is that even though I will not be able to watch the live streaming as I will be away, I will have accessibility to each recorded session after the conference, so I can watch at my own pace when I get back!

What do you do to keep yourself up to date and learning new things for your students? Conferences? Book studies? Pinterest? Let me know!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Summer Slow Down: Is it REALLY art?

Sometimes as an educator I get faced with the question: Is what you're teaching really ART or is it more like CRAFTS?

Art noun (as defined by Merriam-Webster Dictionary): something that is created with imagination and skill and that is beautiful or that expresses important ideas or feelings 
Craft noun (as defined by Merriam-Webster Dictionary): an activity that involves making something in a skillful way by using your hands

For one thing, I don't really put them into categories anymore. Crafting in it's own right is an art form and there are many artists who use things that people would call "craft-y" for their main medium in art. Who am I to put a label on what they love to do? And after reading these definitions I don't think that they create a division in what art/craft is, but they actually work together. Two sides to the same coin, can't really have one without the other.

I understand that there are complex thought processes that go into creating a "spectacular" work of art. Technique, concept, these things take practice. That being said, you cannot reach proficiency in anything without the basic fundamentals the foundation of it all. Which is why I teach what I teach, the elements and principles of art! Without this basic understanding it becomes difficult to go beyond, to reach further.

Let's just say that without these basic cornerstones, no child or adult can move forward and create their own unique masterpiece. So as an elementary art teacher that is what I provide for students and it is amazing to see them grow and learn with eyes wide and unhindered by what others think of as "spectacular" or not.

Have you ever been confronted with this question before? What was your response?

Tune in next week for a small blog about the Art of Education 2014 Online Summer Conference!