Monday, October 31, 2011

Professional Photographer in your classroom?

Hi STAA Teachers,

A friend and wonderful photographer Orin Zyvan is available to photograph your student artists at work. He just documented my friend Steve Musgrave in his studio and created beautiful shots of the artist at work.

I asked him if he would photograph students in the public schools at work and he said yes (it's free). He would like to keep some photos for his portfolio so families and students have to be o.k. with that. Otherwise the beautiful photos will be for you and your students to look at to better understand the artistic process.

Let me know if you're interested. He's leaving town in about a month so time is of the essence.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Studio Spaces

The above images are from Kitty Conde's classroom studio at Ravenswood Elementary.

Colorado Arts Education Association Presentation

Here is some photo documentation of a piece I performed for the Advocacy luncheon at the Colorado Arts Education Association two weeks ago. The conversation at the luncheon involved a presentation of the new Colorado State Standards for art by the creators of the standards. Interestingly enough, the authors of the new standards contacted Lois and asked if they could write Studio Thinking into their standards and, of course, Lois said yes. We'll see how ST will be used across the state in the next few years.

Art teachers seemed to feel disheartened by some of the new teacher assessment protocols being rolled out across the state. Our audience embraced our cantastoria (story song recitation) performance which questions the nature of teacher performance based assessments. For this performance we created 7 hand-stenciled panels and attached them to wooden poles. We sing the panels, telling the story of teachers, principals, students, parents and the Obama administration's response to the "Race to the Top" competition.

At the conference, Olivia Gude came up with a new phrase for reflection: "attentive reflectiveness." We really like that description for the process of looking at our students' work and our own teaching practice.


Saturday, October 15, 2011

Boston Academy Arts v. CPS Arts

I understand that Lois and her colleagues were using schools/teachers in the Boston area to generate optimal results with relationship the SHOM-the schools that took arts "seriously" as noted on page 9-although I wonder how the study will develop while in CPS schools? Each school has a different vision and mission for education in general as well as arts education. Visual arts (unfortunately) are often not a priority in the curriculum and many art teachers and departments have to fight to stay alive within a testing culture while budgets are being cut extensively. It is hard at times to read about the Boston schools because these are optimal art education environments and the number of CPS (secondary) schools that mirror these environments are few and far between. Within our overall school and department program I am often frustrated because we cannot provide the same types of "authentic" art experiences that the Boston schools or some of our CPS magnet Visual and/or Fine Arts counterparts can. We do not have the physical studio spaces nor do we have the space in our school's over all program. For example we are running 21 sections of Art I this year (an average of 650 students), concurrently we have four art elective course options for our students (approximately 124 students) and we currently have 13 advanced AP Art and IB Art Portfolio students split with other courses. Our students are consistently recognized locally and earn scholarships for art to many schools, etc. but there are some experiences that we simply cannot provide due to the nature and size of our program within the context of the larger school environment. I realize that the SHOM are about more than just physical space, but this is a major component that we struggle with at LPHS.

Friday, October 14, 2011

A visit from Lois

I had a wonderful visit from Lois, Matt and Kate last Friday and wanted to share some of my thoughts. When they arrived, my 4th grade students were in the middle of a Gallery Walk of their first Showcase Pieces for the quarter. After silently viewing all the artwork, they chose 2 pieces that they were drawn to and wrote a reflection (comment, compliment, question, connection) to the artist on a post-it note and stuck it on their art work. We then transitioned into open studio time. Lois was interested in how I was incorporating the Studio Habits into my art studio. She was able to give me some great feedback looking at my classroom space and what I do through the lens of Studio Habits of Mind. What I found so enlightening was how many of them I was covering without even realizing it. Everything from how I organized and labeled my supplies (understand art world) to the artist statements (reflect). She walked through my space and shared with me what she was seeing.
Although I have the Studio Habits posted and they write about them on their artist statements, I realize how important it is for me to be more explicit with the students and make the connections for them. This will help them to internalize the vocabulary and see real-world applications of the SHOM. This inspired me to use my bulletin board space to highlight the SHOM with student work as examples of the Habits in practice. The audience is the students, the teachers and the parents. The photo shows this month's SHOM, Develop Craft. I am curious what ways you are making these habits visible in your environment.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Your impressions of Lois' Visit

We wanted to hear from you about Lois' presentation.
As per Lois' recommendation for Professional Learning Community she says:

"Stay in regular touch, virtually and f2f, with explicit intentions (make your goals public) and with actions linked directly to those intentions (focus) and with regular checks to see what you’re learning and how, by comparing what you’re doing and learning to your intentions!"

Here are some questions to guide your thoughts. Feel free to add other thoughts.
  1. What were your impressions of her presentation?
  2. Did you have an inclination to try anything in your classroom based on the presentation?
  3. What are you still curious about?

Thinking back on Lois' visit

Matt and I spent many hours with Lois last Thursday and Friday. Once again we were struck by her generosity and wisdom. We are very lucky to be working with her at this time. Our group is ready to partner in the continued exploration and implementation of the Studio Thinking Framework. According to Lois' prescription for successful implementation of a learning community, we are on track with our group.

Here are some suggestions for Chicago:

1) Develop a learning community (that's us!)
2) Focus professional development on student learning
3) Use assignments and accountability to motivate
4) Seek a question of importance to you and pursue it
5) Track Studio Habits
6) Use the Habits on yourself to see personal benefit
7) Keep making at the center
8) Make learning visible
9) Seek exposure/contact with contemporary artists/art (and American art of the past too!)

Lois shared these suggestions with a small group of CPS teachers and arts education leaders on Thursday before the evening presentation. Matt and I will continue to share documentation and reflections of her visit with us in the next few weeks.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Studio Habit Assessment Tools

In response to a couple posts, we wanted to share a small sampling of Studio Habit assessment tools which were created by teachers we worked with in Berwyn for the last three years. These are two tools the teachers designed for elementary students. In her presentation to the District, Lois suggested that teachers come up with a language for the Studio Habits that students would understand, so "Engage and Persist" became "Work it Out" and "Envision" became "Imagine." The Pie Chart is a tool students can use for self assessment and for identifying which habit they may be working with at a particular moment. Andrea, a District art teacher, came up with the drawings to represent each Studio Habit.