Two years ago, I left the only school district I had ever known and chartered out into the unknown. In many ways, it felt like it was time to find out who I really am as an art teacher. With this new start, teaching in a new school district, with a lot of students and a very busy schedule, my blogging quickly moved to the back burner. Restarting my blog as a way to share what happens in the art room is a goal I am setting for the upcoming school year.
My last post introduced my Virtual Art Room. The virtual classroom is an idea to move forward with if remote learning continues in the fall. Keeping the lessons of the last 8 weeks accessible means I am moving them from the "Making Art at Home" page on my class website to the "In the Art Room" blog. Making Art at Home will continue to be a place where I add ideas for ways students can do just that. My time in the classroom with students is so limited so if I could provide a spark for something new and creative for students to do outside of art class, mission accomplished. In the Art Room will highlight what we do in the art room, and as I currently prepare for summer break, I want nothing more than to be back in the art room in August.
Remote teaching has been tough because the reason why I teach (the art making connection I have with my students) has been removed. The silver lining of this has been the extra time spent with my own kids. They have been active participants in my teaching and getting them involved has been a lot of fun. We are putting ourselves out there in a way we have never done before. The activities I provided the last 8 weeks are simple ideas that the 3 of us could do together. Most require no art supplies and a couple include some basic household items. Scavenger hunts and ways of making art outside are activities that are low risk and an opportunity to have fun and work together on with a family member. Weekly drawing prompts are a fun way to provide ideas for those that are interested in building their drawing skills. My hopes through all of this was that if my students didn't know what to do, they could use one of these activities as a place to start and be engaged in their learning. If they were out there making their own art, in their own way, that's even better.
The 2019-2020 school year is coming to a close. It is not AT ALL what I have ever envisioned for the end of a school year. So many plans left undone and a classroom that now seems to be frozen in time.
My class website has become a place dedicated to my thoughts as how to keep students, or anyone really, thinking creatively and making at home. Activities I have provided through our weekly Encore Tic-Tac-Toe boards, interactive art websites/virtual tours, and a collection of other ideas to keep students making. I have embraced technology as a tool in my classroom now for many years, but nothing can replace being together in a space teaching and making art with other people.
This school year ends like no other before it...a collection of videos and all things Google, but now what I have taught for the last 8 weeks of school can be found in a virtual art room. Activities geared towards students who may not have any art supplies at home. Scavenger hunts inside and outside the home, different ways of making art outside, and drawing prompts have been the theme of my teaching and this puts them all in one place. I hope this is the end of my virtual teaching, yet if it is to still continue, there are so many more ways to be creative using technology. Below is a picture of my Virtual Art Room, but click on the PDF link to explore. Some files permissions are limited within my school district to protect student privacy, but most are viewable to all. Enjoy!