Thursday, August 28, 2014

Why I became an art teacher.

"Ms. Alkire, why did you become an art teacher?"

I have a lot of students ask me this question.

When I was in high school I had a great art teacher my freshmen year,  Mrs. Luciano. She was always enthusiastic and had a love of teaching.  My sophomore year I signed up for Drawing II and I had a not so good teacher....we just didn't get along at all. So I talked to Mrs. Luciano and she suggested I take Ceramics with Mrs. Sherman. And I did. For the next three years.

Her classroom was my favorite place to be. I'd go in before school, lunch, and after school for art club when I could. I made some of my greatest ceramic pieces of art under her mentorship and even became art club president my senior year. She challenged me and at the same time made me feel life I could be myself in her classroom. She taught me that art was a gateway to expressing everything that I wanted to say, but couldn't figure out how.

It was the safety of her art room and acceptance of who I was that stirred the artist in me and I wanted to create that same place for other kids that needed it. So instead of just going to art school, I went to school to learn how to teach art. It only took one person to show me that I had a voice. ONE PERSON.

And everyday I remind myself that I could be that one person to a student in my class.

This is the reason I became an art teacher.

Why did YOU become an art teacher?

Monday, August 25, 2014

Monday Mayhem: FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL 2014

It's finally HERE!! Today was my first day of teaching middle school art, it was mostly just introducing myself to the students and to the procedures in the classroom. Here are some pictures from my empty room before meet the teacher night.

Posters, posters everywhere!

My iCreate bulletin board and THE KILN!!!!

My huge and lovely windows!

The cabinets where supplies are kept.
These chalkboard frames were really popular at Ross and Marshalls last year so I snagged them
and bought some neon chalk markers and tada! Cute exit question signs! 

My simple to follow studio rules!

My desk area: got my ninja turtles all ready for school!
Sentence stems for art!
Objective space.

Every week the kids will view a new piece of artwork.

For meet the teacher I had a "Are you willing to help? Then donate!" sign with these sticky notes underneath,
I had to write more because parents and students kept taking them! I got lots of donations today!
My beginning of the year newsletter!
I am really excited to see what this year brings for my Art I and Advanced Art kiddos! Can't wait!

How was your first day of school?

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Thursday Think Tank: #Learn2Inspire

Learn2Inspire is what we call our summer professional development, teachers from all over the district submit session proposals for consideration. At the end of last year I submitted two, one by myself and one as a co-presenter with my lovely friend Andrea Keller! Sadly neither was picked up, but I will try again!

I did attend two great sessions that were not art related, one called Brain Powered Strategies to Engage all Learners by special guest presenter LaVonna Roth. She takes current brain research and uses it to help teachers reach students in the most effective ways. The technique I loved most was her kinetic word web. Each student gets a note card with a term and the students must make connections to figure out the main idea and the branching descriptive terms. I definitely want to use this in my room this year!

The second session I attended was about Self-Efficacy. The presenter made reference to this book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. Some of the studies on how children react to certain kinds of praise and how it effects their efforts in the classroom or when they are presented with challenges that they might find difficult. Which reminds me of this short excerpt of Sir Ken Robinsons TED talk.

The session was a great way to gear my thinking and how I approach teaching my students. I definitely want them to understand that being an artist is not about perfecting everything, but experimenting and trying new things even if you feel like you might fail.

In my art related PD I finally was able to meet with my middle school art teachers! We had a great time hearing from our new Fine Arts Director, and getting our hands messy with some clay totems. Our art teachers are so talented!

What is your favorite part about professional development? What are some things do you wish they would cover in your PD before school?

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Summer Slow Down: Back from AFRICA!!!

So I've been back for a while, but I thought I'd share some lovely pictures from my time in Malawi, Africa! No explanation needed after all a picture is worth 1,000 words!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Summer Slow Down: Museum March

After Learn2Inspire I had sometime before school began again, about one week until I really had to hit the ground running, so I decided to take a little time and view some artwork in the local museums. It's a great way to relax and help myself get excited about teaching kids about art again.

A friend invited me to the last days of the Ansel Adams exhibit in town and I really enjoyed his work. I'd never seen it up close and personal, we had a great time debating how he could achieve such sharpness or how he dodged a certain area to give the image more light or darken a certain horizon line. It was awesome!

Tomorrow is our first day back for professional development and I am excited to meet a lot of new people! Can't wait to share pictures of my new classroom and how it looks for the first day of school. Until then, make more art!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Transition: New Studio in Middle School

Hello wonderful art teachers from far and wide! I am safe and back from Africa, although I am having a hard time adjusting to summer being over! School starts in just 12 days, 12 DAYS! And I am all sorts of busy right now! My first order of business after returning from Africa was to get into my OLD elementary classroom and get my things over to my NEW middle school studio!

Good bye my old classroom! I loved sharing art for 5 years with you!
Hello new room! I hope we'll have many great memories this year!
My Mom & Dad helping me move in! Plus the ton of artwork leftover from last year.

Now this place is still a work in progress, seeing as I've only been in here for about two days because of district training. I think it is coming along quite nicely.

I have WINDOWS! And a lovely piece of art by Jonathan Davis, check out his work here.
This piece is actually VERY big and VERY heavy!
Desks in place and a bulletin board(word wall perhaps?) almost ready!
Shelf above one of the sinks!
Books above the other sink!
My door! Used fun scotch tape for a neat design.
The school I am at is called a NET ZERO school. That means we produce our own electricity with wind turbines and also that we are conscious of recycling and keeping our waste to a bare minimum. That also means that I cannot use nails or staples in the walls, so I will have to get creative when I display artwork and posters this year. Which also challenged me to find a nice way to decorate my door without stapling a full sheet of butcher paper on it! I was inspired by this: follow me to Pinterest!

My desk...still a complete mess. *sigh*

I've still got a little more work to do...okay A LOT more work to do, but I know when it's done I'll feel right at home!

Say hello to mARTie
the ART
I had some Mini Da Vinci helpers today! The named mARTie for me.

When moving into a new room, what is one thing you MUST have ready before the school year starts? (besides your lessons!) What makes your room feel like home?