Happy 2022 !

Through November and December students were working on a variety of different projects: surrealist linear perspective drawings, portraits, watercolor painting, and printmaking!

The watercolor project was a lot of fun – I taught middle schoolers how to use different techniques like wet-on-wet, flat wash, graded wash, etc. and they created art around the theme of connection and nature! Once we individually mastered the watercolor techniques, all the students collaborate on a fall watercolor tree with each leaf 🍁 representing a different value. That final artwork will be shown in the BWI showcase this Spring!

High school students worked on portraits and selected an African American man of change for a juried art show at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum. We studied portraiture: how to draw eyes, map facial proportions, add value and shading! Some of the students chose to do murals, others did canvas paintings, and some did drawings! The museum is showing the work at a virtual MLK Day 2022 event where two of my students’ artwork will be shown! Link: https://17527.blackbaudhosting.com/17527/Virtual-MLK-Day-2022

Going into the 2nd semester, I want to continue to find opportunities for my students while I streamline my instruction. I am planning on planning to teach a ceramics unit with Arts Everyday and hopefully a sewing / quilt unit, as well as a paper mache project. This year has been exhausting for students and teachers alike and I think if I can make the art very hands-on, the students will be able to relax and engage more deeply with the learning. Check back soon to see more art!

Adverse Conditions

If you’re reading this right now, you know that I am an optimistic / positive person: I like to see the best in people and situations and I enjoy being happy. While this is true, it’s also key to not allow positivity to become toxic. Ignoring or repressing difficulties creates a pressure cooker where the situation can erupt and cause more widespread harm.

It is only October and already this school year is incredibly difficult. Students and teachers are having to deals with trauma from the pandemic: isolation, death of family, sickness/illness, constant anxiety from the virus, gun violence, families loosing jobs/income ON TOP OF already existing stressers like poverty due to institutional racism and classism, food and housing insecurity, addiction and substance abuse, etc.

In an attempt to acknowledge and bring to light the negative experiences we are navigating, the first art project of the year we created “Black Out Artwork” where students 1) reflected and wrote about a challenging experience, 2) circled the positive, or what they learned they value, 3) drew images that celebrates those positive words, and then 4) used black markers to cover the pain and/or struggle from the experience. The result was a cathartic process and profoundly beautiful artwork. Check out the artwork below; click the right arrow to see closeups of the art (and follow the Visual Art Instagram page for more art 😀 )

Mentally, emotionally, physically, I am already exhausted. It’s not just me – it is teachers across every grade around the country. The trauma that I spoke of above, results in students being restless, distracted, easily frustrated, prone to outbursts, absent, and behind in learning. This is very difficult for teachers to manage and attend to throughout the day. There are so many students, and so many of their needs demand personal, intimate, trusting, close relationships with their teachers. In response to this, for my graduate school digital illustration class, I created GIFs of the ABCs of Teacher Life. They are sarcastic, jaded, but also deeply heart-based interpretations of what teachers see and go through on a daily basis. I started with thumbnail sketches, and am in the process of animating my final works. Take a look at the work in progress:

Although I hope things get easier, at this point, I can’t say they will. They will likely get harder as the weather gets colder, we go into flu season, and holiday breaks interrupt learning. And I’m not going to say I’ll be fine, or that I shouldn’t worry about it or that it’s not a big deal. Instead, I will be present with this difficulty while it’s here.

Back-2-School! SY2021-22

Back to School time is here! Over the summer, I traveled to Colorado, meditated a lot, cooked for fun, turned 30, and went to the beach. This week was our first week of school and already a lot is happening!

As I mentioned in my last blog post, ConneXions is an Arts Every Day partner school, and as part of that new relationship, I attend their annual Summer Conference, where they have a variety of teaching artists virtually lead workshops on how to integrate arts with other core subject areas.

About half of the courses were asynchronous and the other half were synchronous, but ALL of them were inspiring, creative, and provided tons of resources for teachers to use and adapt to their own content. Some of the highlights were:

Every year BTN hosts a retreat for their teachers and this year it was in Atlantic City, New Jersey. They invited a variety of guest speakers to give talks about our new theme in school: reimagining the future. Some of the workshops were helpful and specific (collaborating and brainstorming with all the school’s teachers on social justice initiatives we want to start) and some were merely theatrical (two hour long lectures about metaphors for embracing the future.) I appreciated the time to be able to connect with my colleagues who I haven’t seen in a long time – or who I had never met in person! – but I also wish we could have had more time to get our rooms ready. We came back to Baltimore and I had two (2!) days to get everything ready.

The challenge of post-pandemic classroom setup

Although I only had a couple of days to get my room ready, I am happy how it turned out! I bough some posters, Christmas string lights, and set up a tea/coffee bar in the back. I even installed curtains on my cupboards to hide the storage. I have to shout out my boo Chappell and my colleague Mike Bohorquez for helping me! The meme above is a little too accurate. Today I had 32-35 students in my classroom, and not enough seats so students were standing. We are still finalizing our rosters and I will be redirecting the students to other art majors before the end of the week lol

MORE EXCITING NEWS: I was accepted as into the Towson University Master of Art Education program! I will be taking one class this semester – Digital Illustration. I want to learn more about this medium so I can be a better teacher. I will complete the program over the next 3.5 years, so I get to take classes at a nice and slow pace 😀 Today was my first day and it was great!

Overall, I’m so excited to teach and learn in person! It’s very rewarding to reconnect to others and to make art in an actual classroom. Looking forward to a great school year!

EOY Reflection

It’s June 16th – the first day of summer vacation and I’m thrilled to say that we survived teaching a year of remote learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. Not only that, but many of my students and I had a LOT of accomplishments!

My students artwork was showcased in a variety of exhibitions and shows:

I am proud of the collaborative ConneXions art presentations:

and last night we concluded the year with the ConneXions Spring Production, “The Circus Is Closed.”

And next year for SY 2021- 2022 ….

Arts EveryDay strengthens learning by making arts education and cultural experiences an integral part of classroom instruction. They builds and sustains long-term partnerships with schools, artists, and cultural institutions Click here to read more on their website!

… we are initiating a partnership with ArtsEveryday! We will work with them to create arts-integrated curriculum across all of our core subject areas over the next 5 years. They have been working in Baltimore for the past 12 years and will provide funding and training for our teachers. They are are major advocates for the Arts and I’m excited we will be working with them. Until then, have a great summer! After a meditation retreat, I hope to make art this break and post about it here. Thanks for reading ❤

Sociocultural criticality in SEL

Just launched a new podcast! Listen to this article by clicking play. Or read the article below.

The beautiful thing about being a teacher, as I have mentioned before, is that I am always learning. I need to also add that I am always unlearning.

Picture of Yoda and his famous quote, "You must unlearn what you have learned."

I am taking a 8 month professional development class about humanizing education. It covers a lot of different topics: valuing cultural funds of knowledge in black and brown students, community and family engagement, addressing and analyzing systems of oppression with students in a critical way (sociocultural criticality), and most importantly how to put these theories into practice in the classroom. For the class, I just finished reading this incredibly eloquent, precise, and well-researched article, Social and emotional learning is hegemonic miseducation: students deserve humanization instead by Patrick Camangian & Stephanie Cariaga (2021). It does a stunning job in breaking down the current practice of social emotional learning (SEL) and how to change it to undermine the system of oppression that perpetuate trauma. I highly recommend you read it, especially if you work with children:

A meme that includes a picture of Will Ferrell in the movie Anchorman. He is in a glass phone booth with the caption that reads, "I am in a glass cage of social and emotional learning."
What SEL without humanization feels like

It’s interesting because when I was in my post-bachelor program at Towson learning to become a teacher, I researched and wrote a paper on SEL, thinking I was discovering the cutting edge of research-based mindfulness and metacognitive self-awareness skills in education. I was so excited to find these core competencies laid out (CASEL: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making) as essential components of education that were being ignored and not directly taught in school. As a meditation teacher and practitioner, I was so excited that I did not stop to really analyze and critique what I was learning through a sociocultural critical lens.

The article I linked above really opened my eyes to the fact that any system of social and/or emotional learning MUST address the colonial systems of oppression that perpetuates maladaptive sense of self in students of color. Racism and oppression have to be acknowledge and unlearned so that students and teachers (of all colors and backgrounds) can center themselves in positive self-image and learn in a supportive environment.

A slide from a presentation with two ends of a spectrum of educational practices. One end includes colonizing practices (self-hate, divide/conquer, and sub-oppression) and the other end being life-affirming practices (self-knowledge, solidarity, and self-determination).
These competencies – self-knowledge and self-love; solidarity; and self-determination, are missing from the CASEL framework. They are on the other end of hegemonic practices that are often implicitly taught in schools. Image credit: Dr. Keisha Allen of UMBC

I feel very fortunate to work at ConneXions, because it is a charter school that was founded and created with the mission of developing artistic excellence, cultural identity, and community awareness in ALL students. This gives me a lot of support from administration when I want to engage in art problems that involve difficult conversations around race, class, gender, sexuality, and ability. Being an art teacher gives me more freedom and flexibility to be able to explore these very challenging realities through creating beautiful and meaningful artwork. This course has been so valuable in challenging me and I’m grateful for the opportunity to create more humanizing social and emotional learning spaces for my students! Thanks for reading and unlearning with me ❤

NAEA 2021 Conference & PDs

Wohoo! This year my Towson professor, Dr. Kay Broadwater, three teacher colleagues from my post-bachelor program and I virtually presented at the National Art Education Association Conference March 4 – 7th. Last year while still pre-service teachers at Towson, these ladies and I had put in so much time into fundraising to go to the 2020 conference in Minneapolis, MN, only to not be able to go because of the pandemic. We turned this disappointment into fuel to take our online lessons and present them at the conference.

My unit centered on Augmented Reality and Afrofuturism. Check out what the students made! YouTube video of my presentation forthcoming 🙂 I am so proud of my students!

The other awesome thing about going to this conference was that I got to learn from a lot of other teachers. Some of the tidbits I took away:

Avoiding a Messy Classroom Studio

  • It’s okay to “change the room again” to help organize things
  • Include my personality!! it’s my second home 😀
  • Stools > chairs
  • Keeping the counter space clear makes it looks more organized
  • COLOR CODE EVERYTHING!! And add tables a number
    • Label the shelves so students can turn in work in an organized way
    • colored masking tape around the edges to reinforce color tables
    • table labels can have dots that correspond with manager jobs
    • Clusters Ls table formation
  • Portfolios: save work in a drawer: color code
    • “table portfolio” go inside each grade level larger portfolio
    • caddies all in one spot…. for pandemic classroom, each student needs their own caddy
    • sketchbook have their own cubby or basket….
  • Drying racks in the corner
    • Clothespins can hang art without damaging the art
  • Bulletin board: in progress work, vocabulary, directions, incentives, etc.
    • Process visual posters
    • Palette path incentives (like free art day – choice center) near the door
      • displaying the names of the students who achieve
      • Create choice center
  • Exhibit the art
    • use a reusable plastic report binding strip to slide presentation sheets in and out
  • Materials
    • Foam palettes protect acrylic paint in palettes
    • ex: water color. ALSO change the colors to go from light to dark

Another cool part of being a teacher is that I have tons of professional development opportunities where I can take classes for credits or salary advancement units. I love learning and then knowing that I get rewarded for it AND I have more to teach and share with my students is pretty awesome.

I’m taking a mindfulness course with other BCPS teachers right now with Evolved Minds. We have learned sitting, standing, walking, lying down meditations, as well as gratitude and loving kindness. It is a good way to practice in and after class.

Thanks for reading and all your support!

Fall 2020 Personal Artworks

This semester is wrapping up and I am happy to say that I was able to create multiple personal artworks! Being an educator is demanding – lesson / unit planning, contacting family, paperwork, meetings (and then self-care) but then what about an art-making practice?!

One answer to this problem is to take a class! Continually learning and developing professionally is a core tenet to being an educator. I took the MSDE MCred: Learning Thru the Creative Process course. We learned about the 5 steps to creative process: Inspire, Explore, Elevate, Assess, Present; the 21st Century Creative Skills, and the Artist Studio Habits of Mind. I particularly liked the 8 studio habits of mind because they talk about practices that students can *do* and are immediately engaged in the artistic process. Connecting these together (some are concurrent and others are sequential) completes the artistic cycle.

Our task in the class was to make a creative response to the Son Lux musical score and plot our creative process. Here is my artist response response:

The music was the source of inspiration: when I heard it, I saw a snowy landscape, and a person journeying out into the a dark forest. The initial percussion felt like foot-steps until it crescendos to an understanding and opening. I don’t often work with time-based media, so I wanted to explore animation. I did some research into different programs, but ultimately settled on Google Slides since experimenting on this platform could result in an interesting project for my students (everyone has Google Slides!) After peer feedback and a revision, I ultimately landed on an abstract, time-based visual journey, reflecting my own recent meditation practice. I am super happy how it turned out, even if it is just the beginning.

Another approach that led to success was to do the projects I give my students (lol). It helped them see: 1) that I am invested in the assignments as an artist and thus help them buy-in to the project 2) another example of an artistic response to the prompt 3) that being an artist is a life-long endeavor, not just a class. With my intermediate class, we did a watercolor unit, really diving into exploring the medium and the different techniques.

After playing and exploring the watercolor medium, I stretched this skill, and combined these techniques with my digital collage process of cutting and layering images to make a watercolor painting for Colette’s birthday. The final artwork turned out great:

Finally, in my beginning visual art class, I worked on value, shape, line using self-portraits. We took black and white self-portrait pictures, choosing specific emotions to embody, printed them out and created a 1″x1″ grid on top of the photo and on a blank sheet of paper. They labeled the grid and then placed the values according to each box onto their blank grid. I am not going to post the student artwork since it includes their faces and I want to protect their identities, but I also participated in the drawing assignment and came up with this:

I am currently working on how to integrate the studio habits of mind into every unit. I am collaborating in a Baltimore City mentor / mentee program to scaffold skills, build curriculum, and I will share more updates soon! Thanks for reading ❤

Quarantine Quarter 1

Teaching the last few months during this epic Covid-19 pandemic has literally been every emotion: overwhelming and boring; scary and joyful; exciting and discouraging, stressful and relaxing. Let’s start with the positives and work towards the challenges.

I absolutely love my school!!! Woo! Teaching Visual Arts at ConneXions is my dream placement and I am so incredibly grateful for this position. The Arts Team that I work with are amazing, talented, driven, thorough, great communicators, kind, and funny as hell! My administration is supportive, fun, and so kind. In September, they rolled up to my apartment in a huge school bus and the team of them came through and dropped off ConneXions swag and free lunch as a welcome celebration. My students are awesome – I have loved getting to know each of them with their individual awesomeness, talents, and quirks.

miss your face

The tough part is that I haven’t met any of these people in person! It’s so surreal. Although I daily remind students to turn on their video cameras and even make it part of their participation grade, there are still some students who I have never seen their face. That part is hard. I have a better connection with the students I can see that those that I can’t see. I learn from my students and they teach me how to be a better teacher. Not seeing their face and body language is definitely a detriment.

Another interesting effect of this quarantine has effected my teaching. Plus side: my bitmoji game is on point!!! I spend a lot of time on the visuals to my lessons to make them funny and personable so the students feel connected to me as a teacher. But also the lessons that I create take into account the fact that many of my students don’t have access to art supplies or materials.

Based on that, we’ve been doing a lot of drawing assignments, like still-lifes, abstract line drawings, zines, self-portraits, and photo grid drawings, but also work like mural/street art designs, digital and handmade collages, and even sewing face masks with my High Schoolers! Some of the work that has emerged from this challenging time is incredible – students, families, and teachers can be incredibly resourceful when needed.

7th grade student still-life artwork! So proud of this student!

However, a lot of students are also getting stuck and are failing behind. Many of my students aren’t showing up to class, even when I call, text, and email the families. There are so many reasons why they may miss class: being sick / having Covid, lack of wifi, over-sleeping, depression / mental health issues, homelessness, lack of motivation. Being on zoom all day is difficult. Many of their parents work multiple jobs and can’t babysit them while their student is supposed to be on the computer in school. When students don’t show up to school, and don’t turn in their artwork, they can’t pass the class, whether it’s Visual Art or Math. Absenteeism is a huge issue. I have spoken with multiple teacher friends in other subject areas, even in other states like California and North Carolina, and their classes are experiencing the same thing. It’s really discouraging because I can only do so much. What challenges are you facing with your job due to the pandemic?

Bitmoji Image

I’m sharing my recent adventures is because it’s Thanksgiving break! I am grateful for my students, my family, my friends, my practice of meditation, the food on my table, the roof over my head, and my job teaching art.

One social emotional learning (SEL) warm-up I frequently do with my students is to practice gratitude. It doesn’t just have to be on one day. It can be a powerful daily practice. What are you grateful for? Comment below. Thanks for reading!

Art on My Mind: Visual Politics by bell hooks

Race, gender, and identity are important lenses with which to examine art and lived experience, and bell hooks is one of the most brilliant authors of our time in this regard. I recently finished her collection of essays, Art on My Mind: Visual Politics, and to be honest, it took me a long time to finish because her work is meant to be discussed, contemplated, and explored in-depth. Over 22 chapters, she covers a huge range of profound and intensely intimate topics within the intersection of race and art: from art as an active resistance to white supremacy, to challenging the historical and majority view of critics, white audiences, even black audiences to approach artwork without first fixating only on the blackness of the images. She also delves into personal interviews with black artists and architects like Alison Saar, Margo Humphrey, Carrie Mae Weems, Lorna Simpson, LaVerne Wells-Bowie, and Emma Amos, and reviews artwork by Jean-Michell Basquiat and Felix Gonzalez Torres. It would actually be an impossible disservice to attempt to summarize this book! Instead, I’ll pull out a few highlights from the chapters and highly recommend that you read this book yourself. 😀

In her introduction, she says, “the uses of time, the choices we make with respect to what to think and write about, are part of visual politics… As we think and write about visual art, as we make spaces for dialogue across boundaries, we engage a process of cultural transformation that will ultimately create a revolution in vision.” This is a very important point for me as an artist, educator, and activist. Many of my white friends ask how they can be involved in racial justice work, maybe expecting to hear a response of going to a protest or voting. While these actions are important we should be careful not to limit our response or capacity for political activism. In the above quote, bell hooks is pointing at the power both our attention and intention have to act artistically and politically. When we choose to spend our time instead of exclusively studying white male artists, but instead study black, women, gay, hispanic, trans artists, we are engaging in a visual politic that will create a different visual of the world. Being politically active is about changing our perspective, intention, and attention. I find this point to be incredibly empowering and uplifting because it offers a tangible practice. This is the premise of her book.

In the first chapter, she makes a really important counterpoint, inspired by Michelle Wallace’s Invisibility Blues, “Our capacity to value art is severely corrupted and perverted by a politics of the visual that suggest we [black artists] must limit our responses… Clearly it is only as we move away from the tendency to define ourselves in reaction to white racism that we are able to move toward that practice of freedom which requires us first to decolonize our minds. We can liberate ourselves and others only by forging in resistance identities that transcend narrowly defined limits.”

Margo Humphrey, The History of Her Life Written Across Her Face, 1991.

The above quote, bell hooks is encouraging and challenging black artists to create art that reflects the wide diversity of human experience as a deeply liberatory action. Margo Humphrey (born June 25, 1942), an American printmaker, illustrator and art teacher, is a great example of an artist who approaches art in this way. On page 196 she describes her artwork: “The art that I make is intentional. The stories are personal, and I draw on African-American experience – that to me is the foundation – but the values in my work transcend the specific and address the universal as well.”

Hooks also explores photography and the way, “cameras gave to black folks irrespective of class, a means by which we could participate fully in the production of images. Hence it is essential that any theoretical discussion of the relationship of black life to the visual, to art making, make photography central. ” Representation and control of the image of blackness remains a crucial realm of struggle, and acknowledging and reclaiming photography as a tradition within black culture is as she says on page 60, “a way to contain memories, overcome loss, and keep history in the resistance struggle while having fun.” Hooks shares a whole chapter on her own personal reflection on impact of photographs in her childhood.

Check out this Art21 video with Carrie Mae Weems explaining her series of photographs entitled, “The Kitchen Table Series.”

Hooks also interviews Carrie Mae Weems (born April 20, 1953), an American artist is best known for her work in the field of photography. Her award-winning photographs, films, and videos focus on serious issues that face African Americans today, such as racism, sexism, politics, personal identity, complex, dimensional, human experience and social inclusion. Her photos are a powerful testament for the ability for photography to reclaim representation and the write history with an intentional visual politic.

One of hook’s first interviews in the book is with Alison Saar. They discuss the influence of dreams, the primacy of material, the spiritual power reflected in her sculptures. She describes her work as, “a mix of sacred and profane, a process of exorcism. These are constructive ways of facing tragic, painful experiences. And that’s how the slaves survived all that pain – through creating, by making music, dance, poetry.”

An installation shot of five sculptures by Alison Saar: “Rice” (sickle), “Cotton” (bale hook), “Indigo” (hoe), “Sugar Cane” (machete), “Tobacco” (tobacco knife) all 2018, made of wood, copper, ceiling tin, bronze, tar and vintage found tools. (Jeff McLane / L.A. Louver)

Hooks also writes an incredible chapter on Jean-Michel Basquiat, paying tribute to his art by deeply inquiring into the Basquiat’s paintings, whose work, “holds no warm welcome for those who approach it with a narrow Eurocentric gaze.” In art, the gaze is often regarded as a context of power – who is looking at who, both in and at the art. Here the Eurocentric gaze can only recognize Basquiat, “if he is in the company of Warhol…. as a part of a continuum of contemporary American art with a genealogy traced through white males: Pollock, de Kooning, Rauschenberg, Twombly, and on to Andy.” To only see Basquiat’s work in the context of whiteness, is to completely not see his art. Rather, Basquiat was grappling with the pull of a genealogy that is fundamentally “black” (rooted in African diasporic “primitive” and “high art” traditions) and a fascination with white Western traditions.

Jean-Michel Basquiat. Irony of a Negro Policeman. 1981. Acrylic and oil paintstick on wood. 72″ x 48.”

His work hinges on “the politics of dehumanization, the colonization of the black body and mind, marked by the anguish of abandonment, estrangement, dismemberment, and death. His works speaks of dread, terror, being torn apart, made to “serve” the interest of white matters. His images are ugly and grotesque, because that brutality is ugly and grotesque. To see and understand these paintings, one must be willing to accept the tragic dimensions of black life.”

On page 47, hooks references visual artist Fred Braithwaite (aka Fab 5 Freddy), a friend of Basquiat’s, when he says that for the established white art world, and the Eurocentric, multiethnic public, to look at Basquiat’s work, and truly appreciate it, they must first examine themselves…”they have to try to erase if possible all the racism from their hearts and minds and then when they look at the paintings they can see the art.”

Hooks is a teacher, so she also includes pointers how to encourage more marginalized artists from an earlier age, “…if a cultural climate of support is established at the outset of a young artists commitment to doing artwork there is much greater likelihood that this work will develop and mature (page 140).” She suggests a variety of way to support young artists’ commitment to art-making: 1) creating art scholarships for gifted children who lack the means to pursue their work (especially buying supplies); 2) encouraging a system of inter-art relations that would reward the sharing of knowledge, information, and art skills across boundaries of race, class, gender, age, etc.; 3) encourage critical conscious in small groups that creates a context for dialogue where conflicting viewpoints can be discussed.

As a white woman teaching art in a majority black city and Title 1 school, I need bell hook’s teachings to ensure I am encouraging my students to explore the wide range of their experience, ideas, hopes, fears, dreams, and visions, and to not shy away from difficult conversations around racism, prejudice, classism, and sexism. I am excited to share these (and more black and non-white) artists with my students, and to support them by creating a positive environment for art-making and critical thinking! Thanks for reading ❤

Graduation + Secondary Ed Internship + Next Steps

Wow! Already my time at Towson University is done, and I am graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Art Education! I am so grateful for this experience and feel that it has really prepared me to be an art educator.

Congratulations to ALL of the graduates who are celebrating virtually. Your accomplishments matter!!

One of the last parts of my program was a secondary (meaning high and/or middle school) internship, but because of the COVID-19 pandemic, this experience that would have been at a local Baltimore high school, became a completely digital experience. In hindsight, I think there is a positive silver-lining: it will prepare me for remote learning in the fall with my own classes (if that becomes necessary)…

When crafting lesson plans, one major challenge was to create assignments that students could do with the basic materials they had at home; for many students this means paper and pencil. When I first surveyed the students to see what they wanted to learn, many of them said portraits. One of the first elements when making a portrait are eyes, soooo we focused on that first!

Objective: After looking at both visual artist and pop culture exemplars of eyes and assessing their ability to express and hide meaning, students created two pictures:
1) a “first-attempt” of drawing of an eye.
2) a revised drawing of an eye that incorporates either improvement in realism or deeper meaning.

In addition, I was challenged to improve my instructional video skills! Watch this video showing how to draw an eye:

Watch and Learn: How to Draw an Eye !

There are so many opportunities to be creative with remote learning. The National Art Education Association (NAEA) has a great list of resources that you can check out here.

Equitable access to wifi needs to be addressed.

While there are many creative lesson possibilities, there are also obvious challenges with remote learning that I think are important to confront, especially if we want to have a decent start to the 2020-2021 school year:

1. Wifi connection. Because of all the public wifi spots – libraries, coffee shops, etc. – are closed, students need wifi in order to learn. Wifi is so central to being connected and informed in our society that I feel it is more akin to a utility like water and gas; it will be essential in the future to have it, so the sooner we can provided stable, high speed internet to everyone, the better all of us will be! A few providers offer “essential” packages of $10/month which is great, but a) you have to prove low-income status via enrollment in a food stamps program, housing assistance, etc. and b) you can’t have been their customer in the past. This second point can effectively eliminate a lot of households. You can check it out for yourself though by clicking here.

2. Technology and devices. Baltimore City schools have been really amazing about this – there have been lots of iPad and laptop donation / pick-up drives for students. The only issue is there aren’t enough for every student; many times students in one household have to share devices. This can be problematic when classes overlap, or homework needs to be done. On a related note, on phones, not all online video platforms are created equal. Many times students have been kicked off of the call due to slow internet connections, including myself! Teachers will need to play around and be allowed to use a video platform that is reliable.

  • There are so many other issues surrounding equity and access it’s mind-boggling. However, Rice University has a really good article about the challenges and solutions around this issue and I found it really helpful. Click here to read that article.
  • There is also another great guide for teachers in how to be skillful online, addressing everything from email announcements, to trusting students who express the limitations and challenges in participating online. Click here to read that blog article.

On the bright side, my mentor has been absolutely *fabulous* through this entire experience, giving me tons of feedback, encouragement, and advice. I couldn’t have done this semester without her!! ❤

and finally, drum roll please….

I formally accepted a full-time position at ConneXions School for the Arts to start this fall 2020! I am so grateful and excited about this new beginning at a fantastic school! They are a 6th – 12th grade school, so I will have the opportunity to build long-term relationship with students. Additionally, I will be able to create a strong arts program where students can gradually build and deepen their artistic skills by the time they graduate high school. If you’re reading this, thank you for your support!!! ❤