Monthly Mentor

Lynne Horoschak (October)
Lynne Horoschak is the Program Manager of the MA in Art Education with an Emphasis in Special Populations at Moore College of Art & Design in Philadelphia. This one-of-a-kind program was launched in 2009 and continues as a hybrid Online + On-Campus in summer 2014. The Graduate Program sponsors an annual Art and Special Education Symposium, which features nationally known keynote speakers on relevant and current topics and provides the opportunity for art educators and all people who care for people with disabilities to share challenges and successes.

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Friday 10.17.14

Art Educator Resources for Special Populations

One of our readers asked if I would post resources for the art teachers in her state, which I am happy to do. I sometimes forget that not all art teachers have had the opportunity to find resources to help them effectively teach their children with disabilities. I know that I learned by trial and error – mostly error – only to find that new found strategy is a failure the following week. So one tries again. As I pointed out in the first blog, coming together to share stories, challenges and celebrate successes, no matter how small, is very important for us as art educators in order to sustain our energy and optimism.

I encourage you to seek out conferences and workshops in your area that brings together teachers to talk to one another. And if you can’t find any – start one. All you need is a room (coffee shop) and one other person – this is a beginning. When news gets out that you are finding success through collaboration you will have to take over the entire coffee shop. We have an Art & Special Education Symposium each year in November and each year it is met with rave reviews. And the secret is simply that we bring together people interested in the education of children with special needs, we listen to those with experience and expertise and then we talked to each other. We each bring our own bit of wisdom to the table. Oh – and whining is not allowed – finding possible solutions is. This success led to a Mini-posium in March where we listen to art teachers who share successful art lessons and then we make exemplars so we could hit our art rooms with exciting lessons on Monday.

The Special Needs Art Education (SNAE) Issues Group website is full of resources. Check it out. Look under links and resources. And while you are there, think about joining our Issues Group.

Reaching and Teaching Students with Special Needs through Art edited by Gerber and Guay, and Understanding Students with Autism through Art edited by Gerber and Kellman, both published by NAEA, are loaded with great ideas.

In addition, professional papers written by experts in the field can be located here. The second and third titles listed are full of very readable articles from Adapting Art through The Importance of Collaboration in Art Classrooms.

Enjoy!

-Lynne Horoschak | Distinguished Professor
Program Manager of MA in Art Education
Moore College of Art & Design in Philadelphia

Tuesday 10.14.14

The Generous Spirit of Art Teachers

Last week I spent three days at an art education conference that was in a state other than my own. I knew a few educators but not many so the conversations began the way one would at a party with people you are just meeting. Questions like “What level do you teach? Where do you teach? How long have you been teaching?” But what was constant in every conversation was the dedication and concern all art teachers had for their students. Everyone had the most talented. Everyone wanted their students to pursue a career in the arts. Everyone was willing to go above and beyond what is written in their job descriptions to make sure all available avenues were open to their students.

That reminded me of an alumnus from my graduate program who began teaching in a Public School this year. There were no art supplies and no money from the school to purchase them. She sent out a plea on social media. She would take anything and would come to you to pick it up. Spending additional time and energy to track down supplies that should be a given in a job turns out to be part of the job. And she is not alone in this.

A few weeks ago she noticed a student being bullied because there was a hole in his sneakers and his foot was peeking through. Discreetly, she got him a new pair of sneakers. She said, "Nothing prepares you for the poverty you see."

I am reminded once again of the generous spirit of art teachers. We are empathetic. We give our talent, money and resources to teach art. To insure that our students know their worth by successfully making art. And we are there to listen and give emotional support where too often there is none. I am very proud to be an art teacher. I am in such excellent company!

-Lynne Horoschak | Distinguished Professor
Program Manager of MA in Art Education
Moore College of Art & Design in Philadelphia

Monday 10. 6.14

The Importance of Professional Development

Speaking of supporting your own with a little one-on-one conversation – yes, we were speaking about that - attending the state and national art education conferences with others of like mind, proves to be time well spent for you as an art teacher, an artist, and a member of the global society. Not only do you have the opportunity to share art lessons and strategies you know have succeeded in your classroom - yes, please do submit proposals - there are hundreds of opportunities for you to hear what your colleagues are doing.  

My biggest problem is that I can't be in two or three places at the same time (although I have tried to master this feat) choosing a demonstration or a presentation that will help you engage your students, improve your teaching skills, shed a light on classroom management, and/or take the mystery out of teaching 33 students, eight who require special attention due to their disability is a daunting task but one well worth the scrutiny of the conference catalogue. Hint: Start before you step into the conference lobby. The choices seem endless and the time is short, so do get a head start.

And don’t forget to engage your fellow art educators. Talk to the person riding the escalator with you. Talk to the person at lunch. Ask what they have learned, experienced, discovered. Sifting through your notes each evening - you are taking notes, aren’t you? –is an important way to keep the information fresh and ready to access. I confess that too many times I left the conferences with visions of sugar plums dancing in my head and they continue to dance right out with nothing concrete getting accomplished.

The State Conferences and NAEA National Conventions are filled with people who are great resources just waiting for you to take advantage of them.

-Lynne Horoschak | Distinguished Professor
Program Manager of MA in Art Education
Moore College of Art & Design in Philadelphia

Wednesday 10. 1.14

Art Teachers Network

It is not secret that most of us work in isolation. We are the lone art teacher in the school and we are painfully aware that no one knows the challenges we face. No one else is teaching 500 or 1,000 kids a week; each having their own individual quirks and strengths and parents and concerns. That’s a lot of quirks. And along with the quirks, we have supplies to manage – when we have supplies! – to pass out and clean up every 45 minutes -  and back to back classes and children with disabilities who are included in an already  over filled class – and we love it!

When I was teaching my six classes a day, five days a week, there weren’t the resources that are available today via the internet and chat rooms and blogs. So when we had a chance together to listen and learn from one another, it was magic. So in spite of the technology today, nothing quite replaces getting together face-to-face to talk through a concern or a lesson that didn’t go as planned ….

Back in January, art teachers from the Philadelphia School District were invited to Moore College of Art & Design to chat. To share stories of their challenges and successes.  Five art teachers came.  In May, ten came. And it was unanimously agreed that we would continue the conversation. Last week, Leslie sent out a letter to the all the art teachers inviting them to come and continue the conversation. The date was set. We are ready with food.

Thirty eight years ago, six newly hired art teachers got together every month to talk about their struggles and successes. They continued it through their entire career and they were among the best art teachers in the city. Nothing beats supporting your own with a little one-on-one conversation.

-Lynne Horoschak | Distinguished Professor
Program Manager of MA in Art Education
Moore College of Art & Design in Philadelphia

Monday 09.29.14

WANT TO REALLY MAKE A DIFFERENCE? GET CONNECTED!

If you are a current or aspiring art teacher who went into teaching to make a difference by working with students to identify and develop their creative gifts ... YOU should consider expanding your own voice so that you are able to guide others in the development of their own. 'While you may be very busy...even satisfied...locked away within the four walls of your classroom it is my opinion that you will find yourself re-thinking or revising your decision to be an art teacher if you remain isolated. You and your students will lose. As long as you remain isolated, your potential as a teacher and that of your students’ may result in a loss of viability, visibility, and value. It is in community with others that we inform and showcase our practice, share successes and failures, build self confidence, develop strengths, grow professionally and personally. As an art teacher you will encounter attitudes that may make you feel that your art curriculum is not an important one. Art teachers are often driven out of the profession because of the attitudes that art is an unnecessary subject. This is often reinforced by reducing the teacher's practice to a rolling cart, struggle for funding, and teacher-pupil overload. It has been my experience that the teachers that maintained a positive outlook as art teachers and as art advocates benefitted not only from the respect they gained from their administration and colleagues, but from their student's success. Your ART curriculum has to be important to you every day or it will not be important to others any day.
       
One of the most important decisions I made as an art education student was to not only join the student chapter of my state art education association, but to become actively involved. Paying my dues is one of the most important investments I make annually. This involvement has led to professional growth which led to leadership opportunities. You grow and your whole world and those in it grow too.  Once you find yourself outside of the four walls of your classroom you will find multiple opportunities for professional and personal growth. At the top of my list for getting the most bang for a buck is to attend a local, state, and/or national conference. Each conference venue usually offers multiple platforms for learning about the latest findings in art education research, current trends in theory and practice, and provides a venue for teachers to share their lessons, their own art, and that of their students'. One of the most meaningful outcomes of going beyond your classroom is in people connecting...the friendships and partnerships, the collaborations and possibilities stretch from coast to coast. Plus, you get the chance to meet your own art hero up close and personal! It was through such venues that I was able to not only meet my own art heroes but was fortunate enough to partner with them through grants to bring them into my school and/or district. Art heroes such as Faith Ringgold (Tar Beach), Ron DeLong (Crayola DreamMakers), Fred Babb (Go to Your Studio and Make Stuff), Pam Stephens and Jim McNeil (Dropping in On series), Ralph Eggleston (Toy Story I), CC Lockwood (Marsh Mission), EB Lewis (Coming on Home Soon, Caldecott winner) are a few that have not only enriched my life, but also those of my colleagues and my students. It is difficult at best to be invisible when you make these kinds of "high voltage" connections.  
      
BobbiAnother important decision I made as an art educator was to acquire the credentials and training needed to open up my classroom as a "lab" to the art education department of the local college and to be a cooperating teacher for pre-service teachers. If you want to gain an in-depth understanding of your subject, learn as much as you teach, stay current in your field, and expose your students to multiple perspectives leading to additional successes, you should explore this connection. I even got lucky enough to mentor twins that have gone on to make a difference!
      
Take advantage of every chance you get to help your students succeed...Take It, Make it, Do it. You are their connection to a whole new world and it is your responsibility to do just that. Every lesson you teach should be connected to Art Standards that guide your teaching and valid assessment. Additionally lessons should provide opportunities for creative discovery, spark imagination, develop skills and techniques, and be grounded in Elements of Art and Principles of Design from seeing to doing to evaluating. The more visible your program the more viable. Remember the words of Harry Emerson Fosdick: "A person totally wrapped up in him-self makes a small package."

-Bobbi Yancey
Art Specialist, NBCT/Art Consultant
Lake Charles Boston Academy of Learning, Lake Charles, LA

Wednesday 09.24.14

Strategies and Partnerships - Creating opportunities for your students to shine!

The art department of our school system has been privileged to partner with community organizations, business, industry, and even the mayor’s office over the years to create opportunities to showcase art programs in schools that feature both teacher and student. I was reminded of how special these relationships are recently. One such event, the Mayor’s 10, was a highlight of my week. Ten student works depicting personal expressions of the culture of Louisiana were on display at a local art and cultural center. Images of egrets, shrimp boats, alligators, magnolias and more were displayed on easels encircling a stage while the artists, their parents and teachers were celebrated. This process has been repeated for 6 years now providing a public showcase for 60 students with a commitment from the mayor for many more to follow.  

This past week I was involved in another event sponsored by a local nonprofit arts organization. Members of the community were asked to glaze a ceramic bisque bowl for a small fee to benefit a nonprofit organization raising funds to train dogs for veterans and autistic children suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Students from elementary to high-school, local leaders, and sports celebrities from the community and neighboring cities participated in this day long art event. Thousands of dollars were raised, in addition to awareness of a great need. 

In the coming weeks I will be participating in several more events and award ceremonies that will feature local artists, students and their teachers. The opportunities for schools and programs in the arts to be spotlighted in my district are commonplace. But, it has not always been that way. Twenty years ago there were less than 20 art teachers…today there are 60. Why? Because of the strategies and partnerships that were developed that led to one opportunity after another to spotlight Art Education programs in our schools. I would like to share a few ways you might “spotlight” art in your school that may create opportunities for you.

1. Help with city wide beautification—Paint murals or other public art in your school or community.
2. Exhibit, Exhibit, Exhibit—Showcase your student’s art work everywhere you can make an impact …you can even display from the ceiling tiles down the hallways of your school.
3. Create partnerships with local business, gallery, or museum to sponsor school–wide or district art exhibit. Ask your principal to sponsor a rotating art exhibit in the office, library, or front lobby of your school.
4. Document, Document, Document—Send and share with local newspapers, TV stations, the information specialist in your school system, your school board, and send newsletters home.
5. Create a web page.
6. Write and submit articles about your student art work. Enter competitions.
7. Join and participate in arts and community organizations that build positive relationships.

These are just a few ideas that have worked well for schools in my school district. Please share any that have been successful for you.

-Bobbi Yancey- Art Specialist/Consultant, Ed.S, NBCT
Lake Charles Boston Academy, Lake Charles, LA

Thursday 09.11.14

Puzzled by Punk?

Need a little something extra to spice up your art curriculum? Why not try the popular artistic movement known as steampunk? If you have not heard of this unique visual feast that features imagery of nineteenth century Victorian England colliding with the industrial mechanisms, clocks, assorted machine parts, and technology of the modern world this blog is my opportunity to introduce the endless creative possibilities that are available to you. Steampunk is a science fiction, pop-culture phenomenon that engages and spans fine art, music, performance, fashion, graphic design, and the humanities. The Steam in steampunk refers to the era of steam technology that took over the 19th century. The punk invokes the idea of rebellion against the change in the landscape resulting from the Industrial Revolution. Every corner of 19th century life was affected from transportation to medicines to weaponry---more than enough to draw artistic inspiration from. The visual canvas called steampunk is filled with imagery of women in fashionable Victorian dress with parasols, lace, hand fans, birds, etc. portrayed opposite  images of industry including metal gears, time pieces, machinery and the  fantastic technology born years ago from science fiction giants such as Jules Verne and  H.G Wells. Metalwork and taxidermy merge in this movement.

As a half time consultant with our school system art department I was charged with the task of developing resources and activities for our 60 art specialists as preparation for an upcoming teacher art exhibit. Whether teachers were new to steam-punk or longtime fans I felt it would provide a canvas for an artistic adventure and spark conversation. My supervisor and I brainstormed our way to centering the exhibit on the shape and idea of Puzzles. He coined the title “Puzzled by Punk”. Each teacher was charged with the task of transforming a floor puzzle piece into a steampunk work of art. They were provided metallic sharpies, Kraft colored collage papers, embellishments of all kinds…both Victorian and Industrial. Teachers left the In-Service excited about the opportunity to transform the 14 x 18 inch wooden puzzle piece they received into a work or art. Below are a few examples of some linked puzzle pieces from the activity.

I hope that you are inspired to explore the steampunk world on your own. Your students may already know all about it…hopefully you can share this visual adventure with them.  

 

-Bobbi Yancey- Art Specialist/Consultant, Ed.S, NBCT
Lake Charles Boston Academy, Lake Charles, LA

Monday 09. 1.14

The Art of Service Learning

Because art teachers have the unique advantage of nurturing learners within the context of shared community they (YOU) provide the perfect setting for opportunities for social change that inspires and teaches students to care about each other and for others through service learning experiences.  In the case of the arts, art specialists can provide a creative community with expertise in areas that encompass all forms of artistic expression from visual to performing arts to media arts.  1

I began my career as an elementary art educator during a time when character education was emphasized to the point that our governor gave up his salary to fund character education award programs across our state.  I was a recipient of one of these monetary awards.  My “windfall” helped me to kick start a theatrical troupe of elementary “Art Angels”.  I hired a thespian/clown to teach these students the professional makeup techniques of the four types of clowns and tricks associated with the art of clowning.  This training coupled with the student’s visual art training enabled them to visit nursing homes and women and children’s shelters in our community to provide “art therapy” for the residents.  

Another public art service learning project that I spearheaded engaged artists, elementary as well as college students, non-profit agencies, volunteers from the community, and residents of the local Women and Children’s Shelter. Everyone came together to build a structure adorned with hand painted butterfly ceramic tiles. This House for Butterflies is a symbol for the victims of abuse and violence that pass through the doors of the shelter.  It demonstrates the “metamorphosis” the residents go through in their journey for healing and independence. The circular space was built in such a way that it allowed for clear passage in and out and seating for contemplation and reflection as well as plants and decorative wood houses for a variety of butterflies.2

Currently I am teaching at a high school that buses students in from throughout the school district.  Even with limited access and the rigorous demands of the secondary academic schedule, students have contributed about 200 bowls to the Salvation Army Empty Bowl project over the past two years and are planning even more this year.  Last year the Salvation Army raised approximately $10,000…each “empty” bowl represents $100.00.  

Service learning is an integral part of my curriculum.  As an art teacher I believe that my role is not only to help develop students’ creative gifts, but to encourage and guide them in sharing them.  As we embark on a new year full of promise, I hope you will consider including “Service Learning” as part of your curriculum.

-Bobbi Yancey- Art Specialist/Consultant, Ed.S, NBCT
Lake Charles Boston Academy, Lake Charles, LA

Tuesday 08.19.14

Teacher Resources

We, as teachers, are always being asked to incorporate technology in our classrooms. And as some of us know, this is not always an easy task in the art room. Therefore, my purpose for this post is to be a resource for art teachers. A tool that you can turn to when you want to try something new, discover a fresh way to uncover contemporary art, take a different approach to sharing your ideas and philosophies with students and staff, etc. Below you will find a list of some of the resources and tools I utilize on a daily basis. Look them up, try them out, and uncover what works and doesn’t work in your classroom.
•    Pinterest
•    Google Drive
•    Dropbox
•    TeachersPayTeachers.com
•    NAEA website
•    State Organization Websites
•    Facebook
•    Twitter
•    Netflix
•    Tumblr
•    YouTube
•    Art 21 Resources
•    Art Education (NAEA) journal
•    Art Education/Art blogs
•    Art for Life: Authentic Instruction in Art
•    Olivia Gude :)
•    Austin Kleon
•    Art Education for a Change by David Darts
•    Rethinking Contemporary Art and Multicultural Education
•    Juxtapoz Magazine
•    Rolling Stone Magazine
•    www.artsy.com
•    www.contemporaryarted.com
•    www.visualnews.com
•    www.streetartutopia.com
•    www.core77.com
•    Street Artists
•    Flipboard App - Personal Magazine (on all devices)
•    Instagram
•    LinkedIn
•    ArtGallery App
•    ColorSnap App
•    UKIYOE App
•    Copper Relief App
•    SketchBookX App
•    Sbapix Free App
•    Geometric App
•    iMotion App
•    What The Font
•    Ted Talks

Hopefully my few suggestions get the ball rolling for you as we enter a new school year.
Happy teaching!

-Daniel Humphrey, Art Educator, Holy Name High School, Parma Hts., Ohio

Friday 08. 8.14

New School Year, New Students

As we approach the start of another school year, it is key that we take the correct approach with our students. For an art educator (or any teacher for that matter), as new students enter your room for the first time, it is the your duty to make them feel welcomed. The first week sets the tone for the entire semester. You can either be the teacher that everyone respects and loves, or you can be that “weirdo” teacher at the end of the hall. The choice is yours.

The best piece of advice that I can give you is GET TO KNOW YOUR STUDENTS. Use the first week to connect with them on somewhat of a personal level. As I stated in the Be a ‘Real’ Teacher post, take the time to talk with each student every day. Talk about things that interest them. But most of all have fun! Take a few minutes at the start of every class to share stories. The kids will love it and you will get to know them on a completely different level.

Another extremely helpful piece of advice is to EASE THE STUDENTS INTO THE ENVIRONMENT. Don’t go at them with guns blazing…it’s the first week, not final portfolio reviews. I like to start my first two days of class with a sketch activity. I ask the students to draw things that will help me get to know them/understand them better. I grade my sketches on completion, not skill, so the students automatically begin to feel safe to explore their imagination. The first “project” I assign the students is the Post-It Note/Sharpie Challenge (which I “borrowed” from another art teacher in the local area). With this project, I provide my students with prompts such as:

• An unexpected hero
• A moment you want to remember forever
• Someone you love
• A bad habit
• What inspires you
• Etc.

The students then draw an image representing one of the topics on a Post-It Note. Once the drawing is complete, they are introduced to the Sharpie challenge. Their Post-It Note must either be at least 50% black, contain thick or thin lines, or contain some type of pattern. Once everyone in the class finishes their Post-It Notes, we assemble them into a class mural that hangs outside the art room throughout the duration of the semester.

The first week of any class can be a scary time for both the students and the teacher. I have found the key to a successful semester begins with how well you execute the first week. Use that week to set the tone for the term—exposing the students to your rules and expectations. But most importantly, get to know your kids! Let them know that your room is a safe place for them to explore their imagination.  Not only will this earn your respect with your class, but it will also lead to student success.

-Daniel Humphrey, Art Educator, Holy Name High School, Parma Hts., Ohio