Wednesday, October 31, 2007

WAEA State Art Conference

Last week Thursday and Friday I had the opportunity to attend this year's state art teacher conference, Creating Connections (WAEA) in River Falls, WI. Priscilla Wicks and I made the trip together, my first time attending an art conference with another art colleague! It was a great opportunity to enrich my teaching with new curriculum ideas, new materials/resources and engaging conversations with other art educators. Let me share a little bit more about some of the sessions I attended and how it impacted me.
First of all, our keynote speaker, Dr. Roger Tomhave spoke to
us on the topic of "A Whole New Art Education," taking prominent and pertinent information from Daniel Pink's book, "A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future," and applying it to the world of art education. If you are not familiar with this book, it is definitely worth checking out. Here is a brief description of Pink's book:
  • The future belongs to a different kind of person with a different kind of mind: artists, inventors, storytellers - creative and holistic "right-brain" thinkers whose abilities mark the fault line between who gets ahead and who doesn't. Drawing on research from around the world, Pink outlines the six fundamentally human abilities that are absolute essentials for professional success and personal fulfillment - and reveals how to master them.
    This bestseller takes readers to a daring new place, and a provocative and necessary new way of thinking about a future that's already here.
I would love to have it as a summer reading book for us here at USM. I am reading it right now as my ORB book and I'm stunned by some of the quotes I've read and the overall concept of the book. It really shows the transition and need in our country from the L-brain worker to more R- brain, creative workers. Needless to say, Dr. Tomhave shared an inspiring presentation with us all and a wonderfu tool for advocacy in schools where the arts are not valued. This is something I am most grateful for, to work in a school where the arts do matter!
Not only was the keynote inspiring, but I also attended various sessions in which I gathered good information to bring back to my classroom as well as some reinforcement that I am on the right track with my own teaching style. The first session I attended was on student centered assessment. This was perfect since our main C.A.R.P. goal is focusing on assessment in the art room. Loaded with handouts, articles and ideas, I left the session ready to evaluate my current forms of assessment and inspired to bring new methods to my students. One teacher in particular stated something I am always working on. She mentioned that her students never ask her the question "Am I done yet?" This is something I think all art teachers strive for, and her answer revolved around assessment that is designed by the students.
Another session on went to focused on web comics. I wanted to get some new ideas for the lesson I do with 6th graders on superheroes. Unfortunately the hands-on session was not hands-on, but it did get my creative juices flowing. I need to look into this concept a bit more, especially if I want to do this with Middle School age students, but here is a link to a world of comics on the web:
The final session I'll write about was one that Priscilla and I went to together hoping to learn about the new curriculum being developed in Hong Kong. The speaker who supposed to present was not available, but we did hear from a gentleman involved in the curriculum review process. To our amazement, Hong Kong was significantly behind in the development of their art education process. They are currently initiating a trend to teach more than just art production, but now having art teachers focus on aesthetics, art criticism, and art history, something we call (DBAE) Discipline Based Art Education and have been teaching since the early 1980's. They do however, have us beat in the area of pushing for art education as one of the core curriculum areas. It is seen as just as valuable as math, science, language etc.. but will now also require standardized testing just as the other core areas do. This is being met with resistance from many art educators.
Well, that about sums up my experience in River Falls. With the exception of an awesome Carribean jerk dinner in Hudson, a great gallery walk with an opportunity to watch a glass sculptor at work, as well as a fun time socializing with art teachers at the Nova, a spectacular wine bar adorned with beautiful and unique Tiffany lamps.
Thanks for the professional growth experience!

Monday, October 29, 2007

This is Cool!

Just horsing around with photo sharing tools. This one is pretty neat!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

K12 Online Conference is AWESOME!!!

This is an outstanding professional development opportunity that is going on right now, and it is FREE!!! The conference primarily focuses on what it means to teach and work with the "21st Century Learner." As a result, a large focus of the conference deals with the tools of 21st Century Teaching and Learning. I've watched several of the presentations and came away with many practical and applicable ideas for use here at USM. For example, one of the presenters talked about how special ed teachers in his district are using Google Docs to support the students they are working with. Student share/collaborate their google docs file with their special ed teacher, and the special ed teacher is then able to provide the appropriate scaffolding at every step of the writing process without having to be in the classroom looking over his/her shoulder.

There are many other excellent ideas to mention, but I want to keep this post reasonably short. If you are interested in the K12 Online learning conference, visit: . You can visit the website and watch the presentations any time you want, even after the conference is over. Click the schedule link at the top of the page to see the full schedule of events and to view the presentations.

If you feel inspired by a presentation at the conference, leave a post here at the Middle School Professional Growth Blog (or on your own blog!)


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

10 Minute Tour of the MS!

A few weeks ago I was walking down the hall and noticed quite a few interesting lessons involving technology taking place at the same time. So I quickly grabbed a camera and took a few photos. All photos were taken within 10 minutes. Yesterday I made a "VoiceThread" with these photos. VoiceThread is an online tool that allows you to quickly create a web based slide show with narration. Voicethread would be a great tool for students to use in creating web based multimedia projects.

Below is the voicethread (go easy on me--this is my first voice thread!)

Monday, October 15, 2007

LMAIS Technology Group-Fall Meeting at USM

On Thursday, October 11th, the Academic Technology Dept. hosted the fall meeting of the Lake Michigan Area Independent School Tech Coordinators meeting. Nearly 25 people representing close to 20 schools were in attendance. A big part of the meeting centered around Web 2.0 and the classroom of the future. Our complete agenda and meeting notes may are online at a here to see the notes.