Thursday, July 20, 2017

Try Skillshare free!

Tonight I just happened to check an odd folder in my school email and saw a message from an Illustration page I subscribe to saying I could try Skillshare free for 2 months. I hadn't ever checked out Skillshare before but when I started browsing I marked over 50 classes I want to try. I'm not sure I'll be able to get through all of those in 2 months, but there was a pretty good variety- illustration, animation, graphic design, hand lettering, watercolor, etc. I think it will give me some good ideas for approaches to teaching some new lessons especially in my computer graphics class.
I'm going to check and see if I can get PD points for some of them, too.

There are other categories for business, technology, writing, and more. If anyone wants to try it out, here's a link for you!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

YouTube in the Art Room

I'm sure most art teachers have used YouTube to show the occasional video to students. But have you used it to share your own videos?
Last spring I decided that in the coming school year I wanted to create pathways so my advanced students who don't know what they want to do can click on ceramics, for example, and be presented with project prompts, resources, and tutorials. I figured I would link to websites and youtube videos and create some of my own. Then I started thinking about how else YouTube could be utilized...

One of the assignments I gave my intro classes last year was to document the process of a project from start to finish. There were options as far as how to do it but many chose the Stop Motion option. I showed them an example I had created and they turned in their videos. Why not post their videos on a classroom YouTube? (I have a social media section on a permission form I send home at the beginning of the year).

My Computer Graphics class was given a motion graphics assignment so I posted one of the videos there, too.

Here is one of my first demo videos. I'm hoping to get some more made before school starts and may have a student help film some of my demos throughout the year. I just have to figure out if there's a way to get the videos to the students through our filters.

In the art teachers facebook group, I saw a post about having ceramics students create videos for a process they had learned earlier. There was a really good video on making a textured tumbler and I thought what a great way for students to show what they know! This may become an option for my students as well.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Scholastic Art Magazine and Giveaway!

Scholastic Art magazine sent me samples of last year's issues to review. I was somewhat familiar with the magazine as it seems every year I get a sample issue in the mail and I have a file cabinet drawer of back issues from the previous teacher, but I'd honestly never taken the time to actually read the magazine and see what it was all about.

I was a pleasantly surprised at everything included in the issues. I had assumed that it was basically a couple about on whatever was on the cover and now I feel silly for not having checked it out before!

The issues are organized by artist or theme- How to Read Art, The Art of the Campaign, Edward Hopper, Objects from World Cultures, Ansel Adams, and Painting Right Now were last year's topics.

I really appreciate that they have a good balance between art history and contemporary artists and have articles about high school students' work. It's good for students to see others their own age who've worked hard and found success in art. In addition to the articles, each teacher edition has lesson plans, worksheets, a high quality poster (printed on magazine paper but you can laminate if you want it to be sturdier), and you can access more materials with your login for the website. The digital resources include videos, slideshows, and more. I could see the videos being really intriguing for students. I saw videos with featured artists talking about their works as well as "how to" videos demonstrating techniques or presenting students with challenges.
I really wish I'd had the Art of the Campaign issue last year! It would have been a perfect supplement to the lesson I presented on campaign posters and honestly would have saved me a lot of work since I spent time collecting some of the very same images that they included.

Ways to use Scholastic Art magazine...

  • Read the magazine on a regularly scheduled day worked into your month's lesson plans
  • Save the issues until it correlates with a theme
  • Use it for a substitute plan
  • Read one article or the whole magazine!
  • Take advantage of the art prompts for students
  • With middle-high school students and even upper elementary

I know that cost is always a concern when teachers with limited budgets consider a purchase like a magazine subscription. According to the Scholastic magazine website, the subscription is $8.99 per student. If I ordered 20 issues that would be enough for my classes, which rarely have more than 20 students, the price including shipping would be around $200. If that were to come out of my supply budget, I'm not sure I could handle it. However, the educational foundation for my district allows teachers to write grants for supplies or professional development. I think next year I will write one for a magazine subscription. Your district may agree to purchase a subscription in place of textbooks. That's how an art teacher friend of mine has managed her subscriptions and she talks about how much the students love it and beg to do the studio assignments included. Scholastic also has some suggestions for getting funding, including Donors Choose and others.

Give Away

But what's even better than convincing someone to fund your subscription? Getting a year for FREE! I am partnering with Scholastic to bring you this giveaway. To enter, share this post on social media and leave a comment on this blog post including your email address. I will randomly select a winner on August 1st and send your info to Scholastic Art to set up your subscription. Good luck!

Sunday, July 16, 2017


I know I'm kind of skipping around my school year here, but if you're reading this, you're likely an art teacher so I think you can roll with it. :)
I ended the school year in my intro class with the theme of Fear. I had previously used the theme with my advanced class and made the mistake of doing it in October. Unless you want gory artwork, I don't recommend that timing. I stressed to students that the fear didn't have to be a traditional phobia, it could be more of an anxiety or a challenge they had to face. Students have to be a little bit introspective to be really successful with this theme.
Anyway, I thought it would work well for the last 2 weeks of school. To make sure that the students would have time to complete the project, I encouraged them to think about using digital media. A few used paper but many incorporated photography or tried out one of our graphics tablets. 
You can get the lesson plan on the smARTteacher.
Here are some of their projects!
Fear of not fitting in

 Fear of failure and fear of not being the best

This student expressed fear of snakes since he's almost missed seeing them when walking through fields. He did a really good job on the coiled snake.


Straight digital photos  for these projects.

I think this student really captured the stress that so many feel at the end of the semester!
Next year in May, I think I'm going to do more of a daily challenge for students who have completed all their work. I forgot about just how many classes are affected by track and all of the other end of year activities. I think that would be better all around!