Thursday, January 30, 2014

Valerie Slams San Diego!

A BIG CONGRATULATIONS to Valerie Xanos, art teacher at Curie HS, for being accepted to participate in the Museum of Contemporary Art's "Curriculum Slam!" at this year's National Art Education Association annual convention to be held in Sand Diego this March.

Olivia Gude is facilitating the "Curriculum Slam!", which highlights how teachers engage their students with the contemporary by embracing the spirit of inquiry and innovation. Valerie will be presenting work from her classroom connected to Fletcher and Harrell's Learning to Love You More project, as well as representing our work within the Studio Thinking and American Art project.

As Valerie continues to work with this project in her classroom, we will gather documentation of the students working on their LTLYM assignments and photographs of their final pieces. This documentation of the students and their work will be the focus of her Pecha Kucha at the NAEA "Curriculum Slam!" The image below is from a LTLYM workshop Valerie co-led at a conference for teachers last fall.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Possibilities and Ideas for our Teacher Exhibition

We had a wonderful work session in mid January with DiDi, Liz Chisholm, Valerie, Viera, Rebekah, and Roxane. They had so many inspirational ideas and have put some critical thought into your Exhibition. A lot was covered and I still need to go through my notes to pull out some more details to share, but I wanted to bring the rest of the group into some of the things we talked about.

During the work session, we went around the room and shared what we were working on and/or thinking of working on and had a great dialogue about adaptations and possibilities that stemmed from these ideas. Here is just a quick blurp about what people are thinking about:
Rebekah talked about an avalanche/pillar/tidal wave of cut-up mandates/guidelines that are all connected into one large piece (she brought in an example her students did). She is really interested in working with the mounds of paper that are apart of her life.
Liz wants to work on the voice of teachers in a video of interviews and she wants to coordinate panel of art teachers presenting Pecha Kuchas. She is interested in, among other things, really exploring the Role of the Art Teacher. Please see her blog posts and email with details regarding this.
DiDi really wants to incorporate the ST student reflections and how students told her it was the first time a teacher asked them how they felt. She's going to work with a couple of students and a past student in creating something around the idea of "nest."
Stephanie is working on a personal piece of art that resembles wiping the fog off a windshield in order to see clearly as a metaphor for how ST has allowed her to focus on her teaching amidst all the other extras.
Viera was still organizing her thoughts about what her contribution will look like, but she is interested in demonstrating the rigor of the art teachers' practice and the expansion of students' minds and their personal growth.
Roxy wants to collect to-do lists from the group and create a piece out of the lists and the materials in their to-do lists as a demonstration of everything that art teachers do beyond teaching art. She also wants to create a piece from a sign system she uses in her classroom to track student behavior (in a classroom management sense).
Valerie wants to contribute to as many collaborative pieces as possible (i.e. Rebekah's manipulation of mandates, Liz's teacher interview, etc.)  and is working on individual pieces- small paintings of bonded and brutalized birds as a metaphor for how she currently feels trapped as a teacher. But, she also wants to include positive imagery - small paintings of birds breaking free from their bondage.

This is just a beginning to the conversations we had. It's going to be amazing! We are so lucky to be working with such a great group of teachers.

There is a lot to follow up on and I will do everything I can to coordinate most of that. In the mean time, PLEASE give us an idea of what you have been working on or plan to be working on. As we move into securing a space, we will have a better idea of what we can accommodate. More details on that will be coming VERY soon!

Friday, January 24, 2014

what I want you to help me with part 2

HI- me again.
The other aspect of the exhibition I want to make/spearhead is a video/audio piece. 
I would like (Matt will help) to interview a lot of art teachers, both those in this group and those outside of this group.  I want to ask you a few questions that center around the role of the art teacher and what we do on a daily basis and why it is important.  I don't want it to be cheesy or vague, but rather informative and personal.  I will then piece together the voices and answers from this and get some help editing from some art education students... (interns).  The video would be something you can listen to (with headphones?) in the gallery space.  To go with your voice I would maybe film your room and your school/it's location.  I would also LOVE it if you could set up a tri-pod/camera in one spot in your room and let it run/record you for as long as the battery will last throughout the day.  Then we can make time-lapsed, sped up videos of what art teachers do all day long (since no one seems to know...) :)   I am picturing using this footage behind the voices of teachers in the interview.  The voices do not need to match the teacher in the time-lapse.  This would represent our collective role in the lives of our students and our solidarity.  You can choose to have your face shown in the video or just have your voice heard.  It would be edited of course so you can even curse if you need to. ;)
Please let me know by commenting on this post or e-mailing me, if you would be interested in one of the following ways to contribute:
1. ask art teachers (music and drama) included, or really any teacher in your building, and others you know in general, if they would be willing to be interviewed. Get me their name and e-mail address or phone number.
2. volunteer to be interviewed
3. commit to setting up a camera in your room or having a student film you.
4. find someone who will edit footage for free
5. all of the above!

About the Exhibition and How you can help me out- please comment

Hello Group,
I wanted to reach out to you via both the blog and possibly e-mail.
I am interested in contributing to/organizing 2 different aspects of the exhibition and I need your help.
The first idea is that I would like as many of you as possible to sign up to be part of  
a panel of speakers that would each give a brief talk on what I imagine will be the day the exhibition opens.  I am modeling this talk on an exhibition I go to every year of artwork by Michigan prisoners sponsored by the Prisoners Creative Arts Project.   Each year a gallery in Ann Arbor hosts close to 100 works of art by incarcerated men and women from across Michigan, and in conjunction there are panels of guests that discuss and speak about related issues to the audience of gallery goers. It is very moving to hear the voices of those who are linked to the work in different ways.  It deepens the art and I often find myself looking at the exhibition again after hearing the speakers, seeing the work with new eyes.  Also, I am really into TED talks...

The thing that I want to explore in this exhibition is the voice of the art teacher in general, and specifically the voices of those in this group speaking about some aspect of their teaching practice.
I am interested in having as many of you speak as possible. I am picturing our main audience being other teachers and then parents, friends, teaching artists, students, administrators.  What do you want to tell them about your work and what you do on a daily basis?  I would like the speakers to be limited to around 2-5 minutes each with time for questions after everyone on the panel has had a turn to present.  The presentations could be in the style of Pecha Kucha where 20 slides (or so) come up automatically and advance automatically.  This would keep the talks moving but we do not have to use this format. I originally imagined we would all present something related to Studio Thinking- what we discovered, got better at, threw out, think is brilliant or bunk or obvious.  BUT you can certainly suggest a different topic.
What would you possibly talk about if you were on the panel???
here are a few ideas to get you started: (remember that this would be a little nugget of a talk and should therefore be very focused)
1. how has this 3 year group study/journey changed your teaching or helped it evolve?  What have you learned about yourself as a teacher or about your students?
2. how do you incorporate or include Studio Thinking in your classroom? What is useful about it for teachers?  Does it align with what you perceive your role as art teacher to be?
3. present another practice you have honed or explored since we started 3 years ago such as a Close Read and it's results
4. present a nugget/body of work/PPT. that you have already presented to our group in some way but that you feel needs to be brought to a larger audience.
5. ask a question of the audience related to teaching, art making, CPS, student growth.
6. speak about why teaching art is so important and/or about your role as an art teacher
7. speak about how your role has changed for worse or better over the years
8. describe what you do in one day

PLEASE RESPOND back to this post and let me know what you think about this panel idea.  If you are interested in speaking let me know via commenting on this post or e-mailing me directly what topic you want to work with and maybe a working title for your presentation (which would ideally include images).  The wonderful Matt and/or myself can workshop it with you as the date gets closer.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Guerrilla Blog - New Stuff

Got some new work from Guerrilla Students at Curie. Currently working on Postcard Art Exchange with artists around Chicago and Beyond. 

check us out!

Next up: Appropriated Art and Creative Writing (with the brilliant Polly Mills)

Altered Road signs (made by Guerrilla students earlier in the year) will be hitting the SW side courtesy of Good Things Grow Midway. Stay tuned.