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.
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:
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.
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!!! ❤